This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
All four series are sitting at a 2-1 spot, so we've got close out potential and desperation to stay alive all at the same time. Six of the eight starters are known as of Friday night. Philadelphia seemingly doesn't have an option for a plethora of innings, while San Diego may have choices, but they are on shorter rest, creating a lack of innings upside. Dart throws and/or gut feels anyone?
Of the six listed pitchers, I think we can make cases for all, so I'll for cases against.
Charlie Morton ($8,300) is going to be chalk given his low price and postseason success record. But he's surrendered 17 runs and 31 hits across 26.1 innings against the Phillies to date. No thanks.
Luis Severino ($9,900) has thrown 16.0 innings since July 13. Granted he's allowed only three runs in that span while fanning 17. I don't trust him for longevity in this high-leverage spot. He's a fine GPP option given the doubts, but the price point is a bit too much.
That leaves us choosing from Lance McCullers ($10,500), Triston McKenzie ($10,200), Tyler Anderson ($8,700) or George Kirby ($8,000) from the listed options. McCullers for cash, McKenzie or Kirby for GPP low usage is my hunch.
The chalk is going to be Yordan Alvarez ($4,800), and rightfully so, but the price point is approaching regular season Aaron Judge ($5,000). For some nice savings, I'd consider Bryce Harper ($4,300) and/or Manny Machado ($4,300).
Harper has gathered his timing, and is now 8-for-15 in his last four with two homers. Pair that with a 10-for-24 (.417) history, including a homer, seven RBI, six walks and a 1.183 OPS off of Morton, and he can hold stand alone value even if Morton shows well.
Machado has a .361 wOBA against lefties all year, which isn't huge, but it leads all Padres. He's carried the team for most of the season and entered Friday night's game with 10 hits in his last seven. Both of these options may also be trendy given form and the discount, but you cannot miss when paying up. Anyone else in this price range is a solid contrarian option.
Atlanta simply needs to use both Travis d'Arnaud ($3,000) and William Contreras ($3,100). One behind the plate and one as DH, as all of their other options are underperforming offensively. That creates nice value as they'll both see run producing opportunities.
The Dodgers went right-handed bat heavy last night with Blake Snell on the mound, and it's a total guess, but I'm assuming a right-handed arm from the Padres Saturday. As such, they likely add any of Gavin Lux ($2,500), Cody Bellinger ($2,600) or Joey Gallo ($2,200) to their back half of the order. All have upside with the potential to provide a zero.
Stack to Consider
Guardians vs. Yankees (Luis Severino): Jose Ramirez ($4,600), Steven Kwan ($3,100), Josh Naylor ($2,900)
Personally, I don't love Ramirez and would prefer stacking Guardians' secondary bats around him while using the likes of Machado or Harper. But it's conceivable both are possible if we pay down on the bump, because the Guardians other bats are super cheap. Simply, Naylor and Kwan are second and third behind Ramirez with a .363 and .357 wOBA, with at least a 135 wRC+.