For the first time in a while our pitcher didn’t give us much to work with on last night’s slate, but our bats did some notable damage throughout.
Right-hander Jon Gray allowed seven runs, however only three of them were earned. Still, he lasted just 5.2 innings and struck out only four while landing in the loss column. We needed more from the right-hander in this one.
Our three-man Cubs stack did some serious damage against left-hander Alex Wood and the usually-solid Reds bullpen. The damage was led by Nicholas Castellanos who continues to swing a white-hot bat since arriving in Chicago at the deadline. Castellanos homered twice in this one as part of a three-hit night while he added three runs scored, two RBI and a walk as well. Kris Bryant also recorded three hits, albeit all singles, however he also scored two runs, knocked in two runs and added a walk as well. Finally, Javier Baez enjoyed a two-hit night including a double while scoring a run and knocking a run in as well. It was a wildly productive night for the Cubs in Cincy in a 12-5 win.
Our Red Sox stack didn’t do damage across the board like the Cubs did, however we did get plenty of value out of first baseman Sam Travis who hit a home run, a two-run shot. Andrew Benintendi added a double as he continues his assault on left-handed pitching at Fenway Park. Unfortunately, Michael Chavis couldn’t add anything to the stack in a low-scoring 3-0 Red Sox win.
We caught some bad luck in our Tigers mini-stack as JaCoby Jones was lifted from the ball game in his second at-bat after getting hit on the wrist by a pitch. Brandon Dixon singled, walked and scored a run to give us some production, but it would have been nice to get more Tigers exposure as they homered four times in a 10-8 win over the Royals.
It’s been a good week with our FanDuel MLB DFS Picks and I’ll look to keep it going on tonight’s big 14-game main slate!
P – Drew Smyly (PHI) – $7,600 vs. SF
There are some attractive arms on this big slate tonight including the likes of Walker Buehler, Robbie Ray, Shane Bieber, Stephen Strasburg and Caleb Smith, but I am going to go all the way down to left-hander Drew Smyly as he takes on the San Francisco Giants tonight in the pitcher-friendly confines of Oracle Park in San Francisco. After a couple of gems to begin his Phillies tenure, Smyly was roughed up for five earned runs in his most recent start against the White Sox. However, Smyly has already faced these Giants as a member of the Phillies and hurled seven innings of shutout baseball with five punchouts in that outing. In his three starts with the Phillies since scuffling as a member of the Texas Rangers, Smyly owns a 10.00 K/9 to go along with a 3.00 ERA while allowing one earned runs or fewer in two of those three starts. The Giants enter this one ranked 29th with a .286 wOBA on the season against left-handed pitching and their 24% strikeout rate versus lefties is the 10th-highest mark in baseball. This is a GPP play to be sure as someone like Buehler would make the best cash play, but I am going to roll the dice and look for Smyly to give us 6-7 innings of one-two run ball with 7-10 strikeouts in this one tonight.
C/1B – Paul Goldschmidt (STL) – $3,500 vs. PIT
The Pirates and Cardinals renew hostilities tonight from St. Louis and the Cardinals get a very good matchup against right-hander Chris Archer who has struggled mightily on the road this season. Entering this one tonight, Archer sports a 7.14 ERA on the road while his 5.55 FIP and massive 2.54 HR/9 against on the road don’t exactly paint a much prettier picture, either. Archer is also putting plenty of base runners aboard with a 4.63 BB/9 on the road as well, so there’s plenty to like about the run-scoring upside of the Cardinals tonight. Entering Goldschmidt who has turned things around at the plate as he has been hitting for a ton of power since the All-Star break with a massive .337 ISO, .880 OPS, .355 wOBA and a 121 wRC+ in that time. The power numbers look better against lefties as he owns a .254 ISO against them compared to a .199 mark against righties, but let’s also keep in mind that 19 of his 26 homers and all 13 of his doubles this season have come against a right-handed pitcher. He went on an epic six-game home run streak late in July, and while he hasn’t registered a hit in each of his last four games, tonight seems like a good opportunity to break out of that mini-slump as he’s 3 for 10 (.300) with a double and a homer in his career against Archer. Considering the right-hander’s road struggles, I love the upside Goldy brings to the dish with him tonight.
