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Free MLB Pick Tuesday

#971/972 ‘UNDER 9.5’ Detroit Tigers (Turnbull) at Minnesota Twins (Stewart) 7:10 PM CT

Spencer Turnbull is a former first round pick and he is getting a look at the MLB level this September. He faced Minnesota last week and allowed six runs but on just six hits and his FIP is only 2.55 in his five MLB innings despite the high ERA. He hasn’t allowed a home run and has allowed just one walk.

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The Twins have a team OPS of just .718 over the past 24 games, down to .670 over the past four games. The Twins and Tigers have averaged just 8.5 runs per game in 16 meetings and cold Autumn conditions are expected in Minneapolis tonight. In 10 of the last 14 games Detroit has scored four or fewer runs and the Tigers have a .670 team OPS the past two weeks, averaging just 3.8 runs per game.

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Kohl Stewart has offered great promise for the Twins down the stretch with a 4.40 ERA in seven appearances, never allowing more than three runs. He pitched six innings with only one unearned run and three hits allowed vs. the Tigers last week and the team’s top pick in the 2013 draft has great potential. In favorable pitching conditions both young arms should have success against marginal lineups Tuesday night.

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Don’t miss Bobby Dalton’s 15* Best Bet Tuesday night in the final week of the MLB regular season! Dalton has won three 10* picks in a row and is 3-1 on 15* picks this baseball season! Get the pick on its own ($39.99) or as part of a guaranteed profit HIGH FIVE offer ($49.99).

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Free MLB Pick Tuesday

#979 St. Louis Cardinals (Flaherty) +105 over Minnesota Twins (Berrios) 7:10 PM CT

Jack Flaherty didn’t look MLB ready in six appearances last season but the 22-year-old 2014 1st round pick has pitched well in two starts this season. His ERA is just 3.60 with a 9.9 K/9 making a pair of road starts vs. winning teams in April. His AAA numbers are magnificent this season and this is his opportunity to make a strong case to remain in the rotation.

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The Twins are just 1.5 games out of first place in the AL Central but the offense continues to disappoint. Minnesota has won eight of the last 12 games including beating the Cardinals twice in St. Louis last week but the late night and extra-innings series in Anaheim last week may be taking a toll. The Twins didn’t score last night and have scored just 17 runs in the past five games. Byron Buxton continues to struggle while Jason Castro has hit the DL to join Miguel Sano. Right now only Eddie Rosario has held his weight in the lineup with hot starts from Joe Mauer and Eduardo Escobar fading away.

Jose Berrios turns 24 in a few weeks and after a solid 2017 season for the Twins over 25 starts expectations are high in 2018. A complete game shutout in his first start answered that call but over his past four starts his ERA is 8.84 with a 5.4 K/9 and a 3.9 BB/9. Something has been off with the talented young right-hander and underdog pricing for the Cardinals is appealing. St. Louis has won seven of the past 11 quietly six games above .500 despite a few big injuries. The Cardinals are 39 runs better in scoring differential and a winning road team as well.

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Free MLB Pick Monday

#915/916 ‘UNDER 9.5’ Seattle Mariners (LeBlanc) at Minnesota Twins (Odorizzi) 6:10 PM CT

Jake Odorizzi has a 3.18 ERA at Target Field this season as so far he has been a positive acquisition for the Twins who despite a disappointing record are still right in the AL Central race 1.5 games behind Cleveland. Minnesota is 8-3 in the past 11 games but the offense has struggled scoring just 15 runs in a split of four games in Anaheim with tonight’s contest a taxing first home game after a long road trip.

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Eddie Rosario has provided a boost of late but the lineup has struggled with Logan Morrison and Byron Buxton still below the Mendoza line and Eduardo Escobar and Joe Mauer cooling off. The turnaround for the Twins has been keyed by a 1.80 bullpen ERA the past 10 games and the good numbers for the Twins vs. left-handers have come through a very small sample.

