Today we have a massive 14 game slate that kicks off at 7:05 tonight. We get a ton of aces on the hill and they are all high priced, so picking the right matchups will be very important. In this, we will also be looking for value since the pitching is pretty expensive today and we want two top-five scoring starters in our lineups.
It’s Kershaw day, and that means he is going to be the highest priced pitcher, and more than likely—the highest owned. Kershaw meets Bumgarner yet again tonight, but this time in Los Angeles. The total is set to just six runs with Kershaw as a -173 favorite. That is unbelievable, really. Kershaw has dominated the Giants over the course of his career, and if the Giants run out the lineup I imagine they do, Buster Posey is the only one with a wOBA greater than .350 off left-handed pitchers. Kershaw gets the plus matchups against Belt, Panik and Span at the top of the lineup. It also appears that the wind will be blowing in hard from center field today, which adds to the positive factors for Kershaw. The Giants have been pretty good about not striking out this season, but Kershaw is a strikeout artist. Last year he finished with a 36.6% strikeout rate at home. That is ridiculous. In their last matchup, Kershaw finished with 21 DK points, which is underperforming given the high salary. He is super safe for cash games and is the top option on the slate. In tournaments there are other options that will carry low ownerships.
If we are looking to save, we could dip down to Chris Sale at $12,200 against the Rays. Sale will be on the road in this matchup, where he is a -126 favorite over Jake Odorizzi. The total in this game is set to 6.5 with both offenses facing top arms. On the road last season, Sale finished with a 34.9% strikeout rate. The Rays haven’t seen much from the left side this season, but Sale will have the platoon matchup against Dickerson, Morrison, Miller and Kiermaier—who have been regulars in the Rays lineup this season. Even if they Guyer, Pearce, Desmond and Souza—which I believe they will, none of those guys strike fear in you. The Rays have been very aggressive at the plate this season, which could benefit Sale big time. It could allow for a high volume of swings and misses and getting deep into the game. As we saw with Kluber, Carrasco and Salazar who all got deep in games this past week against Tampa.
Carlos Martinez ($9,000) is a huge favorite in Vegas today at -180 against the Reds. Martinez will be at home and facing a Reds offense that is striking out in 22.3% of at bats against right-handed pitching this season. Along with that, the Reds are coming off a sweep at the hands of the Cubs and immediately hitting the road. Martinez finished last season with a 24% strikeout rate so there is some strikeout upside for Martinez here. The Reds are also on the road, so the park isn’t playing in their favor either. With some strikeout upside here, Martinez could make a good pairing with a pitcher over $10,000.
Speaking of pitcher at $10,000—why don’t we give Zack Greinke a look today? I know he has been bad to start the season, but let’s not lose sight of how great he has been over the course of his career. Today Greinke gets the strikeout prone Padres, who are traveling back to the west coast from Philly where they were abused by right-handed pitchers. Away from Chase Field, Greinke gets a park upgrade for sure and a juicy matchup. He is currently a -132 favorite over James Shields with the total at 6.5 runs. Whenever I see this Padres lineup, I cannot get over how bad it is. They have been shutout in five of their ten games. People will be off Grienke to pay up for Kershaw, so in tournaments, I am a big fan of Greinke as he will carry a lower ownership with strikeout upside and facing the worst lineup in baseball to this point.
The value doesn’t end there either. Dallas Keuchel is another top-tier pitcher who has struggled in the early going, but we shouldn’t be as surprised since he carried big splits last season, too. He gets the Tigers, who are a tough offense. But if we look at Keuchel’s splits, it may give us some more confidence in the 2015 CY Young winner. In 2015, Keuchel had a .213 wOBA at home and .304 wOBA on the road. That is a pretty big jump. On top of that, he had 139 strikeouts to just 28 walks at home. When he was on the road, he had just 77 strikeouts to 23 walks. Not sure if he is getting some home cooking when in Houston, but those are some bigger splits. Keuchel is also a -175 favorite in this matchup as he faces Mike Pelfrey. He is sure to carry a lower ownership with all of these top-tier options.
