Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!! No, you have not stumbled in to a monster truck rally, but you have stumbled upon the most interesting baseball day of the week. You have to be extra cautious when locking and loading your lineups on a Sunday, because managers like to use it as a day off for their regulars quite often. With only seven games on the Monday slate, it’s a perfect time to get players an extra day’s rest. Be sure to check lineups prior to the games kicking off, and worst case scenario, you can utilize the late-swap feature here on DraftKings.
You can typically find me here breaking down the pitching slates on Tuesday and Friday, but I’m dipping my toes in the Cheat Sheet waters today, if you will. If you’re new to DFS, Playbook, or if you have any last-minute questions, please find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan.
HEAVIEST PITCHER FAVORITES
Max Scherzer vs. Colorado Rockies (-230)– The Rockies are clearly a different club on the road then they are at home and have a healthy 19.8% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching, so there’s plenty of appeal with Scherzer (2.31 ERA/2.36 FIP) here. It’s worth noting that it’s been nearly a month since Scherzer worked into the 8th inning of a start, at that’s the last time he had a 30+ DraftKings point performance. He’s been steady but he’s been a bit disappointing in terms of a point per dollar basis of late. This line has as much to do with Rockies starter Eddie Butler as it does with Scherzer. The Rockies have the lowest implied-run total of the day, at 2.6 runs.
Andrew Cashner vs. Philadelphia Phillies (-180)– When I write my pitcher posts I’d adamant about giving very little credence to the likelihood of a pitching win. Chasing the win is fools gold, and really gives you little insight in to how the pitcher actually threw that day. If we were only a single pitcher site and scored the win differently, then I could see the value in it, but that’s not the case here, thankfully. Cashner hasn’t pitched well in months and the Phillies have been a much better club in the second half. Don’t chase the win.
TOP OVERALL GAME OVER/UNDERSBoth the Reds @ Diamondbacks and Blue Jays @ Yankees have an 8.5 run total tonight. That’s tied for the second highest mark on the night, which again belongs to the Red Sox @ Tigers game (9 runs). The Henry Owens/Justin Verlander battle should present DFS’ers with plenty of options on both sides of this matchup.
TOUGHEST LEFT/RIGHT MATCHUPSTypically in this spot you’ll find batting average referenced but I don’t pay much attention to that, to be honest. I’m more of a wOBA (weighted on-base) fan. Simply put, batting average treats all hits as equal, and we know that they aren’t. wOBA combines all the different aspects of hitting and weighs them in proportion with their true offensive impact.
TOUGHEST PITCHERS vs. LEFT-HANDED BATTERSAlex Wood @ Pittsburgh Pirates – This makes sense, as Wood is an above average left-handed pitching who can be difficult to pick up at times. His .240 wOBA against left-handed hitters comes as no surprise. Jake Arrieta vs. San Francisco Giants– Now this is impressive. Arrieta’s .244 wOBA against left-handed hitters is a huge reason that he’s a legit Cy Young contender for the Cubs right now. His K/9 is north of 9, as well. Nasty.
TOUGHEST PITCHERS vs. RIGHT-HANDED BATTERSMax Scherzer vs. Colorado Rockies – This really is no surprise. Since the majority of major league hitters are right-handed, you tend to find that the best pitchers in the game are better than average against right-handed batters, and that’s the case with Scherzer. His .202 wOBA against right-handed hitters this season is unfair, really.
Corey Kluber vs. Minnesota Twins– Kluber’s .232 wOBA is the second best mark on the slate, 30 points higher than Scherzer’s .202 wOBA-against. Just shows you how dominant Scherzer has been at times. When you selecting your pitchers though, it’s important to note that you can save $2,600 today by rostering Kluber instead of Scherzer, a very wise move in cash games.BEST LEFT/RIGHT MATCHUPS
EASIEST PITCHERS vs. LEFT-HANDED BATTERSAndrew Cashner vs. Philadelphia Phillies– Way too much Cashner talk here today, but this proves the point I was trying to make earlier way telling you to fade the win. Left-handed bats have a .385 wOBA against Cashner this season, and Petco Park is much more of a neutral run-scoring environment this season, taking away a reason in which you’d use to justify starting Cashner. Charlie Morton vs. Los Angeles Dodgers– Things go well for ‘Ground Chuck’ when he’s using his sinker to get ground ball outs. Otherwise, call Kenny Loggins, because we’re headed to the danger zone. His .375 wOBA against left-handed bats is an issue, and the Dodgers have a few bats that can cause him problems.
