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There are a few starters Wednesday that don’t have a lot of major league experience. Detroit’s Matt Manning, Oakland’s James Kaprielian, Baltimore’s Thomas Eshelman, the Yankees’ Michael King, and the Mets’ Tyler Megill have all made fewer than 10 major league starts. Megill is making his MLB debut against the Atlanta Braves.
Seattle’s Justus Sheffield (5.65 ERA) and Texas’ Mike Foltynewicz (5.59 ERA) are a couple of Wednesday starters that have struggled this season.
On the other hand, San Francisco’s Kevin Gausman (1.51 ERA), Miami’s Trevor Rogers (1.87 ERA), Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff (1.94 ERA), Kansas City’s Danny Duffy (1.94 ERA), San Diego’s Joe Musgrove (2.28 ERA), the Dodgers’ Trevor Bauer (2.45 ERA), the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani (2.70 ERA), and Oakland’s James Kaprielian (2.84 ERA) are the Wednesday starters that have been having relative success in 2021.
The best pitching matchup of the day looks like a late one between the Dodgers, with Trevor Bauer on the bump, and the Padres, with Joe Musgrove throwing for San Diego.
Here are some Monkey Knife Fight Picks to keep in mind for Wednesday’s MLB schedule on MKF.
Kevin Gausman LESS THAN 6.5 STRIKEOUTS
It has been a great season for the Giants ace and he has recorded seven or more strikeouts in eight of his 14 starts this season, however, he has a total of 10 strikeouts in his past two starts. He faces a Los Angeles Angels lineup that has a home strikeout rate of 24.6%, which is a little higher than the MLB average.
Mike Yastrzemski LESS THAN 1.5 HITS + WALKS
While Yaz has a .368 on-base percentage against right-handed pitching, going into a matchup against the Angels’ Shoehei Ohtani, the on-base percentage is just .293 away from home, which is not good enough to like him to reach base multiple times in this game.
Brandon Belt LESS THAN 1.5 HITS + WALKS
There is a similar calculation in play for Belt, who has a respectable .342 on-base percentage against right-handed pitching this season but his OBP drops to .309 on the road and when that gets combined with Ohtani being on the mound for the Angels, it’s a big ask to reach base at least twice.
Robbie Ray MORE THAN 7.5 STRIKEOUTS
It appears that, for the most part, the Blue Jays have fixed Robbie Ray, the lefty who couldn’t find the plate last season and now has at least eight strikeouts in seven of his 13 starts, including five of his eight road starts this season, going into Wednesday’s game at Miami. The Marlins have a higher-than-average home strikeout rate (25.2%).
James Kaprielian LESS THAN 7.5 STRIKEOUTS
As effective as Kaprielian has been for the A’s since getting inserted into the rotation, he has more than seven strikeouts once in his seven starts. He faces a Texas Rangers lineup with a higher-than-average home strikeout rate (24.7%) but that is not enough reason to expect Kaprielian’s strikeout total to take off dramatically.
Jose Altuve MORE THAN 1.5 TOTAL BASES
The Astros second baseman has added some pop to his bat this season and is slugging .532 against right-handed pitching, though just .425 on the road, going into Wednesday’s game at Baltimore, with the Orioles sending Thomas Eshelman to the mound. That’s a favorable enough matchup to like Altuve’s chances.
Ronald Acuna Jr. MORE THAN 1.5 HITS + WALKS
Even when the splits are not in his favor, Acuna does have a reasonable chance to reach base multiple times. He has a .374 on-base percentage against right-handed pitching and a .356 OBP on the road, both of which are entirely fine but not as strong as his numbers against left-handed pitching or at home. Nevertheless, with the Braves facing Mets pitcher Tylor Megill, who is making his MLB debut, Acuna should have a good shot.
Trevor Rogers MORE THAN 16.5 MKF FANTASY POINTS
The Marlins left-hander has been consistently excellent all season and that includes posting at least 17 MKF Fantasy Points in seven of his past eight starts. He does have a challenging matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays lineup but Rogers has been effective against pretty much any team.
Trevor Bauer LESS THAN 7.5 STRIKEOUTS
Bauer has recorded at least eight strikeouts in nine of 15 starts this season, though he faces a San Diego Padres lineup with a lower-than-average home strikeout rate (22.2%) and Bauer had seven strikeouts in an early-season start at San Diego.
Joe Musgrove LESS THAN 6.5 STRIKEOUTS
Musgrove has more than lived up to expectations since moving to San Diego in the offseason but his strikeout rate is coming down a bit recently and he has six or fewer strikeouts in six of his past 10 starts, including a season-low two in his last start. He also goes against a Los Angeles Dodgers lineup that has one of the lowest road strikeout rates (21.8%) in MLB.
Manny Machado MORE THAN 1.5 TOTAL BASES
While Machado’s overall numbers have been mediocre this season, he has been heating up after a slow start, posting a .980 OPS and .623 slugging percentage in his past 17 games. He also owns Bauer, with a 1.182 slugging percentage (and 1.797 OPS) in 26 career plate appearances against the Dodgers starting pitcher.
*The contests listed in this article are subject to change leading up to the opening pitch of each respective game*
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