This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We've reached the final weekend of the regular season, and with that comes the immediate warning to carefully watch information regarding starting pitching and lineups because changes come quickly and in bunches. Similarly, there could be news regarding workload for pitchers. In other words, this isn't a set-it-and-forget time in the MLB season as it can be for much of the rest of the year. For now, we'll do our best to preview the main slate – which begins at 7:10 pm EDT – with the information available.
There are two top-tier pitchers who immediately jump off the page in Spencer Strider ($12,800) and Luis Castillo ($10,300). Both represent decent bets to pitch deep into their respective games. Strider will face the Nationals and probably won't take the mound again until at next Saturday for Game 1 of the NLDS. In addition, he needs three strikeouts to break John Smoltz's franchise record for most in a season, though that likely won't take him long to reach. Strider's overall performance has been uneven of late, but he still has an excellent 32.1 percent strikeout rate across his last five starts. Meanwhile, Castillo and the Mariners have everything to play for against the Rangers. He comes at a steep discount relative to Strider and can pile up enough Ks.
There are two interesting rookies in the middle group of pitching. The first is Connor Phillips ($8,200). The Reds kept their playoff hopes alive with a big win Friday against the Cardinals, and Phillips has settled into a groove in the bigs during his last two starts by posting 27.4 and 18.5 DK points. St. Louis has nothing to play for and has been a tough matchup the last month. Joe Boyle ($7,800) of the Athletics represents the other option. He's only made two major-league starts, yet managed 13 and 23.9 DK points. The Angels have been among the worst lineups in the league over the last month as measured by wOBA and carry a whopping 27 percent strikeout rate during that stretch.
Kutter Crawford ($6,800) is a nice punt play. He's recorded exactly seven strikeouts in each of his last three starts while registering 18.9, 21.1 and 15.8 DK points m. The Orioles are a tough matchup, but the value leaves some ability to take on risk.
The Dodgers are likely to keep rolling out their best lineups because, like Atlanta, they won't have a postseason game until Saturday. J.D. Martinez ($5,200) has been swinging a hot bat and draws a matchup against Tristan Beck, who allows plenty of contact and is likely to be more vulnerable in a traditional starting role after spending most of the season working in bulk relief.
We don't know exactly who'll be pitching for Milwaukee on Saturday, though the team has sat its regular starters to set things up for the playoffs. Given that, we can project it won't be a particularly strong pitcher. That makes the Cubs a solid option and Ian Happ ($4,400) has delivered six extra-base hits across his last 10 games.
The Rockies offer a couple of nice potential values of varying degrees as they wrap up their season at home. Elehuris Montero ($3,600) has been locked into the starting first base job and has produced five home runs in September. More recently, Sean Bouchard ($2,600) has earned time in the outfield and has benefitted from playing at Coors Field of late with 14, 21 and 10 DK points in his last three appearances).
Nick Senzel ($3,200) is limited to a short-side platoon role, though he's consistently batted second against lefties. He'll face a vulnerable southpaw in Drew Rom and checks in as a nice salary-saving option.
Stacks to Consider
The Reds have everything to play for and won't know their potential playoff fate until later in the day. This trio should be in the top half of the order, with India and Senzel hitting first and second. Encarnacion-Strand has been extremely hot of late with eight home runs from his last 10 games and should be locked in a key spot. Meanwhile, Rom has allowed at least four earned runs in four ML starts.
The Mariners are another team battling for the postseason. Heaney strikes out more batters than would typically be desirable for a stack, but he's also compiled a 9.5 BB% and given up 1.5 HR/9 as a starter this season. And what projects to be Seattle's top three hitters with a lefty on the mound checks in at a relatively reasonable rate.