All 15 games will begin within 10 minutes of each other this afternoon. The preliminary research for this slate could all be discarded once the Vegas data filters in and managers turn in lineup cards filled with reserves and September call-ups. Abbreviated games for regulars is an all-too-common occurrence on Get-Away Day. Essentially, prepare for chaos and fluid Player Models.
Aaron Sanchez, David Price, Justin Verlander, Adam Wainwright, and Kevin Gausman will pitch in a meaningful game.
The Red Sox have already clinched a playoff berth, but home-field advantage in the ALDS is attainable. Price will likely be limited, although details haven’t emerged regarding pitch count or innings limit. He’s tossed at least 89 pitches and 6.0 innings in his last eight starts while failing to meet salary-based expectations in three straight outings on DraftKings. Sanchez could enter tournament discussion if Red Sox manager John Farrell decides to rest his regulars. Otherwise, a 4.5 K Prediction against one of the most prolific offenses could yield another six-run effort similar to his last meetings with the Red Sox.
Verlander costs $13,700 on DraftKings, exceeding his highest salary in our database. His +7.17 Plus/Minus on DraftKings and +13.70 Plus/Minus on FanDuel since the beginning of July leads all pitchers. He hasn’t registered less than seven strikeouts in his last seven starts, and he’s notched 23 combined strikeouts in his last two starts. The salary is hefty, but it likely prices in his consistency and likelihood of treating this game like any other.
Manager Buck Showalter hasn’t fully committed to Gausman following two rough outings. Nonetheless, Gausman faces a team that failed to score a run on him in consecutive starts last month. In those 13 innings, Gausman recorded 17 strikeouts. In all five starts against the Yankees this season, Gausman has exceeded salary-based expectations every time. Although he’s surrendered only three runs in 33.2 innings against the Yankees this season, Showalter might have him on a short leash.
Wainwright’s reputation in big games might overshadow his recent form. He allowed at least four runs in four of his last five starts, three of which resulted in a win for Wainwright. In his last two starts, opponents hit the ball an average of 229 feet, the furthest distance on the slate for any pitcher. Like many of today’s pitching options, Wainwright’s viability depends on how the opposing manager decides to play the final day of the regular season. The Cardinals used six relievers yesterday after Michael Wacha failed to pitch beyond the second inning. Whether or not Cardinals manager Mike Matheny institutes the same policy today has yet to be determined.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker admitted “Max [Scherzer] is going for 20 [wins]. How do you tell a guy don’t overwork? Hopefully, we can get a big lead and get him out of there soon. But he’d kill me if I didn’t give him the opportunity to win 20, which I should.” Marlins manager Don Mattingly rested most of his everyday players yesterday, and should that extend to today, Scherzer could return value on his $13,200 salary on DraftKings by the fifth inning. Baker plans to give his healthy regulars rest after the team clinched home-field advantage in the NLDS. That may also limit Scherzer to five or six innings.
Chris Sale wanted to start the finale in what may be his final game in a White Sox uniform, and with the White Sox eliminated from postseason play, I can infer that Sale will treat this as a normal start. Manager Robin Ventura (who won’t return next season) said “We’re not doing it for numbers or anything, but he wants to throw. I think that’s part of his commitment to being a teammate. So we’ll have a pretty good lineup out there.” Sale currently leads all pitchers with a 9.7 K Prediction, 10 Pro Trends on DraftKings, and eight Pro Trends on FanDuel. His recent advanced stats aren’t encouraging, but they’re better than Scherzer’s. Verlander may have a higher floor, but Sale presents the higher ceiling opposing a team implied to score 3.1 runs.
Sean Manaea has allowed two total runs in his last five starts. His recent advanced stats trump the rest of the field’s, and the Mariners were eliminated from postseason play last night. Nothing has been reported, but if Mariners manager Scott Servais chooses to rest Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, both of whom have missed a combined seven games this season, Manaea becomes viable in cash.
Jhoulys Chacin will face an Astros team with nothing to play for. Their manager, A.J. Hinch, has all but thrown in the towel. You’ll read why later, but for now, remember Chacin’s name when the Astros’ lineup surfaces. His current 7.9 K Prediction ranks third on the main slate, and he’s $6,100 on DraftKings and $5,500 on FanDuel. His year-long stats don’t translate well, but he’s exceeded salary-based expectations in his last four starts. In his last outing, Chacin didn’t allow a run in six innings against a full-strength Astros lineup.
