This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
The league-wide trend of starting games earlier on weeknights appears to be picking up steam, as the White Sox, Indians, Yankees, and Reds are all starting games in the late afternoon/early evening with a first pitch before the main slate locks at 7:05p ET. Players in those games (the Mariners, Cubs, Twins, and Braves are the visiting clubs) are available only on FanDuel's all-day slate, which will limit your number of available contests.
Even with 11 games on the main slate, we didn't lose more than one ace (Jose Berrios) from the mix due to those earlier starts.
Shohei Ohtani left his start against Boston last Tuesday after just two innings, as he was running up a big pitch count, and dealing with a blister near the palm of his pitching hand. The Angels didn't seem overly concerned about it, however, as he was in the lineup as the team's DH three times in between starts (3-for-12, 5 Ks). He'll face another difficult test with a road matchup against the Astros, who were quieted by Tyler Skaggs in the series opener Monday.
Considering the matchup, the command issues, and the blister that surfaced last time out, it's easy to wonder if Ohtani will be lightly owned in tournaments Tuesday night.
With a limited number of viable, high-priced arms (Ohtani, Robbie Ray, Luke Weaver, Kenta Maeda, Charlie Morton, and Rick Porcello are the top six options), the cash available under the salary cap for bats should be plentiful, which makes things easier for owners interested in loading up Coors bats in the Padres-Rockies matchup.
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Cash: Kenta Maeda, LAD vs. MIA ($9,100) -- My general advice with Maeda is to be careful when he faces lineups with a few tough lefties in the heart of the order. The Marlins are not one of those teams, and Maeda should be in a good position to pile up strikeouts again Tuesday matching up with one of the league's worst offenses against righties (68 wRC+). Dillon Peters is starting for the Marlins, which should help get the struggles Dodgers' offense back on track, and makes the Dodgers the biggest favorite on the board Tuesday night (-270).
GPP: Charlie Morton, HOU vs. LAA ($9,900) -- I like Morton as a GPP option, even though the Angels are slightly above average against right-handed pitching in terms of wRC+ (107) and strikeout rate (19.7% K%). That he's the highest-priced arm on the board may deter some owners from spending up, and the matchup against Ohtani might be a deterrent as well, since it reduces the Astros' win probability (they're still -150 favorites). Morton has increased his average fastball velocity by another full mile-per-hour to begin 2018 (up to 96.0 MPH), and while he's capitalized on a favorable early schedule, he's averaged 8.25 strikeouts and more 6.1 innings per start this season.
GPP Fade: Vince Velasquez, PHI vs. AZ ($7,500) -- Velasquez has impressed overall this season, bouncing back from a rough outing his first time out in Atlanta to reel off a stretch of three consecutive quality starts. The fade here is under the expectation that he might be a somewhat popular GPP arm as a home pitcher with a nice strikeout ceiling at an affordable price. Run support is also concern with Robbie Ray going on the other side for the D-backs.
Eric Thames, MIL at KC ($3,700) -- Ian Kennedy's home-run rate against lefties is the second-worst on the main slate Tuesday night, and while Kauffman Stadium reduces left-handed homers, Thames does not possess "cheap" power. Only Ryan Zimmerman has a better split among the C/1B options on FanDuel for Tuesday night, and Thames' .262/.377/.567 line against righties since returning to MLB last season. Both first basemen in the Brewers-Royals matchup are well positioned, as Lucas Duda's near-floor price tag ($2,300) against Zach Davies is also enticing when you consider his body of work against righties over the last season-plus (.861 OPS).
Zimmerman remains deflated at $2,900 against a contact-heavy lefty (Ty Blach) in San Francisco. He's a viable option to save money at first base, or to plug in as a utility option in GPPs, but don't forget that AT&T Park reduces right-handed homers more than any park in play Tuesday night (three-year park index for righty homers: 74).
Matt Carpenter, STL vs. NYM ($3,300) -- Using Carpenter right now is much more about the weaknesses of his opponents than anything else. Mets starter Zack Wheeler has allowed a 1.94 HR/9 (.349 wOBA) to left-handed hitters since the start of 2016. The Cardinals have been shuffling their lineup a bit in recent days, giving Carpenter a pair of starts atop the order against righties Luis Castillo and Homer Bailey to close out their weekend series with the Reds. Through 20 games, Carpenter has been a disappointment for season-long owners and DFS players alike, with a .174/.322/.319 line, two homers, 10 RBI and a 16:22 BB:K over 87 plate appearances.
Enrique Hernandez, LAD vs. MIA ($2,500) -- Hernandez went 3-for-4 and homered against Marlins starter Jarlin Garcia on Monday night, and made a couple outstanding plays at shortstop against his former club. Corey Seager had the night off, which put Hernandez in the No. 2 spot in the order behind Chris Taylor on Monday, but it looks like the Dodgers will continue to use him high in the order against southpaws, as he's hit second, third or fourth each time he's started against a lefty in 2018.
Trevor Story, COL vs. SD ($4,100) -- With rookie Eric Lauer making his MLB debut for the Padres in Colorado on Tuesday night, it's going to be very difficult to fade Coors entirely. Story is the player I'm most interested in, mostly because shortstop is more challenging to handle than usual with a few of the better options washed away in the earlier-evening four pack of games. With a 1.034 OPS against lefties since the start of 2017, Story has the most favorable matchup split at the position by a healthy margin, especially if you're planning on steering away from Scott Kingery (.973 OPS against lefties in a *tiny* sample at the MLB level) against Robbie Ray. Story has hit fourth or fifth against southpaws this season, and there's little reason to expect that to change Tuesday.
Gregory Polanco, PIT vs. DET ($3,900) -- Rain is in the early forecast for PNC Park on Tuesday night, so have a pivot ready to go if it appears that a postponement or shortened game is likely (Marcell Ozuna vs. Zack Wheeler at $3,800 is my fallback option). Polanco enters play Tuesday with four hits over his last 10 games, as he's gone ice cold at the plate since swatting a pair of homers against the Cubs on April 12. The slump has dragged his season OPS from 1.099 to .772, but he'll get an opportunity to right the ship against Jordan Zimmermann and the Tigers at home. Zimmermann's struggles against lefties include a low 15.8% K%, 1.42 HR/9, and .354 wOBA (third-worst on the main slate), making Polanco a particularly interesting tournament play since his somewhat high price should limit ownership rates.
Manuel Margot, SD vs. COL ($3,400) -- Affordable Coors exposure exists again Tuesday. Margot yielded the start in center field to Franchy Cordero on Monday night, but Colorado has a lefty (Kyle Freeland) starting Tuesday, which should put Margot back in center field, and likely in the leadoff spot. In what figures to be the highest-scoring game of the night, Margot may wind up with five or six trips to the plate. Much like Albert Almora over the weekend, the home-run probability is low, but the lineup position and run environment should buoy Margot's value.
Chad Pinder, OAK at TEX ($2,100) -- Pinder has a .279/.347/.462 line against lefties since the start of last season, and assuming the A's find a spot for him in the lineup against Cole Hamels on Tuesday night, his near-floor price makes him an easy option to open up more pricey players elsewhere in the lineup. It also helps matters that Hamels has a 1.29 HR/9 and .323 wOBA against right-handed hitters since the start of 2016. The A's-Rangers matchup is shaping up to have the second highest over/under run total on the main slate, and Pinder (along with Marcus Semien) are two of the affordable paths to exposure in the Oakland lineup.