It’s the second-last day of the regular season, and I feel like I’m back at Opening Day, there’s such a smorgasbord of pitchers to roll around in (so to speak): Kluber (vs. the White Sox, $12,000), Scherzer (vs. the Pirates, $10,800), Kershaw at—important couple of letters, those—the Rockies, $9,600), Archer (vs. the Orioles, $9,300). They’re all so famous we need use only their last names. Of the 4 listed here, Kluber will bankrupt you, and I’m leery of Kershaw in Colorado, and also of Archer, given his last outing versus the Orioles, so how about for our very last Saturday <sob> [Sidebar: Thanks for reading, all these weeks! It’s been a slice. Feel free to come hang with me on Twitter and we’ll get through the cold, dark hell of the off-season together], we go old-school with ol’ Blue-Green Eyes and run out Max Scherzer at home versus the Pirates? Let’s look at some more options for our final Fan(Duel)-tasy together.
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Caveats: Keep a close eye on lineups. Not only is it a revolving door as teams rest their players, but on Friday night, as I attempt to set my Saturday lineup, I’m noticing a couple of glitches on FanDuel: pitchers slated for Saturday are actually starting on Friday. So that’s awesome. Forgive me in advance if any of my pre-write-ups are utter nonsense (well, more so than usual, obv.).
Stacks of stacks: It’s an @COL day: Dodgers and Rockies and homers (hopefully), oh my! The White Sox’s Carson Fulmer is Streamonator’s bottom-ranked pitcher of the day, versus Cleveland: I’m not actually convinced we should be this down on him, as last start notwithstanding (versus Houston; he exited after 1 inning with blister issues), he’s actually been pretty good (6.0 innings apiece and 1 ER versus the Tigers and the Giants in his 2 starts before that), but Cleveland IS just generally fearsome. That said, you may have better luck stacking Rays hitters versus the Orioles’ Miguel Castro (2nd-last-ranked pitcher of the day on Streamonator).
Here’s the lineup I’m entering into FanDuel on Saturday September 30, 2017 (GPP all-day, 12:05 p.m.):
- SP: Max Scherzer, $10,800
- C: James McCann: $2,100
- 1B: Joey Votto, $4,400
- 2B: Jonathan Schoop, $2,800
- 3B: Mike Moustakas, $3,900
- SS: J.J. Hardy, $2,500
- OF: Jay Bruce: $3,100
- OF: George Springer, $3,800
- OF: Melky Cabrera, $2,700
Max Scherzer, SP: $10,800 – Max had a couple of horrible starts earlier in September, versus the Braves and the Phillies, in which he earned 7 and 4 runs apiece. Eek. But his last time out versus the Mets, he was back to his usual electric stuff, keeping the earned runs to 1 and striking out a glorious 10. The Pirates have not fared particularly well against Max in the past: Starling Marte has had a bit of success against him (see below), and Josh Bell has been smacking the ball around of late, but I expect the others to go quietly into the good night. Do note, though, that Scherzer has his highest ERA of the season in Nationals Park: 3.36. So if that track record and his recent hiccups are making you jumpy, might I suggest a (slightly) cheaper and riskier play in…
Luke Weaver, SP: $9,400 – This is a bit of a Streamonator call, which has Weaver as its 4th-ranked pitcher today. It could go brilliantly or horribly (reassuring, I know). Weaver’s been pitching like a demon since July, with a 3.23 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, and he’s pitched well at home: 3.64. But his last time out versus the Cubs was a disaster, with 8 earned runs, and he’s pitching against the Brewers, who are fighting for their playoff lives. So…<makes seesaw hands> But he’s about the cheapest I’d go today.
Mike Zunino, C: $2,900 – He’s been walloping the ball lately, and he has a small but tasty sample size of 6 for 16 versus the Angels’ Ricky Nolasco. But if you want to punt catcher (and let’s face it: most weeks, we do), try…
James McCann, C: $2,100 – As mentioned, this is a total punt. I honestly could have written PTBNL here, he’s such a placeholder (sorry, James!). I’m going to wait until the last minute and see which catcher is starting and is around this price and pop him into my lineup. It’s just that catcher is hard today. Any catcher worth playing (whether he be from the Dodgers; Rockies; Cleveland; Rays versus Streamonator’s 2nd-lowest-ranked Miguel Castro; or the A’s versus Streamonator’s 4th-last-ranked pitcher of the day, the Rangers’ Andrew Cashner) is way overpriced.
Joey Votto, 1B: $4,400 – He was never going to be cheap, but this could be worth paying up for: Votto is 9 for 31 versus Jon Lester, with a home run. He continues to rake in September, slashing .370/.490/.494 so far this month, and in 2017 he’s hit a quite lovely .346 in Wrigley Field. So, worth the money? I think so.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B: $3,900 – Weirdly, he’s hit 1 home run in all of September (I’d say “Pull it together, Rizz,” but that’s still more than I’ve hit). He’s been a little cool. But this is a good lefty-righty match-up for him versus Cincinnati’s Jackson Stephens.
