Our pitching was excellent last night, but unfortunately a bullpen ruined one of those outings while our bats went almost silent on the evening.
Trevor Bauer was electric in his start against the Reds as the right-hander hurled eight shutout innings to go along with a whopping 12 strikeouts, giving him his eighth double-digit strikeout performance of the season. Unfortunately, Cody Allen allowed six earned runs in the ninth inning and ripped the win right out of Bauer’s hands.
Our second starter was also very good as Julio Teheran tossed 6.2 frames of one-run ball and struck out five. He didn’t get much run support, however, and the Braves bullpen also collapsed. That said, Teheran was not in line for the win in this case.
There isn’t much to speak of in regards to our bats. The Dodgers scored just one run on the night and our Indians stack didn’t produce at all. The lone bright spot in our lineup was Kole Calhoun who enjoyed a three-hit night including a homer while he scored three runs and knocked in a pair of runs as well. He provided massive value, but unfortunately no one else from our group of bats got in on the action.
We will move onto tonight’s action and will take on an 11-game slate in the process.
P – Freddy Peralta (MIL) – $10,300 vs. MIA
There are some big-time arms on this slate, however I am going to switch it up a little bit and avoid Jacob deGrom and Chris Sale at huge prices and lock in a couple of cheaper arms that I believe have the upside to rival those at the top, beginning here with Peralta. He’s been excellent since coming up from the minor leagues as the right-hander sports a sparkling 2.14 ERA while his 2.12 FIP confirms he’s indeed been very good. Peralta has whiffed opposing hitters at an elite 36.2% clip so far and takes on a Marlins offense that ranks 25th with a .694 OPS against right-handed pitching this season.
P – Kenta Maeda (LAD) – $9,300 vs. SD
Maeda is dealing right now and I find it very tough to pass on him at this price. He enters tonight’s contest against the Padres sporting a 3.24 ERA on the season while his 2.89 FIP suggests he’s earned that excellent ERA figure. Maeda is also striking out hitters at an excellent 28.7% clip on the campaign which would be an MLB career-high for the right-hander if the season ended today. Maeda has been especially dominant as of late. He’s allowed just three earned runs on 11 hits to go along with 27 strikeouts over his last three starts, spanning 19.2 innings. He gets the best matchup possible tonight as the Padres rank dead last in the MLB with a .654 OPS against right-handed pitching this season. It’s also nice to see both of our pitchers working in pitcher-friendly environments tonight.
C – Yadier Molina (STL) – $3,800 vs. CWS
There aren’t a whole lot of super-targetable pitchers on this slate, so I am going to go with the red-hot Cardinals offense fresh off a 14-run showing last night against White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon tonight. The Cardinals rank second in all of baseball with an .889 team OPS over the last seven days, so let’s roll. Molina enters tonight’s contest with an overall .214 ISO on the season thanks to 13 homers and seven doubles on the campaign. His power numbers are better against right-handed pitching, but Rodon allows most of his damage to right-handed bats. Molina also brings a little bit of stolen base upside to the table with two steals on the season after surprisingly swiping nine bags in 2017.
1B – Yonder Alonso (CLE) – $3,800 vs. CIN
Alonso let us down last night, however he finds himself in another favorable matchup tonight against Reds’ right-hander Tyler Mahle. Mahle has allowed plenty of power to left-handed bats this season in the form of a .939 OPS against, so we are going to target him with a couple of Indians lefties beginning here with their first baseman Alonso. He owns a nice .189 ISO and .794 OPS on the season against right-handed pitching and has a real sold .785 OPS so far in July, so we will lock in the cost-efficient slugger in a nice matchup tonight.
2B – Jason Kipnis (CLE) – $3,700 vs. CIN
Kipnis also let us down in last night’s loss to the Reds, but he too should be able to get it going against Mahle considering his numbers against left-handed bats. Kipnis has been excellent so far in July as he sports a .286 ISO and .952 OPS for the month and has been producing across all categories in the process. Despite his subpar overall numbers, Kipnis actually performs quite well at home with a .217 ISO and .816 OPS at Progressive Field, so we should feel pretty good about the upside of this Tribe duo this evening.
3B – Jedd Gyorko (STL) – $3,600 vs. CWS
Gyorko is absolutely mashing lefties this season and is one of my favorite under-the-radar plays on the slate as a result. In 54 at-bats against southpaws, Gyorko has produced a .352 average, .296 ISO and a 1.068 OPS. He got in on the fun last night with a double, three runs scored and an RBI, one game after enjoying a two-hit night against the Giants. He’s swinging it well and mashes lefties, so lock Gyorko in at what I feel is a real attractive price tonight.
SS – Paul DeJong (STL) – $3,900 vs. CWS
DeJong tends to hit righties a little better than he does lefties, but he still boasts plenty of power against both. In fact, his ISO of .216 against left-handed pitching this season outweighs his .185 ISO against righties. He has played in just four games since returning from the DL, but DeJong has a hit in all four contests including two in last night’s game. In those four games, DeJong has scored a whopping seven runs. He’s one of the more powerful shortstops in the game and fits quite well in this stack against the lefty Rodon.
OF – Harrison Bader (STL) – $3,700 vs. CWS
Completing our four-man Cardinals stack is Bader who tends to hit left-handed pitching quite well. The young outfielder owns a .222 ISO and .904 OPS on the season against lefties. Those numbers are no fluke either as he put together a massive 1.234 OPS at the Triple-A level last season against southpaws in a quality 90 at-bat sample size. Bader also brings some stolen base upside to the table as he’s swiped nine bags on the year. He’s 6 for 17 with a homer, two doubles, five runs scored, two RBI and two stolen bases over his last four games. Roster him while he’s hot.
OF – Josh Reddick (HOU) – $3,900 vs. OAK
We are going to finish our lineup with a pair of left-handed hitting Astros outfielders against A’s right-hander Chris Bassitt. Bassitt has actually been pretty good, but Reddick has been as well as he owns a powerful .219 ISO and .843 OPS in the month of July. It’s interesting to see Reddick’s power numbers up against left-handed pitching, but his power/speed combination is still attractive nonetheless with eight homers and five steals on his injury-shortened season. He’s been running a lot lately as four of those five steals have come over his last 12 starts. He’s an affordable piece of a very good Astros offense.
OF – Kyle Tucker (HOU) – $4,000 vs. OAK
Finishing off our lineup is Tucker who, like Reddick, is an excellent power/speed option at a reasonable price. Tucker has logged just 16 plate appearances since his promotion to the big leagues, but he posted some very attractive minor league stats, most notably his 14 homers and 14 steals in 80 Triple-A contests. He posted a .214 ISO and .891 OPS at Triple-A as well this season and has a history of that power/speed combination throughout the minor leagues. He and Reddick are a nice little mini-stack on an Astros team projected to score a real healthy 4.9 runs tonight.