The Washington Nationals have had a rough start to the 2021 season due to a COVID-19 issue that has left the short-handed and canceled their first series entirely. They went 1-2 in their three-game set with the Braves to start the week and now face a daunting task as they head to the West Coast for a weekend set against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers got a 1-0 win on Friday afternoon following their ring ceremony and will look to take Game 2 of the series as they send Julio Urías ($11,000) to the mound to take on Patrick Corbin ($10,000), who is expected to be activated from the COVID-19 injured list and make his first start of the season in the featured Saturday night single-game Showdown on DraftKings.
It will likely be a matchup of these two lefty starters, but there is still some uncertainty regarding Corbin’s status. Even if he does start as expected, there are questions about how deep into the game he’ll be ready to pitch. Before his COVID-19 issues, Corbin had worked his way up to 68 pitches in his six Grapefruit League starts but he likely won’t be able to go too deep in this start since it will be his first start after the layoff. The Nationals have been wasting good pitching performances thus far this season since their lineup has been thinned out as Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and Josh Harrison are still on the COVID-19 injured list.
The Dodgers have key injury issues of their own and were forced to put Cody Bellinger (calf) on the injured list on Friday. Mookie Betts ($10,400; back) has also been absent from the Dodgers’ lineup since Tuesday but is still considered day-to-day at this point. With both lineups lacking some star power, there should be good values in this showdown, especially players with good splits against southpaws.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mookie Betts is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Nationals.
Justin Turner ($13,800 CP) - Did someone call for a lefty-specialist? Turner has been the stuff of DFS fantasy baseball legends due to his success against southpaws and always makes sense when taking on a lefty. Last season, he actually didn’t mash lefties that much, though, partly due to a small sample size and some bad BABIP luck. He had a .385 wOBA and .294 ISO against lefties in his last full season.
Turner has started this season strong, going 12-for-29 (.414) with two home runs, a .492 wOBA and a .310 ISO. He has a hard-hit rate of 48.0% continuing his recent trend with at least a 45.0% hard-hit rate in each of his past three seasons. He has gone 12-for-32 (.375) with three doubles and two home runs in his past meetings with Corbin and will look to continue to carry the offense with Bellinger and possibly Betts still sidelined. He was the hero Friday with a home run for the Dodgers only run in their 1-0 win.
Victor Robles ($9,900 CP) - Robles has hit leadoff for the Nationals in all four of their games this season and his power-speed combo gives him a ton of potential in this prime lineup spot. Robles has gone 3-for-11 with all three hits being singles but has also worked four walks, which is an encouraging sign since it bumps his walk rate from 4.8% last season all the way up to 25.0%. While it won’t stay nearly that high in a larger sample size, it’s great to see him being more selective since it gives him more chances to get on base and run. He has stolen one base already this season and scored three runs. He has averaged 7.5 DKFP per game even without any power production yet. Last year, he only had a .095 ISO in 52 games but in 2019 showed more potential pop with a .165 ISO and a .317 wOBA. He’ll be on the right side of the split against Urías, who has been very good against lefties as further detailed below.
Chris Taylor ($7,800) - Taylor has moved into a more prominent lineup spot with Bellinger and Betts out, batting leadoff on both Wednesday and Friday. He had 16 DKFP on Wednesday but only 2 DKFP on Friday. He has a wOBA of .443 in the early going this season, supported by an unsustainable .500 BABIP. While some regression will come at some point, it makes sense to keep riding him while he’s at the top of the lineup, especially against a lefty.
Austin Barnes ($5,800) - Barnes could be back in the lineup after Will Smith ($8,400 ) got the start Friday. Barnes posted double-digit DKFP in two of his past three games. Barnes has an early-season wOBA of .365. In his career, Barnes has hit lefties much better than righties with a .327 wOBA and a .155 ISO against southpaws. If Smith starts, he has more power potential, but Barnes is a nice play under $6K if he’s in the lineup instead.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Austin Barnes is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Nationals.
Juan Soto ($9,800) - Soto had his first multi-hit game of the season on Friday, going 2-for-3 with 8.0 DKFP. He has been making solid contact, going 4-for-11 but is getting worked around due to the lack of lineup depth around him. He already has five walks this season as a result and doesn’t have an extra-base hit yet. Soto will have a tough matchup against Urías, who limited left-handed hitters to a .137 average and .212 wOBA last season. While Soto is obviously an elite bat and could be the best hitter in the MLB, I don’t love him in this matchup at this salary when there are so many other bats to stack up on the Dodgers’ side.
The Dodgers’ lineup is so stacked that they will be favored in just about every contest. With Corbin likely returning, the Nationals will get some help back, but their lineup still lacks some punch, especially against a lefty like Urías. Urías is a solid play in a flex spot but I prefer building around bats in your Captain’s Pick spot.
Final Score: Dodgers 5, Nationals 2
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