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Every weekday during the MLB season, we’ll provide you with our ultimate DFS cash game lineup. Please note that the column is written in the morning, and you should check all lineups to make sure the players we’ve recommended are starting that day.
Starting pitcher: Jake Arrieta ($12,100) @ Pittsburgh and Matt Moore ($8,600) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
We probably don’t need to justify the Arrieta pick but we will anyway because that’s what we do. On Monday, Arrieta was named the NL Pitcher of the Month for April, a month in which he went 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 2.85 FIP, 32 strikeouts and the second no-hitter in his career. It was also the third straight month in which he won the honor, dating back to August and September of last season. That’s when the Cubs ace turned himself into an automatic starter in DFS formats. Nothing has changed through the first month of the 2016 season.
Moore was the focus of our Pitching Report thanks to his strong April. The lefty has put his Tommy John surgery, and the time missed because of it, completely in the rear-view mirror, and looks ready to start climbing back toward the top of the Tampa Bay rotation. He has had a small issue with home runs this season, but has been otherwise fantastic, amassing a 3.66 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 1.03 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 32 innings. The Dodgers, meanwhile, rank 24th in the league in wOBA against lefties.
Catcher: Nick Hundley ($2,900) @ San Diego, Andrew Cashner
Let the savings begin. We just spent more than $20,000 on pitching, so there isn’t much room to splurge anywhere on offense, especially behind the plate. Hundley has played five games since returning from the concussion DL, going 7-for-20 with a homer, double, three walks and four RBI. In 51 plate appearances this season, he’s hitting .286/.412/.548. The Padres managed to hold the Rockies to one run on Monday, but the away team had nine hits and three walks in that game. They should break through against Cashner.
First base: Edwin Encarnacion ($3,800) vs. Texas, Martin Perez
Encarnacion put together a terrible April that has carried over in into the first few days of May, resulting in a .235/.295/.373 slash line through 112 plate appearances. We’re hunting for savings, however, and getting him at $3,800 against a pitcher like Perez is worth backing a guy who has struggled mightily this season. Perez has surrendered 13 earned runs, 26 hits and 15 walks in 30 innings this season, adding up to a 4.20 ERA, 5.14 FIP and 1.37 WHIP.
Second base: D.J. LeMahieu ($3,000) @ San Diego, Andrew Cashner
Cashner is enduring another bad season, posting a 4.94 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in his first 23 2/3 innings. LeMahieu has slowed down a bit since a hot start and he’s back to the bottom of the order with Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story holding down the first two spots, but that actually helps him fit into a stack with Colorado’s middle-of-the-order hitters. As you might imagine Hundley and LeMahieu aren’t the only Rockies you’re going to see here.
Third base: Nolan Arenado ($4,400) @ San Diego, Andrew Cashner
Arenado was somehow down at $4,100 on Monday, owing, I guess, to the Petco Park factor. He went 2-for-4 in the game, and his price promptly jumped up $300. Arenado is now slashing .313/.376/.687 on the year and is 6-for-16 with a pair of doubles in his career against Cashner. He sits not only at the middle of Colorado’s order, but also at the heart of our Rockies stack on Tuesday.
Shortstop: Javier Baez ($3,200) @ Pittsburgh, Jon Niese
You’ll have to check the Cubs lineup to make sure Baez starts today, but he hasn’t done so since last Friday and Joe Maddon does a great job of making sure his occasional starters don’t go too long without playing a full game. Baez replaced an injured Matt Szczur on Monday, going 2-for-2 in the Cubs 7-2 win over the Pirates, and is hitting .355/.394/.516 in 33 plate appearances. Ray Searage’s magic, meanwhile, hasn’t exactly worked for Niese, who has 5.08 ERA, 5.79 FIP and 1.48 WHIP in 28 1/3 innings.
Outfield: Kris Bryant ($4,600) @ Pittsburgh, Jon Niese; Charlie Blackmon ($3,700) @ San Diego, Andrew Cashner; Michael Conforto ($3,700) vs. Atlanta, Matt Wisler
Our first outfielder completes a mini-stack (depending on Maddon’s lineup), while our second completes a bona fide stack as our fourth Rockie. The Cubs match up well with pretty much any pitcher, but especially a struggling one like Niese. Bryant is riding an eight-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 12-for-30 with two homers, three doubles, six walks and nine RBI, pushing his slash to .289/.385/.500 in the process. Blackmon picked up four hits across his first two games back from the DL last week, though he is 0-for-7 in his last two games. As the leadoff man for Colorado, however, he makes an ideal member of a stack against Cashner. Finally, Conforto is starting to get his due as a member of the bumper crop of young players taking over the league. He’s hitting .337/.411/.614 with four homers and 11 doubles on the season, and absolutely mashes right-handed pitching. His slash line with the platoon advantage is .379/.455/.727.