This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We're getting ever closer to solely showdown slates if you still need a baseball fix, but DraftKings is now combining games across multiple days to keep the traditional format. This article will cover the Monday-Tuesday slate that includes Game 5 of the ALDS and Game 1 of the NLCS.
Cleveland Guardians at New York Yankees
The Guardians would have liked to have started Shane Bieber in this game, but the rainout on Thursday cost them that opportunity. So, they'll instead send Civale to the mound. I'll be honest and say that Civale's 24.1 K% and 18.7 K-BB% caught me off guard, and those marks are relatively close to those of Yu Darvish. That's not to say Civale is the same quality of pitcher as Darvish – their home run rates diverge sharply – but their price differential does account for some of that gap. When I began writing this article, I wasn't expecting to say Civale is a strong value, but on paper, that's exactly the case.
Despite being the home pitcher in a must-win Game 5 matchup, Taillon is the pitcher I have the least amount of interest in. He has the lowest strikeout rate of the four pitchers available and has the same home run (1.3 HR/9) rate as Civale. The Guardians don't have a particularly strong offense, but as we've covered throughout the season and playoffs they don't strike out. Taillon threw 18 pitches in Game 2 as a reliever, though that shouldn't affect him much in terms of his ability to work deep into the game.
It should be said that both pitchers in this game will have an extremely short hook, so if they struggle early they are likely to post a negative score.
There's a sharp contrast in style between the lineups, as the Yankees have homered seven times compared to the Guardians' three. Civale has had worse results on the road this season, but I'd argue that comes down primarily to luck (56.6 LOB%). He also owns a heavy split in favor of left-handed hitters in 2022, but he has reverse platoon splits for his career. All that's to say there's no obvious way to attack rostering the Yankees lineup, though Oswaldo Cabrera ($3,300) and Harrison Bader ($2,800) stand out as the best potential value. It feels safest to play Yankees' hitters among the four teams, so I'd be willing to pass over their big bats in tournaments and either fade the lineup completely or use a secondary stack of value plays. But that doesn't make Aaron Judge ($6,400), Giancarlo Stanton ($5,200) and Anthony Rizzo ($4,800) bad plays.
Taillon similarly doesn't have particularly obvious ways to attack him. He has even splits by handedness this season and across his career. He's much better at home than on the road (still with a mediocre 23 K%). The lack of punch in the Guardians' lineup is concerning when recommending playing them heavily, but the middle of the lineup can be rostered at a value, including Jose Ramirez ($6,000), Josh Naylor ($3,600) and Oscar Gonzalez ($3,600). If a Guardians' stack hits, it'll likely be at a low roster rate.
Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres
Wheeler has the highest strikeout rate of the group and has turned in a strong and mediocre start this postseason. He hasn't provided the strikeouts (nine in 12.1 innings) we're used to seeing and San Diego is good at getting the bat on the ball. Given his discount compared to Darvish and his ability to keep the ball in the yard, he's still my favorite pitcher of the day.
Darvish is also a decent option, but his (relative) home run problem has been highlighted this postseason. He's surrendered four long balls in 12 innings and will face a Philadelphia team that has plenty of big bats capable of going yard. Darvish is my second-favorite pitcher on the slate, but is also the most expensive.
This is a pretty simple portion of the breakdown. I'd be comfortable playing the big bats in Philadelphia, including Bryce Harper ($6,300), Kyle Schwarber ($5,500), J.T. Realmuto ($5,000) and Rhys Hoskins ($4,200). Pairing them with the Guardians could be relatively cost-efficient and likely not super chalky. Taking one of Civale or Taillon would also open up the budget.
I'm not particularly interested in rostering Padres hitters, but there are some good value options available. Austin Nola ($2,900) and Trent Grisham ($2,700) highlight that list, but Ha-Seong Kim ($3,400) has had a fairly productive postseason and Jurickson Profar ($3,700) has remained entrenched as the leadoff hitter against righties.