There are three options for Showdown contests Tuesday: Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox (4:40 p.m. ET), Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies (8:40 p.m. ET) and Tampa Bay Rays at San Diego Padres (10:10 p.m. ET). The largest contest is the MLB Showdown $35K Early Bird Special [$10K to 1st] (HOU vs. CWS), which is the game this article will focus on.
White Sox’ leadoff hitter Leury Garcia (illness) was a late scratch from Sunday’s game and remained out of the lineup Monday prior to the game being rained out, and his status for Tuesday is uncertain. Fantasy owners can get up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups by downloading the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter at @DKLive.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
FIVE BETTING TRENDS
— Games at Guaranteed Rate Field average a total of 9.4 runs.
— The average winning margin at Guaranteed Rate Field is 4.1 runs.
— Chicago White Sox win 48.3% of games at Guaranteed Rate Field.
— The Astros come back to win after trailing through five innings 21.4% of the time.
— The Astros are 64-54 on the run line.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
This game is Game 1 of a Tuesday doubleheader after Monday’s rainout, and Monday’s probable starters of Zack Greinke ($11,000) and Dylan Cease ($10,800) are expected to take the mound for the Astros and White Sox, respectively. Greinke is making his second start for the Astros after being traded from the Diamondbacks at the trade deadline. Greinke was excellent in Arizona, and it’s possible he pitches even better going forward as the Astros are well-regarded for their elite pitching development. The Astros encourage their pitchers to throw their best pitches more often, even if those pitches are offspeed pitches, and Greinke’s fastball rate was cut down in his first start with Houston. Greinke threw his four-seam fastball on 33% of his pitches in his first start with the Astros, down from 42% with the Diamondbacks. Instead, Greinke threw his changeup and curveball more often, with his changeup rate rising to 31%, up from 22% with Arizona, and his curveball rate rising to 20%, up from 13% with Arizona. Greinke’s changeup and curveball get more swings and misses than his fastball and have had better outcomes by OPS against, so Greinke is a candidate for better strikeouts and better run prevention if the boosted offspeed usage rate holds going forward.
Greinke’s matchup against the White Sox is strong. Chicago has struck out in the fourth highest percentage of its plate appearances and ranks as the fourth worst offense by wOBA, making the matchup look ripe for strikeouts and run prevention. The White Sox also still are missing their best hitter, Yoan Moncada, who is out with a hamstring injury.
Since Greinke is an excellent pitcher — his park- and league-adjusted ERA and FIP on the season are both significantly better than average — White Sox hitters are in a tough spot. Greinke’s one flaw is he doesn’t throw hard, sitting about 90 mph on his fastball, and SS Tim Anderson ($7,400) has been Chicago’s best hitter against pitches 90 mph or less this season, producing a .382 wOBA, better than the league average of .297 on pitches of 90 mph or less. Anderson also was slotted second in the batting order in Monday’s pre-rainout lineup, giving him a strong lineup slot for fantasy production. Eloy Jimenez ($6,200) and Jose Abreu ($7,200) have been Chicago’s best power hitters this season by isolated power, and Abreu’s third spot in the batting order also gives him a fantasy boost.
Cease, who is expected to start for the White Sox, entered 2019 as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball on the back of explosive pure stuff. Cease sits around 96 mph with his four-seam fastball, eighth best among starting pitcher and better than the league average SP fastball velocity of 93 mph. Cease’s numbers weren’t eye-popping in Triple-A prior to his call up and are poor through six big league starts, but his pure stuff and prospect pedigree makes him projectable and gives him fantasy upside going forward. Despite hope for the future with Cease, he draws an awful matchup against a brutally tough Astros lineup that strikes out at the lowest rate in baseball and ranks as the best offense by wOBA. The elite production combined with the elite ability to avoid striking out makes the Astros a terrible fantasy opponent for pitchers, and Cease is difficult to trust in this matchup.
The sample size on Cease is small, but left-handed batters have had much more success in terms of overall production, power production and strikeouts. LHBs have struck out in just 16% of their plate appearances against Cease, a low rate, compared to a strong 27% strikeout rate against RHBs. Cease’s 6.61 FIP vs. LHBs through six starts is very poor, but his 4.05 FIP vs. RHBs is better than average. Since the Astros are primarily right-handed, that could be helpful to some degree for Cease in the matchup. LHB Yordan Alvarez ($11,200) is in an excellent spot with Cease’s ineffectiveness against LHB. Alvarez has set the league on fire in his rookie season, hitting .355 with a .431 OBP and .733 SLG in just under 200 plate appearances, outrageously strong numbers that would be perennial MVP-level if sustained long term. Other notable LHBs in Houston’s lineup include Michael Brantley ($8,000) and Josh Reddick ($6,400). George Springer ($10,200), Alex Bregman ($10,200), Carlos Correa ($10,000), Jose Altuve ($8,400) and Yuli Gurriel ($8,200) are also strong options, as all have produced significantly better than average.
Greinke ($16,500 CP) is a strong choice as the Captain’s Pick given his matchup with a strikeout prone and unproductive offense. On the hitting side, Alvarez’s ($16,800 CP) is also a strong Captain’s Pick choice given Cease’s struggles vs. LHBs combined with Alvarez’s ability to smash the ball.
The Astros have a significant edge in the pitching matchup and have a significantly better offense, putting them in strong position to outscore the White Sox by a favorable margin.
Final score: Astros 7, White Sox 3
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