This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
The long grind that is the baseball regular season comes to an end Sunday. With one last opportunity to cash in on a full slate of games for DraftKings, let's dive into the matchups and try to end things on a winning note.
There is no more appealing pitching option than Gerrit Cole ($13,000), although there is some risk involved with deploying him. The Astros have locked up home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs, so there is no need to push Cole to log a ton of innings. However, he is still pitching for the Cy Young award and the Astros have plenty of days off before they start their playoff series, so he could pitch without limitations. He has notched at least 10 strikeouts in eight straight starts and has an excellent opportunity to extend that streak against the injury-depleted Angels.
One of the lone bright spots in a disappointing Red Sox pitching staff has been Eduardo Rodriguez ($10,300), who will be going for his 20th win of the season against the Orioles. His previous career high in a single season was 13, so he's blown that mark out of the water. Although Rodriguez is supported by one of the best lineups, he's certainly done his part with a 3.76 ERA and a 3.95 FIP. You can bet the team wants him to reach the 20-win milestone and this provides a favorable matchup, making him someone to at least consider in DFS.
While it wasn't one of his best performances, Homer Bailey ($7,900) allowed three runs over five innings in his last start against the Angels. That marked his eighth straight start in which he has allowed three runs or less, proving to be a valuable addition for the now playoff-bound A's. As far as cheap options go, he's one of the more appealing since he will be facing a Mariners' team that has averaged 2.5 runs over their last 10 games.
The tricky part about this slate is what kind of lineups playoff teams will deploy. Several of them are in favorable spots, including the Twins against Jorge Lopez. Not only does he come in with a 1.50 WHIP, but he's allowed 1.8 HR/9. The obvious top-tier options are Nelson Cruz ($5,600) and Miguel Sano ($5,500), so check back to make sure they are actually in the lineup. Among the lower priced options, Willians Astudillo ($3,400) and Jonathan Schoop ($3,900) are intriguing. Schoop should be in the lineup since Luis Arraez sprained his ankle Saturday.
Playing at Coors Field makes the playoff-bound Brewers one of the more enticing teams to target. It also helps their cause that Jeff Hoffman will be on the mound for the Rockies. He's pretty much been a disaster with his 6.78 ERA and 6.87 FIP. One of top options to build a Brewers stack around is Keston Hiura ($5,500), who is .324 with three home runs and three doubles over his last 10 games.
Kyle Hendricks was set to start for the Cubs versus the Cardinals, but the team has decided to shelve him for the season finale. That means Derek Holland will get the start in what figures to a bullpen game since he hasn't pitched more than one inning in any of his last eight appearances. Tommy Edman ($5,200) is arguably one of the top players to target at any position, hitting .441 with four home runs, three doubles and four steals across his last 15 games.
Rockies vs. Adrian Houser (Brewers)
Houser has scuffled down the stretch, allowing 11 runs over his last 16 innings. The bright side is that he's produced 19 strikeouts over that time frame, but trying to correct himself pitching at Coors Field is no easy task. Hampson has finally received regular playing time over the final month and has made a case for an expanded role next season by hitting .375 with five home runs and seven steals over his last 15 games.
Red Sox vs. Chandler Shepherd (Orioles)
The Orioles have been one of the best pitching staffs to stack against all season and this matchup against Shepherd is no different. He was crushed in his last start against the Blue Jays, giving up six runs over three innings. After allowing five home runs across his last two starts, the Red Sox could end the season with a show of offensive fireworks. Although Moreland isn't the biggest name in their lineup, he has crushed four home runs over his last six games and has recorded a .364 wOBA against right-handed pitchers for the season.
Royals vs. Martin Perez (Twins)
Perez just faced the Royals in his last start and gave up five runs over 2.1 innings. It's difficult to envision a scenario where he plays a significant role for the Twins in the playoffs since he has allowed 22 runs - with 21 of those earned - over 20.2 innings in his last five starts. Soler carries significant power upside into this matchup while Dozier could also thrive based on his .371 wOBA against left-handed pitchers.