Every Sunday night this year, there will be a Captain’s Mode Showdown contest on DraftKings for the ESPN featured primetime game. Tonight’s game features the biggest rivalry in baseball, the Yankees and Red Sox. After a slow start to the season, Boston is climbing up the standings. Now tied for the second Wild Card spot, the Red Sox are eight games behind the Yankees in the AL East.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
FIVE BETTING TRENDS— The ‘Inning 1 OVER 0.5 runs’ market has hit in each of the Red Sox’ last six Sunday night games.
— The Red Sox have led after 3 innings in each of their last three Sunday games against the Yankees.
— Each of the Yankees’ last eight games have gone OVER the total runs line.
— The Red Sox have won the first inning in each of their last four Sunday night games against American League opponents.
— The Red Sox have won each of their last five games at Fenway Park.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
Red SoxThis has been an odd season for Chris Sale ($11,000). For years, he’s been one of the best and most reliable pitchers in baseball. Even though scoring is up, it’s a bit jarring to see him with a 4.00 ERA for the year. He’s had an ERA under 3.00 in each of his first two seasons in Boston and his career-worst ERA coming into this season was 3.41 in 2015. Despite giving up more runs, he’s still been a fantastic fantasy option since he strikes out 13.25 hitters per nine innings. Despite a tough matchup against the Yankees, Sale ($16,500 CP) is the highest upside play for the captain spot. He’s had a streaky season, but scores of 29.3 and 39.1 DKFP in his last outings indicate he is currently in good form.
With an implied run total of 5.7, the Red Sox’ offense is expected to do damage tonight. If spending up for bats, this makes the Boston hitters more enticing than the guys from the Yanks. With a recent three-homer game, Mookie Betts ($10,000) is the top stud in my opinion. He’s regressed a bit from last season’s MVP performance, although I suspect he’s going to come up with a huge second half of the season. He got out of the gates slow and has come alive in July. For the month, Betts has a 183 wRC+ and he’s seeing the ball well with more walks than strikeouts.
Typically more expensive, J.D. Martinez ($8,200) is priced in the midrange tonight. Like Mookie, Martinez didn’t look like himself at the start of the season. Boston’s slow start certainly correlated with the struggles of their two sluggers. As of late, Martinez has regained his power stroke and the fantasy points are pouring in. Martinez has at least 11 DKFP in five of his past six games and his outlook is trending up.
For cheap, Andrew Benintendi ($6,600) is my favorite value play from Boston. In this series, it doesn’t look like the Yankees have figured a way to get him out. Benintendi has seven hits in 13 at bats, leading to his average of 18 DKFP per game in the series. In a similar price range, Mitch Moreland ($6,400) is also a solid value. After a long stay on the IL, Moreland is back and he typically starts against right-handed pitchers. After scoring 18 DKFP in his last start, it looks like he’s worked off any rust from his two months of missed action.
YankeesDomingo German ($9,600) is having a breakout season for the Yanks. Striking out over a hitter per inning, he has fantasy upside, but there are a couple of red flags here. The biggest one, he is coming off a beating from the Twins. German gave up eight earned runs and scored -9.6 DKFP. With the Red Sox high implied run total, the DK Sportsbook seems to think something similar could happen tonight. This could make German go lower owned in tournaments, making him a risky GPP play with potential for a big payoff as as leverage play.
An injury to look out for is DJ LeMahieu ($9,000). Rumors swirled in the offseason that the Yankees could land Bryce Harper or Manny Machado and instead they appeared to settle for LeMahieu. In hindsight, this looks like less of a settle and more of a shrewd move. He is having a monster season and is in the MVP discussion. LeMahieu sat out of yesterday’s game with a groin strain and it’s unclear if he will play tonight. If out, the Yankees’ offense gets a downgrade and Sale is in a better spot. His absence would cause a shakeup in the lineup and a cheap hitter could end up as a good value play near the top of the order.
Editor’s Note: LeMahieu is not in the lineup for tonight’s game.
At a reasonable price, Edwin Encarnacion ($7,800) has a ton of power upside. Already at 30 homers, he’s on pace for a career high in long balls and has a history of success against Sale. If you are into BVP, Edwin has three career homers and a .318/.423/.727 slash line for his career against Sale. He’s scored at least 14 DKFP in three of his past five games.
Priced down because of recent struggles, I still consider Aaron Judge ($8,400) the best hitter on the Yankees. While he hasn’t been great lately, it’s worth noting that he hasn’t faced many lefties. On the season, Judge has crushed southpaws. He has a .458 wOBA against left-handed pitching and the career-high home run rate of Sale could help Judge get out of his slump. All it takes is one bad pitch for him to do damage.
THE OUTCOMEEven though he isn’t having his best season, I think the most likely outcome is that Sale shows up and pitches a good game. The Yankees might hit a homer or two, but he should be able to mitigate damage by throwing strikes and keeping runners off the bases. Sale has gotten himself into trouble this year when he loses the strike zone and starts walking guys. I think lineups should start with Sale tonight and the bats should also be focused on the Boston side of the game.
Final Score: Boston 6, New York 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.