I will take my second at-bat of the week in place of Colin on a busy Wednesday, although I will intentionally leave out the first two games of the afternoon. Through trial-and-error, as much as I enjoy playing the early-only slates on a day like Wednesday with games filling basically every hour, the spreadsheet simply does not like a small sample size. This is why one of the most important tweaks I have made to the spreadsheet over the past few months was the exclusion of games that did not have lineups listed. I used to leave the most recent lineup in for calculation purposes, but it was incredibly deceiving. That has since changed, and the results have been significantly better.
The spreadsheet did, again, produce another winning day with the picks, as both games – Phillies/Braves Under and Royals/Cardinals Over – went exactly as expected. In addition, stacking hitters from the White Sox and Astros proved to be fruitful (especially from Chicago in the contrarian play) but, for some unknown reason, I didn’t actually pull the trigger with a pick. So be it. The 2-0 Tuesday inched the overall record toward a ridiculous 60% since June 30th.
The spreadsheet to which I am referring is available to our members here, and it is one of my proudest accomplishments since starting this website. As always, it is the source for my daily fantasy plays below.
Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants – Forgive me if I fall in love with the name value here, but how can we not look to pitchers in a game featuring Kyle Hendricks – specifically, against a weak-hitting Giants team – and Madison Bumgarner? Bumgarner is regularly one of the best in baseball, and Hendricks is pitching to a 2.76 ERA since returning from injury. Not surprisingly, the pair combine for the lowest over/under run total of the day.
Targets: Madison Bumgarner and Kyle Hendricks
Kansas City Royals at St. Louis Cardinals – My lone ‘over’ play of the day on Tuesday, the Cardinals, alone, put up double-digit points. In fact, St. Louis actually tallied the second-most runs of any team. While the Cardinals aren’t exactly running into a wizard on the mound in the form of Trevor Cahill, they won’t be able to replicate their success from one day prior. Cahill held an impressive 3.69 ERA as a member of the Padres, this year, and will be back in a National League ballpark on Wednesday night. Mike Leake will look to continue his outstanding season, as his lack of strikeout potential is rather meaningless against a Royals offense that generally makes contact at a high rate. Both offenses regress on Wednesday.
Targets: Trevor Cahill and Mike Leake
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays – It is never easy to face Chris Sale but, by comparison, any pitcher that follows Sale in the rotation would be a welcomed change for an offense recently dominated by the strikeout-machine. Such is the case for the Rays, coming off a shutout in which they tallied only two hits, but sixteen strikeouts. Tampa Bay immediately gets a boost in the form of ‘correction’ toward the mean. Boston follows suit, as the team is now riding a seven-game winning streak and will keep pace with the Rays, who finally put some runs on the scoreboard.
Targets: Rays hitters, then Red Sox hitters
New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays – Despite two home runs from Josh Donaldson and a combined seventeen hits between the two teams, the Yankees and Blue Jays played a relatively quiet, low-scoring game on Tuesday. Wednesday will not follow suit, as Toronto will throw Nick Tepesch – in his first start with the team – against a Yankees offense that still ranks fourth-best in Major League Baseball in runs-per-game, despite scoring two runs or fewer in five-of-its-last-six games. New York’s bats break out on Wednesday.
Targets: Yankees hitters
Jose Bautista – I can basically cut-and-paste from Tuesday’s article regarding why I love Jose Bautista at his price point with the exception of him facing a right-handed pitcher, this time. Regardless, Toronto won’t get shut down entirely if the Yankees are abusing Tepesch, and Bautista tends to feast on New York – he ranks second only to Evan Longoria in career home runs for an active player against the Yankees.
Robinson Cano – 0-for-his-last-9 and sitting on 19 home runs for the season, I will take Robinson Cano in any matchup that isn’t disastrous. Against the inconsistent Jharel Cotton, the Mariners’ second baseman is poised to end his slump.
Eric Thames – The resurgent slugger has collapsed after an insane start, but remains a key asset on a team with the fifth-most home runs in the league. More importantly, the Brewers have now lost back-to-back games in Minnesota, despite scoring four runs in each. A rebound is coming, and Thames figures to be in the middle of it.
Check out our MLB Breakdown Spreadsheet and our Pitcher Breakdown Spreadsheet (these picks – all over/unders – are now at 58.9% accuracy since June 30) where you can compare key statistics and numbers for today’s games.