Whilst doing some exhaustive research on mascots (i.e., I stumbled across this ranking of MLB mascots by a two-year-old, which you should read because you probably need a break from real news this week), I discovered that the San Diego Padres’ mascot is a priest-like figure named the Swinging Friar. … “Swinging”? Ohhhh…kay. Anyway, it seemed a propos in a way because I predict a lot of swinging and missing of the strikeout kind as Stephen Strasburg ($10,400) takes on the Padres in Petco today. I’m starting him in my FanDuel lineup, even though he costs a small fortune. I’m with SON and its no. 1 pick for the day: it’s Strasburg versus the Padres today, all the way, baby. Yes, he costs a slightly horrifying $10,400 on FanDuel. Yes, this is a return-from-the-DL start, and we don’t usually fancy those — also, at time of writing on Friday night Dusty Baker is still being coy about whether he’ll actually be activated on Saturday, so keep an eye on that. But I’d like to remind you that last time he faced San Diego, he earned himself 15 strikeouts in 7 innings, with 3 hits, 1 walk and 0 runs. Today he’s in pitcher-friendly Petco Park, to boot. Three days ago, he breezed through his rehab start; in fact, after 66 pitches in 5 innings, “he made such quick work of the Salem Red Sox that he had to throw in the bullpen to get up to the 75 the team had prescribed.” However, you may be dubious — that start was against single A hitters, after all — and it’s also a Rockies-at-home day, so perhaps you want to save money for batter-stacks instead. If so, I have an answer for that…
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Here’s the lineup I’m entering into FanDuel, Saturday August 19 (GPP all-day, 2:20 p.m. [Sleep-in-and-go-for-a-late-brunch alert!]):
SP: Stephen Strasburg ($10,400)
C: Robinson Chirinos ($2,700)
1B: Edwin Encarnacion ($3,800)
2B: Scooter Gennett ($2,900)
3B: Rafael Devers ($3,500)
OF: Steve Pearce ($3,100)
OF: Norichika Aoki ($2,300)
OF: Rhys Hoskins ($2,600)
Stacks of stacks: Might I suggest stacking any Rockies or Brewers hitters in Colorado today? Also, the Razzball Stream-o-Nator (SON) ranks CC Sabathia stone-cold last in Fenway today, so some Boston hitters might do you right. One caveat: Sabathia is just back from the DL today, but he could be a last-minute scratch, as doctors have warned him his knee may not be good to go, so watch out for that. Kendall Graveman @HOU is ranked a sad -19, so you could stack some Astros. Lastly, neither SON nor I have much faith in Nick Tepesch’s ability to deal with Chicago Cubs batters.
Jose Quintana, SP: $8,700 – I’m listing him for the decent price, and because he’s Stream-o-Nator’s 3rd-ranked pitcher for today, at home versus the Blue Jays. But I’m honestly not certain about this one. He hasn’t gone deeper than 6 innings in his last 5 starts. His ERA at (his new-ish) home in Wrigley is 5.25 this year. Some of the Jays have squared up nicely against him in the past — I’ll be recommending them further down the page. So this is a start-at-your-own-risk kinda blurb, I guess…!
Collin McHugh, SP: $7,800 – SON ranks McHugh 4th today, for this start at home in Houston, but I like it better than Quintana’s, above. The A’s are 20th in the league in runs scored. Yes, McHugh’s 4.88 ERA is ugly, but it’s because he imploded late against the White Sox two games ago (to the tune of 7 earned runs — yikes); otherwise, he’s been pretty solid, with a lovely K/9 of 9.11. He hasn’t seemed to be able to buy a win, but maybe he’ll get one today.
Yadier Molina, C: $3,400 – After a bit of a slow patch earlier in August, Yadi is on a wee streak right now (wee as in small. I have no idea about his continence situation). I’m tossing him out as a suggestion today for his 4 for 10 history versus Pittsburgh’s Chad Kuhl (Kuhl for cats?), who has a 5.15 ERA at home in 12 games this year.
Robinson Chirinos, C: $2,700 – I hope he makes it into the lineup today. Generally, I wish he played more often. It’s kinda criminal. He’s hitting .357 so far this month, and has a .292 average versus lefties, so it would make sense to start him against LHP Derek Holland (SON’s 5th-lowest-rated pitcher today, Fact Fans). If he doesn’t make it into the lineup, try Atlanta’s Tyler Flowers, also $2,700; at time of writing, the Knight of Flowers is supposed to be facing the Reds’ Robert (Louis) Stephenson, who is bringing his 6.64 ERA out of the bullpen for a spot start. [Literary sidebar: I just realized I mentioned Robert (Louis) Ste(v)enson and a Robinson in the same blurb. I’m a regular Girl Saturday.]
