Every Sunday night this year, there will be a Captain’s Mode Showdown contest on DraftKings for the ESPN featured primetime game. The Dodgers are looking for revenge after losing to the Red Sox in last season’s World Series and have a chance to take the series in Boston with a win tonight. For the Red Sox, every game is high stakes since they are on the outside of the playoff picture.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
FIVE BETTING TRENDS— The Red Sox have led after three innings in each of their last five Sunday night games.
— Each of the Red Sox’s last four night games after playing the previous day has gone OVER the total runs line.
— The Red Sox have won the first inning in each of their last five Sunday night games.
— The underdogs have won four of the Dodgers’ last five games.
— The inning one OVER 0.5 runs’ market has hit in each of the Red Sox’s last six games.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
DodgersI can’t say I agree with the total in this game. It’s set at a fairly hit total of 9.0 runs despite two quality starting pitchers on the mound. Hyun-Jin Ryu ($11,000) has been close to automatic for the Dodgers and makes for the safest captain’s pick. He’s become to LA what Clayton Kershaw was in previous seasons. This seems like an impossible standard, but Ryu has a sparkling 1.73 ERA and has allowed more than two earned runs in one start all season. His only hiccup came in Coors Field, which warrants a pass in my book. Despite having a prolific offense, the Red Sox have struggled with a 92 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
Spending up for pitching means we need to find some cheaper value hitters. Luckily, the Dodgers’ offense is filled with strong platoon hitters. The first guy who stands out is Chris Taylor ($6,400). In recent games, he’s served as the leadoff hitters against southpaws and is delivering results. Taylor isn’t great against righties although that shouldn’t matter tonight and he has a 138 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. He comes into tonight with a streak of reaching base in 15 consecutive games.
Another guy always in play for me against lefties is Kike Hernandez ($6,200). His .220 average doesn’t look great, but it’s because of his struggles against right-handed pitching. Kike is getting more playing time against righties and it brings down his total numbers. Against southpaws, he has a .245 average and he is looking at positive regression. Hernandez has been unlucky with a .240 BABIP. He has a career-high 44.5% hard contact rate, which should lead to more hits than what he’s getting.
After Austin Barnes ($4,600) started the first two games of the series behind the plate, I expect that tonight will be Russell Martin’s ($4,800) turn to start. At such a cheap salary, whoever starts is worth a punt if you are looking to roster both of the starting pitchers from this games as I am. The Dodgers use Martin sparingly although he’s still managed to be serviceable with an 87 wRC+ in his limited playing time. He reached base in six straight games prior to the All-Star break.
Red SoxDavid Price ($10,200) is a pitcher I didn’t evaluate properly coming into this season. I thought he was an above-average starter although I didn’t think he could turn back the clock and get back to being an ace. Not only is his 3.24 ERA his best mark since coming to Boston, but his peripheral numbers are terrific. Price’s 2.84 FIP is in line with the prime years of his career and he’s creating a ton of fantasy value by striking out 10.26 hitter per nine innings. He’s never finished a season with double-digit whiffs per nine. His best work has come at Fenway where he has a 3.06 ERA. After a while, Price has finally settled into Boston.
Ryu has been so difficult to hit that I don’t like many cheap hitters from Boston. I think the ideal lineup build is to jam in both pitchers and try to get cheap hitters from the Dodgers in to fill out the lineup. Ryu allows a .267 wOBA to righties and a .212 wOBA to lefties, making it difficult to expect much production against him. Any Boston hitter I would roster is for the sole purpose of a punt opening up salary space.
A couple of punts who could start for the Red Sox are Eduardo Nunez ($4,400) and
Sandy Leon ($4,200). If forced to roster one of them, I lean towards Nunez. Even though he’s been miserable at the plate this season, he has a history of success against left-handed pitching. His 48 wRC+ against southpaws is impossibly low, but the sample size is small. Nunez is a threat to steal a base if he gets on, making him a play with a slight amount of upside. The cheap LA hitters are preferable and I am grasping at straws to find a Boston hitter worthy of rostering.
THE OUTCOMEI am going to look silly if this is a high-scoring game because I am all about the pitchers here. I don’t understand the high total given the quality of these starters and I give a slight edge to the Dodgers. Ryu ($16,500 CP) has been as good as any pitcher in baseball and is priced at +160 to win the NL Cy Young. With Max Scherzer (back) heading to the IL, the award could be Ryu’s to win if he has a strong showing in the second half of the season. He can make a statement with a good showing against a talented offense on the road.
Final Score: Los Angeles 4, Boston 3
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) 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.