WATCH: MLB IN 90 SECONDS – J.A. HAPP
This Thursday Major League Baseball has a split schedule with five games in the afternoon and eight scheduled for under the lights. With 16 pitchers to pick from tonight, there are some big names who come with big salaries as well as some solid value plays who cost much less. Here are my top five pitchers for this evening’s games.
1. Clayton Kershaw – LAD @ LAA – $13,300
Kershaw picked up a win in his fourth straight start after escaping a scary first inning against the Rockies to finish with 30.5 DKFP. He has at least 30 DKFP in four of his last seven games, and he’ll look to continue his dominant season as he takes on the crosstown rival Angels tonight in the final game of the two teams’ four-game set.
Even though it’s in LA, it’s officially a road start for Kershaw who is 5-1 away from Dodger Stadium with a 2.05 ERA. Over the last three seasons, Kershaw has gone 3-0 against the Angels with a 1.50 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 30 innings. He’s by far the safest play tonight, and even his “down” starts are good enough to make him a low-risk play with a high ceiling if you can find a way to afford his salary.
2. Chris Archer – TB @ PIT– $11,300
A lot like Kershaw, Archer has limited risk since even he usually gets enough strikeouts to mitigate his less productive outings. He had over 15 DKFP in six straight starts before his last outing when the Orioles knocked him around for four runs in six innings. He still got the win though and comes into tonight’s start 6-4.
Archer’s main fantasy value is from his strikeouts, and he has 31 in 25 innings so far this month. He gets a favorable matchup against the Pirates in Pittsburgh tonight, but he has been worse on the road where he has a 4.17 ERA compared to a 3.66 ERA at home. Archer is low-risk with a high ceiling but he isn’t quite as good a play as Kershaw due to his road issues.
3. José Ureña – MIA vs. NYM – $6,800
Since moving to the rotation, Ureña has provided a huge boost for the Marlins. He has made 10 starts since starting the year in the bullpen and is 6-2 with an impressive 3.60 ERA in those 10 starts while striking out 36 in 55 innings. He has turned in three straight quality starts and is 3-0 in June with a 3.62 ERA.
Tonight, Ureña will try to silent the Mets’ bats once again. He faced them earlier this season once as a starter and twice as a reliever allowing a total of one run on four hits in 10 innings while striking out five. He has also been effective at home this season where he is 3-2 with a 2.98 ERA. If you need a cheap play tonight, I like Ureña a lot although he doesn’t have a high enough strikeout rate to have a super-high ceiling.
4. J.A. Happ – TOR vs BAL – $8,700
Due to injury, Happ has only made eight starts this season, and tonight’s outing will already be his third outing against the Orioles. Happ is 2-4 in his starts with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. He has been better lately going 2-1 with a 3.28 ERA in four starts this month.
Against the Orioles, he is 0-2 but he has a solid 3.18 ERA and has struck out 12 in his 11.1 innings. Tonight, he’ll hope to continue the strikeout production while limiting the runs and getting more run support from a Blue Jays’ lineup that should produce against Ubaldo Jiménez.
5. Jimmy Nelson – MIL @ CIN – $8,600
Nelson dominated the Reds when he faced them in April allowing just one run on five hits in seven innings to pick up his first win of the season. He comes into tonight’s start 5-4, and like Chris Archer, he has been much better at home than on the road. If he was at home, he’d be higher on this list, but he is 2-1 with a 5.06 ERA away from Miller Park while going 3-3 with a 2.64 ERA at home.
Nelson does have more strikeout potential than Happ, but he’s riskier because he’s on the road. In his last three seasons, Nelson has made five starts at Great American Ballpark where he is 2-2 with a 7.20 ERA.
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.