This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
With nine games making up the main afternoon slate on DraftKings, we have plenty of options to choose from. In particular, there are a few top-tier pitchers that prove very appealing. Let's breakdown the matchups and highlight some of the better players to consider for your entry.
It doesn't get much more exciting than Max Scherzer ($12,300) against the Tigers. He's once again been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, posting a 2.12 FIP, 1.03 WHIP and 33.8 percent strikeout rate. The Tigers have put forth an embarrassing offensive campaign, scoring the fewest runs and recording the third-lowest OPS. While he'll eat up a ton of your budget, Scherzer may still be too good to pass up.
The Orioles have put forth a surprisingly strong series against the Indians, scoring 26 runs over the first two games. As hot as they are, Shane Bieber ($10,600) remains an excellent option. The last time he faced them, Bieber dominated by recording 15 strikeouts during a complete game shutout. He's pitched well in general this season, with a 3.61 FIP and a robust 31 percent strikeout rate.
One of the more disappointing pitchers in all of baseball has been Blake Snell ($8,000), who enters his start against the Rangers with a 5.01 ERA. However, he has been a bit unlucky based on his 3.47 FIP and .357 BABIP allowed. He's also represented an excellent source for strikeouts with his 31.7 percent strikeout rate. The majority of the Rangers' best hitters are left-handed, which could spell trouble since Snell has held lefties to a .249 wOBA for his career. This is by far his cheapest price of the season, making it an opportunity to possibly cash in on in tournament play.
The Royals aren't normally a lineup to pursue, considering they sit in the bottom-third of baseball in runs scored and OPS. However, they could thrive against Aaron Sanchez and his 5.51 FIP. Hunter Dozier ($4,700) brings plenty of power upside with his .273 ISO and Alex Gordon ($4,400) also deserves consideration with him hitting 12-for-40 with five doubles over his last 11 games.
With Steven Brault on the mound for the Pirates, the Brewers could once again be in line for a productive afternoon. He doesn't boast an overwhelming arsenal, which has been part of the reason for his 1.58 WHIP and 18.8 percent strikeout rate. Right-handed hitters have recorded a .374 wOBA against him, leaving Ryan Braun ($4,700) and Keston Hiura ($4,100) as intriguing options.
The Astros are the healthiest they have been in a while, which could spell doom for Marco Gonzales. The good news is Gonzales doesn't give up a lot of home runs, but his 1.38 WHIP and his 16.1 percent strikeout rate means he doesn't miss many bats. Alex Bregman ($4,900) and George Springer ($5,700) both enter with a wRC+ of at least 151 versus lefties for their career, making them potentially tough outs for Gonzales.
Nationals vs. Jordan Zimmermann (Tigers)
In two starts since being activated from the IL, Zimmermann has allowed six runs over nine innings. It's been a continuation on an ugly campaign that has seen him record a 4.93 FIP and a 1.45 WHIP. Soto and Rendon are both having excellent seasons, while Adams should be in the lineup with a righty on the mound. He's certainly been swinging a hot bat, slugging six home runs over the last nine games he has started.
Cubs vs. Anthony DeSclafani (Reds)
When DeSclafani starts, it's usually a sound strategy to deploy left-handed hitters against him. He's allowed a .408 wOBA against them this season, to go along with 10 of the 15 home runs he has given up. Rizzo and Schwarber stand out as the two best Cubs to target, while Heyward could also provide value at a much cheaper price. It helps that Heyward is also .464 with three home runs and three doubles over his last eight games.
Indians vs. Gabriel Ynoa (Orioles)
Not only has the Indians pitching staff been terrible during this series, but they've also failed to score a run across the first two games. Look for them to get back on track against Ynoa, who has allowed at least six runs in back-to-back starts. He's also given up nine home runs across his last five outings. Lindor and Santana are by far the two most dangerous hitters in the Indians' lineup right now and Kipnis also represents a viable threat thanks to going .396 with four home runs across his last 13 games.