Baseball Throwdown July 18 picks: Kennedy, Rizzo, Upton
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Ian Kennedy, San Diego Padres (vs. Mets) – Kennedy has been great this year, putting up a 3.47 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 1.19 WHIP and 133 strikeouts in 124 1/3 innings. He also entered the break on a strong note, allowing just two runs on 14 hits with 22 strikeouts in his last three starts, a stretch that covered 21 innings. Kennedy has a great matchup with the punchless Mets in Petco Park in the first game of the second half. The Mets have been terrible offensively for most of the year, hitting just .242/.316/.369 with a .304 wOBA and 95 weighted runs created plus.
Anthony Rizzo, Cubs (@ Diamondbacks, Trevor Cahill) – Rizzo was a deserving All-Star, slashing .275/.381/.499 with 20 homers and 49 RBI in the first half of the season. The Cubs open the second half in the desert, and Chase Field has long been a great place for hitters. While Rizzo is just 1-for-6 with two walks in his career against Cahill, the Arizona righty has really struggled this year. He has a 5.66 ERA and has allowed lefties to hit .357/.451/.536.
Justin Upton, Braves (vs. Phillies, A.J. Burnett) – Upton doesn’t have a ton of plate appearances against Burnett, but he's made the most of them. He’s 3-for-8 with a homer and a walk against the Phillies’ veteran starter who he will see on Friday night in Atlanta. Upton headed into the break with five multi-hit games in his last seven contests.
• Jose Quintana, White Sox (vs. Astros) – Quintana has allowed just four runs in his last 28 2/3 innings, striking out 32 batters in that span.
• Kyle Lohse, Brewers (@ Nationals) – Lohse remains one of the most underrated pitchers in the league, and benefits here from a low 11-point projection.
• Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks (vs. Cubs, Edwin Jackson) – Goldy is 4-for-12 with a pair of walks against Jackson in his career.
• Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (@ Pirates, Francisco Liriano) – Liriano can’t get Tulo out. The Rockies shortstop is 2-for-5 with four walks in his career against the Pittsburgh lefty.
• Yoenis Cespedes, A’s (vs. Orioles, Chris Tillman) – Cespedes successfully defended his home run derby crown, and is a good bet to carry that into Friday’s action against Tillman, who has a 4.11 ERA and 4.50 FIP this year.
• Billy Hamilton, Reds (@ Yankees, David Phelps) – Hamilton shook off a hamstring injury to pick up six hits in his final 16 at-bats before the All-Star break. He has been one of the game’s hottest hitters since the calendar turned to June.