The MLB Postseason came down to the final Sunday of the regular season in the American League. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees won and locked up the AL Wild-Card spots, eliminating the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners. That sets up the 2021 MLB DFS AL Wild-Card Game: Yankees at Red Sox.
The division rivals played 19 times this season with the Red Sox winning the series 10-9. Thirteen of these games were played after the MLB All-Star Game and the Yankees won nine of them, including the last six contests.
Both teams finished with identical records 92-70.
The Boston Red Sox were 49-32 at Fenway Park this season.
The New York Yankees were 46-35 on the road.
Vegas has the over/under set at 8.5 runs with the Yankees -120 Moneyline.
2021 MLB DFS AL Wild-Card Game: Yankees at Red Sox
Pitching Matchup - Nathan Eovaldi vs Gerrit Cole
Eovaldi and Cole led the American League in FIP at 2.79/2.92 respectively
Nathan Eovaldi pitched 34 innings against the Yankees this season and owns a respectable 3.71 ERA / 3.61 FIP / 3.62 xFIP / .320 wOBA. However, he surrendered seven earned runs in his last outing against New York and lasted just 2.2 innings on September 24th. Prior to that start, he had held the Yankees to two or fewer earned runs in each of his five other starts.
Eovaldi was pretty consistent all season long and actually saw his K% hit a season-high in the month of September at 29.9%. He pitched 46 more innings at home vs on the road this season and owns a 3.47 ERA / 2.43 FIP / 3.37 xFIP / .278 wOBA at Fenway Park.
Gerrit Cole pitched 22 innings against the Red Sox this season and didn't have great results. Against Boston, Cole owns a 4.91 ERA / 4.53 FIP / 3.50 xFIP / .358 wOBA. Cole went head-to-head with Eovaldi on September 24th and struck out six Red Sox over six innings, earning his 16th win of the year.
Cole was not very consistent this year and owned a 4.14 second-half ERA. Cole pitched 19.1 more innings on the road and for the most part, was as successful across the board in home/away splits.
Gerrit Cole had nine starts with double-digit strikeouts (once vs BOS) while Nathan Eovaldi only record 10 strikeouts twice.
The Yankees bullpen led the MLB in xFIP (3.77) and was third in K-BB% at 17.7%. Boston's bullpen is not nearly as good and while they owned a top 10 K%, their 10.8% walk rate is in the bottom 10. They can ill afford to give this powerful Yankees lineup free runners.
Gary Sanchez is not in the lineup tonight. Kyle Higashioka will catch and bat eighth. Giancarlo Stanton is the designated hitter and batting third. Anthony Rizzo is leading off with no LeMahieu in the lineup. Gleyber Torres is batting fifth.
New York scored the 12th least amount of runs in the MLB this season. This despite hitting the seventh-most home runs in the league.
The Yankees acquired Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo at the MLB Trade Deadline. Rizzo's slash line with New York is nearly identical to what it was with the Chicago Cubs - .249/.340/.428. He has 15 extra-base hits (8 HR) with the Yankees.
Gallo has struggled mightily with New York - .160/.303/.404 - with thirteen home runs in 188 at bats. He has 88 strikeouts since joining the Yankees - the most in the Majors.
Gleyber Torres has a strong finish to the season thanks to a .338 BABIP over the last 30 days.
Gio Urshela hit .239 on the road this season and is dealing with a thigh injury.
Over the last 30 days, the New York Yankees 114 wRC+ ranked fifteenth in the MLB.
Red Sox Offense
Kyle Schwarber (DH) is leading off for the Red Sox tonight with Martinez out, Enrique Hernandez will bat second and play center field. Carlos Arroyo will play second base and bat ninth.
Boston has scored runs all season long with the third most before the All-Star game, the fifth-most in the second half and the fourth-most runs scored on the season.
Rafael Devers (36) and Hunter Renfroe (31) led the team in home runs while J.D. Martinez (99) trailed only Devers 109 RBI. Renfroe finished with 96 runs batted in. Xander Bogaerts hit .296 with 23 home runs, 89 runs scored and 79 RBI.
Bobby Dalbec hit 15 of his 25 home runs in the second half of the season. He hit .270 in the second half (.250 vs RHP with 9 HR) with a .398 wOBA and 151 wRC+. Only Kyle Schwarber was better for Boston after the All-Star Game - .290 AVG / 160 wRC+.
Enrique Hernandez had an improved second-half as the Red Sox leadoff batter but struggled in September with a .680 OPS.
Over the last 30 days, the Boston Red Sox 114 wRC+ ranked fifth in the MLB.
DFS Lineup Thoughts
Pitchers are excluded from the single-game contests and the MVP (2x) and STAR (1.5x) do not have an inflated salary.
You realistically can only play two of Judge, Devers, Stanton and Bogaerts, unless you are willing to play a minimum salary Kyle Higashioka and punt the fifth roster spot.
If you think this game will be high-scoring, I recommend stacking Judge/Stanton or Devers/Bogaerts if you want to pay for the top two bats in both lineups. If you think it will be low-scoring, you might want to fade the higher-priced bats, or just pick the one you like most as your MVP.
I feel like Schwarber at $7,500 is the best value and will probably be the most owned player on FanDuel.
Joey Gallo is either going to be 100% owned at $6,000 as people just hope he can pop one out at Fenway or will be the pivot that helps someone bink.
Cole is priced at $15.6k and Eovaldi $14.4k if you want to Captain either starting pitcher. As this is a one-and-done game, I am not targeting either pitcher as their leash will be extremely short and the managers will utilize the bullpen in high leverage situations.
Unlike FanDuel, Stanton is not one of the top four bats. In fact, he is seventh with a $13.2k Captain salary. That's less than Hunter Renfroe ($13.8k). I think we will see a lot of CPT Stanton and I don't disagree with going that route.
If you spend the $15.9k to roster Devers as your Captain, you are left with $6.8k remaining for the five other slots. The only rosterable players below that average remaining salary are Alex Verdugo ($5.8k), Gio Urshela ($5.4k), Kevin Plawecki ($5.2k), Kyle Higashioka ($4.6k), Brett Gardner ($4.0k), Carlos Arroyo ($4.0k) and Andrew Velasquez ($4.0k). You'll end up needing to pick two or three of them to build out your roster. I for one will not be using Devers as my Captain.
I don't even see a way to get Devers in a lineup unless you want to Captain Enrique Hernandez or Anthony Rizzo.
I am a bit salty that DraftKings priced Kyle Schwarber at $10,000. I can't tell if they want to squeeze people into playing Aaron Judge at a $200 savings or what but I think he, along with Devers ($10.6k) and Bogaerts ($10.2k), is priced out for me.
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