Written by: Coleman Bahr – Staff Writing Intern (@ColemanBahr)
We have a pretty ugly day of pitching ahead of us, there is no clear ace, and the best strikeout pitchers are either in terrible ballparks, or in terrible matchups. In this article I am going to preview the top cash, and tournament pitchers, along with a few pitchers I am going to be targeting hitters against. With that being said, let’s get to it!
| Pitchers to Target in Cash Games
Justin Verlander – DraftKings: $11,000, FanDuel: $9,600 – Detroit Tigers
Verlander comes in at a premium price tag on both sites, but if you are looking for a safe matchup, he is worth it. Today, he faces off against the Minnesota Twins who were crushing the ball prior to the All-Star break, but have cooled off quite considerably since then, only scoring more than two runs in two of the five games since the All-Star break. As for Justin Verlander, he has pitched quite admirably lately, allowing two runs or fewer in seven of his last ten starts, while picking up six wins in that timeframe. Verlander may not be the top scorer, but I expect a quality start along with six or seven strikeouts from him tonight.
Ian Kennedy – DraftKings: $8,100, FanDuel: $8,200 – Kansas City Royals
Ian Kennedy faces off against the Cleveland Indians tonight, and while the Indians have some offensive weapons, they have been one of the worst teams this season while in the road. They own the seventh lowest weighted runs created plus (wRC+) on the road compared to the top ranked wRC+ while at home, and they also have the sixth lowest weighted on base average (wOBA) on the road compared to the third highest wOBA at home. Ian Kennedy has also been a force to be reckoned with at home. At Kauffman Stadium he owns a 29.9% strikeout rate, and a 2.11 earned run average (ERA). The combination of Kennedy’s home numbers, and the Indians road numbers should allow for Kennedy to at least pick up a quality start tonight, which is what I look for when selecting my cash game pitchers.
| Pitchers to Target in Tournaments
Felix Hernandez – DraftKings: $10,100, FanDuel: $10,300 – Seattle Mariners
Felix Hernandez would have been one of my cash pitchers tonight, but he is fresh off the disabled list, so there may be some rust to wipe off before we see the true King Felix, but I can still give him a go in tournaments because of his upside. Felix Hernandez squares off against the Chicago White Sox today who may be the coldest team since the All-Star break as they have scored more than three runs in a game only once since the break. While Hernandez only has a 19.9% strikeout rate on the season, I believe it’s partially due to injury, and we all know he is a much more capable strikeout pitcher than what we have seen this season. Hernandez’s ownership will be interesting to see coming straight off the disabled list, but he definitely has the upside that I look for in tournaments.
Carlos Carrasco – DraftKings: $10,400, FanDuel: $10,000 – Cleveland Indians
While I’m not in love with Carlos Carrasco today, there’s not many pitchers today who have double digit strikeout upside like Carrasco has. His matchup against the Kansas City Royals isn’t one you necessarily look to target that often, but he should be able to go deep into this game as the Royals are one of the most aggressive teams at the plate. A win may be somewhat hard to come by as the Indians really struggle on the road, but if Carrasco can pick up close to double digit strikeouts he will pay off his price tag.
| Pitchers to Target Hitters Against
Jaime Garcia – St. Louis Cardinals
Jaime Garcia faces off against the San Diego Padres at home today, and the Padres have been one of the best teams in the league against southpaws this season. The Padres have the highest wRC+, and the second highest wOBA against lefties this year, and Jaime Garcia is nothing to be scared of. The two bats to look to in this one will be Wil Myers, and Matt Kemp, who both have been absolutely crushing lefties this season, but Melvin Upton Jr. has quietly mashed lefties also with a .388 wOBA, and a .298 ISO. I expect this stack to be pretty low owned just because they are the San Diego Padres, but this stack is a great way to differentiate yourself in those big tournaments, and if it pays off, you’ll easily be towards the top of the leaderboard.
Coors Field (Tampa Bay Rays @ Colorado Rockies)
Usually I don’t feel the need to write up about stacking up in Coors, but I love the teams on both sides of this matchup just a little bit more than usual today. For the Rockies, they square off against Chris Archer who has some elite strikeout stuff, but he also gives up an unusual amount of home runs. Currently, he is allowing 1.53 home runs per nine innings (HR/9), and on the road he allows 2.03 HR/9. The Rockies have plenty of sluggers who could knock one out tonight, but my top guess for a home run would be Carlos Gonzalez. I expect more than one home run from the Rockies today, but Carlos Gonzalez will be the guy that gets it all started.
On the other side of this matchup we have the Tampa Bay Rays against Jorge De La Rosa. De La Rosa has improved drastically lately, but the Rays simply crush lefties, and they are in Coors so they should have no trouble knocking a couple out of the yard today. The top lefty smasher is Steve Pearce who is fresh off the disabled list, but they also have Evan Longoria, Brandon Guyer, and Logan Forsythe who all have very impressive numbers against southpaws. I am all for a game stack in this one as I expect many runs to be scored, and many of them in home run fashion. I also love to target hitters in Coors when it’s a day game because it’s warmer, and this allows for the ball to travel a little bit further.
That’s all I have for today, thanks for reading! If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @ColemanBahr, good luck tonight!