There are plenty of high strikeout options on this slate. Strasburg, Archer, Darvish and Happ all have 10+ K/9 over the last 30 days. However, the man who tops that list with 12.89 K/9 is Homer Bailey. Now, he has about half the sample size as the other guys, but Bailey is worth pointing out now that he’s back from Tommy John surgery. He’s made three starts since July 31, and has piled on 21 strikeouts in those 14.2 IP. His last outing was a killer eleven strikeout performance in six innings against Milwaukee. You always wonder how careful a team will be with a pitcher coming back from major surgery, but Bailey fired 102 pitches in his last start, so it appears he’s pitching with little to no restrictions. He will face the Marlins who were in the midst of a really good stretch about three weeks ago, but have fallen off with the injury to Giancarlo Stanton. They now rank 20th in wOBA in the last 14 days and 27th in wOBA in the last week.
J.A. Happ continues to deal, but plays an early game, meaning he won’t be available on those popular main slates. Let’s look at Jon Lester, who is certainly a viable option tonight. Over his last five starts, he’s checking in with a solid 2.64 ERA and striking out 31 batters in those 30.2 innings. His opponents are hitter a meager .205 against him, but it’s the matchup that you have to fall in love with tonight. He’s facing the Brewers who own the highest K rate in the league this season and the third highest in the last 30 days. It should be no surprise that they also struggle versus LHP, where they own a 24.2 K%, third worst in the league.
Lester’s counterpart, Jimmy Nelson, looks to be in big trouble tonight. Right off the bat, he has to face the Cubs who can hang a 10 spot on you any given night. They own the league’s third best wOBA this season and continue to cruise along with a top 7 offense this week. Nelson, on the other hand, has been decimated by his opponents. He’s surrendering a 7.43 ERA over his last five starts, which is 19 ER in 23 innings. Even more surprisingly, he’s allowed another nine runs that were unearned. Earned or not they all count the same in the fantasy world! Opponents are hitting a whopping .330 against him with a 1.008 OPS in that span. To put into perspective how good a 1.008 OPS is, that is just worse than Rogers Hornsby‘s career OPS mark and it would rank 7th ALL-TIME IN THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL.
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