Joey Votto, 1B: $4,600 – Ol’ reliable has a 4 for 10 BVP versus Julio Teheran. There’s not much more to say about him other than he’s gonna hit. But ya, he costs a lot. Mark Reynolds ($4,000) could also make a good option, for the delicious Rockies factor.
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B: $3,800 – Righty EE has a BVP of 8 for 27 with 2 home runs versus LHP Jason Vargas. Polly (a.k.a. VictoriaB) want a jacker! I also like the price; I need to keep the cost down at this point.
Joe Mauer, 1B: $3,200 – I know, right? Not a name you see mentioned much anymore (he’s still cute, though [#shitgirlssay]). I thought I’d throw him out there for his weirdly good BVP versus Zack Greinke: 18 for 50 with 7 walks. It’s a nice lefty-righty matchup, and it’s not crazy expensive. He’s also doing reasonably well at the plate of late (poetry!): .291 in August.
Jose Altuve, 2B: $4,200 – 2B seems a little tough to fill today (all the options seem either expensive or uninspiring), but if you’ve got the salary-cap room, this should work out for you, with Altuve’s 6 for 20, 1-homer history versus Kendall Graveman. Graveman is Stream-o-Nator’s 5th-lowest-ranked pitcher today (4.70 ERA). Last time he faced the Astros, he did hold them to 1 earned run, but that was in Oakland and back in April, before the Astros activated Juggernaut Mode. Altuve’s hitting a just-fine .303 at home.
Scooter Gennett, 2B: $2,900 – Partly because I’m being thrifty, partly for the lefty-righty match-up in a relatively decent hitters’ park, I’m going to run Scooter out today (putt putt putt). He’s done something just about every day over the last month, whether hit, run, RBI or walk.
Josh Donaldson, 3B: $4,400 – Finally, slowly, painfully, other-adverbly, Josh Donaldson is turning his season around. In addition to his 6 for 13 BVP history (with 1 home run) with LHP Jose Quintana, he is hitting .383 in August, with 7 home runs to his name. Also, this is at Wrigley, nom nom! (Not the sound of me chewing Juicy Fruit, but hopefully of baseballs being smacked across the field.) Expensive, though, as is the most obvious choice at 3B today: Nolan Arenado ($4,500). I can’t afford either of them, so I’ll try…
Rafael Devers, 3B: $3,500 – How I love owning him in roto. He is so. so. good. He hasn’t yet faced CC Sabathia, but between his .389 average versus LHP and his .391 hitting at Fenway and his .311, 4-homer month <fans self>, how bad could it be?
Marcus Semien, SS: $3,400 – This could go either way: as mentioned earlier, Collin McHugh’s been pretty good in his return from the DL (other than that start versus the White Sox). However, at original time of writing, Semien is on an 8-game hitting streak (Edited to add: broken on Friday night. Boo!), and has a BVP of 8 for 18 with 1 homer versus McHugh. At this price, maybe worth taking a chance?
Nelson Cruz, OF: $4,400 – Here’s a big spend outside Colorado. Cruz-ing along in August at a .396, 8-homer clip, Nelson also has a decent 5 for 18 history versus Jake Odorizzi. This is in the Trop, where hits usually go to die, but Cruz has hit .297 there over 2014-2016, and Odorizzi’s ERA at home this year is 4.48.
Mookie Betts, OF: $4,000 –Mookie is 6 for 17 versus CC Sabathia and a decent .289 versus LHP generally. He’s been hitting .260 in August, which is meh, but he did have a solid 3 for 4 night on Thursday and a RBI and a walk last night. Let the Mookie win.
Norichika Aoki, OF: $2,300 – Don’t look now, but I think I’m forming a tiny Jays stack! Here’s another Jay to consider, if he makes it into the lineup: he’s sitting on a pleasant 7 for 17 versus the Cubs’ Jose Quintana. If he doesn’t play, might I suggest a little Rhys Hoskins ($2,600)? His average is horrid (.216 — 2 points above Jose Bautista’s! [#snarkdriveby]) but he has hit 3 homers in the last week.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Thunderstorms are threatening early on in Pittsburgh, so keep an eye on that game versus the Cards. Other than that, clear sailing!
Doing Lines In Vegas
No insanely huge favorites today: the highest would be -176 for the Cubs over the Jays (sadly, I can’t say I disagree) and -170 in favor of Chris Sale and Boston over the Yankees. Philly has the slimmest of hopes (-102) of beating San Fran, in San Fran.