Carlos Beltran – The Cardinals lineup received a shot in the arm with the return of Lance Berkman this past weekend, adding protection for the resurgent Beltran. A tear by Matt Holliday has made the Cardinals offense one to fear, and Randy Wolf is not a pitcher to slow the down. Beltran holds a .325 batting against the lefty and has walked twice as often as he has struck out. His hits are doing damage, as more than half of them have gone for extra bases and 23.1% of his hits have left the ballpark. The Cardinals offense may explode tonight, with Beltran being in the middle of the fireworks.
Dan Uggla – The Braves second basemen holds a .300 career batting average against Barry Zito, which is reason enough for me to take a flier on him in daily fantasy baseball leagues. The downside to owning Uggla is the low batting average, but with a solid average against Zito (which includes only 1 strikeout) there is little not to like. The Braves have speed at the top and plenty of power in the middle of their lineup, putting Uggla in a great spot to produce against the Giants tonight.
Paul Konerko – In a matchup that figures to be as much about Kevin Youkilis as anything, I expect Konerko to steal the show tonight. He has had the most success of any Chicago player against Jon Lester (.429 career batting average) and is due for a power surge. Lester has struggled of late and has given up at least 6 hits in 11 of his last 12 starts. The Boston lefty may have dominated the White Sox in April, but this is a different and more patient team now.
Players to avoid:
Jose Bautista – As a rule of thumb, I tend to keep expectations low for starting pitchers returning from the DL, but CC Sabathia’s dominance of the Blue Jays slugger is impossible to ignore. He has held Joey Bats to a .053 batting average (1 hit in 19 at bats) with 8 strikeouts. Bautista is among the best power hitters in the game today, and Yankee Stadium is a hitters park, but spend your money elsewhere in daily fantasy baseball games, as the numbers indicate a poor day from Toronto’s finest.
Alfonso Soriano – Yes, I realize that he has been swinging a hot stick and has likely carried your fantasy baseball team of late. But unless you are a weather man and can assure me that the winds will be blowing out at Wrigley, I am steering clear of Soriano against Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins righty has held Soriano to a .227 career batting average, and in a lineup without a whole lot of protection, Sanchez can be very careful with the Cubs slugger. I expect Sanchez to nibble at the corners, and Soriano to grow impatient and swing at a few pitchers pitches.