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Note: This file will be updated with any overnight pitching changes or 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
As has been the case for most of the season, Wednesday's schedule includes multiple matinees, with the first of six commencing at 12:35 p.m. ET with the Pittsburgh Pirates entertaining the Milwaukee Brewers. The game features one of the slate's better pitching matchups with Mitch Keller and Freddy Peralta taking the hill. Peralta has been one of the most dominant hurlers over the second half as he's fanned 90 hitters in 58 1/3 innings. The lefty has posted a sparkling 2.62 ERA and .89 WHIP over those 10 outings. On the other side, Keller has recovered from a rough stretch to record a 1.36 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over his last four efforts, fanning 33 with just eight walks and one homer allowed in that span. With game-time temperatures expected to approach or be 90 degrees and both teams eager to get an early start on their Thursday off day, look for a favorable pitching strike zone and low-scoring affair, even though the temperature may be conducive to scoring. Props and lines may tilt towards the favorable hitting environment, overlooking the chance both teams want to embark on their mini break.
The slate is devoid of many favorable streaming options, but with the fantasy playoffs in full force, and an impending six-game slate on Thursday, here are some options, beginning with Gavin Williams (10.8% rostered) and the Cleveland Guardians hosting the Minnesota Twins. Williams left his last start after one inning as he hurt his knee when he lost balance during a delivery. Cleveland gave Williams extra time to heal, also serving to manage the rookie's workload. Minnesota is in the AL Central driver's seat, but the Guardians are within shouting distance. Prior to his last start, Williams registered a solid 3.76 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in August, with an impressive 37 punch outs in 26 1/3 frames. The Twins sport the highest strikeout rate with a righty on the hill, playing into Williams' favor.
When in doubt, streaming against the Oakland Athletics has been a useful approach all season. On Wednesday, Hyun Jin Ryu (27.9%) will toe the rubber for the Toronto Blue Jays in Oakland. Ryu will be making his seventh start since coming off the IL on August 1. He hasn't thrown more than five frames, but he still sports a 3-1 record, and the Blue Jays will be favored. The Athletics check in with the third poorest wOBA facing southpaws, buoyed by an above average strikeout rate.
Trusting an unproven rookie in the fantasy playoffs or down the stretch in rotisserie leagues is risky, but there are a few factors in Jordan Wicks' (11.4%) favor. The rookie southpaw has collected a win in his first two career starts, yielding one earned run over five stanzas in both efforts. He fanned 12 with a palatable four walks in those 10 frames, which were all on the road. Wicks is slated to make his first start in Wrigley Field when the Chicago Cubs host the San Francisco Giants. The visitors tote the third highest strikeout rate and fourth lowest wOBA in the league facing left-handed pitching.
Shifting gears to batters, Cal Raleigh (36.4%) is in a bit of a power drought, but he's in a great spot to get it going again with Lyon Richardson expected to be recalled for Wednesday's contest in homer-friendly Great American Ballpark. Richardson has yielded three long balls in just 12 MLB innings. Detroit Tigers teammates Kerry Carpenter (27.9%) and Akil Baddoo (.4%) both enjoy the platoon edge on New York Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt. The righty has struggled a bit since the All-Star break, posting a 4.86 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 46 1/3 innings. Lastly, New York Mets rookie Ronny Mauricio (6.3%) will step in against Washington Nationals righty Joan Adon, who checks in as the lowest-ranked starter on the Wednesday docket.
Starting pitcher rankings for Wednesday
Bullpen usage for Wednesday
By Todd Zola
For the first time all season, the Boston Red Sox called Kenley Jansen's number for the third straight day. After already warming up at least twice, Jansen came in to pitch the bottom of the 10th with the Red Sox up by one over the Tampa Bay Rays. Jansen walked Yandy Diaz, then Brandon Lowe sent the few remaining Rays fans home happy with a walk-off homer, making the final 8-6. Jansen is no doubt unavailable for today's rubber game in Tropicana Field. The club ran through its entire bullpen last night with starter Kutter Crawford only lasting 3 2/3 innings. Boston is off Thursday, so they could use Chris Martin or Josh Winckowski for a third straight day, but their effectiveness isn't assured. Josh Winckowski threw two innings yesterday, compiling 24 pitches so he isn't the clear dut answer. Garrett Whitlock is eligible to return from the bereavement list today, but there's no report he will and there may not be any news by 12:30 PM ET, when pickups lock. Perhaps it's best to reserve Jansen and look elsewhere for a replacement.
Alexis Diaz preserved a 5-5 tie between the Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners with a 22-pitch top of the ninth inning. After the Red pushed a run across in the bottom of the frame, Diaz was awarded his eighth win. The Reds don't play on Thursday, so they're likely to go to Diaz if needed today, despite a combined 36 tosses over the past three days.
There are only six games on Thursday's schedule. Getting a jump start on filling roster holes with closers also useful today is a great way to gain an edge. The top choice is Chicago Cubs closer Adbert Alzolay (31.6% rostered). Miami Marlins reliever Tanner Scott (13.2%) and the Detroit Tigers tandem of Alex Lange and Jason Foley are also prime targets.
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.
Mitch Haniger (SF, RF -- 6%) at Jordan Wicks
Joey Meneses (WSH, 1B -- 31%) vs. Jose Butto
Christopher Morel (CHC, CF -- 22%) vs. Alex Wood
Mike Yastrzemski (SF, RF -- 6%) at Jordan Wicks
Worst over-50%-rostered hitters for Wednesday
Willson Contreras (STL, C -- 72%) at Spencer Strider
Cedric Mullins (BAL, CF -- 90%) at Patrick Sandoval
Xander Bogaerts (SD, SS -- 91%) vs. Zack Wheeler
The BAT X's Best Stacks for Wednesday
Prop of the day
Max Scherzer, Texas Rangers, 17.5 pitching outs (-175/+145)
THE BAT sees Scherzer putting up 16.6 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 43.4% of the time.
THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $38.62.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
The Globe Life Field roof is expected to be closed today, making the temperature in this contest -12° colder than the average outdoor game on the slate -- favorable for pitching.
Scherzer will receive the benefit of the platoon advantage against six opposing hitters in today's game.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The second-best projected batting order of the day in terms of overall hitting skill belongs to the Houston Astros.
It may be smart to expect stronger performance for the Astros offense going forward, given that THE BAT X believes they are them as the 10th-unluckiest offense in MLB this year.
Mark Wegner grades out as a Huge Hitters Umpire and is anticipated to be behind the plate.
Globe Life Field projects as the No. 4 stadium in the game for home runs, via THE BAT.