Through one week of the MLB regular season, we’re sitting at a lovely 3-1 on article plays. In the words of a famous 70’s music aficionado named Stu, “if these trends continue, ayyyyyyyyy.” He didn’t know how to get the goldfish out of his platform shoes. What a character.
Anyway, these are a few plays that I’m looking at on today’s slate.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
In a vacuum, this is a relatively low strikeout total for Buehler. It’s a figure he surpassed in 19 of his final 30 starts of 2021, and while Buehler was only able to rack up five strikeouts on Opening Day, that was mostly a product of the right-hander facing just 22 batters and being limited to 78 pitches. I would expect a little more leash on Thursday for the ace of the Dodgers’ staff and a man who has complied a career 9.91 K/9 and 27.6% strikeout rate.
You also couldn’t ask for better opposition. We’re still dealing with pretty small samples, but I think most people with access to a potential Reds’ lineup card back in late March wouldn’t be shocked with what’s transpired across the first week of the season. Cincinnati comes into tonight’s contest with a league-high 31.1% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching. For 2022 as a whole, the Reds also sit inside the top 10 in chase rate (34.1%) and swinging strike rate (12.6%). Quite simply, this is a roster that is going to be walking back to the dugout after three strikes very often.
It would be an understatement to say that the Nationals have struggled offensively to open the season, but a matchup with J.T. Brubaker should be just what this team needs. While the RHP does have some interesting strikeout numbers, Brubaker has been plagued by the long ball throughout his time in the majors. In fact, among the 47 National League pitchers to throw at least 120 innings dating back to the beginning of last season, Brubaker’s surrendered the most opponent home runs per nine (2.05). It’s not even particularly close, either.
Brubaker’s biggest weakness is left-handed bats. In his final 10 starts of 2021, the 28-year-old conceded an insane .698 slugging percentage and .442 wOBA to opposing LHBs. That’s an issue that Washington is more than set up to exploit. Not only do the Nationals employ the best lefty hitter in all of baseball in Juan Soto, but there’s a decent chance that five of the top six spots in the club’s batting order will be filled by left-handed or switch-hitting players on Thursday. It’s a list that includes Cesar Hernandez, Josh Bell, Keibert Ruiz and Yadiel Hernandez. Let’s just agree that when the one RHB Brubaker might have to face in the first inning is Nelson Cruz, you’re in a pretty daunting matchup.
It’s been the hot button topic in the baseball world all week: When is Frank Schwindel finally going to break out in 2022? Well, I’m here to put all your minds at ease. It’s happening tonight. It certainly helps my prediction that the Cubs are in Colorado, but this is really more about handedness than it is about location. Schwindel was just an absolute monster when given the opportunity to hit against left-handed pitching last season.
The journeyman was only about to squeeze 80 plate appearances versus southpaws into his truncated campaign, yet he definitely made those limited chances count. In fact, Schwindel slashed .324/.400/.676 within the split, posting an eye-popping .352 ISO and 177 wRC+ when it was all said and done. The lefty in question on Thursday is Kyle Freeland, a man who allowed opposing RHBs to compile a .520 slugging percentage and .369 wOBA when pitching at Coors Field in 2021. Rest assured, it’s also an area Freeland struggled with in 2020 and 2019, too. There’s little reason to think he’ll be able to shut down Schwindel this evening.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and I may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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