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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 Monday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
The fantasy week begins with a 10-game slate, with the action commencing in South Beach at 6:40 PM ET with the Miami Marlins hosting the Philadelphia Phillies. Edward Cabrera will take the hill for the home team while Taijuan Walker (36%) gets the honor for the visitors. Walker is the top-rated streamer on the docket despite incurring an up-and-down July. Control has been Walker's main issue all season with July witnessing 13 walks in 23 2/3 innings. However, Walker fanned 21 while issuing just two homers, so he mustered a league average 4.56 ERA over that span. The Marlins have the fourth-lowest walk rate in the league, adding to Walker's allure.
J.P. France (18.7%) is the second-highest-ranked spot starter as the Houston Astros open a home series against the Cleveland Guardians. France isn't especially dominant with a 16.7% strikeout rate, but he's pitched at least six frames in 10 of his 13 starts, with four lasting seven stanzas. This is a boon in points leagues where innings are heavily scored. The Guardians don't fan much, but they'll tote the ninth lowest wOBA facing right-handers into Minute Maid Park.
After enjoying success as a primary pitcher, Nick Pivetta (18.6%) returns to the Boston Red Sox rotation tonight for a road date with the Seattle Mariners. Over his last three outings following an opener, Pivetta fanned 26 with only four walks in 16 stanzas. He'll be working with five days of rest and is sufficiently stretched out to have no pitch count restrictions. The Mariners 25.9% strikeout rate with a righty on the hill is the second highest in MLB.
Monday marks the Guardians debut of Noah Syndergaard, who draws a rejuvenated Astros offense as Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez have recently returned. The narrative is Cleveland has nothing to lose by acquiring Syndergaard since they have several young infielders to replace the departed Amed Rosario. What the Guardians have to lose is any game Syndergaard starts as he's exhibited limited evidence, he can be useful down the stretch. His fastball is down to 92 MPH and he no longer throws the wipeout slider which made him Thor. Syndergaard's change-up is only five mph slower than his fastball, limiting its effectiveness. Cleveland has developed a reputation for getting the most out of their pitchers, so maybe they can work with Syndergaard's arsenal which also includes a cutter and curve ball. However, it's a risk rostering Syndergaard.
Something else to consider is not only does Syndergaard yield an inordinate number of stolen bases when he's on the hill, but the Guardians bullpen leads MLB in steals allowed. Houston has swiped the 12th most bags in the league, so expect the club to be aggressive. Corey Julks (1.9%), Chas McCormick (30.4%) and Jeremy Pena (47%) all have at least 10 steals, with a good chance of padding their totals in Monday's affair.
Monday means most fantasy offenses have a couple of holes. It's usually inefficient to use a transaction to backfill the catcher position, but with the San Diego Padres opening a series in Coors Field, and southpaw Austin Gomber on the hill for the Colorado Rockies, Luis Campusano (1.7%) will enjoy the platoon edge.
Starting pitcher rankings for Monday
Bullpen usage for Monday
By Todd Zola
Josh Hader collected his 25th save yesterday, but not before raising the blood pressure of San Diego Padres fans. He retired the first two Texas Rangers batters in the bottom of the ninth, but they loaded the bases with two walks and a double, putting the winning run on base. Hader induced Josh Jung to fly out to seal the deal. The lefty threw 31 pitches, just 24 hours after tossing 18 on Saturday. The combined 49 over a two-day period will almost assuredly keep Hader from appearing tonight when the Padres open a series in Coors Field. It's best to avoid any replacements from the San Diego bullpen since they have also worked frequently lately and they're all right-handed. Given, trading C.J. Cron and Randal Grichuk may have an effect, but through the weekend, the Colorado Rockies sported the sixth best home wOBA with a righty on the hill.
After blowing the save but garnering the wn on Saturday, Camilo Doval was asked to preserve a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the ninth in the rubber game of a series between the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox. Doval delivered and the Giants won the game in the 11th. However, Doval threw a total of 45 pitches over the weekend, which will probably keep him from appearing tonight when the Giants open a home series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Identifying tonight's proxy closer isn't straightforward as top candidate Tyler Murphy also worked in back-to back fashion while Taylor Murphy threw 15 pitches yesterday. Luke Jackson could be the guy as he hasn't pitched since Wednesday, and he's hurled two scoreless innings with three strikeouts since coming off the IL a little over a week ago.
Carlos Estevez successfully preserved a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the ninth between the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays. Since he only needed 13 pitches, and was working on four days of rest, the closer stayed in for the 10th after the Angels pushed two across in the top of the frame. Estevez allowed the runner to score, but that was it as the Angels survived 4-3. Even though yesterday was Estevez's first appearance since Tuesday, accruing 34 pitches across two frames on Sunday should keep him out of tonight's road contest against the Atlanta Braves. Matt Moore needed 28 pitches to record five outs yesterday, so he's likely to join Estevez on the bench tonight. Jose Soriano should be available and ready to pitch more than an inning, with newly acquired Reynaldo Lopez in the mix. In his Angels debut on Saturday, Lopez fanned all of the Blue Jays batters he faced.
Raisel Iglesias needed 20 pitches (including eight foul balls) to strike out the side and collect his 20th save in the Atlanta Braves 8-6 defeat of the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday. The 20 pitches came on top of 15 tossed Friday, so the 35 total jeopardizes tonight's availability when the Braves host the Angels. A.J. Minter is slated to come off the IL tonight and could be thrust right into high-leverage scenarios with Kirby Yates and newly acquired Pierce Johnson also in the mix.
David Robertson collected his first save for the Miami Marlins on Sunday in their 8-6 win over the Detroit Tigers. Robertson needed just a dozen pitches, which probably isn't enough to keep his new club from deploying him on consecutive days, especially since the last time he appeared was Tuesday.
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
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.
Trent Grisham (SD, CF -- 3%) at Gomber
Luis Campusano (SD, C -- 2%) at Gomber
Ezequiel Tovar (COL, SS -- 10%) vs. Lugo
Ryan McMahon (COL, 3B -- 24%) vs. Lugo
Jurickson Profar (COL, LF -- 9%) vs. Lugo
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
Justin Turner (BOS, 3B -- 89%) at Kirby
Teoscar Hernandez (SEA, RF -- 58%) vs. Pivetta
The BAT X's Best Stacks for Monday
Prop of the day
Charlie Morton 7.5 strikeouts (+112/-142)
THE BAT sees Morton putting up 8.2 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 62.6% of the time.
THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $32.69.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
Morton is expected to throw 104 pitches in today's game, which is the highest number of pitches for all pitchers on the slate today. This estimate is based on his inherent tendencies and the nature of the matchup.
Via the leading projection system (THE BAT X), the team with the most strikeout-prone lineup in today's games is the Los Angeles Angels with a 27.1% underlying K%.
The No. 5 stadium in the league for boosting strikeouts, per the leading projection system (THE BAT), is Truist Park.
Because of his large reverse platoon split, Morton will hold the advantage being matched up with seven batters in the projected batting order of opposing handedness today.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
High temperatures are strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer strikeouts), and the weather report the hottest weather on the slate at 88°.
The wind projects to be blowing out to CF at 9.2-mph in this game, the 2nd-strongest of the day for bats.