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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: Drew Smyly ($10,900) @ Tampa Bay and Hector Santiago ($7,600) @ Milwaukee
You could argue that neither Detroit nor Toronto nor Boston has benefitted as much from David Price leaving Tampa Bay as the Rays did from the trade that sent Price out for Smyly. The 26-year-old lefty is healthy and dominating opponents this season, racking up a 2.60 ERA, 3.17 FIP and league-leading 0.69 WHIP in 34 2/3 innings. He has 41 strikeouts against just six walks. Smyly has hinted at this level of production in each of the last two seasons, but shoulder injuries stood in his way of breaking out. Now that they’re fully in the past, he is becoming a frontline starter in a rotation that might be the deepest in baseball.
Santiago is coming off his worst start of the season, a loss to the Rangers in which he surrendered four runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Milwaukee’s lineup isn’t nearly as imposing, especially if Ryan Braun remains out with an undisclosed injury. There are six pitchers priced more than $10,000 on Wednesday, and you can argue for any as a staff anchor. Santiago is best positioned among the mid-tier pitchers to pair with one of them.
Catcher: Nick Hundley ($3,100) @ San Diego, Cesar Vargas
The Rockies have dropped the first two games in San Diego while scoring just four runs in the process. Hundley, however, has been swinging the bat well since coming off the concussion DL, going 7-for-22 with a homer, double and four walks. If you’re trying to save money at catcher, something we’re going to do nine times out of 10, it’s hard to beat a guy with pop in Colorado’s lineup who costs just $3,100 and is going well recently.
First base: Anthony Rizzo ($5,200) @ Pittsburgh, Juan Nicasio
The Cubs are trying to notch a sweep over the Pirates on Wednesday, and Rizzo has been a big reason why they’ve won the first two games of the series. He’s 4-for-9 in those games with four doubles, two RBI, three runs and a hit by pitch. Rizzo is now on a seven-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 10-for-26 with two homers, six doubles, nine RBI, seven runs and six walks. Such is life in the middle of one of the most patient, powerful lineups we’ve seen in the majors in a long time.
Second base: Kelby Tomlinson ($3,400) @ Cincinnati, Dan Straily
Tomlinson has done a nice job filling in for the injured Joe Panik, going 5-for-16 with two walks and three steals in four starts. He has been better in the team’s series in Cincinnati, racking up four hits and two steals in two games. He’s hitting near the bottom of the order, which is to be expected, but we can live with that at his $3,400 price tag. If the entire team gets after Straily, which seems like a good bet, Tomlinson should turn a profit on Wednesday.
Third base: Manny Machado ($4,500) vs. New York Yankees, CC Sabathia
Machado got his first start of the season at shortstop on Tuesday, something his season-long owners were undoubtedly delighted to see. Both they and his DFS backers have been happy with him over the last five games, during which he has gone 9-for-20 with a homer, three doubles, five RBI, four runs and three walks. If Machado brings the same gold glove that made him a defensive star at third to short, he might be the best all-around player in the league. We’ll settle, however, for a strong day against Sabathia.
Shortstop: Javier Baez ($3,000) @ Pittsburgh, Juan Nicasio
Baez is getting his second straight start at third base Wednesday, with Kris Bryant in the outfield for an injured Jason Heyward (wrist). Baez had a rough day at the plate in the Cubs’ 7-1 win on Tuesday, going 0-for-5. If you’re looking for a silver lining, however, he did not strike out. The thought of Baez getting five plate appearances and not striking out once was impossible to have as recently as last year. Take a shot on a cheap guy with a ton of upside in a great offense at shortstop who appears to be making strides.
Outfield: Yoenis Cespedes ($4,700) vs. Atlanta, Jhoulys Chacin; Dexter Fowler ($4,500) @ Pittsburgh, Juan Nicasio; Nomar Mazara ($3,000) @ Toronto, Aaron Sanchez
Cespedes and Fowler probably don’t need much explanation. The former has homered in three of his last six games, and one of those was just a pinch-hit appearance. Chacin has been surprisingly effective this year, but the fact that he has yet to allow a homer in 22 2/3 innings is a red flag, even with a fly-ball rate of 27%. Fowler is hitting .352/.473/.602 overall and .354/.482/.631 against righties. He rounds out our Cubs stack quite nicely. Mazara is on a five-game hitting streak, and hasn’t gone more than two straight games without a hit. The rookie is slashing .325/.375/.468 in 88 plate appearances.