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Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley is going through his worst offensive stretch of the season as the team takes on the Royals on Saturday. On a highly dangerous offensive team, Brantley has been the most consistent force all season. But Brantley is hitting only .169 over his last 53 at-bats and currently is slugging only .333 in the month of September. He has only two extra-base hits over his last 58 at-bats but will have plenty of time to get right before the playoffs.
Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton will start and hit second against the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright in Game 2. It has been a struggle offensively for Eaton in the postseason but tripled in the Nationals Game 1 win. He is hitting only .167 in the playoffs this season but has an intriguing matchup in Game 2 against Wainwright. It is a small sample size, but Eaton is 6-for-11 (.545) lifetime against the Cardinals right-handed starter, including 3-for-8 with one home run this season. Eaton, at the very least, can be expected to square up a few balls in Game 2.
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna will hit cleanup against the Nationals Max Scherzer in Game 2 of the NLCS. Ozuna had a five-game postseason hitting streak snapped in Game 1 but has enjoyed quality success lifetime against Scherzer. Ozuna is 10-for-36 (.278) with two home runs in his career against the Nationals hurler and the Cardinals offense will have to wake up after being held to one hit in Game 1. For the playoff thus far, Ozuna is posting a .720 slugging percentage with two home runs and three doubles.
Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman will get the start and hit sixth against the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright in Game 2 of the NLCS. Zimmerman is on a nice little streak at the plate and now will have a favorable matchup against Wainwright. The veteran slugger is 5-for-13 over his last three games with one double, one home run and three runs batted in. He also is 12-for-34 (.353) with two home runs lifetime against Wainwright. The Nationals are looking to steal another game on the road from St. Louis and Zimmerman has sneaky fantasy appeal for Game 2.
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt will start and hit third in Game 2 of the NLCS. The slugger went 0-for-4 in Game 1 but is slashing .360/.407/.760 with two home runs and four doubles through 25 postseason at-bats. He will have a tough matchup, however, against the Nationals Max Scherzer in Game 2. In 25 career at-bats against Scherzer, Goldschmidt has only two hits and 14 strikeouts. The Cardinals struggled to generate offense to open the series and Goldschmidt will be a risky fantasy option in Game 2.
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will start in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Astros on Saturday. Left-hander James Paxton will go in Game 2 on Sunday and Luis Severino will toe the rubber in Game 3 on Tuesday when the series shifts to New York. Tanaka was up and down in 2019, going 11-9 with a 4.45 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 149 strikeouts in 182 innings over his 31 starts and one relief appearance in the regular season. Keeping the ball in the ballpark will be key for his success against the hot-hitting Astros. The Japanese right-hander was solid in his ALDS starts against the Twins, giving up one run while walking one and striking out seven in five innings for the victory. He'll be opposing Astros starter Zack Greinke in Game 1.
Washington Nationals relief pitcher Daniel Hudson was placed on the postseason paternity list on Friday. As a result, Wander Suero will be on the team's roster to start the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals. Hudson could miss anywhere from one to three games in this series. The right-hander had been serving as the Nats closer of late, so this could have a profound effect on the late innings early in the series. The most likely direction Washington goes in is to use left-hander Sean Doolittle for any save chances in the ninth inning while Hudson is away. The Nationals bullpen was one of the most shaky in the National League all season, though, so this is bad news.
Washington Nationals outfielder Victor Robles (hamstring) and catcher Kurt Suzuki (head, wrist) are not in the starting lineup for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals on Friday. Michael A. Taylor will continue to man center field and bat seventh, while Yan Gomes is behind the plate and hitting eighth against Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas. Both Taylor and Gomes are known more for their defense than their hitting, so both will be deep DFS sleeper picks for the lone playoff game on Friday night.
Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch confirmed that starting pitcher Zack Greinke will pitch in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday against the Yankees, followed by Justin Verlander in Game 2 and Gerrit Cole in Game 3. Cole would also be available to pitch a potential Game 7. The right-hander struck out 25 hitters in his to ALDS starts against the Rays and has arguably been the team's best pitcher in the postseason to this point. Greinke was roughed up for six runs (three homers) in just 3 2/3 innings in the ALDS against Tampa. He'll have to do a much better job of keeping the ball in the park against a New York lineup that is filled with over-the-fence power.
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer will start Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals on Saturday. He'll be opposed by veteran Adam Wainwright in this one. The 35-year-old Scherzer struggled in the wild-card win over the Brewers (three runs in five innings), but he predictably bounced back in the NLDS against the Dodgers, allowing one run while walking three and striking out 10 in eight innings after that. Scherzer will be a popular playoff DFS pick in Game 2 as he looks to continue his dominance in uncharted territory for him.
Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Austin Meadows went 0-for-4 in the team's 6-1 loss to the Astros in the first round of the playoffs. The young slugger went 0-for-9 over the final two games and finishes the series with a .150 batting average. Despite the postseason struggles, Meadows can look back upon this season fondly. In 530 regular season at-bats, the 24-year-old posted a .922 OPS with 33 home runs and 89 runs batted in.
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