WATCH: MLB IN 90 SECONDS – TYLER CHATWOOD
Major League Baseball has a solid eight-game schedule this Thursday night, and there are some interesting storylines around the 16 pitchers scheduled to take the mound. In a weird scheduling coincidence, one key stat for all of tonight’s top pitchers is home-road splits. All five of tonight’s top options have a wide variance between the pitcher they are when they’re in their home park and what to expect when they toe the rubber on the road. Let’s take a look at how this key stat affects tonight’s top five.
1. Jon Lester – CHC vs. COL – $9,700
Lester has allowed nine runs over his last two outings, but I still think he’s the top option tonight as he takes the mound at Wrigley Field. He was knocked around by the Dodgers in LA and had a bumpy beginning to his last start against the Cardinals before setting in and regaining his form. He looked strong allowing one run on four hits over his last five innings.
At home this year, Lester is a clean 3-0 in seven starts with a solid 2.15 ERA. He has held opponents to a .194 average at home compared to a .361 batting average against on the road where he is 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA. Since tonight’s start is at home, Lester should be a good play as he tries to help the Cubs get back in the win column after having their five-game winning streak snapped last night.
2. Lance McCullers Jr. – HOU @ KC – $11,200
McCullers is the most expensive pitcher on the board tonight, but he has similar drastic home/road splits to Lester. The reason I have him behind Lester is that McCullers is on the road tonight making him a little riskier. On the season, McCullers is 2-1 in his six road starts this season with a 3.58 ERA. In his last start in Texas, he only made it through 4.1 innings allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits.
On the season, McCullers has 81 strikeouts in 69.2 innings and a very impressive 2.71 ERA. Even on the road, McCullers definitely has a very high ceiling given his strikeout rate which keeps him from posting empty fantasy nights. As a result, he has at least 19 DKFP in seven of his last nine starts. Since Lester costs $1,500 less, I’m dropping McCullers to number two on this list, but he’s still a great option to build around if you can afford his hefty salary.
3. Michael Pineda – NYY vs. BOS – $8,900
Like the two pitchers before him on this list, Pineda has been good at home this season while struggling on the road. He’s 5-1 at Yankee Stadium this year with a 2.31 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 39 innings while going 1-2 with a 5.96 road ERA. He did get knocked around in his last start which came in Toronto, but he had been very consistent before that.
Although he has rarely dominated a start, he has been solid almost every time out allowing two or three runs in seven of his eight starts before last week’s Blue Jays’ beating. Pineda hasn’t faced Boston yet this year, but he’ll take the ball tonight in the rubber match of the AL East rivalry in the Bronx.
4. Jake Odorizzi – TB vs CWS – $7,900
In his 10 starts for the Rays, Odorizzi has been hot at home but struggled on the road. Are you sensing the theme here? In his five starts at Tropicana Field, he is 2-2 with a 2.90 ERA while going 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA on the road. Odorizzi isn’t quite the strikeout pitcher that the top three options on this list are, but he can give you solid innings and a good start at an affordable price under $8K.
Tonight, he makes sense since he’ll take the ball at home as the Rays host the Chicago White Sox. No team in the Majors has scored fewer runs over the last week than the White Sox who have managed just 16 runs in their last five games.
5. Tyler Chatwood – COL @ CHC– $7,200
Since he pitches for the Rockies, Chatwood’s home-road splits look radically different than the other four pitchers on this list. In fact, they’re almost exactly reversed. At home, Chatwood is 2-4 with a 7.03 ERA, but on the road, he has gone 3-3 with a 2.68 ERA. Obviously, pitching at Coors Field plays a huge role in those splits, but it also indicates that Chatwood is worth a look when he’s not at elevation.
Tonight, he and the Rockies are in Chicago to take on the Cubs at Wrigley Field. It’s still a tough matchup against a solid Cubs lineup, but Chatwood has allowed just three runs over 20 innings in his last three road starts while striking out 20. In his last start, he showed his upside while dominating the Padres posting 33 DKFP allowing four hits and one run in eight innings while striking out eight.
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.