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Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Houston Astros feature one of the best offenses in the MLB, and they rank fifth in the league in runs scored, fourth in home runs, and second in team batting average and OPS through 125 games. Houston has been better at home, where they are hitting for a .279 average with a .492 slugging percentage and a .846 OPS through 58 games. They are averaging 5.5 runs and 3.6 extra-base hits per game in those contests, as well. Tonight, the Astros are -384 favorites in a game set at 10 runs, giving them the highest implied run total on the slate at 6.8 runs.
Houston gets an elite matchup against Edwin Jackson tonight. He has struggled through 10 games (7 starts) in 2019, posting a 3-5 record with an 8.62 ERA and a 1.84 WHIP. He has also struggled with a 5.84 xFIP and a 5.53 SIERA this season. Jackson has given up 36.9% fly ball and 28.8% HR/FB rates in 2019. He has also allowed his opponents to hit for a 43.7% hard hit rate, while recording only a 12.7% soft hit rate. He brings 14.4% strikeout and 8.7% swinging strike rates into this game, as well. Jackson has been at his worst against right-handed batters this season, allowing them to hit for a .396 average with a .824 slugging percentage and a .513 wOBA. He has also given up a .269/.577/.378 line to left-handed batters in 2019. Furthermore, Jackson has struggled on the road, where his opponents possess a .354/.662/.446 line against him. The Astros are the obvious chalk on this slate, and they make the top stacking option.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Milwaukee Brewers have seen plenty of ups and downs in 2019, ranking 16th in the MLB in runs scored, fifth in home runs, 17th in team batting average, and 10th in OPS through 124 games. They have been better in Milwaukee, but they are still hitting for a .245 average with a .440 slugging percentage and a .761 OPS through 62 road games. They are also averaging 4.9 runs and 3.5 extra-base hits per game outside of Milwaukee this season. The Brewers are currently +108 underdogs in a game set at 9.5 runs, but they still own an implied run total of 4.6 runs tonight.
Dakota Hudson will be taking the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals. He has thrown well this season, recording an 11-6 record with a 3.82 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP through 25 games (24 starts). He also owns a 4.54 xFIP and a 4.99 SIERA in 2019. Hudson has held his opponents to a 20.1% fly ball rate, although he has given up a 23.5% HR/FB rate. He also possesses 41.1% hard hit and 16% soft hit rates in 2019. He enters this game with 17% strikeout and 10.1% swinging strike rates, as well. Hudson has struggled more against left-handed batters, allowing them to record a .307 average with a .531 slugging percentage and a .387 wOBA against him. He has also given up a .258/.382/.303 line to right-handed batters this season. Furthermore, Hudson has been slightly worse at home, where his opponents boast a .284/.457/.342 line against him. The Brewers certainly come with risk in this matchup, but they will likely go overlooked, and they also come with tremendous upside.
Hidden Gem: Value Pitcher
McKay has seen a few ups and downs through seven starts this season, posting a 2-2 record with a 5.08 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. He’s due for positive regression, though, as he also owns a 4.02 xFIP and a 3.90 SIERA. McKay has given up 41.7% fly ball and 15% HR/FB rates, though. He has also held his opponents to a 36.1% hard hit rate, while recording a 16.5% soft hit rate. McKay brings 27.4% strikeout and 12.2% swinging strike rates into this game, as well. He’s a -184 favorite in a game set at 8.5 runs, giving his opponents an implied run total of only 3.6 runs.
McKay gets an elite matchup against the Seattle Mariners, who rank second on the slate in strikeouts per at-bat, while also ranking third last in team wOBA. McKay has been at his best against left-handed batters, who he has held to a .250 average with a .357 slugging percentage and a .269 wOBA. McKay should continue to get better as he gains more experience in the MLB, and he can be considered in all leagues tonight.
Hidden Gem: Value Hitter
Castro is only hitting for a .171 average with a .371 slugging percentage and a .646 OPS over his last 10 games. He boasts three extra-base hits (two home runs) and three RBI over that span. Castro is due for a breakout, though, as he owns 63% hard hit and 54% fly ball rates with a 98 MPH exit velocity over the last 15 days. He brings 0.151 wOBA and 0.269 ISO differentials against right-handed pitching into this game, as well.
Castro gets a plus matchup against Ivan Nova, who has thrown surprisingly well recently. With that being said, he still owns a 4.90 xFIP and a 5.14 SIERA this season. Nova has also struggled against left-handed batters this season, as well, allowing them to hit for a .291 average with a .495 slugging percentage and a .344 wOBA. Castro is only expected to hit eighth in the Minnesota Twins lineup, but he makes an outstanding option on this slate.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)