Wednesday brings a full slate in baseball with 15 games, seven of which have early start times. There are elite starting pitchers taking the mound, including Corey Kluber and Stephen Strasburg, but there are several offensive stacks to take advantage of, as well. Consider using the picks below and plugging them into our MLB Lineup Optimizer to help complete the rest of your lineup.
Corey Kluber, vs. Rangers (FD: $11,600, DK: $13,200)
Kluber is off to a great start this season, posting a 2.18 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and 9.3 K/9 through six starts. He has pitched at least 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs or fewer in each of those outings. Many hitters have found themselves in a hole early against Kluber, who has thrown a first pitch strike to 66.5% of the batters he has faced this season. Opponents have been a bit unlucky posting a .198 BABIP against him this season, but his 33.3% hard-hit rate allowed is actually almost six percentage points higher than his career average. Kluber has been even more dominant pitching at Progressive Field, finishing with a 1.81 ERA there last year and allowing just three runs in 16 2/3 innings there this season. He’s pricey, but he also has tremendous upside Wednesday.
Aaron Nola, at Marlins (FD: $8,900, DK: $9,900)
Nola has followed up his breakout 2017 campaign with an excellent start to this season, recording a 2.58 ERA and 0.97 WHIP across six starts. Amazingly, opponents have just an 18.5% hard-hit rate against him this year, resulting in a .236 BABIP. He could be in line for some regression in both categories, but don’t expect him to continue with just a 6.6 K/9 either after finishing with a K/9 of at least 9.8 in both of the previous two seasons. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any game this year, which is impressive considering he has already faced the potent Braves lineup three times. He’ll get a much easier task against the Marlins on Wednesday, who have scored the fewest runs (98) in baseball this year.
Sean Newcomb, at Mets (FD: $7,300, DK: $7,600)
Newcomb was originally scheduled to start Tuesday, but was pushed back a day in favor of Mike Soroka making his Major League debut. Soroka is one of the rising stars in the Braves organization, but they are also relying on Newcomb to become an important piece in their starting rotation. He’s had control issues in his brief Major League career, posting a 5.0 BB/9 through 127.2 innings. The good news is he doesn’t allow a lot of solid contact with a 27.4% hard-hit rate for his career. Add in his 11.1 K/9 this year and he can provide value despite his high walk rate. The Mets have the second-lowest OPS (.603) against left-handed pitching this season, so Newcomb might be worth the risk in tournament play Wednesday.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Wade Miley, Milwaukee Brewers
Stadium – Great American Ball Park
Miley was awful for the Orioles last year, finishing with a 5.61 ERA, 5.27 FIP and 1.73 WHIP. He had significant control issues, allowing a career-high 5.3 BB/9. Miley has had trouble keeping runners off base in general, finishing with a WHIP of at least 1.32 in all but one season of his career. He’ll be making his first start of the year Wednesday against the Reds, who are tied for the seventh-highest OPS (.765) against left-handed pitching this season. This could get ugly in a hurry for Miley.
Washington Nationals vs. Ivan Nova, Pittsburgh Pirates
Stadium – Nationals Park
Nova has pitched well with a 3.32 ERA and 1.03 WHIP through six starts this year. He has excellent control, posting a BB/9 of 1.7 or lower in both of the last two seasons. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, though, and has just a 7.1 K/9 this year. When he’s successful, he’s getting ahead of hitters and generating a lot of ground balls. Nova is a different pitcher on the road, finishing with a 2.80 ERA at PNC Park last year compared with a 5.02 ERA on the road. The Nationals are missing some key pieces of their lineup in Adam Eaton (ankle), Anthony Rendon (toe) and Daniel Murphy (knee), but Bryce Harper and company could still give Nova problems Wednesday.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox
Stadium – Busch Stadium
Giolito is off to a nightmarish start with a 7.71 ERA and 1.71 WHIP through five outings. Not only has he allowed a staggering 7.4 BB/9, but he’s not missing many bats either with a 3.9 K/9. He has only thrown a first pitch strike to 45.5% of the batters he has faced this season, which is in stark contrast to his mark of 62% last year. He doesn’t have an overpowering pitch arsenal, so he’s going to have to start pitching ahead in counts if he’s going to turn things around. He’ll get the benefit of not having to face the designated hitter in St. Louis, but this is still an excellent opportunity to fill your lineup with Cardinals bats.
Minnesota Twins vs. Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
Stadium – Target Field
Stroman dealt with a shoulder injury during spring training, so he didn’t get his normal amount of work leading up to the season. That could have something to do with his struggles this year, as he has an unsightly 8.88 ERA and 1.82 WHIP through five starts. His 4.54 FIP indicates he has not pitched nearly as poorly, but he’s not doing himself any favors with a 5.3 BB/9. He’ll need to improve on his 47.6% hard-hit rate allowed, as well, which is more than 17 percentage points higher than his career mark. The Twins have been horrible against left-handed pitching this season, but are in the top half of the league in OPS against righties. This could be a sneaky opportunity to plug some Twins hitters and their cheap price tags into your entry.