This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Whether you love good pitching or huge run-scoring output, this slate has matchups to please everybody.
At a glance, there are at least eight pitching matchups that stand out to target with opposing bats, including the Yankees (vs. Jalen Beeks), the Red Sox (vs. Nick Pivetta), the Mets-O's matchup (Jason Vargas vs. Andrew Cashner), the Indians (vs. Sal Romano), the D-backs (vs. Yovani Gallardo), the Angels-Padres matchup (Jaime Barria vs. Brett Kennedy), the Tigers (vs. Lucas Giolito) and the Dodgers (vs. Andrew Suarez).
Closer inspection reveals good values with Seattle bats against Mike Fiers, a potentially ignored game between the Blue Jays and Royals in Kansas City (keep an eye on the weather), and a rookie right-handed pitcher (Trevor Richards) going on the road to face the Braves.
I'm making a concerted effort to indicate the type of contest I prefer to use players in – cash (50/50) or tournaments (GPPs) – which is generally an exercise in estimating ownership rates (or "finding the chalk") and making sure to have enough variation around the highly-coveted top value plays to have a dangerous lineup.
Remember, a strong cash-game play isn't necessarily a "bad" tournament play, but too many "chalky" players can create a limiting factor in big-field tournaments.
Your constructive feedback is appreciated, and always welcomed.
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Preferred Cash Play: Justin Verlander, HOU vs. COL ($11,200)
Also Consider: Corey Kluber, CLE at CIN ($11,000)
Preferred Tournament Play: Patrick Corbin, ARI at TEX ($10,400)
Verlander's price might be slightly reduced thanks to an early exit in his last start. After getting shelled for six runs on seven hits over two innings by the Mariners, he was ejected by the home plate umpire after voicing his frustration with a balk call. In any case, he returns home to Houston, where the Astros are the biggest home moneyline favorite on the board (-225) in a game that has the lowest over/under total (7.0). The Rockies have been surprisingly bad against right-handed pitching all season (82 wRC+), while carrying a slightly elevated strikeout rate (22.8%) in that split.
Kluber's strikeout rate (24.7% K%, 8.6 K/9) is still down at its lowest mark since 2013 (22.4%, 8.3), but he's never had a lower walk rate than he's posted in 2018 (3.2% BB%, 1.1 BB/9). The Indians are more heavily favored on the road (-255) against the Reds than the Astros, so while you might be giving up a small bit of strikeout upside with Kluber, he's facing a non-playoff contender with a near-league average offense (101 wRC+ vs. RHP).
Somehow, Corbin is pitching at a higher level in the second half (32.0% K-BB%) than he was in the first (23.2% K-BB%). He's been cutting out walks entirely during the latter split, and while that isn't sustainable, he's at least proven that his ability to miss bats an elevated clip thanks to a heavier reliance on his slider is an approach that will continue to pile up whiffs. Over the past 30 days, the Rangers are tied with the A's as the league-leader in wRC+ (124), and while there is an undeniable performance aspect of that surge, conditions in Arlington have been extremely conducive to hitting during that span. Corbin faces Yovani Gallardo on Tuesday, so the 10.0 over/under total can be largely shoved on the D-backs' side of the ledger, but there is enough risk here to limit use of Corbin exclusively to tournaments.
Paxton's assignment is just as difficult as Corbin's, in terms of the A's offense being very strong, and particularly dangerous against lefties. With a 2.5-run difference in the over/under total (Mike Fiers is pitching for Oakland), it's a setup that should give Paxton a lot more attention in tournaments than Corbin, and one that may tempt you to consider him in cash games. With the low price on Verlander, it doesn't seem necessary to take on the extra risk. In tournaments, I would not be surprised if Paxton is the second-highest owned arm behind Verlander on Tuesday's slate.
More often than not, the need to dig for an arm further down on the price list is unnecessary due to the presence of 3-4 high-end arms with reasonable prices. If you want to steer away from the top of the board, save cash, and have more flexibility to pay up for a higher-power stack or a few elite bats, Taillon is my "cheaper" arm of choice with a road matchup against Minnesota. The Twins have an 83 wRC+ over the last 14 days – essentially, the time since Eduardo Escobar and Brian Dozier were traded away – making them a frequent target for the final two months of the season. Taillon has a sub-3.00 ERA over his last eight starts, and while he doesn't miss a ton of bats (7.2 K/9 during that span, 8.0 K/9 in 2018), he's carrying a career-high 10.1% swinging-strike rate this season, and it's not unreasonable to think that he might be on the brink of a very strong finish after a disappointing start to the campaign.
