The Phillies seem determined to burn some serious pitching rubber. It’s September and they’re still rolling Aaron Nola ($8,400) out like these games actually mean something. I know players have their own self-pride, but this is like a hotel bible – it’s nice, but no one really cares. While the Phillies are busy playing Russian Roulette with Nola and a potential injury though, you should be Russian to get him in your lineup tonight. If you ignore Nola’s 20 earned runs across his last five starts and focus on the Nats ranking dead last in hits, third last in RBI’s and that whopping  .204 AVG over the last week, suddenly, this match up looks kinda okie-dokie. Here’s the rest of my Thursday picks:

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Corey Kluber, SP: $11,600 – Somewhere Chris Sale is throwing darts at Kluber’s face on his refrigerator. All of a sudden Klube’s is the AL Cy Young fav, and since he’s struck out 20 White Sox hitters this season alone, I’m not really one to argue.

Gary Sanchez, C: $3,500 – Kevin Gausman has dabbled in some quality starts as of late, but he’s still given up 19 earned runs across four starts vs. the Yankees this year. Sanchez holds a HR and 3 RBI’s against Kev in 14 at-bats, and on the back of a days rest, a clear headed Sanchez is your best bet today.

Joe Mauer, 1B: $3,500 – Never has a .450 AVG been so deceitful. Mauer has hit a big fat zero HR’s over the last four weeks, but thanks to a 14 game hit streak and just five strikeouts across that span, he’s one of the best looking hitters in baseball right now. By the way, he’s facing Sam Gaviglio. The same Sam Gaviglio that gave up five earned runs against the Astros in his last start wayyyy back in July.

Jose Ramirez, 2B: $3,800 – Wave goodbye to your arm and your leg, because Ramirez will cost you big today. He’s worth every penny though, especially when Carlos Rodon lasts four innings again. Speaking of four, that’s the exact number of walks Ramirez has racked up against the White Sox lefty this year.

Nolan Arenado, 3B: $2,600 – Normally you’d be leery of Clayton Kershaw, but let’s take a walk on the wild side today. There is method behind the madness mind you, the Rockies rank fourth in the league in hits vs. lefties and have the third highest HR/FB rate (16.3%). Arenado himself ain’t too shabby against southpaws either – wait, a .413 AVG is a good thing, right?

Jose Reyes, SS: $3,100 – Yeah, if you don’t want to fork out this much for Jose Reyes, whatever. The Mets hitters are mighty tempting tonight, though. The RedsTyler Mahle is on the mound and is also paying a visit to Citi Field for the first time in his career. Reyes is riding a .333/.455/.500 line that definitely won’t last, so jump on it while you can.

Andrew McCutchen, OF: $2,900 – Here’s another dumping of lefty vs. lefty stats: McCutchen owns a .310 AVG vs. southpaws this season, and has hit 11 of his 23 HR’s against them. Baked inside Jon Lester’s 24.6% strikeout rate is five straight games of allowing three earned runs or more, so this could be quite the Thursday night duel.

Stephen Piscotty, OF: $2,300 – Piscotty put the game on his back last night against the Padres, as well as the Cardinals postseason chances. That’s a whole lot of momentum matching up with Clayton Richard tonight.

Matt Kemp, OF: $2,800 – Kemp’s week has featured a HR and 6 RBI’s, and tonight he faces Dan Straily’s diminishing slider velocity. Kemp has faced Straily in just one at-bat throughout his career, so this could be a fresh showdown worth buying into.

I’m Only Happy When It Rains

Yankees/Orioles will go ahead today, but there is some cloud looming over Guaranteed Rate Field. That’s the first time I’ve had to use that cringey name this season, and hopefully the last.

Doing Lines in Vegas

It’s a small slate of just eight games today, but jumping on the Cubs (-140) at the Pirates is probably the way to go, in what will likely be a close pitchers matchup between Lester and Jameson Taillon. The Twins/Royals are close to dead even, with Minnesota at -108 and Kansas City at -102. It’s tough to make much of the pitching match up, but the Twins do rank second in the league in RBI’s this week (46) so that could be a determining factor.