The Mariners just lost Robinson Cano as the lineup and Seattle’s production has fallen of late, batting just .242 with 3.9 runs per nine over the past 10 games. Wade LeBlanc has a 3.18 ERA so far this season mostly as a reliever while pitching well in a pair of starts in May, going nine innings with just seven hits allowed and only one run scoring. LeBlanc has only allowed four walks in nearly 23 innings of work. These teams played a pair of games in early April in Minnesota with just 37 combined hits and rain is expected tonight in Minneapolis which could keep the numbers down in a matchup of teams that could show some fatigue.

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Nelly’s went 2-0 yesterday with baseball and basketball winners – get possible Monday releases by 3:00 PM CT. Bobby Dalton is on a 29-13 NBA Playoff Side play run – win tonight in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals for just $12. Dalton has also won 41 of his last 72 May baseball updates.

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Free MLB Pick Sunday

#967 Minnesota Twins (Gibson) +130 over Toronto Blue Jays (Biagini) 12:07 PM CT

Joe Biagini failed as a starter for the Blue Jays making 11 starts from May to early July but he’ll be called on for Sunday’s start even though he hasn’t cleared more than two MLB innings since before the All Star break. His ERA is 5.11 on the season and he didn’t exactly excel in his time back in AAA the past three weeks with a 4.27 FIP.

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Despite Saturday’s loss the Twins are still the AL’s #2 wild card team sitting just ahead of several other contenders. Minnesota out-hit Toronto 13-10 yesterday in the 10-9 loss with a tough luck 5th inning to blame as the Blue Jays strung together a few weak hits after a barely fair Josh Donaldson home run. Minnesota is 16-10 in August with 5.7 runs per game as the offense has been on fire and the Twins have been a much better road team than a home team this season. Toronto isn’t dead in the wild card race but with a 2-6 run the past eight games the Jays aren’t providing a lot of life with just over a month to go. Toronto has been outscored by 45 runs at home this season and the Jays are sporting a marginal .714 team OPS the last 12 games.

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The numbers for Kyle Gibson look rough with a 5.76 ERA but he has rounded into a fine late season run with three or fewer runs allowed in nine of his last 11 starts. He had one of his best starts of the season in his last outing and his K/9 is up to 8.4 over his last six starts. Neither bullpen is dominant but a slight edge is with Minnesota and the early start underdog is worth a look Sunday.

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Nelly’s has locked up a third straight winning week in baseball with a 10-5 run and another big underdog winner on Saturday. We are 23-15 in totals this season including 4-1 our last five. Don’t miss Sunday’s MLB Total.

Big E won his 25* NFL Preseason GOY yesterday while also hitting a 10* NCAA Biggie. Join him for a NFL Sunday 10* for just $9.94. Bobby Dalton missed on his 15* yesterday but is 4-1 in Week 3 preseason picks so far and he is ready to deliver another winner on Sunday.

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Free MLB Pick Tuesday

#927 Milwaukee Brewers (Garza) +110 over Minnesota Twins (Mejia) 7:10 PM CT

Matt Garza has resurrected his career in 2017 for the Brewers and the 33-year old might find himself in better position on the free agent market this winter than anyone expected. Garza has his ERA down to 3.68 in 16 starts and just 2.45 over his last six outings. He isn’t a great strikeout producer anymore but he has pitched just as well on the road as at home and he has been very tough on right-handed batters, holding them to a collective .235 batting average. This start should provide some extra juice for Garza going up against the team that drafted him back in 2005 before he was traded to Tampa Bay.

Minnesota delivered a surprising comeback win last night, getting the go-ahead run on a balk but the Twins are mired in an offensive slump with a .659 team OPS the past 11 games. Miguel Sano may still be out of action tonight and Minnesota is on a 15-22 run since late June while going just 26-33 at home on the season. Adalberto Mejia has completed six innings just twice in his last 11 starts as while he has acceptable numbers his pitch counts soar and he leaves a lot of outs for a shaky Twins bullpen. As such he hasn’t picked up a win in any of his last five starts and his 4.2 BB/9 is a problem.

