Daily Intel – 4/4/2019

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News From Yesterday’s Slate

Chicago White Sox – 8
Cleveland Indians – 3

  • SP Carlos Rodon racked up 16 swinging strikes and nine strikeouts on his way to a dominant six-inning outing yesterday. He has changed his pitch mix to more prominently feature his slider, basically eliminating his sinker and changeup as secondary offerings supporting his fastball. If he can keep this up, great; it has worked for some guys, most notably SP Patrick Corbin last year in Arizona. Rodon finished yesterday’s win with no earned runs allowed on two hits and one walk.
  • 2B Jason Kipnis will start a rehab assignment at Triple-A on Friday, and should just be a few days away from giving a potential boost to a lineup that has been generally punchless in the first week of the year.

Philadelphia Phillies – 8
Washington Nationals – 9

  • The Philadelphia bullpen is going to need reinforcements at some point unless RP David Robertson gets himself right quickly. He struggled again yesterday, facing four batters and walking three of them and allowing a single to the fourth. The final walk in that frame was the winning run for the Nats. RP Seranthony Dominguez wasn’t much better, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits with two strikeouts in the eighth inning.
  • SP Aaron Nola’s fastball was back around the 92 mph average after coming in at 95 mph in his debut. The four-seamer didn’t do much for him, with the Nats homering on it twice.

Detroit Tigers – 2
New York Yankees – 1

  • SS Troy Tulowitzki injured his left calf early in yesterday’s game and will likely end up on the IL. This isn’t going to mean much from a fantasy perspective, as SS Tyler Wade stands to gain playing time but brings very little to the table offensively.
  • SP Matt Boyd needs to be added in all leagues after striking out 13 in 6 1/3 innings yesterday, with his slider earning 13 swinging strikes on 41 offerings. He now has 23 Ks on the season through his first two starts.

Milwaukee Brewers – 1
Cincinnati Reds – 0

  • Brewers SP Freddy Peralta and Reds SP Luis Castillo had the best pitchers duel of the young season, with Peralta striking out 11 over eight shutout innings and Castillo struck out nine over seven innings, though he did walk four. 72 of Peralta’s 100 pitches were strikes. Good! 84 of his 100 pitches were fastballs. ???? Every historical comp for Peralta screams “dominant reliever,” but he really is a must-start in all fantasy formats at this moment, simply because of his top-end strikeout ability. You’re just going to have to monitor him on a start-to-start basis more closely than a lot of other guys. Castillo, on the other hand, looks to be putting together the breakout that was expected of him last year.
  • SP Jimmy Nelson will not be working in a minor-league game next week, contrary to earlier news. He’s still in sim games and seems weeks away from a potential return to the majors.

Baltimore Orioles – 3
Toronto Blue Jays – 5

  • SP Matt Shoemaker has faced Baltimore and Detroit, so expectations require that caveat, but he’s now pitched 14 innings without allowing a run after yesterday’s win, striking out 15 and needing just 87 and 92 pitches to get through his two respective seven-inning outings. Shoemaker is working in the strike zone and getting ahead of hitters, so the real challenge will come when he faces a lineup with depth. That will come next when he faces Boston at Fenway on Tuesday.
  • RP Nate Karns is doing a nice job as an opener for the O’s, striking out four in two innings yesterday. He threw 23 of his 32 pitches for strikes.
  • OF Randal Grichuk went 3-for-4 with two homers and three runs scored in his first game since signing his contract extension yesterday. He also played center field.

Colorado Rockies – 1
Tampa Bay Rays – 0    (11 Innings)

  • RP Jose Alvarado worked the eighth inning in a scoreless game yesterday, worth noting only because the Rays had a shot in the bottom of the inning to potentially set up Alvarado to close the game in a save situation in the ninth. Alvarado has been absolutely filthy so far, and that continued when he struck out the side against the Rockies, but it is going to be hard to count on him for more than 20 or so saves this season, even as the Rays look like a team capable of winning 90 or more games.
  • The Rays will be using openers on Saturday and Sunday in San Francisco, meaning SP Blake Snell will pitch on extra rest for his next outing in Chicago on Monday afternoon when the White Sox open their home schedule for the season.
  • SP German Marquez was the definition of effectively wild yesterday in shutting out the Rays for seven innings, with three hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts. His slider continues to be one of the majors’ best pitches, with it generating eight swinging strikes and seven called strikes on 31 offerings yesterday.

