First, happy Labo(u)r (the “u” is for us Canadians) Day weekend! Second, let me join the chorus of bewilderment around me: how in the actual F (and I don’t mean Jef with 1 F) is it September? Mind you, I’m happy it is. The heat can go to hell. Seriously, I used to live in southern Africa and was never as hot as I am here, living in the eastern bit of North America. Bah humbug. Close the door: you’re letting the cold out. Get off my lawn. Etc. But back to baseball! We’re staring down the home stretch now, and whether you’re happy (Dodgers fans!) or you’re not (Jays fans. … sigh), there’s a little flurry of excitement at this time of year, what with the shiny (or not so shiny) new September call-ups, and the fact that FanDuel may not notice, so these players’ prices may be low, and you may (this is a lot of “may”s, I know. It’s a may-September romance) be able to slip some bargains into your lineups today while saving cash for big Coors bats and good pitching. (Finally! Good pitching options on a Saturday! Kluber! Scherzer! Archer! Lester! I hardly knew her!)
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Stacks of stacks: The Razzball Stream-o-Nator’s lowest-rated pitchers of the day are both from the same team: Seth Lugo and Matt Harvey, the two Mets pitchers taking on the Astros. However, these two teams are embroiled in a double-header today, so if you want to start some Astros hitters, keep a close eye on who makes it into the lineup when (only the early game, 2:10, counts for FanDuel all-day slates, which I’m playing. Similarly, only the early Dodgers-Padres half of their double-header counts, at 3:40). A no-brainer stack is probably Arizona and Colorado hitters against Patrick Corbin and Jon Gray, respectively, for the start at Coors field — but we know they’re going to cost a fortune. Less obviously, and I feel a little weird about this recommendation, but may I suggest a couple of Jays hitters against Baltimore’s Wade Miley? Miley is 7th last per Stream-o-Nator today, and the Jays have traditionally done well against him (particularly Kendrys Morales, Steve Pearce, and Kevin Pillar).
Here’s the lineup I’ll be entering into FanDuel, Saturday September 2 (GPP all-day, 1:05 p.m.):
- SP: Corey Kluber, $11,300
- C: Kurt Suzuki, $2,900
- 1B: Kendrys Morales, $2,900
- 2B: Scooter Gennett, $3,500
- 3B: Nick Castellanos, $2,900
- SS: Didi Gregorius, $3,200
- OF: Kevin Pillar, $3,000
- OF: Carlos Gonzalez, $3,000
- OF: Harrison Bader, $2,000
Corey Kluber, SP: $11,300 – My buddy Stream-o-Nator and I are all about
the bass this start versus the (sadly) SABR-toothless Tigers. Detroit had an 11-17 record in August: 24th in MLB. They scored an average of 4.4 runs per game: 17th in MLB. They just traded away Justin Upton, who was one of the few to actually be hitting on the team (the bright-ish spot is Castellanos; more on him below). Meanwhile, Kluber has a so-pretty ERA of 2.63 and a WHIP of 0.89 and hasn’t earned more than 3 runs per game in a month and drool. I think you’re pretty safe here. I’m going to start him. However. That price. It’s so many numbers in a row. Perhaps you might look to the slightly cheaper…
Charlie Morton, SP: $8,500 – This is another “pick on the opponent” suggestion: August was even worse for the poor Mets than for the Tigers, with a slew of injuries, not much hitting, and bad pitching (a collective starters’ ERA of 5.01). On the Astros side, Morton hasn’t been super sharp of late, but I like this for the match-up versus the not-amazin’ Mets and the fact it takes place in the best pitchers’ park in the league — the Astros are returning home this weekend, after they were temporarily relocated to Tropicana Field. Also, you’ve got all of the continent on your side right now, Houston.
Jameson Taillon, SP: $6,600 – This is officially your risky but cheap play.™ Stream-o-Nator really likes Jameson (hopefully not on the rocks) today: it ranks him 6th overall. I’m not sure totally sure, though — he has a 5.43 ERA at home, 8.20 versus Cincinnati. Start at your own risk.
Gary Sanchez, C: $3,800 – This is a tad high for a catcher, and on a game-by-game basis, he veers wildly between 0-fers and home run! hits! double-digit-FanDuel points!, but if you do suddenly find yourself with money to burn, I feel obliged to point out Gary’s 6 for 15 numbers with 3 home runs against Drew Pomeranz.
Kurt Suzuki, C: $2,900 – Now here’s your cheap catcher. He may not play — he’s the backup in Atlanta — but there’s a chance, given his 7 for 23 BVP versus Jon Lester. He has great numbers against left-handed pitching generally this year: .342. He hasn’t been hitting at all well lately, though. If he doesn’t make it into the lineup, try the silly-cheap Salvador Perez ($2,400) versus low-ranked Kyle Gibson ($SON -10.5).
Freddie Freeman, 1B: $4,000 – Freeman is another Atlanta player who may be licking his lips at the prospect of a Jon Lester match-up: he’s gone 5 for 17 with a homer and a triple in the past versus Lester. Note that Freeman IS 0-fer in the last couple of days, but before that was hitting .319/.415/.616 since returning from injury.
