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What you need to know for Wednesday’s MLB Games

By Todd Zola

  • Wednesday features a slew of afternoon affairs, the first of which is in Cincinnati at 12:35 PM with the Reds hosting the Rangers in an interleague tussle. The final game is in San Francisco where the Giants and Anthony DeSclafani will entertain the Cardinals and Steven Matz. DeSclafani (57% rostered in ESPN leagues) may be available while Matz (1.9%) is almost assuredly available for streaming purposes on what should be a chilly night by the bay. Temperatures in the high 50s portend a low scoring night for both sides. Matz’s 6.55 ERA and 1.64 WHIP are misleading. He’s registered an above average strikeout rate, albeit with command-and-control issues. That said, a .373 BABIP and 65.8% left on base mark have done him no favors.

  • Another young pitching prospect is set to make his MLB debut. Tanner Bibee was scratched from his Tuesday outing for Triple-A Columbus, ostensibly to start for the Guardians at home versus the Rockies. Bibee is a 24-year-old right-hander who put himself on the prospect map last season. Bibee’s promotion is on the heels of rookie teammate Logan Allen‘s inaugural start last weekend in Miami. It’s unclear if Bibee will remain with Cleveland past Wednesday, but Colorado is a manageable offense away from Coors Field and Bibee has strikeout upside, fanning 19 in 15.1 frames in three starts for the Clippers.

  • The slate’s top ranked streamer is lefty Patrick Sandoval (48.4%) who will toe the rubber at home against the Athletics. It’s fair to be apprehensive after the Athletics cranked five homers off Angels’ southpaw Jose Suarez on Monday night, but Sandoval is a better pitcher than Suarez. That said, while Sandoval has yielded just one homer in four starts, spanning 18.2 frames, he’s walked 12 with just 15 punch outs. However, Sandoval’s last three foes have been the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Yankees. It should be noted Oakland has hit left-handers well, but that was boosted by Monday night’s onslaught, serving to demonstrate how early season numbers against lefty pitching are noisy.

  • Bryce Elder (54%) checks in a tad over the usual 50% rostership used as a guide for identifying streamers, but this is a difficult slate for spot starters, so it’s worth investigating his availability. Elder was considered a long shot for the Braves rotation with Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd ahead of him in the spring, but Elder has emerged with the job and has responded with a tidy 23 strikeouts in 23.2 innings, with a reasonable seven walks, but no homers allowed. Elder will eventually serve up some homers, but on Wednesday he has a chance to make it five homerless games against a Marlins lineup hitting long balls at the 10th lowest rate in MLB.

  • Tanner Houck (8.6%) has pitched like a man not wanting to be moved to a swingman role once the Red Sox pitching is fully healthy. His 4.29 ERA is a bit bloated, but a 3.51 xFIP and 3.78 SIERA indicate he merits a lower mark. Houck has another opportunity to impress Alex Cora before the Red Sox skipper reportedly decides on his five-man rotation. It’s not an easy matchup as Houck takes the hill in Camden yards against a solid Orioles lineup, but Houck has displayed the ability to miss bats, and the Orioles fan at an above average clip.

  • Yusei Kikuchi continues to be an enigma. He’s 3-0, and his 3.80 ERA and 1.17 WHIP are impressive, but he’s also yielded six homers and has benefited from a .259 BABIP and 96.4% left on base mark. Jake Burger (3%) hasn’t hit a homer since cranking four in five games a couple weeks ago, but he’s a sneaky add against the Blue Jays southpaw.

Starting pitcher rankings for Wednesday

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