There are 11 games on tonight’s slate, and it looks to be a pitchers night with several quality arms taking the mound. As always, keep an eye on the weather. Rain is in the forecast for CLE @ KC, LAD @ COL, and TOR @ WAS. Let’s get into tonight’s top plays!
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1. James Shields: Thanks to his devastating arsenal of off-speed pitches, Shields has racked up a whopping 88 strikeouts in just 68.1 innings this season, which is good for 5th in all of baseball. The Mets, on the other hand, are a lowly 22nd in runs scored this season. Shields will have home field advantage, and Vegas expects this to be the lowest scoring game of the night with an over/under of 6.5 runs. The potential for strikeouts, a weak opponent, and a run suppressing environment make Shields my top pitcher of the night.
2. Cole Hamels: Hamels was outstanding in May, going 4-2 with a 2.72 ERA. He has a good chance to keep that success going tonight against the struggling Reds offense (26th in runs scored). The over/under for this game has also been set at 6.5, but the Phillies are a solid favorite.
3. Sonny Gray: The Tigers have lost 5 games in a row, a stretch during which they have mustered just 13 runs. In other words, it’s not a good time to face Sonny Gray, arguably the best pitcher in baseball to date. Gray is 8th in the majors in innings pitched, and 2nd in ERA. That means he’s very likely to work deep into the game and secure a win.
4. Nathan Karns: If you’re looking for an inexpensive sleeper play for tonight, Karns is your man. He’s gone 6 straight starts giving up 2 runs or fewer, and he’s averaged 8.36 K/9 this season. Karns doesn’t have a big name, but he does have a big fastball and nasty curve, which should give the Angels fits.
Other top plays: Kluber, Sale
1. Derek Norris: 6/17 with 2 HR’s over his last 4 games. 2/3 vs. Gee.
2. Yasmani Grandal: 1/3 vs. Bettis, but let’s be honest…Coors field is the reason for this pick.
Other top plays: Gattis, Vogt, Navarro, Castro
1. Adrian Gonzalez: See Grandal…5/11 with two doubles and a HR already in the series.
Other top plays: Rizzo, Howard, Hosmer
1. Jeff Baker: 7/11 with a HR vs. Lester. Batting 4th tonight.
2. DJ LeMahieu: 8/17 with a HR over his last 4 games.
Other top plays: Kendrick, Altuve
1. Josh Donaldson: 14/33 with 6 HR’s over his last 8 games. Matches up against an inexperienced right hander tonight. He’s definitely worth the price tag.
2. Nolan Arenado: Giving Donaldson a run for his money as hottest hitter in baseball. 8/21 with 3 HR’s over his last 5 games.
3. Martin Prado: 5/7 with 3 XBH’s vs. Lester. Makes for a great punt play tonight.
Other top plays: Turner, Valbuena, Moustakas
1. Troy Tulowitzki: Tulo was a player to avoid on my last cheat sheet. He promptly went 4/4 with 2 HR’s…I won’t be making that mistake again. He’s heating up over his last 4 games (8/17 with 3 HR’s).
2. Mike Aviles: .833 OPS vs. Vargas over 16 career AB’s. Batting 2nd tonight.
Other top plays: Reyes, Hechavarria, Desmond, Rollins
1. Joc Pederson: Hit two balls a combined 900+ feet yesterday. I would say he’s enjoying his first visit to Coors field, wouldn’t you?
2. Andre Ethier: 2/5 with 2 doubles vs. Bettis. Batting 5th tonight.
3. Ichiro Suzuki: .816 OPS vs. Lester over 53 career AB’s. Another fantastic punt play on the Marlins for tonight.
4. Chris Colabello: Currently riding a 13 game hitting streak. Batting 4th tonight.
Other top plays: Lake, Span, Springer, Tucker, Bautista, Upton, Francouer