There are two great starting pitcher matchups scheduled for Tuesday. The first pits Chris Sale and the Red Sox against Jose Berrios and the Twins in Minnesota. At the same time, Justin Verlander and the Astros will welcome Blake Snell and the Rays to Houston. Offense might be hard to come by in those contests, but a full slate of 15 games also brings several excellent stacking opportunities. Consider using the picks below and plugging them into our MLB Lineup Optimizer to help fill out the rest of your lineup.
Justin Verlander, vs. Rays (FD: $11,500, DK: $13,300)
Verlander has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start this season and has had four starts where he hasn’t been scored upon. The end result has been a 1.61 ERA, 2.48 FIP and a 0.76 WHIP across 15 outings. He has thrown a first-pitch strike to 65.2% of the batters that he has faced and has a 12.8% swinging-strike rate, which has helped result in a 10.8 K/9. The Rays have scored the seventh-fewest runs (284) in baseball, leaving Verlander with the potential for another monster performance.
Vince Velasquez, vs. STL (FD: $8,800, DK: $8,600)
Velasquez’s 4.74 ERA is deceiving. He allowed 10 runs over 3 2/3 innings in one start against the Brewers, but has allowed three runs or fewer in 10 of his 14 outings. A lot of his struggles last year were due to his 1.50 WHIP and a 1.9 HR/9, but he’s improved in both areas with a 1.30 WHIP and a 1.2 HR/9 this season. His strikeout rate is up significantly, as well, at 28.3%, which is similar to his 2016 campaign when he finished with a 27.6% strikeout rate and looked like a promising young, foundational piece for the Phillies. He regularly runs elevated pitch counts, which makes him a bit of a risk, but his strikeout upside is significant enough to make him a viable option for your entry.
Domingo German, vs. SEA (FD: $7,600, DK: $7,300)
The Yankees starting rotation is thin right now with both Masahiro Tanaka (hamstrings) and Jordan Montgomery (elbow) on the DL. Montgomery is out for the season, leaving German with an opportunity to stick in the rotation if he pitches well. Like Velasquez, he has a ton of strikeout upside with a 15.6% swinging-strike rate and a 10.6 K/9 across 12 outings, seven of which were starts. His 4.27 FIP indicates he has pitched better than his 5.23 ERA would lead you to believe, but he’ll need to cut down on his 1.5 HR/9 if he’s going to have success. When you go with a cheap pitcher in tournament play, you want to look for someone who can at least rack up strikeouts, which is exactly what German can do.
Colorado Rockies vs. Jason Vargas, New York Mets
Stadium – Coors Field
This matchup immediately jumps off the page as the premier stacking opportunity of the night. Vargas’ tenure in New York has been a disaster. He has a 7.39 ERA and 1.70 WHIP across eight starts. He hasn’t thrown more than five innings in any of his starts and has allowed eight home runs in 35 1/3 innings. The Rockies not only have the fourth-highest home OPS (.781) in baseball, but their overall OPS is 65 points higher against left-handed pitchers than it is against righties. This game could get ugly in a hurry for Vargas.
Atlanta Braves vs. Jaime Garcia, Toronto Blue Jays
Stadium – Rogers Centre
Garcia hasn’t been as bad as Vargas, but he’s struggled with a 5.71 ERA, 5.06 FIP and a 1.56 WHIP in his 12 starts. He’s walked too many batters with a 4.3 BB/9 and has had trouble keeping hitters inside the ballpark with a 1.5 HR/9. His .315 BABIP allowed isn’t much higher than his career mark, either, which doesn’t bode well for him turning things around anytime soon. The Braves have the third-highest OPS against lefties (.794) in baseball and will also get the benefit of playing with the DH in Toronto, setting them up nicely for an offensive outburst.
Oakland Athletics vs. Eric Lauer, San Diego Padres
Stadium – Petco Park
Lauer’s first chance to be a starting pitcher in the majors is not going well. He’s made 10 starts this season, pitching to a 6.20 ERA, 5.22 FIP and a 1.98 WHIP. He often finds himself working behind in counts, throwing a first-pitch strike to only 55.7% of the batters that he has faced. He’s not really fooling hitters, either, with a 6.6% swinging-strike rate and a 41.3% hard-hit rate. The Athletics have a powerful lineup that also likes to hit away from home, as they have the second-highest road OPS (.795) in baseball.
Texas Rangers vs. Jason Hammel, Kansas City Royals
Stadium – Kauffman Stadium
The Royals have one of the worst records in baseball and have already started to trade away some of their veterans. Hammel isn’t exactly a valuable trade chip, though, with a 4.89 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 14 starts. His 9.0% swinging-strike rate is right in line with his career mark, and while he is getting hitters to swing at more pitchers outside of the strike zone than usual, it hasn’t translated in the strikeout department. The Rangers lineup is finally at full strength with Adrian Beltre over his hamstring issue and Elvis Andrus back from the DL, leaving several potent bats for a stacking opportunity.