Interleague baseball comes to a close, so it’s back to our regularly scheduled match-ups. And to celebrate the return of normal baseball we get a relatively full slate of games here on a Monday. Plenty of great choices as you gear up to pick a new daily fantasy baseball salary cap team. Here’s a look at some of the games and the match-ups that should interest you for today’s picks…
Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies (7:05pm ET)
Pirates right-hander Jeff Karstens is making his first start since April 17 when he went on the DL with a shoulder problem. He’s looked fine during his rehab outings but has a tough match-up with some of these Phillies. Hunter Pence is batting .375 against Karstens with a home run and a double over 24 at-bats and Jimmy Rollins is hitting .400 through 15 trips to the plate. But be careful with Shane Victorino who is only hitting .214 with one extra-base hit over 14 at-bats against Karstens. For the Phillies, it’s veteran Joe Blanton who is averaging five earned runs a game over his last seven starts. He does a good job containing Andrew McCutchen — .111 over nine at-bats — but seems to have his issues with veteran backstop Rod Barajas who is batting a surprising .308 with four doubles over 13 at-bats.
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Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds (7:10pm ET)
Reds starter Mat Latos is looking to rebound after getting pounded for seven runs in 4.1 innings against the Indians and is fortunate to be back at home where he has a 3.91 ERA and is holding right-handed hitters to a .212 average. But will he be able to contain the hot bats of the Brewers right now? Aramis Ramirez is batting .500 with two home runs and five doubles over his last 22 at-bats while Ryan Braun is hitting .348 with a home run and a double over his last 23. On the hill for the Brew Crew is the always enigmatic Yovani Gallardo who has a 3.20 ERA over his last three starts. But the Reds bats are strong against him as Brandon Phillips is batting .286 with a home run and three doubles in his last 28 at-bats against Gallardo. And if you’re looking for a sleeper, look for Ryan Ludwick to get the start here. He’s batting .308 with two home runs over 13 at-bats against the Brewers’ righty.
St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins (7:10pm ET)
It could be a long night for Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco who seems to be a favorite of the Cardinals these days. Matt Holliday is 9-for-18 (.500) with two home runs, two doubles and a triple while Carlos Beltran is an impressive 12-for-36 (.333) with a home run of his own. He’s also drawn five walks, so you know he’ll find his way on-base. The Cards will go with right Jake Westbrook who is coming off a complete-game shutout of the Tigers and is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA. But Omar Infante seems to hit him pretty well — .333 with one double over 18 at-bats — so he might make for an interesting pick. John Buck has a steady .250 average over 16 at-bats against Westbrook and has just one extra-base hit.
Tampa Bay Rays at Kansas City Royals (8:10pm ET)
Luke Hochevar may have a 675 ERA over his last four starts against the Rays, but he’s coming off back-to-back quality starts in which he’s gone at least seven innings each start and has allowed a total of three earned runs. He does a solid job containing Ben Zobrist , holding the switch-hitter to a .250 average with just one extra-base hit, but B.J. Upton seems to have his number, batting .375 with two doubles over 16 at-bats. The Rays will go with rookie right-hander Alex Cobb who is holding the opposition to a .227 average this season. That should make for a nice match-up with right-handed Mike Moustakas who is batting .304 with two home runs and a double over his last 23 at-bats. Also look out for the suddenly surging Alex Gordon who is batting .360 with a double and two triples over his last 25 trips to the plate.
Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins (8:10pm ET)
Francisco Liriano may only have a 1-7 record, but he’s deserved wins he hasn’t gotten throwing four quality starts in his last five outings with an ERA of 2.67 over that span. White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez has been struggling all year, but is batting .400 with two doubles over 25 at-bats against Liriano. But watch out for Alex Rios who struggles against the Twins lefty, batting just .167 with a pair of doubles over 24 at-bats. For the Sox, right-hander Jake Peavy looks to continue his resurgent season by containing these Twins. Joe Mauer is batting just .267 against Peavy through 15 at-bats, but the real interesting match-up is Peavy against Josh Willingham. The Hammer is 0-for8 lifetime against the veteran righty, but has been batting .300 with two home runs and two doubles over his last 20 at-bats this season.
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants (10:15pm ET)
Dodgers rookie right-hander Nate Eovaldi gets his first taste of this big rivalry and is looking to maintain that 2.35 ERA and maybe grab his first win of the season. But with lefties batting .281 against him this season and Brandon Belt amidst an 11-game hit streak and batting .471 with a home run and two doubles over his last 17 at-bats, things could get tough for the youngster. On the other side of the plate, he’ll have to contend with Buster Posey who is hitt .294 for the month of June and has home runs in each of his last two games. On the hill for the Giants is veteran southpaw Barry Zito who does a great job containing Andre Ethier — .182 with just one extra-base hit in 33 at-bats. But look for Jerry Hairston, Jr. to get the start and make for a nice cheap sleeper. Over 22 at-bats against Zito, he is hitting .364 with one home run and three doubles.
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 at @rotobuzzguy or for direct questions or comments you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.