This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
The pitching mid-range has been almost entirely cut from Thursday's six-game main slate but we can find at least one hurler who has a favorable matchup at the bottom of the pile. On the offensive side, we have several pitchers with unique deficiencies, including one who will be making his first start for a major league team in two years.
After a bit of a shaky start, Gerrit Cole ($11,300) was an absolute monster in June and July allowing just 15 earned runs and striking out 100 batters in 72 innings. The Indians don't have any glaring weaknesses against righty pitchers but Cole has been so dominant that he will be hard to ignore on a shorter slate.
Clayton Kershaw ($10,700) is another hurler who seems to have hit his stride late, as he finished the month of July with a 1.44 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 25 innings. He will face a Padres offense that has swung the bat fairly well against southpaws this year but has still managed a strikeout rate over 25 percent.
Danny Salazar ($7,600) makes for an intriguing low-cost GPP dart for his first start in the big leagues since 2017. Salazar seemed a bit rusty in his two Double-A rehab starts but really picked up the pace in Triple-A, striking out 11 batters without allowing a run in 7.1 frames (two starts). The Astros are one of the most potent offenses in the league against righty pitching but Salazar's ceiling is high enough that he should be in player pools Thursday.
Asher Wojciechowski ($7,100) serves as a much safer cheap play due to the 31 percent strikeout rate and seven percent walk rate he has logged over six games (five starts). While it's true that he gives up too many homers (1.5/9) the Blue Jays have struggled mightily with right-handers in general, as evidenced by the .302 wOBA they have logged this year.
Max Fried ($5,800) has really struggled during the summer months but I still can't quite justify this kind of price against the Reds, who are a bottom-10 team on the road according to wOBA. It is also worth noting that Fried still holds a 54 percent groundball rate as well as a seven percent walk rate in 109 innings this year.
Anthony Santander ($4,800) has quietly been a legitimate power threat against right-handed pitchers this season, logging a .231 ISO in 121 at-bats. Meanwhile, Trent Thornton has allowed a .500 slugging percentage to left-handed hitters in 51.2 innings.
Paul Goldschmidt ($4,400) has mashed lefty pitchers to the tune of a .277 ISO in 65 at-bats. He ended the month of July with an unbelievable .414 ISO in 23 games. He will face Jon Lester, who holds a 1.6 HR/9 rate against right-handed hitters in 88.2 frames.
Andrew Cashner has shown good results against lefties in 2019 but holds a 4.72 xFIP and a 33 percent hard contact rate against his opposite hand in 54.1 frames. This lines up nicely for Kevin Kiermaier ($4,200), who has logged a .231 ISO against right-handed pitchers this year.
Joey Lucchesi has been hit hard on the road in 2019, where he currently holds a 6.48 ERA in 41.2 innings. Justin Turner ($4,200) has hit the ball well against both sides of the platoon this season but has really turned up the power against left-handers, as evidenced by the .252 ISO he has logged in 119 at-bats.
Anthony DeSclafani's season has been marked by an inability to handle left-handed hitting, as we can see from the .564 slugging percentage he has allowed in 49.1 innings. Brian McCann ($3,700) represents a cheap option at a shallow position with an ability to do some damage thanks to the .208 ISO and .350 wOBA he has tallied against righty pitchers.
Braves against Anthony DeSclafani (Reds)
Not only can we find more than enough quality bats to exploit DeSclafani's woes against lefty hitters, we can also find enough cheap options to splurge on a bat like Freeman's. The Braves are sizeable favorites to win this matchup at home, which could give prospective owners reason to pair Fried with a hitting stack.
Astros against Danny Salazar (Indians)
I maintain that Salazar is a decent GPP option but I just can't resist the urge to test the chin of a pitcher who has been away from the highest level for so long. This is particularly true in the case of the Astros, who have logged a Top-5 wOBA against right-handed pitching this year,