Look for our fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings, hitter upgrades and downgrades daily to help you make smart fantasy baseball lineup decisions and for MLB betting tips. Game odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is geared toward ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.
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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 Saturday's MLB games
By Mike Sheets
Coming off arguably his best start of the season, Griffin Canning (10% rostered in ESPN leagues) enjoys one of Saturday's most favorable matchups -- a road start against the Oakland Athletics. It's no secret that Oakland features one of the most exploitable lineups in baseball and that's certainly been the case over the last two weeks. During that stretch, they have fanned at a 26.3% clip with a .295 wOBA that ranks them bottom three in the AL. Canning fired seven innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts in his most-recent start versus the New York Mets and he now boasts a 14.2 K/9 over his last five appearances (with a 3.65 ERA). The right-hander shouldn't encounter much resistance on Saturday.
Despite going unclaimed after the Chicago White Sox placed him on waivers earlier this week, Mike Clevinger (20%) has looked sharp on the mound of late. Since coming off the IL in late July, the righty sports a 2.31 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP across six starts, which included a season-high 10 strikeouts versus Oakland his last time out. Against a Detroit Tigers club that's done little offensively in the second half (90 wRC+, 25.1% K), Clevinger is a strong streaming option this weekend.
After a shortened outing against the Philadelphia Phillies in his MLB debut last week, Kyle Harrison (10%) was flat-out dominant in his last turn against the Cincinnati Reds, spinning 6⅓ shutout frames while piling up 11 strikeouts. The 22-year-old southpaw displayed big-time control problems during his 20 starts at Triple-A (6.6 BB/9), so we can't simply accept all of the positives from his last outing and ignore the negatives that preceded it. Having said that, if you're OK with risk and want to aim for upside with your streamers, Harrison (who lines up against the San Diego Padres on Saturday) fits the bill.
Streaming hitters against the soft-tossing lefty Ty Blach at Coors Field may be somewhat obvious, but that's OK. It's still a spot we want to exploit. Blach has allowed a .337/.367/.446 line at Coors this season, and there are multiple widely available Blue Jays batters who can take advantage. Davis Schneider (10%), a right-handed hitter, might be the most appealing name right now, as he's slugged four dingers over his last six games and looks to be on his way to securing more playing time. Whit Merrifield (63%), Danny Jansen (14%), and Alejandro Kirk (49%) also draw the platoon advantage in this Coors matchup.
Consistent production behind the plate can be difficult to find, so there's nothing wrong with simply playing the hot hand in favorable matchups. Mitch Garver (9%), who is hitting .308/.410/.615 with nine homers and 19 RBI over his last 30 games, sports a .416 wOBA versus lefties this season and gets the platoon edge against Dallas Keuchel. The veteran southpaw has a 3.50 ERA in limited work this season, but his 5.51 xERA suggests some tough times are ahead -- potentially as early as this weekend.
Starting pitcher rankings for Saturday
Bullpen usage for Saturday
By Todd Zola
Seattle Mariners closer Andres Munoz was brought into the eighth inning of a 1-1 tie with the New York Mets but gave up a run and the Mariner failed to score in the top of the ninth, saddling Munoz with his sixth loss. Munoz threw 27 pitches, giving him 41 since Wednesday which jeopardizes his availability today. Matt Brash would have likely been given the save chance last night had Seattle rallied to take the lead, but he wasn't needed. As such, Brash is the best bet for today if the Mariners present a save opportunity.
Milwaukee Brewers closer Devin Williams was summoned with two outs in the eighth inning with runners on first and second and Trea Turner due up. Turner deposited Williams' third pitch into the left field stands for a 5-3 Philadelphia Phillies lead. The Brewers scored four in the bottom of the eighth, then Williams retired the Phillies in order for the Brewers 7-5 victory. WIlliams threw 20 pitches, but he was working with five days of rest, so he should be able to appear today if needed.
The Cincinnati Reds wanted to give their offense a chance, so they called upon Alexis Diaz to maintain a 2-1 deficit to the Chicago Cubs in the top of the ninth inning. The plan came together as Diaz did his job, then the offense plated a pair of runs off Cubs closer Adbert Alzolay to walk it off in the nightcap of a doubleheader in the Great American Ballpark. Diaz only threw 14 pitches, and even though he tossed 20 on Wednesday, his seasonal usage pattern indicates he'll be ready to answer the call today.
David Bednar locked down the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in 10 innings to record his 30th save. Bednar hurled just a dozen pitches, which came after 18 on Wednesday. Like Diaz, the three-day total isn't sufficient to worry about his availability for today.
Emmanuel Clase's roller coaster season continues as he posted his third save since Tuesday in last night's 3-2 Cleveland Guardians edging of the Tampa Bay Rays. Clase, who has been known to ring up high pitch counts, only needed a total of 34 pitches to log all three saves. Since he was working with a day's rest yesterday, Clase should be able to try to collect four saves in five days.
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.
Alejandro Kirk (TOR, C -- 49%) at Blach
Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 34%) vs. Kikuchi
Ezequiel Tovar (COL, SS -- 12%) vs. Kikuchi
Charlie Blackmon (COL, RF -- 24%) vs. Kikuchi
Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Saturday
Ha-Seong Kim (SD, SS -- 81%) vs. Harrison
Pete Alonso (NYM, 1B -- 99%) vs. Castillo
Teoscar Hernandez (SEA, RF -- 64%) at Peterson
The BAT X's Best Stacks for Saturday
Prop of the Day
Yusei Kikuchi 5.5 strikeouts (-130/+100)
THE BAT sees Kikuchi putting up 4.6 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 31.7% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $36.68.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
As it relates to his strikeout talent, THE BAT puts Kikuchi in the 87th percentile among all starters in the game.
According to THE BAT X, the offense with the most strikeout-heavy lineup on the slate today is the Colorado Rockies with a 27.3% underlying K%.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
James Hoye profiles as a Huge Hitters Umpire and is anticipated to be in charge of the strike zone.
Coors Field ranks as the #30 ballpark in the league for strikeouts, according to THE BAT.
The weather report expects temperatures in this game to reach the highest level of all games on the slate at 94°, which is highly linked to an increase in offense (and a reduction in strikeouts).
Given his large platoon split, Kikuchi encounters a tough challenge facing six bats in the projected lineup of opposing handedness in this matchup.