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Note: This file has been updated with overnight pitching changes and 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 Wednesday's MLB games
By Todd Zola
Wednesday has brought day baseball all season, with the last Wednesday of July continuing the trend. Action begins early with a 12:05 p.m. ET contest in the nation's capital with the Washington Nationals hosting the Colorado Rockies. A few minutes later, the Tampa Bay Rays entertain the Miami Marlins.
There are a few pitchers on the card who may be making their last start with their present clubs. There's also a small chance they're scratched if their team is already involved with serious trade discussion. The probable Wednesday starters rumored to be on the block are Marcus Stroman, Michael Lorenzen, Lance Lynn and Jack Flaherty.
Gavin Williams (10.2% rostered) is in no danger of being traded as the Cleveland Guardians rookie is being counted on to help the club chase down the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central, which is now more challenging with Shane Bieber out until September. Williams is set for a home date with the Kansas City Royals, rendering him one of the top streaming candidates on the card. Williams has only 26 strikeouts in 33⅔ innings, while walking a generous 15 batters. However, he'll face a Royals lineup averaging the second-fewest runs per game in MLB. Kansas City has the league's worst wOBA facing righties, along with the fifth highest strikeout rate.
Something must give in one of the day's top matchups when Kyle Bradish (44.5%) and the Baltimore Orioles visit Ranger Suarez (27.5%) and the Philadelphia Phillies. The interleague tilt features a pair of solid starters, both worthy of a fantasy start, facing potentially dangerous lineups. Suarez gets the edge in the rankings as he's pitching at home, but he's been in a rut this month. In four July starts, Suarez has posted a 6.14 ERA and 1.86 WHIP, with a pedestrian 17 punchouts in 22 frames. Even more of an issue is control and command woes as he's walked 12 while issuing four homers in that span. In June, Suarez was stellar with a 1.08 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, so he can turn things around.
Even though he's ranked lower, Bradish could be the better option for a spot start. He's strung five straight quality starts, with a 1.39 ERA and 0.87 WHIP over that span, fanning 32 with only seven walks and two homers allowed over that stretch. By the numbers, the Phillies wOBA is just league average against right-handers, but any lineup with Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto and Nick Castellanos is capable of having a big night. Even so, Bradish has emerged as matchup proof, thing the riskiness may make him a better GPP DFS play than traditional fantasy starter.
A safer option for a hump day spot start is Patrick Sandoval (30.0%) who will take the hill in Comerica Park when the Los Angeles Angels visit the Detroit Tigers. Picking on the Tigers' lineup has become Pavlovian, but to be fair, they're better with a left-hander on the hill. Even though, Sandoval is in play as he's pitched well in a pair of July efforts, recording 12 strikeouts in 12⅓ frames. Walks have been an issue, but Detroit isn't especially patient.
Given running is often predicated by the opponent, the Nationals lead the league with 14 stolen bases since the break. Next up are the Phillies with 13, followed by the Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs with 11. Of particular interest Wednesday are the Brewers, who swiped three bags in Monday's tilt with the Cincinnati Reds. Ben Lively will be on the bump for the Reds and even though only three steals have been recorded in his 60⅓ innings, the Brewers appear to be aggressive and might look to continue padding their pilfers. Christian Yelich leads the club with 22 while Owen Miller (5.2%), Joey Wiemer (1.6%), Blake Perkins (0.1%) and Andruw Monasterio (.4%) are all under-the-radar Brewers benefiting from the club's newfound penchant for stealing bases.
Starting pitcher rankings for Wednesday
Bullpen usage watch for Wednesday
By Todd Zola
Last night was a rare misstep for Carlos Estevez. He was not charged with his first blown save this season since he was asked to protect a four-run lead, but after yielding four runs to the Detroit Tigers, the Los Angeles Angels were forced to play extra innings. The club rescued Estevez with a walkoff win, handing him an undeserved win, though his fantasy managers will take it. However, his fantasy managers should consider reserving Estevez today since he's now tossed 46 pitches over the past three days. Unfortunately, there isn't a clear cut recommendation on the club to pick up. Primary setup man Matt Moore has also worked two of the past three days, albeit with fewer pitches, but with his injury history, Moore won't likely be pushed. Aaron Loup could be the best internal option. He garnered the save last night, but threw only 11 pitches and was working with three days of rest. Loup notched a hold in his prior outing, so he's earning late-inning trust.
Josh Hader was warming up in the eighth inning, in advance of coming in for a save, but after the San Diego Padres put up a pair, extending their lead to 5-1, it was a non-save situation. However, Hader had not pitched since Friday, and he was already hot, so he came in and closed out the game with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Tossing 24 pitches gets him flagged for questionable availability, but usage patterns indicate he'll be ready if needed today.
Ryan Pressly escaped with his 24th save last night, as the Houston Astros defeated the Texas Rangers 4-3 despite their closer yielding a pair of runs in the top of the ninth. Pressly was pitching in back-to-back fashion, but needed only nine tosses to collect a win in the first game of the series on Monday night. Despite the importance of the series,.Pressly will probably not be asked three days in a row. Bryan Abreu did not pitch yesterday, so he's the likeliest fill in.
The Seattle Mariners pushed the envelope last night, using Paul Sewald for the third straight day and fifth of the past six. They were rewarded with his 29th save, but not before Sewald yielded a solo homer, cutting into a three-run deficit. With 66 pitches amassed since last Thursday, Sewald is due a day off, even though the Mariners (and 21 other clubs) don't play on Thursday. Andres Munoz did not appear yesterday, so he's the probable ninth-inning substitute.
It appeared the Cincinnati Reds would not need Alexis Diaz last night as they were shutting out the Milwaukee Brewers 4-0 heading into the top of the ninth. Daniel Duarte retired the first two batters, but after a walk and an infield hit, he surrendered a three-run dinger to Christian Yelich, and Diaz was summoned. The All-Star closer allowed a knock and hit a batter, but he secured the last out for the save. Diaz pitched on consecutive days and has now appeared four times over the prior five days, totaling 50 pitches. There really isn't anyone else to comfortably recommend in the Reds bullpen as Lucas Sims and Buck Farmer could also use a day of rest.
Best sub-50% rostered hitters for Wednesday
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.
Matt Vierling (DET, CF -- 1%) vs. Sandoval
Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Wednesday
Jonah Heim (TEX, C -- 93%) at Valdez
Nathaniel Lowe (TEX, 1B -- 89%) at Valdez
Adolis Garcia (TEX, RF -- 97%) at Valdez
Jonathan India (CIN, 2B -- 87%) at Peralta
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Toronto Blue Jays at Tony Gonsolin
Prop of the Day
Tony Gonsolin O/U 17.5 pitching outs (-104/-141)
THE BAT sees Gonsolin putting up 13.8 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 18.1% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $56.40.
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
CB Bucknor grades out as a "pitchers umpire" and is scheduled to be behind the plate in this game.
The No. 3 stadium in baseball for suppressing walks, per THE BAT, is Dodger Stadium.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The Toronto Blue Jays projected offense projects as the fifth-best on the slate today in terms of overall hitting skill.
The Blue Jays have been the 10th-unluckiest offense in baseball this year, according to THE BAT X, and are likely to positively regress in future games.
Hot weather is strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer whiffs), and the weather forecast projects the hottest temperature of all games on the slate today at 91 degrees.
The wind projects to be blowing out to right field at 8.1-mph in this match-up, the fifth-best of the day for bats.