We’ve got some elimination games on hand Saturday. Everyone who’s still in it is playing, so we’re going through my favorite DraftKings Sportsbook pick for each game.
Follow along on Twitter (@Nick_Friar) for updates.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
As much as it’s not an overwhelming number, I’m surprised this is a plus-money. Harper is in one right now, and he’s going up against a pitcher he’s mashed in the past.
In 24 at-bats against Charlie Morton, Harper has one home run, one triple and one double, plus a .417 average. In his last six starts, lefties have hit seven home runs against Morton while posting a 51.1% fly-ball rate. With the way Harper has been hitting, I don’t need much more to push me toward backing him.
Surprisingly, in his two chances against George Kirby, Alvarez has punched out as many times. That merely means he’s due against the rookie right-hander, and Houston’s big bat is in one of those grooves again.
Kirby has some good season-long numbers against left-handed hitters. However, when you look at what he’s done recently, they seem to be figuring out the Seattle right-hander. His strikeout rate since September is only 22.4% after he’s posted a mark of 28.3% against lefties the rest of the season. Kirby was also limiting line drives and generating more ground balls, but numbers have improved in the favor of opposing lefty bats.
Not much needs to be said in Alvarez’s favor when facing a right-handed pitcher. But for those unaware, he has a 50% fly-ball rate and 47.6% hard-contact rate against righties since the start of September. That’s led to a .286 average and 10 extra-base hits in 56 at-bats (67 plate appearances).
The Yankees are going to be a more challenging opponent than the Rays were, but New York’s lineup isn’t the same when Aaron Judge is slumping. Right now, you could argue Judge is doing worse than that.
More importantly, McKenzie is in a setting he prefers: Progressive Field. He held opponents to a 2.77 ERA while striking out 96 over 81 1/3 innings in Cleveland throughout 2022. In fact, McKenzie punched out seven over seven scoreless frames when the Yankees visited Progressive this season. But we don’t need McKenzie to log seven innings in this one — 5 2/3 innings will get the job done. He reached the 17-out mark in 25 of his 30 regular season starts and 10 of his 13 home starts — this is excluding his six-inning outing in Cleveland vs. the Rays in the Wild Card round.
The Padres have a tougher time scoring runs at home than on the road, but they have the pitcher you’d want on the bump for that type of setting. There are a few Dodgers hitters who’ve performed well against Joe Musgrove in the past, but he was on another level in his first 2022 postseason start, and that can be all it takes for a pitcher to get going in the playoffs. He also churned out a quality start and five innings of shutout ball vs. the Dodgers this season. Moreover, since the start of September, the Padres haven’t been hitting right-handed pitching as well as they usually do.
On the other side, Tyler Anderson has done well vs. the Padres throughout the season, yet the Dodgers are only 2-2 in his four starts against them. But San Diego has been hitting left-handed pitching well, even if their numbers dip a smidge when you focus on their home games. Couple that with a decent level of familiarity, and this matchup becomes a little more favorable for the Padres.
Also, while the Dodgers are getting a lot of love as run-line favorites, the Padres are getting 49% of the moneyline handle despite only receiving 40% of the early bets.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is dk-nfriar) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.