Starting at the top today, my number one option is Carlos Carrasco ($11,900) against the Rays. Similar to Kluber just a night ago, Carrasco will face an offense that doesn’t have too much fire power. Yes, they got to the bullpen and opened the game up, but they didn’t hit Kluber much and get a guy who is just as tough tonight. The right hander will face a Rays team striking out over 25% against right-handed pitchers this season, so the strikeout upside is present. Along with that, Carrasco has been better away from home, limiting opponents to a .230 wOBA away from Progressive Field. Along with the drop in wOBA is an uptick in strikeout rate. On the road, Carrasco finished 2015 with a 32.1% strikeout rate compared to a respectable 26.7% at home. While we are mentioning the park, Carrasco gets an upgrade in the park factor tonight, too. The total in this game is set at seven, and Vegas has Carrasco as a slight -105 road favorite over Drew Smyly. The Rays have released a lineup today and it will feature Morrison, Dickerson and Miller in the top-6 batters. Carrasco favored well on both sides of the plate last season, so I am not overly concerned here. The win is not a lock, and Vegas agrees, but Carrasco is my top cash option for sure.
Right on the other side of this matchup is Drew Smyly ($10,400) and he is in a really good spot, too. Smyly was his teammate and fellow southpaw throw seven strong innings against the Indians last night. The Indians enter tonight with a 26% strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers in over 100 plate appearances this season. Smaller sample, yes, but they also struck out 22.7% of the time last season. As a team, Cleveland finished 2015 with a .292 wOBA against left-handed pitching, which leaves Smyly in a good spot here. As stated above, he is a small underdog with a low total—which is currently set at 7. We’re always looking for strikeout upside, and Smyly has it at home—where he finished with a 31.8% strikeout rate in his brief time last year. For his career, he is closer to a 24% strikeout rate at home, which is slightly better than his road rate. It looks like the Indians will go right-handed heavy, so it eliminates some same-handed issues. Overall, I don’t fear the power of this Cleveland team, so Smyly is a good option and saves you $1,500.
How about giving Jerad Eickhoff a look tonight at $7,900? I think this is an interesting spot for Eickhoff as Aaron Nola and Charlie Morton have caused some issues for the Padres the last few nights. Outside of their stint at Coors, this San Diego offense has been brutal. This season they are striking out just about 25% of the time against right-handed pitchers. Yes, they will get Wil Myers back in their lineup, but he hasn’t hit too much outside of Coors. The Padres hit left-handers much better and well, Eickhoff won’t be coming from that side, so this could be trouble yet again. He is a favorite in this matchup tonight and has strikeout upside, finishing with a 24.1% rate last year—which includes a 30.4% strikeout rate against righties last season.
There are a ton of high totals on the board tonight, and yet again we get Coors Field. The total for the Giants-Rockies is currently set at 11.5 in a matchup of Jake Peavy and Jordan Lyles. A year ago, Peavy allowed fly balls on 45% of balls in play. On a warm night at Coors Field, that could cause some issues. I said to stack the Rockies last night, and I will go back to that well tonight. I think Carlos Gonzalez ($4,800) is an elite play, along with Nolan Arenado ($4,900). These two could be easier to fit tonight with the cheaper pitching at the top, so it will be about who they’re paired with. Charlie Blackmon seems to be going under owned, but has power and stolen base upside in this matchup. Posey will most likely be behind the plate and he is great—but Peavy allowed base runners to go 9 of 10 against him last season. Meanwhile Blackmon swiped 43 bags for the Rockies. He presents a combination of upside.
Once again the Red Sox and Orioles have the second highest total on the slate, and wow has there been some power at Fenway this week. The Red Sox are notoriously better at home than they are on the road, and they get another shot to produce tonight. Jimenez allows a higher wOBa to right-handed hitters (.333) than left-handed (.308), so some of the righties stand out here. First off, I am a huge Mookie Betts guy and if you’ve watched, you know why I am. Betts leads off and has pop, which is intriguing. To add to that, Jimenez allowed 22 stolen bases last season, which is the most of any pitcher on this slate. While he slide steps (kind of), he has a long and deliberate delivery that allows base runners the opportunity to advance. Following Mookie, I think Pedroia is a solid play. He has good BvP numbers against Jimenez in a decent 27 PA sample. While I don’t want to pay up at second often, I would if I were to stack Boston. I would also consider Xander Bogaerts in this stack, but again, not huge on paying up at SS. I do think Boston puts up some good numbers tonight, and I like their right-handed bats quite a bit here.
My sneaky stack of the day is the Atlanta Braves against the Washington Nationals. There is a light wind in Washington and it is much warmer than yesterday. If you didn’t know, Stephen Strasburg has been scratched tonight with illness. Tanner Roark will be taking his place and the Braves get a good matchup here. Roark is one of my bottom-5 pitchers today and has allowed a .369 wOBA to left-handed batters. He isn’t much of a strikeout pitcher, so there is sure to be some contact allowed in this matchup. I think that Mallex Smith ($3,300) is a super interesting play today. He doesn’t have too much pop, but he will run you wild. If he puts a ball in the gap, he is getting a double EASY! Freddie Freeman, A.J Pierzynski and Kelly Johnson are my three other favorites in this stack with Freeman and Pierzynski hitting Roark well in their career (Johnson is 0-1 vs. Roark). In a tournament, this stack is going to go so far under owned and could present some real issues. Plus, the Mallex Smith, Pierzynski and Kelly Johnson are $3,300 or less, so it won’t hurt you to stack. It may actually create some more room if you want to pay up for the two stacks above this.
A.J Pierzynski ($3,000)—We punt catcher a lot and he has a .343 wOBA against right-handed pitchers. Tanner Roark has a .369 wOBA against left-handed hitters. In their 8 career matchups, Pierzynski is 6 for 7 with a double and two home runs. He is hitting sixth.
Kelly Johnson ($2,800)—As I stated above, we don’t always like to pay up for second base, but Johnson fits that role tonight. Last year he hit 13 of his 14 home runs of right-handed pitchers and finished with a .326 wOBA against them. He is so unbelievably cheap and hitting fifth. Great spot.
Homer of the day
Mookie Betts vs. Ubaldo Jimenez
If you have any questions, reach me on Twitter @JFerrie23!
Best of luck!