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 Thursday's MLB games
By Mike Sheets
Following Tuesday's trade deadline, a pair of recently traded hurlers are poised to debut with their new clubs on Thursday. Max Scherzer, the big deadline acquisition of the Texas Rangers, will toe the rubber against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, while Michael Lorenzen will get the nod for the Philadelphia Phillies as they visit the Miami Marlins. Rostered in just 19% of ESPN leagues, Lorenzen is a strong streaming option on a day where quality pitching streamers are hard to come by. The right-hander has delivered scoreless outings in three of his last four starts, and Miami's offense has struggled (82 wRC+) since the All-Star break.
Brady Singer (51% rostered) has struggled with start-to-start consistency this season. However, he belongs in Thursday's streaming discussion after two strong starts against the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. He allowed two runs in each of those outings while racking up 19 strikeouts over just 11 frames. If Singer can keep it up, he should keep the New York Mets in check on Thursday.
With Paul Sewald getting shipped off to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, Andres Munoz (43%) is the favorite to get most of the save chances for the Seattle Mariners going forward. Munoz, who has a 2.92 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, and a 33.3 K% this season, has the stuff to be a lockdown closer, making him an immediate add if you need saves. Matt Brash (3%) and Justin Topa (1%) should continue to work in a setup capacity, giving them plenty of opportunities to secure holds.
Chas McCormick (33%) has quietly been having a very nice fantasy season. In his 66 games, he's produced a .285/.372/.526 line with 13 homers and 11 stolen bases. That looks even more impressive when you narrow it down to his last 24 games, when he's hit .349/.430/.561 with six homers and four steals. That's a pretty nice power/speed combo in a really good Houston Astros lineup. On Thursday, McCormick finds himself in a promising spot against Clarke Schmidt, who sports a 4.55 ERA over his last six outings.
The Chicago Cubs' offense has been pouring it on lately. Over the last two weeks, they lead baseball with a .372 wOBA and 136 wRC+. On top of that, they pummeled the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, scoring a whopping 20 runs. With a matchup against the Reds and Luke Weaver, who has a bloated 2.3 HR/9 this season, Cubs bats are a good bet to do some more damage on Thursday. Take a look at Ian Happ (55%), Seiya Suzuki (46%), Christopher Morel (39%), Jeimer Candelario (20%), and Mike Tauchman (3%) as streaming options.
Starting pitcher rankings for Thursday
Bullpen usage watch for Thursday
By Todd Zola
Working in back-to-back fashion, David Robertson struggled for the second straight game last night. He followed up Tuesday's blown save by allowing two runs, one earned, in the 10th inning of a tie game. The Miami Marlins came back to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, but Marlins fans are no doubt concerned about Robertson's woes. With 42 pitches over two days, previous closer A.J. Puk will likely handle the role today, especially since he did not appear yesterday.
Heading into last night's game, Devin Williams had thrown 9 2/3 shutout innings, fanning 19 over that 10 game span. However, while the streak of unearned runs remains intact, Williams was charged with a loss last night as he was let down by his defense. He came into the bottom of the ninth of a 2-2 tie between the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals. Williams didn't help himself by surrendering a single and a walk, but two errors were key in the Nationals walk off win. Wiilliams also appeared on Tuesday night and even though he pitched on three straight days earlier this season, it was after far fewer pitches that the 35 he's collected over the prior two days. Joel Payamps has also pitched for two consecutive days, so newly acquired Andrew Chafin may make his Brewers debut with the game on the line. Chafin garnered eight saves for the Arizona Diamondbacks, so he has closing experience.
Ryan Pressly collected his 26th save last night, using 16 pitches. The 29 pitches he's tossed over the past three days is enough to be flagged for questionable availability, but usage patterns suggest he'll be ready to come in today. Even so, Kendall Gravemen is a solid addition today, since he's well rested and if he doesn't fill in as closer, Graveman is a candidate to collect a hold.
Camilo Doval notched his 32nd save yesterday, hurling an efficient eight pitches. He was working with a day of rest, but that ensued pitching for three straight days. The San Francisco Giants would probably like to avoid Doval today, but it's not a no-brainer to reserve him. Adding Tyler Rogers to pair with Doval is the sage play since Rogers has 24 holds along with a pair of pinch-hit saves.
Best sub-50% rostered hitters for Thursday
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.
Maikel Garcia (KC, SS -- 5%) vs. Carrasco
LaMonte Wade Jr. (SF, RF -- 11%) vs. Pfaadt
TJ Friedl (CIN, LF -- 13%) at Taillon
Andrew McCutchen (PIT, LF -- 18%) at Houser
Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Thursday
Ty France (SEA, 1B -- 66%) at Ohtani
Hunter Renfroe (LAA, RF -- 59%) vs. Woo
Luis Robert Jr. (CHW, CF -- 97%) at Scherzer
Eloy Jimenez (CHW, LF -- 69%) at Scherzer
Julio Rodriguez (SEA, CF -- 99%) at Ohtani
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Brady Singer O/U 4.5 strikeouts (-125/-105)
THE BAT sees Singer putting up 4.0 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 36.6% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $24.95
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
Tallying 95.3 adjusted pitches per games started this year on average, Brady Singer checks in at the 87th percentile.
The wind projects to be blowing in from right field at 8-mph in this contest, the strongest of the day for mound aces.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
Via THE BAT X, the team with the least strikeout-heavy lineup in today's games is the New York Mets with a 20.3% underlying K%.
THE BAT ranks Kauffman Stadium as the worst ballpark in the majors for strikeouts.
The weather forecast predicts temperatures in this contest to reach the second-highest level of all games on the slate today at 83 degrees, which is highly linked to an increase in offense (and a reduction in strikeouts).
Brady Singer's 91.8-mph velocity on his fastball this year is a sizeable 1.3-mph drop off from last season's 93.1-mph mark.