There were some serious offensive explosions on Friday and the trend could very well continue here on Saturday too. While there are some marquee names taking the mound today, a number of them have had their struggles this season. Will that trend continue or will they right the ship this weekend? Here’s a look at some of the key data you’ll want to know before setting your daily salary cap team.
Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals (1:05pm ET)
At the last minute on Friday, Marco Estrada was switched to the start today instead. Given the way Yovani Gallardo was treated by the Cardinals yesterday, perhaps Estrada would have been a better option. To reiterate what we had on Estrada yesterday — Carlos Beltran has one hit, a home run , in three attempts, Yadier Molina is 2-for-4, and look for Daniel Descalso to get the start at second as he is 2-for-3 with a double against him. The Cards will counter with Kyle Lohse who may have been quite successful this year, but has some tough match-ups with which to contend. Mat Gamel is hitting .333, Alex Gonzalez is batting .667 and Aramis Ramirez has one home run with a .412 average against Lohse.
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Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Indians (1:05pm ET)
Dan Haren gets the start for the Angels and looks to continue his dominance over the Indians. Carlos Santana is hitting just .143, Travis Hafner is batting just .182 and Asdrubal Cabrera is even worse with a .118 average against him. On the other side, Jeanmar Gomez makes his first start since serving his suspension and takes his limited experience to the hill against a struggling Angels squad. Neither Erick Aybar nor Peter Bourjos have mustered a hit against Gomez, but look out for the debut of super-prospect Mike Trout who just received a call-up.
Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins (1:10pm ET)
The success of Bruce Chen has been mind-boggling for most, but that just might come to a close against the Twins as several have found a way to beat him at the plate. Danny Valencia is hitting .500 in 18 at-bats while Justin Morneau is hitting .300 against him. Joe Mauer, on the other hand, is batting just .188 in 16 at-bats. The Twins will counter with veteran right-hander Jason Marquis whom most of the young Royals have yet to face. Of the veterans though, Jeff Francoeur is batting just .231 while Yuniesky Betancourt is hitless in five at-bats. Humberto Quintero is hitting .417, but Brayan Pena is the guy who catches Chen on a regular basis.
Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees (4:05pm ET)
Drew Smyly makes his Yankee Stadium debut today and could have some trouble with the left-handed hitters in a stadium that favors lefty power. Not to mention, the Yankees hitters have been on fire lately. Veteran Freddy Garcia is on the mound here and that could turn this is into an offensive bonanza. Jhonny Peralta is batting .292, Brennan Boesch is hitting .375 in 16 at-bats and Miguel Cabrera is crushing the ball to the tune of a .391 average with three home runs.
Seattle Mariners at Toronto Blue Jays (4:07pm ET)
The Mariners will go with Kevin Millwood today and that suits the Blue Jays just fine. Slumping Jose Bautista is hitting .583 with three home runs against the veteran righty and Yunel Escobar has gone 3-for-4 in his one start against him. Edwin Encarnacion does struggle against Millwood though, hitting just .182 in 11 at-bats. Brandon Morrow takes the hill for the Jays and with the number of strikeouts he has against the Mariners, fantasy owners are hoping he’ll boost that struggling K/9 of his. Dustin Ackley is batting just .200 with a pair of strikeouts, Kyle Seager is hitting .200 with three strikeouts and while Justin Smoak is batting .333, he’s struck out three times in seven trips to the plate.
Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies (7:05pm ET)
Randy Wells gets the call for the injured Ryan Dempster and the Phillies could have a big offensive day because of it. Hunter Pence is batting .353 with a home run and a double in 17 at-bats, Juan Pierre is hitting .400 with a pair of walks, and while Jimmy Rollins may only be hitting .200, he’s got a home run and three RBI against Wells. Veteran righty Joe Blanton makes the start for the Phillies which could even things up as Starlin Castro is batting .500 in six at-bats while Reed Johnson is hitting .417 with a home run and Alfonso Soriano is hitting .333 in 18 at-bats.
New York Mets at Colorado Rockies (8:10pm ET)
If you thought yesterday’s 18-9 finish was a bloodbath, wait until you get a look at this pitching match-up. For the Mets, Dillon Gee is on the mound and while the Rockies have yet to see him and that could be an advantage for the pitcher, that same thought process backfired in Gee’s last start against the Giants where he gave up seven earned runs in 6.2 innings. For the Rockies, Jeremy Guthrie injured his shoulder in a bicycle accident on Friday and will head to the DL. meanwhile the team is bringing up Guillermo Moscoso to take the start. Moscoso was rocked throughout spring training and was demoted to Triple-A where he’s posted a 1-3 record with a 7.91 ERA.
San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants (9:05pm ET)
The struggling Tim Lincecum takes the hill for the Giants, and while his last outing seemed somewhat successful, a number of these padres have found success against him over the years. Nick Hundley is batting .316 with one home run, Orlando Hudson has an impressive .370 mark and Jesus Guzman is hitting .400 in seven plate appearances. Anthony Bass is on the mound for San Diego and priority number one is to contain Pablo Sandoval and his 20-game hit streak. He’s only faced Bass three times and has yet to register a hit off of him. The same goes for Brandon Crawford who is also hitless in three at-bats.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites, including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.