Tuesday was not a good day for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Not only did they get the news that Clayton Kershaw wouldn’t be able to pitch on Tuesday, he also won’t be available for this game either. With the Dodgers now down 2-0 in the NLCS, the chances of them staying in the series against the Atlanta Braves rests on Julio Urias ($10,400) and the bullpen, as Urias is expected to be limited to 75-90 pitches.
Marcell Ozuna ($10,500 CP) — This is a slate where I don’t think you need to captain a starting pitcher. Urias is not someone I’m looking to put my trust into, even with the Braves hovering around league average against lefties, and even more so without Adam Duvall. If there is one hitter that was above and beyond everyone against lefties though it was Ozuna. He’s always been a big threat against lefties to begin with but this season was almost unfair. He ended with a .527 wOBA, a .511 ISO, a 234 wRC+ and seven of his 18 home runs vs. LHP during the regular season. Among hitters with at least 50 plate appearances against lefties, Ozuna was in the top five in all those categories we listed. With how cheap he is to begin with, this honestly feels like a no-brainer.
Corey Seager ($14,700 CP) — One of the stats you want to be attacking in this game is lefties against Kyle Wright ($10,200). During the regular season Wright allowed a .393 wOBA vs. LHB with a 6.79 FIP and only a 16.1% K%. Lefties also tagged Wright with a 37.3% hard-hit rate, which was the highest of the two splits. Seager feels like one of the more underrated bats in this lineup (or maybe I just feel that way because I live on the other side of the country). Regardless, he boasted a .416 wOBA with a .301 ISO and 11 of his 15 home runs. He’s more expensive than Max Muncy ($13,500 CP/$9,000) who is the more regarded power hitter, so if that means even more depressed ownership at captain, I like Seager even more.
Other to consider: Max Muncy ($13,500 CP)
Cristian Pache ($4,000) — We have no numbers to go off of for Pache in the majors because he played all of two games during the regular season. With the lefty on the mound though, he should draw the start over Nick Markakis ($4,800). This is mostly a salary play, as you’re getting the stone minimum salary on a player who should be starting. Pache hasn’t shown a ton of power in the minors but did have an overall .196 ISO in Double-A last season through 104 games. That looks like more of an outlier, as he never posted higher than .146 at any other level. What we do know though is that he has speed on the base paths. In 2017, he had 32 steals through 119 games. He didn’t run as much as he ascended in the ranks but did have eight in Double-A. At this salary, he doesn’t have to do much to pay back his salary.
Joc Pederson ($5,600) — Pederson took quite the leap in salary from yesterday, going from $4,000 to $5,600 for today. He drew the start, as expected, yesterday against Ian Anderson and ended up going 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. As I mentioned earlier, Wright has struggled against lefties and that 6.79 FIP looks awfully appealing to target against. Pederson is always your typical boom-or-bust option to consider and with his rise in salary, I expect his ownership to not be nearly as high when he was the stone minimum. If I need to level off some salary, you can’t go wrong with someone who had a .223 ISO against righties on the cheap.
Editor’s Note: Dodgers OF A.J. Pollock is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Braves.
AJ Pollock ($7,600) — I have Pollock ranked down because I wouldn’t exactly say he’s a value. That said, this is a tough series to find value on unless you want to take the dive into relievers, who are no guarantee to make it into the game to begin with. Pollock has better numbers against lefties than he does righties but make no mistake, no one is going to complain about a .323 wOBA, a .220 ISO and nine of the 16 home runs he hit.
Kyle Wright ($10,200) — As I mentioned, I’m not crazy about the pitchers in this game. Urias hasn’t made a start in almost a month (September 17) so the outcome we can get for him is truly up in the air. He’s been great in a relief role, but will that translate to being stretched out? Wright is another fade for me against the Dodgers. He has a lot of red flags to worry about like his 5.90 FIP, a 5.6 BB/9, and a 36% hard-hit rate. Despite being down in the series, the Dodgers are still hitting the ball and doing it well. I don’t want to be paying five figures for a pitcher with shaky command and overall poor numbers.
If the Dodgers are going to get back in this series, this is going to be their best shot. This is the weakest Braves starter they’ll likely see and this is not an opportunity they can afford to pass up, especially with Kershaw and Walker Buehler on the mend. I think the Dodgers can squeak out a victory here to make it 2-1 in the series and hope that it can continue as the series goes on (spoiler alert: it won’t).
Final Score: Dodgers 6, Braves 5
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