It’s hard to put into words how excited I
am was (note below) for tonight’s Cleveland-Kansas City match-up. In case you didn’t know, Corey Kluber and Yordano Ventura (thank you, Based God, for sparing his elbow for now) are squaring off tonight. Kluber’s 2014 dominance isn’t a secret. Ventura’s prowess and potential is well known thanks to his triple digit heat. But let’s get some numbers involved.
There’s a ton of sexiness in that chart. Obviously, Kluber’s been the better pitcher – only Felix Hernandez has been better in 2014. His peripherals have been impressive for quite some time, but so far, his run prevention stats have caught up as well. Despite the Indians’ terrible defense, he’s still rocking a sub 3.30 ERA. Rather impressive.
Ventura might lack results at this point, but he’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing pitchers in the game. We all know about his fastball, which has averaged a tick over 96 mph to this point. His change-up, however, seems to be overlooked a little. According to pitchf/x, 14.4% of the pitches he’s thrown thus far has been a change-up, and they’ve averaged 86.2 mph – roughly a 10 mph difference. That difference in mph, combined with the pitch’s movement, has lead to a swSTR of 15.3%.
Edit: Thanks to the rain, Jason Vargas was pushed back until tonight. I’m leaving the chart and notes because Ventura is awesome, and Kluber is still pitching. Thanks for nothing, weather.
Kluber isn’t the only ace on the mound tonight. Adam Wainwright will grace us with his presence. As will Madison Bumgarner and
Masahiro Tanaka (pushed back due to rain). Justin Verlander hasn’t been very “ace-like” this year. He’ll look to right the ship tonight against the White Sox.
Drew Pomeranz has been rather good for Oakland – should we expect anything else from their pitching staff? – but he has a huge test tonight in Anaheim.
Lastly, Chris Tillman is facing off with the Red Sox tonight. He’s been plagued by homer and command issues all season. Considering how much the Red Sox work the count, it doesn’t seem like a good matchup for him.
The Daily Five
Weather is an issue all around tonight. Boston and Baltimore might have issues; so might: Phildelphia-San Deigo, Chicago (NL)-Pittsburgh, Los Angeles (NL)-Cincinnati, and Detroit-Chicago (AL). So, I’ve settled on the Twins. I’m not a big J.A. Happ fan. These three give us three right handed batters with home run power, in a good run scoring environment. The Blue Jays and Athletics are also good choices, but they’re a little pricier.
David Wright – $4,472
Wright’s had an abysmal year compared to his normal lofty standards. His matchup tonight, however, is favorable. Marco Estrada has had a ton of trouble keeping the ball in the yard. It seems a given he’ll give up a home run, let’s just hope he gives it up to Wright. Curtis Granderson ($4,958), fresh off a two homer game, is also a nice cheap option.
Jason Vargas – $15,017
Let’s use the man that wasn’t supposed to be pitching today. Cleveland’s lineup features a lot of left handed batters and switch hitting batters. Their lineup, so far, has posted a .297 wOBA versus left handed pitching. Vargas doesn’t impress many people, but he just keeps on rolling along.
Early morning edit: Frankly, when considering the weather forecasts, there aren’t many cheaper pitching options that I like. I suppose you could run Tom Koehler out there if you’re not in love with Vargas, but it seems like a larger risk, even though Texas’ lineup has been depleted. I did choose Vargas for my lineups before Chisenhall and the rest of the Indians decided to hang 17 runs on Texas last night. Despite their outburst, I’m still going to go with Vargas.
I leave you with a .gif, courtesy of Carson Cistulli.
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Landon is a senior writer at The Fantasy Fix. You can follow and interact with him on Twitter (@joneslandon).