Thursday brings us a not-so-generous choice of games to pick from. With only three night games on the schedule, we’ll focus mostly on the early, five-game slate on DraftKings starting at 12:20 EST.
Ian Anderson showed some signs of coming around in his last start against the Marlins, picking up nine strikeouts (34.8% CSW) and two earned runs across five innings. The road Rockies and their league-worst .278 team wOBA on the road present a buying opportunity for Anderson. And as if we needed the slate to get any shorter, the weather in Atlanta could be a concern, so keep an eye out for that. Reynaldo López is a strong favorite (-175) at least but the lack of swing and misses on his slider (13.8% CSW) his last start out are a legitimate concern. Germán Márquez seems like a contrarian-type option for tournaments given that he’s a road dog. Atlanta has been a decent offense since August 1st (.326 wOBA, tenth). The Padres came alive last night for seven runs but they’ve been, perhaps sneakily, one of the worst offenses since August 1st (.286 team wOBA, 29th). However, Kevin Gausman’s splitter didn’t return the whiffs you’d like to see (3/32) his last time out. For better or worse, I usually don’t pay attention to home/road splits, but this late in the season it is curious to see Tyler Mahle’s splits so drastic. *He’s got a 1.97 ERA and 0.99 WHIP on the road versus a 6.09 ERA and 1.57 WHIP at home. He’s got a nice draw against the Pirates (.287 team wOBA since August 1st, 28th) awaiting him this afternoon.
*Reversed his splits by mistake. They’re correct now.
Bats and Stacks
- CIN (6.0) at PIT Connor Overton (RHP) 11.1% K-BB, .239 xwOBA, 0.78 WHIP, 2.42 xERA: Overton was claimed off waivers by the Pirates and pitched just an inning (15 pitches) back on the 12th so this has all the makings of a bullpen game and, as a result, we should have interest in the Reds offense. Leadoff man Jonathan India has shown off a tremendous .378 OBP and is priced affordably at $4,100. Joey Votto (.400 xwOBA this year) will have the platoon advantage, making him one of the slate’s best options at first base at $4,600.
- CWS (4.7) vs LAA Alex Cobb (RHP) 17.7% K-BB, .300 xwOBA, 1.26 WHIP, 3.86 xERA: We haven’t seen Cobb in a while; he made his last appearance back on July 23rd before being sidelined with a wrist injury. He hasn’t made a rehab start and given his long layoff he could struggle some in his first appearance back. Both Yoán Moncada (.353 xwOBA) and Eloy Jiménez (.326 xwOBA) stand out at $3,700 and $3,800 respectively. Yasmani Grandal (.412 xwOBA) looks like the top option at catcher, although Perez certainly isn’t far behind.
- OAK (5.2) at KC Daniel Lynch (LHP) 8.5% K-BB, .367 xwOBA, 1.61 WHIP, 6.07 xERA: The lefty Lynch has ceded a .379 xwOBA to RHB this year, putting Starling Marte (.352 xwOBA), Josh Harrison (.340 xwOBA), and Mark Canha (.336 xwOBA) on the immediate radar. Chad Pinder (.332 xwOBA) is a potential punt play. Lynch has allowed just a .279 xwOBA to LHB this year, so the splits aren’t in Matt Olson’s favor, still, his power upside is unmatched.
- KC (4.9) vs OAK Paul Blackburn (RHP) 10% K-BB, .334 xwOBA, 1.57 WHIP, 4.89 xERA: As if you needed another reason to play Salvador Perez (.371 xwOBA), Blackburn has showed some reverse splits this season, with just a 10.6% K rate against RHB and a .356 xwOBA allowed. Andrew Benintendi (.326 xwOBA) looks like a decent value, hitting cleanup at just $3,200.
- SF (4.6) vs SD Pierce Johnson (RHP) It looks like the Padres are going with an opener today, as Johnson has been used out of the pen all year. The Giants have been one of the biggest surprises of the season; their lineup is producing a .329 wOBA, fourth in baseball. Buster Posey is a candidate to get the day off after catching last night. Brandon Belt (.359 xwOBA), Brandon Crawford (.351 xwOBA), Kris Bryant (.347 xwOBA), Evan Longoria (.381 xwOBA), LaMonte Wade (.350 xwOBA), and leadoff man Tommy La Stella (.330 xwOBA) round out a formidable lineup.
- The 6:05 Slate: If you are playing the night slate, I wish you the best of luck in choosing a second pitcher to pair with Framber Valdez. I suppose it would almost have to be Kyle Hendricks by default. Yikes. Speaking of Hendricks, he’s allowed a .351 xwOBA to lefties, so we should see plenty of Bryce Harper (.427 xwOBA). The Cubs could be a potential lineup to consider depending on who Joe Girardi decides to start tonight’s game. The other chalk bat should be Nelson Cruz (.370 xwOBA) as the Rays get the susceptible southpaw Tyler Alexander. The Astros are the other spot for offense because Glenn Otto has shown some pretty sharp splits; his K rate drops from 34.2% against RHB to just 16.7% against LHB, so I would have the most interest in Kyle Tucker (.402 xwOBA) and Yordan Alvarez (.383 xwOBA).