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What you need to know for Monday’s MLB Games

By Todd Zola

  • Monday presents a nearly full slate with only Detroit and Boston sitting this one out. There is only one afternoon affair, with Dylan Cease and the White Sox visiting Kenta Maeda and the Twins. Cease is off to a great start, especially in the strikeout department with 18 over his first two outings, spanning 11 1/3 innings. It may have been more, but he walked five in five frames last time out against the Giants. Cease reportedly was a bit under the weather and he didn’t sleep well. Like many of us, he relied on too much caffeine to get through and wasn’t as sharp as usual. Counting on a lot of strikeouts, especially early in the season, is a risky proposition, but Cease is one of the most dominant hurlers in the league. As such, it would not be surprising if he continues to pile on the punchouts.

  • Not only is there quantity on Monday’s docket, but much of it is high quality. The first pitcher on the starting pitcher rankings with a rostership below 50% is Nick Pivetta in St. Petersburg against the record-setting Tampa Bay Rays. That’s a hard pass.

  • Next up is Atlanta starter Bryce Elder (4.3% rostered in ESPN leagues) at home against Graham Ashcraft and the Reds. The Braves are heavy favorites and Elder is expected to pitch into the fifth inning. With Max Fried and Kyle Wright still sidelined, Elder was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett last week. He responded with six scoreless frames in St. Louis, fanning six Cardinals while issuing two hits and three walks. Not only is Elder at home, the Reds offense isn’t as potent as St. Louis’.

  • Using our W% metric, Jose Suarez (1.0% rostered) and the Angels are one of the biggest favorites on the card, as they host Patrick Corbin and the Nationals. Suarez drew a tough Mariners lineup in Seattle for his season debut and was roughed up, yielding six earned runs in 4 1/3 frames. He fanned four without any walks, but he gave up eight hits, including two homers. After the first week-plus, Washington isn’t fanning much, but its home run rate is the second lowest in the league. Suarez won’t rack up many strikeouts but is solid for scoring systems that favor limiting traffic and scoring.

  • Like Suarez, Kyle Gibson won’t light up the strikeout column, but he’s still in a great spot at home against JP Sears and the Athletics. Oakland is whiffing at an above-average pace to begin the season. Gibson’s first two starts were in Boston and Arlington, so this will be his first outing in Camden Yards with the Orioles. One season isn’t enough to accurately quantify, but it certainly appears the renovations prior to the 2022 season have flipped the venue to being a pitcher’s park. While we provide what you need to know for the upcoming slate, sometimes it helps to look longer term to facilitate short-term moves. An example is the Red Sox and their impending schedule, which features facing six southpaws and just one right-hander for the week. Triston Casas (50.7%) and especially Alex Verdugo (84.2%) and Masataka Yoshida (92.4%) are potential assets, but they’re also going to be at a significant platoon disadvantage for a week. Dropping Casas is easiest, especially since Christian Arroyo (0.9%) is almost universally available and will benefit from the plethora of lefty starters. Casas and Arroyo play different positions, so it may not be as easy as a one-for-one swap.

Starting pitcher rankings for Monday

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