Even though Friday’s schedule in baseball is packed with 15 games, the night is light on elite starting pitchers. There are still a few who could provide value, but it also means there are a lot of great lineup stacking opportunities to exploit. Consider using the picks below and plugging them into our MLB Lineup Optimizer to help complete the rest of your lineup.
Sean Newcomb, vs. Orioles (FD: $8,900, DK: $10,500)
Newcomb had a rough outing two starts ago, but he rebounded quickly to record seven strikeouts over six scoreless innings in his last start against the Padres. That marked the fifth time this season that he hasn’t allowed a run in a start, helping him post a 2.70 ERA and a 3.23 FIP overall. After finishing with a bloated 1.57 WHIP last year, Newcomb has done a great job limiting baserunners with a 1.18 WHIP. He’s an excellent source for strikeouts, as well, with a 9.1 K/9. This is a great matchup to focus on, considering the Orioles have scored the fewest runs (260) in baseball and won’t have the use of the DH playing in Atlanta.
Chris Stratton, vs. Padres (FD: $7,200, DK: $7,300)
Stratton has allowed more than three earned runs in a start only three times this season, but he’s played with fire with a 1.35 WHIP. He’s not a big strikeout pitcher with a 7.1 K/9 for his career and is someone you only want to consider using if the matchup leans heavily in his favor. That will be the case when he faces the Padres, who are in the bottom-third of the league in runs scored, while also posting the lowest OPS (.658) against right-handed pitching. Stratton faced them earlier this season and threw seven shutout innings in the outing.
Jon Gray, vs. Marlins (FD: $6,800, DK: $7,700)
Gray is a frustrating talent, especially if you play in season-long leagues. He looks like he can be a shutdown pitcher at times, evident by his 13.1% swinging-strike rate and his 11.1 K/9. He’s prone to giving up some big innings, though, which has left him with a 5.89 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP this season. His FIP is much better at 3.14, but calling Coors Field home is never easy for a pitcher. This game is at Coors, but it’s still a good matchup against the Marlins, who have the scored the second-fewest runs (266) and hit the fewest home runs (56) in baseball.
Colorado Rockies vs. Wei-Yin Chen, Miami Marlins
Stadium – Coors Field
Chen is finally healthy after pitching just 33 innings last year, but he’s been a disaster with a 5.91 ERA and a 5.78 FIP across 10 starts. He never had a problem with walks in his career previously, but his lack of command this year has resulted in a 4.5 BB/9. Add in a 1.62 WHIP and a 1.8 HR/9 and Chen isn’t providing much resistance for opposing hitters. The Rockies not only have the fourth-highest OPS at home (.808) in baseball, but they also have the fourth-highest OPS against left-handed pitching (.795).
Houston Astros vs. Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals
Stadium – Minute Maid Park
Duffy is having a nightmare of a season. He had an ERA of 3.81 or lower and a WHIP of 1.26 or lower in both of the last two seasons, but he has a 5.55 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP in his first 15 starts this year. He’s not fooling as many hitters with a 9.5% swinging-strike rate after posting 12.9% and 11.4% swinging-strike rates in the last two seasons, respectively. He’s had a hard time keeping hitters inside the park, as well, with a 1.9 HR/9. The Astros have scored the most runs (394) in baseball and lit up Duffy for seven runs, six earned, in his last outing.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Marco Estrada, Toronto Blue Jays
Stadium – Angel Stadium
Estrada has pitched better of late, allowing three runs in his last three starts combined. All three of those starts came at home, where he has a 4.15 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP this season. It’s been a completely different story in his six outings on the road, where he has a 5.46 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. The Angels only have a .701 OPS against lefties this year, but they are much better against righties with a .763 OPS. They scored four runs in 4 1/3 innings against Estrada earlier this season and could be primed for another big offensive night Friday.
Atlanta Braves vs. Alex Cobb, Baltimore Orioles
Stadium – SunTrust Park
Cobb already has nine losses this season, which is only one away from his career-high. He has been prone to blowups, allowing at least five runs in six of his 12 starts. His last outing was especially discouraging, as he surrendered five runs to the lowly Marlins. He’s not issuing many walks, but opponents are hitting .337 against him, and he’s giving up a ridiculous 13.1 hits per nine innings. He’s someone to stack against most times he takes the mound, and that goes doubly for Friday against a Braves team that has scored the fourth-most runs (359) in baseball.