Alright. You’ve slept in on the holiday Thursday. You’ve crammed enough hot dogs and hamburgers into your mouth that even Joey Chestnut would blush. You’ve watched at least 20 non-consecutive minutes of “Independence Day” simply through flipping around channels on your parents’ cable. What’s even left to do? It’s Fourth of July, people. You should be out here living your best life and there’s just no way to accomplish that feat without playing a little MLB Showdown on DraftKings.
We’ve got the Padres. We’ve got the Dodgers. Let’s break it all down.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
Los Angeles DodgersIf you’d like to get a sense of just how impossible it is to pitch effectively at Coors Field, look no further than Hyun-jin Ryu’s ($11,200) game log. In four innings of work, the National League’s starting pitcher for the All-Star Game surrendered three home runs and seven earned runs last Friday against the Rockies. To put that in perspective, Ryu had allowed seven earned runs in his prior 11 outings combined entering play on June 28. It’s crazy stuff. Anyway, Dodger Stadium remains relatively close to sea-level, so we’ve got very little to worry about when it comes to trusting Ryu on this evening’s slate. In fact, his numbers at home are immaculate. Across 57.2 frames in 2019, Ryu sports a 0.98 ERA to go along with a 2.03 FIP and a 19.33 K/BB ratio. His eight starts in Los Angeles have also averaged a massive 29.6 DKFP. Again, it’s difficult to doubt this guy based off of his performances so far this season.
Additionally, Ryu’s handedness splits have been pretty parallel throughout 2019; a factor that is crucial for a left-handed pitcher going up against an extremely right-heavy Padres lineup. Consider that San Diego has just had 127 left-on-left plate appearances to this point of the campaign. Not only is that the second-lowest mark among all National League teams, but its a figure made even more impressive when you realize that the Rockies, the Dodgers, and the Giants lead all of baseball in the category. Essentially, there are a lot of southpaw starters in the NL West, yet, if you’re a Padres player, unless your name is Eric Hosmer ($7,200), you’re going to be riding the pine. Still, among all qualified National League pitchers, Ryu’s .267 wOBA against RHBs is the lowest for a left-hander. His 2.72 FIP within the split is actually lower than his number versus lefties (3.24). San Diego certainly has some major power in its batting order, however, I’d be shocked if Ryu doesn’t bounce-back with a solid trip to the mound tonight.
Opposing Ryu is Dinelson Lamet ($9,600), making his first MLB start since all the way back in 2017. Lamet has a big-time arm with all the strikeout potential in the world; yet the flaws in his game, made apparent over his 21 starts as a rookie, could haunt him in this particular matchup. Not all that surprisingly, Lamet struggled with control, walking 4.25 opponents per nine. He also had his issues with LHBs, surrendering a .364 wOBA to those of the left-handed persuasion. That’s a huge red flag when it comes to squaring off with Los Angeles. The Dodgers’ left-handed bats are unique in their dominance over right-handed pitching. They’re a collection of players that simultaneously sport baseball’s highest ISO within the split at .265 and the National League’s lowest strikeout rate at 16.1%. How can they possess both insane amounts of power and zone discipline? Its helps having Cody Bellinger ($10,600) under contract. You know, the man with the second-highest wOBA (.457) and wRC+ (189) against RHPs among all qualified left-handed hitters. Its almost equally enjoyable to have access to Max Muncy ($9,400), Joc Pederson ($8,200), Alex Verdugo ($8,000), Matt Beaty ($6,600), or Edwin Rios ($6,200). Dave Roberts is likely going to stuff his lineup card full of left-handed bats this evening. Its your job to get as many into your own lineup as possible.
San Diego PadresDespite all the stats I pointed out above, I don’t want anyone to get the idea that Lamet is bad. Its really just as simple as most right-handed pitchers don’t line up well with Los Angeles’ sterling assortment of left-handed hitters. Lamet was actually one of the more impressive right-on-right starters of 2017, striking out 33.6% of the 232 RHBs he faced in the majors and limiting the ones lucky enough to make contact to a paltry .296 slugging percentage and .239 wOBA. Its the reason I won’t be suggesting the use of Chris Taylor ($8,600) on this slate despite his premium lineup positioning and the fact he’s slashing .308/.364/.568 with a .381 wOBA dating back to the beginning of May. The reason for Lamet’s success with righties lies in his slider. The offering owns a 22.9% whiff rate when utilized versus RHBs, along with suppressing those at the right-side of the plate to a .099 ISO. However, while Lamet’s usage of the pitch was up at 44.3% to right-handers, that rate dropped all the way down to 35.4% against LHBs. Apparently featuring your best stuff is an effective way to survive in MLB. Who knew?
The other problem with rostering Lamet is pitch count. While its true that the 26-year-old did ramp up to 85 pitches in his final rehab start on June 28, I’d still expect the Padres to err on the side of caution when it comes to their young pitching prospect. Lamet only surpassed 100 pitches in five of his 21 starts during his rookie campaign, and, as he also averaged a robust 4.0 pitches per plate appearance, that generally didn’t lead to the RHP working deep into many games. Lamet is without question someone who’s worth a speculative add in season-long formats, but his value on tonight’s slate is modest at best.
In terms of San Diego’s positional pieces, there are a few names to keep in mind despite the Ryu’s general lack of weaknesses. Manny Machado ($7,800) is entirely too inexpensive this evening considering not just his recent statistics at the dish, but with how well he’s handled left-handed pitching for the whole of 2019. In 58 plate appearances within the split, Machado has a 1.326 OPS to go along with a eye-popping 235 wRC+. Hunter Renfroe ($7,400) has been equally adept at mashing southpaws so far this season, as the outfielder possesses a team-high .571 ISO in his 55 opportunities to do so. Additionally, Renfroe sports a career .630 slugging percentage off of change-ups – the pitch that Ryu throws with a greater propensity than any other to right-handed batters. Finally, as you’ll likely be unable to afford the streaking Fernando Tatis Jr. ($10,200), consider Wil Myers ($6,000). Myers has the highest average exit velocity on fly balls and line drives in the National League (98.4 mph) and that fact is truly showcased in his 60.4% hard contact rate against left-handed pitching. His strikeout rate makes him a low-floor option, yet Myers is always a threat to take a LHP yard.
THE OUTCOMETo put it in terms we’ll all understand on the Fourth, the Dodgers’ left-handed bats will not go quietly into the night. You’ll have to get yourself one of these, which, in this case, means Cody Bellinger ($15,900 CP), Max Muncy ($14,100 CP), or Joc Pederson ($12,300 CP) as a Captain’s Pick. Dinelson Lamet picked a hell of a day to quit drinking; but don’t think Manny Machado ($11,700 CP), Hunter Renfroe ($11,100 CP), or Wil Myers ($9,000 CP) flew 90 billion light years to come to Los Angeles and not put up a fight.
Uhhh… Welcome to Earth.
Final Score: Los Angeles 7, San Diego 2
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.