This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
It's a pretty stacked pitching slate Friday night with numerous places to go, especially if you want to dole out your cash. While there are other viable options, Gerrit Cole will be most owned.
Gerrit Cole ($12,000) leads the way and will be plenty popular even at the high price. He's hit double-digit strikeouts in each of his last five starts and Kansas City is near the bottom of the charts against righties in the last month with a .296 wOBA. There are other options, but none of them can compare with the upside and that includes Max Scherzer ($10,400), who just carved up the Braves for 52 fantasy points. Without the same upside as Cole, I'm not sure I'd spend on him. Charlie Morton ($9,600) may be next on the list in terms of upside with a 30.4 K% and the Angels aren't as potent without Mike Trout, scoring six runs in their last four games. Luis Castillo ($10,600) is the only other high-end option I'd consider with a 29.3 K% and the Diamondbacks have been bad with a .294 wOBA against righty arms in the last month.
There are other choices, but you'll need to be lucky because of how automatic Cole has been. Masahiro Tanaka ($8,300) has the matchup, but he's failed to surpass four strikeouts in seven of his last 10 starts. The hope is that he can repeat the eight scoreless innings he had against the Blue Jays last meeting, but also add a few more strikeouts. However, in three starts against them this year, he has just 11 Ks. It's the same case for Adam Wainwright ($7,600), who is going deep into games, yet has just 10 strikeouts in his last four outings. He could have a solid performance against a Brewers team without their best hitter, but the lack of upside is worrisome.
Chris Bassitt ($8,200) is the sneaky choice if he can build on the 10 Ks he had last start. He has 12 Ks in 10.2 innings against the Rangers this year and would hit value if he reached those numbers. Texas has a 24.6 K% and .299 wOBA against righty hurlers in the last month. Sandy Alcantara ($7,400) will likely be the most popular value route with a quality outing in his last five. The Giants have also slipped with a 24.6 K% and .275 OBP against righty pitchers in the last month. The last choice is to bank on a gem from either Aaron Brooks ($5,800) or Jordan Zimmermann ($6,800) in a plus matchup. The only positive for either pitcher is the opposing team. In the last month against righties, the Orioles have a 24.5 K% and .289 OBP while the Tigers are slightly worse with a 30.7 K% and .282 OBP.
The GPP move is to back Joey Lucchesi ($6,500) and hope he can repeat the 8 Ks and two hits allowed he had against Colorado last start. Sure, this one comes at Coors Field, but the Rockies are struggling and haven't scored more than four runs in their last six home games. The high altitude doesn't matter if they don't hit the ball.
I mentioned Lucchesi in pitching, but with an over/under of 13 runs, the Padres-Rockies game will get the most attention. Lucchesi has oddly been worse against lefty bats on the road, but any Colorado player will do. Nolan Arenado ($4,600) is at a reasonable price given that he supplies the most power and has two home runs in the last three games. Tony Wolters ($2,700) is a value play in a lefty-lefty matchup and has a .471 OBP in his last 34 plate appearances against southpaws. In terms of OBP, Ian Desmond ($3,500) and Daniel Murphy ($3,300) are also viable plays. It may be easier to go against Jeff Hoffman, who is allowing a .427 wOBA to both sides of the plate and massive 3.75 HR/9 to righties at home. Nick Martini ($2,900) is best at getting on base as a lefty, but Manuel Margot ($3,300) and Austin Hedges ($2,700) are better power plays in this matchup.
The Yankees will be popular with lefty Anthony Kay on the mound, but the GPP play could be going against Masahiro Tanaka, who has a .396 wOBA allowed to lefties on the road. That plays into the bats of Cavan Biggio ($3,500), Reese McGuire ($2,900) and Justin Smoak ($2,700), which would be a reasonable stack.
If you don't like that underdog play, the White Sox are a decent bet against Yusei Kikuchi and his .379 wOBA allowed at home. Jose Abreu ($4,000) is a must with a .565 OBP and .444 ISO in his last 56 PA against lefty arms. Tim Anderson ($3,400) and James McCann ($2,700) aren't far behind in terms of OBP. It's a similar case for the Tigers against Aaron Brooks, who doesn't have any good numbers, allowing a wOBA above .340 to both sides of the plate. You can save money pretty much everywhere for the Tigers. While there isn't much power, Victor Reyes ($3,000) has a .376 OBP in his last 109 PA against righties and Miguel Cabrera ($2,900) is next in line followed by Christin Stewart ($2,800) who provides a bit more pop.
Nationals vs. Mike Soroka (Braves)
It's usually not wise to stack against a pitcher with a sub-3.00 ERA, but the Nationals are worth a look in GPP and not only because they have a .246 ISO against righties in the last month. This is the fifth time Soroka has faced the Braves and he's allowed 19 hits and five homers in his last three. This stack is most of the guys that have had success against Soroka. Soto has two homers and five hits in 10 at-bats while Eaton and Turner have a combined three doubles and one home run.
Orioles vs. Jordan Zimmermann (Tigers)
I'm stacking the Orioles over the Tigers because they're a road underdog and because Zimmermann has been worse at home, allowing a .459 wOBA and 2.39 HR/9 to lefties. Baltimore has a decent amount of lefty bats to throw out even if Smith doesn't make the lineup. Villar leads the way with a .353 OBP in his last 102 plate appearances against righty arms, while the other two are matchup plays.
Athletics vs. Brock Burke (Rangers)
Burke was good in his first three outings, but got blasted by the Orioles for six runs and three homers last time out. He could have more issues against the Athletics, who own a .191 ISO versus southpaws since the beginning of August, almost the same as the Orioles. This trio is the best bet to get on base as they all have OBPs above .375 against lefties in the last month, while Profar and Semien also provide a bit of power.