The Mets won a wild one yesterday, slugging seven homers in the Great American small park. That 15-11 win for New York was likely key to last night’s MLB DFS offenses, as were Juan Soto and Trea Turner—the Nationals popped off for 18 runs against the Marlins. Since participating in the Home Run Derby, Juan Soto has five homers over just four games—including a pair last night. All told, the Nats smoked six homers last night, a season-high. That’s not a team to target with your pitchers right now.
Lastly, Kyle Gibson was unfortunately NOT the answer yesterday, as the Tigers erupted for 14 runs and look like a team poised to make some noise in the second half. That was a death by papercut sort of affair, as the Tigers managed only one homer despite all those runs scored. We’ll have to try to stay away from a blow-up like that in our pitching ranks today...
Best play: LHP Tarik Skubal vs. Texas Rangers ($7,700)
Skubal’s strikeout stuff is nasty, based on his minor league track record and his 10.59 K/9 over his first 120 2⁄3 MLB innings. His struggles have been with walks (3.65 BB/9) and homers (2.09 HR/9). So how do the Rangers fare in hitting homers and in drawing walks? Well, let’s see...
108 homers puts Texas at 19th-best in the league, while the 7.9% walk rate is 25th (tied for sixth-worst). So that’s looking nice. It’s a 24.2% strikeout rate overall, 12th-worst in the league (or 19th-best if you want to think of it that way).
Against left-handers in particular, the Rangers have slugged only 30 homers, ranking 20th. The 6.4% walk rate against southpaws is the STONE WORST in the league, and by a fair margin too. The next-worst team is the Royals at 7.0%. Texas is not good in this regard. The Rangers strikeout at a 23.5% clip, ranking 17th. So this is a matchup to target for a guy with nasty strikeout stuff, whose Achilles heel has been control...right?!?
I’d cite the last 14 days, but we just had an All-Star break, so that would be clunky. In all, I’m loving Skubal’s matchup here, against a Texas team that walks the least amount of any team in the league. Even if Skubal allows a homer (or two), hopefully there won’t be enough men on base to really do him in, and the strikeouts will carry us to glory. As an added bonus, if the Tigers offense stays hot, perhaps we’ll have a decent shot at a win, too.
Worst play: LHP Trevor Rogers @ Washington Nationals
I said it in the opening salvo...I’m not interested in pitchers against these Washington Nationals, not while they are hot and while Juan Soto is reverting to Juan MF Soto. Rogers has stupendous numbers on the season (2.31 ERA, 10.84 K/9) but the Nats are not a team to mess around with right now. I’d like to think this is a contrarian play...but part of me wonders if people will see Rogers’ season-long numbers and just plug him in. He’s $100 more than Alex Wood, who travels to the Dodgers—a matchup that will certainly have people shying away from Wood (i.e. more likely to use Rogers). For my part, I’d rather pay up for Luis Garcia against Cleveland ($10,400) or drop down to Yu Darvish ($9,800) against Atlanta, if paying up at pitcher.
Best play: Boston Red Sox @ RHP Thomas Hatch
It’s not every day you can snag a top 10 offense coming off of a 13-run effort and not be too worried about ownership. It’s a large slate and we have a game at Coors Field...not to mention the opposing Blue Jays will be popular against RHP Garrett Richards. The call-up Jarren Duran slugged his first MLB homer yesterday, while batting second. I’d say he’s shaping up to be a major value play today, listed for only $2,300 on DraftKings. Add in all the usual suspects against Hatch, who is getting the emergency spot-start after Alek Manoah injured his back. This seems like a tall order for Hatch, though he has admittedly been brilliant at Triple-A this season (2.15 ERA, 29 SO in 29.1 IP). Still...give me Duran and a cheap Verdugo, as well as the big Boston bats in this one.
Bonus best play: Colorado Rockies vs. LHP Marco Gonzales
I feel compelled to tell you that the Rockies take on soft-tossing Gonzales at Coors Field. I try to always get away from full Coors stacks, but there will surely be some one-offs to choose from in this lineup. And no, I’m not getting cute with Seattle bats against a quality pitcher in RHP German Marquez. It’s his worst year ever for homers, as he’s sitting on an ugly 2.38 HR/9. Add in an ugly 3.34 BB/9 and his constantly low strikeout rate, and he’s posting a career-worst 6.10 FIP. Perhaps he’s still finding the proverbial zone after spending over a month on the IL with a left forearm strain...but whatever the case may be, he shouldn’t be in consideration at Coors. Colorado is tied for the third-lowest strikeout rate against lefties, at only 21.4%. That, and while the Rockies have a PUTRID .101 ISO on the road (30th in MLB), that number SOARS to a .184 ISO at home, tied for the sixth-best home ISO in the league.
Worst play: New York Mets @ LHP Wade Miley
Yep, they erupted yesterday. But Miley has found some magic in 2021, and the Mets aren’t a team I like on a macro level. Miley has a 2.80 ERA this year, which is backed by a 3.24 FIP. He’s not allowing homers (0.56 HR/9) and he’s limiting free passes (2.43 BB/9). He induces a ton of ground balls and elicits a lot of soft contact, and he mostly nullifies lefty batters. This is a one-off sort of situation for me—sure, Pete Alonso is also in consideration. You can consider a cheap Kevin Pillar, or last night’s hero James McCann, too. But I’m not fully stacking this team again today.
What say you, ladies and gents? What sticks out in your first turn?