This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
A tight playoff race in the American League East is brought to the forefront Wednesday with the Boston Red Sox hosting the Tampa Bay Rays. The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays will also be in action, facing the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Angels, respectively. Over in the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies will continue to try and build on their lead in the National League East, although they'll be facing a tough foe in the Los Angeles Dodgers. Let's discuss which players to consider for DraftKings' main 11-game evening slate.
After a brief stay on the paternity list, Kevin Gausman ($9,900) will take the mound against the Diamondbacks. It's a great matchup considering the Diamondbacks have the fifth-worst OPS in baseball. Gausman has dominated them in three previous meetings this season, allowing a combined three runs and recording 23 strikeouts across 19 innings.
While Adam Wainwright ($9,400) doesn't miss many bats, he's shown that he doesn't need to in order to be effective. He's been a reliable member of the Cardinals' starting rotation, recording a 3.48 ERA and a 3.86 FIP over 22 starts. His 1.12 WHIP has been a key to his success, as well as him allowing only 1.1 HR/9. Everything is aligned for him to produce another valuable stat line in a matchup against the Pirates, who have the second-worst OPS in baseball.
As far as pitchers with cheaper salaries, there aren't many options that are appealing. One to possibly take a chance on is Tyler Anderson ($7,600), who will face a Rangers team that has the worst OPS in baseball. Anderson has his faults, but he has a career-best 1.21 WHIP thanks to just a 5.7 percent walk rate. When he faced the Rangers in his first start with the Mariners, he allowed three runs and just six base runners over 5.1 innings.
Max Muncy ($5,700) has never been one to strike out a ton and he's been even better in that department this season with an 18.7 percent strikeout rate. He hasn't sacrificed any power to achieve that feat, either, based on his .274 ISO. He's also sporting a .405 wOBA, which is on pace to be the second-highest mark of his career. Add in a potent lineup around him and he could continue to be productive in a matchup against Kyle Gibson ($8,800) and the Phillies.
A trade to the Giants seems to have re-energized Kris Bryant ($4,900). Since joining his new team, he's 11-for-35 (.314) with a home run and four doubles. Up next is a home matchup with Merrill Kelly ($8,600), who has a 4.74 FIP on the road this season. By comparison, he has a 3.03 FIP at home.
The Nationals had yet to officially announce their starter against the Mets as of early Wednesday morning, but it's likely to be Jefry Rodriguez ($3,700). He's struggled to keep hitters off base, resulting in a 1.68 WHIP. Add in a bad bullpen behind him and Pete Alonso ($3,900) could be someone to target.
In his Rangers debut, Spencer Howard ($5,700) allowed three runs over 2.1 innings against the Angels. Despite being a starting pitcher, he hasn't logged more than four innings in a game this season, so this could end up being a bullpen game for the Rangers. That means it might be a good opportunity to take a chance on Abraham Toro ($3,800), who is 17-for-48 (.354) with a .625 slugging percentage since being dealt to the Mariners.
Stacks to Consider
Bundy was able to exploit a good matchup against the Rangers in his last start, pitching 6.1 scoreless innings. This will be a much tougher foe, though, in the Blue Jays, who have the highest OPS in baseball. Bundy has allowed 1.9 HR/9, so he could have plenty of problems with Guerrero, who has a .311 ISO. Semien has also provided added power this season, recording a .255 ISO.
At this point, the Cubs just want Arrieta to eat innings. They tore down their roster at the trade deadline, setting their sights on building for the future. The problem is, Arrieta isn't performing well when he's on the mound, evident by his 6.34 ERA that is supported by a 6.25 FIP. He's allowed a staggering 2.3 HR/9, which is noteworthy given the power that both Adames and Escobar have displayed. While Wong isn't as potent in that department, he's proven to be a tough out given his career 15.4 percent strikeout rate.
Crowe wasn't aided by his defense in his last start against the Reds considering only three of the seven runs that he allowed were earned. However, in his four innings, he allowed 11 base runners and three home runs. Given his 1.56 WHIP and the 18 home runs that he has given up over 75.2 innings this season, his struggles in both areas are nothing new. That make the Cardinals an intriguing team to stack. The last time he faced them, Crowe allowed four runs and two home runs over five innings.