There are a lot of good pitchers set to take the mound Wednesday night, which might make scoring harder to come by than normal. However, there are still a few teams who could be difference makers in tonight’s eight-game Tiers slate. Let’s dig into the matchups and discuss how some of the tiers might play out.
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OF Mike Trout, LAA at TOR
OF Austin Riley, ATL vs. NYM
OF Ronald Acuña Jr, ATL vs. NYM
SS Francisco Lindor, CLE at TEX
It’s hard to argue against any of the options in this tier, but I’ll give it a shot. Based on matchups alone, Riley and Acuña face the toughest foe in Steven Matz. He’s not a dominant force, but he’s allowed three earned runs or fewer in 11 of his 13 starts. That included an outing against the Braves in which he allowed two runs and recorded eight strikeouts over six innings. His propensity for giving up home runs does make Riley and Acuña intriguing, but the other two players in this tier have outstanding matchups.
The Rangers will be calling up Joe Palumbo to make this start against Lindor and the Indians. He was all the way down at Double-A, so this is a big jump. He did make a start against the A’s earlier this month and was hit hard, allowing four runs across four innings. Lindor is hot right now after hitting 20-for-61 (.328) with four home runs and six doubles across his past 14 games and once again carries plenty of upside based on this matchup.
As appealing as Lindor is, Trout likely is going to be the most popular option in this tier, and rightfully so. He’s having yet another monster season with a 186 wRC+ and finally has some protection around him with both Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton healthy. On the mound for the Blue Jays will be Aaron Sanchez, who has been awful with a 5.17 FIP and a 1.60 WHIP. No need to overthink this one; Trout is set up to thrive.
3B Anthony Rendon, WAS vs. PHI
SS Trea Turner, WAS vs. PHI
1B Freddie Freeman, ATL vs. NYM
1B Pete Alonso, NYM at ATL
OF Shohei Ohtani, LAA at TOR
Rendon and Turner are in a tough spot here. The Nationals have had their past two games postponed due to rain, setting up a doubleheader Wednesday. Jake Arrieta will start the nightcap for the Phillies, and even though he’s nothing to worry about, the fact both Rendon and Turner could be playing for the second time in the same day has me shying away from them. Freeman is also someone to avoid with the lefty Matz on the mound.
Alonso and Ohtani stand out to me as the best two options in this tier. After missing the start of the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Ohtani has started to make up for lost time by hitting 19-for-53 (.358) with six home runs over his past 14 games. If you go with Trout in the first tier, they would be an excellent duo to stack. Alonso carries plenty of power upside himself with his robust .350 ISO. His 25.9 percent strikeout rate isn’t terrible for a player with his power while his ability to draw walks has helped him generate a .402 wOBA. Starting for the Braves will be Max Fried, who has allowed 17 runs across 20 1/3 innings in his past four starts. As good as things look for Ohtani, Alonso could be primed for the better stat line when the dust settles.
1B Josh Bell, PIT vs. DET
OF Max Kepler, MIN vs. BOS
SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS at MIN
OF J.D. Martinez, BOS at MIN
OF Nelson Cruz, MIN vs. BOS
OF Michael Conforto, NYM at ATL
2B Ozzie Albies, ATL vs. NYM
We have a lot of options here, so let’s try to thin out the herd. As bad as Fried has been lately, this is still not a great spot to deploy Conforto. He only has a .311 wOBA against left-handed pitchers and Fried has held left bats to a .276 wOBA. The Twins and Red Sox are coming off of a 17-inning marathon Tuesday, making it likely we see some star players get the night off. Kepler is facing a tough lefty in Eduardo Rodriguez, so he might be someone to shy away from. Don’t be surprised if he’s not even in the starting lineup. Kyle Gibson will be starting for the Twins and he’s held right-handed hitters to a .275 wOBA this season, so this isn’t an ideal matchup for Bogaerts and Martinez. Of the four players available from this game, Cruz might have the best performance based on his career .392 wOBA against lefties.
Albies is an intriguing target because he mashes southpaws, posting a 142 wRC+ against them for his career compared to his 91 wRC+ versus righties. He’s also about as hot as it gets, hitting 15-for-37 (.405) with four home runs and five doubles over his past nine games. With that being said, it’s hard to pass up Bell here. Despite the Pirates being in the bottom-third of the league in runs scored, Bell already has racked up 66 RBI. His power numbers are off the charts with 20 home runs and 27 doubles over 71 games. The Tigers are expected to activate Jordan Zimmermann from the IL to start against the Pirates, which is good news for Bell since Zimmermann allowed 21 runs (20 earned) across 30 1/3 innings before getting injured.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) 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.