Kyle Hendricks won’t pitch more than five innings. Manager Joe Maddon said, “If he goes five, that will be a lot.”
The Brewers will use Tyler Cravy — who pitched two innings on Friday — to initiate a “bullpen” game at Coors Field.
Brady Rodgers will make the first start of his career. Manager A.J. Hinch said, “It’s an opportunity to get him some innings.” He’s already thrown 136.2 innings this season, a career-high. While he may not be conventionally limited, the use of “some innings” leads me to believe he’s not long for this game.
Chase Whitley will make his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery in May of 2015. In four relief appearances this month, he maxed out at 3.2 innings and 61 pitches. It’s currently unknown if he’ll be on a pitch count.
Matt Koch carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his first and only start this season. He’s expected to be limited to 85 pitches pending a dormant blister that developed in his 69-pitch effort last time out.
After the Mets clinched the first spot in the NL Wild Card, manager Terry Collins opted to replace Noah Syndergaard in the rotation with Gabriel Ynoa. In two starts and seven relief appearances this year, Ynoa hasn’t thrown more than 76 pitches and 4.2 innings.
The implied runs haven’t come through on 11 of today’s games at the time of this submission. That’s probably why the Diamondbacks have the top-rated stacks in the Bales Model.
Of the four games with a live over/under, the Diamondbacks are one of four teams presently implied to score at least 5.0 runs. Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Drury lead the team with a Consistency of at least 53 percent over the past month on DraftKings, and opposing starter Paul Clemens contributes a poor 1.978 HR/9 to the event.
Once the Vegas data arrives, I suspect the Brewers and Rockies will have a majority of the highest-rated stacks. Until then, I wanted to highlight the fourth-highest rated stack on FanDuel in the Bales Model. Like Robin Ventura said, the White Sox will “have a pretty good lineup out there.” As long as he doesn’t try any funny business in Sale’s last start, this quartet offers some stability for the individuals who plan on fading Coors Field.
To my knowledge, the following players aren’t expected to start: Yoenis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton, J.T. Realmuto, Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer, Carlos Correa, Evan Gattis, Yulieski Gurriel, Salvador Perez, Kevin Kiermaier, and DJ LeMahieu.
George Springer and Jose Altuve will start, but it’s unclear how many innings they will play, as manager A.J. Hinch wants to rely on the younger players. Altuve remains one hit ahead of Mookie Betts for most in the American League heading into the final day of the season, and Hinch remarked, “He’s got some goals in mind that he’s not yet accomplished. He sees all sorts of numbers that he can get and make a special year even more special. He asked me to stay in there tomorrow.” If Betts doesn’t play, I’m not positive Altuve will last the entire game.
Nolan Arenado and Chris Carter are tied with 41 home runs this season. They will battle for the NL title at Coors Field. Arenado leads all hitters in this game with a 0.299 ISO, and his +3.90 Plus/Minus in home games on FanDuel trails only Wil Myers’ mark. As mentioned above, the Brewers will rely on their bullpen, a group with the third-best HR/9 (0.61) and second-worst strikeout percentage (19.9 percent) after the All-Star break, in the final game of the season. Carter has homered in the first two games of the series, and Rockies right-handed pitcher German Marquez has recorded a low 5.07 SO/9 in five appearances this season.
Prior to last night’s home run, Manny Machado failed to record a hit in four straight games. The cold streak dropped his salary to $2,900 on DraftKings, his lowest in our database, and $3,300 on FanDuel, his lowest since June of 2015. Yankees right-handed starter Luis Cessa bestows 2.126 HR/9 and 5.669 SO/AB rates in a pivotal game for the Orioles. The only time Cessa faced the Orioles this season, Machado hit two home runs off of him.
T.J. Rivera has recorded at least one hit in 12 of his last 13 starts. He’s consistent, likely to play, and cheap. In his short time in the majors, Rivera has provided 46 percent Consistency on FanDuel and DraftKings, and he leads the Mets with a 0.411 wOBA against right-handed pitchers. Opposing starter Jerad Eickhoff has been tattooed for eight home runs in his last three starts, and 19 of his 30 home runs have been yielded at Citizens Bank Park this season.