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. MLB game odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is geared towards ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.
For an in-depth look at what to expect in this daily article and for how to best utilize the information contained within, check out our handy primer here.
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
Sunday's slate features only a dozen games, with MLB moving three games up a day in advance of Hurricane Hilary moving over Southern California. Action gets underway an hour later than it has on most Sundays, with the Houston Astros hosting the Seattle Mariners at 1 PM ET. The Sunday night ESPN affair features the Philadelphia Phillies visiting the Washington Nationals.
Despite the truncated ledger, there are still several favorable options to stream pitchers. Leading off is Kyle Bradish (49.5% rostered in ESPN leagues), who is still inexplicable available in more than half of all ESPN leagues, though that is sure to change with a road date facing the Oakland Athletics on the docket. Bradish's ratios will earn him some AL Cy Young votes, but a low strikeout rate and an undeservedly low number of wins will keep him from serious consideration. Sunday's matchup with the Athletics gives him a chance to further improve his ratios and pad his totals.
Next up is Nick Pivetta (18.4% rostered) taking the hill in the Bronx when the Boston Red Sox try to sweep the New York Yankees. Pivetta has been the glue for an injury-riddled staff, working in multiple capacities. After excelling as a bulk reliever, Pivetta is back as a traditional starter. He's been dominating for almost two months, fanning 67 over his previous 45 innings, while walking a palatable 15. Even with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup, the Yankees are struggling to score as they're averaging the sixth fewest runs per game over the last month.
Logan Allen (14.4%) came out of the break a little sluggish, but he's righted the ship with three straight solid efforts, two checking in as quality starts. Allen is in a great spot to make it four in a row when he takes the hill in Progressive Field for the finale of a four-game set between the Cleveland Guardians and Detroit Tigers. The Tigers have struggled against lefty pitching all season, but it's been even worse for the past month.
Let's bend the rules just a bit and highlight Hunter Brown (51.3%) even though he's rostered in just over half of ESPN leagues. Brown will toe the rubber when the Astros host the Mariners in the day's first game. A strong second half has Seattle in the wild card chase, but their lineup is still prone to striking out. Brown isn't dominant, but he misses enough bats to take advantage of the aggressive Mariners hitters. He should be refreshed after spending some time in the bullpen to help manage his workload. That said, he should still be stretched out to rack up a normal pitch count.
With six teams having an unexpected off day, a fantasy roster likely has a hole or two to fill. Here are some batters to consider, each enjoying the platoon edge on one of the lower ranked pitchers on the schedule. Matt McLain (47.2%) and Christian Encarnacion-Strand (10.0%) have a home date with Hyun Jin Ryu. Triston Casas (43.8%) should return to the Red Sox lineup, joining Jarren Duran (19.8%) for the encounter with Clarke Schmidt. Andrew Benintendi (14.8%) draws Chris Flexen in Coors Field, and Liover Peguero (.7%) steps in against Dallas Keuchel, in what could be his last start with the Twins, and perhaps career.
Starting pitcher rankings for Sunday
Bullpen usage watch for Sunday
By Todd Zola
The Atlanta Braves scored twice in the bottom of the eighth Saturday to take a 6-5 lead over the San Francisco Giants. As he had done 32 times previously, Raisel Iglesias came in for the ninth and delivered a save. He fanned two, but still threw just 10 pitches. However, Iglesias also appeared on Friday and tossed 13 pitches. Iglesias pitched on three straight days earlier this month, and it was with a higher pitch count heading into the third day, so reserving him Sunday is a risk. Kirby Yates, who recorded yesterday's win, is the top candidate to fill in if manager Brian Snitker doesn't want to tax Iglesias today.
Jordan Romano put the tying and winning runs on base with no outs, but then he retired the next three batters to register his 30th save as the Toronto Blue Jays held off the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 on Saturday. Romano hurled 13 pitches, which is sufficient to trigger an alert, but since he was appearing with two days of rest, the Blue Jays closer should be available for the rubber game of the series.
It's always a good idea to fortify Sunday's lineup in a manner that also helps the next few days as well. Those with relievers from the six teams whose Sunday games were moved to yesterday have a hole in their Sunday lineup. Bullpen arms on the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays also have tomorrow off, so a fill-in to help today can be retained for at least a day. The closers to target in this vein are Craig Kimbrel (45.1%) and Andres Munoz (46.9%). Kimbrel and the Philadelphia Phillies wrap up a series in Washington today, then welcome the San Francisco Giants to Citizens Bank Park with Aaron Nola taking the hill. Munoz and the Seattle Mariners will try to sweep the Houston Astros on the road today before entertaining the Chicago White Sox to begin the fantasy week.
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.
Elvis Andrus (CHW, SS -- 2%) at Chris Flexen
Andrew Benintendi (CHW, LF -- 15%) at Flexen
Brendan Rodgers (COL, 2B -- 10%) vs. Cease
Ezequiel Tovar (COL, SS -- 11%) vs. Cease
Ryan McMahon (COL, 3B -- 28%) vs. Cease
Yoan Moncada (CHW, 3B -- 4%) at Flexen
Ke'Bryan Hayes (PIT, 3B -- 19%) at Dallas Keuchel
Lenyn Sosa (CHW, 2B -- 0%) at Flexen
Andrew McCutchen (PIT, LF -- 16%) at Keuchel
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Sunday
Elly De La Cruz (CIN, SS -- 89%) vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu
William Contreras (MIL, C -- 68%) at Scherzer
Teoscar Hernandez (SEA, RF -- 56%) at Hunter Brown
Ty France (SEA, 1B -- 66%) at Brown
Keibert Ruiz (WSH, C -- 64%) vs. Wheeler
Cedric Mullins (BAL, CF -- 92%) at Sears
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Sunday
Prop of the Day
Dylan Cease, White Sox: Over/Under 6.5 strikeouts (-124/-108)
THE BAT X sees Cease putting up 5.4 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 29.9% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER, with an expected value of $37.87.
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
Cease projects as the 15th-best starting pitcher in MLB currently when it comes to his strikeout ability, according to THE BAT.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
Coors Field profiles as the No. 31 stadium in the game for strikeouts, according to THE BAT.
High temperatures are strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer strikeouts), and the forecast predicts the second-hottest weather on the schedule today at 90 degrees.
The wind projects to be blowing out to left field at 8.1 mph in this matchup, the strongest of the day for bats.
Cease's fastball velocity has decreased 1.2 mph this season (94.9 mph) from where it was last year (96.1 mph).