1. Clay Buchholz RHP BOS vs HOU- So what happens when the hottest pitcher in baseball meets the team the leads the league in strikeouts? I’d say good things for that pitcher. I don’t care how much Buchholz costs. He is going to have a nice game today. He’ll bring his 29 Ks in 30 IP and 0.90 ERA with him. The only thing that hasn’t looked good for Buchholz has been his walks, but something tells me the Astros won’t be taking very many walks. Clay is pretty decently priced at Fanduel (7,500) and DraftKings (8,900) especially considering all his early success.
2. Cliff Lee LHP PHI vs PIT- The Pirates are the worst team in the Majors in batting average against left-handed pitching (.187). Cliff Lee comes to town with a batting average against at .210. This game could be a no hitter, and I’m saying that in all seriousness. If you can somehow grab Lee and Buchholz in your two pitcher leagues, you should be set.
3. Justin Verlander RHP DET vs KC- I can’t believe I’m hesitating to put Verlander on this list, but he hasn’t been incredible lately. I think he’ll be fine, but every time I’ve picked a pitcher this year against Kansas City, KC has put a beating on that pitcher. Verlander is still the highest priced pitcher and should perform very well today. His salary will make it hard to fill out your hitting, and I like Lee and Buchholz better.
4. Hiroki Kuroda RHP NYY vs TOR- Kuroda’s last start was against Toronto in Toronto. I think he did pretty well, 7.1 IP, 1 earned run, and 7 Ks. I think Toronto is a very potent offense, but Kuroda absolutely owns right-handed batters this year (.111 AVG and .230 OPS). The Blue Jays don’t boast any threatening left-handed hitters. I would feel very comfortable rolling Kuroda out there even against the Jays.
5. Hyun-Jin Ryu LHP LAD @ NYM- I have been impressed with what I’ve seen from the left-handed Korean. His K/BB ratio is 26/5 which is great for a pitcher making the jump from overseas. Ryu has a quality start in 3 of his 4 first starts. The Mets righties aren’t jaw-dropping past David Wright and John Buck. If Ryu can continue to dominate lefties (.158 AVG) and navigate through Wright and Buck, he should have a solid game. I would probably pay for the four guys ahead of Ryu, but I do think he’ll have a good game.
1. Joe Mauer C MIN vs RHP Nick Tepesch- I’m not buying Tepesch’s early success. Mauer is primed to have a huge game. Mauer is hitting .459 at home this year. Yes, I did say .459. He should have no problems raking in a multi-hit game. Tepesch is giving up a .303 AVG against left-handed hitters this year and has yet to face a decent one (TB and SEA twice). Nick is going to have his hands full with Mauer, Morneau, Arcia, and Doumit. I think you’d be silly to try and go cheap at catcher today. Spend on Mauer and go cheaper with one of your outfielders or in the middle infield.
2. Chris Davis 1B/OF BAL @ RHP Jarrod Parker- Chris Davis is coming off a game where he went 0-5 with 3 Ks. Why in the world would I recommend him? I’m becoming a believer on Davis. He seems to have cut his strikeouts from his career norms, and he’s walking at a much better rate. Davis has ridiculous power and has yet to have an infield pop fly (which means he’s squaring up to the ball). His splits are great for this game in that he hits righties very well and has done much better away from Camden Yards. Jarrod Parker has struggled against all the teams he’s face other than TB who can’t hit RHP anyways. I also like that he’s only $4,800 on DraftKings and has that positional flexibility.
3. Miguel Cabrera 3B DET vs RHP James Shields- Miggy loves to face Shields. He owns a .500 AVG and 1.343 OPS against Shields. On the season, Cabrera has a .367 AVG. On the season, Shields is allowing a .295 AVG to right-handed batters. Shields can always have a game where he gives up multiple home runs, and Miggy, with only 2, is ready to blast one out.
4. Bryce Harper OF WAS vs RHP Bronson Arroyo- Harper owns RHP. He’s hitting .407 with 6 of his 7 HRs against the righties. He’s due for a big game, and while Arroyo has pitched well this year, I think he could be susceptible to Harper’s timing. One more cool fact about Harper, Bryce has had 7 mult-hit games in his last 9. On that fact alone he should be considered a safe play.
5. Cody Ross OF ARI vs LHP Jorge De La Rosa- I know you can’t call Cody Ross an “elite” hitter, but his matchup today versus De La Rosa is plus. Ross has hit safely in four straight games and has been considered a lefty killer over the course of his career. Ross is only $3,500 on DK and $3,200. Ross just got through playing De La Rosa on April 20th, a matchup in which De La Rosa won as Ross went 0-3. I did like that Ross batted clean up for the D’backs in that game. I don’t think De La Rosa has the chops to make it through the D’backs lineup again unscathed.
**Also consider: Josh Hamilton OF LAA, Mike Trout OF LAA, David Ortiz 1B, Adrian Gonzalez 1B, Matt Kemp, and Carl Crawford**
Top 5 Teams to Stack
1. Los Angeles Dodgers @ NYM RHP Jeremy Hefner
2. Boston Red Sox vs HOU RHP Phil Humber
3. Texas Rangers @ MIN RHP Vance Worley
4. Arizona D’Backs vs COL LHP Jorge De La Rosa
5. Minnesota Twins vs TEX RHP Nick Tepesch