Arizona Diamondbacks – 1
San Diego Padres – 4

  • 3B/OF Wil Myers moved back up to second in the lineup yesterday after being fifth in the order for a few games. He also got his first start of the year in center field. He went 1-for-4.
  • Another ugly outing in terms of control for SP Robbie Ray. He walked five in five innings in his first start, and followed that up yesterday with five more walks in 5 1/3 innings. Ray just hasn’t been able to find the fastball that made him look like a borderline ace in 2017; the velocity is down a little this year and he isn’t commanding the pitch well at all, a major issue since he throws it nearly 60 percent of the time.
  • Arizona 3B Jake Lamb left yesterday’s game with a left quad strain and will undergo an MRI today to determine the severity.

St. Louis Cardinals – 5
Pittsburgh Pirates – 4     (10 Innings)

  • OF Marcell Ozuna will go in for tests today to determine the severity of a potential intercostal injury. Any sort of core muscle injury like that would likely require a multi-week IL stint, but we’ll know more tomorrow. If he does, 1B/OF Jose Martinez becomes a must-start play in all leagues.
  • OF Josh Bell and 1B Starling Marte both went hitless in five plate appearances yesterday, as the Pirates offense hasn’t found its footing yet amongst its regulars outside of 2B/OF Adam Frazier. 
  • SP Miles Mikolas didn’t exactly meet expectations last night in his follow-up start from last week’s Opening Day struggles against Milwaukee, as the Pirates hung seven hits and three runs on him over five innings. He’s now allowed 12 hits over 10 innings. He’ll get a challenge next time out when he has his first home start against the Dodgers.

Minnesota Twins – 7
Kansas City Royals – 6 

  • It seems like every day brings a new reason to write about a failure in the Royals bullpen. RP Wily Peralta was given another chance to pitch the ninth inning, this time in a tie game, and he promptly allowed a walk, stolen base, and walk-off single. It’s a shame that SP Homer Bailey couldn’t get a win after one of his better starts in years, striking out eight in five innings. And yes, the fact that five innings/eight Ks qualifies as a shining start over several years is a bad thing.

New York Mets – 6
Miami Marlins – 4

  • The Mets bullpen almost made another hash out of a big lead, as SP Jacob deGrom set them out on course for a shutout after seven innings of ridiculously dominant ball that included just three hits allowed, one walk, and 14 strikeouts. But RPs Luis Avilan and Robert Gsellman teamed up to allowed four runs in the eighth and ninth inning, which, on a positive fantasy note, set up RP Edwin Diaz to earn a one-out save for his third save of the season. deGrom looks like the best pitcher in baseball right now.
  • OF Brandon Nimmo was back in the lineup after being hit on the hand on Tuesday. He led off and went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, a walk, and a run scored. He’s now K’d in half of his 26 plate appearances this year.

Houston Astros – 0
Texas Rangers – 4

  • Texas OF Nomar Mazara is smoking the ball right now, having gone 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI yesterday to lift his batting average to .300 and his OPS to 1.117. Mazara’s exit velocity is 3.3 mph higher in the early going, and 21.4 percent of his batted balls have been categorized as “barrels” by StatCast. The league leader in barrels last year, teammate 1B/3B/OF Joey Gallo, had an 11.4 barrel percentage last year.
  • Speaking of Gallo, he walked three times and scored a run, lifting his on-base percentage to .440.
  • Another tough luck loss for SP Gerrit Cole, who struck out nine over six innings and generated 20 swinging strikes in his 105 pitches, but couldn’t work himself out of trouble in the two innings the Rangers strung something together (first and fourth).