2B – Kolten Wong (STL) – $2,700 vs. PIT
Continuing with our four-man Cardinals stack is Wong who brings some nice value upside to the table given the pop and stolen base upside he brings, but also because he’s enjoyed some real nice success against Archer despite a relatively small sample size as well. Wong sits with eight home runs on the season, but also 15 steals. The numbers are actually better against left-handed pitching, but the stolen base upside is much better against righties. Wong has also hit 15 of his 18 doubles against a right-handed pitcher, but the power numbers are better against lefties as three of his eight homers have come against a southpaw despite seeing more than three times more at-bats against righties than he has lefties. Still, 12 of his 15 stolen bases have come against a right-handed pitcher. Now, the bad news here is that Wong hasn’t homered since June 14th and has just one steal since June 25th. However, we might as well use him at the second base spot to cap a high-upside stack against a struggling pitcher, and also a pitcher that Wong has gone 3 for 6 against with a double and a home run. I maintain confidence in his value upside tonight.
3B – Hunter Dozier (KC) – $3,800 vs. DET
The Detroit Tigers will call up right-hander Edwin Jackson for this one tonight as they claimed him off waiver from the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the season. Jackson was outright terrible for the Jays in 2019, posting a ghastly 11.12 ERA, 8.97 FIP, 6.46 xFIP and a massive 3.81 HR/9 across five starts and eight appearances. With the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate, Jackson was still battered to the tune of a 5.87 ERA, 6.76 FIP and a 7.75 xFIP to go along with a minuscule 2.35 K/9 that was exactly half of his 4.70 BB/9 rate. In other words, Jackson has been terrible wherever he’s pitched this season, so a four-man Royals stack is mandatory on this slate. Enter Dozier who continued his breakout season at the plate last night as he homered twice in the 10-8 loss. He’s now homered 20 times on the season and owns a .258 ISO across 94 games. The splits are fairly even, but the slight advantage is when he faces righties as he owns a .256 ISO, .916 OPS, .379 wOBA and a 137 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching. The power numbers increase to a .285 ISO and .907 OPS on the season against righties on the road. He’s white-hot at the plate right now as he’s enjoyed a two-homer game in two of his last seven and has recorded multiple hits in four of his last seven. Heck, he even stolen a base on Wednesday in Boston. There’s a ton of power upside here against a pitcher whose allowed a ton of home runs in a short period of time in big league action this season.
SS – Paul DeJong (STL) – $3,300 vs. PIT
Continuing with our three-man Cardinals stack, DeJong gives us some more power/speed upside in this lineup tonight. The stolen base upside isn’t huge as DeJong has just six steals on the season, but it’s certainly present, as is the power he has cracked 19 long balls on the season and owns an ISO north of .200 at .206. The good news with DeJong is that the splits are reversed as the righty-swinging shortstop has hit for more power against right-handed pitching than he has lefties this season. Entering tonight’s contest, DeJong owns a .215 ISO, .797 OPS, .334 wOBA and a 107 wRC+ on the season against righties, numbers that sit above his .167 ISO, .764 OPS, .328 wOBA and a 103 wRC+ on the season against left-handed pitching. The stolen base upside gets increased a little bit against Archer who is a little susceptible to the stolen base with seven steals against in 107.2 innings this season. Finally, DeJong has picked it back up in the second half of the season as he owns a .284 ISO since July 12th and is 8 for 22 (.364) with two doubles, a homer, four runs scored and two RBI over his last six games.
