- In a day light on pitching, it's hard to turn away from Gerrit Cole in DFS contests.
Tuesday brings a full slate of night games in baseball, with Gerrit Cole and Chris Sale both scheduled to take the ball. There is significant drop off in starting pitching options after those two, leaving some great offensive stacks on the board, as well. Consider using the picks below and plugging them into our MLB Lineup Optimizer to help complete the rest of your lineup.
Gerrit Cole, vs. Giants (FD: $11,800, DK: $12,900)
It makes sense to ride with Cole regardless of who he is facing at this point. To illustrate the roll he’s on, consider that his five-inning, three-run, seven-strikeout effort against the Angels his last time out was his worst start of the year. Cole’s 1.75 ERA has been backed by a 1.95 FIP and he is getting a ton of strikeouts with a 13.6 K/9. He gets a great matchup Tuesday against the Giants, who have struck out the fourth-most times (455) in baseball this season.
Kevin Gausman, at White Sox (FD: $8,300, DK: $7,600)
The Orioles continue to struggle to find reliable starting pitchers, but Gausman has been a bright spot for their rotation. His 3.88 ERA and 4.56 FIP aren’t exactly great, but a lot of the damage against him came over two starts where he allowed a total of 12 runs. Outside of those two bad games, he has allowed two runs or fewer in six of seven starts. The White Sox lineup has been a mess this season, scoring the second-fewest runs (168) in the league. Gausman doesn’t have a ton of strikeout upside, but the price might be right to take a chance on him in tournament play.
Jeremy Hellickson, vs. Padres (FD: $7,600, DK: $8,000)
Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg lead the Nationals’ rotation, but Hellickson has done a tremendous job stabilizing the back end. He signed a minor league deal with the team in the middle of March, so he didn’t make his first start until April 16. He has secured his spot in the rotation, recording a 2.20 ERA and 2.80 FIP in six starts. He has been a bit fortunate, evidenced by a .239 BABIP, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if his rest-of-season performance trended toward his career 4.06 ERA. That decline may not start Tuesday, though, against a Padres team that is in the bottom-third of baseball in runs scored. Hellickson dominated them in their first meeting this season, allowing just two hits and striking out eight in 6.2 scoreless innings.
Boston Red Sox vs. Jake Faria, Tampa Bay Rays
Stadium – Tropicana Field
Faria has had some promising outings this season, allowing one run or fewer in five of his nine starts. He’s been hit hard in his other outings, though, allowing at least seven runs in a game twice already. He has only thrown a first-pitch strike to 55.2% of the batters that he has faced and has just an 8.8% swinging-strike rate, resulting in a pedestrian 7.0 K/9. One of his blowups this season came against the Red Sox, and they’ve gotten the better of him both times he has started against them. The Red Sox have the highest OPS against right-handed pitchers (.831) in baseball, which could lead to another ugly start from Faria.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Matt Harvey, Cincinnati Reds
Stadium – Great American Ball Park
The Reds, desperate for starting pitching, decided to take a chance on Harvey, acquiring him in exchange for Devin Mesoraco. He was awful before the trade, posting a 7.00 ERA and 5.66 FIP. He had a hard time keeping runners off base with a 1.56 WHIP and wasn’t getting many strikeouts either with a 6.7 K/9. He’s not the same pitcher he once was, with an average fastball velocity all the way down to 93.5 mph, almost 2.5 mph lower than his career average. He hasn’t pitched more than four innings in either of his first two starts with the Reds and he struggled in his last outing, allowing three runs to the Giants. The Pirates have scored the fifth-most runs (225) in baseball, making for a great stacking opportunity.
Washington Nationals vs. Eric Lauer, San Diego Padres
Stadium – Nationals Park
This is Lauer’s first taste of big league action, and to say it hasn’t gone well would be an understatement. Through his first five starts, he has an 8.14 ERA, 6.09 FIP and 2.10 WHIP. He’s had control issues, resulting in a 4.7 BB/9, and has pitched more than five innings in a start only once. The Nationals have dealt with their share of injuries, but they still have some potent right-handed bats that could cause problems for the lefty Lauer. And, of course, Bryce Harper. One righty in particular you may want to target is Anthony Rendon, who had a .461 wOBA against left-handers last year.
Oakland Athletics vs. Mike Leake, Seattle Mariners
Stadium – Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Leake was stellar in five starts after the Mariners acquired him last season, but this year has not gone nearly as well. His 4.90 FIP indicates he’s pitched a little better than his 6.00 ERA, and may suggest his opponents BABIP is a little high at .325, especially compared against his career mark of compared to his .296. He’s had problems keeping runners off base, though, with a 1.53 WHIP, which, combined with his abnormally low 44.5% ground-ball rate, is a big reason for his bloated ERA. Khris Davis is likely to be out because of a groin injury, but Jed Lowrie, Matt Chapman and company can still put up some crooked numbers.