From the jump I’d like to say that my ‘chalk donkey’ lineup with Toronto was super nice until the rain goofed up what looked like a really strong turn for Logan Gilbert yesterday. Add in Kyle Gibson’s strong turn and the Blue Jays’ explosion, and that lineup finished right at 150 DK points.
I subscribe to the idea that it only takes ONE play to differentiate your lineup. Gibson was 28% or so, but Gilbert was under 3%. It’s a game full of “what ifs” sometimes, but if I think I can load up on big bats and make pitching work, I’m going to do it. I love playing the best plays, regardless. If that means I have to be ‘overweight’ on a team, so be it.
I’m also not going to shy away from chalk pitching, for the same reason. I can differentiate with a bat or two. Pitching is such a nightmare to figure this year. Paying up and being chalky in that spot doesn’t bother me, either.
Now let’s do this.
Best play: RHP Jake Odorizzi @ Detroit Tigers ($6,900)
Give me all the cheap pitching to make my big bats work. I was successful with Odorizzi in his last turn against Baltimore, and I see no reason to move off of him now. The Tigers are coming off of scoring two runs, a PPD, and three runs before that. They haven’t scored more than three since they saw the now-demoted-to-the-bullpen John Gant of the Cardinals this past Wednesday. Over the last two weeks, the Tigers are striking out 24.3% of the time (20th) and carry a .151 ISO (19th). On the year against right-handed pitching, they rank dead last in K-rate (26.5%) and are middling with a .156 ISO (17th). Jonathan Schoop (9 HR) is most of that damage, but he gets a lot of his power from pulled fly balls, and I don’t know that I’m banking on that to continue for the rest of the year. Odorizzi—for all his struggles in ‘21—has limited right-handed hitters to a lowly 26.7% hard contact rate thus far. Right-handed hitters are only slashing .175/.197/.349 against him, with a .231 wOBA. It’s left-handed hitters that far better (.229/.327/.417, .327 wOBA) but that means the advantage rolls to Odorizzi. You can bet on Nomar Mazara all you like. I won’t be.
Worst play: LHP Tarik Skubal vs. Houston Astros ($6,300)
Eduardo Rodriguez was in consideration here, but he’s shown a few signs of life lately and I don’t overly trust that Yankees lineup day to day. Skubal’s strikeout stuff is exciting from a long-term or season-long perspective, but the Astros are white-hot with a .228 ISO (3rd) over the last two weeks, with a 19.2% strikeout rate (3rd). On the season, Houston has an absurdly low 17.7% strikeout rate against left-handed pitching, by far the best mark in the league. For reference, the Diamondbacks are second-best with a 21.4% rate. Its the Astros, and then a gaping chasm, and then everyone else. Add in the .168 ISO (12th), which should only continue to rise as Houston gets healthier, and I’m 100% out on Skubal today.
Best play: Milwaukee Brewers vs. RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez
Christian Yelich might finally be waking up, but HOLY MOLY he’s priced all the way up at $6,200 as the most expensive outfielder on DK today. Doesn’t matter to me, though. He yanked a hard hit single and a homer yesterday, and Gonzalez has been dreadful all year. He’s got an ugly 6.3% swinging strike rate, and just doesn’t strike many hitters out as a result. Pitching to contact isn’t really working out for him, and both lefties and righties are beating up on him in 2021.
The Brewers scored 10 runs yesterday, with Yelich and Garcia both swatting home runs. Kolten Wong had three hits atop the order, one of them a double. Willy Adames also hit a double and is up to 10 homers on the year—five of them against right-handed pitching with a .259 BA (he is hitting only .198 against southpaws). Infielder Luis Urias (7 HR, .228 BA) and catcher Omar Narvaez (6 HR, .318 BA) are also names we can consider against right-handers. No, I’m still not into Keston Hiura, but he is reasonably priced at $3,900, so you can go nuts if you’d like to do so. He strikes out over a third of the time against RHP and has one homer with a .160 BA in the split. It’s five walks against a whopping 34 strikeouts over 93 PA, for reference. No thanks.
Worst play: New York Yankees @ LHP Eduardo Rodriguez
Hear me out. The Yanks have underwhelmed all year, and that continued yesterday as they were stymied by Nathan Eovaldi (7.2 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO) and the Boston bullpen. Hirokazu Sawamura did walk three hitters, but Adam Ottavino closed out the game over 1 1⁄3 despite allowing a run. Anyway, you’ve a Red Sox bullpen that’s top five in strikeout rate (26.9%) and eighth in ERA (3.63) ready to roll today. Not to mention, E-Rod is due for some good luck. He’s sitting on a 6.07 ERA, but his FIP (3.65) and xFIP (3.50) paint a better picture. He’s got a whopping 10.53 K/9, compared to a 2.35 BB/9—both the best marks of his career, actually. All I see is an abnormal .380 BABIP, for a guy who has a career .307 mark. People might see that implied 5.15 total for New York and that RvL split for a lot of New York hitters, and go cuckoo for Yankees. But I’ve had a rough time with Yankee bats this year, and if I expect better things ahead for E-Rod I can’t be loading up on pinstripes today.
Who are YOU playing in your lineups today, ladies and gents?