I’m tired. I stayed up watching that ridiculous Yankees-Mariners marathon last night and I didn’t get my beauty sleep. You have to love living in the Eastern time zone, right? Right?!
Anyway, I’m fighting through the grogginess to deliver yet another batch of fresh studs and values, this time for tonight’s nine-game featured slate. You’re welcome.
Justin Verlander, Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers, $10,500 - This is an odd pitching slate, with not a lot of upside beyond the pair of Cy Young frontrunners taking the mound in Houston and Philadelphia, respectively. I’ll side with Verlander over Sandy Alcantara ($10,300), as the 39-year-old appears to have the softer matchup. The Rangers have been average at best since the All-Star break, coming into tonight’s action with the seventh-highest strikeout rate in the league within that span (24.3%). Verlander’s also pitched to a pristine 0.76 ERA across his last seven outings, which helps make his gargantuan salary a bit easier to swallow.
Madison Bumgarner, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, $6,900 - It’s difficult to find many positive things to say about this version of Bumgarner, so let’s just start with what’s most important on Wednesday: He’s left-handed. The Pirates have struggled to hit left-handed pitching all season long, entering tonight’s slate with just an 81 wRC+ within the split. Pittsburgh has also struck out in 26.2% of its plate appearances versus southpaws — the second-highest rate in baseball. Other than that? I don’t know. Bumgarner has a 3.31 ERA in his 68.0 innings at home? I guess that’s something.
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals at Colorado Rockies, $6,200 - For the hundredth time, let’s go over Goldschmidt’s numbers against left-handed pitching in 2022. The veteran is hitting .458 with a 282 wRC+ within the split. Yes, you read that correctly. Add in Coors Field and Kyle Freeland ($6,100), who has conceded a .520 slugging percentage to opposing batters at home this season, and you’ve got a rare spot where shelling out $6K makes some sense. However, if you’re more frugal, Albert Pujols ($2,000) is also viable at the bare minimum.
Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays, $4,300 - As a left-handed hitter, Rutschman has been tearing the cover off the baseball since the beginning of June. In 150 plate appearances within the split in that stretch, the rookie is slashing .323/.427/.575 with a 185 wRC+. That’s pretty amazing for any asset, let alone a first-year catcher. Tonight, he’ll get the chance to add to those numbers against the struggling Jose Berrios ($7,300). The RHP has been particularly bad against lefties in 2022, while he’s also tended to have problems pitching away from Toronto. To wit, LHBs have combined to a .620 slugging percentage off of Berrios in his road outings this season. Yikes.
Editor’s Note: Astros Trey Mancini is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Rangers.
Trey Mancini, Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers, $3,400 - Facing a stacked Astros lineup is probably not something that Glenn Otto ($5,900) wants to do today. The RHP has struggled across his last eight outings, registering an ugly 6.45 ERA across 37.2 innings of work. It’s been specifically RHBs that have recently given Otto the most trouble, as the 26-year-old has surrendered a .399 wOBA within the split since June 26. Mancini is right-handed. Mancini has also quickly learned how to take advantage of the Crawford Boxes in left field. I’d look for another big performance on Wednesday.
Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Guardians, $3,000 - It was an extremely rough first-half of the season for Candelario, but things have started to turn around since the All-Star break. In fact, in his 69 plate appearances since the Midsummer Classic, Candelario is sporting a .250 ISO and a 136 wRC+. That’s more than enough reason to give the switch-hitter a look in a matchup against Aaron Civale ($6,500), who owns a 6.17 ERA and will be making his first start since July 13.
Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals, $5,000 - At some point, this White Sox offense is finally going to get on track, right? Maybe? Well, tonight’s as good a night as any, particularly with Kris Bubic ($5,500) and his 5.59 xERA taking the hill for the Royals. Bubic is also left-handed, which should play into the hands of Robert and his teammates. In 70 plate appearances against southpaws in 2022, Robert is hitting .387 with a 1.007 OPS and a 187 wRC+. So long as he doesn’t hurt himself — Chicago is definitely cursed right now — Robert is one of the best plays on this whole slate.
Randal Grichuk, Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $4,100 - This is a very fair price for Grichuk, who will likely be hitting fifth in the Rockies’ lineup tonight against Jose Quintana ($7,500). When I say this is the exact situtation you want to be using Grichuk — I mean it. The veteran has been well-below average in almost every scenario in 2022, yet he’s an absolute animal when it comes to hitting LHPs in the altitude. In fact, in his 64 plate appearances within the split this season, Grichuk has managed a 1.212 OPS and a 221 wRC+.
Editor’s Note: White Sox OF AJ Pollock is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Royals.
AJ Pollock, Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals, $3,800 - It would appear that Pollock has been the man chosen to hit leadoff for the White Sox with Tim Anderson (finger) on the IL. Well, at least he’ll be hitting leadoff against LHPs. It makes sense. While Pollock’s struggled to do much of anything versus RHPs in 2022, he’s posted a .229 ISO and a 130 wRC+ when getting the opportunity to face a southpaw. Bubic should tread carefully with Pollock early in this matchup.
Garrett Hampson, Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $3,100 - It’s supposed to be hot and sticky in Colorado tonight, with winds blowing out of Coors Field. So, if you’re looking for a reason the DraftKings Sportsbook currently has the total of this game set at 12.5, there you go. In 66 plate appearances against LHPs in 2022, Hampson is hitting .316 with a .375 wOBA. If he’s in the lineup, he needs to be in a couple of your lineups. If he’s not, pivoting to Yonathan Daza ($2,600) is also a decent idea.
TEAMS TO STACK
Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays - Aside from the obvious Coors Field stack, I think the Orioles are the next-best place to turn on Wednesday. Jose Berrios has pitched to a 7.50 ERA on the road in 2022. He’s also surrendered 2.29 home runs per nine to opposing LHBs. Rutschman, Cedric Mullins ($4,600) and Anthony Santander ($4,400) are all clear options in this spot, as is the cost-effective Rougned Odor ($2,100). I’d keep a special eye on Terrin Vavra ($2,000), as well. The 25-year-old has posted a .400 wOBA in his first 25 plate appearances against RHPs this season.
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