It's another full slate in DFS today, with 14 games starting after 7:00pm EST. There are only a half-dozen southpaws this time around but the lefties in question are some of the top arms in the game, including another episode of the classic western showdown that pits Clayton Kershaw against Madison Bumgarner. Let's jump into the player pool.
Jose Bautista, OF ($5100)
vs. LHP: .268/.376/.516 in 1263 PA
vs. RHP: .253/.363/.483 in 3772 PA
Bautista vs. Ubaldo Jimenez: .069/.182/.103 in 33 PA
This really has nothing to do with platoon splits; it's all about the matchup. For whatever reason, Ubaldo turns Joey Bats into Charlie Brown at the plate, as the Blue jay slugger swings like he has no idea what's coming. This was not just an artifact of Ubaldo's great outing in his first turn of the year, which for the record was jaw-dropping when considering his mechanical baselines (his improved stability was apparent from the get-go with a stark reduction to his usual side-to-side wobble). Bautista has never hit Ubaldo well, during the best of times or the worst of times, with only two career hits and three total bases to show for their head-to-head duels. Only 10 other pitchers have faced him more times than Jimenez has, and yet Joey Bats has mustered more hits against 130 different players, and his 2-for-29 versus Ubaldo stands out like a sore thumb on Bautista's track record.
He's only hitting .149 on the young season, and though four of his seven hits have left the yard, he can't hit what he can't see.
Pablo Sandoval, 3B ($4300)
vs. LHP: .266/.313/.385 in 976 PA
vs. RHP: .305/.359/.492 in 2609 PA
Switch-hitters are sometimes assumed to have relatively balanced production from both sides of the plate, and though this is true for players like Victor Martinez, the Panda is one of those players whose side-switching merely reduces the problem rather than solves it. His splits have become even more egregious in recent seasons, and his power from the left side has nearly disappeared, falling below a .100 ISO since the start of 2013.
Panda platoon, 2013-15
vs. LHP: .222/.278/.318 in 385 PA
vs. RHP: .304/.359/.453 in 889 PA
Luckily he'll be facing a green southpaw in the form of Nate Karns, and though Sandoval won't have the Green Monster to attack, his success in ATT Park helped to ease any park-related fears about his offense. It's interesting to look at the Panda's production against right-hander's, as the batting average and OBP fall right in line with his early-career marks, but the power just hasn't been a force to be reckoned with since the 2012 postseason.
Curtis Granderson, OF ($3700)
vs. LHP: .227/.299/.407 in 1582 PA
vs. RHP: .268/.353/.501 in 4174 PA
in 2013-15: .226/.326/.383 in 957 PA
At Citi Field: .198/.299/.333 in 384 PA
No matter how you slice up the data, all of the evidence points to the likelihood that Granderson is hosed today. He's just not the player that he was a few years ago, and despite a very soft opponent in soft-tossing Eric Stults, the fact that Stults throws with his left hand sucks 148 points from Granderson's career OPS. He can't hit lefties, hasn't produced consistently since Obama's first term, and has been an offensive disaster in Citi Field. I wish that I could say there was a silver lining here, but I was taught that if you can't say anything nice …
David Price, DET vs. NYY ($10,700)
The last time that Price faced off against the Yankees, it was on Detroit soil back in August of 2014. The Yanks danced around Price that day, riding the carousel to eight earned runs over just 2.0 innings of work. When reviewing the game tape, it was clear that Price was just barely missing his targets and that soft hits were just raining all over the yard. It was the second time of the season that the Yanks had scored six or more earnies off of Price, but given that his process was solid and the outcome was mismatched, and my guess is that today looks more like midsummer gems against New York than the bookend starts that ended in disaster.
Cole Hamels, PHI vs. MIA ($9200)
Miami is going through a mini crisis on offense, with sparkplug Christian Yelich dealing with back pain that could send him to the DL and Marcell Ozuna leaving his power pack behind in the Grapefruit League. Dee Gordon is much less effective on the basepaths against southpaws, but the primary focus will naturally be on Giancarlo Stanton, who mashes lefties and destroys change-ups (.700 career slugging percentage on at bats that end with the change). Stanton has faced Hamels 13 more times than any other pitcher in his career, with a career slash of .279/.311/.581 with three homers, two walks, and 17 strikeouts. The stage is set for a big fly, but odds are strong that it will be of the solo variety. Hamels has been scuffling a bit lately, but he matches up well with the mortal beings in the Miami lineup.
Doug Fister, WAS vs. STL ($7400)
A dip in velocity was a spring concern for Fister, and though some pitchers simply need extra time to get to full strength, the fact that his sinker has carried over into the season with an average of just 86.8 mph (down 2.0 mph from last year) sounds the alarm. He could increase velo into the summer, but two full ticks is a long way ti travel and last season he maintained a relatively flat line of velocity from spring to fall. The St. Louis lineup is deep but not very top-heavy, and like the other two starters in today's Opponents section, Fister will be throwing this game at home.
Kris Bryant, 3B ($4300)
At the risk of over-analyzing his first week of big-league baseball, what caught my attention was Bryant's ability to make adjustments. He got taken to school by James Shields in his debut, with Shields pulling the string on several change-ups to induce three strikeouts in as many at bats, veering most of his pitches away from the young hitter. Seven of the 14 pitches that Bryant saw from Shields that night were changeups, including strike three on a pair of cambios, and the rookie finished the game 0-for-4.
Tyson Ross tried the same trick on Thursday, replacing changeups for sliders, and the first two pitches of Bryant's fifth MLB at bat were like deja vu as he waved at low-away slides.
But then something happened, and on 0-2 Bryant decided that he had had enough.
Such a minor thing, a take, but after that he took another pitch, and then another. Next thing you know he's standing on first base, and by the time the game was over he had walked three times, collected his first two big-league hits, and avoided the low-away chase as Pirate pitchers continued to test his patience. Bryant has hit doubles in each of the three games since, part of eight hits in a four-game stretch, and his quick adjustments indicate that the league has some serious homework to do if they want to get this guy out.
Christian Yelich (back, $3800) missed the game yesterday and is expected to be absent for the next few days. Yelich could be headed to the disabled list.
Be very careful with the east coast today, as there is rain passing through that could disrupt play
Washington, D.C. (STL vs. WAS) has rain and thunder expected in the afternoon, but it should pass before game time – click here for updates
Flushing, NY (ATL vs. NYM) – heavy rains expected prior to gametime, could delay the start of the game, but expected to clear up as the evening progresses – click for updates
Philadelphia (MIA vs. PHI) is reporting a 100 percent chance of rain before the game starts, with the downpour set to pass after 7pm, so there might be a delay but I expect the game to be played – click here for updates
It could rain in the afternoon in Pittsburgh (CHC vs. PIT), but the rain is scheduled to cooperate and pass prior to game time – click here for updates
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