Jose Altuve, 2B: $4,500 – If you can afford him, the mighty Altuve has a .447 wOBA and .429 average versus lefty Drew Pomeranz (who—caveat!—may not pitch if the Red Sox end up clinching on Friday night); Altuve is .343 versus LHP generally. And oh yeah, in 49 at-bats in previous years at Fenway, he’s hit .408. So…what are you waiting for? Oh, you want a 2B you can afford? OK, how about…
Jonathan Schoop, 2B: $2,800 – Baltimore’s finest has been a little up and down of late, but I like him for this match-up versus Chris Archer, against whom he has a .542 wOBA and .417 average in 24 at-bats.
Nolan Arenado, 3B: $4,800 – I know, I’m not going easy on your wallets today, am I. But listen to these numbers: 15 for 47 with 3 home runs—that’s my Turbinado Sugar’s BVP versus Clayton Kershaw; .410—that’s his average versus LHP; .329—that’s his average at home in Coors this year. So…you kind of can’t not. But if you REALLY can’t (like me, actually), try…
Mike Moustakas, 3B: $2,800 – One last time in 2017: Moistasskiss! This recommendation is basically because he’s cheap, but also because he has been hitting in recent days and this is a good lefty-righty match-up for him, versus the Diamondbacks’ Taijuan Walker.
J.J. Hardy, SS: $2,500 – Not a name you’ve heard terribly often in this column! [Sidebar: Speaking of random Orioles, I really wanted Ryan Flaherty to have a breakout season so I could use the title “Flaherty Will Get You Everywhere,” but NO. Thanks a bunch, Ryan Flaherty.] He’s a cheap play for the day. He’s been getting some playing time while Tim Beckham was out with injury, and he may make it into the lineup today for his numbers versus Chris Archer. He has a 9 for 28 BVP (.321 average), with 1 home run. He’s actually one of the few humans who likes playing in Tropicana Field: he has a .272 average there with 3 home runs in 81 at-bats. If he doesn’t start, Orlando Arcia ($2,400) could be worth a play.
Aaron Judge, OF: $5,400 – OK, this price is cray-cray, but I guess it’s only fair… welcome back, first-half Aaron Judge! How we’ve missed you and your hitting ways. Tiny sample size (don’t…judge me), but Aaron is 5 for 10 with 2 home runs versus Marcus Stroman, and he’s hitting .313 in Yankee Stadium. All rise and take out your wallets.
Starling Marte, OF: $4,200 – He’s gone 4 for 12 versus Scherzer in the past, and he’s finally hitting his stride (in time for the season to end! Yay!), hitting .316 in September. I mentioned earlier that he actually has good numbers against Max Scherzer; in the last 7 games, he’s hitting .458 and has stolen 5 bases. Nom. Who needs PEDs?!
Bryce Harper, OF: $4,000 – Bryce is pretty much an equal-opportunity smacker of balls thrown by pitchers out of either hand, but with a slight preference for righties (.330 versus a mere .308 from LHP). I like him for the lefty-righty match-up versus Jameson Taillon at home in Nationals Park, where he’s hitting .325 on the season. Note, though, that he may not play the full game, as he’s working his knee back to full strength. I’ve offered massages but his people are yet to get back to my people, weirdly.
Chris Taylor, 3B: $3,900 – After a knee glitch kept him out of the lineup for a few days, he should be ready to play again on Saturday. He’s about your cheapest Coors hitter for the day, and he was hitting well before he went down with injury. Worth a try?
George Springer, OF: $3,800 – After a decidedly cold patch in which he sank my roto team (#notbitter), George is back! He went 6 for 16 last week with 2 home runs. This is an excellent lefty-righty match-up versus Drew Pomeranz, against whom he has a wOBA of .446 in 13 plate appearances: it’s only 1 hit (!) but 7 walks.
Jay Bruce, OF: $3,100 – He’s been up and down in September, but I’m playing him because I have a $3,100-sized hole in my lineup, basically, and also because he’s actually Hittertron’s 11th-ranked outfielder today. This is a lefty-righty match-up versus the White Sox’s Carson Fulmer (you’ll remember him from such blurbs as “could be good, could be terrible,” earlier on this page).
Melky Cabrera, OF: $2,700 – The Melkman cometh in the dog days of September, to the tune of .438 in the last 7 days. He’s also seen Taijuan Walker well in the past: 4 for 10. Throw in a decent little .271 average at home in Kauffman Stadium, a nice price, and he might be worth a play today.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Doing Lines In Vegas
OK, this is the craziest money line I’ve seen in the course of writing this column: -408 in favor of Cleveland versus the White Sox. WHOA. And I thought the line of -257 in favor of Chris Archer’s Rays was big, over Baltimore. I would take that with a Gibraltar rock-sized (I’m assuming it’s large) lump of salt, though, given Archer’s last disastrous start versus the Orioles and his general run-earning of late. The slimmest margin belongs to the Rangers-A’s game, where the A’s get the nod at -104.