Tuesday features a two-game MLB main slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 5:08 p.m. ET. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($8,100) — None of these pitchers stand out today, but that’s been the case for many slates in the postseason. Walker Buehler ($8,300) was in Cy Young talks for most of the season, but his main weakness came front and center in his first start against the Giants — too many fly balls and too much hard contact. Of the pitchers available today, Morton has the best ground ball rate (48%), fly ball rate (29%), contact rate (73%), hard contact rate (29%), strikeout rate (29%), called strike rate (19%) and xFIP (3.31). Not only is he the best pitcher available, he’s facing the weakest offense on this slate. The Dodgers are not hitting and therefore are not scoring runs — 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position. There should be positive regression at some point for Los Angeles, but this series could be over before that happens.
Nick Pivetta, Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros ($7,400) —There are two cheap pitchers and both are facing potent offenses. It probably makes more sense to chase a pitcher’s duel in LA and concede earning two wins from the pitchers’ spots. Earning the win stat has become increasingly rare in the 2021 postseason with starting pitchers practically serving as openers. Nonetheless, Pivetta has as good a shot as anyone of staying on the rubber for the five inning minimum tonight. In the last two games, the magical Red Sox offense has given their starting pitchers enormous leads, and this has allowed manager Alex Cora to leave his starting pitchers out much longer than the other postseason teams. So far the postseason has been a tale of two Pivettas, and that have been the book on Pivetta his entire career. In Game 1 against the Rays, Pivetta pitched 4 2⁄3 innings, but he surrendered two home runs. In Game 3, Pivetta tossed four scoreless innings and struck out seven while holding the Rays to three hits. If good Pivetta shows up tonight, then this series is over.
Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves ($4,300) — This has always been a gross position in DFS, and it’s 100 times worse in the playoffs. The good news is that all of the catchers are relatively cheap and salary constraints have not been too vexing in the postseason. His three home runs, eight hits and five runs are the best for any catcher this postseason.
Christian Vázquez, Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros ($3,800) — The way the Red Sox are playing, stacking in the playoffs has become a thing. Vázquez played well in the Rays series (six hits, a home run, three runs and four RBIs), but was quiet in the first two games against the Astros until last night. He drove in the first run of the game in the second inning and opened the floodgates to a six-run inning.
Kyle Schwarber, Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros ($5,000) — With one swing of the bat, your showdown lineups were alive or dead on Monday night. Note to Astros pitchers, do not groove a fastball down the middle in a 3-0 count to Schwarber or any of the Boston bats. Schwarber is tied for the seventh-most hits this postseason with nine and sits third in home runs with three.
Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves ($3,400) — One of the only Dodgers that is consistently striking the ball hard is Bellinger. On Sunday, Bellinger added two more hard hits, raising his postseason total to 10 hard hits — not bad for a player that has missed games due to his platoon.
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Kiké Hernández, Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros ($5,100) — This guy is going to be riding in the streets of Boston in a laundry cart, not for too long. Hernández added two more hits last night, and his postseason-leading total now sits at 18 hits. Soon, no one will remember Randy Arozarena’s magical 2020 postseason.
Other Option: Jose Altuve ($4,900)
Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers ($4,100) — The Braves have been pesky. Walker Buehler has no problem with left-handed batters and aside from a little pop, Albies is not the greatest hitter. However, he’s pesky. Albies has a hit in each of the last five postseason games and a run scored in each of the last three.
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros ($5,400) — Against right-handed pitching, the lefty destroyed the ball this season — .401 wOBA, .341 ISO, 152 wRC+ and a 46% hard contact rate. On Tuesday night, he will face Zack Greinke ($6,700), a pitcher that really has no business being out there. Devers has four postseason homeruns, ranking second behind his teammate Kiké Hernández, but Devers leads MLB with 11 RBIs this postseason.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,900) — On Saturday, the Targets article labeled Riley as the dark horse candidate to win the NLCS MVP. He then went on to hit a walk-off single that night and a game-tying RBI in the eighth inning of Game 2. Four of his last six batted ball events have been hard hits (107.3, 110.7, 96.1 and 95.4 mph EV).
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros ($4,300) — “Why isn’t Xander Bogaerts hitting?” asks broadcaster one. “He is 3-for-10,” replies broadcaster two. A .300 hitter in the postseason against postseason pitching is pretty good. Sure enough, as soon as that conversation took place, Bogaerts laced one of his customary lasers into the outfield for a hit. It was his only hit of the night, but its exit velocity was 104.4 mph.
Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,400) — Walker Buehler had a great season, but it could have easily been average or below average. His .249 BABIP against right-handed batters suggests that he was pretty lucky, but he was luckier than that suggests. Sure, flyball pitchers will have low BABIPs because their fly balls leave play (home runs), but somehow, Buehler limited the damage through the air. How, is not known because he also allowed a 37% hard contact rate. Those numbers are not egregious, but his 0.9 HR/9 to RHBs is way too low, and some regression has already occurred in the postseason.
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves ($5,200) — His 12 hits are the second-most in this postseason, but they’re just singles. Still, 12 is pretty strong against strong pitching and the hits have been hard hits. In Game 1, Betts was held hitless, but he did smash a 102.3 mph ground out. In Game 2, Betts did not pick up any hard hits, but he did hit a single and walked twice.
Alex Verdugo, Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros ($4,000) — His postseason numbers are better than Betts — 12 hits, three doubles, three home runs, six RBIs and five runs — and he’s facing the worst pitcher on the slate. Still, he’s $1,200 cheaper because he lacks brand name appeal. The former Red Sox outfielder might not be more popular than the current Red Sox outfielder when this season concludes.
Other Option: Chas McCormick ($3,000)
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