If you're feeling like today is an Arby's day anyway, Blaine Hardy is only $5,900 with a home start against the White Sox (Lucas Giolito). Hardy and the Tigers are a -140 favorite, and he's been surprisingly effective while spending most of the season in the rotation, posting a 3.63 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 74.1 innings, thanks in large part to the significantly increased use of his slider. Instead of going for that second roast beef sandwich, consider Hardy in a similarly low-priced, big-field GPP setting.
Paul Goldschmidt, AZ at TEX ($4,300) – Paying up at first base is my preferred method Tuesday. There is nothing profound about this call. Goldy against Yovani Gallardo in Arlington isn't fair. The price could easily be $1,000 more based on the quality of the matchup. Goldschmidt has a .902 OPS with five homers over 92 at-bats since the All-Star break, and his overall run at the plate since he struggled for the better part of two months to open the year has erased concerns about a potential decline or underlying injury. I like Goldy slightly more than Freddie Freeman ($4,200), who is at home against Marlins rookie Trevor Richards on Tuesday night. It would not be surprising to see Freeman check in with a slightly lower ownership rate between the two in tournaments.
Robinson Cano, SEA at OAK ($3,600) – The Mariners will welcome Cano back into the fold Tuesday as he completed his PED suspension after the conclusion of Monday's game. In a broad sense, Cano's return provides a nice lift at a position that has been a trouble spot at various times in 2018. He homered twice over the course of five "rehab" games in the run up to his activation, and through 39 games with the Mariners this season, Cano was hitting .287/.385/.441 with four homers and 23 RBI. With the A's starting Mike Fiers on Tuesday night, it's somewhat surprising to see this matchup with a posted over/under total of 7.5 (James Paxton starts for Seattle), but Cano is viable in cash-game and tournament lineups at this price.
Jedd Gyorko, STL vs. WAS ($2,900) – Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez doesn't serve up a ton of homers, but Gyorko's numbers against lefties continue to be elite in 2018 (.333/.417/.597, 173 wRC+), making him an excellent value (albeit, a potentially chalky one) in this matchup. With the potential for easy savings at the hot corner from Justin Turner ($3,400) against Giants lefty Andrew Suarez as well, Gyorko might end up serving as a useful utility filler for those who want to lean on the Dodgers' third baseman, or for lineups looking to pay up a little more for Alex Bregman ($3,900) in a righty-righty home matchup against German Marquez and the Rockies.
Carlos Correa, HOU vs. COL ($3,600) – He's been quiet since returning from the DL on Friday, but Correa is the easy call, at least in cash games with the reduced price he's carrying at the present time. The first pivot for most will be Manny Machado at $4,000 against Andrew Suarez, and for good reason – Suarez has been horrendous against right-handed hitters in his rookie campaign – while struggling mightily outside of AT&T Park.
With two elite hitters at affordable prices, Francisco Lindor ($4,700) becomes a very appealing tournament target in Cincinnati against Sal Romano, whose struggles against lefties continue to make him vulnerable to meltdowns (his .362 wOBA allowed to lefties in the fourth-worst among the 30 pitchers starting Tuesday).
Brandon Nimmo, NYM at BAL ($3,300) – The Mets get a nice park boost with the Interleague road series against the Orioles, while matching up against O's righty Andrew Cashner and a watered down Baltimore bullpen (Cashner's .348 wOBA allowed to left-handed hitters is the sixth-worst on the slate). Nimmo has put together three multi-hit efforts over his last five starts, with the latest effort including his 15th homer of the season in Monday's makeup game with the Yankees. The Mets have been using Amed Rosario in the leadoff spot on a semi-regular basis in recent weeks, which likely puts Nimmo in the No. 2 hole again Tuesday, if not somewhere in the middle-third of the order.
Wil Myers, SD vs. LAA ($3,300) – The Padres activated Myers from the DL and started him at third base on Monday, but he's still outfield-eligible on FanDuel for now. When he's been on the field this season, Myers has offered strong per-game production, and while there's always added risk rolling with a player fresh off a stint on the disabled list, Tuesday's righty-righty matchup against Jaime Barria is intriguing thanks to Barria's horrendous splits against same-handed hitters during his rookie campaign (.402 wOBA, 2.45 HR/9). Remember, Petco Park isn't nearly as tough on right-handed pop as it is on lefties, leaving Myers in a nice all-around setup in this matchup.
Avisail Garcia, CHW at DET ($2,600) – Compared to teammate Jose Abreu, Garcia should be lower owned for those looking to take a swipe at Blaine Hardy at the Tigers' bullpen on Tuesday night. In a very limited number of at-bats against lefties since the start of 2017 (185), Garcia has posted a .395/.423/.589 line, giving him an OPS (1.013) that ranks second only to that of J.D. Martinez against righties (1.051) among the outfield splits on the board Tuesday.