The National League playoff race has been intense for quite some time, but few could have imagined that two of the three divisions would still be undecided after 162 games are complete. Insane.
Therefore, we have a two-game slate kicking off at 1:05 pm ET with the Brewers and the Cubs before the Rockies and Dodgers decide the NL West at 4:05 pm ET.
Let’s see if we can notch some profits on a pair of game 163s!
P – Walker Buehler (LAD) – $10,200 vs. COL
Buehler and the Dodgers will act as the hosts of their NL West showdown tonight as they take on German Marquez and the Colorado Rockies. Buehler has been a model of consistency this season as he has allowed more than two earned runs in just one of his last 11 starts and has allowed one run or fewer in six of those 11 starts. For the season, the young right-hander owns a 2.76 ERA and a 2.99 FIP to go along with a 28.6% strikeout clip. The Rockies are projected to score just 3.1 runs tonight, the fewest of the four teams on the slate, and the Dodgers are listed as -170 favorites, so I will take the vast upside of Buehler and run tonight.
P – Jhoulys Chacin (MIL) – $5,300 vs. CHC
There is notable risk in rostering Chacin with the Brewers sitting at +115 underdogs tonight, but I think the Brewers stun the Cubs and steal the division in game 163, so I will take the right-hander at a tiny price. Besides, he won 15 games this season and carries a 3.56 ERA into action across his 34 starts on the season. He’s also experienced slightly better results on the road this season, albeit his strikeout rate does drop away from home. He too has also been extremely consistent with an ERA under 4.00 every month since May, and I think he’ll get some run support tonight, so let’s extract some value out of the underrated righty this evening.
C – Yasmani Grandal (LAD) – $3,900 vs. COL
Grandal leads off our four-man Dodgers stack tonight against the right-hander Marquez. There is nothing against Marquez as he’s been real good this season, but the Dodgers hit right-handers well, and that includes the switch-hitting catcher. Against lefties, Grandal has produced a solid .181 ISO and .739 OPS on the season, however against righties he has powered up for an impressive .242 ISO and .849 OPS. Those numbers get even better at home against righties with a .253 ISO and .902 OPS in matchups such as tonights.
1B – Jesus Aguilar (MIL) – $5,000 vs. CHC
The crew are rolling right now and I think they get to left-hander Jose Quintana tonight. The Brewers are the league’s sixth-ranked offense over the last week, and they have plenty of power at their disposal. For his part, Aguilar has punished left-handed pitching to the tune of a .271 ISO and .928 OPS while his bat has perked up after a cold spell coming out of the All-Star break. Aguilar has homered four times over his last 13 games, including in yesterday’s route of the Detroit Tigers. He’s been a power threat every time he steps to the plate this season and that will not change tonight.
2B – Kike Hernandez (LAD) – $3,300 vs. COL
Last season, Hernandez did some big-time damage against left-handed pitching, but has turned things around this season and hit right-handers for more power than he has lefties. He owns a very powerful .245 ISO and .838 OPS against right-handers on the season, however Hernandez has simply obliterated right-handers at home this season to the tune of a massive .330 ISO and .932 OPS. He’s only logged three at-bats against Marquez, but he’s already homered against the right-hander. Given the success he’s had at home against righties, he has plenty of value upside to be had here.
3B – Mike Moustakas (MIL) – $3,900 vs. CHC
Moustakas may be a left-handed hitter facing a left-handed pitcher, but he actually has a better average against lefties this season while offering solid power against a pitcher he’s enjoyed some success against Quintana. For the season, the former Royal has offered a .163 ISO and .722 OPS against left-handed pitching, numbers that fall notably under his power numbers against righties. However, in his career against Quintana, he has produced a .261 ISO and .842 OPS across 46 at-bats with three homers and three doubles against the veteran lefty. Given the price, I like the value potential here.
SS – Manny Machado (LAD) – $4,600 vs. COL
Machado has fairly even lefty-righty splits this season, which means he owns excellent power numbers against right-handed pitching. For the year, the former Orioles has hit righties for a .244 ISO and .901 OPS to go along with a .375 wOBA. Machado has also used his legs on the bases much more than he has over the last few years as he has stolen 14 bases this season after stealing nine in 2017 and zero in 2016. He’s projected to hit in the cleanup spot tonight, so let’s roll with the dual threat at home tonight.
OF – Christian Yelich (MIL) – $5,500 vs. CHC
There may not be a better player in baseball right now than Yelich who has been scorching hot for a while now. In the month of September, Yelich hit 10 homers and drove in 33 runs while stealing 6 bases. In fact, he’s hit a whopping 21 homers since August 1st. He also has hit left-handers for plenty of power this season in the form of a .256 ISO and .972 OPS while five of his 21 steals have come against lefties. He has a chance to win the Triple Crown tonight, and he’s riding a ton of momentum, so there’s no question in my mind that he cracks this lineup tonight.
OF – Ryan Braun (MIL) – $4,700 vs. CHC
Braun has done most of his power damage against lefties this season, and he’s projected to hit third in the lineup tonight, so I’m liking this play to complete our four-man Brewers stack. Braun has clobbered left-handed pitching for a huge .281 ISO and .876 OPS on the season while his second half was a big one in the form of an impressive .251 ISO and .888 OPS. Interestingly, he has absolutely mashed not at home in the hitter-friendly confines of Miller Park in Milwaukee, but on the road where he owns an unworldly .359 ISO and .967 OPS against left-handers. Lock this guy in tonight.
OF – Yasiel Puig (CHC) – $3,400 vs. COL
Puig owns reverse splits and he has both power and speed upside tonight, so he makes for an excellent low-cost play against Marquez. He enters game 163 sporting a very big .265 ISO and .917 OPS on the season against right-handers while he’s swiped 15 bases overall for the season. Puig is coming off a massive month of September where he posted a .410 ISO and 1.073 OPS with eight home runs in just 61 at-bats. I think I will take that production and run with it at this price tag tonight.
PLAY THIS LINEUP