Milwaukee is a strong hitting team vs. left-handed pitching and the Brewers soundly out-slugged the Twins last night with a tough-luck loss in a game they had a three-run lead in much of the way. The Brewers are 13-10 vs. left-handed starters and 11-6 vs. the AL this season while 99 runs superior to the Twins in scoring differential on the season.

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Don’t miss a 2-for-1 MLB offer from Nelly’s for Tuesday Night or a MLB 10* BEST BET from Bobby Dalton on the diamond Tuesday!

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Late Season MLB Spoilers

Late Season MLB Spoilers

08/01/2017

The trade deadline has made it clear which teams are going after a big postseason run in 2017 but there are a few under the radar teams that may still have some promise in the final two months of the season even if the 2017 season will go down as an insignificant one.

The trade deadline has passed and the market turned out few true ‘buyers’ that went all-in for a big push in the final two months. With a few divisions essentially wrapped up already the top contenders mainly went after postseason pieces and the teams still muddled in tight races mostly focused on minor additions.

There are not likely to be major changes in the standings in the final two months but there are a few teams that will likely end up out of the postseason picture that could put together strong finishes while possibly playing spoiler in the wild card or division races. Here are a few teams to keep an eye with some potential for late season success especially in upcoming underdog situations against contenders.

Philadelphia Phillies: Count me among those that were wrong on the Phillies as a potential deep sleeper in the National League. After a respectable April Philadelphia posted miserable mid-season results to feature the worst record in baseball most of the season. With a 10-6 run since the All Star break the Phillies have found some life offensively and with some high-end talent in the rotation this is a team that some of the contenders might not want to see down the stretch if they are caught in a tight race.

Young talent in the rotation coupled with an above average defense made the Phillies an appealing threat to improve on a more respectable than most expected 71-91 2016 season even if the offensive potential was limited. Ultimately injuries devastated the rotation and the roster currently has zero qualified starters with veteran Jeremy Hellickson recently traded. Vince Velasquez, Jared Eickhoff, and Aaron Nola have all missed time but all three have shown some recent promise with Nola in particular on a dominant run with a 1.49 ERA in his last seven starts. Late April call-up Nick Pivetta has shown some real promise as well with good strikeout potential. The Philadelphia lineup has also been hitting its best stretch of the season with an .819 team OPS in the past 21 games, scoring five runs per game on average.

The August schedule will provide a good opportunity for the Phillies to keep posting winning results with only two series vs. teams in contention, facing the Rockies and Cubs in three-game sets. They have 10 games with the Nationals and Dodgers in September which could provide potential value opportunities as the NL East and NL West divisions will likely be locked up by then. While the 2017 season can’t be saved the Phillies could gather some momentum to possibly live up to NL sleeper status in 2018.

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Miami Marlins: There were mixed opinions on the Marlins this spring and the more pessimistic predictions have come true as Miami is 14 games out of the NL East lead and six games below .500. Being the second best team in the division isn’t much consolation though Miami’s season scoring differential is only modestly negative. Miami would need a miraculous run to get back into the wild card race currently 10 games out but the Marlins could play some decent ball down the stretch and possibly get above the .500 mark by October.

The lineup has been fierce with Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna providing great production. J.T. Realmuto is one of the best offensive catchers in baseball and Christian Yelich has been heating up since the All Star break after a lackluster first half. Justin Bour should be back in the lineup by mid-August as this will be a team that can produce some crooked numbers even against quality pitching, currently sporting a .811 team OPS over the past 22 games with nearly 5.2 runs per game while posting equally solid results vs. lefties and righties. There is also a bit more promise in the pitching staff right now with the return of Adam Conley who has looked much sharper since coming off the DL. Left-handed rookie Chris O’Grady has also turned in decent early returns while Dan Straily and Jose Urena are competent options on the mound.

