Playing Hardball: Early & Late MLB Leagues Today

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It’s another full slate of baseball action on Wednesday, with double the opportunities to win some cash. Five of the 15 games begin before 7:05 and the only way to use anyone from those ten teams is to join leagues that close at 12:40 Eastern. If you like “evening” players you can use them twice.

We are flying solo today, as Rob Dudek is preparing to launch his own website. The current plan is for me to make guest appearances there, and vice versa when time permits.

Tuesday was full of high-scoring games, with some unlikely heroes. You needed to score huge to win; there were seven home runs hit in the Padres-Cubs and Brewers-Pirates games, and nine homers altogether in Cleveland’s 14-2 shellacking of the Phillies. My teams were out of the money because of poor pitching, which represents about a third of the salary cap but is often half the battle.

It’s free to join DraftStreet and you can start in free leagues. Then make a deposit — use the code SHHOOP to get a 30% bonus — and choose your level of play, from $2 entry fees up to $420. Good luck!

Best Bets (Pitchers)

By far the highest-priced arm belongs to Cliff Lee ($17,918) whose first two starts were better than his last three. He’s a high-strikeout, low-walk veteran who is capable of a shutdown game.

Clay BuchholzMy preference is for Clay Buchholz ($14,832) who has been terrific in all five starts. Last night the Blue Jays clobbered lefty Jon Lester, but their RH power bats figure to have a tougher time this evening.

The time to play Anibal Sanchez ($15,340) was five days ago, when he struck out 17 against Atlanta. His salary has risen accordingly, and while he might beat the Twins, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll earn 19.1 fantasy points again.

For better value, there’s Jeremy Hellickson ($12,188), though the Royals eventually solved Alex Cobb last night. Also attractively priced for someone who has scored in double digits in three of his last four starts, Lance Lynn ($11,074) faces the Reds, who are in a terrible hitting funk, scoring two runs or less in six of their last eight games.

Live Longshots (Pitchers)

In 2012, Hiram Burgos ($7,595) dominated the Florida State League for six starts, was nearly as brilliant in Double-A and finished the season in Triple-A, where he had a 2.91 ERA in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. His first two starts in the Show have been encouraging and the Brewers will provide some run support.

David Phelps ($10,580) picked up 9.65 points in a relief appearance, taking over from injured Ivan Nova to strike out nine Jays and get the W in a stellar four innings. Now he’s in the Yankees rotation, and while he might not go more than five or six (90 pitches tops is my guess after 77 five days ago) the price is right.

By definition, every RP is a longshot, because there’s no guarantee they will appear. Though nominal Boston closer Joel Hanrahan is back from injury, Andrew Bailey ($2,079) figures to get the save chance tonight if it arises. Edward Mujica ($1,622) is far from a household name, but he blew away the heart of the Reds order last night with three swinging strikeouts on just 19 pitches and could pick up another SV this afternoon.

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