It’s unfortunate that both the A’s and Giants have played themselves out of the playoff race. Not because both teams began last season at torrid paces, then cooled off, then snuck into the playoffs. Not because the Giants won’t be a validated as a dynasty until they make the tournament in an odd year. 

No, the real reason I’d like to see this game mean something is for the comedy in today’s pitching matchup. 

Barry Zito ($5,100) versus Tim Hudson ($5,500)

In 2002, the Oakland Athletics won 103 games. They were a dominant club that at one point down the stretch won 20 games in a row (I know, I know, I just spoiled the climax of Moneyball.) But what gets lost in the movie (and the book, really) is the pitching staff. The A’s were built around three dominant young dominant starters. Zito, Hudson, and Mark Mulder.

That year, according to Baseball Reference, Hudson went 15-9 with a 2.98 ERA. Zito went 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA and won the AL Cy Young. Hudson had many more quality years in Atlanta and eventually San Francisco.

Zito, however, did not. After four good, but not great seasons in the East Bay, he signed a monster deal to pitch in AT&T Park. In seven years pitching for the Giants in a pitcher’s park, Zito never finished with an ERA under four. 

Today I expect a lopsided game in front of a (rare) sellout crowd in Oakland. Hudson is making his last career start in the building where his career began. He’ll pitch within himself, get groundouts, and likely go six or more innings. 

Zito might get shelled. Though the two are similar in cost on Draft Kings, they’re not equally effective. Zito allowed two earned runs in just one inning the last time he took the hill. It was his only appearance in 2015. He’s entirely dependent on his big curveball and if it hangs; batting practice for the Giants hitters. 

Hudson already announced his impending retirement. Zito refuses to. 

Other pitching options: Adam Warren ($4,500) vs. White Sox, Stephen Strasburg ($10,700) vs. Phillies, Justin Nicolino ($4,300) vs. Braves, Jeremy Hellickson ($6,200) @ Padres

This lineup is a pretty even mix of talented players from around the league. But if you’re playing in a guaranteed prize pool on Draft Kings, and you want to stack a lineup, there are a few solid options today.

The Dodgers’ magic number is two. They could clinch the NL West today with a win and a Giants loss in Oakland. That means they’ll send all their regular starters out against Kyle Kendrick and his 6.37 ERA. I’m playing Andre Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez, but second baseman Howie Kendrick and outfielder Carl Crawford also make strong plays. 

I already mentioned that I believe the Giants will tee-off against their old 126 million dollar man. I’ve got Buster Posey in my lineup. I could easily toss third basemen Matt Duffy and designated hitter Marlon Byrd in as well. They’ve all got a legitimate shot at rounding the bases against the old lefty with an ERA of 18. 

Other lineups to stack: Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies



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