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. Get all of Michael Beller’s columns as soon as they’re published. Download the new Sports Illustrated app (iOS or Android) and personalize your experience by following your favorite teams and SI writers.
Starting pitcher: Jake Arrieta ($12,800) @ San Francisco and Hisashi Iwakuma ($6,900) @ Cincinnati Reds
Two starts ago Arrieta wasn’t particularly sharp, allowing two earned runs on six hits and four walks in five innings against the Nationals. Arrieta knows how to make up for a bad start, so he came out firing in his next trip to the mound against the Pirates, striking out 11 while surrendering two runs on three hits in eight innings. When guys like Arrieta, Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale take the mound, we know they’re the best pitchers available, but the question is whether or not they’re worth the price. For Friday, the answer in Arrieta’s case is an emphatic yes. The next pitchers on the pricing ladder are Aaron Nola, Jose Quintana and Steven Matz. As good as they’ve been this season, none is anywhere near Arrieta’s level.
Pitcher No. 2 needs to come at a bargain price, and that leads us to Iwakuma. Despite the fact that he hasn’t been great this year, there’s reason for optimism Friday. It owes almost entirely to the matchup against a Reds team that is 10th in the majors in strikeout rate and 25th in wOBA. That matchup, at that price, is hard to beat, especially when you’re looking for savings.
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy ($3,300) @ New York Mets, Steven Matz
Lucroy’s riding a five-game hitting streak into the weekend, during which he has gone 7-for-21. More important is the nature of those seven hits. Three have left the yard, and one more has gone for extra bases. Lucroy’s up to a .307/.375/.511 slash line as he likely continues to hit his way out of Milwaukee. He has had a bad time with lefties in a small sample this season, but for his career he carries a .297/.347/.477 line with the platoon advantage.
First base: Chris Davis ($3,700) @ Los Angeles Angels, Hector Santiago
Using Davis against a lefty is always a risk. The first base position is out of sorts Friday, with Ryan Zimmerman the most expensive option, and guys like Anthony Rizzo ($4,600), Paul Goldschmidt ($4,400) and Joey Votto ($4,300) cheaper than usual. Davis fits in nicely, especially after the monster season he just had in Minnesota.
Second base: Jason Kipnis ($4,400) @ Boston, Clay Buchholz
You won’t be the only person with the idea to stack Cleveland hitters on Friday, but don’t let that dissuade you. The Indians should be able to get it going against Buchholz, who’s in the middle of what could end up being the worst year of his career. Kipnis is swinging a hot bat over the last week and change, going 14-for-35 with two homers, one double and one triple in his last nine games.
Third base: Manny Machado ($4,100) @ Los Angeles Angels, Hector Santiago
Machado is in his first rough patch of the season, going 5-for-34 in his last eight games. The reason why Machado and players like him are who the are is because these skids don’t last long. In the eight games before Machado’s abbreviated cold streak, he had 13 hits, including three homers and five doubles. He’ll get back on track sooner rather than later, and a matchup with a lefty in Santiago could hasten that return.
Shortstop: Francisco Lindor ($4,100) @ Boston, Clay Buchholz
Lindor has four straight multi-hit games, going 11-for-21 with a homer and three doubles in that stretch. He has pushed his slash line on the season to .329/.382/.439, proving that last year’s performance with the bat wasn’t a fluke. Lindor joins teammate Kipins in our ultimate lineup for Friday, giving us a mini-Cleveland stack against the struggling Buchholz.
Outfield: Khris Davis ($3,900) vs. New York Yankees, CC Sabathia; Michael Conforto ($3,800) vs. Milwaukee, Wily Peralta; Gerardo Parra ($3,100) @ Pittsburgh, Gerrit Cole
We all know the story with Davis. He’s one of the streakiest power hitters in the game, and if you can get on board while he’s on one of those good runs, he frequently comes through for you. Davis has four homers in his last three games, five in his last seven and six in his last 10. Conforto is hitting .308/.387/.606 with six homers against righties this year. Peralta is allowing a .324/.400/.521 slash line to lefties this year. Don’t overthink this one. Finally, we go down to $3,100 for Parra, who’s hitting .294/.302/.450 in his first year with the Rockies. He has been better against lefties than righties this year, but we need a cheap outfielder with upside, and he fits that bill.