There are a few series Thursday with playoff implications, including the A's hosting the Yankees and the Indians facing the Mets. We also have another opportunity to win some cash on Yahoo with nine games making up the main evening slate. Here are some of the better options to consider while compiling your entry.
The Tigers have enough trouble scoring runs, then they ran into the Astros. After having to face Justin Verlander on Wednesday, now they'll forced to try and scratch together some offense versus Gerrit Cole ($62). The Astros have taken a cautious approach with Cole's hamstring injury, keeping him out the last two weeks. All indications are that he's healthy into this contest, which could leave him with a dominant performance considering his stellar 36.8 percent strikeout rate.
While it's a significant difference, right behind Cole on the price scale is Ryan Yarbrough ($50), who has mostly pitched out of the bullpen for the Rays this season. He has certainly performed well, posting a 3.20 FIP and a 0.88 WHIP. He's back to starting again with the Rays dealing with multiple injuries to their rotation, throwing 15 shutout innings against the Mariners and Tigers in his last two outings. He'll face a similarly weak lineup in the Orioles, making him extremely appealing.
Another pitcher in a great spot to shine is Mike Soroka ($43) for his matchup with the Marlins. While he doesn't carry nearly the strikeout upside that Cole does, he has a 3.29 FIP and has allowed only 0.5 HR/9. The Marlins have had no success against him in three previous meetings this season, scoring three runs (one earned) over 22 innings. For those looking to fade Cole, Soroka is one of the top alternatives.
Sandy Alcantara has had a largely uninspiring season for the Marlins with his 4.92 FIP and 1.42 WHIP. He also doesn't miss many bats with his 16.4 percent strikeout rate, which should make the Braves a popular option for their matchup. Expect to see plenty of Ronald Acuna Jr. ($27) and Freddie Freeman ($21) in entries. Josh Donaldson ($22) has also performed well lately, hitting 18-for-52 (.346) with four home runs and four doubles over his last 16 games.
The White Sox aren't normally a lineup to pursue, but they shouldn't be ignored for their matchup with Ariel Jurado and the Rangers. Jurado has been terrible over his last nine appearances, allowing 41 runs (34 earned) over 41 innings. He's also allowed 1.5 HR/9 for the season, overall, making Jose Abreu ($19) an excellent option at first base. James McCann ($17) could also provide value from the catchers spot with him hitting 18-for-54 (.333) with two home runs and five doubles over his last 14 games.
Staying in that same game, the Rangers offense could be in store for a big night versus. Their lineup is a bit compromised with Joey Gallo (wrist) and Nomar Mazara (oblique) on the IL, but they still have some potent bats, including Danny Santana ($22) and Shin-Soo Choo ($16). They have plenty of upside against Ross Detwiler, who has a bloated 7.33 FIP and has allowed 3.1 HR/9.
The good news with Brault is that he doesn't allow many home runs. The bad news is that he has a 1.42 WHIP, so he has the potential to blow up whenever he takes the mound. Rendon carries the most significant upside out of this trio while Kendrick should start with the lefty on the mound considering he has a .378 wOBA against southpaws this season.
Waguespack has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last six outings, but that's not as impressive of a statement as it might seem. In one outing, he lasted only 3.2 innings against the Yankees. He also had three cushy matchups against the Tigers, Royals and Mariners. Facing the Dodgers is another story. A case can be made to deploy Bellinger when just about any pitcher is on the mound, but he really stands out here. Seager is swinging a hot bat right now, recording a 1.200 OPS over his last nine games.
Astros vs. Jordan Zimmermann (Tigers)
Zimmermann enters this contest with a bloated 6.66 ERA, although his 4.56 FIP indicates he hasn't been that dreadful. His problem has been keeping runners off base, which has resulted in him recording a 1.51 WHIP. His 16.5 percent strikeout rate isn't helping his cause, either. Of note, left-handed hitters have recorded a .386 wOBA against him this season, which makes Alvarez and Brantley stand out for an Astros stack.