Last night was an example of the frustration that often accompanies playing MLB DFS.
First, the good news. Our top pitcher, Clay Buchholz went the distance and hurled nine innings of one-run ball in a complete-game victory over the lowly Padres. Buchholz struck out six in the lights-out effort and lowered his ERA to 2.47 as a result.
It’s mostly all downhill from there.
Our second starter Sam Gaviglio was roughed up by the Royals and lasted just 4.1 innings and allowed five earned runs on eight hits and struck out just two.
Now, for the frustrating part. The Twins and Rangers combined to score 23 runs last night, so it would appear we were spot-on in selecting our stacks as we had a combined seven players from these two clubs.
Well, Miguel Sano homered for the Twins as part of a two-hit, three-RBI night, and somehow that was about it. Our others three Twins combined to go 1 for 8 with a walk. Our three-man Rangers stack combined to go 2 for 13 with a double, a run scored, two RBI and two walks. Elvis Andrus was also thrown out trying to steal second base.
That’s the unpredictability of MLB DFS. We had the top three hitters in the Rangers order, and received minimal production for a team that scored eight runs. We had four Twins on a team that’s scored 15 runs, and a two-run homer is pretty much all we got there.
All we can do is forget about it and move onto tonight’s 14-game main slate as we look to head into the weekend on the right foot!
MIA @ WAS / TOR @ NYY / CHC @ PIT / SF @ CIN / BAL @ CLE
P – Kyle Gibson (MIN) – $8,500 vs. DET
As you can see, there are multiple weather concerns on this slate, and a couple of the top arms on the slate are in the middle of that trouble in Max Scherzer and Carlos Carrasco. While you can roll the dice on games with weather concerns, I am going to provide you a lineup that completely avoids these concerns, beginning here with my top clean-weather arm in Gibson. Gibson faces a Tigers team that has progressed into the worst offense in baseball as the season moves along. Detroit ranks 29th with a .269 wOBA in the second half of the season, and they rank 30th with a .287 wOBA on the season against righties. Gibson has pitched to a 3.49 ERA on the season to go along with a nice 22.7% strikeout rate, so he should certainly be able to tame a very poor and thin Tigers offense.
P – Robbie Ray (ARI) – $7,600 vs. SD
There is simply no reason why we should be avoiding Ray for tonight’s favorable matchup against the Padres in the pitching-friendly confines of Petco Park in San Diego. Ray struggled after coming off the DL earlier in the year, but he has pitched to a 3.48 ERA in the month of August and owns a huge 31.8% strikeout rate for the month as well. He has allowed two earned runs or less in three of his last four starts, and he tends to pitch much better on the road. Ray owns a tidy 2.70 ERA on the road this season compared to his 7.18 mark at home, and even in his breakout 2017 season he sported an elite 1.68 road ERA, but a mediocre 4.08 ERA at home. The Padres have the league’s third-highest strikeout rate against lefties at 24% for the season while their .303 wOBA against lefties ranks 21st. This is simply an excellent spot for the southpaw Ray tonight, and at a very attractive price.
C – John Ryan Murphy (ARI) – $2,800 vs. SD
We begin our lineup with a one-off catcher tonight, which was the last spot to fill in this lineup after our stacks. Murphy has mostly struggled over the last couple of months after coming out of the gates hot, but he still hits lefties for power and has hit lefties much better than righties through his minor league career. For the season, Murphy owns a very attractive .218 ISO against left-handed pitching and owns a massive .310 ISO on the road versus lefties this season. He will be very low owned in a sneaky-good matchup against Padres southpaw Joey Lucchesi tonight.
