1. Kyle Lohse MIL @ SD- Lohse took little to no time to get himself into mid-season form. It’s remarkable considering he didn’t have much if any preseason game preparation. Here he is with a 13:1 K/BB rate and a 2.70 ERA. He strolls into Petco ready to dominate a lineup that only has Chase Headley as a legitimate hitter. Lohse is also minimum salary on DraftKings ($5,000). He will be on everybody’s teams including mine.
2. Felix Hernandez SEA @ HOU- King Felix has battled through a drop in velocity but hasn’t affected his success. Felix struck out 12 Tigers hitters over 8 innings his last time out. I expect him to be equally dominant against an Astros team that really struggles versus right-handed pitching.
3. Justin Masterson CLE @ CHW- Masterson struggled through his last outing, but most of the damage was done early in the game. He settled and pitched pretty well the rest of the game. It’s an elite matchup against the free-swinging White Sox who only boast De Aza and Dunn as their decent left-handed bats. Look for a good amount of strikeouts and another low ERA win.
4. CC Sabathia NYY @ TB- Like Felix, Sabathia has also struggled through a velocity drop early in this 2013 season. To his credit, he has still only allowed one HR and struck out almost a batter an inning. I’ve been more impressed with the way he’s handled the righty heavy lineups of the D’backs and Orioles. He’ll have to be up to the task again today as the Rays hit lefties better than righties. Evan Longoria has had a ton of success against CC.
5. A. J. Burnett PIT @ PHI- A.J. is what he is. Today he’ll be a strike-out-play-and-pray. That means he’ll be money for at least 8 Ks, any other success by way of wins and efficiency will have to be had by fortune or the grace of God. It is possible though, considering A.J. has not given up more than 3 earned runs in any of his starts, and the Pirates bats are clicking.
1. A. J. Pierzynski C TEX @ LAA- All three of A.J.’s HRs have come against right-handed pitching. Today he’ll face one of the worst right-handers in baseball, Joe Blanton. In 14 IP this year, Blanton has given up 14 earned runs and 6 HRs. He’s also allowing a .436 batting average to opposing left-handed hitters. On DraftKings, A.J.’s price is a minuscule $3,600. He is the most must play of all players on DK. I would also lend an eye to David Murphy and Mitch Moreland in a stacking scenario.
2. Brandon Phillips 2B CIN vs CHC- Phillips has a .400 AVG and 3 HRs against left-handed pitching so far this year in just 20 at bats, and he hits them for a .295 AVG over the course of his career. Travis Wood has performed admirably so far this year, every time that I’ve picked someone against him, he has beat my prediction. I think that changes today. The Reds offense is clicking, and I think the strong righties of Frazier and especially Phillips will drive them to several runs in this game.
3. Jose Bautista OF TOR @ BAL- Bautista is about due to hit another home run. He’ll face a righty with talent in Chris Tillman, but Tillman is coming off a game in which he gave up 2 HRs. Tillman is better against righties than lefties, but Bautista is no normal righty. I think he’s as good a bet as any to hit one out.
4. Matt Adams 1B STL @ WAS- Please God let the Cardinals start Matt Adams against the meat pitching of Dan Haren. I don’t know if the Cards will, considering they started him last night, but if they do, he should go deep at least once. Haren can not keep the ball in the yard, and a hitter with the stroke of Adams is going to make him pay.
5. Carlos Beltran OF STL @ WAS- Beltran found his power stroke this weekend and much to the fear of Haren, he’ll be bringing that stroke with him into Washington. I don’t think Haren has a chance against this Cardinal line-up. More than one of the Cards is going to take him deep. Common baseball sense says to hedge the lefty:righty matchup, but any of the Cardinal hitters could go off and have huge games.
Top 5 DraftKings Minimum Salary
1. Kyle Lohse MIL @ SD ($5,000)- (see above)
2. Shelby Miller STL @ WAS ($5,000)- Today may be the day to pair Lohse and Miller and load up on hitters at DraftKings. Miller has been brilliant through his first three starts. He’s only allowed a .103 batting average to right-handed hitters. Now the Nats lefties of LaRoche, Bryce Harper, and Espinosa may prove troublesome. Today will be a proving ground to see how legit Shelby Miller really is. I think he is.
3. Anthony Rendon 3B WAS vs STL ($2,000)- I think the world of Rendon. I like his defense. His bat will translate well and should have decent gap power. Facing dominant Shelby Miller will be a task, but a talent like Rendon has at the minimum is tough to stay away from. If you don’t use him today. I would definitely file away his price tag for tomorrow.
4. Brandon Laird 1B/3B HOU vs SEA ($2,000)- Laird will have his hands full with King Felix, but I think the Astros brought up the 25 year old with all intentions of him playing versus righties and lefties. His positional flexibility is nice too as you can use him at either 1B or 3B as you stack the rest of your team.
5. Munenori Kawasaki SS Tor @ BAL ($2,000)- Kawasaki continues to do enough to keep him valuable. At the shortstop position, he proves to be very useful when he’s facing a right-handed pitcher. Today he gets Chris Tillman who has not been impressive through the early goings. Look for Kawasaki to once again lead-off atop the very potent Jays lineup and use his .308 AVG against righties to lace a hit, score a run, and maybe get a steal.
**There are a ton of minimums in the Twins/Marlins game that I expect to snow out. If they play, look at Joe Mahoney 1B, Chris Valaika 2B/3B, Oswaldo Arcia OF, and Aaron Hicks OF**
Top 5 Teams to Stack
1. Toronto Blue Jays @ BAL RHP Chris Tillman
2. Baltimore Orioles vs TOR LHP JA Happ
3. Texas Rangers @ LAA RHP Joe Blanton
4. Milwaukee Brewers @ SD RHP Jason Marquis
5. St. Louis Cardinals @ WAS RHP Dan Haren