MLB Game Breakdown May 8

MLB Game Breakdown May 8

Boston Red Sox (5.3) @ Baltimore Orioles (3.3)

Chris Sale (LHP) vs. Andrew Cashner (RHP)

Over/Under: 8.5  Moneyline: Red Sox -245

Pitcher Breakdown: I don’t want to say for sure, but it certainly looks like Chris Sale has finally turned the corner on what was a horrific start to the season. Over his last three starts, Sale has allowed just four runs on 12 hits while striking out 28 through 18 innings. The Orioles have not been good against lefties and enter this game with a .309 wOBA, a .150 ISO and a 26.4 K%. I imagine he’ll be the most popular pitching option on this slate, which has relatively low options, to begin with.

While I’m not that interested in Casher tonight, I will admit he hasn’t been the gas can on the mound that we’ve come to know. Using him against the Red Sox is nothing more than a tournament option but he has done well in his two starts at home against the White Sox and Athletics. With that said, righties have had a field day against him, tagging him for a .382 wOBA, a 5.08 xFIP and all six of his home runs.

Hitter Breakdown: Stacking the Red Sox tonight would be very difficult with how expensive they are. With that in mind, I’ve been doing a three-man stack with them lately and it’s worked out well. As I mentioned, righties have been ripping Cashner apart and aside from the obvious choices of Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, Michael Chavis has been crushing the ball since he was called up. Rafael Devers is another option to consider despite batting from the left side.

At this point, I’m not really looking to target the Orioles bats against Sale. As I mentioned, they aren’t strong against lefties. If you’re feeling froggy, two guys I would consider targeting in tournaments would be Trey Mancini and Pedro Severino. Both players own a wOBA over .400 and an ISO of at least .306. With the matchup in mind, they’ll be very low owned across the board.

Minnesota Twins (4.5) @ Toronto Blue Jays (4.1)

Kyle Gibson (RHP) vs. Trent Thornton (RHP)

Over/Under: 8.5  Moneyline: Twins -118

Pitcher Breakdown: At this point, how can you not consider any pitcher against the Blue Jays? Over the last five games, the Blue Jays are averaging just 1.6 runs per game. It’s absolutely pathetic how bad their offense is right now, so Gibson is very much in the conversation. I’m not thrilled with the idea of Gibson but man, how can you not be? It should be noted that Gibson has struggled on the road, posting a .371 wOBA with a 4.01 xFIP.

I have almost no interest in Thorton tonight. Yes, he’s posted back-to-back good starts against the Athletics and Rangers but I’m not totally sold just yet. He hasn’t pitched well at home and now gets one of the best offensive teams on the road in the Twins. At Rogers Centre, Thornton has allowed a .339 wOBA with four of his five home runs allowed.

Hitter Breakdown:  The Twins enter this game averaging 5.8 runs per game on the road this season with a .352 wOBA and a .238 ISO. This team is loaded with hitters who hit righties well, which is another reason why I’m off Thornton. Mitch Garver continues to impress and his numbers against righties are insane, posting a .482 wOBA with a .457 ISO. Lefties have given Thornton the most trouble, so Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario will be some of my top options.

Well, the Blue Jays will have low ownership! I mean, I guess if you want to be different, you could target some of the lefty bats in this lineup. Rowdy Tellez and Justin Smoak would be my two favorite options if I were going to do so. **Spoiler Alert*** I’m not going to target them.

Los Angeles Angels  (4.1) @ Detroit Tigers (4)

Tyler Skaggs (LHP) vs. Matt Boyd (LHP)

Over/Under: 8   Moneyline: Angels -106

Pitcher Breakdown: This is a really interesting spot for Skaggs against a Tigers team that really struggles against left-handed pitching. In fact, they enter this game with a .303 wOBA, a .152 ISO and a 30.5 K%, which is the highest total in the MLB. Skaggs has some good strikeout upside in this contest and is one of my favorite pitching options on this slate. While he is allowing a good amount of hard contact at 42.5%, the Tigers lineup doesn’t exactly boast of player you’re going to fear.

Boyd is really tough for me today. I think he’s going to be one of the more popular options, but I worry about the upside in this matchup. He’s expensive, as he should be, but the Angels have the lowest K% in the league against lefties at just 13.5%. Boyd is generating a ton of swings-and-misses and could break the mold against the Angels here, but I’m just not sure I want to pay up to find out myself. If you want to take him tonight, I totally get it and understand. Personally, I think we have some options with better strikeout upside to target over Boyd.

