Friday is going to be a very challenging slate. We have a number of weather concerns all throughout the league tonight, so keeping up with the latest reports will be essential. I get it, checking weather reports on a Friday night seems less than ideal, so I’ll try to give you a quick rundown. Let’s dive right into all the information you’ll need for this 14-game slate and as always, you can reach me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tonight’s game between the Braves and Indians has been postponed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tonight’s game between the Twins and Orioles has been postponed.

Game Notes

Top Pitcher

Justin Verlander, $10,400, HOU (-230) vs. TEX (+195) — The Astros are massive favorites tonight as they send Verlander to the hill to take on the Rangers. I was a bit surprised to see Verlander and the Astros favored as heavily as they are as the Rangers have been absolutely crushing the ball against right-handed pitching. Entering tonight’s game, the Rangers sport a team .358 wOBA (2nd) with a .199 ISO (9th) and a 47.7% hard-hit rate (1st). Looking at numbers like that, I’m not exactly excited to take Verlander this second-highest salary on the slate. Don’t get me wrong, Verlander has the ability to go out and pitch a gem, but we’ve seen this Texas club rough him up once already, tagging him for four runs on six hits through four innings for 3 DKFP. Taking place in the hitter-friendly Globe Life Park, I think I’ll be shying away from the Astros’ ace.

Highest Total

PHI (+130) vs. COL (-148) 10.5 runs — Coors Field, as you’d expect, sports the highest total on this slate at 10.5 runs. The Rockies have a 5.5 projected total going up against Vincent Velasquez ($6,700). He’s started two games thus far and has allowed three runs on six hits while striking out six against the Marlins and Nationals. Tonight will be his toughest assignment yet against a Colorado club that is getting healthier, as it saw the return of David Dahl ($4,600) and Ryan McMahon ($4,300) last night. It’s significant because of how poorly Velasquez pitches against lefties and this Rockies lineup now have the ability to load up on them. With that in mind, a Rockies’ stack certainly feels ideal tonight with Velasquez posting a .377 wOBA with a 4.57 xFIP and 13 of his 16 home runs allowed to lefties in 2018.

Weather Concerns

MIN at BAL (Camden Yards) As of the morning, this looks like it has the biggest postponement threat of all the games listed here. Rain is going to be in the area the entire night but the chance of rain starts to diminish as the night goes on. Not an ideal situation by any means but it’s going to need another look later on.

SF at PIT (PNC Park) – This game should start in a delay but has the potential to play later on. Thunderstorms all throughout the day will make the field a mess but they do have an opening later in the evening. Again, will need a look later tonight.

KCR at NYY (Yankee Stadium) – I think this game could start on time but will make things difficult as the night goes on. This is one of those scenarios that could end up being a nightmare for starting pitchers, so CC Sabathia ($7,200) and Jakob Junis ($6,800) would be extremely risky plays.

ATL at CLE (Progressive Field) Another gross game weather-wise. High chance of rain all throughout the evening, making this a tough game to want to target. With how the hour breakdown looks, I’d be surprised if they got this game in. For now, I’m crossing this game off my list.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tonight’s game between the Indians and Braves has been postponed.

CWS at DET (Comerica Park) – Naturally, the game I have no interest in targeting is the one that is most likely to play of all the bad weather games. The rain has a chance all throughout the night but doesn’t look to be anything overly threatening. Winds will also be blowing out towards right-center field at 19 mph, so a slight bump to hitters in this game.

Splits to Start

Stats showcased here will be from the 2018 season until May 1st

Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters

Worst vs. LHBwOBAxFIPBest vs. LHBwOBAxFIP
Anthony DeSclafani.3854.37Jordan Lyles.2494.51
Vincent Velasquez.3774.57Justin Verlander.2522.75
Carlos Rodon.3705.26Anibal Sanchez.2593.61

Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters

Worst vs. RHBwOBAxFIPBest vs. RHBwOBAxFIP
Wilmer Font.3634.88Matt Strahm.2113.76
Jason Vargas.3594.23Jhoulys Chacin.2343.78
Alex Cobb.3594.60Corey Kluber.2503.17

Top Hard-Hit%

This section will populate with the hitters that have the top hard-hit% over the last 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.

Joey GalloTEX$480087.5%
Cody BellingerLAD$560080%
Danny JansenTOR$300077.8%
Josh DonaldsonATL$400077%
Robinson CanoNYM$360076.5%

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Marco Gonzales, SEA vs. LAA, $8,000 — The problem with tonight is that we have to dance around so many weather issues that it’s hard to trust a lot of the high-priced pitching options. Gonzales is who I’m landing on (for now) as the Mariners won’t be dealing with any issues and he draws a favorable matchup. He’s already pitched extremely well against this club, allowing just one run on four hits through 8 1/3 innings while striking out three for 23.8 DKFP. On the year against lefties, the Angels are posting a putrid .248 wOBA (29th) with a .101 ISO (24th). The Angels don’t strikeout much at all and have the second lowest K% at 15.4. While that’s really not something I would look to target against, this slate is making it difficult to grab an overall solid matchup with the weather concerns.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

David Dahl, COL vs. PHI, $4,600 — If you’ve read my articles over the years, you know that I hate recommending players at Coors Field in this section. Not that it’s a bad thing but it’s no secret that targeting players here are ideal. Again, with the mounting weather concerns, getting Dahl at $4,600 in an ideal spot in the order is very attractive against Velasquez. As I mentioned earlier, Velasquez has really struggled against lefties in his career and now will see a boatload of them in this Rockies’ lineup. While he doesn’t have a ton of at-bats due to injury, Dahl sports a .403 wOBA with a .286 ISO against righties thus far with both of his home runs.

Save Big by Drafting…

Yadier Molina, STL vs. NYM, $3,700 — Molina is a really cheap way to get some exposure to the Cardinals’ lineup against Jason Vargas ($5,600). I know this may come as a shock to most of you but Vargas isn’t pitching well. He’s allowed 10 runs on 14 hits through 6.1 innings, which equals a DKFP average of -2.2. Many may not realize, but Molina still has some pop in his bat, especially against lefties. Last season, he owned a .205 ISO with a .345 wOBA. For $3,700, he’s more than worthy of sliding into your lineup tonight. Batting fifth in the order is the cherry on top, as he should have some men on base to hopefully knock in.

Stack Em Up

STL vs. NYM (Jason Vargas) — Vargas stinks.
But truly, once Vargas is out, it won’t get much better when the Mets dive into their bullpen. As of today, the Mets’ bullpen has the second worst xFIP in the league at 5.23 and are allowing a boatload of home runs with 13 on the year, which is tied for the fourth most in the league. This will in no way be a sneaky stack so it might be worth mixing it up a bit instead of going with your classic 1-5. Kolten Wong ($4,400) has been batting near the bottom of the order and will likely draw really low ownership. Over his last 10 games, he’s averaging 7.4 DKFP knocking in five runs and walking six times amongst a double and a home run.

Favorite Prop Bet

BOS OVER 3.5 runs vs. TBR (-136)

Granted, the Red Sox haven’t exactly been a team to trust so far this season. However, I like the appeal of getting them at 3.5 runs tonight with one of the unreliable openers in Wilmer Font ($6,200). On the year, Font has allowed seven runs on eight hits through just 8 2/3 innings. He has some really good strikeout abilities but has been hit hard in his last three appearances. While the Rays’ bullpen has been amongst the best in the league, 3.5 runs feel a bit low tonight.

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