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It’s been a while since any Tuesday slate was so stacked at starting pitcher. Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale, Mike Clevinger and Lance Lynn will all toe the rubber among the evening’s 15 games. While DraftKings listed Zack Greinke as the slate’s starter for Houston as of Monday evening, Gerrit Cole is scheduled to work the second game of the doubleheader. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about Lance Lynn, Matt Boyd, Domingo German, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Jack Flaherty.
DFS gamers, however, won’t want to tie up too much money on pitching with the Rockies hosting the Diamondbacks at Coors Field. This leaves DraftKings contestants with two options. They can either pair an expensive ace with a low-end bargain, or they can deploy two upper-mid-tier hurlers. Let’s take Path A.
Top SP: Clayton Kershaw, LAD ($11,800) at MIA [SCRATCHED]
Kershaw is no longer the best pitcher on the planet. He may not even be the best pitcher on the slate. Cole (or Greinke) also gets a cupcake matchup against the White Sox. Sale and Clevinger give the Dodgers’ southpaw a run for his money as well, but they cannibalize each other’s value in an epic head-to-head clash. Although he’s no longer going to deliver an ERA title or Cy Young Award, Kershaw provides cash-contest gamers a remarkably safe floor. He has worked at least six innings in all 20 starts this season, allowing four earned runs apiece in the three not classified as quality starts. The last one of those occurred June 29 at Coors Field.
Since that trip to Colorado, the 31-year-old has posted a 1.66 ERA and 39 strikeouts in six starts, highlighted by six shutout frames and a season-high 10 punchouts against Miami on July 20. This rematch takes place at the even more spacious Marlins Park, so Kershaw is well worth the hefty price because of his remarkable reliability.
NOTE: The Dodgers have pushed Kershaw’s start back to Wednesday. Dustin May will take his place and presents an excellent value at $7,500. Consider pairing him with one of the three top starters listed below.
Value SP: Eric Lauer, SD ($6,200) vs. TB
You get what you pay for in Lauer, an unassuming southpaw with a 4.51 ERA and 18.8% strikeout rate for the Padres. He has yielded a .397 wOBA after 6.87 ERA after the All-Star break, so this could certainly end poorly. He’s also dirt cheap despite carrying a 2.89 at home this season. San Diego will host the Rays, who are among MLB’s leaders in strikeout rate against lefties.
1B Daniel Murphy, COL ($4,200) vs. ARI (RHP Gallen)
As of Monday, Murphy was hitting .316 with eight homers since the start of June. While yet to touch them all in August, the 34-year-old has leveraged Coors Field to a .349/.396/.513 slash line. He’s also garnering some atypical reverse splits this season, but Murphy has mustered a career .354 wOBA against right-handed pitchers. When last in Colorado, he cost $4,700-$5,200 during a three-game set against the Giants. Although Gallen wields a 2.40 ERA in a superb debut season, getting the first baseman for this price at home is too great an opportunity to pass up.
I almost went a week without picking Machado, but then my middle infielder of note got absorbed into the stack. Unlike in prior write-ups, the depreciated cost is at least understandable due to his dull August. He’s still, however, a star who has sliced southpaws to a 204 wRC+ in 2019. While McKay has shined early in his career, he has already served up six homers to righties in as many starts.
I nearly highlighted Ross as my value pitcher, as he has tossed 11.1 scoreless innings over his last two starts with help from a new curveball. He also has a 6.75 ERA this season and career .304/.378/.479 slash line allowed to opposing lefties. That makes Winker the better bargain to exploit. He’s hitting .316/.419/.506 in the second half and .281/.361/.517 against righties after taking Erick Fedde deep Monday night. With the platoon advantage in his favor, the 25-year-old corner outfielder should draw another leadoff assignment against an unproven starter backed by a leaky bullpen. The price is awfully generous given his matchup and recent form.
Arizona was originally the play, but that won’t hold up if David Peralta misses another game with a stiff neck. At the very least, it’s a tough stack to forecast before seeing Tuesday’s lineup card. Let’s instead turn to a lesser hitter’s park for a better offense and easier opponent.
Why fight it? Gleyber Torres is facing the Orioles, so he is going to hit nine home runs. Maybe 10 if Aaron Boone doesn’t play the percentages and pinch-hit for him in the ninth. The middle infielder already has 13 blasts against the feeble AL East foe this season after going yard three times during yesterday’s doubleheader. He also flaunts a career 130 wRC+ against lefties, and Means has permitted 15 runs in 19 innings since returning from the injured list.
Aaron Judge is available for the same price. Even in an underwhelming season, the behemoth slugger is crushing lefties to a .328/.468/.574 slash line. He’s also batting .312 at home. The fun might stop with that duo for those rostering Kershaw, as D.J. LeMahieu and Gio Urshela each cost $5,000. Then again, Gary Sanchez may never again be as cheap as $4,300 at home against a vulnerable southpaw.
Honorable Mentions: Diamondbacks at Rockies (Gray); Rockies vs. Diamondbacks (Gallen).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is akgould4) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games on which I offer advice. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings, and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any nonpublic information.
Graphic by Justin Paradis (@FreshMeatComm on Twitter).