Chicago Cubs – 4
Atlanta Braves – 6

  • SP Jon Lester did all he could last night to mitigate the Cubs’ bullpen and keep the offense in it, throwing 106 pitches over six innings and reaching base in all three of his plate appearances, but he left with a no decision after RP Steve Cishek blew the lead in the eighth inning. Lester struck out seven while allowing two runs on six hits and three walks. He gets the Pirates at home on Monday to kick off a two-start week, with the capper coming at home against the Angels. He should be used in all formats next week.
  • Braves RP Arodys Vizcaino picked up his first save of the year, a nice sign after his spring shoulder issues and minimal workload he was given. He needed 19 pitches to get through the ninth and he did walk a batter, but allowed no hits and struck out two.
  • Cubs C Willson Contreras continued his hot start with a 3-for-4 day that included a homer, two RBI, and two runs scored.

Boston Red Sox – 6
Oakland A’s – 3

  • RPs Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier earned the win and save, respectively, with Barnes entering in the seventh inning with two outs and working through the end of the eighth, and Braiser getting a clean ninth to work with and getting through it with no issues. It was Brasier’s first save of the season. Still not a ton of clarity here, but both guys are worth owning in 12-team mixed leagues and deeper.
  • 1B/OF Steve Pearce will be activated from the Injured List today and should be a semi-regular in the Red Sox lineup moving forward.
  • Red Sox C Blake Swihart went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored. This was only his second start of the season, but he’s got the chance to have mixed league value.

San Francisco Giants – 3
Los Angeles Dodgers – 5

  • 1B/OF Cody Bellinger is playing like one of the best hitters in the game, so it is a little odd to still see him hitting in the bottom half of the lineup, which he did again yesterday for the fourth time in seven games. Hitting sixth didn’t phase him, though, as he had another big game with two hits, an RBI, and a run scored. He’s hitting .438 with a 1.361 OPS.
  • OF Kevin Pillar went 0-for-4 and hit sixth in his first start with the Giants.

Daily Fantasy Recommendations for Thursday, April 4 (NOTE: We use DraftKings prices and format, which means two pitchers are required)

Note: This is for Thursday’s “All Day” set, which is not featured, and starts at 1:10 pm Eastern.

  • Catcher
    • High-priced option: Willson Contreras ($4,000)
    • Low-priced option: Nick Hundley ($3,200)
  • First Base
    • High-priced option: Joey Votto ($4,700)
    • Low-priced option: Kendrys Morales ($3,600)
  • Second Base
    • High-priced option: Robinson Cano ($4,100)
    • Low-priced option: Chad Pinder ($3,500)
  • Third Base
    • High-priced option: Kris Bryant ($4,500)
    • Low-priced option: Colin Moran ($3,900)
  • Shortstop
    • High-priced option: Adalberto Mondesi ($5,100)
    • Low-priced option: Andrelton Simmons ($3,900)
  • Outfielder (three required)
    • High-priced option 1: Aaron Judge ($5,500)
    • High-priced option 2: Yasiel Puig ($4,900)
    • High-priced option 3: Michael Conforto ($4,100)
    • Low-priced option 1: Shin-Soo Choo ($3,900)
    • Low-priced option 2: Brandon Nimmo ($3,600)
    • Low-priced option 3: Robbie Grossman ($3,300)
  • Pitcher (two required)
    • High-priced option 1: Trevor Bauer ($11,300)
    • High-priced option 2: James Paxton ($10,900)
    • Low-priced option 1: Aaron Sanchez ($7,000)
    • Low-priced option 2: Spencer Turnbull ($5,800)

Today’s Best Bets

  • Our favorite favorite: CLEVELAND INDIANS (-160) over Toronto Blue Jays
  • Our favorite underdog: Texas Rangers (+140) over LOS ANGELES ANGELS
  • Our over/under play: Washington Nationals/NEW YORK METS OVER 6.5 Runs

Yesterday: 1-2 (hit on underdog pick)
Season: 8-10

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