Hitter Breakdown: This isn’t a game I’ll be looking toward for hitting options. Every time the Angels face a left-handed pitcher, I always bring up the ISO that Albert Pujols has against them, which currently sits at .270. I think he’s such a great tournament option because of the low ownership. Mike Trout continues to do his part against them as well with a .372 wOBA and a .286 ISO.

The Tigers haven’t faced many lefties, to begin with, so the 2019 numbers are based on extremely low sample sizes. For what it’s worth, Grayson Greiner and Miguel Cabrera currently have the two highest ISOs on the team against lefties at .375 and .313 respectively.

Miami Marlins  (3) @ Chicago Cubs (4.6)

Jose Urena (RHP) vs. Kyle Hendricks (RHP)

Over/Under: 7.5   Moneyline: Cubs -225

Pitcher Breakdown: Urena never makes it onto my list of pitchers I want to use on a given night and today is no exception. Through four years in the MLB, he’s never seen a K% higher than 18.3% and has consistently seen issues with home runs. Now he faces a red hot Cubs offense that has scored at least five runs in eight of their last 10 games. I just don’t see any reason to use him in this spot.

I imagine Hendricks is going to be one of the chalk pitchers on the board against this lowly Marlins offense. He’s coming off an extremely efficient complete game shutout of the Cardinals in which he threw just 81 pitches while scattering four hits and striking out three. Like Urena, Hendricks doesn’t have much strikeout potential but does a tremendous job at limiting any damage. Against one of the worst offenses in the league, he’s very much in play here.

Hitter Breakdown: Like the Blue Jays, not a lot of appeal in taking any of the bats from the Marlins. I think the only one I’d consider would be Curtis Granderson. Despite a low .268 wOBA against righties, he does have a .190 ISO while occupying the leadoff position. If Peter O’Brien cracks the lineup tonight, he would be another one I’d consider.

The Cubs are a completely different story. I mean at this juncture, take your pick of who you want. Willson Contreras has arguably been one of their best hitters against righties and enters this game with a .492 wOBA and a .391 ISO against them. It’s not being talked about much, but Jason Heyward has actually been productive up until this point, boasting a .387 wOBA and a .216 ISO. Hitting lower in the order keeps his ownership down so look for him as a good way to mix up your stack. Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez are your usual suspects to build the stack around.

Kansas City Royals  (3.6) @ Houston Astros (5.5)

Jorge Lopez (RHP) vs. Brad Peacock (RHP)

Over/Under: 9   Moneyline: Astros -220

Pitcher Breakdown: Lopez has been consistent as of late but not for the reason you’d want. He’s allowed four runs in four straight starts in what many would consider mediocre matchups. Now, he gets the Astros at home, who sport one of the highest team totals of the night. It would be tough for me to feel good about him in this matchup, especially when he’s allowing a 38.5% hard-hit rate on the year.

I think Peacock is a total trap play tonight. His salary isn’t that high and I think many will find him to be an attractive SP2 target on DraftKings. However, I don’t think people realize that the Royals have hit righties really well this season. They enter this game with a .337 wOBA with a .207 ISO, both of which rank amongst the highest in the league. On top of that, Peacock is struggling at home as well, allowing nine runs on 17 hits through 16 innings of work. I don’t feel good about him in this spot and will be avoiding him altogether. 

Hitter Breakdown: So, after bashing Peacock, it’s only natural that I hype up some of these Royals bats. Ryan O’Hearn is one of my favorite targets in this game and I think one of the best value plays overall. Peacock enters this game having allowed a .359 wOBA to lefties with all four of his home runs allowed. Of course, Hunter Dozier continues to annihilate right-handed pitching, so he’s very much in play. If you can pay up for Alex Gordon, he’s another option to use.

Michael Brantley is one of my favorite targets on this slate overall. He’s mashing the ball lately and Lopez enters this game having allowed a .408 wOBA to lefties with five of the seven home runs allowed. Going off that information, I think Josh Reddick is very much in play as well. I don’t hate not only an Astros stack but a game stack here as well. I think this has a lot of potential to be one of the highest scoring games of the slate.

San Francisco Giants  (4.5) @ Colorado Rockies (5.7)

Derek Holland (LHP) vs. Jon Gray (RHP)

Over/Under: 10   Moneyline: Rockies -160

Pitcher Breakdown: Holland is coming off the injured list today after suffering a bone bruise on his left index finger. I think he makes for a really interesting tournament play because he enters this game with a K% of 29.6. While we all know that the Rockies hit lefties well, they do have eighth highest K% against them at 26.3. While you’ll feel uneasy putting Holland in your lineup, he has the potential to surprise in this spot.

