Monday saw the Atlanta Braves remain undefeated in the MLB playoffs thus far, moving to 6-0 overall and up 1-0 against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. Tuesday brings what could be a stellar pitching matchup as Clayton Kershaw ($11,800) faces off against Ian Anderson ($11,200). Let’s dive into this MLB slate and help you make your DraftKings Showdown lineups.
Editor’s Note: Dodgers SP Clayton Kershaw (back) has been scratched from tonight’s game vs. the Braves. SP Tony Gonsolin will now start in his place.
Clayton Kershaw ($17,700 CP) — If you read my article from this game yesterday, I was all about staying away from the starting pitchers. Today, that’s not happening. It’s scary to go against this Braves offense but they are a much different club when it comes to facing lefties. After topping the league in almost every offensive category against righties, they had some very average numbers against lefties. During the regular season, they produced a .322 wOBA with a .160 ISO and a 27.8% K%, which was the second-highest in the league. Now they face Kershaw, who induced a 12.7% swing-and-miss rate and a 28.1% K%. We know his playoff track record is far from good but at least on paper, this sets up as a really strong spot for Kershaw.
Ian Anderson ($16,800 CP) — Anderson has been such a savior for a Braves team that so desperately needed rotation help. He’s yet to allow a run in the postseason, allowing just five hits and striking out 17 through 11 2⁄3 innings against the Reds and Marlins. He’s yet to face the Dodgers, who are a very good club against righties, but the strikeout upside is hard to ignore. Anderson had a 12% swing-and-miss rate and a 29.7% K% during the regular season that has clearly carried over to the postseason. He draws a much tougher matchup against a team with a who had a .355 wOBA and a .240 ISO against righties but with the way he’s been pitching, he has the ability to post one of the highest scores on the slate if the Dodgers can’t figure him out.
Other to consider: Marcell Ozuna ($10,200 CP)
Marcell Ozuna ($6,800) — I’m not sure why Ozuna took such a nosedive in salary but this is one you simply can’t pass him. Ozuna has been a beast in the playoffs thus far and collected his third extra base hit last night.
His numbers against lefties during the regular season and throughout his career have been stellar. Ozuna ended with a .527 wOBA and a .511 ISO against lefties, which was by far the best on the team. No one was even close to him except for Adam Duvall, who is looking like he’ll be missing the remainder of the series. He is the best value on the board today.
Will Smith ($6,600) — When you like both pitchers on the slate, the options to use against them feel quite thin, let alone value plays. Smith is one of the best on the slate in this matchup because of how well he hits righties. During the regular season, Smith posted a .427 wOBA with a .350 ISO and a 174 wRC+. These numbers, as you can imagine, were all among the best on the team, which is quite the feat when you consider some of the names on the Dodgers. Anderson is a tough pitcher to get extra bases off of with a 0.28 HR/9 and a 52% ground ball rate but Smith is cheap enough to take a shot with.
Joc Pederson ($4,000) — With a real lack of value on the board, you’ll likely find yourself gravitating toward Pederson if you want to or not. He’s priced at the bare minimum and should be back in the lineup after sitting on Monday with the lefty Max Fried on the mound. Pederson is either going to park one off Anderson, as his .223 ISO indicates, or strike out, as he produced a 25% K% against righties. He hasn’t been getting a ton of playing time but having him hit in the lower part of the order would make sense here. If anything, Pederson will help you make some of the other pieces in your lineup fit.
Travis d’Arnaud ($7,000) — He’s been a popular play as of late because of how well he’s been hitting. He’s been batting cleanup, which I don’t think anyone could have predicted before the season began.
The issue I have with him here is that his numbers against lefties were simply dreadful. When you think of all the big hits d’Arnaud has come up with, it may surprise you to know he had a .229 wOBA and ZERO extra base hits against lefties. That’s right, d’Arnaud had a .000 ISO against lefties during the regular season. All of his hits were singles. While he’s not overly pricey, if ownership is going to be on him, I’ll happily be on the other side.
If you’re a fan of offense, this likely isn’t going to be the game for you. This is likely a game where you’re going to want to jam in both starting pitchers and using some of the cheaper bats like Pederson or maybe even a reliever. Both starters have such good upside and fading either one could end up being too much to overcome. I think to help balance out your lineup, using both pitchers in the utility spot and using a high upside bat like Ozuna as the captain gives you a lot more flexibility and potentially the way to produce a high scoring lineup.
Final Score: Dodgers 3 Braves 2
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) 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.