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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 Wednesday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
Wednesday's games commence at 2:05 PM ET with the Diamondbacks visiting the Rangers, then five minutes later the Astros host the Giants. A couple hours later, two more matinees take place with the Dodgers entertaining the Phillies while the Padres have a home date with the Reds. The other nine contests will be under the lights, with one featuring the return of Max Scherzer. The veteran righty's 10-game suspension was supposed to end Sunday, but a pair of rainouts in Queens extended his unplanned vacation until the conclusion of Monday's doubleheader. Scherzer returns to action in a familiar spot with the Mets continuing a series in Detroit.
Wednesday's top steaming option is starting one of the afternoon affairs, as Seth Lugo (28.3% rostered in ESPN leagues) takes the hill at Petco Park to face the Reds. Lugo has recorded three quality starts in his five outings, but he's coming off a rough game in Wrigley Field where he pitched five innings, yielding four runs on seven hits, two leaving the yard. A home tilt with a below average Reds offense is a solid panacea.
Mitch Keller (38.1% rostered) has a tough matchup in Tropicana Field, but his last five outings have all been quality starts, the last against the Dodgers in which he fanned 10 with just one walk in six frames. Keller has also kept the tough Red Sox, Astros and Cardinals lineups in check during his solid April. Overall, Keller has punched out 40 with a reasonable 12 walks in 35 2/3 innings.
Kyle Gibson (26.5%) hasn't pitched as well as his 4-0 record and 3.93 ERA might indicate, but a matchup with the Royals should delay his comeuppance. Gibson's expected ERA marks are all over half a run higher than actual, but he'll face a lineup with the lowest wOBA in the league.
Rookie Gavin Stone (5.3%) draws a tough assignment for his MLB debut with Bryce Harper and the Phillies visiting Dodgers Stadium. Stone hasn't pitched all that well to open the season for Triple-A Oklahoma City, but he ranked as Kiley McDaniel's 55th best prospect on ESPN's Top Prospects for 2023. Trusting Stone on Wednesday night is a risk, and it's unclear whether he'll stay in the Dodgers' rotation or head back to the farm, but he should be a priority for dynasty leagues where a player needs to be in the majors to be eligible for pickup.
A late addition to the Wednesday slate is another top prospect, as Arizona's Brandon Pfaadt will make his long-awaited MLB debut. Pfaadt ranked No. 32 on McDaniel's top 100. The 24-year-old right-hander almost broke camp in the Diamondbacks rotation but instead started the season with Triple-A Reno where he fanned 30 with only six walks in 25 1/3 innings. Pfaadt has a tough assignment on the road in Texas. Like Stone, he is a must in keeper and dynasty formats, but he is a risk today as the Rangers boast the fifth-highest wOBA with a righty on the hill.
A pair of southpaws square off at Coors Field, putting each teams' righty swingers in the spotlight. A sneakier source of offense is in Nationals Park with Jake Irvin promoted by Washington to fill in for the injured Chad Kuhl. Irvin is the third rookie making his debut today, but he doesn't carry anything close to the prospect pedigree as Stone or Pfaddt. Irvin is a 26-righthander who had Tommy John surgery in 2020. He started the season with Triple-A Rochester, posting a 5.64 ERA and 1.54 WHIP with 20 strikeouts and 11 walks in 22 1/3 innings. Irvin has averaged fewer than five innings per start, so the below average Nationals bullpen will no doubt play a prominent role in today's game. The combination puts Ian Happ (69.7%), Seiya Suzuki (54.4%), Patrick Wisdom (55%), Eric Hosmer (1.9%) and Trey Mancini (9.6%) all in play.
Starting pitcher rankings for Wednesday
Bullpen usage watch for Wednesday
By Todd Zola
Paul Sewald pitched a clean ninth last night, collecting his eighth save for the Mariners. However, he threw 17 pitches, which is on top of 19 tossed on Sunday. The combined 36 over the past three days could have him sitting out today's affair in Oakland. Matt Brash hasn't pitched since Sunday when he registered his first save of the season, so he could be in line for his second tonight.
After Anthony DeSclafani blanked the Astros for eight innings, Camilo Doval preserved the 2-0 shutout with his fourth save last night. Doval needed 15 pitches after throwing 17 on Sunday, so he's also questionable for tonight, especially since the rest of the Giants bullpen wasn't needed yesterday. Tyler Rogers is next in line with a save and four holds on his 2023 ledger.
Josh Hader threw a clean ninth in last night's 2-1 loss to the Reds. The game was tied in the ninth and Hader kept it that way with 14 pitches, 11 for strikes. He threw 10 pitches while capturing his 10th save on Sunday. While the combined 24 flags him, Hader has pitched on consecutive days with a similar recent workload.
Today's Mets-Tigers doubleheader renders a pair of bullpens with twice the chance to compile saves and holds. The Caesars odds favor the Mets in both games, but we have the opener featuring Lucchesi for the Mets and Joey Wentz for the Tigers closer to a toss-up. David Robertson and Adam Ottavino remain the co-closers for the Mets, with Drew Smith in play for saves. Alex Lange and Jason Foley share saves for Detroit.
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Wednesday
Riley Greene (DET, CF -- 14%) vs. Lucchesi and Scherzer
Spencer Torkelson (DET, 1B -- 8%) vs. Lucchesi and Scherzer
Matt Vierling (DET, CF -- 1%) vs. Lucchesi and Scherzer
Charlie Blackmon (COL, RF -- 22%) vs. Lauer
Brian Anderson (MIL, 3B -- 42%) at Freeland
Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 27%) vs. Lauer
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.
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Wednesday
Tyler Stephenson (CIN, C -- 52%) at Lugo
Willson Contreras (STL, C -- 86%) vs. Ohtani
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Kyle Freeland, Rockies: Strikeouts prop is set at 4.5 (-120/-110).
THE BAT sees Freeland putting up 3.2 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 23.7% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER, with an expected value of $50.30.
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
The Brewers (26.1 K%, per THE BAT X) are projected to have the second-most strikeout-prone group of batters today.
Freeland has had bad variance on his side thus far when it comes to his strikeouts this year, notching a 5.67 K/9 despite THE BAT estimating his true talent level to be 7.04 -- a 1.37 K/9 discrepancy.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
With his assigned duty of calling pitches today, James Hoye is considered a valuable asset as a hitters' umpire.
Coors Field profiles as the No. 30 stadium in the league for strikeouts, according to THE BAT projection system.
The weatherman calls for the best hitting weather of the day, as it relates to temperature and humidity.
Freeland's fastball velocity has decreased by 1.9 mph (87.9 mph) this year compared to last year (89.8 mph).