This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We had an exciting first day of the division series with one significant upset and a few thrilling finishes. The American League teams will get the first day of rest, meaning Wednesday will feature the four National League teams.
Philadelphia at Atlanta
Wheeler is the superior pitcher statistically in this matchup, and it should be noted that Atlanta strikes out at a very high rate. We saw this throughout the regular season and also in the small one-game playoff sample we have, as they struck out 12 times in Game 1. Wheeler comes with risk due to the talent in the Atlanta lineup, but he also has the chance to post a score on the upper end of his range of outcomes due to his strikeout upside.
Wright becomes interesting to consider because he's the cheapest pitcher by $800. His skills warrant that, as he has the lowest strikeout rate and the highest walk rate of the four pitchers on the mound. He's not likely to be popular for that reason and also because Atlanta is a home underdog. If that's the case, he's a fine leverage play as we've seen for much of the season that he's capable of putting together strong starts.
Kyle Wright's struggles came against left-handed hitters this season. He surrendered a .308 wOBA and 1.2 HR/9 against them. Neither mark is terrible, but it does provide a pretty clear focus for lineups. If you're inclined to roster Phillies, their best hitters such as Bryce Harper ($5,900) and Kyle Schwarber ($5,100) are in play. Of course, we have to be conscious of the budget, so Bryson Stott ($3,000) and even Brandon Marsh ($2,800) could become values.
Wheeler doesn't exhibit handedness splits, but it is worth noting his relative struggles on the road. Opposing hitters maintained a .307 wOBA and hit 1.0 HR/9 against him in that scenario. It's a thin case, but with such quality pitchers on the mound that's what has to be done. If I were to stack Atlanta hitters, it would be secondary pieces. That could mean Orlando Arcia ($2,500), Travis d'Arnaud ($3,800) and even Robbie Grossman ($2,300).
San Diego at Los Angeles
In a recurring theme, it's difficult to poke holes in either pitcher's skills. Darvish allows the most home runs (1.0 HR/9) of the quartet, but he has a minuscule walk rate and a stellar 0.95 WHIP. A matchup against the Dodgers is as tough as it gets, but Darvish maintained a 2.52 ERA with a 31:5 K:BB across 25 innings against them in the regular season. There's a case to be made he's the best point-per-dollar play.
Kershaw is the obvious pitcher to use Wednesday. He has the best skills in just about every metric we care about, and the Padres are the softest lineup as measured by wOBA. The elephant in the room is Kershaw's postseason history. I don't like that type of analysis because it's over a small sample and because Kershaw is such a good pitcher for 95 percent of the innings he throws. At the same time, it's undeniable that he has a 4.19 ERA in 189 career postseason frames. I'm willing to overlook that, but fading him is likely to be a massive leverage point.
It's hard to say stack against either of these pitchers. Darvish gives up the most home runs of any pitcher, but his walk rate and WHIP are so elite that most homers against him are likely to be solo shots. That's not the ideal way to stack. However, the Dodgers boast the best lineup in the league so that always leaves the door open. Gavin Lux ($3,300) is a standout value that can keep help balance the cost of rostering the top of the order.
There's no reason to stack the Padres on paper. However, the lineup is likely to have extremely low roster rates, and if you buy into Kershaw's struggles in the playoffs this is a spot to attack. The Padres are also a nice secondary stacking option, because a number of lower-priced hitters on the team hit lefties well. Each of Wil Myers ($2,700), Ha-Seong Kim ($3,100), Jorge Alfaro ($2,400), Austin Nola ($2,500), and Jurickson Profar ($3,500) have a wRC+ above 100 and a wOBA of at least .318.