Dave’s Free Plays, Sunday 7/26/15

  • July 26, 2015

You really cannot make this stuff up, and it’s what makes sports amazing.

Cole Hamels pitched what might well be his final game for the Phillies on Saturday. Hamels figures to be wearing another uniform by this time next week, as the non-waiver trade deadline will have passed. It wasn’t looking like a memorable farewell for Hamels prior to yesterday. His two prior starts were among the worst of the southpaw’s entire career. 6.1 innings, 20 hits, 14 runs, all earned. It was as if Hamels was more concerned about where he might be going rather than where he still was, and he got absolutely trashed in back to back outings.

That certainly changed on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field, ironically one of the locales that Hamels could be calling home shortly. The lefty was untouchable throughout and ended up with a shocking no-hitter, the first of his major league career. Camels walked just two hitters and while there were a couple of deep drives that had to be flagged down, this was a truly dominating performance.

A Hollywood scriptwriter could not have come up with a more unlikely scenario than this one, and assuming the deal gets done prior to his next turn, it’s the ultimate storybook ending for Hamels as a member of the Phillies.


I managed a 3-2 Saturday, with a decent profit for the the day thanks to a nice payoff with the underdog Nationals. I’ve already landed on a couple of Sunday sides and will hope to end the week on a high note.

Get the goods on what’s remaining in baseball plus details on what’s coming up for the football season. All the info is yours by emailing me at cokin@cox.net.


An early grand slam by Chris Davis put the Saturday free play on the Orioles/Rays Under in jeopardy, but the scoring stopped in a hurry and the selection ended up a winner. I’ll zero in on the current leader in the clubhouse for the AL Cy Young as today’s comp play.

ASTROS (Keuchel)  @  ROYALS (Ventura)

Take: ASTROS -115

If the ballots were to be cast today, it might not be unanimous, but I don’t see much question that Dallas Keuchel would be cashing in as the Cy Young Award winner in the American League. Keuchel will look to keep things rolling in the rubber match of the Astros/Royals series.

There’s little need to waste space building a case for Keuchel. The numbers tell the story in bold print. I see Yordano Ventura being the key to this play.

Ventura was sent to the minors earlier this week to try and get himself together. This has been a weird and somewhat disappointing season for the flame throwing righty. He broke camp as the pitcher the Royals seemed to be counting on as their ace. That was evident when Ventura was tabbed as the opening day starter at home for the defending AL champs.

Unfortunately, while Ventura hasn’t been awful by any means, he hasn’t been what the Royals were counting on either. Ventura had some immature moments early and he just hasn’t been very consistent. There have been rumblings about both his mechanics and his confidence being off, so calling the disappointing results a combination of physical and mental issues is probably accurate.

I have to wonder about how well Ventura can do here. I won’t say I’d be shocked if he has a good game. But considering that his demotion to try and get straightened out lasted about five minutes thanks to an injury to Jason Vargas, I wonder if Ventura is in a good situation here.

I was actually a little surprised when KC called Ventura right back up when Vargas got hurt. My impression was that they wanted him to get a couple starts down on the farm and my thought was that the Royals would simply move Joe Blanton into the rotation for a start or two in the interim.

Maybe just the shock of the momentary demotion will get Ventura straight. But regardless, he’s in tough here against a Houston entry that’s once again brimming with confidence, and the Astros have their ace on the hill. The price actually looks a bit trappy, as the squares won’t be discouraged from backing Keuchel at cheap chalk odds. But I have to go that myself, as taking one of baseball’s best against a possibly shaky Ventura seems like a good risk. I’ll peg the Astros and Keuchel to get the Sunday win.


FanDuel Value Play, Sunday 7/26

A nice little run of daily value choices came to a end yesterday as Dodgers rookie Zach Lee got annihilated by the Mets. I’ll try my hand with a veteran righty today.

MAT LATOS, P, $6900

Mat Latos is another talented pitcher who could be on the verge of getting traded. That remains to be seen, as for the time being, it appears there are more than enough good starting pitchers available for those teams looking to add. That means trouble in terms of getting return value for some of the sellers. The Marlins could well be in that category if they want to move Latos.

Whether he stays or goes is immaterial here. Latos is very hot right now and he’ll have a good opportunity to stay that way today as he faces a somewhat pedestrian Padres offense. Latos is very reasonably priced at $6900 and if he’s close to to his last couple of starts in terms of the numbers, he’s a bargain basement buy worth owning.