Last night’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks were literally directly on the cash line in my GPPs and I earned a tiny profit in these contests.
Our starting pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, gave up a double and a homer to begin the game, putting himself in a big hole. However, the end result was quite admirable as he hurled six innings of three-run ball to go along with seven strikeouts in the no decision. He earned a quality start for the ninth time over his last 10 starts.
Our three-man Cardinals stack did well in what was an unbelievable sighting – a 10-run first inning in their 13-1 win over the Braves in Game 5 of the NLDS. Kolten Wong led the way with a single, a double, a walk, two runs scored and two RBI. Dexter Fowler also scored two runs and drove in two while doubling and walking as well. Finally, Paul Goldschmidt singled twice and scored a run.
Our three-man Braves stack wasn’t as productive, but we did get a home run from Josh Donaldson. Unfortunately, Dansby Swanson and Adam Duvall both posted zeros and hurt our lineup big-time in the process.
Finally, our Nationals mini-stack came through in a big way, mostly on the back of Juan Soto. Soto tied the game with a long solo home run in the eighth inning after singling home a run earlier in the game. He was also intentionally walked and scored a pair of runs in the Nationals wild late-game comeback to steal Game 5 from the hometown Los Angeles Dodgers.
It was nice to net some profits, however small they may be, and we’ll move onto tonight’s single-game slate featuring Game 5 of the ALDS between the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays from Minute Maid Park in Houston.
MVP – Tommy Pham (TB) – $7,000 vs. HOU
The Tampa Bay Rays went home with a 2-0 series deficit and return to Houston all tied up in the best-of-five ALDS after touching up co-ace Justin Verlander for four runs in less than four innings of work on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field. While the Rays face another Cy Young candidate in Gerrit Cole on Thursday, their bats enter this one riding plenty of confidence and despite Cole’s historic run of success, I am going to line up a Rays stack for GPPs and see if they can pull off the unthinkable and send the heavily-favored Astros home packing in the first round. Pham was the straw that stirred the drink in Game 4 as he hit a first-inning home run off of Verlander as part of a three-hit night to lead the way for the Rays. Pham is now hitting .385 with a 1.138 OPS for the series to this point with a pair of homers in that time. Keep in mind there’s also some real nice stolen base upside as Pham swiped a base in Game 1 of the series after stealing 25 bases in the regular season. He was also only caught just four times, posting an 86.2% success rate in stolen base attempts on the campaign. Finally, Pham has had big-time success in his career against Cole, going 10 for 21 (.476) with two doubles, a homer and two stolen bases. Out of the projected two-hole, I think Pham’s cross-category potential is worthy of MVP status tonight.
All-Star – Ji-Man Choi (TB) – $5,500 vs. HOU
Choi, becoming a cultural hero in Tampa Bay, hasn’t done a ton at the plate in terms of a batting average as he’s hitting just .154 for the series. However, Choi hit a home run in Game 3 to help the Rays extend the series and got on base four more times in Game 4 with a single and three walks to his credit. So, his batting average might be just .154, but his OBP is .421 and his OPS is .806 through four games of this ALDS matchup. If you’ve followed Choi through his career, you know that he has made his money hitting right-handed pitching for power while retaining some quality on-base skills against them. For his regular season career, Choi has hit right-handed pitching for a .228 ISO, .844 OPS, .356 wOBA and a real nice 127 wRC+ mark. Those are actually very good numbers and ones that warrant every day duty in the big leagues to be sure. In 2019, Choi smacked righties to the tune of a .219 ISO, .869 OPS, .364 wOBA and a 132 wRC+. He also hit them for a .238 ISO, .910 OPS, .379 wOBA and a 142 wRC+ on the road. Lastly, Choi has also enjoyed success against Cole, going 3 for 8 (.375) with a double and a homer against him. He’s a patient hitter and while Cole doesn’t walk many with just a 2.03 BB/9 for the regular season, he also knows how to hit the best of right-handed pitchers for plenty of power.
UTIL – Avisail Garcia (TB) – $6,000 vs. HOU
Next man up in this Astros stack is Garcia who is projected to hit in the cleanup spot tonight, just behind Pham and Choi, so a powerful night from Garcia could mean big things for this lineup to be sure. Garcia homered in helping the Rays knock off the A’s in the AL Wild Card game, and he enjoyed a big Game 4 in helping the Rays reach this Game 5 as well. Garcia recorded four hits in Game 4 while scoring a run, albeit none of the hits were of the extra-base variety. Still, Garcia enjoyed a nice bounce back season with the Rays this year in which he clubbed 2o home runs and actually stole 10 bases as well across an injury-shortened 122-game season. Garcia has largely done his damage against left-handed pitching in his big league tenure, but this season the damage was superior against right-handed pitching. Against righties, he hit .291 with a .180 ISO, .805 OPS, .337 wOBA and a 114 wRC+ – all of which were superior to his numbers against lefties save for the ISO mark that was ever-so-slightly higher against lefties at .185. Garcia appears confident at the plate and I don’t think the situation will get to him tonight despite facing one of the toughest right-handers in baseball in Gerrit Cole.
UTIL – Brandon Lowe (TB) – $6,000 vs. HOU
Lowe didn’t do a ton for us as the MVP in Game 4 when he went 1 for 5, albeit with a double, but I am going to go back with him tonight as he did some serious damage against right-handed pitching in the regular season and I see plenty of value in his price as a result. Lowe was on pace to be right in the thick of the American League Rookie of the Year discussion before getting hurt in early July, missing roughly 10 weeks. However, Lowe still managed to hit 17 home runs in just 82 games played, 14 of which came against a right-handed pitcher. He went on to post a ,265 ISO, .899 OPS, .373 wOBA and a 138 wRC+ against right-handed pitching on the season. Lowe upped those marks to a .283 ISO, .937 OPS, .386 wOBA and a 147 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching on the road. It’s also worth noting that Lowe brings a little bit of stolen base upside to the table as he’s swiped five bases in those 82 games this season – all five of which have come against a right-handed pitcher. He’s hitting just .211 with a .671 OPS in this series, but something tells me Lowe might be saving the best for last in this do-or-die matchup this evening.
UTIL – Alex Bregman (HOU) – $9,500 vs. TB
The lone Astro in this lineup is going to be Bregman who could very well end up taking home the American League MVP award after Mike Trout went down with a late-season injury that could indeed turn the tide. Bregman is coming off a season in which he hit 41 home runs and posted a .296 ISO while managing an enormous 168 wRC+ as well. Oh, and he also stole five bases to give him a touch of stolen base upside in this one as well. Yes, the numbers were notably better against lefties as he gets set to face right-hander Tyler Glasnow in this one, however I’m not about to argue with the .256 ISO, .945 OPS, .397 wOBA and 154 wRC+ Bregman posted against right-handed pitching this season, either. Bregman has a hit in every game this series including a double and a homer to go along with a .385 average and 1.192 OPS as well. He’s scored five runs on top of his RBI and three walks to boot. There’s not much to else to say about Bregman except he’s been the team’s best all-around hitter and perhaps the best all-round hitter in the AL this season, so let’s go ahead and get him into this lineup if we can afford him.