Marco Estrada, TOR vs. CLE ($44): None of the four pitchers on Thursday’s slate necessarily instill the greatest degree of confidence, but Estrada is a savvy veteran pitching in a do-or-die game and therefore gets the call. He was just so-so against the Indians in his one appearance against them in the regular season, but was outstanding against this same squad back in Game 1, generating 25 fantasy points on the strength of an eight-inning performance in which he only gave up a pair of earned runs. He’d also gone eight innings against the Rangers in the ALDS in a 35-fantasy point outing, giving him plenty of postseason cred heading into a crucial Game 5.
Julio Urias, LAD vs. CHC ($31): At 20 years, 68 days, Urias will become the youngest starter in postseason history Wednesday night. The southpaw has a ton of strikeout upside every time he takes the mound and was particularly effective at Dodger Stadium this season, going 3-0 with a 3.05 ERA over 38.1 innings. There’s undoubtedly risk here given Urias’ rookie status and the Cubs’ proficiency against lefties in general, but his offense could give him some valuable run support against an opposing pitcher in John Lackey who’s been a much less effective pitcher on the road.
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Yasmani Grandal, LAD vs. CHC ($9): Grandal got things started on the right foot for the Dodgers on Tuesday with a two-run homer and has a good chance for more against Lackey, whose road ERA of 4.37 this past season was close to two runs higher than the one he generated in his home park of Wrigley Field. Lackey also gave up a 40 percent hard contact rate to left-handed hitters on the road, while the switch-hitting Grandal smacked 23 of his 27 homers on the season against right-handed pitching, while also generating a .417 wOBA, .376 ISO, 34.7 percent HR/FB rate and 49.1 percent hard contact rate against that handedness at home.
Edwin Encarnacion, TOR vs. CLE ($21): Encarnacion always provides the upside needed for tournaments and draws a matchup against rookie Ryan Merritt. While the rookie southpaw doesn’t figure to be in the game long, it’s still notable that Encarnacion tallied a .381 wOBA, 25 percent HR/FB rate and 41.2 percent hard contact rate against lefties at Rogers Centre this season, and a .392 wOBA and 39 percent hard contact rate at home overall. He’s also been effective in the postseason, with hits in six of eight playoff games, including four multi-hit efforts.
Ben Zobrist, CHC at LAD ($13): There aren’t any truly appealing options at second base Wednesday, but the switch-hitting Zobrist does have potential. He was a markedly better hitter from the right side of the plate this season, smacking lefties for a .301 average and .367 wOBA, and a .419 wOBA and 33.9 percent hard contract rate against them on the road.
Justin Turner, LAD vs. CHC ($20): While Josh Donaldson ($23) and Kris Bryant ($19) are also appealing plays Wednesday, Turner shapes up as a nice tournament pivot between those two sluggers. He blasted right-handed pitching as usual this season, amassing a .305 average, .385 wOBA, .258 ISO and 22 homers, along with a 37.2 percent hard contact rate. He’s also been swinging a hot bat in the playoffs, hitting safely in six of the last eight games, a stretch that included a homer in Tuesday’s Game 3. Cubs starter Lackey gave up 17 of his 23 homers on the season to right-handed batters, along with a 35.1 percent hard contact rate and 1.59 HR/9 when facing them on the road.
Corey Seager, LAD vs. CHC ($13): Seager tallied a trio of singles in Tuesday’s Game 3 victory and blasted right-handed pitching this season for a .334 average, .400 wOBA, .223 ISO and 21 homers. He was even better against that handedness at Dodger Stadium, with a .420 wOBA, 27.1 percent HR/FB rate and 42.3 percent hard contact rate. Meanwhile, Lackey’s propensity for giving up hard contact to lefties on the road was detailed earlier, making Seager a particularly appealing option.
Jose Bautista, TOR vs. CLE ($20): Bautista is another potent Blue Jays bat to trot out against Merritt. The veteran slugger tallied a .344 wOBA, .229 ISO and 41.3 percent hard contact rate at Rogers Centre this season and brings plenty of long-ball upside any time he steps in the batter’s box.
Joc Pederson, LAD vs. CHC ($17): Pederson is yet another potent Dodgers left-handed bat that can be deployed against Lackey. Pederson smacked all but one of his 25 homers against right-handed pitching this season and tallied a massive .431 wOBA, .378 ISO, 33.3 percent HR/FB rate and 44.2 percent hard contact rate against that handedness at Dodger Stadium.
Michael Saunders, TOR vs. CLE ($9): Saunders is a third Toronto bat that could be in line for some success against Merritt, who was more vulnerable to left-handed hitters by far in his small rookie season sample. Saunders has been hot as well, with a homer in Monday’s Game 3 loss and hits in three of his last four overall, including a pair of multi-hit outings. He also was a much better hitter against lefties during the regular season, with a .391 wOBA, .294 ISO and eight homers overall against that handedness,