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Note: This file has been updated with any overnight pitching changes or 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 Thursday’s MLB Games

By Mike Sheets

  • We highlighted Kyle Gibson (26% rostered in ESPN leagues) in this space last week when he faced the Detroit Tigers, and we’re going back to well with the veteran right-hander poised to start against Detroit yet again on Thursday. In that last outing, Gibson tossed six innings of one-run ball while fanning 11 batters and picking up his fourth win of the season. Don’t expect double-digit Ks again, but he makes for an excellent streaming option against the Tigers, who currently have the second-worst wRC+ (69) in baseball to go along with an AL-worst 25.9% strikeout rate.

  • Tyler Mahle (66%) is rostered in more than 50% of leagues, but he’s still widely enough available to warrant mention here when eight teams are enjoying an off day. After a pair of tough matchups against the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, Mahle spun 6 1/3 frames of one-run ball against the Washington Nationals in his last turn, lowering his season ERA to 3.32. With another favorable matchup on tap against the Kansas City Royals, Mahle looks to be in line for another strong outing. After all, the Royals’ offense has been one of the worst in baseball, ranking dead last in wRC+ (67) and 29th in wOBA (.268).

  • On the hitting side, the Minnesota Twins‘ bats match up well against Zack Greinke, making them quality streaming options. The veteran righty is surrendering a .375 wOBA to left-handed batters this season, and the Twins have multiple lefty batters who are on the waiver wire in most leagues, including leadoff man Max Kepler (3%), Joey Gallo (12%), Trevor Larnach (2%) and switch-hitter Jorge Polanco (57%). Polanco just came off the injured list late last week, and he’s off to a fast start, collecting nine hits (including four doubles and a homer) with six RBIs in his first five games.

  • The Philadelphia Phillies have been using a committee approach at closer, but Jose Alvarado (38%) looks like the name to roster in that bullpen right now. The 27-year-old lefty has been downright filthy this year. While he has dealt with control issues in the past, he hasn’t allowed a single free pass across 10 1/3 innings this season, while striking out 56% of the batters he’s faced. All told, Alvarado owns a 0.87 ERA, 0.48 WHIP and 17.4 K/9 along with three saves and three holds in 10 appearances. That type of bullpen dominance isn’t easy to come by.

  • Seth Lugo (37%) is finally getting a chance to start in San Diego, and he’s making the most of it. Through four starts, he’s posted a 2.78 ERA with a 9.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. The right-hander is also providing length, pitching six or more innings in three of his four outings. The Chicago Cubs have been hitting well in the early going, but Lugo should be able to keep them at bay. On Thursday’s 11-game slate, his name belongs in the streamer discussion.

Starting pitcher rankings for Thursday

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