The First Pitch-Memorial Day Evening Edition

We have a 5 games this evening to cap off our Memorial Day slate. There are some solid pitching options to choose from even though it is only 5 games, and some nice stacking options. I will break them down game by game for you guys.

 

Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies

Tanner Roark (-140) vs Jeremy Hellickson

 

Both of these pitchers have been tough to figure out this season. Both have shown high strikeout upside, but both have also been shelled when facing teams in a good spot. I will reserve Hellickson for GPP purposes only today as we have seen he can shut down the Nationals, but I don’t put much faith in that one performance. Roark on the other hand presents as a guy that I feel safe using in cash and GPP. Both of these guys faced off back in April, Hellickson while striking out 8 with no runs in 7 IP and Roark struck out 6 with no earned runs through 7 IP.

Roark has posted a solid line so far this season with 8.29 Ks/9, .57 HRs/9 and a 2.71 ERA. He has struggled with control as he is walking 3.43 batters per nine though. I like him a lot today in a matchup against a Phillies team that has a 21.5% K rate to RHP and struggles to put up runs. The caveat to using him today is that they are in a great hitting environment. I would be slightly concerned with bats like Herrera, Blanco, and Goeddel against him today, but I think his strikeout upside offers a solid floor for cash games.

I don’t expect Hellickson to replicate his previous performance against the Nationals in tonight’s game. While his 9.05 Ks/9 is solid for him, he is still struggling with the long ball. He has a pretty big FB% to left-handed bats, and that does not bode well against hitters like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy. As I stated above, if looking for an SP2 in GPPS you can use him. But the risk is high.

I don’t want to target Roark with too many Phillies bats, but Odubel Herrera is one guy that stands out as a good play. He has a .447 OBP and a .951 OPS vs RHP and has been one of the only bright spots in that Phillies lineup. He has also been extremely disciplined at the plate this season, posting a .88 BB/K ratio.  Tyler Goeddel is a guy that has turned it on lately, so if you want to attack Roark, you can do so with a mini-stack of Herrera and Goeddel.

Murphy and Harper are both in play today against Hellickson, and I don’t mind a full stack here. Ramos is one of the best catching options on the slate tonight, and he is priced fairly across the industry. Ramos has a .390 OBP and a .899 OPS this season vs RHP. Toss him in with you Nationals stack tonight.

New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

Ivan Nova vs Marco Estrada(-150)

 

Both of these pitchers are guys that I have used in the right spot, but that isn’t the case today. Rogers Centre is a great hitting environment, and both these teams have above average power ISO splits. If you wanted for some reason to roster someone from this game, I guess you could use Estrada.

Estrada has a solid strikeout this season, striking out just under 8 batters per 9 innings. He has struggled with walks, as you can see by his 3.53 BBs/9, but he has managed to keep his ERA lower despite pitching in an environment like Rogers. His xFIP and SEIRA are much higher than his ERA, suggesting some regression for him. The Yankees only have an 18% K rate vs RHP so this isn’t a pick I feel comfortable in.

Ivan Nova falls just under league average in my eyes as a pitcher. His strikeout numbers are low, but his walks and ERA numbers are low as well. He is an extreme ground ball pitcher with a 63.6% GB rate on the season. I don’t want to use him in this matchup, especially at his price.

Estrada has issues with fly balls to both lefties and righties, so this is a good spot to use a lot of the Yankee bats. Beltran, Gardner, McCann, Ellsbury are all in play here. McCann is probably my top catcher play on the slate today. Keep an eye on the lineup as Beltran has been DTD with a shoulder injury. Hicks could get in the lineup, and is cheap on DK. He isn’t a very good hitter against RHP, .279 OBP and .675 OPS, but there is a chance he could go yard here.

As was with Estrada, all the Jays bats are in play here. Bautista, Donaldson, Encarnacion should anchor your Blue Jays stacks. Saunders is a play that I love in this spot today. He has been batting cleanup and has a .379 OBP and a .862 OPS. Darwin Barney and Devon Travis should both be in the lineup as well, so there are a couple value options to look at.

Pittsburgh Pirates at Miami Marlins

Jeff Locke (-130) vs Justin Nicolino

 

Our projections don’t like any of these pitchers tonight, and I completely agree. Neither of these guys strike anyone out, and they both have high ERAs. Don’t roster either of these guys today.

Miami is our 3rd rated stack for tonight’s slate. Ozuna, Stanton, Yelich, Prado, Deitrich are all in play here. I love using Ozuna in cash games as he is a guy that gets on base a lot. He has a .513 OBP and a 1.513 OPS vs LHP this season. He needs to be locked in your lineups tonight. Deitrich is DTD as well, so we could see a cheap punt option like Rojas in the lineup.

