Tonight, like most nights, there are some really good SP options, and usually, we’re splitting hairs or getting cute trying to decide which one is the “right” one for our lineups. Maybe tonight’s just like that for you, but for me, I’m leaning heavily into the one option that’s going to be facing a lineup missing at least six starting bats (perhaps more, depending on what you’d call another one or two of the players)–Toronto’s Alek Manoah (FD $9.600/DK $9,000)

Because of Canada’s COVID-19 vax policy, a large number of the Kansas City Royals, among them starters Andrew Benintendi, Michael A. Taylor, Hunter Dozier, Whit Merrifield, MJ Melendez, Cam Gallagher, and Kyle Isbel, will miss the series in Toronto due to choosing to not get the vaccine.  I didn’t list the pitchers or a couple of the benchier guys, but you get the point–this isn’t even a B-lineup you’d throw out there on a getaway day, or for the nightcap of a double-header. This is like your little league days when all of the dads of the good kids would “coach” one team, and the other team was full of kids whose gloves were on the wrong hand and who wondered how many points their team had or when halftime was.

Streamonator doesn’t *love* Manoah today, slotting him 5th in its preference, but I’m not sure if the machine took into account data inputs like “Is that guy holding the wrong end of the bat?” “Did he misread the pine tar for sunblock and slather his arms and face with it?” and questions like “Hey guys; if I’m the pitcher, what do I put the water in?” 

I’m not going to give you a bunch of fancystats trying to sell you on Manoah tonight. I don’t care that the Royals looked reasonable against Kevin Gausman last night. No matter what Streamonator says, Manoah has simply got to be the best bet for a big game tonight, and that’s who I’m running with.

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Yu Darvish, SP: FD $10,200/DK $8,900 – Streamonator’s top pick today, it’s got Darvish at a 71% chance at a QS and 50% for a victory, both highs on the slate. In the last month, Darvish has thrown four QS and pitched to 2.91/0.94 ratios, with a 37:5 K:BB ratio over 34 innings. There’s one piece of kryptonite for Darvish on the Snake Squad, but I’ll let you read about him later. The rest of the D-backs contribute to a bottom-third-in-the-majors OPS vs RHPs.

Whoever the Braves start at C: Patrick Corbin is on the mound, and Travis D’Arnaud (FD $3,100/DK $4,700) has an OPS over .900 vs. LHPs this year, while William Contreras (FD $2,700/DK $5,400) has a .995 OPS vs LHPs this year. Austin Riley seems like a good 3B play tonight too, but I wanted a different direction there (see below).

Jose Abreu, 1B: FD $3,800/DK $5,200 – Abreu is smoking the ball around the yard his last seven days, racking up 13 hits, seven RBI and slugging .594 his last seven days. His opponent on the mound, Devin Smeltzer, has a 5.62 ERA since June 1, got destroyed his last outing, and kind of sounds like some aquatic Kama Sutra move.

Jake Cronenworth, 2B: FD $3,700/DK $5,000 – Crone is in the zone the last seven games, with a pair of Ding Dong Johnsons (thanks, Pedro) and six runs scored. He’s also 4-for-13 with a HR vs. Madison Bumgarner in his career

Nolan Jones, 3B: FD $3,000/DK N/A at 3B – Was going to go with Josh Donaldson here (in 20 career ABs vs Nick Pivetta, Donaldson has taken him yard three times. He’s also currently hot, with a pair of homers and nine RBI his last seven games) but he got hit on the hand last night and may not play today. Pivot to Jones, the post-hype prospect who’s making good on his first chance in the bigs, playing every day and triple-slashing .333/.481/.571 with a HR and eight RBI his first 21 ABs.

Oneil Cruz, SS: FD $3,700/DK $4,100 – Cruz is Hittertron’s 2nd-ranked hitter (behind Ronald Acuna, Jr.); half because he’s playing in Coors, half because I’m a paying member to the Oneil Cruz Fan Club, and half because he’s a HR/SB machine waiting to happen with his exit velocities (at bat too, not just his 97 mph rockets from SS) and sprint speed (top 1% of the league, according to Baseball Savant). I’m an English teacher, so don’t check my fractions math.

Luis Robert, OF: FD $4,100/DK $5,600 – The Chicago Hotness (™) doesn’t stop with Abreu, as Robert is scorching, with 12 hits, three HRs and 11 RBI over his last seven days. I’m not sure I love picking two White Sox players here since the South-Siders are 3rd-worst in MLB in OPS vs RHPs, but the hot streak is the hot streak, so *shrugs*.

Giancarlo Stanton, OF: FD $3,800/DK $5,700 – I’m so glad we mentioned Nick Pivetta. Stanton has a .389 AVG and three career HRs in 18 ABs vs. Pivetta. I don’t typically like loading up from just a couple of teams, preferring to give you a diversified portfolio, but sometimes the numbers are the numbers.

David Peralta, OF: FD $2,700/DK $3,400 – Here’s Darvish’s kryptonite. Peralta is 9-for-23 career against Darvish with three HRs. He’s also 6-for-35 in July, so Darvish will either own him and make my SP pick look better, or Peralta will continue to tune up Yu and make my hitter pick look better. That, my friends, is called hedging a bet. Don’t @ me when Christian Walker and Ketel Marte rough up Darvish, and Peralta goes 0-for-4 with three Ks, saying “You will neither have your cake nor eat it, Hoove.”


I’m Only Happy When It Rains

@BallparkWeather says that the only game with any potential weather issues is the one in Colorado, and even with that, it says the only real issue is a possible delay. Play ball, everywhere!


Doing Lines In Vegas

I’m completely off of Michael Kopech and his diminishing velocity, and I’ve already gone over the Aquatic Lothario, Devin Smeltzer, above so I’m ready to put one ducat on +110 over 9 total runs this game.