Welcome back from the All Star break. Hopefully you had your money on the National League and dropped a few coins on Prince Fielder for the Home Run Derby. But now it’s time to get back to the daily fantasy baseball salary cap games and start snapping necks and cashing checks in the second half. Since most players were off for the four days, you have to think that momentum from the first half has been subdued just a bit. So we’re going to use lefty/righty splits and one-on-one match-up data and worry less about who was on a hot streak last week or the week before. With that, here’s a look at a few of the games that might interest you as he head into the second half of the MLB season.
Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles (7:05pm ET)
Right-handed ground ball specialist Doug Fister hasn’t faced the Orioles this year, but has a 4.68 ERA against them over the last two seasons (four starts) and is is being hit by them at a .308 clip. But while the Orioles have hit 79 home runs against right-handed pitching this year, they are only batting .238 overall so if he keeps the ball on the ground, he might be safe. But look out for the return of Nick Markakis, coming off the DL just in time to face Fister, a guy he hits .429 against in 14 at-bats. The struggling J.J. Hardy, though, may continue to struggle as he’s hitting just .176 over 17 at-bats against Fister. Snubbed for the All Star game, right-hander Jason Hammel takes the first turn for Baltimore and faces a strong right-handed lineup here in a year where righties are batting .266 against him as opposed to the .197 lefties are batting. That could be trouble as Jhonny Peralta has already faced Hammel 12 times in his career and is hitting .417 with a home run and a double. Miguel Cabrera hots almost everybody hard so even though it’s a small sample size (8 at-bats), you can probably trust that .375 average against Hammel as something to go one here. As for Home Run Derby champ Prince Fielder, well he’s batting .200 with one home run against Hammel over 10 at-bats and is batting .291 with 11 of his 15 home runs against righties this year.
Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees (7:05pm ET)
Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson sat out the All Star game with a blister but returns to pitch the Halos opening game in the second half against the Yankees, a team he already held to just one run over six innings and held them to a .240 average. He also, over the last three seasons, has a 3.38 ERA over five appearances at Yankee Stadium over the last three seasons. But alas, he’ll have to contend with switch-hitting Nick Swisher who is batting .308 with a home run and three doubles over 30 plate appearances opposite Wilson and the always dangerous lefty Robinson Cano who is hitting .350 over 23 at-bats against him. For the Yankees, right-hander Hiroki Kuroda takes the mound. When he faced the righty-heavy Halos lineup earlier this season, he shut them out for eight innings and held them to a .185 batting average. Dating back to their NL days together, Kuroda has held Albert Pujols to a .222 average with just one home run over 18 at-bats. And don’t look for too much from shortstop Erick Aybar. He’s only batting .248 against right-handers this season and just .231 against Kuroda over 13 at-bats.
St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds (7:10pm ET)
Cards right-hander Adam Wainwright has a 7.20 ERA against the Reds this year and that probably has a lot to do with them being a righty-dominated lineup and Wainwright allowing righties to hit .287 against him. Brandon Phillips is actually batting just .2145 against him over 28 at-bats, but he’s also taken him deep once and has three RBI and a walk. But lefties are also batting a healthy .263 against him, so be on the lookout for Jay Bruce who is batting .286 with one home run against him over 14 at-bats. The Reds will send right-hander Mat Latos to the hill, but while he’s holding righties to a .185 average, left-handers are hitting a strong .283 with 12 home runs against him. Rafael Furcal is batting .283 against right-handers this year, but is hitting even stronger against Latos, batting .412 over 17 at-bats. Also watch lefty John Jay is is a surprising 5-for-8 against Latos in his career.
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays (7:10pm ET)
Converted lefty reliever Franklin Morales makes his fifth start of the season and takes on a Rays team hitting .225 against southpaws with just 22 home runs, good for 26th and 21st in the league, respectively. Righties are batting .245 against him and lefties just .212, so look for switch-hitter Ben Zobrist, who is batting .271 from the right side of the plate, to have a nice day. But don’t expect much from B.J. Upton as the right-hander is batting just .185 against lefties this year. The Rays will send Jeremy Hellickson to the mound with the hope of stifling a Red Sox lineup that is batting .269 against right-handers with 62 home runs and 295 runs scored which is fifth best in the majors. Hellickson does a good job stifling lefties (just .240 against him), but David Ortiz has managed to his hit .352 with a home run and a triple over 22 plate appearances against him while switch-hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia is batting .286 with a home run and three doubles over 17 at-bats.
New York Mets at Atlanta Braves (7:35pm ET)
Right-hander Chris Young gets the nod for the Mets’ first start of the second half and should have an interesting match-up with the Braves as he is holding lefties to a .253 average with righties at .274. Switch-hitting Chipper Jones is batting .556 with two home runs over just nine at-bats while lefty Brian McCann is hitless in seven trips to the plate. The Braves are sending right-hander Tim Hudson up there and should relish in the fact that he holds right-handed batters to a .228 overall average and then David Wright to an even worse .206 over 68 at-bats. The exception to the rule seems to be shortstop Ruben Tejada who is a right, but also happens to be 6-for-11 (.556) against Hudson.
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.