This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
DraftKings' Saturday slate is down to eight games with the Cubs-Cardinals postponed, but we will take anything we can get at this point. The night begins with two games starting at 7:05 p.m. EDT with the Angels taking on the Rangers and the Twins facing the Royals for the second game of their three game series.
Clayton Kershaw, LAD vs. SF ($10,500): After missing his Opening Day start, Kershaw returned to the mound to face the Diamondbacks and looked excellent in a six strikeout, five-inning display in which he threw an encouraging 81 pitches. He's set to face the Giants at Dodger Stadium, a ballpark he carried a 2.89 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in for the 2019 season. He could approach 90-plus pitches versus a Giants team that deploys six to seven right-handed batters, a side of the plate Kershaw dominated in 2019 — .225 opponent average and 149 strikeouts vs. RHB. The Giants are middle of the road (4.40) in runs scored per game but much of that is from playing in Colorado in their last series. The options at pitcher are slim when considering price and matchup, so taking a safe play like Kershaw with upside makes a lot of sense, the hope is he can be out there long enough to warrant the lofty salary.
Chris Paddack, SD vs. ARI ($7,900): In the context of this game, I don't know in what universe you'd pay $10,000 for Merrill Kelly on the road versus a $7,900 Chris Paddack at home, but here we are. Paddack gets to face a Diamondbacks team in the bottom half of the league in batting average (.219) and runs scored per game (3.43). They have looked a little better in their last two, but there's no hiding their .106 ISO to start the season. The concern always with Paddack is his pitch count as he's averaged about 85 in his three starts. But if he has his four-seamer working, combined with his changeup, he could cross the 90-pitch mark for the first time this season. He also has a great opportunity to win as the Padres are favored.
Whit Merrifield, KC vs. MIN ($5,700): The most expensive second basemen on the board, Merrifield has been tremendous to start the season. Going hitless in only two games, he faces Jake Odorizzi, who is making his first start of the season due to a back ailment. In 16 at-bats against Odorizzi, he has eight hits, which include three long balls and five RBIs. It would be assumed that Odorizzi may be a little rusty, so we can expect Merrifield to continue his success versus the Minnesota pitcher with the Royals 4.34 projected run total.
Nelson Cruz, MIN at KC ($5,100): After getting the day off Friday we should see the power righty return to the lineup to face Royals pitcher Danny Duffy. The Twins have one of the best offenses in baseball, so there is always a great chance Cruz finds himself at the plate with runners on base.
Jose Peraza, BOS at TOR ($3,100): If Peraza is able to crack the lineup, he could make for a nice value as he fills an infield position and faces Chase Anderson, who he's seen 18 times for six hits, one homer and four RBIs. He doesn't get the platoon advantage, but Anderson was worse against righties last season, allowing a .280 batting average and 17 long balls. Peraza sometimes leads off as well, which would make him an even better play, despite the Red Sox as a whole underwhelming most of the season.
Marwin Gonzalez, MIN at KC ($3,200): Gonzalez usually bats in the middle of the lineup and is a switch hitter, which makes him a less likely pinch hit candidate. He went yard last night versus Jakob Junis, displaying the raw power he possesses since his days with the Astros.
Stacks to Consider
These guys are popular on any given night, but it's hard to ignore the individual success for two of the three listed against Johnny Cueto. Bellinger and Turner have combined for 17 hits and two home runs in 48 plate appearances versus Cueto. This might be the worst version of Cueto we have seen sporting a 4.97 ERA with only 11 strikeouts across 12.2 innings to start the season. You can add Max Muncy to the stack, which should give you consecutive batters in the order who can hopefully string some damage early against the beleaguered Giants pitcher.
The Dodgers should be one of the most popular stacks on the slate but getting exposure to a team like the Mariners in tournaments could prove valuable despite the lack of offense from them as a whole to start the season. They face a Rockies pitcher getting his first start of the year after being recalled after Chi Chi Gonzalez went on the 10-day injured list. Ryan Castellani was fairly mediocre at the Triple-A level posting a 8.31 ERA and 1.95 WHIP in 10 starts. The trio listed get a platoon advantage and fill three infield spots, which helps when building any stack. Crawford and Seager, have clearly been better this season than Vogelbach but at $3,700 you're just hoping he finds himself at the plate with both teammates on gets an opportunity to display the .439 slugging and .780 OPS percentages he posted in 2019.