What To Watch: 8/27/2016
The Royals are 9-1 while the Red Sox are 4-6 in their last ten. The Royals are four back of the Red Sox and three behind the final Wild Card spot and looking like they will be there to the end. The Red Sox looked strong against the Cleveland Indians (1-0), Baltimore Orioles (2-0) and Detroit Tigers (2-2) before going 2-2 against the lowly Tampa Bay Rays and they continued their three game losing streak Friday night in the first of a weekend series against the Royals. Who would have thought that in a game between Danny Duffy and David Price that the Royals would have the dominant lefty on the bump?
Danny Duffy: 138.2 Innings Pitched - 2.66 ERA - 1.01 Whip - 147 Strikeouts - 29 Walks
David Price: 177.2 Innings Pitched (WOW) - 4.00 ERA - 1.23 Whip - 179 SOs - 39 Walks
Price has allowed one earned run in his previous two starts while Duffy has allowed two earned runs or less in five straight starts and seven of his previous nine dating back to July seventh. The Red Sox offense hasn't been what we would call struggling, but it hasn't been the wrecking force that it was early in the season. They are tied for ninth with Tampa Bay in August while they rank first overall for the year. The Red Sox rank first in runs scored at home and they rank ninth in runs scored against left handed pitching. The Royals are last in runs scored on the road and are tied for twentieth, with the Rays, against left handed pitching. The game is at Fenway park, which can be a nightmare for left handed pitchers, so who knows how two dominant strikeout pitchers will fair from the left with the Green Monster over their right.
Its a Wild Card battle in late August where one team is on a roll while the other is hobbling a bit (sorry if I sparked the wrong image for Andrew Benintendi fans). The Red Sox bullpen is a problem while for the Royals it is a strength. David Price is fifth in innings pitched while Danny Duffy has only started 19 games on the season and the Sox lineup is heavily right handed. Its one to watch and extremely difficult to predict.
Taillon has an ERA of 2.92 and a Whip of 1.04 in twelve starts and 74 innings pitched. He isn't in the hunt for the Rookie of the Year Award because Corey Seager has been phenomenal, but he is having an impressive rookie campaign. The Brewers lineup ranks second in strikeouts, but seventh in home runs and seventeenth in runs scored in August. The youngster is making a case to be the Pirates future ace, ahead of Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow and Taillon is well worth a couple hours of viewing.
Syndergaard was diagnosed with bone spurs in his elbow a few months ago and we have seen some signs of it possibly having an impact. He has pitched more than six innings in a start only once since the third of July and he hasn't had a double-digit strike out game in those nine starts. The Mets are 3.5 games back in the Wild Card race, but the sense is that they don't have it this year. Syndergaard is the guy that can make a statement that the Mets do have a shot while the Phillies couldn't be happier to be the team that spoils their chances.
These two pitchers couldn't be more different in styles. It feels like the Phillies are heading in a positive direction with their youth movement while the Mets are doggy-paddling to save themselves from drowning. Cespedes is likely to opt out after the season Mets fans. Matz is back on the disabled list and Zach Wheelers prognosis isn't getting better. Michael Fulmer looks great in Detroit doesn't he?
A failure tonight for the Mets with Syndergaard on the bump could easily be portrayed as a sign of the New York apocalypse coming. A dominant performance by Syndergaard, however, and maybe those pesky Miami Marlins look extremely catchable rather than the Mets looking flawed and depressed. Tune in and find out which narrative unfolds.
Justin Upton, OF Detroit Tigers vs. Brett Oberholtzer (Los Angeles Angels)
.236 Batting Average - .290 OBP - .696 OPS - 17 HRs - 9 SBs - 57 RBI - 59 Runs
Upton signed a big free agent contract with the Tigers in the offseason and has had a difficult transition to the American League ever since, but he has always been a streaky talent and right now he is on the hot side of the back and forth. In his last 26 plate appearances he has six hits, two walks, five home runs, a batting average of .435 and a .518 OBP, while slugging 1.042. Tonight, he faces a pitcher that has allowed 13 home runs in 56.1 innings pitched and has an ERA of 5.27. If I am a DFS player, and I am, then this is a hot bat in a zesty matchup. Load up and watch.
Peraza has good bat-to-ball skills, which could result in .300 batting averages, to go with impact speed on the bases and significant defensive versatility. However, he lacks even a semblance of power and he hasn't been given an opportunity anywhere he has been, but its easy to see potential here.
Well, he has been given 30 at bats this week and he has 13 hits, one home run, two stolen bases and he is batting .433 without a single walk (ouch) with those at bats. He needs to walk more to remain in a starting lineup, but he has played nine games at second base, 10 at shortstop and twelve in the outfield. He is too good not to be given a full fledged opportunity at least as a super-utility player and right now is his audition. Check him out tonight. Peraza is sneaky good and a potential impact player in the Ben Zobrist mold. The Reds could certainly use a few of those.