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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Red Sox vs. Rays Showdown on August 1

Pearce Dietrich gives his top lineup advice for Sunday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Red Sox and Rays, which starts at 7:08 p.m. ET.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The Red Sox have one of the best records in baseball (63-43), but so do the Rays (63-42). Both teams teams are World Series contenders, but they’ve got to make it out of the division first. Offensively, these teams are equal — both have a 103 wRC+. On the mound, the Rays have the edge (3.83 xFIP vs. 4.10 xFIP). Will pitching and the home field advantage put the Rays over the top on Sunday night?

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Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Captain’s Picks

Nick Pivetta ($15,600 CP) — Tampa is a top 10 offense against right-handed pitching, but the Boston lineup is no walk in the park either. Fading a pitcher on a showdown slate can work when there are gas cans on the mound, but that’s not the case on Sunday night. Tampa has a lineup with a lot of lefty power, but this team will strike out (25.6% K rate vs. RHP) and Pivetta can strike out lefties (27.9 % K rate vs. LHB). Pivetta’s biggest flaw, and the reason that the Phillies gave up on him, is that over his career, he’s allowed too much hard contact (35%) and too many fly balls (36.8%). This weakness has hurt him at home against right-handed batters (2.3 HR/9). However, on the road in parks with deeper fences, Pivetta has been fine (0.28 HR/9 vs. RHB and 1.29 HR/9 vs. LHB). His home FIP is 5.29, but on the road it drops to 3.31. Tropicana Field is the perfect park for a high strikeout, fly ball pitcher (26% K rate). On June 24, Pivetta threw 6 23 scoreless innings, struck out eight and held Tampa hitless at the Trop.

Xander Bogaerts ($12,900 CP) — He is the 15th best fastball hitter in baseball, and Shane McClanahan has a bad fastball. It’s a fast fastball, but it does not fool hitters. Right-handed batters have a .428 wOBA and a .284 ISO against the pitch. Bogaerts has a .441 wOBA and a .222 ISO against left-handed fastball. DFS players often shy away from Bogaerts because he’s a line drive hitter (11.4-degree launch angle) and not a home run hitter, but against left-handed fastballs his average launch angle is 24-degrees.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $150K Sunday Night Showdown [$50K to 1st] (BOS vs TB)

Value Plays

Ji-Man Choi ($6,800) — Against right-handed pitching, Choi has a 40.3% fly ball rate, 46.6% hard contact rate and a 24.1% HR/FB rate. His 25.4% K rate is an issue and Pivetta has no problem striking out lefties, but he allows a lot of fly balls and hard contact. Choi has a .388 wOBA, .226 ISO and a 153 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. It’s perfectly reasonable to roster Pivetta and Choi together. Choi can help your lineups with a solo shot and multiple strikeouts.

Hunter Renfroe ($5,400) — Both pitchers have flaws and can be exploited by affordable batters. Renfroe has a .353 wOBA and a .422 xwOBA against fastballs from left-handed pitchers. Renfroe has always hit fastballs from left-handed pitchers — wOBA: .524 (2020), .329 (2019), .396 (2018) and .479 (2017). McClanahan’s other go to pitch against right-handed batters is his slider, and Renfroe has struggled with sliders (.226 wOBA vs. sliders from LHP). This is far from a lock. It’s a pitcher’s park and Renfroe needs a fastball, but that’s why he’s cheap.


Shane McClanahan ($15,900 CP; $10,600) — The rookie southpaw has a 97 mph fastball that sometimes hits triple digits, but it only generates a 10% SwStr%. Some times the pitch is electric and breaks away from right-handed batters and other times it’s just fast. Straight fastballs, regardless of the speed, are not a problem for Major League hitters. That’s why the pitch grades out as a -1.11 wFB/C with a 19.7 Whiff% and a .419 wOBA. Making matters worse is that his velocity has been down over his last three starts (95.7 mph fastball). In his last outing, his fastball was its slowest (95.4 mph) and he did not record one putout with the pitch, allowing eight batted ball events (92.3 EV and 22-degree launch angle) for a .550 wOBA. His curveball, slider and changeup have been great, but they’re worthless without an average fastball.

The Outcome

Tampa has a handful of powerful batters, but those batters strike out at a high rate. Pivetta will be able work his way out of jams by keeping the ball inside the spacious ball park, striking out lefties in timely spots and stranding runners. Tampa’s rookie on the mound will dazzle at times, but he will also fizzle and the Red Sox will escape Florida with one win in this series and the AL East lead.

Final Score: Red Sox 5, Rays 3

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $150K Sunday Night Showdown [$50K to 1st] (BOS vs TB)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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