A.J. Pierzynski – The White Sox catcher could very well steal the show in the final game of Kevin Youkilis’ emotional return to Boston. Pierzynski has had success in his limited experience against Clay Buchholz (.556 batting average with 0 strikeouts), and with the Red Sox righty giving up 9 earned runs in his last 12.1 innings pitched, this matchup favors Pierzynski. Catcher is a hit or miss position, and with A.J. holding a middle of the road price tag in daily fantasy baseball games, he is well worth the gamble tonight.
Rick Ankiel – Two rare things will occur when Ankiel steps into the batters box against R.A. Dickey tonight: the batter will have the ability to throw the ball faster than the starting pitcher, and a batter has a favorable matchup against the knuckleballer. Ankiel holds a .391 batting average against Dickey with 44.4% of his hits going for extra bases. Equally impressive is Ankiel’s ability to make contact, having never struck out against Dickey. This will be a low scoring affair, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be hidden value in the Nats outfield.
Miami Marlins – Facing the Cubs at Wrigley is a solid option for fantasy baseball owners, but when the visitors hold a .296 batting average against the Cubs starter, the entire roster becomes interesting. The best hitters in the Marlins lineup (Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Lee) are batting .290 against Paul Maholm with plenty of power. If the winds are blowing out, this is as easy as taking candy from a baby, but even if the weather is not cooperating, the Fish figure to light up the scoreboard. Emilo Bonifacio (.429 average against Maholm) should set the table nicely, and if you’re looking for a run producing sleeper, John Buck isn’t a bad option.
Players to avoid:
Pablo Sandoval – I would blindly endorse any veteran pitcher against soft hitting San Francisco, but Tim Hudson has the numbers to back me up. He has held the team as a whole to a .219 batting average, with Kung Fu Panda batting only .091 against the righty. Sandoval has not recorded a multi hit game since June 25th, and I don’t like his chances at breaking through for his fantasy baseball owners against Hudson.
Tampa Bay Rays – Ubaldo Jimenez has looked like a minor league journeyman at times, but his success against the Rays is unquestioned. Subtract the inactive Evan Longoria, and the current Rays are batting .176 against the Indians righty. The powerful Blue Jays crushed Jimenez in his last outing, but prior to that 3 of his last 4 starts qualified as quality starts, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him spin a gem tonight. The Rays have plenty of players worth rostering on a consistent basis, but in daily fantasy baseball leagues, all should be avoided against Jimenez.