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Note: This file has been updated with any overnight pitching changes or weather-related game postponements, along with the addition of the latest MLB game odds as of the indicated time of publication.
What you need to know for Sunday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
Dodgers fans will need an early wake-up call on Sunday with an 11:35 a.m. ET date with the Rays in Tropicana Field. Phillies and Braves fans can sleep in with their favorite teams featured in the ESPN Sunday night game. In between are 13 afternoon affairs, with a handful of risky pitching streaming opportunities.
Leading the pack is lefty Patrick Sandoval (43% rostered in ESPN leagues) taking the hill in Anaheim where the Angels will host the Marlins in the final game of their interleague series. Sandoval is coming off a rough outing, but he had posted a 3.12 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over the prior four games. Sandoval's strikeout and walk rates aren't special, but he's yielded only three homers in 49 1/3 innings in a season where homers are up. It won't be easy pickings for Sandoval, as Miami has hit well with a southpaw on the hill, but the Angels will still be favored in pitcher-friendly Angel Stadium.
MacKenzie Gore (20.6% rostered) is another hurler coming off a subpar effort after pitching well for several games. Gore is in a good spot to get back on track against a Royals lineup checking in around league average with a lefty on the hill. Prior to a shaky effort against the Padres last time out, Gore punched out 33 batters with only nine free passes in the previous 25 1/3 stanzas.
Tanner Houck (6.6%) would like to demonstrate to Red Sox manager Alex Cora that he made the right decision sending Nick Pivetta and Corey Kluber to the bullpen instead of Houck. His 3.99 ERA is misleading, as evidenced by a 3.76 xFIP. The right-hander cemented his rotation spot with 17 strikeouts to only four walks in his past three starts, spanning 16 2/3 innings. The Diamondbacks are tough on righties, but Houck is pitching with confidence in what should be a close game.
On the surface, Dane Dunning (23.3%) is enjoying a breakthrough campaign, but a 4.59 xFIP compared to an actual 1.67 mark paints a less rosy picture. Still, Dunning has made strides with command and control; he's just not missing many bats, which can lead to game-to-game variance. This adds extra risk, especially on the road, but Dunning is backed by the top offense in the league. On a better slate for streaming, Dunning would be an afterthought, but he's an emergency play on Sunday.
Sunday wraps up a week at Coors Field, though the scoring hasn't been as substantial as expected. Even so, hitters are always in play at altitude. Some standalone bats to consider on Sunday are Eddie Rosario (1.6%) against Dylan Covey, Lars Nootbaar (25%) against Hunter Gaddis and Matt McLain (10.0%) facing Drew Smyly.
Starting pitcher rankings for Sunday
Bullpen usage for Sunday
By Todd Zola
Camilo Doval collected his 14th save yesterday, nailing down the Giants 3-1 win in Milwaukee. Doval required a hefty 29 pitches to get it done. For most, that's a signal to take him out of your lineup for a day, but with Doval it isn't as cut and dried as he's worked in consecutive games after throwing 23 and 25 pitches in the first contest. Furthermore, the Giants closer pitched yesterday on three days rest. Tyler Rogers and Taylor Rogers are both available today, and have the fallback of being in the mix for a hold in the event Doval is indeed asked to seal another deal.
It's been a productive weekend for Ryan Pressly as he's recorded two saves, fanning five of the six Oakland batters he's faced. He used just a combined 23 pitches on Friday and Saturday, but taking the hill on two straight days likely precludes Pressly from today's series finale. The challenge is identifying the likeliest replacement as both Bryan Abreu and Neris have been extended lately and it's hard to imagine Dusty Baker trusting Rafael Montero after the series of poor outings he's recorded. That leaves Ryne Stanek, who is a bit down the pecking order, but has pitched in high leverage scenarios for Houston in the past, compiling three saves and 38 holds from 2021-2022.
David Bednar was asked to swab the deck for the Pirates yesterday, as he pitched the eighth inning in a 5-0 defeat in Seattle. The catch is he last pitched on Monday, so the 18 pitches tossed yesterday are probably not going to keep him from coming back today. Colin Holderman is also well rested if you want to play it safe. Holderman is also a candidate for a hold.
Alexis Diaz is in a similar scenario as Bednar, except Diaz captured his 11th save for the Reds in their 8-5 win in Wrigley Field. Diaz's previous appearance was also Monday, so yesterday's 17 tosses aren't sufficient to warrant a day's rest.
By virtue of hosting the Nationals to begin next week, the Dodgers bullpen is the one to target for saves and holds. This is a perfect example of how adding holds to the scoring equation facilitates team management, as the Dodgers don't have a go-to closer, but instead play the matchups. Evan Phillips (30.6% rostered) leads with seven saves while chipping in with four holds, so he's the primary pickup. Brusdar Graterol (3.6%) has three saves and six holds while Caleb Ferguson (3.6%) has a pair of saves and eight holds.
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Sunday
Best and worst hitters from the day are generated by THE BAT X, a projection system created by Derek Carty using advanced methods like those used in MLB front offices, accounting for a variety of factors including player talent, ballparks, bullpens, weather, umpires, defense, catcher pitch-framing, and lots more.
Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 46%) vs. Megill
Jurickson Profar (COL, LF -- 11%) vs. Megill
Eduardo Escobar (NYM, 3B -- 1%) at Gomber
Tommy Pham (NYM, LF -- 1%) at Gomber
Mark Canha (NYM, LF -- 5%) at Gomber
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Sunday
Alec Bohm (PHI, 3B -- 81%) at Strider
J.T. Realmuto (PHI, C -- 96%) at Strider
Kyle Schwarber (PHI, LF -- 91%) at Strider
Trea Turner (PHI, SS -- 98%) at Strider
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Sunday
Prop of the Day
Austin Gomber, Colorado Rockies vs. New York Mets: Pitching outs prop is set at 14.5 pitching outs (-175/+120)
THE BAT sees Gomber putting up 12.2 Pitching Outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 34.6% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $43.90.
Note: Expected Value is a measure of how good a bet is, factoring the probability that it will win versus the odds the book is providing. If you were to wager $1.00 100 times on a bet with an Expected Value of $25, you would win some and you would lose some, but in the end you would expect to come away with $25 in profit on your $100 investment.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
Gomber has used his change-up 5.4% more often this year (22.1%) than he did last year (16.7%).
Gomber has been unlucky this year, putting up a 6.48 ERA despite THE BAT estimating his true talent level to be 5.19 -- a 1.29 gap.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
With his assigned duty of behind the plate today, Jansen Visconti is considered a valuable asset as a Hitters Umpire.
In accordance with THE BAT projection system, Coors Field is ranked as the 1st ballpark in MLB for batting average.
In terms of temperature and humidity, the weather report forecasts for the most suitable hitting conditions on the slate.
The New York Mets have 8 bats in the projected offense that will have the benefit of the platoon advantage against Gomber in this matchup.