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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 Monday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
Monday's schedule consists of only six games, all contested under the lights. The action begins at 7:05 p.m. ET with two of the first half's biggest surprises squaring off in Camden Yards with the Baltimore Orioles hosting the Cincinnati Reds. Baltimore showed signs of improvement last season, but after a quiet offseason more expected the club to fall back a bit, as opposed to taking the next step. The Reds have received an infusion of young talent, with more on the way. Neither starting pitcher carries much fantasy allure with the Reds giving the ball to rookie Brandon Williamson, while the home team will start Cole Irvin. This does, however, put the batters in the spotlight, beginning with rookies Matt McLain (24.0% rostered in ESPN leagues) and Spencer Steer (68.9% rostered) along with Tyler Stephenson (44.8%) and Nick Senzel (2.2%), all of which will enjoy the platoon edge. Baltimore's Austin Hays (36.6%) is in an especially favorable spot with a lefty on the hill.
Only five of the dozen probable starters are rostered in more than half of ESPN leagues, with Texas Rangers southpaw Andrew Heaney (34.3%) the top streamer, despite being ranked third from the bottom. The Detroit Tigers open a series in Arlington and their lineup has been the panacea for many struggling hurlers this season. Heaney's strikeouts have been fine with 76 in 72 1/3 innings, but 31 walks and 12 homers allowed reflect spotty command and control. While the Tigers have been more productive facing left-handers, they're below average, particularly on the road.
Colin Rea (1.4%) has yielded at least three runs in four of his past five starts, but he's pitched at least five innings in each, fanning a palatable 25 in those 26 1/3 frames. On Monday, the Milwaukee Brewers open a set in Citi Field with the New York Mets. Rea will enjoy toeing the rubber in the game's best pitching venue, but more important, the Mets sport the 10th-lowest home wOBA facing righties, along with an above-average strikeout rate.
Assuming the Los Angeles Angels are convinced to board their plane out of Colorado, they open a series at home against the Chicago White Sox. We're at the point of the season where it's possible to identify clubs to target for stolen bases, with the White Sox near the top of the list. Shohei Ohtani leads the Angels, so the matchup adds to his DFS allure. Luis Rengifo (1.4%), Andrew Velazquez (0.1%) and Taylor Ward (63.0%) have the best chance to pad their pilfers.
Arlington is a great place to fill holes in the hitting lineup with lefty Matthew Boyd on the hill for the Tigers. Josh Jung (68.4%) may be available in shallower leagues, with Leody Taveras (20.4%), Ezequiel Duran (20.5%) and Robbie Grossman (1.0%) more widely available.
Not only did Reid Detmers (40.1%) avoid Coors Field over the weekend, he draws a weak Chicago White Sox lineup tonight. The lefty is coming off seven shutout frames against the Los Angeles Dodgers where he fanned eight with just one walk. Detmers has eight punchouts in each of his last three games, giving him 24 over his last 18 2/3 innings. The White Sox will tote the 11th lowest wOBA versus southpaws into Globe Life Field.
Starting pitcher rankings for Monday
Bullpen usage watch for Monday
By Todd Zola
Raisel Iglesias closed out both of the Atlanta Braves' weekend wins in Cincinnati, throwing 41 pitches in the process. Iglesias was joined by A.J. Minter and Nick Anderson, who both also pitched on back-to-back days, using at least 40 pitches. Expect all three to be unavailable for tonight's home date with the Minnesota Twins. Late-inning duties will likely be the responsibility of Joe Jimenez and Kirby Yates, with Collin McHugh capable of a multi-inning stint.
Baltimore may be without its closer for tonight's home date with the Reds after Felix Bautista also pitched on both Saturday and Sunday, amassing 33 total pitches. Yennier Cano only pitched on Saturday -- and that was on three days of rest -- so, not only does he line up for a possible save, it could be one of the multi-inning variety.
Alexis Diaz was brought into Sunday's game with runners on first and second and no one out in the top of the eighth. Diaz walked two batters, extending the Braves lead to 7-4. That run proved to be the game-winner as the Reds were able to rally for a pair in the bottom of the frame, but that was it. Diaz's control issues resulted in a 21-pitch inning, which flags him. Still it is probably not enough to keep him from taking the ball tonight in Camden Yards.
Devin Williams was asked to preserve a ninth-inning tie in Cleveland yesterday. He retired all three Guardians he faced, throwing 11 of his 16 pitches for strikes. Williams hadn't pitched since the previous Tuesday, so he'll be fine if needed tonight when the Milwaukee Brewers open a series in Citi Field against the New York Mets.
Monday's six-game slate no doubt leaves some roster holes. There are two prime targets for saves, beginning in Arlington where Will Smith (28.9% rostered) and the Texas Rangers open a set against the Detroit Tigers. Smith is not only a great fill-in tonight, but with 14 saves and four holds, he's a solid play for the entire series since Texas will be favored in each of the four games.
Carlos Estevez (66.5%) is likely only available in shallower leagues, but with 19 saves and a four-game home set against the White Sox on the docket, it's worth checking to see if the Los Angeles Angels closer is rostered in your league.
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
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.
Cal Raleigh (SEA, C -- 24%) vs. Williams
J.P. Crawford (SEA, SS -- 6%) vs. Williams
Ramon Urias (BAL, 3B -- 1%) vs. Williamson
Tommy Pham (NYM, LF -- 4%) vs. Rea
Aaron Hicks (BAL, CF -- 2%) vs. Williamson
Jorge Mateo (BAL, SS -- 29%) vs. Williamson
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
Elly De La Cruz (CIN, SS -- 75%) at Irvin
Carlos Correa (MIN, SS -- 76%) at Strider
Rowdy Tellez (MIL, 1B -- 56%) at Verlander
Willy Adames (MIL, SS -- 67%) at Verlander
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Monday
Prop of the Day
Cole Irvin, Orioles, 3.5 strikeouts (-143/+107)
THE BAT X sees Irvin putting up 4.8 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 65.3% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $15.58.
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
THE BAT X projects Irvin to throw 100 pitches in this matchup (fourth-most on the slate), taking into account both his underlying tendencies and the matchup.
Irvin's fastball velocity has risen 1 mph this year (91 mph) over where it was last year (90 mph).
Irvin has utilized his sinker 5.4% less often this season (16.9%) than he did last season (22.3%).
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
Oriole Park at Camden Yards projects as the No. 23 venue in the league for strikeouts, according to THE BAT X projection system.
High temperatures are strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer strikeouts), and the weather report projects the second-highest temperatures of all games on the slate at 81 degrees.