The Major League Baseball slate on Friday brings us a 14-game lineup, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. ET kicking off the busy schedule.

Pitchers

The favorite on the Bales Model for FanDuel is Joe Musgrove. Musgrove comes in at a price of just $7,900.

It’s no secret Musgrove has been touched up as of late. He has given up at least four earned runs in three of his last four starts. This could be a good buy low opportunity against a strikeout prone Miami Marlins’ offense.

Miami is fifth worst in the majors at a 26.2 K percentage. The Marlins have also floundered recently, as they might be considering their season to be over at this point.

Musgrove’s K Prediction is at 6.99 and has one of the best Park Factors at 82 as well.

I think this is a good buy low spot on Musgrove, and don’t think that he continues to struggle on his current form.

Meanwhile, the best option on DraftKings is Zack Wheeler. The standout has transformed himself into the Philadelphia Phillies’ ace this year. It has been impressive some of the numbers that he has been able to accrue.

Wheeler goes up against the Atlanta Braves, whom he has faced three times this year. He has combined for 19 2/3 innings, three earned runs and 26 strikeouts against the Braves. The three earned runs all occurred in the same start.

Clearly, those are some strong numbers and the benefit of Wheeler is that he lasts deep into ballgames, even if he gives up some earned runs. He has given up four earned runs in each of his last two starts, but still gone 5 2/3 and 6 innings pitched, which allowed him to still pick up a win in one of those starts.

The Braves are clearly not the same team without Ronald Acuna Jr. and have an implied-run total of just 3.4, tied for the fewest on the card. Wheeler has two double-digit strikeout performances against these Braves already, so I think he comes close to that in this latest matchup.

Despite having the highest K Prediction of the schedule, Gerrit Cole doesn’t rate out well. He’s facing a sturdy Boston Red Sox lineup, which makes it difficult to roster him at his high price.

It does feel like the New York Yankees need a vintage Cole outing though. With their COVID-19 situation and depletion of bullpen, they almost need a replication of what Cole did before the break to the Houston Astros (complete game shutout).

Cole has faced these Red Sox twice in the last month, with one occurring last weekend. He has had mixed results. Last weekend, he went six innings, gave up one earned run, and recorded 11 K’s. On June 27, he went five innings, giving up five earned, with six strikeouts.

To me, this just feels like a tightly contested game (as can be seen in the Las Vegas odds) where the Red Sox will try to grind out at-bats. There seem to be better options.

Freddy Peralta could be in a good spot facing the Chicago White Sox. He has not given up more than three earned runs in a start since May 5.

He has the second-highest K Prediction of the night at 8.01 and the White Sox do have some hitters that are strikeout prone. The Milwaukee Brewers are being given the slight edge in this game, as -125 favorites.

For how strong Peralta has been this season, it still feels like he is not been given the credit to get launched into that upper echelon of starters. He is priced lower than his opponent, Lucas Giolito, on FanDuel and Zach Thompson, which really does not make much sense.

He hits for five ProTrends and could be a strong pivot play.

If you want to go down in salary a bit, I think Jake Odorizzi makes some strong sense. He will not knock your socks off, with less than a strikeout an inning, but is in a good spot to record a win.

The question for Odorizzi is if he can even stick around long enough to get a win, as he is 6-for-12 in recording five innings. He just has a ripe match-up with the Texas Rangers, who also look to have sort of quit on their season.

The Houston Astros are -198 favorites in this game, and really should be leading after five innings. The Rangers have an implied 3.8 run total. If Odorizzi can keep his pitch count in line, it feels pretty good that he can secure a win here.

Hitters

Notable Stack

The top stack belongs to the Cincinnati Reds:

  • 1. Jonathan India (R – 31-35%)
  • 3. Eugenio Suarez (R – 41%+)
  • 2. Jesse Winker (L – 9-12%)
  • 5. Aristedes Aquino (R – 9-12%)

This group is projected for 50.5 FanDuel points on $11,900 salary. The Reds get to face Wade LeBlanc, which should bode well for them, especially being able to mash in Great American Ball Park. All of these hitters hit for at least five ProTrends, and as you can see will be popular tonight. LeBlanc is a low strikeout guy, and having a bunch of balls in play does not bode well in that stadium.

Other Hitters

The Los Angeles Dodgers will be another popular stack, albeit more expensive. A.J. Pollock looks to be too cheap, especially if he hits toward the top of the order. He is hitting .345 with seven home runs in July. He has hit safely 10 of his last 11 games. He hasn’t hit Chi Chi Gonzalez great in his career (1 for 10), but is playing at another level right now.

The Lineup Optimizer is all over Juan Soto. He hits for five ProTrends, as the Washington Nationals get to head to Camden Yards to see Jorge Lopez. Lopez has a 6.04 ERA, and I am surprised he has only given up 14 home runs on the season. Soto his on a short four-game hitting streak, with three home runs during that time. He is hitting .390 with seven home runs in July.

There is going to be some runs in Kansas City. The Kansas City Royals are implied for more runs, but I would think about taking advantage of this Detroit Tigers offense instead. Robbie Grossman has a four game hitting streak, with two home runs, and a 21-game on-base streak. He has a .909 OPS versus lefties this year, as compared to a .714 OPS versus righties. He faces lefty Kris Bubic in their matchup.