This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
There will be a few day games across baseball Wednesday, including an AL West showdown between the Mariners and the Astros. The night portion of the schedule is packed with top-tier starting pitchers, including Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole. Among the more exciting matchups will be the Red Sox trying to gain ground on the Rays in Tampa Bay. They will have Chris Sale on the mound, who has struck out 21 batters across 15.1 innings since being activated from the IL. Let's dig into the main evening slate on DraftKings and discuss some players to consider for your entries.
Cole ($9,900) is coming off of consecutive scoreless starts, lowering his ERA to 2.80 for the season. He's also reached 200 strikeouts for the fifth time in his career. Up next is a matchup against the Angels, who he also started against a couple of weeks ago. In that outing, he allowed one run and recorded nine strikeouts over 5.2 innings. The Angels don't have the deepest of lineups outside of Shohei Ohtani and Jared Walsh, so similar success could be in the cards for Cole.
In his first start off the IL because of shoulder fatigue, Carlos Rodon ($10,100) held the talented Blue Jays lineup to two runs over five innings. The White Sox may continue to monitor his innings down the stretch given that he hasn't pitched much in recent years and the fact that they want to keep him healthy for the playoffs. That could make him a risky option in DFS moving forward, but a matchup against a Pirates team that has the worst OPS in baseball still makes him someone to strongly consider.
Joe Ryan ($5,000) has been an overpowering force at Triple-A, recording 92 strikeouts across 66 innings. He's never had a strikeout rate below 34.7 percent at any of his stops in the minors, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him miss plenty of bats as he transitions to the majors Wednesday. His debut also features a favorable matchup against the Cubs, who have struck out the most times in baseball. That could make Ryan a viable option in tournament play.
Bryce Harper ($6,300) has been locked in lately, hitting 18-for-41 (.439) with four home runs and six doubles over his last 11 games. His OPS is all the way up to 1.014 for the season, which would be his highest mark since he won the NL MVP in 2015. His power surge could continue versus Paolo Espino ($6,900), who has allowed 1.7 HR/9.
Whenever a left-handed pitcher is on the mound, Kris Bryant ($5,200) is an appealing option. He has a .414 wOBA against them for his career, which includes a .423 wOBA this season. His success against them could continue against Brett Anderson ($7,400), who certainly isn't an overpowering force based on his career 16.1 percent strikeout rate and 1.33 WHIP.
Injuries have once again taken their toll on Byron Buxton ($3,400), limiting him to just 32 games. He has a 1.041 OPS, though, and has slugged 10 home runs despite his limited plate appearances. He's healthy now and could thrive in a matchup against Justin Steele ($6,700) given that he has a wOBA of at least .380 against left-handed pitchers in two of the last three seasons.
Now that Rhys Hoskins (abdomen) is out for the season, regular playing time has opened up for Brad Miller ($3,700). While he doesn't provide much in terms of batting average, Miller has gone deep in three of the last five games, giving him 15 home runs for the season. With Espino's propensity for giving up home runs, Miller is another player on the Phillies to consider.
Stacks to Consider
Great name aside, this is not an ideal matchup for Naughton to make his first start in the big leagues. He came on in relief in his last appearance against the Padres, allowing two unearned runs over 4.1 innings. The problem is, he did not pitch well a Triple-A, posting a 4.76 ERA and a 4.40 FIP across 56.2 innings. This could be a great spot to deploy a Yankees' stack and possibly building it around Stanton. He's swinging a hot bat, going 32-for-94 (.340) with a .411 OBP and nine home runs over his last 26 games.
The Pirates' starting rotation has been filled with disappointing performances for most of the season. They are expected to call up Kranick from Triple-A to start this game, but more disappointment could be coming given that he had a 1.70 WHIP across his previous five starts in the majors. He also had a 1.40 WHIP at Triple-A, which is very concerning. Enter the White Sox, who have the sixth-highest OPS in baseball. Robert could be key for any White Sox stack given his 151 wRC+.
Harvey probably didn't want to see the Blue Jays on the schedule again. They have torched him this season, scoring 13 runs across 13.2 innings. Given Harvey's 1.51 WHIP, it's no surprise that he's been hit hard by one of the best lineups in baseball. Stacking them again could prove to be profitable, despite George Springer (knee) suffering yet another injury Tuesday. They continue to be led by Guerrero, who has three home runs over the first two games of this series.