The Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs play the only day game on Friday. There are all day entries available, but it’s easiest to eliminate those two teams and focus only on the night games for the first day of May. There are some excellent low-cost starting pitching options on the lineup card with a premium on Max Scherzer and Matt Harvey, who face each other in what should be a spectacular pitcher’s duel. With a lot of back-end or spot starters going on Friday, it will be an interesting day to stack lineups and there is no shortage of options.
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Here are the top lineups to stack for May 1:
Cincinnati – The Reds offense will get a crack at Mike Foltynewicz, who will be making his Atlanta Braves debut on Friday night. “Folty” is a guy that run his fastball up in the high 90s, but control has been a consistent problem. Throughout his minor league career, Foltynewicz has regularly walked more than 10 percent of batters faced. He induced some whiffs during a brief stint with the Astros last season, but hitters had no problem making contact in the zone and Foltynewicz frequently pitched from behind. The Reds have a lot of hitters that feast on fastballs and hit them with power.
San Diego – I have said countless times that I’ll look to go against the Padres against quality right-handed pitching. Eddie Butler throws right-handed, but “quality” doesn’t describe him. Through four starts covering 22 innings, Butler has a 3.27 ERA, but a 5.10 FIP, a 5.19 xFIP, and a 5.43 SIERA. These are all signs of impending regression. His fastball has been his worst pitch and his breaking stuff isn’t good enough to pitch off of an ineffective fastball. Stack Padres and watch them go to town.
Baltimore – The Orioles face a strange set of circumstances this weekend, but they will get their swings against Alex Colome on Friday. Colome threw 63 pitches in his last Triple-A outing as he built up arm strength while returning from pneumonia. Colome will be on a short leash and he is a guy that has struggled with control throughout his career. That will mean that the Rays bullpen will come in very early and long relievers are often subpar pitchers.
Here are the top value hitters for May 1:
Ryan Raburn ($2,900) – Raburn is back to being the effective platoon bat that the Indians envisioned when they signed him back in 2013. After a down year last year full of injuries, Raburn has a .419/.424/.710 slash in 33 plate appearances against lefties this season. It’s a small sample size to be sure, but Raburn has a track record of hitting southpaws and Mark Buehrle is not going to overpower him. Raburn has a line drive percentage of 31 percent in the small sample size, so he’s been barreling up the ball.
Ike Davis ($2,700) – Ike Davis is another platoon bat at a good, low cost for less than $3,000 against Colby Lewis. Over 79 plate appearances, Davis has a .314/.380/.443 slash overall, and .318/.387/.439 against righties. The A’s have been scoring a lot more runs than people expected and Davis has certainly been part of that. He’s often batting in the fifth or sixth spot against right-handers, so he’ll have RBI chances in this one.
Nolan Arenado ($3,600) – One of the top third basemen in the league at this price against Ian Kennedy? Sign me up. Kennedy came off the DL last weekend and was promptly shelled in his second start of the season. Command has been a problem for Kennedy in those first two starts and that should come as no surprise. He will improve throughout the season, but Colorado is a tough lineup to make just his third start of the season against.
Here are the top value pitchers for May 1:
Carlos Carrasco ($7,900) – This should be an excellent matchup for Carrasco. Carrasco has been really unfortunate this season. The line drive that domed him was one of the scariest moments of the season so far and his BABIP against is at .436 in four starts. Carrasco has struck out over 34 percent of the batters that he has faced and the Blue Jays are a right-handed heavy lineup. There’s some good power if Carrasco hangs a mistake, but also some good potential to rack up punchouts. The Indians need a huge start from Carrasco and he’s going to provide it.
Scott Kazmir ($7,400) – Kazmir is due for some regression, but the paltry Rangers lineup isn’t going to deliver it. Kazmir has a .215 BABIP against and a 93 percent strand rate, but his velocity has ticked back up and he has gotten whiffs on 11.7 percent of his strikes. Hitters are chasing at a 35 percent clip, which is a sign that the stuff is very sharp. Kazmir dominated the Rangers in his first start on April 8 and I would expect more of the same tonight.
Anthony DeSclafani ($7,700) – I’m sure you’re not surprised to see me beat this drum again. DeSclafani gave up five runs in his last start, but it was the first time in four starts that the Reds defense really failed him. The Braves offense is nothing special and this should be an above average park for DeSclafani to pitch in. The Braves have some better scouting reports on DeSclafani than other teams because he was with the Marlins, but he is using his changeup a lot more this season and that’s a neutralizer against left-handed bats.