Rafael Furcal – The Cardinals are very quietly playing solid baseball since the all star break, and that should continue tonight. The Redbirds face Madison Bumgarner, who is an elite pitcher at home but an average pitcher on the road (ERA jumps 2.05 runs on the road and he has surrendered 80% of his home runs away from San Francisco). Furcal has 5 hits in 12 career at bats (.417) against the lefty, including a very high .750 slugging percentage for a slap hitter. With Matt Holliday on fire and the middle of the order having success the few times they’ve faced Bumgarner (Freese, Jay, and Molina have 6 hits in 11 at bats), the Cardinals speedster figures to be in a good position to score multiple runs, and given his slugging percentage, don’t rule out the possibility of him driving in a run as well.
Chicago Cubs not named Alfonso Soriano – The Cubbies may not be the first place you look for greatness when it comes to daily fantasy baseball, but they deserve consideration against the Reds Mike Leake. Without Soriano, the current Cubs are batting a remarkable .411 in 56 at bats against the righty. You read that right … .411! The young and talented double play combination of Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro led the way, combining for 14 hits in 34 at bats (.412 batting average). Don’t sleep on the powerful Bryan LaHair who has taken Leake deep once in 5 at bats. Cross your fingers for a windy day at Wrigley, and you could shock and amaze the fantasy community by building a team with multiple Cubs.
Players to avoid:
David Wright – Wright played a large role in the Mets surprising start this season, but as the team has faltered so has he. The third basemen hit .255 in July and is behind that pace thus far in August, not good news for a player entering a showdown with Josh Johnson. The big Marlins righty has owned Wright over his career, holding him to a .219 batting average with more strikeouts than hits. Wright has also only walked once in 33 plate appearances, so counting on the high priced third basemen to reach base is a long shot. Even on a Thursday with only 18 teams in action, there are much better options than Wright at third base in daily fantasy baseball games.
Adrian Gonzalez – The season as a whole has been a disappointment for the Red Sox first basemen, and for reasons unknown, that trend is a solid bet to continue against Ubaldo Jimenez tonight. Gonzalez is batting only .185 against the inconsistent righty with 2.2 strikeouts for every hit. To make matters worse from a fantasy baseball perspective, Boston is only batting .224 as a team against Jimenez, making run production for this slugger unlikely. First base is a deep position and I recommend exploring the cheaper options before Gonzalez tonight.
Toronto Blue Jays – Some people refer to this offense as a poor mans version of the Texas Rangers, but on this night, they figure to be a poor mans version of the Houston Astros. With limited action tonight, the small sample size of the Blue Jays is reason enough for me to avoid every player North of the boarder tonight. Joey Bats is still sidelined, which leaves the healthy Blue Jays with only 1 hit in 15 career at bats (.067 batting average) against the Rays Matt Moore. Tampa’s young gun has pitched better as the season has progressed, and is coming off of back to back shutouts against the Orioles and Angels. Without the fear of the games best power hitter in the middle of the lineup, there is no reason to expect anything less than a quality start from the 23 year old, and thus very little fantasy production from a strong lineup.