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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's full slate begins with a pair of 1:10 p.m. ET starts, followed by two more matinees getting underway in the 3 p.m. ET block. The remaining 11 tilts are evening affairs.
Kenta Maeda (29.3% rostered in ESPN leagues) is Wednesday's top streaming option. He'll take the hill in one of the early games when the Minnesota Twins host the Detroit Tigers. Maeda has yielded one homer in five straight games but not much else, as he's sporting a 2.12 ERA and 0.78 WHIP over that span, fanning 35 with just five walks in those 29 2/3 innings. The Tigers tote the second-lowest wOBA and eighth-highest strikeout rate versus right-handers into Target Field.
Johan Oviedo (16.7% rostered) checks in as the slate's highest-ranked streaming candidate, but the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander's inconsistency lends more risk than Maeda. The ranking is driven by facing a New York Mets offense averaging the sixth-fewest runs per game in MLB over the last month. Since the break, Oviedo has had six starts, posting a 3.50 ERA during that span, but he gave up 11 total runs in two of those outings and only three combined in the other four.
Trusting one solid start after a season of mostly clunkers is usually a fool's errand, but when the follow-up is against the Oakland Athletics, exceptions can be made. Last time out, Matthew Liberatore (2.4%) stifled the Tampa Bay Rays with eight scoreless frames, fanning seven with no free passes. The risk may be better suited for deeper fantasy leagues or DFS purposes, but the Athletics sport on of the least potent lineups with a lefty on the hill.
James Paxton (41.3%) has been a frequent visitor to this space since making his Boston Red Sox debut in late May, and he has delivered. Paxton has registered a 3.36 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with 90 punch-outs in 80 1/3 innings and has posted a quality start in seven of his 15 outings. A road matchup with the last-place Washington Nationals may seem like another opportunity to deploy the veteran southpaw, but the contest has the makings of a trap game. Despite their woes, the Nationals have been productive against left-handed pitching, as evidenced by the league's seventh-highest wOBA and third-lowest strikeout rate facing southpaws.
The right-handed contingent of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (55.8%), Gabriel Moreno (5%), Tommy Pham (4.77%) and Kyle Lewis (.2%) all are in play for the Arizona Diamondbacks in the series finale on the road against Austin Gomber and the Colorado Rockies.
The Cincinnati Reds lead MLB in steals, so expect them to be off to the races on Wednesday when they entertain the Cleveland Guardians with Noah Syndergaard on the hill. Matt McLain (46.3%), TJ Friedl (23.2%), Will Benson (3.1%) and Kevin Newman (.6%) are the most likely to take advantage.
Starting pitcher rankings for Wednesday
Bullpen usage watch for Wednesday
By Todd Zola
The Arizona Diamondbacks were down by two heading into the top of the ninth, but they tallied five runs as Colorado Rockies closer Justin Lawrence couldn't protect the lead. That handed Paul Sewald an unexpected save chance, and he delivered, but not before giving up three singles to load the bases with one out. Sewald retired the next two batters to collect his third save in four days and 24th on the season. Sewald threw 18 pitches last night, giving him 52 since Saturday, so his availability for the series finale in Coors Field is highly doubtful, especially since the club plays Thursday, meaning Sewald won't have a natural day off. Kevin Ginkel, Scott McGough and Miguel Castro all have multiple saves this season, but there is a reason Arizona acquired Sewald. Considering the venue, it's best to reserve Sewald and seek a replacement on another team.
Emmanuel Clase had to stew for a couple of days before getting back on the hill after blowing a save last Saturday, but he rebounded last night, nailing down the Cleveland Guardians' 3-0 road shutout over the Cincinnati Reds. Clase tossed 19 pitches, but his season-long usage pattern indicates he'll be awaiting the call in the finale of a two-game set between the Buckeye State rivals.
David Bednar garnered his 35th save last night, sealing the deal in the Pittsburgh Pirates' 7-4 win at Citi Field over the New York Mets. Bednar hurled 17 pitches, giving him 29 over the last three days. He has already appeared in back-to-back games multiple times after a similar workload, including earlier this month. It's not an obvious move to reserve Bednar, but hedging with Colin Holderman if you have an available roster spot is in play, as the Pirates' primary setup man has 19 holds and a pair of saves. Both relievers will get a day of rest on Thursday with the Pirates next playing on Friday.
Taking the hill for the first time in a week, Ryan Pressly delivered his 28th save in South Beach as the Houston Astros downed the Miami Marlins 6-5. Thirteen pitches is sufficient to trigger the usage alert, but since he was appearing after such a long layoff, Pressly will be available in tonight's rubber game.
Jordan Romano didn't miss a beat in his first outing since being activated from the IL, notching his 29th save in the Toronto Blue Jays' 2-1 home win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Romano only threw 11 pitches, which normally isn't enough to count him out of tonight's contest, but after missing nearly three weeks with back inflammation, the club may want to initially take it easy with their closer. On the other hand, Toronto is in the throes of a wild-card chase, with every win being critical. Fill-in closer Jordan Hicks and top setup man Erik Swanson are both available, especially since Toronto is off on Thursday. Even so, reserving Bednar is a risk.
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.
Tommy Pham (ARI, LF -- 5%) at Austin Gomber
Ryan McMahon (COL, 3B -- 28%) vs. Cecconi
Brendan Rodgers (COL, 2B -- 10%) vs. Cecconi
Ezequiel Tovar (COL, SS -- 10%) vs. Cecconi
Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 38%) vs. Cecconi
TJ Friedl (CIN, LF -- 23%) vs. Noah Syndergaard
Nolan Jones (COL, RF -- 7%) vs. Cecconi
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Wednesday
C.J. Cron (LAA, 1B -- 51%) at Gray
Ryan Mountcastle (BAL, 1B -- 62%) at Snell
Adley Rutschman (BAL, C -- 100%) at Snell
Nick Castellanos (PHI, RF -- 89%) at Gausman
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Wednesday
Chicago Cubs vs. Mike Clevinger
Rockies vs. Slade Cecconi
Diamondbacks at Austin Gomber
Prop of the Day
MacKenzie Gore, Nationals: Over/Under 5.5 strikeouts (-165/+125)
THE BAT sees Gore putting up 5.4 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 46.3% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER, with an expected value of $20.80.
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 places Gore in the 85th percentile among all SPs in the majors when it comes to his strikeout talent.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
A hitters' umpire (Stu Scheurwater) will be calling pitches in this game.
Nationals Park is the No. 7 field in the majors for suppressing strikeouts, according to THE BAT.
Hot weather is strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer whiffs), and the forecast expects the fifth-highest temperatures of all games on the slate today, at 82 degrees.
With seven bats of opposing handedness in the opposing team's projected lineup, Gore will have a tough challenge while lacking the platoon advantage in most plate appearances in this game.