Welcome back to one of the last editions of Starting Rotation on the season! We’ll be attempting to run this the rest of the divisional series at least since we have full slates until teams get eliminated. This is Game 3 for some teams and we’re going to change up the format a bit. Instead of cash and GPP picks, we’ll hit some quick notes on all eight pitchers. MLB DFS: Starting Rotation 10.7 will feature some pros and cons for each pitcher on the slate, so let’s dig into it!
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*Note – Pitchers are listed by preference
Pros – Miami has the second-highest K rate among teams left in the postseason field, which is a huge plus for Anderson. Only Gerrit Cole and Dinelson Lamet had a higher K rate than Anderson’s among teams left and Anderson dazzled in his first postseason start. He whiffed nine hitters over six scoreless innings on 99 pitches. Honestly, he should be the highest or second-highest rostered pitcher on the slate and I can’t see many reasons he shouldn’t be.
Cons – There’s not much here on the surface. Anderson was slightly worse on the road this year with a 2.55 ERA and .229 wOBA, but that’s nitpick-y at best. The HR/9 was only 0.28 over his 32.1 IP in the regular season, which is a huge help right now. He’s too cheap even with playoff pricing and solid chalk in my eyes.
Pros – The other half of the chalk on DK in MLB DFS: Starting Rotation 10.7 and I still feel cheated that Kershaw wasn’t given a shot at a complete game against the Brewers. The man was at 93 pitches, Dave Roberts. Relax. Anyways, this matchup isn’t easy because the Padres have some lefty mashers. In the first start Kershaw had against the Padres, he racked up nine strikeouts over 6.1 IP and gave up three earned. With a 12.7% swinging strike rate, he’s fairly hard to ignore.
Cons – The pitch data isn’t exactly the best, as San Diego was fifth against the fastball and first against the slider. The HR/9 for Kershaw was the second-highest of his career at 1.23 and his FIP and xFIP were about a full run higher than the 2.16 ERA. That’s about all I have, really. The Padres are dangerous and I still like Tatis, Machado or Myers as a one-off or mini stack even with Kershaw. We saw with Glasnow last night you can give up runs and still be the highest scoring pitcher on the slate.
Pros – To say the bottom falls out in a hurry is an understatement here. I’m not super pumped to go after Lopez, but his track record this year against the Braves is notable. He’s made three starts and two have been great. He’s scored 24.3 and 25.3 in each game, racking up at least six strikeouts in each. The Braves do struggle against the changeup, which Lopez throws about 30% of the time. The 12.1% swinging strike rate isn’t that far away from Kershaw and his hard hit rate and fly ball rate are under 30%. The ceiling is tangible.
Cons – So I mentioned Lopez made three starts. The third resulted in -11.1 DK points and he gave up seven earned while not getting out of the second inning. Lopez was also demonstrably worse on the road, with a 4.91 ERA, .302 wOBA and 1.48 WHIP. To his credit, the HR/9 was still just 0.70. It’s a very risky play, especially after seeing Atlanta hang a crooked number last night.
Pros – The lefty at least has some strikeout potential with a 23.8% rate and a 12.6% swinging strike rate. Both the fly ball and hard hit rates were at 32% or lower with a HR/9 of 1.37. Houston took a serious step back against LHP this year, ranking 26th in OBP, 22nd in OPS, 17th in ISO, 22nd in wOBA and 20th in wRC+. This matchup is significantly different than the White Sox spot Luzardo faced in his first start of the postseason.
Cons – With Oakland facing elimination, they will be hyper aggressive with the pitching. If Luzardo hits any kind of a rough patch, he’s going to get the hook. Additionally, Houston was the second-best team in K rate to lefties all year. The matchup is slightly better for Luzardo on paper, but the Astros are proving to be postseason tough right now. I very much prefer Anderson for $700 more.
Pros – If he can get it going, the Padres really need him to provide some length. Mike Clevinger left the game super early last night, so the pen has already been spent. He does have 13 innings against the Dodgers under his belt this year with five runs given up, but also 10 strikeouts. The K rate for Davies wasn’t special at just 22.8% but the hard hit rate was under 29%. He really controlled the left side with a .222 wOBA and only two bombs over 34.1 IP.
Cons – Righties were far more successful with a .317 wOBA and a 1.80 HR/9. Davies did whiff more to that side at 28.2% but it may not be enough. There’s not a lot of strikeout appeal and we all know what the Dodgers are capable of, even if they haven’t shown it a ton through the first couple playoff games. Davies is scary with not a lot of upside.
Pros – Oakland isn’t a super scary offense and was right about average among all the offensive categories. Urquidy did pitch pretty well over 4.1 IP in the Wild Card series, perhaps calming some fears about an uneven 29.1 regular season innings.
Cons – Honestly, that’s about where the good news stops on paper. Urquidy had a putrid 14.7% K rate which looks wildly out of character with his other numbers along the minors and majors. The swinging strike rate was barely over 9% and the HR/9 was 1.21. Perhaps the scariest issue is he got smacked by RHH. Over 53 batters faced, he gave up a .368 wOBA, .858 OPS and a 2.19 HR/9. The ERA was great at 2.73 but the FIP was 4.71 and the xFIP was 5.36. The floor is disaster here.
Pros – Morton had a tough time this year with health and other issues, but he did perhaps find something approaching his groove with the last two starts. He gave up 12 hits across 10 IP, but he did whiff 14 hitters and generated 14 ground balls. That’s a little more like what we know with Morton the past few years. He also is stretched out with 94 and 93 pitches thrown in those starts. He also held RHH to a 0.42 HR/9, drastically important in this start. Morton is at least the cheapest starter to use for MLB DFS: Starting Rotation 10.7.
Cons – Other than it’s the Yankees on the other side? Morton struggled with a 1.39 WHIP, worst since 2012 with the Pirates. The ground ball rate was the absolute worst of his career at 41.6% even with a swinging strike rate over 12%. The 24.7% K rate isn’t a ton against New York and it’s bold to go against them without a ton of strikeout upside on paper. New York did have the sixth-worst fly ball rate to RHP, but they boasted the best HR/FB ratio in MLB at 20.1%.
Pros – Tampa has the worst K rate to RHP among the teams left standing, so perhaps Tanaka can use his 22.3% rate on the season. It’s bizarre to see his K rate that low with a 14% swinging strike rate, so maybe “Playoff Tanaka” shows up this time. Having no rain delays could help him a good bit. The Rays were also just 20th against the splitter, which could save the veteran.
Cons – The wOBA and average to LHH look great at .275 and .188 each, but Tanaka had a 2.03 HR/9 to LHH and a 4.88 FIP. Righties tagged him for a .365 wOBA and a .330 batting average, so there’s extreme danger on each side of the plate. Also, since Aaron Boone decided to use Deivi Garcia as an opener, the Yanks have now used nine pitchers not named Gerrit Cole the past two nights with the series tied. If Tanaka struggles early, he might have to wear one much longer than normal in the postseason.
At this point, it’s best to treat the bet as a double up since the playoffs can make things very weird. I expect Anderson to do the heavy lifting, but 12 total is attainable. Remember, go to Monkey Knife Fight and use promo code WINDAILY to get a $50 matching bonus and 3 month FREE to Win Daily Sports!
Let’s get after it today my friends!
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