Miami has games with both Colorado and Arizona in the final two months as they could impact the NL wild card race and they also have a mid-September home series with the Brewers that could be meaningful for the NL Central and wild card pictures. Down 14 games in the division the Marlins do face Washington 12 more times as if they want to make a run at a miracle charge in the division the head-to-head opportunity is there.

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Minnesota Twins: After adding Bartolo Colon and Jaime Garcia looking to improve their postseason chances the Twins changed course and flipped Garcia as well as shipped off closer Brandon Kintzler at the trade deadline. A nightmare schedule out of the break that featured the Astros, Yankees, and Dodgers pushed the Twins downward in the division race while the Royals and Indians put together long winning streaks. The Twins are still only 4.5 games out of the second AL wild card and they stopped short of selling off Brian Dozier or Ervin Santana as the team could still act like it is playing for something the rest of the way.

The lineup for the Twins is still fairly impressive, particularly against right-handed pitching. Dozier had a huge late season run last year and has shown recent signs of heating up. Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton will be back at full strength soon after July injuries and Eddie Rosario has quietly turned in a fine season for the Twins, going from a platoon role to being a clear every day starter in left field. The pitching for the Twins has been a problem with only two firm spots in the rotation for Santana and Jose Berrios and the bullpen has blown several recent games. Ultimately the Twins likely made the right call to sell in the crowded AL picture but this is a team that could play well down the stretch with a favorable schedule.

The Twins have eight games with the slumping White Sox in August and they have 10 remaining games with the Tigers before the season ends. Minnesota has gone 8-4 vs. the Royals this season and seven early September meetings with Kansas City could have a big impact on the AL Central picture. Milwaukee, Arizona, Tampa Bay, and New York will also draw the Twins in the final two months as Minnesota will play a meaningful role in the playoff race even if they won’t likely be the team benefitting.

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Oakland Athletics: Oakland was considered the most obvious candidate to deal some key pieces at the deadline and the team finally shipped off Sonny Gray as well after sending off a pair of relievers. Yonder Alonso was kept however and this is a lineup with a lot of power led by Khris Davis and Ryon Healy. Marcus Semien also recently returned from injury and recent call-up Matt Chapman has displayed great power along with elite defensive capability. Oakland has a .780 team OPS over the past 12 games with some recent success in late July. Oakland can be a dangerous team down the stretch with a 31-24 home record that is one of the better marks in the AL.

Losing Gray isn’t a positive but the frequently injured right-hander hasn’t come close to his 2015 season results. The current rotation has some promise with lefty Sean Manaea delivering on his potential with a fine 2017 season going while Jharel Cotton has shown some upside despite being inconsistent. The Athletics have had recent success behind Paul Blackburn while 36 year-old Chris Smith has proven to be a crafty option on the mound. Oakland has delivered a few recent wins in the bullpen and the team is still playing with good energy as the ‘seller’ status of the club was certainly not a surprise.

Oakland has upcoming home matchups with Kansas City and Houston but most of the remaining schedule is against teams that are out of the running for the playoffs as the Athletics could have some favorable opportunities to put together winning results in the AL West basement. The lack of high-end starters other than Manaea should keep Oakland in the underdog role most nights even at home despite their success at the Coliseum. Frequent matchups with teams out of the mix including Baltimore, Texas, and the Angels could provide some favorable opportunities for Oakland to keep adding on wins towards a respectable finish.

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American League Lefty/Righty Splits

Comparing team batting splits against right-handed pitching and left-handed pitching can offer some handicapping opportunities. For example the Blue Jays being just 3-10 vs. left-handed starters this season while White Sox being 11-7 vs. left-handed starters can explain the somewhat unexpected results of those squads to some degree. Here is a deeper look at some of the team batting splits in the American League through early June in the 2017 season.

