Welcome to the last Friday of the regular season! We’ve got a 14-game main slate tonight with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. ET.
The favorite play of the night on the pitching side is Clayton Kershaw, who comes in at almost the highest salary on the board. We know that the Los Angeles Dodgers will be trying to win this game, as they are not eliminated just yet from winning the National League West — a benefit for Kershaw’s chances tonight.
He will get to face the Milwaukee Brewers, who are playing for nothing this weekend. They will have the second-best divisional winning record in the NL no matter what. That probably leads them to resting at least a starter or two in each of these games.
Since returning from the IL, Kershaw has yet to throw more than 74 pitches in three starts. That is probably my biggest concern with this play. If he can complete five innings, he should have a strong chance at recording a win.
After that, the Bales Model likes Lance Lynn in a game that does not matter for either side. I think that has been priced into where Lynn is tonight though, with at least a few pitchers ahead of him.
Lynn has been named the Game 1 starter for the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS and deservedly so. He has pitched to a 2.72 ERA this year with 20 more strikeouts than innings pitched.
In an odd stat, Lynn has not picked up a win since July 25 — despite having made five starts during that stretch where he allowed at most one earned run.
I think the White Sox will keep Lynn “regular” in tonight’s start, but he probably does not see more than 90 pitches. There is no need to push him, and if it is a decent start they will not risk tacking on another inning for him.
That makes him more of a GPP option for me — just in case the White Sox really limit him. Lynn also hits for six ProTrends.
The Seattle Mariners are in the thick of a Wild Card race and (as we all have heard before) own the longest streak of not making the playoffs in the MLB. They will be playing hard all weekend.
Marco Gonzales comes out as the third-best rated pitcher on the Bales Model. Gonzales always posts better numbers than I expect. He is not a high strikeout guy, at well below one strikeout an inning, but has a decent 4.00 ERA for the season.
He faces the L.A. Angels, who he just faced last time out. He went seven innings on one earned run with five strikeouts. He is on a stretch where has given up at least one home run in seven straight starts, but he has still posted four wins in September and has not taken a loss since July 3.
I think he makes for a strong play to save some money off of Kershaw/Lynn. He is not going to have as strong of a floor, with his general inability to record strikeouts, but he does hit for seven ProTrends in this game.
All three of these pitchers’ opponents currently sit at an implied run total of 3.3 for tonight.
I am not sure if there is anyone else really worth turning too after that. Anthony DeSclafani and Nestor Cortes are pitching in meaningful games, but the opposing offense they are facing are a little scary.
I get that the Philadelphia Phillies are eliminated now, but I am not sure I would want to be using Sandy Alcantara as the most expensive pitcher on the slate. I think for the most part you want to be deciding between the three options above.
The top stack of the night is the Boston Red Sox:
- 1. Enrique Hernandez (R)
- 3. Rafael Devers (L)
- 4. Xander Bogaerts (R)
- 2. Hunter Renfroe (R)
This group is projected for 52.3 FanDuel points on a salary of $14,600. The Red Sox get to face a left-hander, hence Renfroe will be popular. Josh Rogers was the worst-rated pitcher on the Bales Model, so it makes sense that the Red Sox offense is projected to do well. The Red Sox did not really take care of business in facing the Baltimore Orioles, so they may be primed for a big weekend to survive this AL Wild Card crunch. Renfroe is on an 11-game hitting streak and had two home runs in the Orioles series.
The Toronto Blue Jays will probably be the other stack of the night. They currently have an implied run total of 6.7 as they get to face the Orioles at home. Their salaries are a little inflated because of it, for a cheaper option from them I would consider Corey Dickerson. He just had two doubles and a stolen base in the series against the New York Yankees and comes in well below the top of the lineup options for the Jays.
Luis Arraez always gets some love from the Bales Model, as he is a consistently cheap top of the order hitter. The reason he is always cheap is that he offers very little in terms of extra-base hits, but is usually good for one base hit a night. He has five hits in his last three games, with a double. There could be some runs scored in Kansas City tonight, as neither starter is all that strong.
Yandy Diaz features prominently in the Lineup Optimizer. He homered on Tuesday night and had seven multi-hit games in September. Cortes is not an easy match-up for hitters, but Diaz hits significantly better against left-handed pitching. He is another one of those cheaper top of the lineup bats.
Good luck tonight as we head towards playoff baseball!
Pictured above: Clayton Kershaw
Photo credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images