Dave’s Free Plays, Sunday 6/21/15

  • June 21, 2015

The good news is there’s a four-way tie for the lead at the US Open. 14 players are within five shots of the top spot, so yes, it’s wide open as to who’s going to win and that’s great.

The bad news is the golf course at Chambers Bay is kind of a joke.

I get it that the conditions are the same for every player, so it’s not like there’s an unfair advantage for anyone. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good layout for this championship, and here’s why I’ll say it’s not.

First off, my purely selfish take is that the greens are so splotchy I can’t even see where the golf ball is landing on several shots, and I’ve got a pretty nice TV.

My viewing pleasure is a minor complaint. The more compelling argument against this links layout is that there aren’t any windmills or clown heads with open mouths for the players to shoot in or around.

Sorry, but when I see greens where the golfer has to aim 25 feet in the wrong direction to hope his putt gets close to the hole, I cringe. That’s not golf to me. I’m also not crazy about the notion that an approach shot that might be off target by one or two yards, which is actually a pretty good shot, can result in some crazy result that leaves the golfer with little hope of salvaging even a par.

I understand the USGA’s desire to make the event as tough as they can. No problem there, but if they have to resolve to what amounts to a tricked up course, I’m not going to like it. If the USGA is pleased with the fact no one is going to post a spectacular score, that’s fine, but that’s really not necessary to create a reason to watch.

All that said, Sunday should be a hoot. The leader board is loaded with big names, there are a couple of compelling storylines, and at this point, there’s nothing approaching a lock as to who’s going to win.

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1-2 on Saturday, as the Yankees won, but the Rangers and Reds didn’t. The Elvis Andrus error on a cinch double play cost Texas two runs, and possibly the game as well. The season to date numbers are very solid and I’m hoping to cross the +30 net unit plateau with a strong Sunday.

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The daily free plays continue to produce nicely, with the Yankees getting there with no trouble on Saturday. I’ll turn to a debuting pitcher to bring home another good result today.

RAYS (Colome)  @  INDIANS (Anderson)

Take: INDIANS -123 (Don Best Consensus Line at publication time)

The amazing Rays continue to roll right along. Here’s a team with severe payroll restrictions that actually hasn’t drafted especially well over the past handful of years, and yet they just keep on contending. They lost a top exec and a great manager in the off season, they’ve had a slew of pitching injuries and there they are, sitting 40-30 and residing atop the AL East.

In other words, this is not a team that’s easy to bet against as they just keep finding ways to win. But I’ll take my chances that the Rays can’t win ’em all and will make a case for the Indians to salvage the finale of this weekend set.

No real knocks on Alex Colome, who will start for TB here. His last outing was downright ugly, but for the most part, Colome has accomplished his mission. His task is to throw 5-6 okay innings and give his team a chance to win the game. Colome has managed to do that in six of his ten starts. So while he’s clearly not a top tier starting pitcher at this point, the rookie has been more good than bad for the Rays. But that hasn’t shown up in the results, as Tampa Bay is only 3-7 when Colome gets the call.

But I’m going to side with the first time starter today. Cody Anderson has had a nice year at two levels for the Indians. Coming into this season, the righty was somewhat stuck on the organizational chart. Anderson did not pitch well at AA Akron last year and was therefore not promoted to the next level to start this season. But it appears as though an improved mental approach has served Anderson well and he’s now ready to see what he can do in the bigs.

Anderson doesn’t have blow away stuff but his BB/K rates have improved this season and the buzz I’ve heard is that he’s gone from nibbling to attacking. His slider, which was grading as below average last year has gotten much better. Whether or not this translates to success at the major league level is obviously unknown right now. But Anderson does at least now check in as a live prospect with a chance to stick.

The big edge for Anderson today is that no one on the Rays has ever faced him. That might not seem like it’s significant, but if you look at results for debuting starting pitchers, there’s apparently something to it.

The Tribe grades out higher on the offensive models, while the bullpen advantage here tilts toward the Rays side. I have this game priced right where it presently sits, so no particular value with either side there. But I do like the situation, as the Indians will be eager to avoid getting swept and I like backing first time starters who have some talent. The Indians are already on my personal card for Sunday, and I’ll use them as the free play today as well.

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FanDuel Value Play, Sunday 6/21

CARLOS GONZALEZ, OF, $4000

This hasn’t been a banner season for Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez. He just hasn’t looked like the same player as we’re used to seeing. Maybe it’s compilation of injuries absorbed the last few years, maybe he needs a change of scenery. That’s all speculation. What’s fact is that CarGo is a big disappointment to those who own him in annual fantasy leagues as well as Colorado fans in general.

But there’s some upside. Gonzalez has flashed some power lately, which might be a bit of a buy sign. Plus, he gets to face a very HR prone pitcher today in Matt Garza. The Brewers righty has an ugly gopher ball rate this year and he’s starting today in a park where he has to be considered vulnerable. CarGo isn’t cheap at 4K but I like his chances of producing some points today.