MLB Grind Down: Wednesday, August 21st - SEA @ TBR
Seattle at Tampa Bay – 1:10 PM ET
LeBlanc will serve as the primary reliever today against the Rays. In eight starts and a number of relief appearances this season, he owns a 4.80 SIERA with a strikeout rate of 17% and a walk rate of 5%. A three-game slate would typically be the perfect spot to target LeBlanc, but we have quite a few good pitching options at our disposal today. The Rays aren’t great against left-handed pitching, yet they have an implied run total over 5.50 runs.
Quick Breakdown: Avoid LeBlanc in all formats.
Morton has made 26 starts this season, posting a 3.46 SIERA with a strikeout rate of 31% and a ground ball rate of 49%. It’s not hyperbole to say that he has been one of the best pitchers in the American League. Today he gets to pitch at home against the Mariners, whose projected lineup has an average xwOBA of .296 with an average k-rate of 22% against right-handed pitching. He’s firmly in play as the SP1 of the slate and ideally, we can pair him with Luis Castillo on multi-pitcher sites.
Quick Breakdown: Morton is an elite play in all formats.
Batter Grind Down
The Mariners have been tough on the Rays’ pitching staff in this series, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to continue. They have struggled against right-handed pitching all season and they draw an awful matchup against Charlie Morton. In addition to elite strikeout (31%) and ground ball rates (49%), he has held both left and right-handed hitters under a .285 xwOBA and under a .150 ISO. The Mariners will be incredibly low owned for tournaments, but I’m not sure I can get there with my single lineup approach.
Elite Plays – None
Secondary Plays – None
Stackability – RED
Even though the Rays are playing in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, they are one of the top offenses to target in the early slate. It’s a case of choosing the path with the least resistance. Wade LeBlanc has a low strikeout rate on the season and has allowed a .349 xwOBA to righties and a .340 ISO to lefties. Tommy Pham (.368 xwOBA) and Travis d’Arnaud (.351 xwOBA) have the best numbers against southpaws in this lineup, but Austin Meadows, Ji-Man Choi, and Matt Duffy are all viable plays at their respective positions.
Stackability – GREEN