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DFS Pitching/Monkey Knife Fight Picks: deGrom is Dicey

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The Cubs, Royals and Cardinals will have home games where rain and lightning could cause delays or even a PPD(s). We will have to watch those games carefully, including deGrom/Hamels.

Upper-Tier Arms: deGrom vs. Hamels

Jacob deGrom, Mets at Cubs ($10,600 FD, $10,500 DK): deGrom is coming off one of his best starts of the season, if not THE best. He struck out 10 Braves and the only runs he gave up were a pair of solo homers in the ninth. Over the last 30 days, the Cubs are striking out the fourth most frequently in the league at 25%. So the strikeout potential is there for deGrom, the defending N.L. Cy Young award winner.

As mentioned above, the weather could be a bit dicey here and we don’t want a delay in-game that could artificially shorten the deGrom start. Another weather factor here is after several days of drier than normal air and the wind blowing in, today it will be very muggy and the wind will be blowing out at 10-15 mph. Wrigley is the most weather-dependent park in all of MLB and this could factor both into deGrom’s performance and how the game plays out. deGrom is probably a GPP-only choice here given all the potential issues mentioned above.

Cole Hamels, Mets at Cubs ($9,000 FD, $11,000 DK): There is quite the pricing discrepancy between the two major sites today. Though he will be dealing with the same weather factors as deGrom, his price on FD has to make him a cash game consideration while on DK he is likely GPP-only for me. Hamels became the 10th left-hander in MLB history to reach 2,500 strikeouts in his previous start vs. the White Sox. He went seven innings, allowing one run and striking out eight while taking a no-decision.

Hamels is now 2-1 with a terrific 0.31 ERA over that four start stretch. He will have to be careful with powerful righty batter Peter Alonso, who tied the N.L. rookie record of HRs before the All-Star break of 26 (Cody Bellinger in 2017) and now has his eyes set on Mark McGwire’s MLB rookie record of 28 home runs before July 1 which was set in 1987. Alonso also tied the all-time Mets rookie record for HRs yesterday (Darryl Strawberry in 1983). The Mets strike out the 10th most frequently against lefties at 24.8% so the strikeout potential is here in this matchup IF the weather does not scare us off of him.

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Middle-Tier Arms

Brandon Woodruff, Reds at Brewers ($9,200 FD, $$7,900 DK): Sort of the reverse of Cole Hamels, his price on the two pitcher site DK is very appealing while on the one pitcher site (FD) he will be tougher to roster. Notice I said tougher, not impossible, especially if you want to differentiate. The reason why I like Woodruff is his stuff. In his last start, the first one in 10 Woodruff starts which the Brewers lost, he was throwing 100 mph fastballs against the Padres.

Any time you have a pitcher with that kind of velocity, you know the strikeout potential is there. And it helps that the Reds strike out the ninth most frequently against righties at 24.3%. Much like the game at Wrigley, some rain will be in the area. Unlike Wrigley, they will simply close their roof and there are no worries about in-game delays. However, Miller Park plays a bit bigger with the roof closed than open so this is a factor that could work in Woodruff’s favor. Given his upside, he is a borderline cash option for me today, especially on DK.

Joey Lucchesi, Padres at Pirates ($8,500 FD, $9,100 DK): The 26-year-old lefty is quickly the best pitcher in the Padres rotation. Lucchesi pitched seven scoreless innings against a good hitting Brewers team on Monday night. One of the reason why Lucchesi may be having success at the MLB level is his different repertoire of pitchers than the “normal” guy has.
His newfound cutter has given him a third weapon along with his fastball and “churve.”

Lucchesi did face the Pirates on May 17, going seven innings and giving up two runs with six strikeouts. Much like Woodruff, he is a borderline cash play for me today. I feel that the floor is there but I wonder how high his ceiling is. Can’t argue about the matchup he has at PNC Park (an extreme pitcher’s park) and against a Pirates team that is 21st in the league in ISO (.175) over the last two weeks.

Bargain Basement Arm

Michael Pineda, Twins at Royals ($6,700 on both sites): If I am feeling bold AND it looks like the weather is going to hold up, he may be my cash pitcher today. You obviously get the savings, but let me share with you what was written by Yahoo fantasy sports before his last start against the Red Sox:

“If you’ve been patient with Twins starter Michael Pineda, that patience is finally starting to pay off. Returning from elbow and knee surgeries this season, Pineda’s velocity has been down significantly compared to what he showed in recent seasons with the Yankees. However, since a brief IL stint to rest his knee, Pineda’s velocity has bounced back in two starts (94.0 mph average fastball) and he hasn’t allowed a home run in those starts. He had an atrocious 2.1 HR/9 before going on the IL, pushing his ERA to 5.34, but the results are headed in the right direction after his break. Pineda has also been a WHIP asset this year (1.21) as a result of his elite 1.7 BB/9. There’s some risk ahead in a two-start week that includes the Red Sox lineup, but Pineda is looking like a more interesting play the rest of the way if he can maintain this velocity. “

Pineda pitched very well against the Red Sox in the start following this write up, going six innings, giving up five hits, one run, one walk and five strikeouts. If somehow Pineda could go more than six innings, we could be looking at major upside here.

Monkey Knife Fight Picks of the Day

Michael Pineda over 6.5 Strikeouts/Homer Bailey Over 4.5 Strikeouts

Monkey Knife Fight Picks
I wrote about Pineda’s upside above but do not discount how well Homer Bailey has been pitching either. He has struck out six batters in each of his last two starts.

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DFS meteorologist concentrating on MLB and the NFL, I graduated from UMass-Lowell with a degree in meteorology in 1996. I worked at AccuWeather as a meteorologist for almost a decade. I combined my two loves, weather and sports, and like to think I help 1000s of DFS'ers out each day. Huge Boston sports fan, lover of nature and animals and a proud father of 4 boys (2 biological).

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