MLB best bets of the day: July 23, 2012

Bruce Chen Royals

After a bounce-back day Sunday (4-0) we hope to keep the momentum going with another day in the green. With a full slate of games today there is plenty of opportunity to get your jelly beans up today and start the week off right.

With studs like C.J. Wilson, Hiroki Kuroda, Mat Latos, Roy Halladay, and Ryan Vogelsong slinging today it would seem there are some easy games out there, but au contraire, my friend.  Doc Halladay is giving up a home run to the Brewers every 11.8 at bats; Latos has a .308 BAA versus the Astros;  the Angels have lost Wilson’s last three starts. That said, today is a new day and anything can happen!

San Diego at San Francisco 10:15 PM Richard vs Vogelsong

Ryan Vogelsong is one of the better pitchers in the NL and yet he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. In Vogelsong’s 17 starts this year the Giants are 12-4 and have won by an average of 2 ½ runs in those 12 wins. Vogelsong has a 2.70 ERA in July and a 0.95 WHIP – Those numbers will surely get better today.

On the flip side of this matchup, Clayton Richard, while a quality pitchers, has a 4.15 ERA in July and a .308 BAA when facing the Giants. San Francisco has been one of the hottest hitting teams over the past week as they’re averaging 6 ½ runs over that span. Look for Melky and company to get to Richard in this one.

Picks: Giants -1 ½ (+145) and Over 6 ½ (-115)

Read more picks here…

Mickelson answers critics; Moves into contention with 8 under

phil mickelson scottish open

After Phil Mickelson stumbled out of the gate at the Scottish Open with a one-over 73 on Thursday, his eighth consecutive round over par, recent doubts about his game continued to fly around as wildly as his tee shots during the slump.

The typical questions about his age abounded, noting that at 42 and in his 20th season as a professional Mickelson isn’t getting any younger.

There were the hints that his psoriatic arthritis condition may be causing more discomfort than he lets on and translating into more less than stellar rounds than we’re used to seeing from Lefty.  Top that off with speculation that as one of the wealthiest athletes on the planet and with a recently claimed ownership stake in his hometown San Diego Padres Mickelson’s desire to compete has simply slipped in favor of other pursuits more befitting someone at his stage of a career.

While he has never been one to play with a chip on his shoulder or pay much mind to critics who have a field day harping on his go for broke style of play, you can’t help but think Mickelson may have been listening a little more closely this time.  While most of America was still asleep early Friday morning the four-time major champion woke up Castle Stuart with a blistering 8-under round that moved him 104 spots up the leaderboard and well into contention for the weekend. Read more here…

Fantasy Baseball: Week 12 waiver wire pickups

This week we have listed four starters and one reliever for you to consider as the pitchers that have been headed for the DL continues to grow each week. Here’s just a short list of recent casualties:

SP: Josh Beckett-shoulder, Drew Smyly-finger, Bud Norris-knee, Brandon Beachy-elbow, Jaime Garcia-shoulder, Bartolo Colon-abdomen, and Roy Halladay-shoulder.

RP: Sandy Rosario-quads, Octavio Dotel-elbow, Henry Rodriquez-finger, and Alexi Ogando-groin.

Clayton Richard-SP-Padres- We’re recommending Richard only as a stop-gap or streaming tool especially while he’s on a pretty good streak of late; three quality starts out of four in June. In those three games he’s given up a total of 2 earned runs and went 2-1 with 1 ND. We like him in his next start vs the weak Mariners at home. He’s available in almost every league.

Justin Masterson-SP-Indians- The former 2nd round pick of the Boston Red Sox never lived up to the high expectations the Sox had for him. He was rocked earlier in the season but since has settled down by throwing 3 straight quality starts in June. His last one, a 9 strikeout performance vs the Pirates last Friday was one of his best this season. Over his last 14 innings, Masterson has 15 K’s and an ERA of 0.64. He’s worth a look in deeper and A.L.  only leagues. He’ll face the Reds at home on Wednesday and is owned in around 40% of leagues.

Wei-Yin Chen- SP-Orioles- This 26 year old Taiwanese rookie southpaw has won his last three starts and has, over the course of the season, pitched fairly well against some of the leagues better teams. Angels-1 ER, Yankees-2 ER (twice) and Red Sox-1 ER. He’s 7-2 on the season with a decent 3.36 ERA. He is certainly worth picking up in 12+ leagues. He’ll face the Nationals on Saturday and the Indians next week. Chen is owned only in 25% of leagues. Read more here…


San Diego Padres, Yonder Alonso: A Sleeper and a keeper

Yonder Alonso is a name you might not be too familiar with but in fantasy circles his name is less unknown. For the past two months, the 25-year-old, former 1st round pick of the Cincinnati Reds, has been on fire! Over the past 27 games he has hit safely in 24 of them, good for a .367 clip.

1B/OF Yonder Alonso scores ahead of the tag by Mets catcher Rob Thompson at Citi Field on Thursday, May 24th. Photo: (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

But, as they say on those late night infomercials, “that’s not all”… He has become a fantasy writer’s delight because of some of the amazing stats he’s posted and the fact that he’s not that well-known. Only owned in 30% of leagues, Alonso has enormous upside and has to be considered a must add especially in keeper leagues, while for other team managers, we would recommend him in deeper leagues of 12 or more unless or until his performance continues to accelerate or begins to ebb.

For starters, the youngster in just his third season in the bigs, has a modest eight game hitting streak going to go with his nine game hitting streak earlier this month! Besides his .300+ batting average, a key category in most 5×5 standard leagues, he has been a ‘Doubles’ machine, amassing 16 so far in the season, on pace for 50. Read more here…

Swinging for the fences: Padres considering moving in PETCO

The San Diego Padres’ home field, Petco Park is known as a pitchers park. But when you look at the current dimensions, it’s a bit extreme. The Padres offense had been punchless the past few years and management feels that it’s almost a competitive disadvantage to play there.

So management has tinkered with the thought of moving the fences in.

“We’re open-minded and we’re seriously considering it,” Padres interim CEO Tom Garfinkel said Tuesday.

“I do believe it is too extreme right now. It will still be a pitcher’s ballpark. But a hitter should be rewarded if he crushes it. And if a team is down 4-0, they should feel there is some hope. It’s just too extreme.”

Translation: It shouldn’t be so difficult to come from behind since we don’t have to much going for us offensively.

The decision has to be made by the end of the season and the team’s plans have to be submitted to MLB.

“We’d have to submit plans by the end of the season,” said Garfinkel, who said the Padres have not decided on the distance that the fences would be shortened.

“I don’t think a final decision needs to be made until October,” said Garfinkel.

Garfinkel knows that shorter fences would mean more excitement, more ticket sales, and higher television ratings, even though what he says speaks to the welfare of both teams.

“We have to get it right. We are studying everything. There are still going to be some nights when the conditions would still be such that it’s going to be hard to hit a homer no matter what the distance is to the fences.

“But a solidly hit ball should be rewarded. Baseball is a match between the pitcher and the hitter. We’ve seen a number of times here where the hitter wins that battle and gets nothing to show for it.

“It should play fair. Four runs should not be an impossible deficit to overcome.”  

Garfinkel is probably tired of seeing long fly balls by the home team come up short. I look for the Padres to go ahead and move the fences in but I don’t know how much it’s going to help their team.

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