Thursday features a 2-game main slate on DraftKings and FanDuel starting at 5:07pm ET.
Los Angeles Dodgers (-236) at Atlanta Braves (+185)
Weather: 90 degrees, 0% precipitation,15 mph wind (to left)
The Los Angeles Dodgers will turn to Clayton Kershaw to even the series 2-2 on Thursday night. Kershaw was a late scratch from Game 2 with back spasms, but says he is good to go tonight.
Clayton Kershaw has excelled for the Dodgers throughout the 2020 postseason, pitching to a 1.93 ERA while striking out 19 batters over 14 total innings. He was also very strong down the stretch for the Dodgers, collecting a 3.05 FIP, 0.95 HR/9 and 9.2 K/9 over his last five starts in the regular season. He’s also pitching deep into games of-late, including eight full innings in his NLWC start against the Milwaukee Brewers on October 1.
The Braves were league average against left-handed pitching during the regular season, collectively hitting to a .324 wOBA (14th best in baseball) and a .176 ISO (13th best).
Kershaw will be popular given the lack of other top options on the slate, but he’s a strong play in all formats at his $10,100 price tag. If playing in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs), however, you’ll need to differentiate elsewhere on a short two game slate.
Bryse Wilson will take the mound for the Atlanta Braves in what will undoubtedly turn into a bullpen game sooner rather than later. Wilson struggled during the regular season, pitching to a 4.85 FIP and walking batters at a 5.2 BB/9 rate over just 15.1 innings pitched. This will mark his first appearance in the 2020 postseason.
Despite his struggles overall, he was strong in his final two appearances of the regular season, collecting a 2.07 FIP, allowing no home runs and striking out batters at a 10.1 K/9 clip over eight total innings.
He’ll match up against a team in the Dodgers that were one of the best teams in baseball during the regular season against right-handed pitching, collectively hitting to a .355 wOBA, .227 ISO and a 126 wRC+. While very inexpensive, Wilson cannot be trusted given the matchup and the likelihood that he’ll be pulled early.
Tampa Bay Rays @ Houston Astros
Weather: 69 degrees, 0% precipitation, 8 mph wind (left to right)
The Tampa Bay Rays will utilize John Curtiss in an opener role on Thursday as they look to close out the series against the Houston Astros.
Curtiss was efficient for the Rays during the regular season. In 25 innings pitched, he collected a 3.35 FIP, 1.08 HR/9 and a 9.0 K/9. After a nightmare postseason debut against the New York Yankees where he allowed five earned runs in less than an inning, he’s since settled down and pitched 3.2 scoreless innings in relief.
Unfortunately, he cannot be counted on as a DFS option today. He hasn’t pitched more than 1.2 innings during the postseason and the Rays will likely turn the game to the bullpen after the first inning.
Luis Garcia will get the unlikely nod for the Astros. The 23-year-old made just five regular season appearances during the regular season, including one start against the Oakland Athletics on September 9. In that game, he pitched five scoreless innings and struck out four batters while allowing just one hit. Since then, he’s made just three relief appearances that have not lasted longer than 1.1 innings each.
His regular season numbers were nothing to write home about. In 12.1 innings pitched, he collected a 4.25 FIP and struck out batters at a below-average 6.6 K/9 rate.
Given his limited workload over the past month, it’s unlikely he pitches more than few innings before handing the ball over to the Astros bullpen. He’s off the board for cash games and stands as an extremely risky GPP play given the uncertainty of how long they’ll let him go.
In large field GPPs, though, he’s worth consideration at his basement-level price point on the off chance that he is able to go five innings in this one.
With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. Today’s top four-man on FanDuel (per the Bales Model) belongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers:
• 1. Mookie Betts (R)
• 2. Justin Turner (R)
• 3. Max Muncy (L)
• 4. Alex Bregman(R)
- 6. Cody Bellinger (L)
Total Salary: $15,500
The Los Angeles Dodgers take on Wilson and the Atlanta Braves bullpen in Game 4. The Braves bullpen was one of the best in baseball during the regular season with a 3.91 FIP, but that does not take into account their recent workload. They’ve been overworked of-late as evidenced by their 73 Opp BP rating in our model and the 15-3 drudging they took last night in Game 3.
They match up well in this game. Mookie Betts demolished right-handed pitching in the regular season with a .438 wOBA, .354 ISO and 181wRC+ against righties. He’s also been strong this postseason, collecting a .310 batting average and four runs batted in over 29 plate appearances.
Justin Turner was also very strong during the regular season against righties, collecting a .397 wOBA and 154 wRC+ during the regular season.
They’ll likely be the most popular stack of the night given their offensive outburst last night, but there is no denying they’re in a good spot.
Randy Arozarena has been other-worldly this postseason for the Tampa Bay Rays. Over 47 plate appearances, he’s destroyed with a .442 batting average, five home runs and seven runs batted in. He’s also collected nine extra-base hits in that time. He’s expensive at $4,700, but there is no one hotter in the game right now.
Jose Altuve also jumps out in our model as a strong option at $3,700. Altuve has been a hot bat for the Astros of-late. Over his last five games, Altuve has a .400 average to go along with four homes and six runs batted in. He’s projected to hit second and is a strong value at his price point given his recent production.