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The main slate kicks off at 7:10 P.M. ET with the Twins hosting the Indians. The weather is finally clearing up and none of the games for the main slate are in danger of getting delayed or postponed for tonight. Yet, you should always pay attention to the daily lineups to make sure your picks are starting.
Must Play SP: Gerrit Cole, HOU ($22,800) vs SEA
In 3 starts, Cole has struck out 36 batters in 21 innings while maintaining elite ratios.This is a result of Astros motivating Cole to ditch his old approach with the Pirates which was to pitch to contact and adopt a new approach to miss bats instead. This has worked out much better for Cole and this change could make him an elite fantasy option for 2018. The Mariners are not an easy matchup but Cole is a must play for today because of his newfound strikeout potential even though the buyers will have to pay a premium as he is the most expensive SP for tonight’s slate.
Honorable Mention: Jose Berrios, CLE ($21,200) vs CLE
Value SP: Steven Matz, NYM ($12,900) @ WAS
This doesn’t look like a great matchup for Matz since he has to face one of the best offenses in the league and the hottest hitter in Bryce Harper. I am picking Matz based solely on his track record against the Nationals’ batters. Matz carries a 1.97 FIP and a 30% K% against them while the Nationals’ hitters have managed zero home runs and only 10 hits in 62 AB. Plus, Zimmerman has been struggling and Rendon could get another day off as he recovers from a toe injury which leaves Matz with a fairly average lineup to deal with even if it includes Harper and Turner
Honorable Mention: Ricky Porcello, BOS ($15,700) @ LAA
The humidor was all the buzz before the season started and many people were quick to blame the humidor for Goldschmidt’s slow start, but Goldy is out to prove the doubters wrong. He made a fairly strong argument by hitting 4 home runs in 5 games at two of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball, against the Dodger and the Giants. Diamondbacks return home where they are a much better team and Goldschmidt’s avg. was almost 50 points better at home in 2017.
OF: J.D. Martinez, BOS ($9,000) @ LAA (LHP Tyler Skaggs)
Martinez is 1-4 with a Double and 3 strikeouts against Skaggs, which is nothing extraordinary but the Red Sox have been red hot lately and it feels like a huge JD Martinez game is bound to happen anytime now. With Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi batting in front of him, JD should have plenty of RBI opportunities (unless Mookie hits 3 Solo Homeruns again). Also, JD has hit lefties a little better than he has hit righties in his career.
Honorable Mention: Josh Reddick, HOU ($8,000) @ SEA
Carrasco is a great pitcher but Mauer has managed to hit him hard with an average exit velocity of 98.9 mph which has resulted in a .500 average. It is not a small sample size wither as he is 12-24 against Carrasco. Mauer is still a great hitter even if he does not have the power numbers anymore. He often gets overlooked because of his inability to hit home runs or steal bases, but in the right matchups, he can still provide great value.
Honorable Mention: Eddie Rosario, MIN ($5,900) vs CLE
Top Stack: Braves vs Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez)
Don’t let Velasquez fool you with his last two starts since he was able to turn in quality starts in both of them. He faced two of the worst teams in the league –Marlins, Rays. He faced the Braves in his first start of the season and was chased early after giving up 4 runs on 9 hits in only 2.2 IP. I expect this start to be similar to his 2018 debut. While Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies are the obvious choices, also consider these cheaper bats:
Dansby Swanson ($6,900)
Ender Inciarte ($6,400)
Ryan Flaherty ($5,800)
Honorable Mention: Red Sox @ Angels (LHP Tyler Skaggs)