1B – Joey Gallo (TEX) – $4,900 vs. LAA
It’s summer time in Texas which means the ball is flying at Globe Life Park in Arlington, and the Rangers have certainly played in some high-scoring games as a result. I figure this to be the case again tonight as they take on right-handed journeyman Odrisamer Despaigne of the Angels. Gallo clubbed his 32nd home run of the 2018 season in last night’s win, and he now owns a .266 ISO against right-handed pitching this season. He actually has hit lefties for more power this season, but this guy arguably has the most home run upside in baseball when he steps to the plate. He’s a boom-or-bust play, but considering his massive .410 ISO since the All-Star break, I am looking for the boom tonight.
2B – Rougned Odor (TEX) – $4,900 vs. LAA
Odor let us down in last night’s lineup, but he still boasts plenty of power upside against the right-hander Despaigne tonight. Like Gallo, Odor was mashed in the second half of the season as evidenced by his massive .330 ISO and 1.085 OPS since the All-Star break. I also like the stolen base upside the young second baseman brings to the table as he has swiped 10 bases on the season, although he’s also been caught stealing on eight occasions. Nonetheless, he will technically lead off our stack tonight out of the value two-hole for Brian Bannister’s club.
3B – David Fletcher (LAA) – $3,300 vs. TEX
We have still yet to see the power at the MLB level that Fletcher displayed at Triple-A earlier in the season, but he is projected to hit second in the Angels’ lineup tonight against a right-hander in Drew Hutchison that has largely struggled at the big league level over the last several seasons and owns a brutal 6.70 ERA and a 6.93 FIP in the big league this season across 29.2 innings. The home run power hasn’t been there, but Fletcher is sporting some reverse splits in the bigs so far with a .288 average and nine doubles against righties compared to a .219 average and just two doubles against lefties. Given his matchup and the hitting-friendly conditions tonight, I am liking Fletcher’s value out of that two-hole.
SS – Elvis Andrus (TEX) – $4,300 vs. LAA
Andrus continues to hit in that three-hole and sports some reverse-splits on the season, so there’s not much to dislike about his upside as part of a team that is projected to score 5.9 runs tonight. Andrus is hitting .298 with a .772 OPS against righties this season compared to a .236 average and .661 OPS against left-handed pitching. He hasn’t gotten his legs underneath him on the basepaths and was caught stealing last night, but he brings stolen base upside with four steals in an injury-shortened season and has stolen at least 21 bases in all nine of his big league seasons prior to this one.
OF – Nomar Mazara (TEX) – $4,100 vs. LAA
Mazara returned from the DL with a bang last night as he clubbed a two-run homer out of the cleanup spot for the Rangers, where he will likely hit again tonight as the right-hander Despaigne. Mazara has posted a solid .175 ISO and .811 OPS on the season against right-handed pitching with last night’s homer being his 16th of the season despite missing a month’s worth of action from mid-July to mid-August. His numbers against righties jump all the way to a very powerful .245 ISO and .885 OPS at home this season, so let’s go ahead and lock him in at an attractive cost.
OF – Kole Calhoun (LAA) – $4,200 vs. TEX
After an excruciatingly poor start to the season, Calhoun has been on fire for quite some time now. In the month of July, he broke out with a massive .437 ISO and 1.136 OPS before posting a .286 ISO and 1.016 OPS in the month of August so far. All told, he owns a massive .344 ISO and 1.097 OPS in the second half of the season. He’s now clubbed 17 homers on the season, approaching last year’s total ofg 19 in just over half as many plate appearances. He’s also swiped five bases this season, so there a bit of stolen base upside here to boot. He makes for an excellent play out of that leadoff spot.
OF – Shohei Ohtani (LAA) – $4,900 vs. TEX
Completing our lineup and three-man Angels stack is Ohtani who has punished right-handed pitching since coming from overseas in the offseason. Ohtani enters tonight’s contest sporting a huge .312 ISO and .995 OPS against righties while all 12 of his home runs this season have come off of opposite-handed pitching. Also, Ohtani has swiped six bases for the season, all six of which have come against right-handed pitching as well. He has elite power and solid stolen base upside, so let’s not think twice about rostering the two-way star tonight.