I’m not really for or against Gray in this spot tonight. We know the Giants offense isn’t anything special, but they did just score 14 times last night. While Gray does have some good numbers across the board overall, his command has been a bit shaky at times and will bring a 10.2 BB% to the table. The Giants don’t have impressive numbers offensively but they also aren’t striking out much with just a 22.4 K%.

Hitter Breakdown: I think I’m more on Holland than I am the Rockies in this spot but that doesn’t mean we don’t have batters in good matchups. Aside from Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, two cheap options you could target in this game are Ian Desmond and Chris Iannetta. Desmond enters this game with a .348 wOBA and a .289 ISO while Iannetta has a .414 wOBA and a .294 ISO.

I’m not going to let a huge offensive outburst from the Giants change my perspective on them. Overall, they’ve been quite poor against righties, so I’ll continue to be timid on using them. Brandon Belt and Joe Panik would be the two bats I would target in this game, but that’s about as far as I’d go.

Cincinnati Reds (3.9) @ Oakland Athletics (4.2)

Sonny Gray (RHP) vs. Brett Anderson (LHP)

Over/Under: 8  Moneyline: Athletics -120

Pitcher Breakdown: Gray returns to his old stomping grounds tonight against an offense that has really seen its share of peaks and valleys. Overall, the Athletics have really seen their numbers dip against righties, but their strikeouts have remained low at 19.8%. Gray pitching in Oakland certainly brings his benefits and with the way he’s priced, I don’t mind using him here at all. I won’t have a ton of shares but against a team with a .295 wOBA and a .141 ISO against righties, he’s worth taking a shot on.

The Reds just got no-hit last night by Mike Fiers so the perception on them is quite low. To be fair, they’ve actually done quite well against lefties and enter this game with a .324 wOBA and a .222 ISO. I think many might view Anderson as a value play because of the Reds posting the goose egg last night, but I think this could be a really sneaky spot to stack a few of them.

Hitter Breakdown: Yasiel Puig would be my first option if I were to take any of the batters from the Reds. Overall, his numbers are ugly but against lefties, he does sport a .383 wOBA with a .286 ISO. Jose Iglesias is somehow making good contact and has turned it into a .453 wOBA and a .190 ISO against lefties. He’s super cheap tonight as well so he could help manage your salary. Of course, Eugenio Suarez facing a left-handed pitcher is very much in play, he boasts a .474 wOBA and a .542 ISO thus far.

Gray has been really tough on opposing batters so far and neither side of the plate really stands out as a way to target against him. I think if you wanted to throw a couple of darts here, the recently activated Matt Olson would be a target. Josh Phegley would be another one to consider as he somehow is leading the team in ISO against righties.

Atlanta Braves (3.2) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (4.4)

Mike Foltynewicz (RHP) vs. Clayton Kershaw (LHP)

Over/Under: 7.5   Moneyline: Dodgers -180

Pitcher Breakdown: Folty has only pitched two games this season, but they haven’t gone particularly well. Through 10 2/3 innings, Folty has allowed 10 runs (six earned) on 14 hits (three of which were home runs) with a 8:1 K:BB ratio. With that in mind, he’s really priced up high tonight, which really drops an appeal I may have had. Until I start seeing more consistent results, I don’t see the point in paying up here.

As for Kershaw, he’s another pitcher that I think is priced a bit too high overall. Sure, his results haven’t been bad, but he’s not pitching like someone I want to pay a premium for either. On top of that, the Braves have been one of the best hitting clubs against lefties on the year and enter this game with a .346 wOBA and a .195 ISO against them. The 18.7 K% they have against lefties ranks amongst the lowest in the MLB as well.

Hitter Breakdown: The other concern with Kershaw is that I feel as if the Braves have so many hitters that could cause him trouble. Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies and Johan Camargo all have an ISO north of .300 against lefties so far this season. Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson aren’t too far behind them either at  .293 and .267 respectively. I think these five guys would make for a really unique stack tonight on DraftKings.

Cody Bellinger has cooled off a bit at the plate but still has a ridiculous .571 wOBA and .463 ISO against righties this season. Max Muncy is starting to heat up and could go a bit overlooked tonight as his number against righties haven’t been anything special thus far. Joc Pederson feels like the perfect hitter to ruin the night for Foltynewicz, especially if he continues to have trouble with the home run ball.

Best Overall Pitcher: Chris Sale

Best Value Pitcher: Kyle Gibson

Best Overall Hitters: Michael Brantley, Eugenio Suarez, J.D. Martinez, Ronald Acuna

Best Value Hitters: Ryan O’Hearn, Ian Desmond, Jason Heyward

Home Run Call of the Day: Michael Brantley

Stacks: Twins, Cubs, Royals, Astros

Bet of the Day: Twins -118

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