This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
A mere five games are on Saturday's main slate, with first pitch going off at 7:05 p.m. ET. We've only got one game with a run total under eight, which suggests pitching will be at a premium. And, given that our top two arms are squared off against each other in that one game, this doesn't set up as a slate where we want to fade top arms.
Clayton Kershaw, LAD at SD ($10,700): It's virtually impossible to not consider Kershaw (and his adversary) in this limited slate, especially for cash purposes. He's in a nice groove after struggling in his opener in Coors Field, having allowed one run while fanning 14 in 13.0 innings. He wasn't hot in one start against he Padres last year, but fanned 32 in as many innings in 2019, allowing nine runs (by way of five homers). There isn't upside, but there's stability, which is a requirement for this slate.
Yu Darvish, SD vs. LAD ($9,900): Darvish seems to be settling in to his new uni, having allowed one run and three hits in each of his last two starts. This feels like a big step up in competition, having faced Arizona, San Francisco and Pittsburgh previously, but this contest has all the makings of a pitcher's duel. Given the lower tag, Darvish is my preferred option on the bump Saturday, but with minimal conviction. I think 30+ FDP is a fair expectation from both he and Kershaw, and Darvish saves $800.
Chris Flexen, SEA vs. HOU ($6,800): Given the limited options, I have to assume Flexen is going to be the highly used pay down arm. He's been feast or famine, shutting out San Francisco before allowing five runs in as many innings to Minnesota. But the Astros are incredibly short handed, and entered Friday having lost five straight, scoring more than two runs just twice. Flexen has severe walk issues, but I'll trust the Astros' limited bats to not capitalize.
Shohei Ohtani, LAA vs. MIN ($4,300): Given injuries, and the top-heavy pitching slate, I'm assuming we have to choose between Ohtani and Mike Trout to anchor our bats. Ohtani is $200 cheaper, and gets the opposite-handed matchup, a spot were he's boasting a nice .459 wOBA, 199 wRC+ and .343 ISO against. That plays well against Matt Shoemaker's current .371 wOBA allowed to RHB.
Jared Walsh, LAA vs. MIN ($3,400): Highest total on the slate, so if your build doesn't include Mike Trout, it likely should involve Walsh. He's boasting a robust .538 wOBA, 252 wRC+ and .444 ISO against righties.
Travis Shaw, MIL vs. PIT ($2,900): This is all about the splits, but they clearly exist. Shaw currently boasts a .457 wOBA, 185 wRC+ and .323 ISO against righties. Opposing arm Trevor Cahill is allowing a .517 wOBA, 9.13 FIP and 40.0 percent hard hit rate to lefties.
Stacks to Consider
As previously mentioned, this game has the slate's highest total. Angels' starter Jose Quintana has allowed nine runs and 10 hits across a mere five innings thus far, that the Twins' bats should be all to add to that. Cruz simply mashes lefties to the tune of a .595 wOBA, 259 wRC+, .404 ISO and 41.2 percent hard hit rate since the start to last season. He's the eight-highest priced bat, so I see no reason to fade in any situation. Donaldson is healthy and has past favorable numbers against lefties, and is priced down due to said injury history. Polanco is off to a slow start, so maybe a two-man mini stack is the real play, but the price point is minima, and his inclusion likely sets us up with 1-2-3 in the order against Quintana.
Holy yuck! But that's what a five-game slate will do to us, especially for GPPs. Anderson owns a 4.50 ERA but a 6.93 FIP, suggesting he's ripe for the picking. We have to assume Pirate bats are lowly used, but they've been successful against lefties the early going. Evans owns a .461 wOBA and .211 ISO, Stallings a .400/.200 and Gonzalez a .382/.296. This isn't a traditional stack as a bottom-tier order awaits. But the splits support, and they should hit consecutively at 5-6-7. They all fall into value options if you want a safer, one off play.