For the first time in a while, DraftKings Sportsbook has me solely locked in on East Coast MLB action.
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Even with Martin Perez on the mound, the Red Sox are always worth looking at when they’re underdogs. When someone like Josh Fleming is toeing the rubber for the opponent, it becomes a no-brainer.
Boston has been a middle of the pack team against left-handed pitching this season, but the Tampa Bay starter is getting tagged by everyone lately. Cleveland got to him for three runs in four innings after the Braves rocked him for seven over 4 1/3 in his previous outing. Atlanta’s OPS and wOBA against lefties are similar to Boston’s, but the soon to be Guardians are 25th in both categories against left-handers.
The Rays, however, haven’t hit lefties well — thus the acquisition of Nelson Cruz. Unfortunately for Tampa, the big righty is dealing with a bruised foot. I’m still going with the Red Sox if he’s good to go, but removing him from the equation on Friday would of course be a big boost for Perez and Boston.
For maybe the first time this season, there’s reason to be excited about the Yankees. Joey Gallo then Anthony Rizzo? Everyone can lock back in on the Yankees, at least for the next few days, to see if they’ll make up any ground on Boston, who leads third-place New York in the AL East standings by 8.5 games.
Now, Gallo and Rizzo could make Friday’s start tough for Thompson if they play, but it’s not clear whether they will or not. Regardless, six-plus strikeouts are well in play for the Miami right-hander.
The Yankees have been abysmal against right-handed pitching since the All-Star break, which is on par with what they’ve done all season. As far strikeouts go, the Yankees have the fifth-highest strikeout rate against right-handers this season. They also don’t make a ton of contact on the pitches they go after out of the zone, which can make a big difference for a guy like Thompson — even though the Yankees tend to lay off pitches out of the zone more than most teams. The Miami righty gets hitters to go after pitches out of the zone often and tends to avoid contact.
Also, while Thompson hasn’t exactly been racking up strikeouts lately, he just faced a Padres team that’s one of the three toughest teams in league for righties to punch out. Furthermore, that start vs. San Diego came after an outing against a Philadelphia lineup that’s not known to K against right-handers either.
To go back to New York’s new bats: even if Gallo and Rizzo are in the lineup Friday, they could help Thompson reach this number. Gallo has the third-worst strikeout rates against righties among qualified hitters while Rizzo’s 2021 strikeout rate against lefties is worse than his career average.
Toussaint has come off the injured list hot. Two starts, 13 2/3 innings, two runs, two walks and 15 strikeouts — what’s not to like?
Specifically on the strikeout front: the righty punched out five in 6 2/3 innings vs. San Diego then 10 over seven vs. Philadelphia. As noted in the Thompson strikeout prop breakdown above, those two teams are not known for striking out against right-handers. The Brewers, on the other hand, have the ninth-worst strikeout rate against right-handed pitching this season and have been keeping up that pace since this All-Star break.
Like the Yankees, Milwaukee doesn’t chase pitches out of the zone like crazy — but they also struggle to make contact on those offerings. Since Toussaint has only made two starts, you can’t solely look at his O-Contact% or swinging strike rate for 2021 when assessing his strikeout potential (which are both very good right now). But when you look at what he’s done in the past couple years, generating whiffs hasn’t exactly been an issue.
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