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Note: This file has been 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 Sunday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
West coasters rejoice! Sunday's action begins at a more palatable 1:05 PM ET this week. The Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies get things started in Citizens Bank Park. Both squads are in the NL Wild Card picture with the Phillies in the driver's seat for the first spot and the Marlins in the mix with five other clubs for the other two. Ranger Suarez (23.6% rostered) will be making his second start after missing three weeks with a sore hamstring. In his return, Suarez threw 75 pitches, so he should be able to ramp up to his typical 90-100 tosses. Suarez is fanning more and walking fewer than last season, but he's been victimized by a high .331 BABIP, which is artificially driving his WHIP up. Fortunately, a high 78.3% left on base mark is keeping Suarez's ERA in check. The Marlins don't strike out a lot facing lefties, but they're not nearly as potent with Jorge Soler on the IL with an oblique strain. On a card devoid of many solid streaming options, Suarez is in play.
Bryce Miller (37.8%) is the first of a couple of streaming-quality hurlers facing a tough lineup. On Sunday, the Seattle Mariners wrap up a series in Tropicana Feld with the Tampa Bay Rays. Both clubs are competing for their respective division crowns as well as being in the thick of the AL Wild Card chase. Miller is four outs shy from matching last season's combined innings, so the 25-year-old right-hander will soon be in uncharted waters. His velocity from his last start is in line with his yearly mark, so there isn't an indication the workload is affecting his performance. It's not an ideal matchup, but Miller has recorded a 2.53 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over his last six outings, with just one homer allowed in 32 frames. If you keep the Rays in the yard, you can keep their offense under control.
Grayson Rodriguez (36.4%) is another rookie tasked with facing a dangerous lineup on the road when the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox close their weekend series in Fenway Park. After posting a 7.85 ERA in seven starts to begin his career, Rodriguez was sent to Triple-A for more seasoning. Since returning after the All-Star break, Rodriguez has recorded a 2.85 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, supported with 48 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 53 2/3 innings. He's surrendered only three long balls in that span. For the season, the Red Sox have the sixth highest wOBA facing righties, but they've proven vulnerable to strong pitching. Trusting an opposing pitcher in Fenway Park is a risk, but Rodriguez has six quality starts in the second half, including efforts against the Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
Do you feel lucky? The Detroit Tigers are promoting Sawyer Gipson-Long where he'll debut as the starter for a home date with the Chicago White Sox. Gipson-Long isn't a highly regarded prospect, but he's earned an audition by punching out a combined 126 batters in 99 2/3 innings at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo. Gipson-Long's combined 29 walks are reasonable, but 20 homers allowed in 20 games (19 starts) ballooned his minor league ERA to 4.33 this season. Perhaps by design, Gipson-Long draws the offense with the league's lowest wOBA facing right-handers. The White Sox also sport the lowest walk rate facing righties, with a below average home run rate, so the framework is there for Gipson-Long to open his career on a high note.
Royce Lewis (33.6%) is going to be a very intriguing player in 2024 drafts. He's played what amounts to one-third of a season and has 11 homers and four steals to go along with his .320 batting average. While it would be optimistic to expect Lewis to maintain that average over a full season, the power and speed numbers are plausible. Of course, staying healthy for a full season is also a big ask. However, Lewis is healthy now and has a 1.130 OPS with two swipes in September.
Starting pitcher rankings for Sunday
Bullpen usage watch for Sunday
By Todd Zola
Ryan Pressly registered his 30th save last night, but not before putting the tying runs on base in the Houston Astros' 7-5 win against the San Diego Padres. Pressly surrounded a hit and a walk with three strikeouts, running his pitch count to 18. However, he was appearing with two days of rest, so Pressly will be available if needed for the series finale.
The Arizona Diamondbacks scored twice in the top of the 10th to break a 1-1 tie with the Chicago Cubs. Paul Sewald allowed the ghost runner to score, but that was it in recording his 32nd save. Sewald used only 11 pitches after throwing four on Friday. Pitching twice in three days is one of the criteria for being identified on the chart, but previous usage patterns indicate Sewald will be ready if needed today in Wrigley Field.
The Pittsburgh Pirates called on David Bednar to hold a four-run lead over the Atlanta Braves and he delivered with a 16-pitch effort including two strikeouts. Since he had not worked for two days, being used in yesterday's non-save situation should not jeopardize Bednar's availability for today.
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Sunday
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. Megill
Joey Votto (CIN, 1B -- 6%) vs. Mikolas
TJ Friedl (CIN, LF -- 18%) vs. Mikolas
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Sunday
MJ Melendez (KC, C -- 52%) at Berrios
Teoscar Hernandez (SEA, RF -- 69%) at Eflin
Josh Bell (MIA, 1B -- 61%) at Suarez
Kyle Schwarber (PHI, LF -- 96%) vs. Okert
Whit Merrifield (TOR, 2B -- 61%) vs. Ragans
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Sunday
Prop of the Day
Corbin Burnes, Brewers, 7.5 strikeouts (-106/-125)
THE BAT X sees Burnes putting up 5.8 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 22.6% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $49.15.
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
When estimating his strikeout ability, THE BAT X forecasts Burnes in the 90th percentile among all starting pitchers in the league.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
As far as temperature and humidity go, the fourth-most favorable hitting weather on the schedule is expected for this contest.
The wind projects to be blowing out to right at 9.3 mph in this contest, the second-most-favorable conditions of the day for batters.
Burnes has a reverse platoon split and has the misfortune of being matched up with seven same-handed bats in today's game.
Playing on the road typically weakens pitcher stats in all categories due to the lack of home-field advantage, which should be the case for Burnes in today's game.