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What you need to know for Saturday's MLB Games
By Mike Sheets and Todd Zola
Saturday's slate grew by three games as MLB proactively moved the games scheduled in Southern California to today in advance of Hurricane Hilary's arrival in the area on Sunday. As such, the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres plus the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels will all play a doubleheader. Action in Dodger Stadium begins at 3:00 PM ET, followed by a 3:10 PM ET start in Petco Park, then a 4:07 first pitch in Angels Stadium. All three are split doubleheaders. Saturday's first game is an East Coast affair with a 1:05 PM start in the Bronx between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
Three twin bills means there are several opportunities for a batter to appear in multiple games. The chances are a bit better than normal since everyone will have Sunday off. Amed Rosario (52.1%) and James Outman (26.9%) are the chief targets on the Dodgers. Jake Burger (11.6%) and Bryan De La Cruz (16.8%) represent the Marlins top two candidates. The Padres Tommy Pham (6.7%) and Alek Thomas (.8%) have the best chance to play two, but there isn't anyone on the Padres to recommend for their matchup. The Rays will likely also mix it up since they're facing a right-hander and a southpaw starter, but Mike Moustakas (4.2%), Mickey Moniak (8.6%) and rookie Nolan Schanuel (3.7%) are all lefty swingers and Tampa Bay is sending righties Tyler Glasnow and Zach Eflin to the hill.
While Tanner Bibee (53% rostered) has finally creeped across the 50% threshold, he's still widely available in a lot of ESPN leagues, which frankly doesn't make a lot of sense. Bibee boasts a 1.79 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with 55 Ks in 55 1/3 innings over his past nine starts. He gave up more than two earned runs just once during that stretch, and that one outing still resulted in a quality start (3 ER in 6 2/3 IP). Bibee's recent run of success should continue this weekend against a below-averaged Detroit Tigers lineup.
Chase Silseth (15% rostered) has made just four starts for the Los Angeles Angels in the second half, but he's made an awfully strong impression. In those four outings, which included road starts against the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros, the young right-hander has surrendered just four combined runs, culminating in a 1.59 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 12.3 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9 across 22 2/3 innings. It's unclear how long Silseth will remain in the starting rotation, but for now roll with him on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays obviously present a tough matchup, but their offense takes a big hit with Wander Franco out of the picture.
Outside of a blip against the Kansas City Royals two weeks ago, Cristopher Sanchez (9%) has provided the Philadelphia Phillies rotation with a nice boost, posting a 3.17 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over his last 10 starts. While his 8.2 K/9 is a little lower than we'd like to see, he helps offsets it with good control (1.9 BB/9) and by inducing a ton of grounders (57.8% GB rate). That'll play on Saturday against a Washington Nationals lineup that's been middle-of-the-road (98 wRC+) over the last month.
Mitch Keller has shown some flashes this season, but he's been more or less serving up batting practice in the second half. Since the All-Star break, he's been hammered for a 7.71 ERA over his last six outings, surrendering six or more runs in three of those starts. The Minnesota Twins host Keller and the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend, and the Twins lineup is full of left-handed batters that look primed to do some damage. For streaming purposes, take a look at Matt Wallner (2%), Max Kepler (7%), Jorge Polanco (43%), Edouard Julien (5%), and Joey Gallo (4%).
One of the more unheralded fantasy baseball assets this season, Chas McCormick (25%) continues to deliver. His last 36 games have seen him hit .339/.432/.563 with 10 homers, 29 RBI, 26 runs and six stolen bases. In fact, McCormick has been a top-15 fantasy outfielder over the last month, according to the ESPN Player Rater. If you're seeking a player who can provide some of, well ... everything over the season's final six weeks, the Astros outfielder is likely still available in your league.
