MLB DFS Plays for July 31

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The month of July closes with 15 games on the schedule Tuesday, 14 of which will make up the main evening slate in DFS. With the trade deadline also coming Tuesday afternoon, be sure to monitor transactions throughout the day as deals could have an impact on some lineups. The night is generally light on marquee starting pitching options, so spending a significant portion of your budget on hitters could be the route to take. Consider using the picks below and plugging them into our MLB Lineup Optimizer to help complete the rest of your lineup.

Starting Pitchers

Trevor Bauer, at Twins (FD: $11,800, DK: $13,300)

Bauer was stellar in his last start against the Pirates, recording 10 strikeouts and allowing just five baserunners over seven innings. It marked the fifth time this season he hasn’t allowed a run, helping lead to his career-best 2.32 ERA. His excellent first half wasn’t aided by luck, either, considering his 2.25 FIP and .312 opponents’ BABIP. Hitters have swung at 32.3% of his pitches thrown outside of the strike zone, resulting in an 11.7 K/9. The Twins didn’t have a great lineup to begin with and it’s even worse now after they traded Eduardo Escobar to the Diamondbacks. Bauer stands out as one of the premier starting pitchers Tuesday.

Jon Gray, at Cardinals (FD: $8,300, DK: $9,600)

The Rockies had high hopes for Gray this season after he finished with a 3.67 ERA in 2017. He never seemed to get on track, posting a 5.77 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP over 17 starts before being demoted to the minors. However, his 3.14 FIP and .387 opponents’ BABIP suggested he was extremely unlucky. He also had an 11.6 K/9, so it only seemed like a matter of time before he was eventually recalled. After two starts at Triple-A, Gray rejoined the Rockies. He has since faced two tough opponents in the Mariners and Astros, but he held them to three runs, two earned, while recording 12 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings. The Cardinals aren’t exactly a cake walk, either, but they are in the bottom-third of baseball in terms of OPS against right-handed pitching.

James Shields, vs. Royals (FD: $7,200, DK: $6,000)

It’s hard to get too excited about Shields based on his 4.59 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. He doesn’t have an overpowering arsenal with a 6.8 K/9 and opponents have actually been somewhat unlucky with a .264 BABIP against him. That being said, he does have a 3.51 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP across 13 starts at Guaranteed Rate Field. He also gets the benefit of facing a Royals squad that has not only scored the fewest runs (384) in the league, but also just traded away one of their best hitters in Mike Moustakas. At this cheap price, Shields could provide value in tournament play.

Offensive Stacks

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Bartolo Colon, Texas Rangers
Stadium – Chase Field

Colon still finds himself in a major league rotation, but he’s barely hanging on at this point. His 1.26 WHIP is largely aided by the fact that he doesn’t walk many batters, not because he doesn’t allow many hits. His ERA sits at 5.02 and it could be even worse when you consider that his .276 opponents’ BABIP is almost 20 points lower than his career mark. He doesn’t miss many bats with a 5.4% swinging-strike rate and a 5.2 K/9. Add in the fact that he‘s allowed 1.7 HR/9, and the Diamondbacks could be in for an offensive explosion.

New York Yankees vs. Yefry Ramirez, Baltimore Orioles
Stadium – Yankee Stadium

The rebuilding Orioles have turned to Ramirez to fill one of the spots in their starting rotation and he’s held up so far with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. However, his 4.61 FIP suggests luck has been on his side, and he’s already allowed five homers in 28 1/3 innings. He hasn’t provided the Orioles with much length, logging five innings or fewer in each of his starts. That could spell trouble for the Orioles since their bullpen is depleted after trading away a couple of their key relievers. The Yankees will be without Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, but they are still a dangerous lineup with the second-highest OPS at home (.832) in baseball.

Cincinnati Reds vs. Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers
Stadium – Comerica Park

Boyd has fallen on hard times lately, allowing at least four earned runs in four of his last seven starts. After giving up only three homers across his first 10 starts this season, he has allowed nine over his last 10 outings. The Reds fared well against him during their first matchup, scoring five runs over in innings. That’s no surprise since the Reds have the sixth-highest OPS against lefties (.766) in the league. They also get the benefit of using the DH in Detroit, leaving them with higher upside than usual.

Detroit Tigers vs. Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds
Stadium – Comerica Park

Bailey came off the DL last week to hold the Cardinals to two runs in 6 2/3 innings, striking out a season-high eight batters. It was a rare strong performance based on his 6.29 ERA and 1.63 WHIP for the season. It marked only the fourth time in 13 starts that he didn’t allow a home run, and just the second time that he struck out more than four batters in a game. Don’t read too much into one good start, though. The Tigers might not have the most potent offense, but their .709 OPS at home is significantly better than their .652 mark on the road.

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