This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Two bona fide starters will man the hill for Wednesday's showdown slate, which leaves us with a lot less uncertainty in the pitching department. This likely also means that relievers will follow in a more familiar fashion, which should give prospective owners a better sense of how to structure lineups.
Taking a look at the two hurlers involved, Charlie Morton ($11,200) will likely be highly rostered and captained due to the 30.4 percent strikeout rate he tallied in his 33 starts this season. In the other dugout looms Sean Manaea ($10,400). Manaea has looked phenomenal after a return from shoulder surgery he underwent in September of 2018, logging a 1.21 ERA (3.98 xFIP) in five starts. Both pitchers are riding high heading into the playoffs, so whom do we choose?
As a general rule, it's perfectly fine to select both hurlers in a one-game slate, but that will lead to a lot of tough decision-making for our final spots. With that in mind, it's worth mentioning that the A's logged a top-10 wOBA to go along with a bottom-10 strikeout rate against righty pitching this season. While this could be seen as a reason to fade Morton as a leverage play in GPP's, we should also note that the 35-year-old allowed just one run in his 13.1 innings (two starts) against the A's this season, logging 13 punchouts over that span.
As for Manaea, he will face a Tampa Bay offense that kept a mediocre .318 wOBA against southpaws. The key for DFS players, however, is that the Rays racked up a 26 percent strikeout rate against lefty pitching during the regular season, which was tied with the Tigers for the highest mark in the league. These seem like strong points in Manaea's favor, though it must be considered that he kept a 4.73 xFIP and a staggering 52 percent hard contact rate against righties in his 29.2 frames.
What direction can prospective owners go in to save money if they wish to play both starting pitchers? Remember that If you are scouting the game to be pitcher-controlled, then it might pay to grab a reliever by deselecting the "remove non probables" box. When deciding on a reliever in this scenario, one might opt for a closer, as he is basically guaranteed to enter the game in a save situation. Emilio Pagan ($3,000), who emerged as the Rays' full-time closer towards the end of the season, would make a fine choice, as he finished the month of September with a 2.19 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 12.1 innings.
Those who wish to play it more conventionally may want to try and attack Manaea due to his peripherals against righties. To that end, bats like Jesus Aguilar ($5,200) and Travis d'Arnaud ($6,800), are reasonably priced and have the ability to leave the yard against lefty pitchers. These bats work as a fine compliment to Austin Meadows ($9,800), who notched a robust .246 ISO against lefty hurlers.
The more contrarian play for GPPs will be to go against Morton in the hopes that the A's can live up to the back of their season-long baseball card. Matt Olson ($7,800) should get a strong look in this regard, as he not only crushed right-handed pitching this year, but has logged four hits in 12 at-bats in his career against Morton, including a homer and a double. The usual suspects follow, as Mark Canha ($8,600) and Matt Chapman ($7,400) both showed tremendous power against same-handed pitchers.
Matt Duffy ($4,000) received semi-regular playing time in September, including playing in four of the team's last five games. He responded by logging a .375 wOBA in 44 at-bats. Duffy will almost certainly be a popular play as a result of his price, but he will provide DFS players with an awful lot of room to move around on a slate that could otherwise be very costly.