Starting pitcher rankings for Saturday
Bullpen usage for Saturday
By Todd Zola
• Carlos Estevez and the Los Angeles Angels failed to take advantage of a triple play in the ninth inning of a tie game, and it cost them today. The triple play extricated Estevez from a jam, helping send the game into extra innings. Estevez stayed in for the top of the 10th, but he yielded three runs (two earned). The Angels failed to score in the bottom half, giving the Tampa Bay Rays come-from-behind 8-5 win. Other than losing a game they were up 5-0 in the second inning following a Shohei Ohtani grand slam, they are probably with Estevez for today's doubleheader. The closer threw 43 pitches last night, likely keeping him out of both of today's contest. Matt Mooore, Reynaldo Lopez, Jose Soriano and Dominic Leone all appeared last night, but they should all be able to come back today. However, with the Rays starting Tyler Glasnow and Zach Eflin, the Angels will be challenged to be in a position to protect a lead, so the smart play is reserving Estevez, then looking elsewhere for a replacement.
• Closers often struggle when deployed in a non-save situation, but last night Raisel Iglesias had no trouble locking down the Atlanta Braves 4-0 shutout over the San Francisco Giants. Iglesias fanned two, using 13 pitches in the process. He has tossed 23 pitches over the past three days, but that's not enough to sideline Iglesias if needed today.
• Josh Hader was also asked to seal the deal in a 4-0 game and he delivered by striking out the side, helping the San Diego Padres defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks. The teams knew going in they would play two today, so chances are Hader would not have appeared last night if it kept him out of both games today. That said, appearing twice is unlikely, putting Scott Barlow, Nick Martinez and Robert Suarez in play for a possible save, as well as two chances for a hold, as they could be tabbed twice in the twin bill.
• Emmanuel Clase has appeared seven times over the past two weeks, including collecting his 33rd save last night in the Cleveland Guardians 4-1 win over the Detroit Tigers to salvage a split in their doubleheader. Clase was pitching in two days of rest, so even though he's been busy lately, Clase should be available today.
• David Robertson, on the other hand, hasn't pitched much lately. After working back-to-back days on August 8 and 9, he only appeared on the 14th, before wrapping up last night's win for the Miami Marlins as they downed the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-3. Robertson totaled 15 pitches, but he was working with three days' rest, so he should be available for at least one game of today's twin bill in Dodgers Stadium. A.J. Puk is a solid addition to a fantasy staff today, as he's well rested so he could appear twice, perhaps serving as closer in the nightcap if Robertson pitches in the opener.
• The doubleheaders provide a great opportunity to use tandem relievers with the hopes of racking up multiple saves and holds. The clear-cut options are Pete Fairbanks and Jason Adam for the Rays, along with Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol for the Dodgers.
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Saturday
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.
Bryan De La Cruz (MIA, CF -- 17%) at Ferguson and Urias
Brendan Rodgers (COL, 2B -- 10%) vs. Scholtens
Jace Peterson (ARI, 3B -- 0%) at Espinoza and Darvish
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Saturday
Ty France (SEA, 1B -- 67%) at Valdez
Willy Adames (MIL, SS -- 63%) at Dunning
Jonah Heim (TEX, C -- 86%) vs. Peralta
Cedric Mullins (BAL, CF -- 92%) at Waldichuk
The BAT X's Best Stacks for Saturday
Prop of the day
Kyle Freeland 3.5 strikeouts (-157/+117)
THE BAT sees Freeland putting up 3.4 Strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 42.9% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $23.97.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
The wind projects to be blowing in from CF at 12-mph in this contest, the strongest of the day for hurlers.
Kyle Freeland's fastball velocity over his last 3 games started (89.7 mph) has been quite a bit faster than his seasonal rate (88.2 mph).
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
It is anticipated that we will see a Hitters Umpire (Dan Iassogna) calling pitches.
The No. 1 ballpark in Major League Baseball for suppressing strikeouts, according to the THE BAT, is Coors Field.
High temperatures are strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer strikeouts), and the weather forecast predicts the 2nd-hottest temperature of all games on the slate at 90°.
Kyle Freeland's fastball velocity has fallen 1.6 mph this year (88.2 mph) below where it was last year (89.8 mph).