Nicolino is a very bad left-handed pitcher, and I imagine we will see a lineup loaded with righties to attack him for Pitt. McCutchen, Marte, Polanco are all great option tonight in your OF spots, but I am looking at Kang as a guy that will be locked in for me. Kang has been hitting really well since returning from the DL and has a .286 OBP/ 1.143 OPS vs LHP this season. You can’t go wrong with any of the Pirates bats in this matchup tonight.

Tampa Bay Rays at Kansas City Royals

Matt Andriese vs Ian Kennedy (-105)

 

Vegas isn’t as high on Kennedy as myself, or our projections, and I am not sure why. Kennedy has been really good this season, with only a couple games where he has struggled. With an 8.94 K/9 and a 3.38 ERA, Kennedy comes in as a solid cash game option for us tonight. He has struggled with the long ball this season, but pitching in the friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium will help mitigate that. The Rays come in striking out at almost 26% of the time vs RHP and are about league average in run production. Look for Kennedy to have a good game here.

I don’t know what to think about Andriese in this spot. Vegas basically has this as a pick-em, he has been solid since being brought up, and the Royals have seen their share of struggles lately. His peripherals are a little worrisome to me. He has a 5.6 K/9, 4.33 xFIP, and a 4.36 SEIRA, so there is a chance he could get beat up here. His price is too high for consideration on DK, but you could use him in a GPP on Fanduel here. His upside is limited by his lack of strikeouts, but we have seen crazier things happen before.

Tampa Bay doesn’t really have a lot to like in this matchup. They just aren’t that good against RHP. If you want some exposure here, look towards Corey Dickerson. Dickerson has a .304 ISO against RHP, so he could be a guy to take advantage of Kennedy’s homer troubles. I think Kennedy may be fairly chalky today, so you could justify using a Rays stack in GPPs to hedge against Kennedy.

There are a couple cheap guys that I do like in this matchup for the Royals. Whit Merrifield and Paulo Orlando are cheap and have been hitting the ball really well since being called up.  Merrifield has a .400 OBP, .920 OPS so far and Orlando is sitting at .373 OBP with a .855 OPS. Another guy to consider is Hosmer, as he is almost always a safe cash game play. Drew Butera will probably be catching this game with Perez out, so he can be a punt catcher option here.

Detroit Tigers at Los Angeles Angels

Justin Verlander (-130) vs Jhoulys Chacin

 

Verlander has looked really good this season, striking out 2 more batters per 9 innings compared to last season. Both his ERA and BBs/9 are up a little since last year, but those numbers should come down. I normally don’t like to target pitchers against the Angels because they don’t strike out, but Verlander is a safe option for you cash games today. On the season the Angels only strike out about 15% of the time vs RHP, so don’t expect a high strikeout game here, but Verlander should be highly owned so he won’t kill you if he has a bad game.

Chacin is a pitcher that I have liked a lot this season. I think his talent level isn’t accurately represented by his statistics, but this is not a good matchup for him. Detroit is the top projected stack on the slate for us, and I expect them to really produce in this spot. Chacin does a good job of keeping the ball on the ground with a 53.3% GB rate, but the Tigers hitters are disciplined and can put balls in play against him.

If you want to target Verlander today, look towards Trout, Calhoun and Pujols. Escobar is DTD with a wrist injury, so he may not be in that leadoff spot today. Trout is in play against any pitcher with a .429 OBP, 1.032 OPS and a .272 ISO.

Hopefully the marine layer doesn’t roll in tonight, because I want as many Tigers in my lineup as I can afford. Miguel Cabrera is still one of the best hitters in baseball, and he will anchor my lineup tonight. He has a .395 OBP and a 1.025 OPS against RHP this season. One of my favorite players, Nick Castellanos, is another lock for me today. He has been on fire this season, with a .361/.383/.594 slash line and a .977 OPS. Victor Martinez is a great option at catcher on FanDuel as well. Maybin is a cheap option in the OF tonight, and he has chance of getting you a stolen base when he gets on.

 

Good luck tonight everyone, and please remember to say thanks to all those that served so we have the chance to play DFS today.

Brent Heiden

Brent has been playing fantasy sports for over 10 years now and made the transition over to DFS about two years ago. He is an avid NBA fan and enjoys looking at the sport from an analytical point of view. He is a cash game grinder but has enjoyed a lot of success in GPPs over the past two seasons, including a top-10 finish in the RotoWire MLB Championship. He has been writing MLB, NBA, and game theory articles for dfsdatalytics.com since it was founded. You can find him on Twitter @BrentHeiden1 and find all his articles on dfsdatalytics.com.

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