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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 Monday's MLB games
By Todd Zola
Monday's limited four-game slate is a bit different than the MLB schedule makers initially planned. Saturday's rainout in the Bronx with the New York Yankees hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks was moved to Monday, pushing the scheduled matchup between the Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox in the Windy City to Thursday. The makeup in Yankee Stadium begins at 1:05 PM ET, with the remaining three contests all being evening affairs.
Only two hurlers have a rostership level below 50%, which is our cutoff for streaming considerations. Neither are strong options for a spot start with Patrick Sandoval (27.4%) occupying the top spot. The lefty will take the ball at home for the Los Angeles Angels, facing the visiting Texas Rangers. Sandoval's 1.50 WHIP is a result of a high 10.8% walk rate along with being victimized by an above average .308 BABIP. His 19.8% strikeout rate is well below league average. The only appeal Sandoval has as a streamer is the Rangers have struggled facing left-handers over the past month, but chasing small-sample splits versus left-handers is a precarious plan.
The second will take the hill in the early game with Clarke Schmidt (11.7% rostered) getting the ball for the Yankees. To put it in perspective, on a full slate, he'd probably wouldn't make the cut as a streaming option. Diamondbacks are competing for a wild card, so they'll be playing their regulars even on a getaway day. Overall, Schmidt has posted a solid season, though he's been victimized by an above average .309 BABIP and 13.5% home run per fly ball. He's been especially unfortunate over his last four starts with a 22% home run per fly ball mark elevating his ERA in that span to 5.48, as compared to a 4.33 xFIP.
The marquee matchup features Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros visiting Luis Castillo and the Seattle Mariners. It's hard to recommend hitters from either side, though the edge goes to the home team with Castillo having a better stretch run than Verlander. Over his last four efforts, Verlander has only 21 punch outs in 26 frames, while yielding seven homers. Meanwhile, Castillo has fanned 24 over his previous 19 stanzas, with only one homer surrendered.
Logan Webb taking the hill at home against Blake Snell is another five-star pitching matchup with both the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres vying to get back in the mix for the last National League wild card. Webb quietly leads MLB with 207 innings pitched. This is huge for points leagues, not to mention gives him the 18th most strikeouts despite registering the 29th highest strikeout rate among qualified starters. Snell is not only trying to pitch the Padres back into wild card contention, but he's trying to win the NL Young Award, so he can bookend his mantle with the 2018 AL award. Expect a low-scoring affair, with the outcome likely decided late, putting the pressure on the bullpens. Oddly, despite having bullpens anchored by Camilo Doval and Josh Hader, two of the best closers in the league, the Giants and Padres relievers have struggled in September, each with a bullpen ERA over 4.00 this month.
Finding hitting on a short slate with solid pitching is a chore, but the Angels may be a sneaky lineup to target. They'll face Rangers' righty Jon Gray, who has been nothing short of miserable lately. In September, Gray has posted an 8.56 ERA and 2.29 WHIP over four starts, covering only 13 2/3 innings. He's fanned a solid 15 hitters, but he's issued nine free passes and five homers in that span. Logan O'Hoppe (8.4%), Zach Neto (1.4%), Nolan Schanuel (3.3%), Brandon Drury (28.4%) and Jared Walsh (1.4%) are the batters to pick up.
Starting pitcher rankings for Monday
Bullpen usage watch for Monday
By Todd Zola
Heading into yesterday's game, the Houston Astros had lost four of their five previous games, with Ryan Pressly only appearing in the sole win. The club was down a run to the Kansas City Royals when they brought in Pressly to handle the top of the ninth. Part of the reason was to keep the score 6-5, but it was also to get him some work. Pressly delivered a clean frame, but his offense failed to score, giving the Astros three straight losses as they head into a crucial road series with the Seattle Mariners. Pressly fired 23 pitches on Sunday, but that won't prevent him from appearing from tonight's opener in a game with serious playoff implications for both sides.
There was a time that a leadoff hit in the bottom of the 10th in a tie game meant the pitcher had to work a bit harder to send the game to the 11th. Now, it usually results in a walkoff loss. That's what occurred yesterday as the Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor lined Camilo Doval's third pitch into the right field gap, easily scoring Amed Rosario and further dampening the San Francisco Giants' slim playoff hopes. Even though Doval tossed just three pitches, he made our usage warning list after hurling 20 on Friday. However, 23 pitches over three days won't keep Doval from appearing tonight if needed when the Giants host the San Diego Padres, another squad barely clinging to playoff aspirations.
With the inventory of pitchers to give a spot-start almost barren today, filling in roster holes with relievers is the preferred option. Four teams playing today have closers available in more than half of ESPN leagues, beginning with Clay Holmes (46.4%) of the New York Yankees. The other options are Andres Munoz (49.7%) from the Mariners, Carlos Estevez (45.8%) from the Los Angeles Angels and Jose Leclerc (3.7%) from the Texas Rangers. The best options for holds are the Padres' Scott Barlow and Robert Suarez, the Angels' Ben Joyce, and the Astros' Hector Neris and Bryan Abreu.
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.
Alek Thomas (ARI, CF -- 1%) at Urena
Jace Peterson (ARI, 3B -- 0%) at Urena
Geraldo Perdomo (ARI, SS -- 10%) at Urena
Thairo Estrada (SF, 2B -- 46%) vs. Snell
Logan O'Hoppe (LAA, C -- 8%) vs. Gray
Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Monday
Nathaniel Lowe (TEX, 1B -- 87%) at Sandoval
Adolis Garcia (TEX, RF -- 94%) at Sandoval
Jonah Heim (TEX, C -- 77%) at Sandoval
Xander Bogaerts (SD, SS -- 94%) at Webb
Manny Machado (SD, 3B -- 96%) at Webb
Gleyber Torres (NYY, 2B -- 92%) vs. Kelly
Prop of the Day
Logan Webb, Giants, 17.5 pitching outs (-165/+125)
THE BAT X sees Webb putting up 16.8 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 44.9% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $23.98.
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
Oracle Park profiles as the No. 30 field in the league for walks, according to THE BAT X.
Webb will hold the platoon advantage over six opposing batters in this matchup.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The projected lineup for the Padres ranks as the second-strongest of all teams on today's slate in terms of overall batting ability.
It may be wise to expect positive regression for the Padres offense going forward, given that THE BAT X sees them as them as the unluckiest offense in baseball this year.
This game is expected to have the second-best weather for pitching among today's scheduled games.
The wind projects to be blowing out to left at 10.3 mph in this contest, the most-favorable of the day for batters.