While the trade rumors are buzzing louder and louder, the show must still go on. You might want to think about avoiding guys for your daily fantasy baseball salary cap games that are in the news right now as several of them are obviously distracted. Especially the guys who have been locked on the same team for some time. They’re all professionals and we should expect them to hit the same whether they are rumored to be headed out the door or not, but they’re all human too and that means they’ve got actual thoughts and feelings to distract them from the job they should be doing. There are a bunch of games going on throughout the day, but here’s a look at those taking place in the evening…
Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles (7:05pm ET)
Rays lefty David Price shut out the Orioles earlier this season and actually has a 3.02 ERA over eight starts at Camden Yards prior to this season. He’s obviously a stronger play against lefties as he’s holding them to a .205 average this season, but the exception to the rule is Nick Markakis who is batting .308 against him with a double and a triple over 26 at-bats. Switch-hitting backstop Matt Wieters is batting a healthy .333 against Price with two doubles over 21 at-bats. Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez is on the hill fr the O’s trying to improve on his already solid 2.61 ERA over 31 innings of play. The Rays are struggling as a team, but perhaps Jeff Keppinger who is batting .409 with a double and a triple over his last 22 at-bats can help break the slump. Gonzalez is holding righties to a .197 average, so it could be tough.
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Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians (7:05pm ET)
The always enigmatic righty Max Scherzer takes the hill for the Tigers against a very lefty-heavy Tribe lineup. The problem for Scherzer is that lefties are batting .312 against him on the season. Shin-Soo Choo could be particularly damaging as he is already hitting .588 against Sherzer with a home run, a double and a triple over 17 at-bats. Also dangerous is Travis Hafner who is batting .462 with one home run through 15 plate appearances. Veteran righty Derek Lowe is on the mound for the Tribe and when you’re sporting a 5.04 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP, it means that everyone is hitting you hard. Everyone except maybe Miguel Cabrera who is batting just .192 in 26 at-bats against Lowe. He’s got two home runs, but yes, just .192 against Lowe. Funny thing is that Prince Fielder doesn’t hit him too well either, batting just .240 with no extra-base hits in 25 at-bats, so look for the role players to do the damage maybe.
Cincinnati Reds at Houston Astros (8:05pm ET)
Reds starter Homer Bailey has been surprisingly strong this season, posting a 3.74 ERA though 19 starts this season. He does, however, give up a lot of hits, especially to right-handers who are hitting .278 against him this season. With that, you can probably expect to see Matt Downs in the lineup as he is batting .412 with two home runs and a double over his last 17 at-bats while switch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez is back from injury and batting .280 with three doubles over his last 25 at-bats. On the hill for the Astros is Bud Norris who is good for strikeouts, but has a hard time containing hitters, as evidenced by his .262 batting average against. Look for right-hander Ryan Ludwick to get into the lineup as he is batting .333 over 15 at-bats against him and Brandon Phillips who may be batting just .222 in nine at-bats against Norris, but is batting .357 with two home runs and two doubles over his last 28-at bats.
Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers (8:05pm ET)
Josh Beckett does a good job holding right-handers to a .229 average this season and a particularly nice job of keeping the Rangers’ right-handers quiet, but lefties are hitting him at a .278 clip and Josh Hamilton is batting .471 against him with two home runs over 17 at-bats. David Murphy is mired in a 3-for-21 slump right now, but perhaps facing Beckett is the cure for what ails him. Against the Sox righty, Murphy is 4-for-9 (.444) with a double and a triple under his belt. Rangers lefty Derek Holland faced the Red Sox earlier in the year, holding them to just two runs over seven innings with just a .167 batting average. He’s holding lefties to a .267 average, but will have to contend with a hot-hitting Adrian Gonzalez who is currently batting .357 with two home runs over his last 28 at-bats. Right-hander Cody Ross is also on a bit of a tear right now batting .320 with three home runs over his last 25 at-bats.
Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals (8:10pm ET)
Dodgers righty Aaron Harang has been quite the find for fantasy owners again as he owns a 3.46 ERA through 112 innings this year while holding right-handed hitters to a .238 average. That pushes the Cardinals switch-hitters to the left side of the plate where they may not be at their best, save for Carlos Beltran who is batting .345 with two home runs and three doubles over 29 at-bats against Harang. Meanwhile, Matt Holliday is struggling with a .095 average over 21 at-bats against him. St. Louis right-hander Kyle Lohse continues to be underrated and undervalued despite a 2.71 ERA and holding righties to a .221 average this season. Matt Kemp will fight him off though as he’s always done, batting .286 with a home run and a double through 14 at-bats. But watch out for lefty Andre Ethier who is thumping Lohse to the tune of a .357 average through 16 plate appearances.
Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks (9:40pm ET)
It could be a long night for Colorado left-hander Jeff Francis who is allowing right-handers to hit him at a .338 clip with Justin Upton batting .400 against him over 15 at-bats. To add insult to injury, left-handed Stephen Drew is batting .346 with a home run over 26 at-bats against him. For the D-Backs, it’s ground ball specialist Trevor Cahill who has a 3.77 ERA but is holding lefties to a .259 average. Carlos Gonzalez, who has been working on his home/road splits, is batting .292 with three home runs over his last 29 at-bats. Right-hander Michael Cuddyer though, struggles to see the ball well against Cahill and has just one hit over 11 times facing him (.095).
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.