Following a small Thursday slate, Friday ramps things up, giving us 13 games to peruse tonight. Despite the number of matchups, this one’s light on name-brand aces, and we probably won’t need to break the bank at pitcher. However, there’s still a lot of quality pitching as a whole, and between that and generally cool temperatures, only a handful of teams have implied team totals above five runs.
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Let’s check out the top options on today’s main slate.
Just four pitchers have salaries above $10,000, but the first place to look may be just below that threshold. Tarik Skubal ($9,800) has quietly produced dazzling numbers across his 12 starts, and his matchup versus the Los Angeles Angels only further enhances his Friday outlook.
This season, the southpaw has posted a 3.01 SIERA, 30.2% strikeout rate, 5.2% walk rate, and 53.8% ground-ball rate. That’s an elite profile, and if he did that over the course of a full campaign, he would be near the top of the leaderboards in all those metrics.
While Skubal has predictably seen a restricted workload since his return in July, he’s been allowed to go 95 or more pitches in each of his last three starts, so we should be confident he can go six-plus innings.
The return of Shohei Ohtani looks more unlikely with every passing day, and without him, the Halos are left with a lineup mostly consisting of journeymen and rookies. While they’re likely to deploy a bevy of right-handed batters, Skubal has actually posted a higher strikeout rate against them this season (34.6%), so we shouldn’t be deterred.
On the other side of that game, Griffin Canning ($9,000) should also do well against the Detroit Tigers. Against righties, Detroit’s active roster is among the worst in wRC+ (85), ISO (.142), strikeout rate (24.6%), and walk rate (7.6%).
Canning has been inconsistent, but he still carries an encouraging 3.76 SIERA, 26.0% strikeout rate, and 6.5% walk rate, and this is a matchup where he shouldn’t need to worry as much about the long ball. When he faced the Tigers in late July, he racked up eight Ks.
In terms of upside, it’s hard to not like Hunter Greene ($8,700) at this modest salary. This is by no means an easy spot against the New York Mets, a team with both power and patience, bumping up the risk for a boom-or-bust pitcher with a 10.8% walk rate and 1.38 dingers allowed per nine innings off a 46.8% fly-ball rate.
But a 30.2% strikeout rate will always get our attention, and Greene just piled up nine punchouts over the weekend versus the St. Louis Cardinals. Escaping Great American Ball Park and trading it in for pitcher-friendly Citi Field should also give the 24-year-old a boost, as should cooler temperatures and winds blowing in from left field.
If you want to branch out beyond those three, Bobby Miller ($9,100) and Seth Lugo ($9,500) can be considered as matchup-based plays versus the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics, respectively. Miller’s K prop on FanDuel Sportsbook is set at 6.5, which is one of the slate’s higher marks.
Lastly, Aaron Nola ($10,200) deserves a mention, though there isn’t anything special about his matchup versus St. Louis. That being said, he always has the potential to spike for the occasional tourney-winning score, and he mowed down the Cardinals for 58 FanDuel points at the end of August.
Last night’s Coors Field game got postponed, which means we get the opportunity to attack right-hander Chase Anderson with the San Francisco Giants tonight instead. Unsurprisingly, the Giants lead the way with a 6.16 implied team total.
As always, we have to be open to the risk of the Giants playing matchups late and removing guys for pinch-hitters, but this spot is too good to worry about that.
Anderson is a home run waiting to happen against both sides of the plate, but if anything, he’s actually been worse in same-handed matchups. In the split, he’s recorded a 5.66 xFIP and 14.2% strikeout rate. Ugly stuff.
This adds to the appeal of righties like Thairo Estrada ($3,800), Wilmer Flores ($3,700), and Mitch Haniger ($3,300), all of whom should also be more likely to play from start to finish. In terms of power, lefties Mike Yastrzemski ($3,500) and Joc Pederson ($3,100) should top our list.
The Houston Astros are another top stack, facing old friend Zack Greinke. Greinke may still have impeccable control, but that’s about it these days. Among pitchers with at least 100 innings, he’s tied for the sixth-worst strikeout rate (15.8%).
The Minnesota Twins are also facing a low-strikeout pitcher in Jesse Scholtens. The rookie right-hander has a 5.05 SIERA, 15.3% strikeout rate, and 40.4% fly-ball rate, so the Twins ought to be able to muscle a few balls into the outfield seats again after a 10-run outburst on Thursday.
Right-handed batters have actually been the ones to get to Scholtens most often (5.31 xFIP; 13.4% strikeout rate), and all 12 dingers he’s allowed have come in same-handed matchups. This should increase our interest in Royce Lewis ($3,700), Carlos Correa ($2,900), and even Ryan Jeffers ($2,900)
The Padres are a wild card versus southpaw Sean Newcomb, a pitcher who really fell off the last few seasons but is coming off a promising outing against the Texas Rangers. But he’s issues far too many walks in both MLB (13.6%) and Triple-A (15.3%), a problem that’s plagued him throughout his career.
Milwaukee should be able to do damage against Jake Irvin, and he’s especially struggled facing lefty sticks (5.72 xFIP; 16.2% strikeout rate).
The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author’s advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.