We’ve got the last day of games before Major League Baseball goes on a mini-hiatus with the All Star break. Daily Joust will actually have a daily fantasy baseball salary cap game for the actual All Star Game, but the match-up data isn’t going to be as abundant. So it’s time to take advantage of these Sunday games while you can. It’s all about the early games today, so here’s a look at the data from some of the games you’ll want to check out.
Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians (1:05pm ET)
Veteran righty James Shields has hit a bit of a rough patch lately, going 1-1 with a 5.95 ERA over his last three starts. For the most part, he’s handled the Tribe well, but there are still a few hurdles to climb with some, particularly the lefties. Shin-Soo Choo is batting a robust .417 with a double over 12 at-bats while Johnny Damon is hitting .292 with two home runs through 24 trips to the plate. On the hill for Cleveland is rookie right-hander Zach McAllister who is 3-1 with a 3.93 ERA. He does give up a number of hits per game which could work in Elliot Johnson’s favor as he is currently batting .320 over his last 25 at-bats. Also, McAllister allows, on average one home run per game, so keep an eye on Carlos Pena who has three homers over his last 24 at-bats.
Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers (1:05pm ET)
Left-hander Everett Teaford has been a decent fill-in for the Royals this year and has a 3.75 ERA over his last two starts. He’s holding righties to a .224 average so it should be an interesting match-up with Austin Jackson who is batting .367 with two home runs, a double and two triples over hs last 30 at-bats. Righties are hitting a much stronger .273 so an investment in Miguel Cabrera, batting .560 with two home runs and two doubles through 25 at-bats, might be wise. The Tigers will send the always enigmatic Max Scherzer to the mound who has plenty of familiarity with the division rival Royals. Alex Gordon is batting .375 with one home run over 16 at-bats while All-Star Billy Butler is hitting .290 with two doubles over 31 at-bats.
Chicago Cubs at New York Mets (1:10pm ET)
The plan is for Ryan Dempster to return from the disabled list in order to make this last game of the first half, so if you’re looking into using him, double check the lineups once they are announced. He’s holding lefties to a .197 average this season, so even though Daniel Murphy is batting .500 with three doubles and a triple over his last 18 at-bats, he could have trouble. Left-hander Jonathon Niese is on the hill for the Mets and he’s got a 1.69 ERA over his last three starts. Alfonso Soriano is batting .375 with one double over 12 at-bats against Niese while Starlin Castro is batting .333 with one triple over nine plate appearances.
Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals (1:35pm ET)
Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie takes the hill for the Rockies after being demoted to the bullpen for a while. His unimpressive 6.28 ERA is just as bad as the .347 lefties are hitting against him. Perhaps that will help Bryce Harper pull himself out of this 8-for-43 (.186) slump that he’s been in lately. Watch for lefty Adam LaRoche as well, as he is hitting .318 over his last seven games. Young right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is on the hill for the Nationals and while Carlos Gonzaelz is usually the big one to watch, this time it looks like it’s Tyler Colvin who is batting .333 with five home runs and two doubles over his last 24 at-bats. CarGo, for the record, actually has a much-improved .288 average on the road this year.
Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies (1:35pm ET)
Since his recall from Triple-A, Jair Jurrjens has a 2.05 ERA over his last three starts, but is allowing lefties to hit .366 against him. That should play well for Ryan Howard who is fully on the mend and actually batting .267 with a a home run and a triple over his last 30 at-bats against Jurrjens. Lefty Chase Utley is also back and while he’s only batting .277 but has three home runs and a double through 22 at-bats. Young right-hander Vance Worley will close out the first half for the Phillies with the hopes of rebounding from his last start in which he gave up six runs over just four innings of work. It could be a tough day as lefties are hitting .291 against him and the Braves are loaded with them. Michael Bourn is batting .292 with three doubles and two triples over his last 24 at-bats and Jason Heyward is batting .310 with two home runs and a double over his last 29 at-bats.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a varie home run and ty 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.