Zack Wheeler over 5.5 hits allowed
I will be targeting a few Nationals bats when (hopefully) more of them come on the PrizePicks board, but this is the square to encompass them all. Wheeler is coming off a start where he dominated the Braves in Atlanta with 12 Ks in eight shutout innings.
Now I think he struggles in DC against this pesky Nationals lineup today. Wheeler has gone over this number in five games this season, and four of those teams have something in common: they rank in the upper half in the league in K rate against RHP on the season.
Those teams are the D-Backs, Red Sox, White Sox, and Rangers. The outlier is the Giants who Wheeler allowed nine hits to just a few weeks ago, and their lineup has had a resurgence vs RHP as of late.
Wheeler’s latest outing going over this number was the D-Backs who got eight hits in that game and held Wheeler to his lowest strikeout output of the season with just three in six innings of work. The D-Backs are tied for the lowest RHP K rate in the league at 19.2%, and the team they are tied with: the Nationals.
This lineup puts the ball in play and is death by a thousand papercuts. The top of the lineup with Lane Thomas, Luis Garcia, and Joey Meneses has been red hot as of late and guys like Jeimer Candelario and CJ Abrams have sneakily been heating up towards the latter half as well. I think the Nationals stack base hits and do damage to Wheeler today, giving him a bit of a rough time on the mound.
Bryan De La Cruz over 7.5 fantasy score/0.5 run
Bryan De La Bonds as some call him (me) has been on the hottest stretch of his young career. He hit .337 in the month of May with 5 HRs and 8 multi-hit games (and 4 games with 3+ hits). Today he gets to go against the A’s which is great news for any hitter unless you’re the Braves.
The A’s are rolling out Shintaro Fujinami as an opener for Hogan Harris. Fujinami is a guy I believe in to get it together long-term but nothing has worked for him so far. He is rocking a 12.00 ERA, 6.25 xERA, 51.1% hard hit rate, 15.7% walk rate, and I could keep going.
De La Cruz will likely only see him for one at-bat but for a guy who is giving up as much hard contact as he is, especially on his off-speed stuff which works right into the hands of De La Cruz, I will gladly take this matchup to begin the game.
Once we get to Hogan Harris, De La Cruz is in his better split as he hits .327 against LHP compared to just .285 against RHP. Harris’ adjustments he made in his second appearance were impressive as he utilized his curveball and changeup a bit more to keep hitters off balance.
But this is again exactly what De La Cruz wants to see from the left side. He is hitting .316 and .333 against the curveball and changeup respectively. In a small sample size when hitters have put the ball in play off Harris, it has been hit hard. I like this matchup for De La Bonds and think he can do just that today.