The best part of many of today’s match-ups is that they are rich in history which means, if you’re a numbers guy (or gal), then you’ve got some great sample sizes to work with while analyzing the data. Lots of strong numbers going both ways for hitting and pitching, so you’ll want to take your time and scan through as much of the data as you can. Here’s a look at some of the games with the biggest sample sizes and how that might help you when deciding who to pick for your daily fantasy baseball salary cap teams.
Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees (7:05pm ET)
Plenty of history between these two teams and the starters for each today, which means there’s a ton of data to help you make some decisions. James Shields is on the hill for the Rays and is looking to maintain his dominance over the likes of Curtis Granderson who is just 4-for-49 (.082) with one home run and Mark Teixeira who is batting just .133 with no extra-base hits through 45 at-bats. He does, however, have trouble with Robinson Cano who is batting .403 with four home runs, six doubles and two triples over 62 career at-bats. With veteran southpaw Andy Pettitte on the hill for the Yanks, look for Carlos Pena to shine — .325 with six home runs and two triples over 40 at-bats, but temper your expectations for Luke Scott who is batting just .167 against him.
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Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies (7:05pm ET)
Right-hander Chad Billingsley, who has a 2.60 ERA over his last three starts against the Phillies, takes the mound today. However, he hasn’t been as successful against right-handed hitters this year as he has in the past and these Phillies are loaded with right-handed bats. In fact, Hunter Pence is 5-for-10 (.500) with three doubles and a home run against Billingsley while switch-hitter Jimmy Rollins is batting .278 with a pair of doubles and a triple over 18 at-bats. The Phillies will go with lefty ace Cliff Lee here. He won’t have to face either Matt Kemp or Juan Uribe who are on the DL, and he’s held Andre Ethier hitless in half a dozen at-bats, but Juan Rivera is just off the DL and he has a .250 average with three home runs over 24 at-bats against Lee.
Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox (7:10pm ET)
Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel looks to recapture some of his early season success here against the Red Sox. He’s given up four runs in three of his last four outings but held these Sox to two runs over 6.2 innings earlier int he month. He fares pretty well keeping the likes of Scott Podsednik (.250) and Adrian Gonzalez (.231, 1 HR) in check, but has had his difficulties with David Ortiz who is actually batting .500 against him with one home run. The Sox will send left-hander Jon Lester to the mound to continue holding Adam Jones in check to the tune of just a .216 average with just one extra-base hit over 43 trips to the plate. However, look out for Matt Wieters who is hitting .321 over 28 at-bats and Robert Andino who is batting .335 against him.
Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins (7:10pm ET)
Another great divisional match-up here with plenty of history. Tim Hudson takes the mound for the Braves here and will be looking to stifle some big bats on the Marlins side of the game. Hanley Ramirez has hit .277 with two doubles over 47 at-bats while Logan Morrison is hitting just .214, but has a pair of home runs to his credit. Jose Reyes also has two home runs and a .268 average so don’t expect it to all be smooth sailing for the Braves. On the Marlins side, veteran right-hander Anibal Sanchez takes the hill, and while he owns a 2.56 ERA with 67 strikeouts through 66.2 innings, he has had trouble with several of these Atlanta hitters. Michael Bourn is batting .357, Jason Heyward is hitting .364 and Martin Prado is hitting a very strong .444 with one home run over 21 at-bats.
Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals (8:10pm ET)
Francisco Liriano made his return to the rotation last week in style as he threw six shutout innings with nine strikeouts. He’ll look to continue that against the Royals as he holds right-handers like Billy Butler (.167, 1 HR) and Yuniesky Betancourt (.240, 1 HR) in check, but might run into some difficulty with some of the power lefties like Alex Gordon (.294, 3 2B) and Eric Hosmer who is 7-for-20 (.350) with two home runs and four RBI over his last six games. The Royals will go with staff ace Bruce Chen who has seen a variety of ups and downs against these Twins. He does a fine job against lefties Joe Mauer (.222) and Justin Morneau (.250), although Mauer has a sore thumb so he may not even play, but he seems to have his difficulties with righty Josh Willingham who is batting .429 against him with a double and a triple to his credit.
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers (8:10pm ET)
Ryan Dempster brings his vast experience to the table here and does a great job of holding the Brewers in check, for the most part. Ryan Braun may have a pair of home runs off Dempster, but is batting just .239 against him, while Corey Hart is hitting a woeful .195 over 41 at-bats. The Brewers will send Yovani Gallardo to the mound, and while he can be absolutely un-hittable at times, he’s had some difficulty with a few of these Cubs. Starlin Castro is batting .350 with three doubles against him and Ian Stewart, who usually struggles for hits on a regular basis, is batting .538 with two home runs and two doubles over 14 at-bats.
Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks (9:40pm ET)
National league hitters may not have a strong frame of reference against Rockies starter Jeremy Guthrie, but Arizona is loaded with former AL players right now and they’ve got a strong history against him, some good and some bad. Aaron Hill has faced him 40 times and owns a .216 average, although he does have a home run and a double to his credit. But then there’s Jason Kubel who is hitting .318 with a home run and four doubles in just 22 at-bats. On the hill for Arizona will be Ian Kennedy who has struggled this season and has just two quality starts in his last five outings. He may be holding Carlos Gonzalez to a .235 average over 17 at-bats, but Dexter Fowler, who is batting .457 with three home runs over the last two weeks, has a .294 average over 17 at-bats against Kennedy.
San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres (10:05pm ET)
It was another rough month for Tim Lincecum who finished May with a 5.88 ERA. Although his last outing was solid, he’s been taking a beating for the most part and issuing a lot of free passes. He did face the Padres at the end of April and held them scoreless for eight frames though, however, while he holds players like Cameron Maybin (.158), he has had some struggle against players like Nick Hundley (.286, 1 HR) and Chase Headley who may only be batting .269, but has a home run and two doubles over 26 at-bats. On the hill for the Padres, it’s Anthony Bass who owns a 3.09 ERA in five starts at home at pitcher-friendly Petco Park. He beat these Giants once before, holding them to two runs and a .200 batting average over eight innings, but will have to, again, try and contain switch-hitting Melky Cabrera who is batting .426 with two home runs, three doubles and three triples over the last two weeks.
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.