Well, folks, my pitchers hit last week, and my batters missed.  Seems to be the case lately, but I will adapt and overcome with my picks this week.  I am forging a new path Saturday by focusing on, as the title alludes, teams in the running for the Wild Card.  Those teams simply cannot take a game off at this point in the season and tend not to allow an at-bat to be wasted.

As of just a month ago, the NYY were running away with the AL East, but have seen their lead shrink as the ever-present Tampa Bay Rays are making their annual push toward the playoffs.  The LAD have been seen running away with their division since the first pitch of 2022 which makes for a boring storyline.  What is not boring is the SDP appear to be lurking around the Wild Card race and may prove to be a thorn in the side of their division rival come playoff time.  San Diego needs their pitching to find some consistency and the bullpen needs Josh Hader to be Josh Hader.

Today I will focus on the group of teams currently in the Wild Card discussion while putting together a competitive DFS lineup.  No division leaders and no teams out of the race…only Wild Card teams to fill out our roster.  Disclaimer to close the intro (oxymoron much?) I do not have any Chicago White Sox players listed though they are right in the mix.  The reason is, and feel free to roll your eyes and call me a homer, Chicago just took a couple of games from my Seattle Mariners and I refuse to give them any ink at this time.  At least, I will not allow them to gain a header in the column.  What I will do is give you some ChiSox names as pivots to my first option names.

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Kevin Gausman, P: DK: $9,700 / FD: $10,3000 – Toronto just keeps plugging away in the brutal AL East and with the recent New York losing shows there is a chance the Jays challenge for the division.  With that, our guy Gausman keeps doing his thing with 11 wins and an ERA just above 3.10.  I would like to see his WHIP come down from the 1.24 today.  Considering the Rangers are their opponent and those same Rangers appear to be an all-or-nothing lineup, the hope is the Gas Man is able to keep the bats quiet in Arlington on Saturday.  PIVOT: Lance Lynn

George Kirby, P: DK: $8,200/ FD: $9,000 – If you have read my weekly column before, you could see this obvious pick coming.  The reigning AL Rookie of the Month for August has been getting progressively better as the season has moved forward.  Seattle will need Kirby to be the guy we all read about just prior to his call-up earlier this season and he is in for a tough match-up at home versus the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves.  The plan is to get Kirby through six innings with a lead provided by the offense and then allow the Mariners bullpen to take over and shut the door.

Adley Rutschman, C: DK: $10,200 / FD: $3,000 – Right now this is the only guy challenging JROD for AL ROY and I am here for the battle…even as a Mariners fan.  This kid is as advertised and is one of the reasons the Orioles are pushing for a Wild Card bid.  Over his last seven games, Rutschman has 2 HR and 7 RBI while almost 1:1 BB:K ratio.  Start this guy down the stretch with confidence.  NOTE: The DK pricetag of $10,200 does not seem correct, but that is what the system shows.  This game is only available in the showdown format, where pricing is more variable.  If you can afford him at $10,200, pay up.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B: DK: $5,700/ FD: $4,000 – Vladdy is in a slump right now, but as with all great hitters, he will find a way to hit himself out of the slump.  Vladdy is much more the .275, 27 HR, 82 RBI hitter than he is the guy batting .235 (4 HR, 14 RBI) over the last 30 days.  What better way to get back to his regular self than to launch balls in the Texas heat?  I look for Guerrero to have a big weekend at the expense of the Rangers pitching staff.  PIVOT: Jose Abreu

Vaughn Grissom, 2B: DK: $3,200/ FD: $3,300 – This kid just keeps raking and at the price discount, I will continue to use him in DFS.  He is 33-for-95 (.347 clip) over the past month with 5 HR and 16 RBI.  I will take those numbers to the bank.  Now, I hope he does just enough to be profitable and the Mariners (and Kirby) get the W!

Manny Machado, 3B: DK: $6,100 / FD: $3,900 – This write-up can essentially be a carbon copy of the Vlad Guerrero write-up above.  Machado is NOT the .185 hitter that is glaring over the last week.  What he is, and has always been, is the .311 hitter with 26 HR and 88 RBI.  He is just in a little slump and, just like Vladdy, will come out of it and the break-out will be loud.  I particularly like the righty on lefty matchup as he faces Julio Urias at home on Saturday.  PIVOT: Yoan Moncada (you probably missed the boat since all of his season stats occurred on Thursday)

Carlos Correa, SS: DK: $5,400 / FD: $3,300 – We will certainly not see a season-long repeat of 2021 stats for Correa, but he is trending toward his seasonal averages which is a good thing considering the slow start.  Over the last 15 games, Correa is hitting for more power (4 HR, 11 RBI) and at an average over .280 during that span.  As the weather has warmed up, so has Correa’s bat.  He does have a tough match-up against Triston McKenzie at home, but I think the positive trends will continue as the Twinkies push for their Wild Card slot.  PIVOT: Elvis Andrus (has been raking lately)

Christian Yelich, OF: DK: $5,000/ FD: $3,300 – I absolutely LOVE the matchup for Yelich on Saturday.  At home versus a Reds righty sporting an ERA above 12.50 and a WHIP at 2.20.  The Brewers should feast on the Reds lackluster rotation all weekend and the bullpen is no better.  Give me all the Yelich you have and let’s make some money!  PIVOT: Eloy Jimenez

Julio Rodriguez, OF: DK $5,600 / FD: $3,700 – The current favorite for AL ROY and best player EVER, JROD is approaching the 25/25 club.  He has actually pulled in front of both Adolis Garcia and Marcus Semien (other 20/20 names) and should be the first to hit the mark thus solidifying his ROY votes.  A tough matchup for JROD on Saturday versus Max Fried should prove for must-watch baseball.  Though he hits for much more power against righties, I still look for JROD to get his swings in against Fried.  Annnnd, as your resident Mariners homer, I want Julio in every lineup possible.


I’m Only Happy When It Rains

No weather to report for Saturday.


Doing Lines In Vegas

In celebration of the JROD contract and a repeat of my earlier advice, get some money on Julio for AL ROY!  Throw a couple of bucks on Cease for the AL CY as the odds may surprise you, especially with Verlander and McClanahan on the IL.  Also, check your local prop bet option for Goldschmidt to win the NL Triple Crown.