Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics

Only a five-game slate is taking place Thursday night starting at 7:05 p.m. ET. We’ve entered the weird zone of baseball where teams are running out absurd lineups ahead of playoffs. Now more than ever is important to keep track of that as it can open up opportunities for pitchers you might normally have been off of or vice versa. Let’s get into the information for tonight and as always, you can reach out on Twitter @SBuchanan24.

Game Notes

Largest Favorite

Note: This section highlights the pitcher whose team is the largest favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Zack Wheeler, $10,200, NYM (-245) vs. MIA (+210) — A day after being eliminated from playoff contention, the Mets are the big favorites on tonight’s five-game slate. Wheeler has dominated the Marlins in his two prior starts this season, allowing just two runs on 17 hits and 16 strikeouts through 15 innings. Those numbers equal a .268 wOBA, 2.42 xFIP and a 25.4 K%. He’s the second-most expensive pitcher on this slate behind Sean Manaea ($10,400), who continues to look good since returning to the A’s rotation. As for Wheeler, he hasn’t allowed more than an earned run in five straight starts, a span he’s averaging 20.4 DKFP through.

Highest Total

HOU (-235) vs. LAA (+205) 10 runs — This is the only game that has a projected total in double digits. The Astros, who are pitching Wade Miley ($6,500), are the big favorites here against Jaime Barria ($4,600). As you’d expect, Barria hasn’t performed well against the ‘Stros, allowing eight runs on 11 hits through eight innings while averaging only 1.5 DKFP. It’s no secret the Astros smash lefties and have a team .368 wOBA, .234 ISO and 134 wRC+, all of which are amongst the highest in the league. As I mentioned earlier, we have to look at how the lineups shake out as teams are resting starters ahead of the playoffs, but regardless, stacking against Barria is an ideal strategy to implement.

Weather Concerns

No weather concerns!

Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters

Worst vs. LHB, wOBA, xFIP
Felix Hernandez, .395, 4.40
Dylan Cease, ,380, 5.09
Joe Musgrove, .336, 4.32

Best vs. LHB, wOBA, xFIP
Jordan Yamamoto, .250, 4.71
Jose Quintana, .264, 3.36
Wade Miley, .282, 4.18

Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters

Worst vs. RHB, wOBA, xFIP
Jaime Barria, .426, 5.86
Felix Hernandez, .374, 5.54
Jose Quintana, .330, 4.50

Best vs. RHB, wOBA, xFIP
Sean Manaea, .206, 5.54
Zack Wheeler, .274, 3.52
Joe Musgrove, .293, 4.41

Top Hard-Hit%

This section will populate with the hitters that have the top hard-hit% over the past seven days. This percentage can help distinguish who is swinging the bat well over the course of the past week. I’ll be updating this daily so we have a consistent flow of names in this section.

Name, Team, Salary, Hard-Hit%
Chad Pinder, OAK, $3300, 81.8%
Kyle Schwarber, CHC, $4800, 64.7%
Kevan Smith, LAA, $3400, 64.3%
Matt Chapman OAK, $4100, 62.5%
Jared Walsh, LAA, $3000, 62.5%

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Sean Manaea, OAK vs. SEA, $10,400 — Manaea has been rolling, so why stop now? He faces a Mariners club that was nearly no-hit by Zack Greinke last night and over their past five games are averaging 3.4 runs per game. They provide some tremendous strikeout upside against lefties with a 24.8 K%, which is the sixth-highest in the league. Even though he’s the most expensive pitcher on this slate, it hardly feels like you’re paying up as he’s only $10,400.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Matt Olson, OAK vs. SEA, $4,600 — Olson will draw a matchup against Felix Hernandez ($5,400), who continues to struggle on the mound. His numbers against lefties are truly awful, and he brings with him a .395 wOBA and a 4.40 xFIP. Olson has been crushing the ball in the month of September with a .384 wOBA, .345 ISO and eight of his 35 home runs he’s hit this season.

Save Big by Drafting…

Jason Heyward, CHC vs. PIT, $3,900 — Joe Musgrove ($7,700) has seen his share of struggles against lefties, setting up a nice matchup for Heyward. He’s been having a good month of September, which is not something we can say for the rest of the Cubs. Regardless, he’s posted a .340 wOBA, .188 ISO and 109 wRC+ heading up to tonight. As for Musgrove, when he’s facing lefties, he has a .336 wOBA and a 4.32 xFIP.

Stack Em Up

HOU vs. LAA (Jaime Barria) — The Astros still have something to play for, so I expect them to run out a normal lineup this evening. With a win, they would clinch home-field advantage throughout the ALCS, if they make it that far. With a gas can like Barria on the mound, they should have no problems wrapping that up. Through 16 1/3 innings during September, Barria has allowed a .399 wOBA with a 6.26 xFIP and seven of the 22 home runs he’s given up.

Favorite Prop Bet

Houston Astros OVER 5.5 runs (-132)

Imagine betting the under on this team total?

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