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 once again, the Yankees and Red Sox, this time in the Bronx. When these teams played a week ago in the featured Sunday night game, I wrote about how the Red Sox climbed back into Wild Card contention. Since then, everything has gone wayward. Boston hasn’t won a game in over a week and they have fallen to 5 1/2 games out of the second Wild Card spot. The Red Sox are in desperation mode.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
FIVE BETTING TRENDS— The Red Sox have lost each of their last seven games.
— The ‘Inning 1 OVER 0.5 runs’ market has hit in 14 of the Yankees’ last 16 Sunday games at Yankee Stadium
— The Red Sox have trailed after 3 innings in each of their last four night games.
— Each of the Yankees’ last 11 games after playing the previous day have gone OVER the total runs line.
— The Red Sox have won the first inning in each of their last three Sunday night road games.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
Red SoxBad time in Boston. Losers of seven straight games, David Price ($10,600) is taking the mound to try to end the skid. Activated from the paternity list today, Price was not expected to start tonight. The losing streak has likely caused some urgency for him to hurry back to the team. It’s hard to know how much narratives like this could effect his preparation, so I try not to put too much weight into it. The biggest concern with Price is his history pitching against the Yankees. He’s spent his entire career in the AL East and has a large sample size pitching against the Bombers. The results haven’t been pretty and he has a 4.85 career ERA in 42 starts against the Yanks. Price is having a great season and has upside, but it comes with downside. New York has a 5.1 implied team total.
Nobody on the Red Sox is doing more damage against left-handed pitchers this season than J.D. Martinez ($9,600). Against southpaws, he has a 238 wRC+ and J.A. Happ ($9,400) is allowing a .344 wOBA to righties. Even though the Red Sox are struggling, Martinez is off to a hot start in August. He has a 188 wRC+ in the first few games of the month and is my favorite hitter on Boston to pay up for.
As a lower-owned play, Andrew Benintendi ($8,600) has high upside. Most people will likely look at the left vs. left matchup and avoid him, however, Happ is getting hit harder by lefties than righties this season and Benintendi has been better against lefties than righties. He has a 120 wRC+ against left-handed pitching and Happ is giving up a .356 wOBA to left-handed bats. While not a priority play, I don’t think Benintendi should be written off.
At a near minimum price, Sam Travis ($4,800) makes for a great value play. He’s in a platoon role at first base and typically hits in the middle of the Red Sox lineup when facing a left-handed pitcher. Sometimes he gets lifted for a pinch hitter, lowering his floor somewhat, however his upside is solid against a weak lefty in Happ. We saw this yesterday when scored 2 DKFP in a start in night game of the doubleheader.
YankeesJust like Price, Happ is being activated off the paternity list for tonight’s game. Even though it doesn’t have much fantasy significance, I think the story line of two new fathers makes for a fun headline. Unlike Price, I don’t see much upside in rostering Happ. As many great moves Brian Cashman made in the offseason, bringing back Happ was not one of the them. At 36, he is having the worst season of his career and looks washed up. Happ has a 5.19 ERA and he’s fantasy upside is stunted since his strikeouts have dropped off dramatically. He’s also in bad form after allowing nine earned runs in his last two starts.
Slumping since the All-Star break, Aaron Judge ($7,200; $10,800 CP) looks like he is figuring it out at the plate. He’s on a four-game hitting streak and his price remains extremely cheap. This makes him a strong and affordable option for the captain spot. Judge has been a better hitter at home and stronger against left-handed pitchers. He has a 177 wRC+ against lefties and is the Yankee most likely to homer tonight.
When I first looked at the pricing, I was stunned to see DJ LeMahieu ($8,400) wasn’t more expensive. He leads all Yankees with a 182 wRC+ against left-handed pitching and is coming off one of his best games of the season. Yesterday, LeMahieu had a two-homer game against the Red Sox with 35 DKFP and figures to be an extremely popular play.
The Yankees are dealing with all kinds of injuries. This could potentially open up some value tonight. Edwin Encarnacion was placed on the IL with a fractured wrist last night, while both Aaron Hicks ($6,400) and Didi Gregorious ($8,000) are questionable to play with injuries. If Hicks plays, he makes for a nice cheap play, although his status is unclear and he is expected to undergo an MRI on his elbow. Dealing with a finger injury, Didi sat out the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader, leading to a start for Breyvic Valera ($4,400). If Valera starts again, he’s a reasonable punt for close to a minimum price tag.
THE OUTCOMEEven though the Yankees are a slight favorite tonight, I lean toward the Red Sox to win and end their losing streak. Even though Boston is struggling, the Yankees came away from yesterday’s doubleheader with a bunch of injuries. After going with a bullpen game last night, the Yankees could be in rough shape if Happ doesn’t deliver a decent performance. Despite his struggles against the Yankees, I have more trust in David Price than J.A. Happ.
Final Score: Boston 5, New York 4
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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.