EASIEST PITCHERS vs. RIGHT-HANDED BATTERSJerome Williams vs. San Diego Padres– THIS is why Andrew Cashner is a huge favorite today. Jerome Williams has allowed batting practice to continue once the games have started this season, allowed right-handed bats to knock him around to the tune of a .404 wOBA-against. That’s a very large number, especially for a right-handed pitcher.
Phil Hughes vs. Cleveland Indians– You’d expect to see a platoon advantage here somewhere, but the two worst starters are right-handed. Hughes has been hit hard all season, allowing 14 home runs and a .368 wOBA to right-handed hitters.
I want to use this space to highlight some hot hitters that have plus matchups today. You know that Nelson Cruz, Carlos Gonzalez, Lucas Duda and Josh Donaldson are hot, for example. Let’s look off the beaten path here a bit.
Ryan Howard vs. Andrew Cashner- We’ve seen some solid play from Howard of late, with a .444 wOBA, 3 HRs, 11 runs and 15 RBI’s over his past 12 contests. I’ve already highlighted Cashner’s struggles against left-handed power bats this season.Jung-ho Kang vs. Alex Wood- While Alex Wood has been dominant against left-handed hitters, he’s been susceptible to right-handed power this season, and Kang has been rolling of late. His .427 wOBA and 3 home runs over the past two weeks should play well here, and he’s not going to set you back much in terms of salary.
BEST BATTER vs. PITCHER MATCHUPSI…I just can’t.
I’m not a big believer in BvP, and don’t use it in my research process. I find that the sample sizes are often too small to be actionable information, and tend to more handedness specific than batter or pitcher specific. Not only do hitters change, both for the good and bad, but pitchers can change quite a bit in a short period of time, in terms of feel and pitch mix. Data that’s multiple years old just doesn’t do it for me.
For you true BvP’ers, you’ll probably be interested in David Ortiz (who you should be ‘on’ regardless of BvP), Adam Lind, and Salvador Perez.
Rain could be a factor in Chicago (Cubs vs. Giants) and Kansas City (Royals vs. White Sox), but be sure to check weather everywhere prior to first pitch.
ONE PITCHER TO BUILD LINEUPS AROUND
Corey Kluber ($10,600) vs. Minnesota Twins– We’ve seen Kluber’s price drop more than $1,000 here since his last start, and he’s a great cash game play against the Twins today. Minnesota has struggled against right-handed pitching this season (.301 wOBA/89 wRC+) and Kluber is so much better than his 6-12 record would indicate. His 3.60 ERA is nearly a run higher than his 2.61 FIP, which is a better indicator of a pitcher’s true skill. There’s plenty of strikeout upside here as well, as Kluber has a 9.74 K/9 entering play today, and umpire Kerwin Danley is about as pitcher-friendly as an umpire can be.
SUPERSTAR WORTH PAYING FOR
Lorenzo Cain ($4,600) vs. Jose Quintana- I love using Lorenzo Cain against left-handed pitching because he sees some of the biggest platoon boosts in all of baseball. Both is wOBA and isolated-power jump up nearly 100 points against left-handed pitching, and his price point is high enough to keep most people away, something I’m always searching for in tournaments. (UPDATE: HE’S NOT IN THE LINEUP TODAY. Oh Sundays.)
SAVE BIG BUCKS BY DRAFTING…
Khris Davis ($3,200) vs. John Lackey- You want power upside in tournaments and the only thing better than power upside is cheap, reverse split power upside. Khris Davis has a wOBA that’s .161 points better against right-handed pitching than it is against southpaws, and his ISO jumps nearly 100 points as well. He’s a great low-risk/high-reward tournament bat today.