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What you need to know for Friday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
Friday presents a full 15-game slate with action beginning with a trio of games at 6:40 PM ET. The best streaming option from the early set is Braxton Garrett (26.8% rostered), taking the hill in South Beach for the Miami Marlins to begin a series with the Washington Nationals. Last week, Garrett showed his breakthrough season should be taken seriously with five shutout innings against the Houston Astros, followed by a quality start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros and Dodgers have the third and fourth highest wOBA versus left-handers, so it was an impressive week for Garrett. It doesn't get much easier against the Nationals and the seventh most productive lineup facing southpaws, but Garrett has earned starting status, especially at pitcher-friendly loanDepot Park.
Bryce Miller (35.1%) checks in one spot higher in Friday's rankings, earning him the nod as the ledger's top streamer. The Seattle Mariners 25-year-old righty appeared to hit the rookie wall with a pair of outings where he allowed six earned runs in each, but he rebounded with three solid outings. In this span, which includes facing the Baltimore Orioles and Astros, Miller posted a 1.06 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, with 14 punch outs to just three walks and no homers allowed in 17 frames. Miller is in a favorable spot to continue the role with a home date against the Kansas City Royals who sport the fifth worst wOBA with a right-hander on the hill.
It's been a dispiriting week and disappointing season for the Los Angeles Angels. Mike Trout played in one game before returning to the IL and it was announced Shohei Ohtani has a torn UCL, so he won't pitch again this season. If there is a team experiencing a more frustrating summer, it is the New York Mets. This weekend, the teams play a three-game interleague set in Citi Field, with Chase Silseth (10.4%) getting the ball to open the series for the visitors. Silseth is coming off a rough outing where he allowed five earned runs in 3 2/3 stanzas to the Tampa Bay Rays, but in his prior four starts, Silseth recorded a 1.59 ERA and .88 WHIP with 31 strikeouts to just five walks in 22 2/3 frames. Silseth should be able to get back on track Friday, with a favorable matchup against the Mets.
Christopher Sanchez has pitched better than his 1-3 record suggests. The Philadelphia Phillies are 6-6 in his 12 starts, over which Sanchez has registered a 3.36 ERA, supported by a 3.44 xFIP and 3.57 SIERA. Facing the St. Louis Cardinals will be a challenge, but the Phillies have won Sanchez's three August starts and will be favored to make it four.
Oddly, Colorado Rockies southpaw Kyle Freeland has fared better at home than on the road, fanning more while yielding homers at a lower rate in Coors Field. This is sample size noise and not a reason to target Freeland in away starts. The reason for eyeballing the Baltimore Orioles lineup in their date with the Rockies in Camden Yards is several right-handed batters will enjoy the platoon edge on the vulnerable lefty. Ryan Mountcastle (63.1%), Austin Hays (25.9%), Jordan Westburg (4.9%) and Ramon Urias (.9%) are all in line for productive evenings with Freeland on the hill.
Starting pitcher rankings for Friday
Bullpen usage for Friday
By Todd Zola
On Thursday night, Paul Sewald collected his eighth save over the last two weeks as the Arizona Diamondbacks held on for a 3-2 win against the Cincinnati Reds. Sewald is now 28-for-32 in save chances. The combination of several three-ball counts and foul balls drove his pitch count to 28 despite facing only two batters. Sewald also tossed 28 on Tuesday, so the combined 56 pitches over the past three days jeopardizes his availability for tonight. Kevin Ginkel and Scott McGough are both well rested and have multiple saves this season. Ginkel is more likely to close with McGough serving in a multi-inning setup capacity.
After Kyle Gibson threw eight innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, Felix Bautista was asked to preserve the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 lead and he delivered by retiring the side on just 10 pitches. Bautista appeared two days ago with a nine-pitch effort. His efficiency keeps him available for tonight when the Colorado Rockies visit Camden Yards.
The Pittsburgh Pirates brought in David Bednar to pitch the top of the ninth to preserve a 3-3 tie with the Chicago Cubs. He came through, needing just eight pitches. Bednar also logged a 12-pitch effort on Tuesday. Prior usage indicates 20 pitches over three days is not sufficient to sideline the Pirates closer for this evening's tilt.
The Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies top the last of teams most likely to secure wins over the weekend, and both have primary closers available in more than half of ESPN leagues. Andres Munoz (46.9%) for the Mariners and Craig Kimbrel for the Phillies are the top qualified candidates to generate saves this weekend and down the stretch.
The initial reports on Boston Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen are encouraging, but his sore hamstring will likely keep him out this weekend's home set with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chris Martin is the Red Sox primary reliever to target as a replacement, though Garrett Whitlock, John Schreiber and Josh Winckowski are also in the late-inning mix. It should also be a busy weekend for the Dodgers late-inning tandem of Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol.
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday
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.
Max Kepler (MIN, RF -- 7%) vs. Dunning
Andrew McCutchen (PIT, LF -- 17%) vs. Hendricks
Yoan Moncada (CHW, 3B -- 4%) vs. Neal
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday
Michael Harris II (ATL, CF -- 86%) at Webb
Jake Cronenworth (SD, 2B -- 65%) at Woodruff
The BAT X's Best Stacks for Friday
Prop of the Day
Braxton Garrett 17.5 pitching outs (-105/-139).
THE BAT sees Garrett putting up 18.7 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 61.7% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $21.46.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
- The Washington Nationals projected offense ranks as the second-weakest on the slate in terms of overall hitting skill.
- It may be best to expect worse numbers for the Nationals offense in the future. THE BAT X believes they are the second-luckiest offense in MLB this year.
- The No. 1 ballpark in MLB for suppressing walks is LoanDepot Park, according to THE BAT.
- LoanDepot Park roof is expected to be closed today, making conditions in this game -5° colder than the average outdoor game on the slate today and favorable for pitching.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
- The Nationals have eight batters in the projected lineup that will have the benefit of the platoon advantage against Braxton Garrett in this matchup.
- Garrett's fastball velocity has dropped 1.1 mph this season (89.7 mph) below where it was last year (90.8 mph).