Both League Championship series will be action Monday, leaving us with a two-game slate on Yahoo. While our options will be limited, there is still money to be won, so let’s dive into how both games might play out.
Considering we are down to the final four teams, there really aren’t many bad pitchers left in action. However, these teams also have excellent lineups, which complicates matters. The two best pitching options might actually be from the same game. First up is Charlie Morton ($29), who is coming off a great performance against the Yankees in which he allowed one run and recorded six strikeouts across five innings. He failed to pitch more than 5.2 innings in a game this season, but he also didn’t allow more than three earned runs in any start after he was roughed up in his season debut against the Blue Jays. It’s encouraging to see him record 14 strikeouts across 10 innings in his last two starts, especially after his strikeout rate was down this season. Since his salary isn’t all that expensive, he’s at least worth considering.
Arguably the weakest remaining lineup among these four teams is the Rays’ lineup. They struck out the most times in the league during the regular season, which is noteworthy with Lance McCullers Jr. ($33) on the mound for the Astros. He recorded a 24.7 percent strikeout rate this season and he has a 26.5 percent strikeout rate for his career. Also, they struggled against right-handed pitchers, posting a .738 OPS against them compared to a .798 OPS versus lefties.
If you decide not to deploy Morton, then it’s going to be difficult to resist rolling with George Springer ($24). He started to heat up over the second half of the season and that’s carried over into the playoffs. The A’s couldn’t slow him down in the ALDS, leaving Springer to hit 7-for-18 with two home runs and a double across four games.
It’s not usually a bad idea to roll with Mookie Betts ($22) on any given night. His first season with the Dodgers was a smashing success and he hasn’t cooled down in the playoffs, hitting 7-for-19 with five doubles. Even with Max Fried ($39) starting for the Braves, Betts is one of the safer options at any position.
If you’re looking for power upside, you likely won’t find any with Joey Wendle ($13), who has a career .125 ISO. However, he’s a tough out given his career 17.7 percent strikeout rate and he followed up a strong regular season in which he had a .342 OBP by going 6-for-19 with two walks in the first two rounds of the playoffs. With the righty McCullers on the mound, Wendle could provide value.
Stacks to Consider
Braves vs. Walker Buehler ($36), Dodgers: Freddie Freeman ($25), Ronald Acuna Jr. ($24), Ozzie Albies ($15)
Buehler had a down season by his standards, finishing with a career-high 4.36 FIP. He also allowed 1.7 HR/9, which could be troublesome against a Braves team that hit the second-most home runs in the league. Acuna and Freeman are the key players to build any Braves stack around and Albies is a great target at a more budget-friendly salary. He’s logged a hit in four of the Braves’ five playoff games and has plenty of power after posting an ISO of at least .191 in three straight seasons.
Rays vs. McCullers, Astros: Randy Arozarena ($19), Austin Meadows ($15), Joey Wendle ($13)
If you decide to keep McCullers out of your entry, the Rays provide some appealing hitters at reasonable salaries. Arozarena was a monster in the first two rounds, hitting 12-for-27 with three home runs, two doubles and a triple. Injuries ruined Meadows’ regular season, leaving him with an 86 wRC+ after he broke out with a 142 wRC+ last year. However, he might be getting hot at the right time considering he hit a home run in two of his last three games in the ALDS against the Yankees.