Phew. We have a normal start times for the games today, starting at 7:07 p.m. in the Eastern standard time zone. Everyone we can relax and build lineups, which is great.
As always, feel free to follow me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
DraftKings Sportsbook Game Notes
Biggest Moneyline Favorite
Note: This section highlights the pitcher whose team is the largest favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Zach Plesac, $9,600, Cleveland Indians (-200) vs. Detroit Tigers (+170) — When you open up a contest to tonight’s slate, for example the great MLB $200K Relay Throw [$50K to 1st], your face will likely turn to disgust when you see the offerings at starting pitcher today. So, it’s no surprise to see Plesac as one of the biggest favorites. The Tigers have been ok offensively so far this season, posting a .304 wOBA with a .180 ISO against righties thus far. They’re providing plenty of strikeouts for opposing pitchers, which is always great, with a 26.6% K%.
Last season, Plesac took a major step forward as a big league starter, seeing his K% go from 18.5% in his rookie campaign to 27.7% last year. His walks dramatically dropped as well from 8.4% to 2.9%. Granted, last season only saw him make 12 starts but these were certainly encouraging numbers. His 3.39 FIP was the cherry on top that he really was pitching well and not just getting lucky. Not only is he the most expensive expensive pitcher on this slate but he should be one that most are looking toward not named Lance McCullers Jr ($9,100).
Highest Projected Total
Cincinnati Reds (-141; 4.5 runs) at Arizona Diamondbacks (+123; 4.5 runs) 9 runs — If you’re looking for a high total for tonight’s slate, I’m sorry to inform you, we don’t have any. Nine runs is the highest projected total on this slate and the over for the Reds and Diamondbacks currently has a line of -121 for the over. If you haven’t noticed already, the Reds have been the best offense in the league, at least according to runs scored, with 57. That averages out to a ridiculous 9.5 runs per game, which as you’d imagine, tops the league. They’ll look to continue that trend tonight against Taylor Widener ($6,500) who pitched 12 games in relief last season and had a 6.49 FIP, a 20.8 K%, 12.5% BB% and a 37.3% hard-hit rate.
The way the Reds have been hitting, they could potentially hit the over on this game total on their own. As for the Diamondbacks, they may not help much to get the over on this total, as they’re averaging just 3.5 runs per game, which is ranked 21st out of 30th in the league.
Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians - 13mph winds blowing OUT toward center field
Splits to Start
These stats will reflect 2020 numbers until May 1st.
Pitchers vs. Left-Handed Batters
Worst vs. LHB, wOBA, FIP
Julio Teheran, .446, 10.66
Charlie Morton, .337, 4.66
Sean Manaea, .318, 4.69
Best vs. LHB, wOBA, FIP
Zach Plesac, .262, 3.84
Lance McCullers Jr, .281, 2.88
Zack Wheeler, .283, 3.11
Pitchers vs. Right-Handed Batters
Worst vs. RHB, wOBA, FIP
Steven Matz, .448, 8.94
Julio Teheran, .391, 5.97
Lance McCullers Jr, .338, 4.61
Best vs. RHB, wOBA, FIP
Zach Plesac, .224, 3.03
Taylor Widener, .277, 5.76
Tyler Mahle, .295, 3.15
Pitcher to Build Around
Lance McCullers Jr, Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics, $9,100 — The combination of Plesac and McCullers is likely going to be a very popular one. When you look at how poorly of a start this Athletics team has gotten off too, it’s hard to not target them with pitching. They enter this game averaging just 2.3 runs per game, the lowest in the league. The offensive numbers against righties are just as bad with a .229 wOBA, a .062 ISO and a 28.1% K%. McCullers already faced this team once, struck out seven while giving up one run on two hits through five innings. Until the A’s show some sign of life, which quite frankly doesn’t seem like anytime soon, they’re not a team to fear.
Stud Hitter to Pay For
Editor’s Note: Blue Jays RP David Phelps will start tonight’s game vs. the Angels. SP T.J. Zeuch will fill a bulk role following Phelps.
Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels at Toronto Blue Jays, $4,900 — After a fairly quiet 2020 season, it’s easy to forget just how good of a hitter Rendon is, especially against lefties. Tonight, he faces one of the Blue Jays offseason acquisitions in Steven Matz ($8,300), who to his credit had an impressive debut against the Rangers.
Let me clue you in on something though, Rendon and the rest of the Angels offense is a much tougher draw. In 2019, Rendon was a beast against lefties, boasting a .418 wOBA with a .301 ISO (!) and 10 of the 34 home runs he cracked out of the park. Matz was downright horrific against righties last season, allowing 13 of the 14 home runs he gave up, a .448 wOBA and a putrid 8.94 FIP. All this was done, by the way, in a total of 30.2 innings.
Save Big by Drafting
Taylor Naquin, Cinncinnati Reds vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, $3,200 — One of the reasons the Reds offense is hitting so well is because of Naquin. Out of no where, he’s absolutely annihilating the baseball and has quickly collected four home runs, 13 RBI and averaging 15 DKFP per game. So yes, I very much would like to take him at a $3,200 price tag. The funny part is, he’s only jumped $500 in salary since Opening Day when he was $2,700.
To be fair, Naquin has always had sneaky power against righties and had a .195 ISO against them last season when he was with the Indians. With the way the Reds are hitting and scoring runs, this is hardly a salary you have to think about.
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