On the other end of the Chris Sale matchup, I do like Jake Odorizzi—who will face the White Sox offense. The Sox are off to a pretty good start, but I don’t see much resistance for Odorizzi outside of Eaton and Abreu. The total is set that low for a reason, and it is because Odorizzi is pretty good. At home, Odorizzi has a 23% strikeout rate, which is better than his road rate. Along with that, he faces a lineup that finished 2015 with a 22.5% strikeout rate. He is strictly a tournament option for me, but he is in a good spot.
Consider Garrett Richards against the Twins at just $9,300. The Twins have been dreadful this season and Richards owns a 20.4% strikeout rate. He isn’t my favorite play and is strictly tournaments for me, but the Twins are striking out in 31.7% of at bats against right-handed pitchers thus far.
Cash: Kershaw, Sale, Martinez, Greinke; Bumgarner (didn’t mention, but good matchup)
Tournament: Keuchel, Odorrizi, Richards
I took some extra time today to breakdown my top stacks and I just couldn’t get past the Pirates at home against Jimmy Nelson. While Nelson gets a park boost, he is going to have to deal with some good bats and plus runners. John Jaso should lead off and he is a great option as he owns .358 wOBA against righties and Nelson allows a .376 wOBA to lefties a year ago. Andrew McCutchen Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco are all great plays here as they can contribute against Nelson in multiple ways. Polanco has the platoon, which gives him a slight boost for me—but he and Marte both run and Nelson allowed 24 stolen bases last season with an 80% success rate. He is a prime stolen base target. The total here is set to 7.5 and I like this spot for the Pirates bats with Jaso and Polanco being my two favorite.
The Orioles have been red hot, but hit the road and saw Cole Hamels—who held them in check for the most part. Tonight the Orioles get a weaker left-handed pitcher in Martin Perez. That will bring interest to Mark Trumbo, Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Nolan Reimold. Trumbo has a .364 wOBA against lefties to go along with a .237 ISO. Chris Davis is also in the .200 ISO club against lefties despite being left-handed. From early reports, the wind is blowing in, but that doesn’t concern me too much here as the Orioles have some thump and go against a pitcher with a low strikeout rate.
We can go back to the Astros, who looked horrible yesterday and were an early favorite target for me. I was dead wrong—but they do get a better matchup against Mike Pelfrey tonight. Colby Rasmus has to be a top option with an ISO over .200 and reaching base in each game this season. Preston Tucker and Carlos Correa are two of my other favorite options here as they both have plus-ISO numbers to go along with a good wOBA against right-handed pitchers. I imagine it will be difficult to fit Correa into lineups if you spend up, but Tucker and Rasmus will be affordable options.
This Yankees/Mariners game feels sneaky to me as both pitchers aren’t in phenomenal spots. The Mariners get a big park upgrade coming to New York and have some platoon matchups that could help them out. I’m a Luis Severino fan, but he could end up getting Adam Lind, Robinson Cano and Seth Smith tonight—who all hit right-handed pitching well. Along with those three, Nelson Cruz has hit both lefties and righties well and has plus-power in a small park.
On the other side, we get the Yankees against Nathan Karns, who barely won the fifth starter job. The Yankees will have Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran hitting from the left side and they are all good options here. Ellsbury and Gardner have stolen base upside as Karns allowed 17 of them last season on 77% success rate. The Yankees are also a home favorite and Karns gets a park downgrade in New York.
I would consider a mini-stack in the Padres game as James Shields loves giving up home runs and David Peralta, Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt all have very good wOBA’s with Peralta and Goldschmidt carrying ISO’s greater than .200 against right-handed pitchers.
Seth Smith ($3,300)
Nomar Mazara ($3,300)
Nolan Reimold ($3,100)
Kike Hernandez ($2,700) 2B eligible
Homer of the day
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