DraftKings/FanDuel – Main slate (10 games) – starts 7:05 PM EDT.
Rain chances for CLE@PIT (multiple delays, slight PPD risk) & SF@CIN (delay risk or unable to finish).
SF@CIN is the top game for HR potential (wind right-to-left, slightly out to left).
Other HR-friendly spots: WAS@CHC & NYY@LAA both with wind blowing out to center.
CLE@PIT has strong XBH potential with slight winds out to left.
Winds blowing in for DET@KC & MIN@SEA.
The top two arms for the day (barring an ace returning from IL which will be covered shortly) are Jesús Luzardo & Logan Webb. Luzardo probably will get most of the ownership since he’s facing STL and Webb has to deal with GABP, but in terms of raw stats, Logan Webb is the PLV darling vs both L & R bats and has a strong K rate vs Ls. CIN also has struggled coming out of the All-Star Break, held to 1-hitters in 2 of the last 3 games.
Luzardo has been a bit of an anomaly for the past 1-2 starts as his PLV stats are trending down, FB+barrel+hard hit rates all trending up, and his gaudy K rate vs Rs is regressing back to the mean, but as long as he can pitch around Nolan Arenado & Paul DeJong he should do fine.
Welcome back Shane McClanahan…speaking of back, are you fully back, or still favoring your back? It sounds like he’s a full go and may have a bit of a chip on his shoulder after being skipped during intros at last week’s All-Star Game. It’s the Rangers though – when he pitched against them last month he had a pretty average day (7 IP, 3 ER, 5 Ks). The key will be avoiding walks, which plagued him in his last 3 starts, and the Rangers aren’t striking out as much vs Ls over the past month. He’ll have some ownership, but will he bring sufficient value for the top-priced pitcher on the slate? Will he pitch his usual workload? That’s a lot of questions for a lot of salary.
He’s not a guy that will wow you with his stuff, but when he’s pitching clean, Miles Mikolas can quietly put together a solid day on the mound. MIA also was recently swept in their series vs BAL, and now has to hit the road again for STL. Since facing MIA 2 weeks ago (4 ER allowed) Mikolas hasn’t given up a run in starts vs CWS & WAS. He’s not going to rack up the Ks, but given his price, he doesn’t need to as a value SP2.
Griffin Canning didn’t have a great start last time vs LAD, not even making it 3 innings and giving up 4 ER with 3 HRs. Prior to that, however, he had a 9 K performance vs ARI (albeit with 5 ER) and a stunner 7 K, 0 ER start in Coors. Now he gets the Yankees flying in from Coors after losing their last 2 series and now tied for the bottom of the AL East. Speculation is that Judge may play in this series after traveling with the team and starting to do some BP, but the team is still struggling mightily without him. All that considered, this is probably more of an acknowledgment of the Yankees’ flaws than Canning’s strengths, but if Luis Severino struggles again on the other side (7 ER allowed in his last two starts) early in the game, Canning might be able to cruise to an easy win.
Are the Twins good now or did they just benefit from playing the As? Probably more of the latter. Logan Gilbert has had 3 good starts out of his last 4 and should do well in a safe pitching environment (and some run support would be nice).
Can Sonny Gray take advantage of the K-happy SEA bats? He’s only managed to get over 5 Ks once in the past 2 months. Both he and Gilbert limit big hits, but Gray has had issues with walks this year and keeping his pitch count down. Both Gilbert and Gray feel like low-end cash SP2s, but might not offer significant upside.
As Logan Webb looks pretty strong going into GABP, targeting the weaker Brandon Williamson with SF bats is the better way to go. The upside power plays here would be Patrick Bailey & Wilmer Flores, but there is a solid case for Austin Slater and/or Luis Matos if you want to make a mini stack either up top or in the middle of the SF lineup.
Nats bats vs Drew Smyly are also a solid play, and if you want to get a little different for tournaments, going extra Nat heavy and light on SF-CIN would be a good strategy. If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that Lane Thomas is a top play vs a lefty, but Alex Call has been almost as good and a great value on both sites. Other value bats for a cheap Nats stack could include Ildemaro Vargas, Riley Adams, or Michael Chavis (check lineup to see which players are in).
Cubs bats are also in play vs MacKenzie Gore. Cody Bellinger is an underrated L-on-L masher, and Miguel Amaya also is not on most players’ radars yet, even though he has 3 doubles vs lefties who throw primarily fastballs in the past month. Ian Happ is likely to be the highest-owned Cubs player.
As referenced earlier, Luis Severino has not been good in his last 2 starts, giving up at least 9 hits and 7 ERs in the process. Safe to say there’s going to be a lot of Shohei Ohtani in DFS lineups. Other options for a stack are Mickey Moniak, Mike Moustakas, and Eduardo Escobar.
For tournaments, one game to target that will likely be low-owned is CLE@PIT, primarily with CLE bats. Quinn Priester is getting the start, and this summary from FanGraphs pretty much sums it up:
“Scouts like Priester, pitch data does not…his report reads like Aaron Sanchez’s did.” (Ouch.) Reports suggest he has a decent curveball, but his fastball is very hittable.
PIT is also likely to be using two rookies on the field – Liover Peguero at SS & Endy Rodriguez at C – which could lead to debut jitters all around. Josh Naylor & Andrés Giménez are the two bats that could take advantage of Priester’s errant fastballs.
DET bats might end up more popular than normal thanks to Jordan Lyles. He’s very susceptible to power lefties, so Riley Greene & Kerry Carpenter are better plays than normal, although the wind blowing in may limit HRs.
Last but not least, BOS faces the As and Paul Blackburn. Blackburn’s vulnerability tends to be reverse splits, making Adam Duvall & Justin Turner standout plays, but Rafael Devers & Triston Casas have been hitting well lately too. A stack with 3 or all 4 of them offers leverage on the field that may focus more on GABP, Wrigley Field, and the Angels.