Kendrys Morales, 1B: $2,900 – This price is daft, especially given that Morales is finally, finally starting to heat up — to the tune of 3 home runs on Thursday night (Editing to add: and 0 for 6 on Friday! Damnit). Let me just point out Kendrys’ great numbers against Baltimore’s Wade Miley, to the tune of 9 for 21. He’s .352 against lefties this year. But if he doesn’t start, for whatever silly reason, try Greg Bird: in the past he hasn’t been amazing versus lefties like Pomeranz, but he’s been hitting well since his return, and he’s cheap at $2,600. Or sticking with the low-ish end of the price range, there’s also Mark Reynolds, $3,600: pricier, yes, but this is at Coors, and one of the few Colorado hitters I can afford to play (thanks, Kluber! … Just kidding, love ya, playing ya).
DJ LeMahieu, 2B: $3,900 – LeMahieu was always going to be expensive, because Coors today, but you may find him particularly interesting because in 33 previous at-bats versus lefty Patrick Corbin, LeMahieu has smacked him a satisfying 12 times, with 2 triples and 2 home runs. He’s had a great August, slashing .318/.393/.439.
Scooter Gennett, 2B: $3,500 – With the way he’s been chugging along so beautifully lately (9 for 23, 7 runs, 1 home run in the last 7 days), this price actually seems quite reasonable. I’m taking him out for a spin for his 7 for 18 BVP versus Jameson Taillon.
Justin Turner, 3B: $3,600 – I swear I nearly wrote Justin Ginger. How rude of me. The redhaired stepchild (perhaps? I haven’t actually looked into his parental lineage) is not hitting massively at the moment, and it seems weird to recommend any hitter heading to Petco Park, I know. But JT does have a BVP of 8 for 17 with a home run versus Clayton Richard, and weirdly, has hit .412 in San Diego this year (7 for 17, with 8 runs and 2 homers: who does that?). I’ll just repeat my earlier caveat: make sure he’s in the lineup, given the double-header today. If he isn’t, in a similar price range, perhaps look to Anthony Rendon ($3,700)? He’s playing in Milwaukee, a nice hitters’ park where he’s hit .333 this year. Plus he had the night off on Friday so should be full of vim and pep today (totally scientific).
Nick Castellanos, 3B: $2,900 – Kluber’s been so crazy good, but here’s a low-priced 3B option if you need to save some cash. Castellanos has been on a pleasant tear (.381 with 3 doubles) in the last 7 days, and has a 9 for 29 BVP versus Kluber.
Didi Gregorius, SS: $3,200 – Shortstop is the Tough to Fill Position o’ the Day: everyone’s either expensive or sucky. I’m going Notorious D.I.D.I. because he’s infamous indeed in Drew Pomeranz’s book: in 19 at-bats, he has 8 hits off LHP Pomeranz, with a home run. Why yes, that is a .421 average. Note that he has slowed down since his bonkers pace earlier this year, so if you’re not feeling this, you could try Marwin Gonzalez: a risky play because he’s ALSO gone cold lately, and check the double-header situation, but I noted he’s really cheap today: $2,700. Or there’s a Coors bat in Ketel Marte, $3,400. Or suck it up and pay up for Trevor Story ($3,800), also in Coors.
Charlie Blackmon, OF: $5,000 – Yes, Charlie is achingly expensive and I myself cannot afford him at this point, but there is the wee matter of his 9 for 24 BVP versus Patrick Corbin, his .395 average at home, and his equal-opportunity .340 versus lefties or righties (Charlie don’t care). And his beard.
Kevin Pillar, OF: $3,000 – Pillar is 6 for 21 versus Wade Miley, and actually hitting lately, after a miserable June and July, where he went .211 and .212 for the month, respectively — he bumped that up to .293 in August, and is .346 this week. He’s not likely to get you home runs, but he is good for hits and steals. And he’s relatively cheap.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF: $3,000 – The poor woman’s Charlie Blackmon! I’m kind of surprised he’s so cheap, given the Coors start, but I suspect it’s the lefty-lefty match-up that’s giving FanDuel doubts and should maybe give us doubts too (he’s .210 versus LHP this year; full disclosure!). On the bright side, Coors! where Cargon has hit .314 (mm, pi) over the past 3 years, and he’s been stirring it up nicely over the last week, going .364.
Harrison Bader, OF: $2,000 – I’m sneaking him in for the dirt-cheap price and a little rookie nookie: he was off to a bang last night, going 2 for 4 with 1 home run. Hoping he can continue it versus Chris Stratton today: I’m not sure he will, as Stratton’s settled down well in August after a rocky start, but at $2,000, no harm, no foul.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
There is some rain in the forecast (Detroit, Pittsburgh and Baltimore), but at least at time of writing, not enough to cause rainouts or delays. Fingers crossed!
Doing Lines In Vegas
Three pretty heavy favorites jump out at me today: the Astros’ first game against the Mets, with a money line of -213 (the second game puts the Astros at an even more robust -226, as an FYI for those of you playing the later games); Cleveland over Detroit, at -196; and lastly, the Cubs versus the Braves (-192), but I’m not feeling this last one as much as Vegas is, given it’s Lester’s return from the DL.