This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
A whopping 14 game slate awaits Friday evening's main slate, with first pitch going off between 7:05 and 10:10 p.m. et. Loyal readers know I'm a hair wordy, and these larger slate's aren't my favorite. Two familiar names lead the way on the bump, and no game has a total under eight runs, so offense shouldn't be an issue.
Yusei Kikuchi, SEA vs. HOU ($8,800): Kikuchi hasn't been super efficient, which limits his innings upside. And I've largely been off his hype train this year. But he's still fanning 12 per nine, and the Astros are severely shorthanded offensively. Even if he doesn't work deep, there appears to be a 3.5x floor thanks to swings and misses.
Anthony DeSclafani, ST at MIA ($8,200): DeSclafani has allowed only one run across 11 innings while facing San Diego and Colorado, seemingly better offenses, striking out 12 in the process. The Marlins don't fan as much as we'd like (26.5 percent) but that's a huge number which other teams should regress towards. They do minimal damage (.103 ISO, 86 wRC) and we know Marlins park is cavernous.
Frankie Montas, OAK vs. DET ($7,500): We've already seen Montas' peaks and valleys, going for 40 and minus-one FDP in two outings. The Tigers seem to be swinging better than expected (.321 wOBA against .285 last year) but the real appeal is the opposing pitcher, which is detailed below. Montas should limit the Tigers and put himself in place for a win.
Bryce Harper, PHI vs. STL ($4,200): Harper is hitting a mere .235 and averaging 9.53 FDP, but the metrics don't back that up. He's got an obscene 63.2 percent hard hit rate against righties, resulting in a .395 wOBA and 149 wRC, all team highs. He's due some progression, owning just a .235 BABIP. Cards' starter Carlos Martinez has been more vulnerable to righties in a limited sample, but overall has allowed seven runs and 12 hits over 10 innings.
Nelson Cruz, MIN at LAA ($4,000): Cruz rakes against lefties. He's got a .504 wOBA, 224 wRC+, .444 ISO and 50.7 percent hard hit rate since the start of 2019. Need I say more?
Justin Turner, LAD at SD ($4,000): House money will certainly be on Mookie Betts ($4,500), but Turner hits lefties better since 2020 (.364 wOBA vs .257). I'm not confident the Dodgers get multiple hacks at Padres' starter Ryan Weathers, but Turner's .417 wOBA against righties since the start of last season is no slouch, and he hopefully is overlooked given the obvious plus matchup for Dodger bats.
Cedric Mullins, BAL at TEX ($3,500): Mullins went 0-for-6 in a double header Thursday, and may be in need of a day, but he's still the owner of a .517 wOBA against righties. Rangers's starter Mike Foltynewicz is allowing a .374 wOBA to lefties, and as noted further below, I like bad hitting to beat bad pitching in this contest, making it one to target, and Mullins sits atop the lineup.
Mark Canha, OAK vs. DET ($3,300): Oakland hasn't swung well enough collectively to stack here, but Tigers' starter Jose Urena is someone we always want to target. Enter Canha, who's number doesn't appear to match his current form. He's leading the A's, figuratively and literally, with a .385 wOBA from the leadoff spot. He's scored seven times while collecting six knocks in his last four entering Thursday.
Fernando Tatis, SD vs. LAD ($3,000): Tatis looks like Friday's free square. We know he's a 4k+ bat whose price isn't reflecting his likely return to action. It's not an ideal matchup against Walker Buehler, but he's 2-for-7 with a homer against him, so it could be worse. Personally, I think he's being rushed back, but for this number, he's nearly impossible to ignore for cash lineups.
Carson Kelly, ARI at WAS ($2,300): GPP bargain here only. Kelly was hitting .429 entering Thursday, and was 2-for-2 with his second long ball as of writing. The ball seems to be jumping out of Nationals Park, and Max Scherzer looks like a shell of his former self, having already allowed four homers on the year, three of which came against righties at home. He was elevated to second in the lineup to boot, and should he stay there, it brings even more appeal with very minimal risk.
Stacks to Consider
Gonzalez has struggled against lefties, allowing a .405 wOBA, .936 OPS and 5.50 xFIP a year ago and is off to a .363/.809/6.72 start to date. The Mets are stacked with left-handed bats, so we can get creative if your budget dictate, but this trio hits 1-2-3, and seems fairly priced given the matchup and Coors Field factor. Chalky? Perhaps. But that doesn't make it wrong.
Orioles' starter Jorge Lopez is serving a ball up on a tee, allowing 11 runs across 8.2 frames. He has fanned nine, of concern for a Rangers lineup that whiffs regularly, but this stack brings big power upside with Lowe (.422 wOBA, .385 ISO) and Gallo (.382 wOBA, surprisingly powerless thus far), and contact from Kiner-Falefa atop the lineup with position flexibility. It's a game with bad pitching and bad hitting overall, but one where I think bats can find success.