Best hitting team vs. right-handers: Houston Astros

With an amazing 42-16 record the Astros are pacing baseball, holding a 14-game lead in the AL West barely two months into the season. Improvement has basically been across the board for Houston and the Astros have the AL’s top OPS vs. right-handed pitching at .824, while sitting second in the AL vs. left-handed pitching at .793. Both numbers are a huge improvement on the 2016 numbers with a .087 boost vs. righties and a .062 boost vs. lefties, two of the biggest jumps in the league.

Best hitting team vs. left-handed pitching: Chicago White Sox

The White Sox have been a surprise this season as Chicago was almost universally projected to be the very worst team in the AL. Chicago has slipped a bit in the last few weeks to sit at 24-31 to make any playoff hopes faint but this remains a team that is likely to outperform a projected win total in the upper 60s with only San Diego facing a more dire spring training outlook. Chicago has been the league’s worst hitting team vs. right-handed pitching with a .681 OPS but vs. left-handers Chicago owns a .815 OPS for by far the best mark in the AL. Looking at the lineup it isn’t a major surprise the splits are so lopsided as Chicago routinely uses only right-handers and switch-hitters in its lineup, even against right-handed pitching.

Most improved vs. right-handed pitching: New York Yankees

New York’s offense has flourished this season and while the numbers vs. left-handed pitching are only slightly improved compared with the 2016 season the numbers vs. right-handers have made a dramatic jump. Against right-handers New York has gone from posting a .724 OPS in 2016 to a .814 OPS so far in 2017, the biggest positive leap of any team vs. either side compared with last season. Aaron Judge alone is providing much of the boost with 14 of his 18 home runs vs. right-handers posting an outrageous 1.111 OPS in 170 plate appearances vs. right-handers. Switch hitter Aaron Hicks has also been very productive batting left-handed, while catcher Gary Sanchez is a far better hitter vs. right-handers despite batting right-handed.

 

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Biggest decline vs. right-handed pitching: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are certainly still in striking distance in the AL East and at worst a clear AL Wild Card contender but the team has been a mild disappointment as one of the consensus favorites in the AL before the season started. Boston just got David Price back which will likely boost the pitching staff but the offense simply hasn’t been as successful as last season with David Ortiz out of the lineup. Boston had the league’s best OPS vs. left-handers last season at .795 and in 2017 Boston still remains a quality hitting team vs. left-handers with a .771 OPS for only a modest decline. That is .025 points higher than the .746 OPS the Red Sox have against right-handers for the biggest gap in the league for a team that is stronger vs. southpaws and nowhere near the league-leading .814 OPS the Red Sox posted last season vs. right-handed pitching.

Most balanced hitting team: Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore owns a .734 OPS vs. right-handers and a .728 OPS vs. left-handers this season for the smallest difference between sides among the 15 AL teams. Last season Baltimore had a massive contrast in those figures with a .090 gap being a far better hitting team vs. right-handers but the numbers have declined this season vs. righties while they have climbed vs. lefties. The Orioles have not had the production they expected from Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo so far this season with Machado incredibly batting only .208 vs. right-handed pitching this season (.283 last season) while Trumbo is batting .253 but with only five home runs in 150 at-bats vs. right-handers after hitting 37 in those matchups last season.

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Worst hitting team: Kansas City Royals

Kansas City has featured the biggest OPS decline in the AL vs. left-handed pitching and the second biggest decline in the AL in OPS vs. right-handed pitching. Kansa City has the second worst OPS in the league vs. right-handers at .682, just barely ahead of Chicago while sitting as by far the worst hitting team in the AL vs. left-handers with a .634 OPS. The big off-season concern for the Royals was their starting rotation but Jason Vargas is having a career year and Nate Karns and Danny Duffy are offering some promise. Jason Hammel and Ian Kennedy have disappointed and the bullpen isn’t as strong as in the past few years but most of the blame of the great struggles for the Royals fall on the offense.

