Tuesday’s slate was originally only supposed to be a two-game affair; however, thanks to some heavy rain in Chicago on Monday, we’ve now got three contests and a full day of playoff baseball action. I don’t think anyone is going to be complaining about that. Well, aside from any White Sox fans who had been planning to go to yesterday’s game. Tough break, guys. My condolences.
Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set a few lineups.
Lance McCullers, Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox, $8,200 - In retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have been too surprised that McCullers dominated the White Sox back in Game 1. Not only has the right-hander been great all season long — pitching to a 3.39 xERA with a 27.0% strikeout rate — but McCullers has been specifically great against RHBs in 2021. In fact, McCullers held opposing right-handed bats to a .188 average and a .300 slugging percentage during the regular season. His .261 expected wOBA within the split was the fourth-lowest mark for any qualified American League starter. Yes, Chicago does have a couple solid LHBs, but a majority of this team’s strength is from the right-side of the plate. If McCullers can shut down Tim Anderson ($4,900), Luis Robert ($4,900) and Jose Abreu ($4,100), it’s hard to envision the White Sox scoring many runs.
Editor’s Note: Braves SP Charlie Morton will start today vs. the Brewers.
Huascar Ynoa, Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers, $6,900 - There’s some speculation that Charlie Morton could end up making this start on short-rest, but I think Atlanta probably saves their ace for a potential Game 5. To be honest, I don’t really care who ends up taking the mound for the Braves on Tuesday, because anyone with a pulse would be viable. The Brewers just can’t hit. The team has been shutout in back-to-back contests and, even in Game 1, Milwaukee’s lone runs came on a Rowdy Tellez ($2,800) home run. This doesn’t seem like an aberration, either. Dating back to Sept. 1 during the regular season, the Brewers’ 85 wRC+ was the fourth-lowest mark in all of baseball.
Ynoa did also struggle down the stretch, but at a price tag below $7K, I’ll take my chances with the RHP’s 26.9% strikeout rate and the best possible matchup on the slate.
Editor’s Note: Dodgers SP Walker Buehler will start tonight’s game vs. the Giants.
Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers, $4,500 - Though Posey’s numbers did drop off after the All-Star break, the veteran backstop still posted a 120 wRC+ in the season’s second half. Posey can just flat out hit.
It also seems like he’ll draw a pretty nice matchup on Tuesday, as Tony Gonsolin ($7,500) will take the mound for the Dodgers. Gonsolin’s stuff is electric, yet he surrendered 1.78 opponent home runs per nine in his final 30.1 innings of 2021. On top of that, the RHP pitched to a robust 5.51 FIP when facing RHBs for the season as a whole.
Travis d’Arnaud, Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers, $3,400 - The sample sizes are small with d’Arnaud in 2021, as the catcher spent a large portion of the season on the IL; however, in his limited opportunities against LHPs, the veteran was quite good. In fact, d’Arnaud posted a .367 wOBA and a 127 wRC+ within the split. Eric Lauer ($7,900) certainly can’t take the backstop lightly.
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Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers, $5,000 - The left-on-left matchup isn’t ideal when paying $5K for Freeman’s services, but the fact of the matter is the All-Star has been crushing all handedness of pitcher since the beginning of July. Over Freeman’s final 353 plate appearances of the regular season, the first baseman slashed .337/.416/.531 with a .401 wOBA. That stretch includes 97 PAs versus southpaws, where Freeman managed a 126 wRC+. He’s the reigning NL MVP for a reason. Freeman can hit anyone.
Yuli Gurriel, Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox, $3,800 - While there were few left-handed pitchers who looked as good as Carlos Rodon ($8,100) in 2021, Rodon remains left-handed. That’s bad news going into a matchup with Gurriel. The 37-year-old consistently punished southpaws in his 208 plate appearances within the split, slashing .326/.394/.530 with a 152 wRC+. Heck, if all those numbers aren’t enough to convince you, how often can you get an AL batting champion into your lineup for less than $4K?
Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers, $5,000 - Is there a case to be made that Albies should give up switch-hitting and just be a full-time RHB? You tell me. In 2021, Albies slashed .323/.354/.585 with a .262 ISO and a 144 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. Needless to say, his numbers as an LHB weren’t quite as good. Fortunately for the Braves and prospective owners on Tuesday, the presence of Lauer keeps Albies in the right-handed batter’s box. In there, he’s always viable.
Kolten Wong, Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves, $3,700 - With Milwaukee on the brink of elimination and Wong just 1-for-12 to start the series, there’s a chance we see Craig Counsell switch up his lineup on Tuesday. However, if Wong remains in the leadoff spot, he’s viable as a value option. Basically, you want to be using left-handed bats against the aforementioned Ynoa. In the 23-year-old’s final seven starts of the season, Ynoa surrendered a .606 slugging percentage to the 74 LHBs he faced. Not great.
Alex Bregman, Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox, $4,400 - Here’s the only thing you have to know about Bregman going into Tuesday: He’s always crushed left-handed pitching. For his career, Bregman is hitting .319 with a .981 OPS and a 163 wRC+ within the split. Also, if you’re worried about, well, the “accusations” of Ryan Tepera, take solace in the fact that Bregman actually hit far better away from Minute Maid Park in 2021, posting a 126 wRC+ on the road.
Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros, $3,800 - To be completely honest, you’re going to want to pay up for one of the top three third baseman on this slate. Once you get past Bregman, you’re options essentially become Moncada and Evan Longoria ($3,900), who has been consistently hitting in the bottom-third of the Giants’ lineup. To Moncada’s credit, the infielder had a 129 wRC+ when facing RHPs in 2021, and McCullers isn’t quite as fearsome against LHBs as he is RHBs.
Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants, $5,200 - While Anthony DeSclafani ($7,600) has been the best version of himself in 2021, he remains a pitcher that has had his struggles against left-handed hitters. For his career, DeSclafani has pitched to an underwhelming 4.75 FIP within the split, surrendering 1.59 opponent home runs per nine. One of those home runs is actually to Seager, who is 4-for-8 in his own career against the Giants’ starter. Considering Seager’s 147 wRC+ versus RHPs during the regular season, this is a matchup to take advantage of.
Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers, $3,400 - Swanson’s the cheapest starting shortstop on the slate, yet that’s not to say the former first-overall pick doesn’t possess some serious upside. While Swanson’s 2021 regular season was disappointing, he still managed 27 home runs and a .229 ISO against left-handed pitching. Swanson’s strikeout rate also dropped within the split, making this matchup with Lauer a somewhat intriguing one.
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants, $5,400 - Betts wasn’t exactly the MVP version of himself during the regular season, though he did tend to shine brightest when the Dodgers were playing at home. In fact, across 273 plate appearances at Dodger Stadium, Betts posted a .276 ISO, a .917 OPS and a 149 wRC+. Hitting leadoff for a Los Angeles lineup that always has a high implied team total, look for Betts to have a huge Game 4 performance.
Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves, $3,800 - Speaking of former MVPs, Yelich’s 2021 season has been a nightmare, yet he’s still batting in a high-leverage slot in Milwaukee’s lineup. Yelich is also left-handed and, as mentioned above, that’s the split that’s been causing Ynoa problems since late August. It’s difficult to differentiate builds on a three-game slate, but with Ynoa sure to be a popular value asset, stacking the top of the Brewers’ order could allow for some much needed variance in GPPs. If you dare.
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