Thursday features a five-game slate of fantasy baseball starting at 7:05 p.m ET. As you prepare, make sure to be following @DKLive for the latest MLB news updates and lineup information. As always, you can reach me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.

Note: DO NOT roster any players from the Marlins-Mets game. This game will NOT accrue fantasy points.

Game Notes

Top Pitcher

Eduardo Rodriguez – BOS vs. TOR – $9,100 – For the third night in a row, the Red Sox are the heavy favorites on the slate, opening with a -270 line against the Blue Jays. Rodriguez, who is making his third start since returning from the disabled list, has faced the Blue Jays three times this season, averaging 20.3 DKFP. In those starts, he’s gone 18.2 innings, allowing five runs on 13 hits with a K/9 of 7.2. Rodriguez isn’t the most reliable option to consider, but his strikeout upside is sky-high. He boasts a 26.1 K% on the year and has struck out 16 in nine innings since his return, which includes a short 3.1 inning start against the Astros in which he allowed five runs. Because of the short slate, Rodriguez is likely going to find himself in a lot of cash lineups despite being better suited for GPPs, in my opinion.

Highest Totals

BOS vs. TOR – 9.5 runs – Of the games on this slate, three had a projected run total of 9.5. The Red Sox have the highest team total, opening with a 6.1 run projection against Sam Gaviglio ($4,500). He’s faced the Red Sox in four separate occasions with two starts in the mix, totaling 13.2 innings while allowing six runs on 13 hits with a 12:2 K:BB ratio. Lefties have hit him the hardest, with a .364 wOBA, 5.37 FIP and 40% hard-hit rate allowed. With the short slate and not a whole lot of expensive pitching options, I fully expect the Red Sox to be a popular stacking option on this slate. For what it’s worth, their run total has dropped down to 5.7 since opening, so it will be worth watching as the day rolls on.

Weather Concerns

No weather concerns!

Park Factors

Fenway Park – TOR vs. BOS Fenway Park tops our list as the most favorable ballpark for hitters tonight. All offensive categories are favored here.

Kauffman Stadium – MIN vs. KC –Kauffman Stadium checks in as our second-most favorable ballpark tonight as they host the Twins. All offensive categories except home runs are favored here.

Angel Stadium – SEA vs. LAA The Mariners open a series against the Angels today at Angel Stadium, which is home to our worst ballpark for hitters. No offensive categories are favored here.

Busch Stadium – LAD vs. STL The Cardinals will host the Dodgers in our second-worst ballpark tonight at Busch Stadium. Singles are the only category that’s favored here.

Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters

Sam Gaviglio.854.294Heath Fillmyer.619.228
Dylan Bundy.852.318Eduardo Rodriguez.667.221
Austin Gomber.762.292Clayton Kershaw.669.237

Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters

Heath Fillmyer.895.314Clayton Kershaw.587.215
Mike Leake.800.277Austin Gomber.661.222
Sam Gaviglio.769.268Eduardo Rodriguez.680.243

Batter vs. Pitcher Splits

HitterOpposing SPABFP/AB*
Mike TroutMike Leake163

(Fantasy Points Per At Bat)*

Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Clayton Kershaw – LAD vs. STL – $11,900 – On a short slate like tonight, we don’t really have the time to get cute when making roster decisions. Kershaw has looked great as of late and is someone I’m ready to trust again. He’s yet to face the Cardinals this season, but Kershaw has a .256 wOBA with a 2.97 FIP on the road. The Cardinals have been striking out a lot lately, with a 25.7 K% over the past two weeks, which ranks as the sixth highest in the league over that time span. With Kershaw pitching like we’re used to seeing, this should be a great spot for him tonight at Busch Stadium.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Whit Merrifield – KC vs. MIN – $4,600 – Merrifield has been smoking the ball lately and gets a fantastic matchup against Stephen Gonsalves ($5,000). He has only made four starts but my goodness, they’ve been bad. Through 12.1 innings, Gonsalves has allowed 19 runs (16 earned) on 24 hits with an atrocious 6:13 K:BB ratio. Aside from the fact Merrifield is averaging 14.4 DKFP over his last five games, he also has a .401 wOBA with a .180 ISO against lefties. Need I say more?

Save Big by Drafting…

Mitch Moreland – BOS vs. TOR – $4,100 – Small price to pay for a hitter likely to bat fifth in the Red Sox lineup tonight. It’s true, Moreland is in the midst of a struggle as of late, averaging just 3.2 DKFP over his last 10 games. However, tonight feels like a good night for a breakout against Gaviglio. Against lefties, Gaviglio is allowing a .364 wOBA to lefties with a 5.37 FIP and nine of his 19 home runs on the year. If anything, he should likely be getting to bat with men on base, which always brings plenty of opportunities.

Stack Em Up

OAK vs. BAL (Dylan Bundy) – – All I’d have to write here is Dylan Bundy ($6,300) and you’d know what to do. However, I’ll take this time to clue you in on just how bad he’s been as of late. Through 46.2 innings since the All-Star Break, Bundy has a .434 wOBA with a 7.12 FIP and 17 of his 37 home runs allowed. For reference on the home runs, he allowed 20 in the first half through 103.1 innings! So yeah, why won’t the A’s be in your lineup again?

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. 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 non-public information.