Disappointment Due to Decline vs. left-handed pitching: Cleveland, Texas, Toronto, Seattle

The Indians and Rangers and Blue Jays were playoff teams last season while the Mariners were a wild card contender late into the season. There is still time for these talented teams to make a run but they all have a common thread of a big production decline vs. left-handed pitching this season. Cleveland’s drop has been the most modest of the group falling .043 but last season’s surge vs. left-handers to a .748 clip may have been the difference in the pennant winning season. This year’s lineup is more left-handed heavy with Michael Brantley’s return and Cleveland’s rotation has not yet matched last season’s success as well.

Toronto has been known as a fierce hitting team vs. left-handers in recent years but this season the Blue Jays have a .678 OPS vs. left-handers for a huge drop compared with last season. Losing Edwin Encarnacion certainly has to be considered a major factor. It is worth noting that Josh Donaldson missed much of the first two months of the season as the numbers vs. left-handers should climb with his return as he owns a career .959 OPS vs. southpaws.

Seattle’s OPS vs. left-handers has fallen from a very respectable .749 in 2016 to just .652, or the second worst in the AL. Seattle has managed to go 7-8 vs. left-handed starters but a team many expected to be a serious AL contender has had very unbalanced results at the plate with an OPS .119 points higher vs. right-handers. The Mariners often have at least four left-handed batters in the lineup vs. right-handers and lefties Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager will stay in the middle of the lineup vs. southpaws even though particularly in Cano’s case there is a huge drop in his production in those matchups.

Texas won 95 games last season despite a marginal scoring differential as many expected a decline for the Rangers in 2017. Last season Texas had successful balanced hitting vs. lefties and righties and in 2017 the numbers vs. right-handers have only fallen slightly. Against left-handers Texas has fallen from a .759 OPS clip to a .657 OPS clip, so far posting just six wins vs. southpaw starters. The recent return of Adrian Beltre in the middle of the lineup could help that cause in the coming weeks however.

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Success via Improvement vs. right-handed pitching: New York, Houston, Minnesota, Tampa Bay

The improvement for New York and Houston vs. right-handed pitching has been dramatic and a big reason those teams are on top of the AL. The Yankees are 24-16 vs. right-handed starters while Houston is absurdly 33-10 vs. right-handed starters at this point in the season.

Minnesota’s ascension to the AL Central lead isn’t expected to last but going from one of the league’s lesser hitting teams vs. right-handers to a .773 OPS that is in the AL’s upper tier is a big reason for the team’s success this season. Minnesota is actually hitting far worse in 2017 vs. left-handed pitching than the team did in 2016 but they have only faced 12 left-handed starters this season. Minnesota’s improved pitching and defense are big factors as well but the lineup is having more success in the most common matchups, often using a lineup that includes six left-handed hitters with the addition of Jason Castro and the everyday play of switch-hitter Jorge Polanco.

Tampa Bay has been one of the league’s better hitting teams vs. left-handers in recent years including going 30-23 vs. left-handed starters in 2015 but something has changed this season as the Rays are .120 OPS points better vs. right-handers this season, the third best hitting team vs. righties behind Houston and New York. As a result the Rays have gone from being 18 games below .500 vs. right-handers in 2016 to being 22-18 vs. right-handed starters so far this season. The most obvious changes are left-handed hitter Corey Dickerson being the team’s leadoff hitter plus the addition of another lefty power bat in Colby Rasmus as the Rays generally have at least four left-handers in the lineup. Oddly Dickerson is batting .353 vs. left-handers this season as he hasn’t hurt the numbers while Rasmus is usually in a platoon role. Logan Morrison is a clean-up hitter with much worse numbers vs. southpaws and Kevin Keirmaier is batting just .178 vs. lefties this season to help explain the decline.