Two of the best teams will close out Thursday’s action. Neither team has an ace taking the mound, but both starters are solid and the bullpens are among the best in baseball. The pitchers will have their work cut out for them because both teams have very potent lineups. This should be a very exciting game and an early-season peak at the 2021 pennant race.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Dodgers 2B/OF Chris Taylor and OF Zach McKinstry are not in the lineup tonight vs. the Padres.
Justin Turner ($14,700 CP) - His numbers are through the roof this season. The matchup is not great, but that can be said for every hitter on this slate. Both teams will roll out quality starters and quality bullpens, so it comes down to the best hitters. Without hesitation, the best hitter on the slate is Justin Turner (.492 wOBA, .349 ISO, 214 wRC+, 43% hard-hit rate and 7 barrels this season). His platoon advantage splits are even better: .547 wOBA, .435 ISO and 249 wRC+ vLHP.
Chris Taylor ($12,600 CP) - Ryan Weathers ($13,500 CP; $9,000) will not last long, but Taylor should get at least two at bats against the lefty. In 20 at bats against left-handed pitching this season, Taylor has a .451 wOBA, .400 ISO and 188 wRC+. His major step forward is a bit of a surprise, but it seems to be the result of patience at the plate. His walk rate this season is double his career average, and his chase rate is at a career low.
Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $10K Extra Inning [$2K to 1st] (SD vs LAD)
Zach McKinstry ($6,600) - Ryan Weathers pitched several very good innings vs. the Dodgers last week, but the numbers are deceiving. Weathers had a .111 BABIP and stranded every single runner. He did this despite just a 21% K rate and an 83% contact rate. Most pitchers who don’t miss Dodger bats do not live to talk about it. In 20 at bats against left-handed pitching, McKinstry has a .343 wOBA and 119 wRC+; it might seem odd for a lefty to have strong numbers against left-handed pitching. The number screams small sample size, but the rookie had a higher slugging percentage against left-handed pitching in his last full minor league season in 2019.
Tommy Pham ($5,200) - The back of his baseball card looks terrible, but his advanced stats hint a breakout is coming soon. Pham’s BABIP is .178. His xwOBA is .368, but his wOBA is .229. He has yet to hit a home run, but he has 6 barrels this season. There might not be a more unlucky hitter in baseball. His chase rate is 16% (career-best) and his K% is 17% (career-best). His price makes sense based on his bad luck. But once his luck turns around, he will be a steal.
Walker Buehler ($16,800 CP; $11,200) - He doesn’t strike out enough batters for this price tag (17% K rate). Not to mention, Buehler is facing a very tough lineup that is not striking out against right-handed pitching this season (19.9% K rate, the lowest in MLB). There are plenty of premium bats with big-time upside in this showdown slate, and rostering Buehler prevents DFS players from getting one of those bats.
Ryan Weathers has been respectable, but his inability to go deep into the game will stretch the Padres bullpen further than it should be extended. In his last limited start vs. the Dodgers, the Padres bullpen surrendered 11 runs to the elite L.A. lineup. San Diego will try to keep it close, but they can’t keep up with the Dodgers offense.
Final Score: Dodgers 6, Padres 4
Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $10K Extra Inning [$10K to 1st] (SD vs LAD)
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