This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Thursday brings plenty of early start times in baseball, including a matchup between the Mets and Braves that begins at 12:10 PM EDT. The afternoon slate won't be shy on star starting pitchers with Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer and Carlos Rodon all scheduled to take the mound. For the five evening games, the pitching options aren't nearly as impressive. There are a couple of big series, though, with the Red Sox hosting the Blue Jays and the A's taking on the Angels. Let's discuss the main evening slate on DraftKings and which players should be considered for your lineups.
The top pitcher set to take the mound is Freddy Peralta ($10,000), who has a great matchup against the Pirates. His numbers jump off the page in several areas, including his 0.89 WHIP and 35.0 percent strikeout rate. Really, the only cause for hesitation is that he logged just four innings in his last start and the Brewers will likely look for opportunities to limit his inning down the stretch. If the Brewers race out to an early lead, he could be pulled early in this game, as well.
Joe Musgrove ($8,200) took advantage of a favorable matchup versus the Marlins in his last start to pitch six innings and allow only two runs. It was a much-needed strong outing given that he had allowed at least four runs in three of his previous four starts. Now he has another favorable matchup to be productive, facing a Rockies team that only has .606 OPS away from Coors Field.
It's certainly discouraging that Casey Mize ($6,900) hasn't completed more than 4.2 innings in any of his last four starts. However, he did record 14 strikeouts over 15.2 innings during that stretch. This could be a spot for him to provide value at home against the Orioles. While the Orioles have a .741 OPS at home, they only have a .659 OPS on the road.
On a limited slate like this, it's difficult to resist Shohei Ohtani ($6,200), even though he doesn't have the easiest of matchups against Frankie Montas ($9,000). On the plus side for Ohtani, Montas has a 4.21 FIP on the road, compared to a 3.46 FIP at home. Also, he's allowed a career .346 wOBA to left-handed hitters, compared to a .303 wOBA to righties.
Another player who stands out is Bo Bichette ($5,700) for his matchup against Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,800). Rodriguez has a 1.35 WHIP, which isn't far off from his career 1.30 mark. Also, Bichette has a career 161 wRC+ versus left-handed pitchers.
In the twilight of his career, Miguel Cabrera ($3,300) has an abysmal 65 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this season. However, he has a 104 wRC+ versus lefties, so he's an intriguing option for a matchup with Alexander Wells ($5,200). Wells is not an overpowering force by any means, recording 37 strikeouts across 43 innings at Triple-A. This could also be a great spot to deploy Robbie Grossman ($3,200), who has a 137 wRC+ versus lefties.
Stacks to Consider
Freeland has never been one to miss a lot of bats, posting just a 17.4 percent strikeout rate for his career. That could be one of the main reasons for his career 1.41 WHIP. He's been even worse with a 1.47 WHIP this season, so he could really be in trouble versus the potent Padres' lineup. While Tatis and Machado are the big names that stand out on the Padres, don't sleep on Pham, who has a career .377 wOBA against left-handed pitchers.
Kuhl might be lucky to have a 4.38 ERA given his 5.37 FIP. He had similar results last season, though, with a 4.27 ERA and a 5.48 FIP. His problem has been a lack of control, including a 12.8 percent walk rate this season. Even though the Brewers have been winning on the strength of their pitching staff, their offense could lead the way based on this matchup. Wong, who only has a 17.1 percent strikeout rate to go along with his .354 wOBA, could take advantage of Kuhl's lack of control.