We have the final two-game slate of the 2020 MLB season on Saturday. Lock is at 4:38 p.m. ET.
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Braves at Dodgers (-157)
- Walker Buehler, RHP, $9,100 FD/$8,000 DK
- Max Fried, LHP, $9,700 FD/$7,800 DK
This series has been a rollercoaster and, now we’ve got a rematch of Game 1.
Both of these starters fared well in Game 1, with Fried being a little more impressive. Neither factored into the decision.
Fried is better at run prevention than Buehler, but Buehler has been much more consistent with strikeouts even though that did not hold true in Game 1.
For the season, Fried has an 8.0 K/9, while Buehler’s is 10.3. That helps make Buehler the second highest-rated pitcher in the Bales Model today.
With the Dodgers favored by a decent margin, I am not sure why Buehler is cheaper than Fried on FanDuel.
Astros at Rays (-122)
- Lance McCullers Jr., RHP, $8,600 FD/$8,300 DK
- Charlie Morton, RHP, $8,000 FD/$7,500 DK
Would it not be awfully “2020” to have the Astros become the second team ever to win an MLB series down 3-0? They’re already the first team to make the postseason with a losing record, albeit in unusual circumstances.
Wednesday morning, it sure did not look like I would be writing about this series today, but here we are.
McCullers threw really well in Game 2, but he took the loss. And his whole start may have gone differently without Jose Altuve’s error in the first inning.
He racked up 11 strikeouts and with the Rays’ propensity to strikeout — the most per game in the league — that is why McCullers is the most expensive pitcher on DraftKings. If they were listed, I would assume he would be the most expensive on FanDuel too.
On the flip side, the Astros struck out the fewest times per game in the league. That stat has held true the entire series, as in all but one game the Rays have struck out more times than the Astros (Game 3, and each team had nine strikeouts).
That makes Morton pretty difficult to lock into your lineup, even with the Rays favored.
The issue with McCullers is the longball, as he has given up five home runs in two playoff starts. That really was not him in the regular season, as he had five home runs given up in 55 innings. He had 88 groundballs to 58 flyballs — so it may just be a small sample size issue.
On the short slate, with the potential for piling on strikeouts, I like playing McCullers more than Morton. McCullers is the highest-rated pitcher in the Bales Model today.
This will be a fascinating game from a bullpen management perspective. Ryan Pressly has thrown three days in a row for the Astros. Andre Scrubb has thrown 54 pitches in the last three nights. The Rays have an advantage with the deeper bullpen, but burned Shane McClanahan and might try to avoid John Curtiss.
I think that the Astros need the length out of McCullers more than the Rays need it out of Morton — another checkmark for McCullers.
The best stack is the Dodgers, throwing Cody Bellinger into the mix. They are cheaper than the Braves stack and projected for about three more points. It also features the Bales Model’s highest-rated hitter for the evening, Justin Turner.
The Dodgers do have the highest implied run total on the slate at 4.6 runs, but all of the teams are fairly close to each other — as one would expect.
Although his base running and fielding have been in question all series, Jose Altuve must be seeing a beach ball right now. He is holding a ridiculous .455/.571/.955 line in this ALCS. It is easy to plug him into lineups on such a short slate.
Manuel Margot has three home runs in this series, with two coming last night. The two dingers last night will increase his ownership a bit today, but if you recall he did take McCullers deep in Game 2 in the first inning. He has been one of the better Rays hitters throughout the series.
I think you can lock and load Randy Arozarena as some ownership moves off of him after an 0-3 effort on Friday.
Fried is actually a reverse-splits pitcher (left-handed hitters are slightly more successful than right-handers off of him), but A.J. Pollock really does his damage against lefties. He will be very popular in cash games, but is also one of the cheaper ways to get exposure to the Dodgers.
As a pure punt play, I thought Cristian Pache had two strong at-bats against Buehler in Game 1. Both were walks, but he saw a total of 14 pitches in the at-bats. It could be an interesting pivot in GPPs. He is available for the near minimum.