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OwnersBox – Early slate (5 games) – starts at 3:09 p.m. EDT / Main slate (7 games) – starts at 7:06 p.m. EDT
DK/FD – Early slate (5 games) – starts 3:10 p.m. EDT / Main slate (7 games) – starts at 7:07 p.m. EDT
Nothing too serious going on, so feel free to consider any game.
Honestly, there are not a lot of inspiring pitching options in the early slate and the best options outside of Yu Darvish against a punchy Royals lineup are a toss-up between Sonny Gray and Dustin May. On one side we have May, who is utilizing his sinker well but really doesn’t have the high upside you want from a pitcher of his calibre. The swinging strikes just aren’t happening and there is a decent chance he doesn’t make it to the sixth inning. While Sonny Gray has a tougher matchup against the Dodgers, I am willing to throw him out there no matter what. He is dominating any and all lineups he has come up against with his career-high 13.5% Swinging Strike % and 2.95 xFIP. You could say he is even getting slightly unlikely with a .303 BABIP which is his highest in five seasons. The matchup is scary, but Sonny Gray has proven that he is matchup-proof so far this year.
Outside of a brutal two-start stretch against the Mariners and Dodgers, Taijuan Walker has actually been a very effective pitcher this season. Even in those two starts, Walker had 12 Ks in the 7.1 innings and he even put up a quality start in Coors Field in his last start. On Wednesday he gets the Giants at Oracle Park, which should be of benefit to him and his splitter. San Francisco hasn’t exactly been tearing the cover off the ball and all things considered in the early slate, this is a pretty solid matchup. It’s not the sexiest play, but Taijuan Walker can put up some solid points for you in DFS today.
In the main slate, we have an outstanding matchup between Spencer Strider and Nathan Eovaldi waiting for us and I am very excited to see who comes out the victor. We’ll start with Eovaldi, who is on one of the hottest three-game stretches of all time for a pitcher. Seriously look at these numbers in three starts: 25.2 IP, 11 Hs, 0 ER, 3 BBs, 25 Ks. That includes a complete game shutout against the Yankees. Eovaldi has always been a very solid pitcher but this represents a new high for him and facing a tough Atlanta lineup I don’t think we’ll see a repeat. Due to his lower price, I think most DFS players will prefer Eovaldi and that makes it even easier for me to pick Spencer Strider here. I don’t think there is a more electric pitcher in baseball right now and considering Charlie Morton just struck out 10 Rangers in 6.2 shutout innings, Strider should be in for another ho-hum big day.
While Strider/Eovaldi is the matchup of the day, I am intrigued by the CHC/HOU game featuring Drew Smyly and J.P. France. Both the Cubs and Astros have been subpar offenses over the last two weeks, although Houston has put it together a bit in this series. Smyly has been incredible since his terrible first start and he hasn’t allowed more than two ERs since. Feels like we are waiting for the other shoe to drop though and unfortunately this Houston lineup could be the one to finally get to him. France has been very impressive in his first two starts, allowing just one ER in 11.2 innings, although he hasn’t been missing a ton of bats. I expect that to change today against a Cubs lineup that is striking out 27.3% of the time over the last two weeks. His K/9 is just 6.17 in the Majors while it was 12.10 in AAA so I think this is just a better place to play France than Smyly.
If you want to get crazy with it, I don’t hate taking a chance on Matthew Liberatore against the Brewers today. The young lefty struggled in his introduction to the MLB in 2022, which I think was a good preparation for him coming into 2023. He hit the ground running in AAA with a career-best 10.96 K/9 and a manageable 3.33 BB/9. The Brewers’ top bats are lefties for the most part and the lineup in general just doesn’t intimidate me so I can see Liberatore putting up a solid line tonight.
It must be nice to have your team call up your top prospects when your lineup is struggling and I like what Cincinnati has done to bolster their lineup. While they are a little righty heavy, that should play perfectly against Austin Gomber at Coors Field today. I like that the Reds challenged Matt McLain by putting him in the #2 spot in the lineup and he has responded with a hit in both of his first two games. Surrounded by Jonathan India, Spencer Steer, and Tyler Stephenson, Cincy now has a fairly deep lineup that doesn’t feature many easy outs. Don’t forget about Nick Senzel either, as he has quietly put up a .275/.351/.441 slash line this season.
I feel bad for Luis Medina. He is clearly not ready for the majors but Oakland needs starters and he is going to be thrust out to the mound regardless. He faces the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks and their offense that has put up the third-best wRC+ (140) over the last two weeks. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in particular has been en fuego, with six HRs in that span and rookie Dominic Fletcher has been a welcome addition to an already strong lineup. The infusion of youth like Corbin Carroll and Gabriel Moreno has mixed perfectly with veterans like Ketel Marte, Christian Walker, and Evan Longoria and I certainly like an Arizona stack today.
I usually prefer playing Red Sox batters against RHP, but I will make an exception for Marco Gonzales. Justin Turner will be a definite play and if you want to sprinkle in the outfield trio of Alex Verdugo, Masataka Yoshida, and Jarren Duran I wouldn’t blame you. Of course, there is Rafael Devers as well, but I might elect for some value instead with Pablo Reyes back in the majors and hitting the cover off the ball at the bottom of the lineup.
Other bats worth mentioning:
- Kodai Senga has had a roller coaster of an introduction to the MLB and unfortunately for him, he gets Tampa Bay on Wednesday. Yandy Díaz, Wander Franco and Randy Arozarena are all in play of course, but I am a big fan of what Josh Lowe has done this season and will certainly be targeting him today.
- With seven HRs, 17 runs and 15 RBI over the last two weeks, nobody is hotter than Luis Robert Jr. right now. Facing Peyton Battenfield today should keep that train rolling. Opposing Battenfield on the mound is Mike Clevinger and if you wanted to throw caution to the wind and plug in a mini-stack of Steven Kwan, Josh Naylor, Josh Bell, and Andrés Giménez without José Ramírez, I can see it paying off at microscopic rostership.
Hitter Pricing 5-17-23