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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Justin Verlander ($10,400): As the top slate's most expensive pitcher, Houston's veteran is a complete wildcard considering today's appearance will be his first in 625 days.
The right-hander still has an elite ceiling considering his previous numbers in his last full season (35% strikeout rate and a 2.68 expected earned run average in 2019) but a middling matchup against an Angels team with a 19.6% strikeout rate against right-handers in their last 736 plate appearances and rust are legitimate concerns.
Joe Musgrove ($10,000): San Diego's right-hander currently ranks as numberFire's top pitcher with a 3.38 value rating and a 33.8 FanDuel point projection. Musgrove has an enticing opportunity against a relatively inexperienced lineup with a 30.6% strikeout rate in 402 plate appearances the past two seasons.
Despite being held under 100 pitches in 80% of his outings last season, the 29-year had an effective season in 2020, recording a 12.7% swinging strike percentage, 27.1% strikeout rate, and a 3.70 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) rating.
Noah Syndergaard ($9,100): "Thor" is coming off an impressive five-inning, seven strikeout performance in his last spring training outing.
The last time we saw the Angels' right-hander on the mound for a full season, Syndergaard produced a 11.5% swinging strike rate and a 25% strikeout percentage which would rank fourth among the main slate's pitchers.
As numberFire's fourth rated pitcher with a 21.2 FanDuel projection, the 29-year old is an option to consider against a Houston lineup with a 21.0% strikeout rate and a .323 weighted on-base average (wOBA) in their last 698 plate appearances against righties.
The Dodgers will be a popular stack with their loaded lineup hitting in the best offensive environment in baseball. Although German Marquez has been an overall effective pitcher with a career 3.62 expected FIP, the 29-year old has struggled against lefties, allowing a .329 weighted on-base average and a ,434 slugging percentage.
Plenty of options from the left side are in play starting with Freddie Freeman ($4,300), Max Muncy ($3,800), Cody Bellinger ($3,400), and Gavin Lux ($2,900).
In a favorable spot with a sneaky implied 5.9 run total, Atlanta's offense has a positive matchup against Vladimir Gutierrez. In 114.0 innings last season, the right-hander missed few bats, recording the second lowest swinging strike rate among today's starters with a 9.6% mark and a 17.8% strikeout percentage.
The Atlanta lineup offers plenty of salary flexibility consisting of value and elite options at multiple positions such as Marcell Ozuna ($3,000), Adam Duvall ($2,900), Eddie Rosario ($3,000), Matt Olson ($3,800), and Austin Riley ($3,900).
Zach Davies ranks ninth or second worst among the slate with a 5.36 Skill Interactive Earned Run Average (SIERA) and a 17.1% strikeout last season in 148.0 innings pitched. With the right-hander's recent reverse splits the past two seasons, Manny Machado ($3,800), Luke Voit ($2,700), and Wil Myers ($2,600) stand as an intriguing stack.