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What you need to know for Friday's MLB games
By Todd Zola
After 22 teams enjoyed having Thursday off, everyone is back in action for a full Friday slate, with 15 evening affairs. A pair of interleague tilts bookend the schedule, with the Miami Marlins hosting the Detroit Tigers at 6:40 p.m. ET and the San Francisco Giants hosting the Boston Red Sox at 10:10 p.m. ET.
Competing teams have already begun fortifying their rosters for the playoff run. The Los Angeles Angels made the biggest splash so far by acquiring starter Lucas Giolito and with reliever Reynaldo Lopez from the Chicago White Sox. Giolito is set to make his Angels debut Friday night in Toronto. Overall, Giolito will incur a bit of a park upgrade for his remaining home games, though taking the hill in the Rogers Centre is always a challenge. The only probable starter on Friday's card rumored to be on the block is the St. Louis Cardinals' Jordan Montgomery, so there is a chance the southpaw is scratched if a deal is close.
Friday's top streaming option is Braxton Garrett (30.6% rostered in ESPN leagues), who will throw the first pitch of the day when he takes the hill in South Beach. The lefty has struggled in July, mostly with home runs, surrendering five in 18 1/3 innings this month. The spike in long balls masked an outstanding 10 strikeouts with just one walk over thas span. Not only does loanDepot Park suppress power, but the Tigers' home run rate with a lefty on the hill is a tick below average.
Bobby Miller (33.8% rostered) is ranked a couple of spots ahead of Garrett, but a date with the revamped Cincinnati Reds lineup, even in Dodgers Stadium, is riskier. Miller entered the break in a rut and his first start coming out was spotty, but he reverted to early season form in his last outing, posting a quality start against the Texas Rangers, punching out six with no free passes in six stanzas. Small sample alert, but since the break, the Reds have struggled against right-handers, recording the sixth-lowest wOBA and fifth-highest strikeout rate in this short span.
The Giants have also wallowed facing righties since returning from the midseason hiatus, sporting the 13th-worst wOBA and second-highest strikeout rate. On Friday night, Kutter Crawford (2.7%) and the Red Sox pay a rare visit to Oracle Park. Crawford has been inconsistent, but he has a 3.82 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over his last six outings with a palatable 28 punch-outs in those 30 2/3 frames. Coming off a travel day, Crawford won't be extended since the newly revamped and effective bullpen will be refreshed.
The Colorado Rockies host the Oakland Athletics this weekend. One of the advantages of a lesser offense visiting Coors Field is most of the lineup is available, including those hitters in the top portion of the lineup. Often, fantasy managers must settle for hitters in the bottom portion of the lineup to take advantage of the altitude. With lefty Kyle Freeland on the hill, the first four batters in the probable Athletics lineup -- Zack Gelof (3%), Jordan Diaz (0.1%), Brent Rooker (13.3%) and Ramon Laureano (2%) -- all bat right-handed.
Busch Stadium is a nice swerve from Coors Field, with the Cardinals right-handed contingent facing Drew Smyly. Smyly may serve as the primary pitcher, but Dylan Carlson (2.6%), Jordan Walker (37.8%), Tyler O'Neill (17.8%) and Paul DeJong (2.3%) are all in great spots.
Starting pitcher rankings for Friday
Bullpen usage for Friday
By Todd Zola
Emmanuel Clase allowed a couple of hits, bringing the ttng run to the plate, but he and the Cleveland Guardians outlasted the Chicago White Sox and won 6-3. Clase required 19 pitches, which comes on top of 13 used on Tuesday, giving him 32 over a three-day stretch. Clase has frequently appeared in back-to-back fashion, but it's usually after less of a previous workload, but there are instances of doing it in similar scenarios, so he can't be counted out for tonight.
David Bednar didn't pitch yesterday, but he may still need another day to recover from Wednesday's 37-pitch outing. Colin Holderman and Dauri Moreta are well-rested, hence likely to handle late-inning work for the Pittsburgh Pirates this evening.
The trade winds continue to blow in advance of Tuesday's deadline with the Miami Marlins acquiring David Robertson from the New York Mets. Robertson compiled 13 saves and seven holds with the Mets and no he'll head South where he'll probably continue to serve as a primary closer, but he'll likely cede some save chances to Marlins lefty A.J. Puk. Puk leads Miami with 15 saves, but he's going through a tough stretch with an 11.37 ERA and 1.89 WHIP over his last 6 1/3 innings. Puk fanned 12 in that span, but allowed four homers.
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday
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.
Ramon Laureano (OAK, RF -- 2%) at Freeland
Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 39%) vs. Sears
Ezequiel Tovar (COL, SS -- 10%) vs. Sears
Shea Langeliers (OAK, DH -- 4%) at Freeland
Jurickson Profar (COL, LF -- 9%) vs. Sears
Zack Gelof (OAK, 2B -- 3%) at Freeland
Jorge Polanco (MIN, 2B -- 44%) at Singer
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday
Nathaniel Lowe (TEX, 1B -- 89%) at Musgrove
Whit Merrifield (TOR, 2B -- 53%) vs. Giolito
Adolis Garcia (TEX, RF -- 97%) at Musgrove
The BAT X's Best Stacks for Friday
Oakland Athletics at Freeland
Prop of the day
Brady Singer, Kansas City Royals 4.5 strikeouts (-180/+135)
THE BAT sees Singer putting up 4.5 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 47.5% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $23.49.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
94.6 adjusted pitches per outing this year on average, Singer falls in the 82nd percentile.
The Minnesota Twins have four hitters in their projected lineup today with a high (i.e. over 27%) underlying K% (according to the leading projection system, THE BAT X) (Michael A. Taylor, Matt Wallner, Byron Buxton, Edouard Julien).
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The leading projection system (THE BAT) projects Kauffman Stadium as the third-worst venue in the league for strikeouts.
Hot weather is strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer whiffs), and the weather report forecasts the hottest weather on the schedule today at 99°.
The wind projects to be blowing out to CF at 14-mph in this match-up, the second-most-favorable of the day for hitters.
Singer's 91.7-mph velocity on his fastball this season is a substantial 1.4-mph decrease from last year's 93.1-mph figure.