While the right call was made to fade Max Scherzer on Monday, the right call to utilize Stephen Strasburg was made last night. The Nationals’ righty delivered a dazzling 13 strikeout performance across seven quality innings while our second pitcher, Marcus Stroman, had himself a night as well by throwing 7.2 innings of shutout ball to go along with eight strikeouts. The pitchers really carried this lineup as the bats didn’t fare too well, but hopefully you were able to use the pitching to build yourself a solid base for our lineup. Let’s get into tonight’s 8-game slate!
P – Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – $13,300 vs. LAA
Pitching certainly isn’t loaded on tonight’s slate we so we will get as close to safety as we can with Kershaw. The future Hall of Fame lefty will enter play against the Angels tonight sporting a 10.13 K/9 on the season while his ERA sits at 2.47 and his FIP at 3.50. Kershaw has suddenly run into some home run issues this season, yielding a 1.40 HR/9, however the Angels rank 27th in the league with just 14 gopher balls off of lefties this season and have a .689 team OPS against lefties, good for 24th. Kershaw should be able to avoid the home run ball tonight while continuing to rack up those high strikeout totals.
P – Dinelson Lamet (SD) – $7,000 vs. ATL
I have high hopes for the young right-hander Lamet for a variety of reasons. Lamet sports a nasty 12.60 K/9 on the season while his 5.01 FIP and 4.05 xFIP suggest serious positive regression from his current 6.60 ERA on the season. Lamet also pitches in one of the league’s most pitching-friendly environments at Petco Park which should have that ERA trending towards his xFIP in no time considering how difficult it is to hit home runs at this venue. Lamet is a perfect SP2 on tonight’s slate.
C – Russell Martin (TOR) – $3,700 vs. BAL
Martin didn’t help out our lineup too much on last night’s slate, but I have confidence in the Jays roughing up Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez tonight so let’s roll with him again. Jimenez home run issues have been to left-handed hitters this season, but his highest contact rate comes against righties on the road where it sits at 38.2% on the season. He also has a 4.90 xFIP to righties on the road compared to a 4.68 xFIP to lefties on the road, so you can expect some negative regression in terms of homers yielded to righties away from Camden Yards for the right-hander beginning tonight against Martin.
1B – Kendrys Morales (TOR) – $3,700 vs. BAL
Picking on Jimenez from both sides of the plate will be the theme today as he has yielded a whopping 3.67 HR/9 to lefties this season. He also has an 8.55 FIP to lefties, although his 5.24 xFIP to lefties suggests some positive regression on that front despite being a poor number as well. Morales has hit righties to a .206 ISO this season and is 7 for 21 with two doubles and two homers in his career against Jimenez, making him a nice GPP play tonight.
2B – Brian Dozier (MIN) – $4,600 vs. BOS
Using Kershaw has limited our ability to stack high-priced teams like the Red Sox and Yankees, so our main stack today will be the Twins who are an excellent GPP play tonight, beginning here with the leadoff man Dozier. Red Sox lefty David Price has been bad to right-handed hitting this season with a 2.25 HR9 and a 6.14 FIP while dozier has hit lefties to a .214 ISO and a .960 OPS on the season, so let’s lock in the high-power Dozier at this position tonight.
3B – Miguel Sano (MIN) – $4,300 vs. BOS
Speaking of righties who mash lefties, look no further than the hulking Miguel Sano. Sano has mashed lefties to the tune of a .317 ISO and a .987 OPS on the season after smoking them to a .258 ISO in the 2016 season. The left-field seats on top of the green monster are a very realistic target tonight for the Twins’ third baseman.
SS – Eduardo Escobar (MIN) – $3,500 vs. BOS
The third and final member of this Twins’ stack tonight is yet another righty who has crushed lefties this season. Escobar actually leads all Twins in OPS against lefties at 1.009 while hitting them to an elite .266 ISO and a .421 wOBA. Hitting second in the lineup right behind Dozier, Escobar oozes with value at his price tonight.
OF – Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY) – $3,700 vs. CWS
As mentioned, the Yankees are an expensive bunch these days, however the reasonably-priced Ellsbury is in a nice spot tonight against James Shields. Prior to his DL stint, Shields sported a massive 3.18 HR/9, an enormous 9.23 FIP and a 55.3% fly ball rate against left-handed hitters. Enter Ellsbury who hasn’t hit for a ton of power against righties with a decent .152 ISO, however he has a strong .802 OPS against them this season. Furthering his value are his seven stolen bases against righties this season against a pitcher who yielded 18 stolen bases in the 2016 season.
OF – Ezequiel Carrera (TOR) – $3,200 vs. BAL
Another nice, low-cost piece of the Blue Jays comes in the form of outfielder Ezequiel Carrera. This one is a little in the air as we don’t know where he will hit in the lineup, but Carrera has impressive career numbers against Jimenez. Carrera is 4 for 7 with three doubles lifetime against Jimenez and if Ubaldo doesn’t see that positive regression in the home run department tonight we could get a low-cost dinger out of the low-owned outfielder this evening.
OF – Joey Rickard (BAL) – $2,900 vs. TOR
In the other dugout at the Rogers Centre tonight will be Orioles’ outfielder Joey Rickard who will likely get back to leadoff duties against a left-handed J.A. Happ tonight. Rickard has hit lefties to just a .659 OPS this season, but Happ has elevated home runs against against this year and Rickard posted a .181 ISO and an .861 OPS against lefties last season, so there certainly could be value to tap into tonight with the extremely cheap Rickard in the leadoff spot this evening.