Our pitching didn’t perform overly well in last night’s lineup, but the slate was full of poor pitching performances.
Domingo German pitched decent, going 6.2 innings, but yielded four earned runs and struck out just three. Nick Tropeano fared worse as he went just 4.2 innings and surrendered five earned runs while avoiding the decision in a 9-6 Angels win. Unfortunately our bats didn’t show up to play either. After scoring seven runs in the first game of the double-header, the Yankees bats went quiet in the night cap and scored just two runs with Brett Gardner’s triple being the only bright spot in an otherwise uneventful stack. The two mini-stacks didn’t do well enough to pick up the slack, so we are left with nothing to do but put a regretful night behind us and move onto tonight’s busy 14-game slate!
P – Max Scherzer (WAS) – $13,300 vs. TB
Mad Max is back at tonight as he gets a home date against the Rays at Nationals Park. Scherzer is coming off another lights-out performance as he hurled eight scoreless innings while striking out 12 at Baltimore last Wednesday. Scherzer is the clear front-runner for another Cy Young award right now as he brings a sparkling 1.92 ERA and a 1.95 FIP into action while his unreal strikeout rate sits at a whopping 38.7% entering play, a massive figure even by his standards. With the Rays projected the score a slate-low 2.7 runs tonight, it’s going to be very difficult to leave the Nationals’ ace off of rosters tonight.
P – Ross Stripling (LAD) – $9,600 vs. PIT
With the addition of Stripling we now have two hurlers who bring sub-2 ERAs into action tonight. Stripling has been a huge bright spot for a disappointing Dodgers club as he sports a 1.68 while his 2.17 FIP is an elite figure as well. Like Scherzer, Stripling also offers big-time strikeout upside as he’s sitting with a 30.1% strikeout clip on the season while walking just 5.6% of batters as well. He’s on the road, but the right-hander has been excellent regardless of where he’s pitching this season and I intend to ride him while he’s hot.
C – Blake Swihart (BOS) – $2,700 vs. DET
We spent up big-time on pitching today, so we are going to need to find some value bats and I believe we have that a Red Sox three-man stack. Boston is projected to score a slate-high 5.6 runs against Tigers spot starter Artie Lewicki tonight, so let’s hope it’s the bottom of the order that does the damage. The switch-hitting Swihart is tonight’s projected catcher for Boston tonight has received just 56 plate appearances on the season, so I’m not reading much into his low totals on the year. The last time he received semi-regular playing time in the big leagues he hit .274 and offered a bit of power/speed upside, so I will use him at low ownership in a nice matchup tonight.
1B – Trey Mancini (BAL) – $3,300 vs. NYM
Another stack that should see fairly low ownership and is easy on the wallet is the Orioles as they face lefty Jason Vargas tonight in New York. Vargas has been lit up in four of his six starts this season and brings an 8.53 ERA and a 5.50 FIP into action tonight. Mancini hits lefties for power with a solid .171 ISO against them this season. He hasn’t been hitting much as of late, but he’s reached base in back-to-back games after a brutal six-game stretch so the signs of life are encouraging at low ownership tonight.
2B – Jonathan Schoop (BAL) – $3,500 vs. NYM
Schoop’s power is down from last season when he hit 32 homers and drove in 105 runs, but the power is certainly there. Against lefties last season he produced a huge .293 ISO, and while he has just one homer against lefties this year, he’s still hitting .295 against them and should see some RBI opportunities out of the cleanup spot. His power is going to come, and tonight appears to be a good matchup for him to unleash that power stroke we’re used to seeing from the second baseman.
3B – Rafael Devers (BOS) – $3,300 vs. DET
His OPS figures are down thanks to a low batting average, but Devers has plenty of pop for this price. He’s homered nine times this season, including six off of righties, and owns a nice .172 ISO against right-handers as well. He posted an even better .198 ISO last season as a rookie, so we can feel good about the power upside here. Until the batting average improves most of his numbers won’t look good, but the home run upside is what we’re here for and he certainly has that.
SS – Manny Machado (BAL) – $5,200 vs. NYM
Machado is the lone expensive bat in this lineup, but he’s been worth the price on a very consistent basis in his contract year. He’s destroying both left and right-handed pitching this season, but is massive .339 ISO against lefties is higher than his still-fantastic .293 mark against righties. He’s also white-hot at the dish right now as he’s homered three times over his last four games and also doubled once in that span as well. He is a lock in my lineup tonight.
OF – Joey Rickard (BAL) – $2,900 vs. NYM
As has been the case quite often in Baltimore over the last few years, Rickard should lead off tonight against a lefty which gives him plenty of value upside at this price. He’s been better power-wise against righties in a small sample this season, but Rickard is a serviceable bat versus lefties with a career .289 average and solid .748 OPS against southpaws. The idea here is for Rickard to get on base at the top of the stack and provide Machado and others with RBI opportunities as a result.
OF – Jackie Bradley (BOS) – $3,000 vs. DET
It seems like a long time since Jackie Bradley had that huge season that landed him on a lot of MVP ballots, but that was in 2016. Last season, he still hit 17 homers, but his power was clearly down. This season, he has just two homers, but also six steals. His power/speed upside is still there however, and at this price in a three-man stack, I am going to roll the dice. The good news is he is much better against righties and Bradley will hit at the end of our stack tonight so a low-owned two or three-run homer from him would give this lineup a huge shot in the arm.
OF – Jason Heyward (CHC) – $3,200 vs. PHI
This was the last spot to fill in the lineup, and while Heyward isn’t the same hitter he was in Atlanta, he’s been swinging a real hot bat as of late. Heyward is 12 for 27 with a pair of doubles over his last six games, bringing his average up to a respectable .264 on the year. What I like most about him tonight is the fact he is projected to hit second in the lineup for a good Cubs offense, giving him nice cross-category upside. He also has three triples on the year so let’s roll the dice on the veteran as a one-off outfielder tonight.