This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
This article will cover the one-game showdown, featuring the Red Sox on the road against the Astros, as well as the Thursday-Friday slate which includes the Brewers at home against the Dodgers. While there may be a bit of overlap between the picks, it's important to note that there are many differences between the two contests. You will notice a few of them as I break down plays for both slates.
Justin Verlander, HOU vs. BOS ($15,400): Verlander has been the picture of consistency of late, notching at least 20 DraftKings points in his last eight starts. The 35-year-old was phenomenal during the regular season, as evidenced by the 2.52 ERA and 30.9 RAA he registered with his fastball in 34 starts. He has struck out 13 batters and allowed four runs in 11.1 innings through his first two postseason starts. There aren't many weaknesses to exploit in Boston's lineup but it's important to select a few players who can be relied upon to produce in these kinds of slates.
Yuli Gurriel, HOU vs. BOS ($6,000): Gurriel hasn't been much of a factor in the postseason to this point but is an intriguing low-cost option due to the .382 wOBA he tallied against left-handed pitching in 160 at-bats during the regular season. Opposing starter David Price has struggled during the playoffs, allowing seven runs in 6.1 innings. The left-hander may have a hard time righting the ship Thursday, as he finished 2018 with a 4.31 ERA and a 1.6 HR/9 rate in 79.1 innings on the road.
Brock Holt, BOS at HOU ($7,400): It's difficult to find fault with Verlander's resume overall but he did allow 14 homers to left-handed batters in 99 innings during the regular season. This could work to benefit Holt, who came alive during the final month of the campaign, logging a .313 ISO and .472 wOBA in 48 at-bats. He has carried that performance into October, going 5-for-14 with a homer, a triple and a double in four games.
George Springer, HOU vs. BOS ($9,100): Price is generally thought of as a control pitcher but finished the month of September with a 9.4 percent walk rate and has allowed free passes to six of the 33 batters he has faced during the postseason. Springer boasted a 10.5 percent walk rate against left-handed pitchers this season while tallying a solid .190 ISO.
J.D. Martinez, BOS at HOU ($9,700): The matchup affords us a bit of a discount on Martinez, who finished the 2018 season with a robust .315 ISO and .434 wOBA against right-handed pitching in 438 at-bats. The matchup may not look great for him on paper but his ability to put points on the board generally makes him someone worth considering Thursday.
Ryan Brasier, BOS at HOU ($2,300): Braiser has been a sneaky value play during the postseason, logging at least 5.7 DraftKings points in his last six appearances. There is some risk that he will be unavailable due to pitching on back-to-back nights but there is reason to believe it will be all hands on deck as Boston tries to close out the series, which could make Braiser a real find at this price.
Justin Verlander HOU vs. BOS ($9,200) – see above
Cheap GPP Consideration, Hyun-Jin Ryu LAD at MIL ($7,100) Ryu had a short outing against the Brewers last week but that's not a reason to give up on him, as he finished the regular season with a 1.97 ERA and still holds a sparkling 1.59 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 11.1 innings during the postseason. While it is true that Ryu had a bit of a tough time on the road during the regular campaign (1.9 HR/9 rate) he still managed a 3.58 ERA to go along with 29 strikeouts in 27.2 frames, making him well worth a roster spot at this price.
GPP Fade: David Price, BOS at HOU ($7,100): I mentioned a bit about Price's struggles above and would add that he is taking on an Astros team that finished the regular season with the highest wOBA in the league against left-handed pitching. (.345). I thought about warning prospective owners against using Wade Miley ($6,000) in this spot but it's highly doubtful that manager Craig Counsell opts for bullpen games on back-to-back days, and Miley finished the regular season with a 2.57 ERA in 80.2 innings, making him someone to keep on radar as a cheap option.
Austin Barnes, LAD at MIL ($3,400): There isn't a whole lot to love from the catcher position but Barnes can be considered as a value play after a month of September that saw him notch a .360 ISO in 25 at-bats. Barnes is generally considered to be the backup to primary backstop Yasmani Grandal, but he should get rare back-to-back starts as Miley toes the rubber to begin the game again.
Jesus Aguilar, MIL vs. LAD ($4,700): Aguilar has struggled mightily during the postseason but showed remarkable consistency over the 162-game schedule, resulting in a .264 ISO and .374 wOBA in 492 at-bats. Aguliar's poor play to this point could afford us some scarcity at his price, which makes him a particularly appealing option due to Ryu's struggles on the road.
Brock Holt, BOS at HOU ($4,000) – See above:
David Freese, LAD at MIL ($4,100): Freese will almost certainly get the call against Miley again Friday and should garner consideration from prospective owners after logging a solid .377 wOBA against left-handed pitching during the regular season. It should also be noted that Freese caught fire after being acquired by the Dodgers, as evidenced by the .641 slugging percentage he tallied in the final 19 games of the season. While he does have a chance to be successful, the caveat here is that Freese generally gets pulled from the game when a righty takes the mound, so players will need to decide how comfortable they are with the risk/reward scenario.
Alex Bregman, HOU vs. BOS ($5,100): Bregman's price is rightly in the stratosphere against a lefty hurler, as he notched a .253 ISO and a .409 wOBA in 178 at-bats against his opposite hand this year. The 24-year-old has continued his dominance in the postseason, going 7-for-20 with two homers and two doubles in seven games.
Ryan Braun, MIL vs. LAD ($4,400): Braun proved that he still knows how to hit lefties in 2018, as we can see from the .277 ISO and .360 wOBA he tallied in 130 at-bats. The veteran has scuffled during the postseason but it's a good idea to have at least a few power bats in tow at Miller Park.
Jackie Bradley Jr., BOS at HOU ($3,800): Bradley represented himself well against right-handed pitching during the regular season, logging a .186 ISO and a 42.8 percent hard contact rate in 355 at-bats. We also can't help but notice his performance so far in the playoffs, where he has registered a .542 slugging percentage in 24 at-bats.
Marwin Gonzalez, HOU vs. BOS ($3,700): Gonzalez came back to earth a bit after his stellar month of August but still finished the year with a respectable .164 ISO to go along with a 41.4 percent hard contact rate against left-handed pitching. Gonzalez is another Astros hitter who has done well in the postseason, having logged a .406 OBP and .517 slugging percentage in 29 at-bats.