It’s a busy evening in Major League Baseball and that provides many opportunities to play props and win with Monkey Knife Fight.
Early in the 2020 season, the story – aside from the daily dread of potentially more positive Covid-19 tests – seems to be that the hitters are having a hard time keeping up with the pitchers.
In 2019, the average runs per game per team was 4.83. This season, it’s 4.59, which works out to nearly half a run less per game when factoring in both teams.
With that in mind, there might be some reason to be more optimistic when it comes to pitcher strikeout totals, except that even the aces don’t seem to be going very deep into games.
Here are some Star Shootout angles to consider for Friday’s Monkey Knife Fight MLB schedule:
STAR SHOOTOUT-MAIN GAMES
MORE OR LESS
Jacob deGrom LESS THAN 6.5 STRIKEOUTS
The Mets ace has yet to go deeper than six innings in a start this season and while his strikeout rate, 11.5 K/9, is impressive deGrom is going up against a Phillies team that has the lowest strikeout rate (18.8%) in baseball so maybe it won’t be too easy for deGrom to record at least seven strikeouts in this game.
Gerrit Cole LESS THAN 6.5 STRIKEOUTS
Like deGrom, Cole has recorded seven or more strikeouts twice in four starts this season. Cole does get to face a Boston Red Sox lineup that strikes out more than average but Cole’s strikeout rate is down to 10.5 per nine innings this season, which makes it a little more difficult to bank on at least seven.
Jose Ramirez +0.5 total bases vs. Nelson Cruz
Veteran designated hitter Nelson Cruz is off to a solid start, slugging .543, and goes against Kansas City and starting pitcher Jake Junis on Friday. Ramirez has a .500 slugging percentage and matches up with veteran Tigers starter Ivan Nova. It’s reasonable enough to favor Cruz but just as reasonable to like Ramirez as the underdog getting an extra half a base in this matchup.
A rising star with an overpowering fastball, Lamet has 28 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings, including 11 against the Diamondbacks in his last start. Arizona ranks among the lower strikeout rate (20.0%) teams but if Lamet could whiff 11 of them in his last start, it’s hardly unreasonable to believe that he could get to six this time.
Lance Lynn MORE THAN 5.5 STRIKEOUTS
Texas’ ace is due for some regression in his performance and is facing a Colorado team that doesn’t strike out a whole lot, and yet, Lynn has recorded at least six strikeouts in each of his four starts this season, and that includes nine against the Rockies on Opening Day.
Clayton Kershaw MORE THAN 4.5 STRIKEOUTS
The main question with Kershaw appears to be how deep he will get into the game. After starting the season on the injured list, he has thrown 10 innings through his first two starts and does have a dozen strikeouts, so as long as he lasts five innings, Kershaw shouldn’t have that much trouble getting to five strikeouts.
While the Houston Astros have the lowest strikeout rate (19.9%) in the American League, Kikuchi is off to a rather nice start for Seattle, striking out 16 in 15 1/3 innings. He even struck out four Astros when he got roughed up in 3 2/3 innings against the Astros in his first start of the season. At that rate, Kikuchi has to be able to manage at least three strikeouts this time out, doesn’t he?
Fernando Tatis Jr. -0.5 fantasy points vs. Mike Trout
Incredibly, it might make sense for Tatis Jr., the Padres’ second-year shortstop, to be favored in a matchup with the best player in the game. Tatis has a 1.099 OPS and has eight home runs and five stolen bases – ridiculous numbers. Trout, on the other hand, has a 1.115 OPS and also has eight home runs, though he has yet to steal a base. The balance, then, may swing on the opposing pitcher and Tatis faces Arizona’s Merrill Kelly, who is fine, but Trout goes up against the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw. Even if Kershaw isn’t what he once was, he’s still a more challenging opponent.
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