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What you need to know for Wednesday's MLB games
By Todd Zola
Wednesday's full 15-game slate gets an early start with the Cincinnati Reds entertaining the Miami Marlins at 12:35 PM ET. Two more matinees follow with a dozen contests under the lights. The schedule wraps up.
Michael Lorenzen (36.1%) excelled in his return to the Senior Circuit. In his Philadelphia Phillies debut, Lorenzen tossed eight frames, limiting the Marlins to two runs. He fanned five with just one walk and has a home date with the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. The visitors don't strike out much, but they tote the league's sixth lowest wOBA versus righties into Citizens Bank Park, so Lorenzen should be able to pitch deep into the contest.
Bobby Miller (30.1%) came out of the break strong, punching out 17 with just one walk in 15 3/2 innings, spanning three starts. However, he was hit hard by the Padres last time out. He'll look to get back on track in the desert, facing a slumping Arizona Diamondbacks club. So far this month, Arizona has recorded, by far, the lowest wOBA facing right-handers in MLB.
Assuming he isn't needed in relief on Tuesday, Nick Pivetta (18.2%) should start or work in the primary pitcher capacity on Wednesday. He last appeared on Saturday, so he would be working with only three days of rest. If it were on regular rest, Pivetta would be ranked higher. The Boston Red Sox right-hander has excelled since the break, posting a 2.31 ERA and .81 WHIP, with 31 strikeouts to only five free passes in 23 1/3 innings. Pivetta will face a Kansas City Royals lineup with the fourth poorest wOBA versus righties.
For those needing a batter in a productive spot, there are four lefty swingers enjoying the platoon edge who stand out. Jarren Duran (29.7%) has cooled off in August, but since July 1 he's recorded a 1.007 OPS with eight steals. He'll face Jordan Lyles. Sal Frelick (13.8%) has a 1.452 OPS including two homers over his last five games and gets to face Chris Flexen, one of the lowest ranked hurlers on the ledger. Eddie Rosario (7.2%) is a conduit to one of the most productive lineups in the league, on a night where the Braves should thrive facing Quinn Priester. Kerry Carpenter (1.8%) has clubbed 11 of his 12 homers off righties. On Wednesday, he'll step in against Bailey Ober, who has surrendered six long balls over his prior four starts, spanning 21 stanzas.
Starting pitcher rankings for Wednesday
Bullpen Usage for Wednesday
By Todd Zola
David Bednar failed to convert a save for just the third time this season Tuesday night, but it was the second time this week. A defensive misplay opened the floodgates for the Atlanta Braves to tally three times and defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-6. Bednar was working for the second straight day and the fourth time in the past five days. He has tossed 72 pitches in that span, signaling at least Wednesday off and perhaps Thursday's series finale with the Braves as well. Primary setup man Colin Holderman has thrown 32 pitches over the past three days, so his availability is questionable as well. To be blunt, there isn't anyone reliable enough to trust against the potent Braves lineup.
Bednar's stumble forced Raisel Iglesias to heat up quickly as he was handed an unexpected save chance. Iglesias delivered for the 21st time, accumulating 21 pitches in the process. Iglesias also pitched in the first game of the series, so he's thrown 36 pitches over the past two days. With their deep bullpen, there's no reason for Atlanta to overextend Iglesias. A.J. Minter and Pierce Johnson are both well-rested and have closing experience.
You know you're having a great season when you give up a grand slam and your ERA is still 1.52 with a .92 WHIP. That is the case for Felix Bautista after the Baltimore Orioles closer failed to convert a save for the first time since June 24, though it was his sixth blown save of the season. Kyle Tucker's grand-slam gave the Houston Astros a 7-6 win in what could be an American League playoff preview. Bautista lobbed 30 pitches, which came after throwing 16 pitches Sunday. The 46 combined tosses over the past three days should have Bautista on the bullpen bench for the third game of the series. Yennier Cano threw 18 pitches last night, but he came off of two days of rest, so he is available to step in as closer this evening.
Emmanuel Clase navigated around two hits to collect his 30th save in the Cleveland Guardians 1-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Clase's pitch count was a reasonable 16, but it came after needing 22 on Sunday. However, he's appeared in consecutive games after a similar workload, so it's not a no-brainer to reserve him.
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.
Jarren Duran (BOS, CF -- 30%) vs. Lyles
Adam Duvall (BOS, CF -- 22%) vs. Lyles
Luis Urias (BOS, 3B -- 6%) vs. Lyles
Matt McLain (CIN, SS -- 50%) vs. Cueto
TJ Friedl (CIN, LF -- 17%) vs. Cueto
Jorge Polanco (MIN, 2B -- 43%) at Faedo
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Wednesday
Hunter Renfroe (LAA, RF -- 57%) vs. Walker
Teoscar Hernandez (SEA, RF -- 56%) vs. Darvish
Jake Cronenworth (SD, 2B -- 66%) at Hancock
The BAT X's Best Stacks for Wednesday
Prop of the day
Jordan Montgomery 17.5 pitching outs
THE BAT sees Montgomery putting up 19.3 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 66.5% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $31.41.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
The Oakland Athletics have the second-worst projected lineup on the slate today in terms of overall hitting ability.
It may be best to expect weaker performance for the Athletics offense going forward, given that the leading projection system (THE BAT X) sees them as them as the eighth-luckiest offense in MLB this year.
The leading projection system (THE BAT) ranks Oakland Coliseum as the third-worst ballpark in MLB for batting average.
In terms of temperature and humidity, the weather report calls for the second-most favorable pitching conditions on the slate.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
John Bacon profiles as a Hitters Umpire and is expected to be calling pitches in this game.
The wind projects to be blowing out to RF at 9.2-mph in this match-up, the second-most-favorable of the day for bats.