Cash Game Pitching Options – 8/15

After a quick absence this weekend due to moving back to school and everything, I’m back and ready to keep grinding out articles. We didn’t miss a whole lot this weekend besides Mookie Betts’ 3 home run game last night, but we have a nice slate tonight with the return of Coors.

While choosing bats tonight is relatively easy because there are a handful of awful pitchers tonight, choosing a pitcher is going to be a bit more difficult, given the fact that the highest priced pitcher finds himself at Coor’s Field.

Personally, I am not all that intimidated by playing Max Scherzer at Coor’s Field. Yes, the ball flies, and yes, he’s struggled with the longball this season, but he’s currently my top play in cash games.

In the beginning half of the season, Scherzer was dominant, but was also extremely prone to the long ball. I don’t know what he’s changed over his last eight starts, but he’s only allowed 4 total home runs in that span, so that kink seems to be worked out, which is a huge sign going into a game at Coor’s Field. Scherzer is currently the heaviest favorite (-185) and has the highest projected run total (6.1) of any pitcher on the slate, so he is by far the most likely pitcher to get the win tonight.

On the road this season, Scherzer has posted a 2.96 ERA with a 0.94 WHIP in 94.1 innings with 114 strikeouts. The strikeouts have been nothing uncommon for Max, as he’s posted a 32.8% strikeout rate with an impressive 6.1% walk rate and a career-best .186 opponent batting average. These numbers are extremely impressive, but the stat that sticks out the most to me is his .239 BABIP. Most pitchers are about .30 points higher than that, showing just how impressive that is.

The current Rockies team is batting .196 against Scherzer in 51 at-bats with 18 strikeouts (almost a 40% clip), and while they are projected to score 4.4 runs tonight, I believe that the Nationals will easily walk away with the W against Jorge De La Rosa tonight.

The second pitcher I am considering in cash games tonight is Felix Hernandez. While many have considered 2016 a rather down season for King Felix, his last 20 innings pitched have been quite impressive (only 8 hits allowed, but has given up 12 walks). On the road this season, Felix has posted a 3.46 ERA with a 1.46 WHIP in 39 innings pitched with 31 strikeouts, which aren’t the most beautiful numbers from a DFS standpoint. While the road numbers may not convince players to roster Felix, his numbers in Anaheim might. In the last 3 seasons, Felix has posted a 2.25 ERA in 48 innings pitched while striking out 65 and only surrendering a .211 opponent batting average.

Hernandez comes in as the -134 favorite and is projected to allow 4.54 runs, so he is not necessarily the safest cash play (there really isn’t a 100% safe play tonight), and if you’re okay with risking playing him against Mike Trout (INSANE BvP against Felix), then I wouldn’t argue with you if you used him in cash games.

Side note – if you’re into narratives for DFS, Felix threw his perfect game 4 years ago today

The third and final pitcher that I’m looking at when constructing a cash lineup is Matt Moore of the San Francisco Giants. Moore comes in at $8,800, $1,000 cheaper than Felix and $1,200 cheaper than Max. Personally, I believe there is potential for him to outscore both of them tonight. He finds himself in one of the more pitcher-friendly parks tonight (AT&T) and faces a rather disappointing Pirates team. In his first two starts with the Giants, Moore has gone 6 innings while allowing only 3 hits and striking out 7 in both of his starts, but wasn’t able to register a win in either contest. The biggest bugaboo with Moore is the walks. In those two games, he walked 6 batters and 5 batters the next game. That’s far too many walks for someone rostering a pitcher in DFS, especially because it drives the pitch count up so much. Pittsburgh also ranks 26th in strikeouts against left-handed pitchers, knocking Moore’s value a little more.

If you are looking to pivot off of the top two pitchers tonight and save some money (stack Coors!) in your cash games, I have no problem with Matt Moore, but if you can create a roster you like with one of the top options, I would recommend going that route.

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