The All-Star break officially ended Thursday with a game between the Cubs and Cardinals, but Friday brings the second half’s first full slate of action. The aces who pitched in the All-Star Game won’t be on the mound Friday, but Stephen Strasburg, Noah Syndergaard and Trevor Bauer are all scheduled to start. There are some great stacking opportunities, as well, with several teams throwing out their backend starters. Consider using the picks below and plugging them into our MLB Lineup Optimizer to help fill out the rest of your lineup.
Trevor Bauer, at Rangers (FD: $12,200, DK: $13,600)
Bauer made the AL All-Star squad, but did not appear in the game because he last pitched Sunday. He had a spectacular first half, posting a 2.24 ERA, 2.23 FIP and a 1.08 WHIP. Not only does he have an 11.6 K/9, but he’s only allowed six home runs in 136 1/3 innings. He’s been especially hot of late, allowing seven runs—six earned—and recording 54 strikeouts across 42 2/3 innings in his last six starts. The Rangers have struck out the second-most times (916) in baseball this season and struggled against Bauer in a previous meeting this season, scoring two runs and striking out 11 times over 6 2/3 innings.
Kyle Gibson, at Royals (FD: $8,600, DK: $8,600)
The Twins have had a disappointing season, but Gibson has been one of their few bright spots. After posting underwhelming numbers the last two seasons, he has a 3.42 ERA this year. His FIP is improved, as well, sitting at 3.79, and his 1.23 WHIP is significantly lower than his 1.41 career mark. He also has an 8.9 K/9 after never posting a K/9 better than 6.9 previously in his career. This is a low-hanging-fruit opportunity against a Royals team that has scored the fewest runs (337) in baseball. Gibson dominated them in their first meeting when he recorded eight strikeouts over seven shutout innings.
Domingo German, vs. Mets (FD: $7,000, DK: $8,100)
There are a lot of contending teams who need starting pitching as the trade deadline approaches, including the Yankees. The loss of Jordan Montgomery to Tommy John surgery dealt a significant blow to their rotation. German has been starting in his place, and has had mixed results with a 5.49 ERA, 4.42 FIP and a 1.30 WHIP. His main problem has been his inability to keep hitters inside the park, allowing 14 home runs in 78 2/3 innings. However, he can still provide valuable DFS production due to his 10.5 K/9. He already faced the Mets once this season, allowing three runs and recording nine strikeouts in six innings. The Mets have scored the third-fewest runs (363) in baseball, making German a tournament play with upside even with the potential return of Yoenis Cespedes from the DL.
Cleveland Indians vs. Martin Perez, Texas Rangers
Stadium – Globe Life Park in Arlington
Perez was excellent in his first start off the DL Saturday against the Orioles, holding them to one run over seven innings. He did have only four strikeouts, though, and the Orioles don’t score many runs to begin with. Perez was horrible before getting injured, posting a 9.67 ERA and a 2.37 WHIP over five starts. He’s traditionally had problems keeping runners off base with a 1.47 WHIP for his career and he doesn’t have an overpowering arsenal, either, with a 5.4 K/9. The Indians are in the top-five of baseball in runs scored (487) and home runs (132), so don’t expect Perez to have another strong performance like he did against the Orioles.
Boston Red Sox vs. Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers
Stadium – Comerica Park
Boyd pitched well out of the gate for the Tigers, allowing two runs or fewer in seven of his first 10 starts. It’s been downhill for him since that stretch, as he has now allowed at least five runs in four of his last five outings. His 1.21 WHIP for the season looks good, but he’s been a bit lucky with opponents posting just a .262 BABIP against him. The Red Sox struggled to hit left-handed pitchers earlier this season, but their OPS against lefties is now in the top-third of baseball. This has the makings of another ugly performance from Boyd.
Seattle Mariners vs. James Shields, Chicago White Sox
Stadium – Safeco Field
Shields was hammered the last couple of seasons, but he’s turned things around this year to post a 4.43 ERA that is supported by a 4.49 FIP. Not only has he cut down on the amount of home runs he has allowed significantly, but his WHIP is also much lower a 1.27. However, he doesn’t record many strikeouts and his .255 opponents’ BABIP is almost 40 points lower than his career mark, so he may not be able to keep up this level of success. He’s pitched well at Guaranteed Rate Field this year, but he’s struggled on the road with a 6.14 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. Amazingly, he’s allowed nine home runs across 44 innings on the road compared to six homers in 82 innings at home.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Wade Miley, Milwaukee Brewers
Stadium – Miller Park
The Brewers are another team that could use help for their starting rotation. Miley will remain in the mix for the time being and although he’s only made three starts, he has an impressive 2.38 ERA. He has a 1.50 WHIP, though, and posted a 5.61 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP across 157 1/3 innings last year with the Orioles. He’s not much more than a journeyman pitcher at this stage of his career and he doesn’t possess significant strikeout upside. Even if the newly acquired Manny Machado doesn’t make his Dodgers debut Friday, they still have plenty of potent bats worth stacking against Miley. In particular, both Matt Kemp (.402 wOBA) and Justin Turner (.385 wOBA) excel against lefties.