This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.
There are a lot of early games on the schedule Thursday, leaving us with only five games to choose from for the main evening slate on Yahoo. With the season coming to a close in a few days, it's extremely important to keep your eye out for news leading up to first pitch as lineups are pretty fluid this time of year. With that being said, here are some matchups to consider exploiting.
As far as big name pitchers go, we don't really have any at our disposal here. However, Sean Manaea ($47) stands out as one of the better options to pursue. He's been lights out since returning from the IL, allowing three runs and recording 25 strikeouts across 23.2 innings. Now he'll face a Mariners team that has struck out the second-most times in baseball, leaving him with a great chance to keep things rolling.
Zack Wheeler ($42) has been locked in for the Mets as the season comes to a close, allowing six runs (five earned) over 32 innings in his last five starts. He's faced some tough lineups over that stretch, as well, including the Nationals and Dodgers. Now he'll take on the lackluster Marlins, who been battling with the Tigers all season for the dubious honor of having the worst lineup in baseball. It should come as no surprise that in two previous starts against them this season, Wheeler has allowed two runs and recorded 16 strikeouts over 15 innings.
The Indians will continue their push towards the playoffs with Aaron Civale ($38) on the mound against the White Sox. He's been one of the saviors of their injury-depleted rotation, posting a 1.82 ERA and a 2.93 FIP. It's no secret that he's taken advantage of some easy matchups, including facing the Tigers in three of his nine starts. However, since he hasn't given up more than two earned runs in any outing, he makes for an enticing option.
Not only is Civale a player to target on the Indians, but their hitters carry plenty of upside against Dylan Cease. The last time he took the mound against them, he allowed four runs over 6.2 innings. Overall, he has an ugly 5.19 FIP and 1.55 WHIP, so the Indians aren't the only team who has had success against him. Left-handed hitters have been particularly effective with a .380 wOBA against him, making Francisco Lindor ($23), Jose Ramirez ($23), and Carlos Santana ($20) prime targets.
The Astros continue their quest for the best record in the American League with a matchup against Jaime Barria and the Angels. Barria also faced the Astros the last time he took the mound, allowing six home runs and four home runs over 2.2 innings. Keeping hitters inside the ball park has been an issue for him all season since he has allowed 2.5 HR/9. Power hitters like Alex Bregman ($25), George Springer ($25) and Yordan Alvarez ($25) will all eat up a significant portion of your budget, but they could also put up some gaudy numbers.
Mets vs. Jordan Yamamoto (Marlins)
The wheels have come off for Yamamoto with him allowing 33 runs and 11 home runs over his last 38.2 innings. He did face the Mets once during that stretch, giving up four runs and two home runs across six innings. With his propensity for giving up the long ball, Alonso could be key for a Mets stack. Davis should be in line for more playing time now that Jeff McNeil is out for the season with a wrist injury.
Athletics vs. Felix Hernandez (Mariners)
Hernandez couldn't build off of his strong start against the White Sox, following up that outing by allowing five runs across five innings against the Orioles. He's a shell of his former self, posting a 5.95 FIP and a 1.52 WHIP. While he has allowed just 0.9 HR/9 for his career, he's been take deep 16 times in only 66.1 innings this season. That could play right into Olson's wheelhouse since he has 35 home runs and a .278 ISO.
Pirates vs. Jose Quintana (Cubs)
With Josh Bell (groin) and Starling Marte (wrist) sidelined, the Pirates don't have a very imposing lineup. Still, they might be a viable team to pursue in tournament play. Quintana doesn't miss a lot of bats and has been hit hard lately, giving up 20 runs (18 earned) across 13.2 innings in his last four starts. That included an outing against the Pirates in which he allowed five runs over 2.1 innings. Newman is one of the most dangerous hitters that they have left, hitting 38-for-106 (.358) with three home runs, six doubles and five steals over his last 26 games.