OF – Marcell Ozuna (STL) – $3,700 vs. PIT
Completing our four-man Cardinals stack is outfielder Marcell Ozuna who not too long ago returned from a lengthy IL stint. It’s too bad as Ozuna was enjoying a quality season at the plate as he’s homered 21 times and owns a .252 ISO across 83 games. Furthermore, Ozuna has added a speed element to his game this season as he’s stolen nine bases already, which is a massive number considering he stole just 14 bases through the first six years of his MLB career prior to this point. Tonight will mark just the sixth game Ozuna has played since June 28th, but the good news is that he hit a home run in his most recent game on Wednesday against the Dodgers. Like with DeJong, the splits are reverse for the righty-swinging Ozuna, but this time to a massive degree. Now, he’s homerered four times against a lefty in just 49 at-bats against them, so his .245 ISO against lefties sits just under his .254 mark against righties, but his .878 OPS, .364 wOBA and 127 wRC+ against righties towers over his .588 OPS, .238 wOBA and 44 wRC+ against lefties on the season. He’s hitting righties for a .225 ISO, .834 OPS, .347 wOBA and 115 wRC+ at home against right-handed pitching this season. He’s gone just 2 for 10 in his career against Archer, but both hits went for doubles so I have no problem using the power/speed combination of Ozuna in this one tonight.
OF – Whit Merrifield (KC) – $3,400 vs. DET
We will complete this lineup with a trio of Royals outfielders who should be able to do notable damage against this Tigers pitching staff in this one tonight, beginning here with the dynamic Whit Merrifield. Keep in mind that we aren’t just facing a very bad starting pitcher in Edwin Jackson, but we’re also facing a Tigers bullpen that ranks 26th with a 5.08 ERA on the season, and considering the lack of length Jackson has given his teams this season, we will likely see plenty of that Tigers ‘pen in this one tonight. Merrifield enters this one with some quality power and speed potential as he’s homered 12 times on the season and swiped 16 bases as well. There’s no doubt that the power is increased against lefties, but Merrifield’s average and OBP are much better against righties and his .844 OPS against righties outweighs his .817 mark against lefties while his 122 wRC+ against righties also outweighs his 107 mark against lefties. Interestingly, he’s swiped eight bases against each handedness. Merrifield’s most productive work indeed comes on the road against righties as he owns a .172 ISO, .882 OPS, .371 wOBA and a 131 wRC+ on the season against right-handers on the road. He’s recorded four consecutive multi-hit games entering this one with two doubles in that time, so he’s clearly entering with a red-hot bat and should give us plenty of value out of the leadoff spot in this one.
OF – Alex Gordon (KC) – $2,900 vs. DET
Next man up in the four-man Royals stack is Gordon who got in on the fun last night with a home run. It wasn’t just an ordinary home run as Gordon unleashed a mammoth 454-foot blast to give the Royals the lead at that point. Despite his age of 35, Gordon is still bringing reasonable power/speed upside to the table with 12 home runs and five stolen bases on the season. He also continues to put up some quality numbers against right-handed pitchers with a .165 ISO, .794 OPS, .334 wOBA and 106 wRC+ on the season versus opposite-handed pitching. The numbers slip a little bit on the road against righties, but clearly the road didn’t affect him in last night’s contest with that mammoth blast. The home run actually marked just the third hit Gordon has recorded since July 28th, so perhaps the booming blast put will put some confidence into his bat entering play tonight. Against a pitcher like Jackson, there’s a very good chance it did.
UTIL – Jorge Soler (KC) – $3,600 vs. DET
Completing our lineup and four-man Royals stack against these Tigers is Soler who has broken out with some massive power this season, and the good news is that the vast majority of it has come against right-handed pitching, giving us another player in this lineup with some reverse-splits. Soler has launched 31 home runs on the season and owns a .273 ISO as a result. His previous career-high came with the Cubs in 2016 when he hit 12 home runs. 26 of his 31 long balls on the season have come against right-handed pitching as he enters this one sporting a massive .304 ISO and .904 OPS versus righties to go along with a .372 wOBA and 132 WRC+ against righties as well. The power maintains on the road as well as he’s posted a .303 ISO, .881 OPS, .365 wOBA and a 127 wRC+ on the road against righties this season. Soler actually didn’t record a hit in last night’s eight-run output, however it’s nice to see that Soler has one career plate appearance against Jackson, and that plate appearance resulted in a home run. There is a mass amount of home run potential here given Soler’s reverse splits and Jackson 3.81 HR/9 against on the season and the fact that that numbers jumps to a massive 5.79 HR/9 against right-handed bats, so it’s nice to have three right-handed power bats in this lineup against the veteran tonight.