The last Tuesday night of the regular season brings us a full 14-game slate, missing only the Reds and Royals. Some of the starting pitchers on the mound tonight could be making their final start of the season, or they could return on four days rest and pitch on Sunday–the final day of the regular season. As you enjoy the final few full slates of the regular season, these are the top five arms to consider for your lineups this Tuesday:
1. Max Scherzer – WAS vs. MIA – $12,800Scherzer leads the majors in innings pitched and strikeouts, while also leading the National League with a 0.92 WHIP. He hasn’t been quite as dominant as usual over the past month, but his strikeout rate has remained high enough to make him a great fantasy baseball play. Scherzer has allowed at least three runs in five straight starts, but still has at least 28 DKFP in three of those five outings. In his most recent start, he allowed three runs to the Mets but fanned 13 for a solid 31.6 DKFP. He has double-digit strikeouts in six of his past 10 outings, and can get to 300 on the season if he strikes out 10 tonight.
He’ll be in a great matchup as the Nats host the Marlins. Scherzer is 4-0 in four starts against the Marlins with a 2.67 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 27 innings. He had 27.9 DKFP when he faced the Fish in August, and should be able to continue building a convincing case as he tries to secure another NL Cy Young.
2. Luis Severino – NYY at TB – $11,100I originally had David Price ($9,500) in the second spot, but the Boston weather looks soggy and nasty, making it best to avoid rolling with the lefty despite a great bounce back spot against Baltimore. Instead, Severino slides up a spot as he tries to solidify his spot as the Yankees’ best option for their one-game Wild Card showdown with the A’s. The Yankees eliminated the Rays from the playoff chase with their win on Monday, so the team may role out a lighter lineup on Tuesday against Severino.
Severino looked sharp in his most recent outing against the Red Sox, allowing just one run on six hits with six strikeouts for 25.6 DKFP. He has at least 18 DKFP in five of his past six outings. He seems to have righted the ship after an ugly stretch after the All-Star game, and he’ll be trying to pick up his 19th win of the year. He is 2-1 in his three starts against the Rays this year with 24 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings.
3. Walker Buehler – LAD at ARI – $11,700If the Dodgers were at home, Buehler would challenge for the top spot on the slate, but the 24-year-old rookie has had a few issues when pitching on the road which raises his risk factor and drops him to the No. 3 slot. Buehler is 4-2 on the road, but his 3.49 road ERA is almost a run and a half higher than his home ERA. He has been locked in lately, giving up more than two runs just one time over his past 10 starts with a 1.58 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings for 25.5 FPPG.
Buehler dominated the Diamondbacks when he faced them earlier this month, punching out nine in 6 1/3 innings of two-hit work for 27.3 DKFP. He has at least that many strikeouts in three of his past four starts and is an elite option as he tunes up for the playoffs.
4. Josh James – HOU at TOR – $8,100There’s a huge dropoff after the “Big Three” on the slate. If you’re going to pass on them or go with one star and one value play, I like James as the best option under $10K. The 25-year-old has only made two starts in the majors, but has struck out 16 batters in 10 1/3 innings in those two starts and posted 19.7 and 26.4 DKFP.
James looked excellent in his most recent start against the Mariners and picked up his first MLB win with seven strikeouts and four hits in 5 1/3 shutout innings for 26.4 DKFP. James went 6-4 in the minors with a 3.23 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 114 1/3 innings. His high strikeout rate gives him a very high ceiling even in a hitter-friendly environment like Toronto.
5. Gio Gonzalez – MIL at STL – $7,800The Brewers and Cardinals still have everything to play for as the two teams hold the Wild Card spots but haven’t clinched anything just yet. The Brewers got the win on Monday, and on Tuesday they’ll give the ball to Gonzalez, who they acquired from the Nationals at the waiver deadline. Gonzalez looked outstanding in his most recent start allowing two hits in six shutout innings against the Reds for 25.1 DKFP.
Gonzalez has a 1.65 ERA in three outings since joining Milwaukee, and he can do a lot to help his new team lock in to the playoffs with a win against the Cardinals. He’s high-risk, but it appears the Brewers may have helped him make some mental or phyisical adjustments that are setting him up for success.
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