This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Wednesday's two-game MLB slate is for all the marbles in the NL, starting at 5:02 PM Eastern with Cardinals-Braves Game 5 and followed by Nationals-Dodgers Game 5. Read on to see which players are primed for success.
St. Louis has the edge on paper with Jack Flaherty ($9,600) facing Mike Foltynewicz ($8,300), but this same pitching matchup went Atlanta's way by a 3-0 score in Game 2. Both of these guys were at their best after the All-Star break — Flaherty was arguably the best pitcher in the league over that time frame with a 0.91 ERA, .189 wOBA allowed and 124 strikeouts in 99.1 innings, though Foltynewicz was no slouch with a 2.65 ERA, .269 wOBA allowed and 55 strikeouts in 57.2 innings.
The other game features an even more impressive pitching matchup, pitting this series' Game 1 and Game 2 winners against each other. Stephen Strasburg ($10,000) has a 0.64 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 28 career postseason innings while Walker Buehler ($10,300) brings a 16.2-inning postseason scoreless streak into this pivotal matchup.
Runs are likely to be scarce all around, but especially so in the Nats-Dodgers game. The best strategy likely involves paying up for the top pitching options and cobbling together a lineup of affordable hitters, though you can't discount some of the top performers from the Braves-Cardinals series.
The drivers of the St. Louis offense have been the team's 3-5 hitters — Paul Goldschmidt ($3,800), Marcell Ozuna ($3,900) and Yadier Molina ($2,800). They've combined for eight RBI on the team's 13 runs scored in this series and represent the best stacking opportunity here against the most vulnerable of the four starting pitchers.
With Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson struggling, Ronald Acuna ($4,200) has carried Atlanta's offense with a 1.579 OPS in the playoffs. The only other starter doing any consistent damage for the team has been Game 3 hero Dansby Swanson ($3,000) with a 1.248 OPS.
Picking out the best affordable batters is key in the decider between Washington and LA. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman ($2,800) has been the Nationals' best hitter this postseason, with a 1.200 OPS (albeit in only 10 at-bats). Michael Taylor ($2,200) has been a pleasant surprise since moving into the starting lineup following a hamstring injury to Victor Robles, delivering a .929 OPS.
Justin Turner ($3,300) and Max Muncy ($3,800) have carried the Dodgers' offense in this series, posting a 1.094 and 1.159 OPS, respectively. Turner was the only man to drive in a run against Strasburg in Game 2, with Muncy adding a solo homer off reliever Sean Doolittle later in the game.
Kolten Wong's ($2,500) .384 road wOBA this season was almost 100 points higher than his .287 home mark, so St. Louis' second baseman is well positioned to outperform his valuation against Foltynewicz.
Adam Duvall ($2,500) doesn't start, but that doesn't mean he can't make an impact. The pinch hitter has been extremely effective in his opportunities and has a good chance of getting into the game early with all hands on deck for Atlanta's pitching staff. Duvall has gone 3-for-7 with five RBI in eight plate appearances this series, and his two-run homer accounted for two of the three runs against Flaherty in Game 2.
David Freese ($2,500) of the Dodgers is another guy who's unlikely to get the start but could make a major impact off the bench. Freese posted a 1.002 OPS in the regular season and is 4-for-7 in this series.
Juan Soto ($3,700) could be the big bat on the Nats worth paying up for here. The Wild Card Game hero has the platoon advantage against Buehler as a left-handed slugger, and Soto posted a .414 wOBA against righties in the regular season.