Today’s focus is the six-game main slate that features some of the best pitchers going Saturday. Slate locks at 7:15 p.m. ET.
Three pitchers starting in games on the West Coast top FanDuel’s pricing:
- Jacob deGrom (R) $11,500, NYM @ SD
- Kevin Gausman (R) $11,200, SF vs CHC
- Clayton Kershaw (L) $10,000, LAD @ ATL
- Yusei Kikuchi (L) $9,300, SEA @ LAA
Jacob deGrom has allowed zero earned runs (three total) in 18 innings pitched on the road. He has been worse on the road, allowing a .133/.172/.250 slash line. Brutal, right? deGrom allows the most runs the first time through the lineup (three of four earned runs allowed) and then shuts down offenses. The Padres offense is slightly above average at home (109 Weighted Runs Created Plus) and is no different when facing right-handed pitching at home. This is the matchup to watch tonight. deGrom is a top-two rated pitcher on FanDuel and DraftKings according to the Bales Model, price be damned.
Kevin Gausman allowed three earned runs in six starts in the month of May, five of which with over nine Strikeouts Per 9. He also earned at least a win or quality start in every May outing. Gausman faces a Cubs offense that has struggled at times away from the friendly confines but has been better of late and even when not scoring a lot has won games. Chicago averages four runs per road game but averaged 4.8 runs in May. It does not seem like a major jump but it is notable. Gausman has been hittable at home (3.15 ERA) but has positive regression on his side (2.71 Expected Fielder Independent Pitching). I like Gausman because his counting stats accumulate no matter the situation, but he is behind deGrom in my pitching pool.
Clayton Kershaw has been better on the road than home but faces one of the better power offenses against southpaws. Atlanta has been boom-or-bust in home games against left-handed pitching and depends on hard contact to get runs. They are middle of the pack in strikeouts but towards the bottom in walk rate, something that plays into Kershaw’s mastery of working the strike zone. Atlanta’s .282 BABIP may be bottom 10 in baseball in this scenario, but considering how high other team’s BABIP’s are, their offense is more stable. Kershaw loses some appeal because his strikeout rate drops two per nine on the road and because of the matchup.
Yusei Kikuchi getting pricing love is deserved after a strong May. He pitched 32 innings and only allowed 30 total baserunners while striking out 34. His biggest downfall is the team hitting in his support. The Mariners have a worse wRC+ on the road than home but rank higher when listing away wRC+. At least Seattle is consistent in their mediocrity. Kikuchi faces the best home offense against lefties, the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels offense is also top 10 in Soft Contact percentage (Soft%) and Groundball-to-Flyball ratio (GB/FB) but excel with the top Home Run-to-Flyball ratio (HR/FB). I do not trust Kikuchi against the Angels offense, and double down on not trusting the Mariners to keep up offensively. Kikuchi is a top 10 pitcher on both sites but ranks lower because of price and matchup.
Alex Cobb is only $6,900 on DraftKings and is a top-five option on both platforms. His salary on DraftKings is the third lowest of 2021 despite a plus matchup against the Mariners. I would still roster Cobb over Kikuchi on FanDuel in their matchup. Cobb has at least 30 FanDuel points in five of seven starts. The Angels are the second-largest favorite based on run differential at 0.9-run favorites over Seattle. Cobb does have the highest projected ownership outside the top-priced pitching options.
Charlie Morton has at least 30 FanDuel points in his last three starts, including a 55-point effort at Boston. He has an intriguing matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Atlanta. The Dodgers offense is good and healthy but is buoyed by an MLB-best .315 road BABIP against right-handed pitching. If he keeps walks down and keeps his recent strikeout rate up, he could be one of the better pivots.
Joe Musgrove is a top two pitcher on both platforms. The Mets offensive woes are well documented and despite a strong Hard Hit percentage (Hard%), they rank bottom five in HR/FB. Musgrove has a higher fantasy projection than Kershaw and Kikuchi.
Only one game with a projected run total over 10, so of course it produces the top stack on FanDuel:
- Matt Olson (L)
- Jed Lowrie (S)
- Mark Canha (R)
- Sean Murphy (R)
Total Salary: $15,200
Kyle Freeland only has two starts for Colorado, and they have not gone well. He has a higher walk rate than strikeout, and the Athletics are top 10 in taking free passes on the road against southpaws. Matt Olson is the only lefty in this stack. He is generally subpar against lefties but is hitting .355 against them on the road with four home runs in 36 plate appearances. Oakland and Colorado are the only teams projected to score over five runs.
If saving salary with this stack is in the cards, sub Olson for Chad Pinder. The swap saves $1,000 on FanDuel and only changes the stack projection by 0.5 points.
The Rockies are significantly better against left-handed pitching (100 wRC+) than right handers (69). They are slugging .500 at home against southpaws. Garrett Hampson is a top-10 rated hitter on FanDuel and DraftKings. C.J. Cron rates well on FanDuel, while Yonathan Daza is top 10 on DraftKings. Adding a Colorado bat to the Oakland stack is the best way to get offense from both sides.
D.J. LeMahieu has been difficult to trust in DFS. His salary has dropped $1,000 on DraftKings and gets an opportunity to continue his stronger at-bats against lefties, facing Eduardo Rodriguez. LeMahieu’s Weighted On Base Average (wOBA), ISO and slugging percentage are all higher in 2021 against southpaws.
Want a dart throw? LaMonte Wade Jr. has a hit in five of seven appearances since being called up by the Giants May 28. Two have gone for home runs and another drove in a run. He is $2,000 on FanDuel and $3,000 on DraftKings.
Do not look now, but Francisco Lindor is on a six-game hitting streak and is 3-for-9 career against Joe Musgrove. He is only $3,100 on FanDuel and has a 94% Leverage score.
Another way to pivot off great pitching is Victor Caratini. He is 4-for-9 with two home runs and four RBI’s against deGrom. Caratini’s .444 average against deGrom is his highest against a pitcher.