This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.
There are a lot of early start times Thursday, leaving us with only four games to choose from for the main evening slate on Yahoo. Even though we don't have a ton of options, here are some of the better matchups to exploit while compiling your lineup.
There are two starting pitchers who stand out for this limited slate, one of which is Mike Clevinger ($55). He's had a fantastic season for the Indians, posting a 2.51 FIP and a 1.02 WHIP. His strikeout rate has even jumped up to 35.3 percent, which is nearly 10 percentage points higher than last season. It doesn't get much better than a matchup against the Tigers, who he has held to one run while recording 22 strikeouts against in 14 innings.
The next most enticing option is Jack Flaherty ($49), who has been at the top of his game during the Cardinals stretch run. He hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his last 13 starts, compiling a 1.07 ERA and 0.76 WHIP during that stretch to go along with 105 strikeouts over 84.1 innings. Facing the Cubs normally presents plenty of challenges, but their lineup is compromised right now with Javier Baez (thumb) and Anthony Rizzo (ankle) both out.
Staying in that same game, Kyle Hendricks ($38) is also a viable option to consider. He's been lights out at Wrigley Field this season, recording a 2.92 FIP and a 0.82 WHIP. The Cardinals haven't been able to solve him regardless of where they have played, scoring only one run off of him over 23 innings. While he doesn't have nearly the type of strikeout upside that Clevinger and Flaherty do, Hendricks can be had for a much more reasonable price.
One of the more obvious matchups to try and take advantage of is the Indians against Daniel Norris. The once highly-touted prospect has still been unable to make his mark in the majors, posting a 4.76 FIP and a 1.35 FIP this season. It doesn't help his cause that he has just a 20.2 percent strikeout rate. Not only are Francisco Lindor ($25) and Carlos Santana ($19) great targets, but so is Jordan Luplow ($17) based on his 197 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers.
Another popular option figures to be the Twins against Mike Montgomery. While Montgomery has pitched much better since joining the Royals, he has allowed at least five runs in two of his last five starts. Those two performances came against the Orioles and Marlins, which is concerning. This is a prime spot to deploy Nelson Cruz ($21), who checks in with a 177 wRC+ versus lefties.
Blue Jays vs. Gabriel Ynoa (Orioles)
Ynoa has bounced between the bullpen and starting rotation, appearing in 34 total games. He's struggled in both roles, leaving him with a 6.02 FIP and a 1.40 WHIP. Bichette is the obvious player to build a Blue Jays stack around with his 145 wRC+ while Biggio is another one of their young players to strongly consider. He's about as hot as it gets right now, hitting 14-for-29 (.483) with two home runs, two doubles, two triples and three steals over his last seven games.
Orioles vs. Wilmer Font (Blue Jays)
Font will serve as the opener for this game with Anthony Kay expected to follow and pitch the bulk of the innings. Kay registered a sparkling 2.50 ERA across seven starts at the Triple-A level for the Blue Jays, but his 4.54 FIP indicates that he didn't exactly pitch that well. He was certainly wild with a 13.8 percent walk rate that contributed to his 1.53 WHIP. Even though the Orioles have plenty of holes in their lineup, they could still be in line for a productive evening here. Alberto doesn't carry the same name recognition that Mancini and Villar do, but he shouldn't be overlooked based on his .406 wOBA against lefties.
Royals vs. Kyle Gibson (Twins)
If the Twins are going to make some noise in the playoffs, they are going to need Gibson to get back on track. He's been a disaster down the stretch, allowing 31 runs (27 earned) over his last 32 innings. He has a staggering 1.97 WHIP during that stretch, so don't be surprised if the Royals put up some runs against him. Soler brings the power to this stack with his .299 ISO while Mondesi is 11-for-38 (.289) with two home runs and two steals over his last 10 contests.