When I look at the 15 games scheduled to take play Saturday - with Miami and Washington are playing a doubleheader - I'm struck by the relative lack of pitching talented expected to take the mound. I see only one true ace primed to start, and he's going to be in one of those doubleheader games. Then again, the Dodgers, Padres, Athletics, Giants, and Mariners are all at home. Those are traditionally some friendly parks to pitchers. Maybe that will help you get the kind of pitching performance you want from your DFS roster. The first game starts at 4:05 p.m. EDT. Let's get to the recommendations!
For the record, that ace on the mound is Max Scherzer ($57) as he will be facing the Marlins. Obviously, if you don't mind a pitcher on a rather high salary, Mad Max isn't a bad idea. That's even with the fact he will be limited to, at most, seven innings. On a day like Saturday, it might actually make sense to just grab the clear best pitcher in action – especially against a team like Miami – and then try and save some salary elsewhere.
Justus Sheffield ($32) has not lived up to his former status as a touted prospect, but are things finally starting to turn around for him? Across the last two starts, he's only allowed one run with 11 strikeouts in 12 innings - and those games were against Houston and Colorado. Sheffield gets to pitch at home Saturday, and he's facing a largely ineffectual Texas offense that doesn't even have a team OPS over .700.
Dustin May ($36) has posted a 3.00 ERA through five starts this season, and he seems to like pitching in Los Angeles. The redheaded hurler has also produced a 2.45 home ERA over his career. The Rockies have posted solid offensive numbers, but we have to wonder how much that has to do with their home ballpark. The sample size for home/road splits remain small right now, but usually Colorado's home numbers are much juicier than those on the road.
Lastly, based solely on matchup, I'll recommend Josh Lindblom ($33) of the Brewers. Yes, he's strugged with a 6.62 ERA, but that comes with a 4.81 FIP while striking out 14.26 batters per nine innings. But mostly, this is about facing the Pirates, who rank worst in the majors in runs per game, OBP, and second worst in slugging percentage.
Xander Bogaerts ($19) isn't supplemented by the talent he's enjoyed in the past, but that doesn't hurt him when at the plate. He may not drive in runs at an 100-RBI pace like the last two seasons, but nothing's stopping him from showing his power and is projected to surpass a .500 slugging percentage for the third straight season. Alex Cobb left Tampa for Baltimore in 2018 and has since managed a 5.55 home ERA.
Max Kepler's ($17) batting average won't wow you, but you don't roster him for his ability to hit singles. He's got power, as displayed in his 36 homers last season and six so far this year. And he's already stolen three bases, a new twist for him. Brady Singer has made five career starts in the majors, and weirdly this will be his third in a row against the Twins. So far, he's produced a 5.23 FIP while allowing 1.75 homers per nine innings.
Wade Miley's 2019 season started off well, but he collapsed down the stretch by posting a 16.68 ERA in the month of September and getting booted from Houston's rotation during the playoffs. He's only pitched 3.1 innings for the Reds so far, so I am not going to pay attention to his numbers this season. I will say the southpaw suppresses his fellow lefties, but has allowed a .262 batting average to righties since 2018. If you talk hitting average with power, Paul Goldschmidt ($22) is almost as good as it gets for a righty bat with a career .293 batting average while hitting over 30 homers in four of his last five seasons.
Jonathan Schoop ($14) has delivered what is expected so far. He doesn't take walks, but he's shown plenty of power for a second baseman by crushing 23 homers in 121 games last year and with six already this season. Schoop also currently sits at .287, well above his career .257 average. Due to, um, issues within the Cleveland rotation, Triston McKenzie is making his debut MLB start. He's a total mystery, so I am willing to take a shot on Schoop.
Flipping this matchup around, it's easy to forget about Carlos Santana ($18), but he slashed .281/.397/.515 with 34 homers in 2019 in a bounce-back campaign from his lost year in Philadelphia. He's not making a lot of contact yet, but his patience is still there with a .398 OBP. Most people seem to be making contact with Matthew Boyd this year, who has slumped to a 9.64 ERA through five starts and a career 1.70 homers allowed per nine innings.
Martin Perez, newly of the Red Sox, has posted a 4.07 ERA. That's acceptable, but it's also his best ERA since 2013. Needless to say, I don't expect it to continue, as numbers more in line with his career 4.70 ERA should be expected. In a world where basically nobody bats .300 anymore, Perez has allowed righties to hit a .302 average against since 2018. Anthony Santander ($27) is a switch hitter, but he can obviously line up on the right side of the plate and has hit nine homers so far.
Cease has compiled a 3.16 ERA, but don't get too excited as his FIP comes in at an eye-watering 6.16. This is in spite of the fact his five starts this season have been Cleveland, Kansas City, Cleveland, Detroit, and Detroit. Those are some of the majors' worst offenses, and Cease has still given up 2.10 homers per nine innings. Facing the Cubs in Wrigley Field represents his greatest challenge yet and I don't expect it to go well for him.
The left-handed Rizzo's down numbers this season are largely due to struggles versus lefties. He's still hitting righties, and since 2018 has managed a .933 OPS versus right-handed pitchers. Speaking of lefties who prefer to face righties, Schwarber becomes a totally different hitter when at home versus a right hander. Since 2018, his home OPS is .894 and his OPS versus righties is .873. Then there's the struggling Baez. This may be a short season, but there's still time for him to turn it around. After all, the 27-year-old has recorded double-digit homers and swiped double-digit bases in each of his last four seasons.