Wednesday brings an interesting MLB slate. Scoring has generally been down across baseball, but there aren’t many top-tier pitchers scheduled to take the mound, so we could see some added offense. Among the quality pitchers that do stand out is Shohei Ohtani, who will start at home against the Guardians. Julio Urias will also take the mound in a day game for the Dodgers, and he has a great matchup against the Diamondbacks, who have one of the more underwhelming lineups in baseball. Working his way into being one of the elite starting pitchers in the league might be Pablo Lopez, who will take the hill against the Nationals. Let’s get to the task at hand and highlight some pitchers and hitters to discuss for the main eight-game evening slate on Yahoo.
Joe Ryan ($46) Finished last season with a 4.05 ERA across 26.2 innings, but his 3.43 FIP and 0.79 WHIP were his most encouraging stats. He didn’t post a WHIP above 1.13 during any of his stops throughout the minors, and he has a 0.88 WHIP through his first three starts of 2022. He’s an appealing option for his matchup against the Tigers, who have made improvements, but they still have plenty of holes within their lineup.
Jordan Montgomery ($38) is still searching for his first win of the season despite allowing just four runs over 14.1 innings in his first three starts. One of them came against the Orioles, who he shut out over five innings. They have one of the worst lineups in baseball, so Montgomery is also appealing for their rematch.
There hasn’t been a lot to be excited about the Athletics, but the early performance of Paul Blackburn ($28) has been a bright spot. He has a 1.80 ERA through three starts, which is supported by a 1.41 FIP. His strikeout rate has jumped up to 25.5 percent, which is nearly double his career mark of 13.8 percent. He hasn’t exactly been steamrolling bad lineups, either, given that two of his starts came against the Blue Jays and Rays. Taking a chance on him at such a cheap salary for his matchup against the Giants could be worth it in tournament play.
Anthony Rizzo ($22) put on a show against the Orioles on Tuesday, launching three home runs. He now has eight on the season to go along with 18 RBI. It might be worth riding his hot bat against Tyler Wells ($25), who hasn’t pitched more than four innings in any of his three starts. He also has a bloated 1.88 WHIP.
Staying with the Yankees’ matchup against Wells, Aaron Judge ($22) is also a top option for this slate. He’s been on a homer surge of his own, belting three of them over his last four games. This game being played at Yankee Stadium is also noteworthy given that he has a career 172 wRC+ there.
Is Joey Gallo ($9) finally starting to come out of his slump? He has recorded at least one hit in four of his last five games, and he launched his first home run of the season Tuesday. He could be another way to gain exposure to the Yankees’ matchup against Wells, while also not destroying your budget.
Gio Urshela ($10) is not going to be mistaken for a power hitter. However, he generally does a good job of making contact, which is why his 24.7 percent strikeout rate for the Yankees last season was so strange. Prior to that, he had recorded a strikeout rate below 19 percent in back-to-back seasons. With that number down to 11.3 percent this season, Urshela has been able to produce a 127 wRC+. Don’t be surprised if he provides value in a matchup against Michael Pineda ($38)who certainly doesn’t have an overpowering arsenal, given his career 23.5 percent strikeout rate.
Stacks to Consider
Blue Jays vs. Michael Wacha ($31), Red Sox: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($21), Bo Bichette ($15), Zack Collins ($14)
Don’t get overly excited about Wacha having a 1.88 ERA through three starts. His FIP is 4.67, and his .114 BABIP allowed is certainly not sustainable. He has a career 1.33 WHIP to go along with a meager 21.0 percent strikeout rate, so he could be in trouble against the Blue Jays. This trio brings plenty of power to the plate, which is noteworthy given that Wacha has allowed at least 1.7 HR/9 in three straight seasons.
Red Sox vs. Ross Stripling ($33), Blue Jays: Rafael Devers ($21), JD Martinez ($18), Alex Verdugo ($16)
An injury to Hyun Jin Ryu (forearm) has forced the Blue Jays to insert Stripling back into their starting rotation. He registered a 4.80 ERA and 5.21 FIP while mostly pitching in that role last season, and he allowed a staggering 36 home runs over 150.2 innings the last two seasons. That could end up being his downfall against the Red Sox, specifically the powerful duo of Devers and Martinez.
Braves vs. Mark Leiter Jr. ($25), Cubs: Matt Olson ($24), Austin Riley ($22), Travis d’Arnaud ($16)
The Cubs are currently down three starting pitchers, so they don’t have much of a choice but to roll with Leiter. The journeyman has not had a good major league career, recording 5.86 ERA and a 5.62 FIP. The Braves figure to be one of the top teams to stack, with Olson being arguably their most appealing option. He’s off to a great start with his new squad, recording a 181 wRC+.