Our pitching was brilliant in last night’s DraftKings lineup, however our bats didn’t get the job done.
Max Scherzer put together another unbelievable performance as he hurled eight innings of two-run ball while striking out a whopping 13 Rays. Mad Max threw seven shutout frames before getting touched up for a two-run double in the eighth. This guy is on some sort of roll right now and has been worth the price of admission almost every time he has taken the mound
Ross Stripling didn’t go deep into his outing against the Pirates, but he was dominant once again. He threw just five innings, but didn’t allow a single run and struck out seven while earning the win. With the outing, Stripling lowered his ERA to a sparkling 1.54. It’s certainly a great, out-of-nowhere story for the Dodgers’ righty.
Our bats couldn’t complement our pitching. The Orioles scored a couple of runs early in their matchup against the struggling Jason Vargas, but couldn’t tack on and scored just two runs on the night. The Red Sox scored six runs, but the big boys did the damage in that one, although Jackie Bradley had a two-hit night, but unfortunately with no RBI opportunities.
Let’s aim for a complete lineup on tonight’s shortened 10-game slate!
P – Shohei Ohtani (LAA) – $11,100 vs. KC
After Andrew Heaney tossed a complete game shutout against the Royals in last night’s game, Kansas City will be in tough again tonight against the Japanese superstar Ohtani. He’s been very consistent this season, yielding two runs or less in four straight starts and in five of his eight starts this season. Ohtani has reached double-digit strikeouts in two of his eight starts while sporting an elite 31.2% strikeout clip entering tonight’s contest. The Royals are one of the weakest offenses in the big leagues and their power numbers are among the very worst in baseball, so the right-hander seems like a safe bet on this 10-game slate.
P – Jack Flaherty (STL) – $10,200 vs. MIA
I am going to target another weak offense in the form of the Miami Marlins tonight as young righty Jack Flaherty toes the rubber for the Cardinals. Flaherty was unimpressive in five starts last season, however the 22-year-old has been real good in his six starts this season. He will enter play tonight sporting a 2.62 Era and a 3.40 FIP while his 26.7% strikeout clip is a good one. The Marlins rank 29th with a team .642 OPS against right-handed pitching while they also own a 26.4% strikeout rate against righties, pretty much right in line with Flaherty’s number. This is a nice matchup for the youngster to build upon his strong start to the season.
C – Mitch Garver (MIN) – $2,700 vs. CWS
We spent up on pitching again tonight, so we will require some value in our lineup and one of those value plays comes at the catcher position with Garver. Garver faces southpaw Hector Santiago tonight who has been hit for plenty of power by right-handed hitters as evidenced by a .542 SLG against as well as an .871 OPS against. Garver hasn’t hit well against lefties in a small big league sample, but in Triple-A last year he posted a massive .984 OPS against lefties. That is good enough for me to roll the dice at a tiny price as part of a four-man Twins stack against Santiago.
1B – Josh Bell (PIT) – $3,400 vs. LAD
The Pirates were shut down by the right-hander Stripling last night, but this team mashes lefties as evidenced by their team .782 OPS against them, good for sixth league-wide. Bell has yet to hit lefties for much power in 2018, but posted a powerful .211 ISO against southpaws in 2017. He hit 26 homers in his first full season in the Majors last season, giving us plenty of reason to believe he will start to improve on his four homers in 2018 imminently. Bell is part of a three-man, lower-owned Pirates stack tonight.
2B – Brian Dozier (MIN) – $4,200 vs. CWS
Dozier’s overall numbers this season are down, but this guy mashes lefties. Look no further than last season’s massive .331 average, .303 ISO and 1.057 OPS as evidence of that. Dozier also stole 16 bases last season, two of which came against a left-hander. He’s been swinging a hot bat lately, going 7 for 16 with a homer, two doubles, one triple, four RBIs, five runs, two walks and a stolen base over his last four starts. He has real nice cross-category upside out of the leadoff spot tonight.
3B – Miguel Sano (MIN) – $4,100 vs. CWS
I am real excited about Sano’s power upside against a pitcher in Santiago who has yielded 2.39 HR/9 to right-handed hitters this season. Like his teammate Dozier, he’s off to a slower start against lefties, but make no mistake that this guy clobbers opposite-handed pitching. In 2017, he posted a huge .307 ISO and .992 OPS on the season against lefties after posting a .258 ISO and .818 OPS in 2016. Against a pitcher who yields plenty of power to righties, you are going to want Sano and his career 43.1% hard hit rate against righties in your lineup.
SS – Sean Rodriguez (PIT) – $2,800 vs. LAD
Rodriguez is another value play in this lineup, but he has big-time value upside against young Dodgers lefty Caleb Ferguson tonight. The reason why Rodriguez continues to be a valuable MLB player, aside from his defensive versatility, is his ability to hit lefties. He sports a .323 average to go along with an enormous .290 ISO and 1.045 OPS on the season against southpaws. Sign me up for those numbers at a sub-$3K price any day of the week.
OF – Austin Meadows (PIT) – $4,700 vs. LAD
I had to double check the numbers for Meadows in his brief time against lefties as a big leaguer, and let’s just say I liked what I saw. Meadows has pulverized lefties to the tune of a .714 ISO and 1.509 OPS across 14 at-bats this season. In layman’s terms, he has three homers and a double in 14 MLB at-bats against southpaws this season. He is projected to hit second in the lineup tonight, so I will ride the 23-year-old while he is scorching hot.
OF – Robbie Grossman (MIN) – $3,000 vs. CWS
Grossman is our final value play of the lineup as he completes our four-man Twins stack while hitting at the end of it, somewhere around the seven-hole in the lineup. Grossman had a big season against lefties in 2016 when he posted a .344 average, .232 ISO and 994 OPS against them, so we know the ability is there. He hasn’t produced in that range since, but Grossman has a hit in six of his last eight games and was on base three times and scored two runs in last night’s night cap against the White Sox. I will take him at a cheap price to fill out our stack against Santiago tonight.
OF – Marcell Ozuna (STL) – $3,800 vs. MIA
I wanted to get Starling Marte in here to make it a four-man Pirates stack, but he was a tad too expensive, so I will go with the white-hot Ozuna as a one-off instead. Ozuna struggled mightily, especially in the power department, early on but he is coming around. Over his last four games, he has gone 8 for 14 with two homers, six RBI, three runs scored and a pair of walks. He’s hitting .325 on the year with an .816 OPS against lefties, a number I expect to rise as his power surge continues tonight against Marlins’ lefty Wei-Yin Chen in St. Louis.