WATCH: MLB PITCHING DUEL
The MLB starts the second week of the season with a split schedule of five games in the afternoon and five games under the lights. In this post, we’ll focus on the five games in the main competition on DraftKings, which start at 7:05 p.m. ET or later. I think the following five pitchers are set up for success as they make their second starts of the season on this Monday night.
1. Jacob deGrom – NYM @ PHI – $9,300
In his first start of the season, deGrom went six strong innings last Wednesday allowing just two hits and a walk to the Braves while striking out 11. He received a no-decision in a game the Mets eventually lost in extra innings, but it was a good start to the season for the 28-year-old righty.
Tonight, he’ll take on the Phillies who come in with some momentum after taking two of three from the Nationals. They scored 17 runs on Saturday, but their lineup still doesn’t seem all that formidable for a top-shelf starter like deGrom. Last year, deGrom faced Philadelphia twice and went 2-0 with just one run allowed in 15 innings while striking out 13 and allowing the Phillies to manage just a paltry .122 average against him. Those numbers and a good first start make him my top SP to target tonight.
2. Tanner Roark – WAS vs. STL – $8,200
While on the surface facing the Cardinals isn’t a great matchup, the St. Louis lineup has scuffled out of the gate to start the season, which makes Roark a nice option for tonight especially at home. Only the Braves have scored fewer runs than the Cardinals so far this season, and they have only managed to hit .208 as a team.
Roark will look to continue their struggles tonight as he looks to build on his first start of the season when he piled up 21.3 DKFP while allowing three hits and two runs in six solid innings against the Marlins. Roark has fared much better at home than on the road over the last few years, so I think he’s a good option to target as he takes the mound at Nationals Park tonight.
3. Brandon Finnegan – CIN @ PIT – $7,300
Taking on the Phillies in his first start of the year, Finnegan dominated and put up 36.6 DKFP. He allowed just one hit and one walk in seven shutout innings on his way to a win while striking out nine. Finnegan proved he can dominate weaker lineups in that start, and he faces another struggling squad tonight in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates have scored the third-fewest runs in the MLB coming into tonight and are a combined 4-of-30 (.133) against southpaws. Granted, many of those at-bats came against Chris Sale last week, but they still make a good enough matchup to go with Finnegan as a strong option tonight and use the salary you save to bolster your lineup.
4. Jon Lester – CHC vs. LAD – $11,300
Lester is the only Opening Day starter on the hill tonight as he and the Cubs welcome in the Dodgers for their home opener. The Cubs reshuffled their rotation to get him on the hill against L.A., which has a solid lineup but also sometimes struggles with left-handed pitchers like Lester.
Lester looked decent in his first start of the season allowing just one run, but he gave up seven hits and two walks while only lasting five innings against the Cardinals. He will be on extra rest having not pitched since last Sunday, but that can sometimes mess with starting pitchers and doesn’t always lead to better results. Given his tough matchup and elevated salary, Lester is a risky play tonight although he obviously has the ability to dominate if he’s on top of his game. He’s in the top five for me tonight, but I do like the options ahead of him better especially on a DKFP/$ basis.
5. Jerad Eickhoff – PHI vs. NYM – $8,100
Eickhoff gets a tough matchup tonight as he goes head-to-head with the top option on this list, Jacob deGrom. He had the misfortune of being on the losing end of Brandon Finnegan’s gem his last time out although he did pitch fairly well and finished with 19.4 DKFP despite taking the loss. He lasted 6.2 innings in that game allowing two runs on five hits and striking out six.
Tonight, he’ll be at home against the Mets who he went 0-2 against last year in four starts, but he did post a pretty solid 2.63 ERA against them and struck out 23 in 24 innings pitched. Even though getting a win with the Phillies lineup could be hard to do at times this season, Eickhoff gets enough Ks to be an option worth considering in most of his starts.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) 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.