Assuming Mother Nature cooperates, Friday's schedule will be one of the few to date where everyone is in action, under the lights. Weather has really warmed, with spring in the Midwest and Northeast over before it began, and summertime temperatures almost everywhere.
When the mercury rises, so do homers, making which pitchers to stream even more challenging. As they say; challenge accepted. Here's some hurlers in favorable scenarios along with batters with a good chance to help your offense.
Pitchers to stream
Miles Mikolas (R), rostered in 47 percent of ESPN leagues, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs: The Cubs are obviously a formidable foe, though Mikolas is the type of pitcher that could keep them off balance, especially in power-suppressing Busch Stadium. The visitors are one of the least patient teams in the league while Mikolas has exhibited pinpoint control thus far in his return from overseas. Expect a low-scoring game with Jose Quintana as the mound foe.
Nick Pivetta (R), 43 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals: Last season, Pivetta exhibited reverse splits, which is a concern facing a largely right-handed Nationals lineup, plus Bryce Harper. However, so far this season, Pivetta has fared much better with the platoon edge, which is to be expected. His strength is strikeouts while limiting homers. While baseline skills are better at home, Pivetta gets a park boost on the road in the nation's capital. If Pivetta can keep Harper and Mat Adams in check, he should be a good source of strikeouts.
Nick Kingham (R), 34 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers: Speaking of strikeouts, rookie Kingham draws the punch-out prone Brewers for his second career start. In his debut, the 26-year-old, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015, tossed seven scoreless against the Pirates, fanning nine with only one hit and no walks. This stellar effort earned Kingham a spot in the Bucs' rotation, pushing Steven Brault to the bullpen. Miller Park is a tough place to pitch and the Brewers can score runs so don't expect another near-perfect seven frames. But, if you need some whiffs, Kingham should be up to the task.
Daniel Mengden (R), 5 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Baltimore Orioles: Lost in so many good stories over the first month or so is how poor the Orioles have played. They're second from the bottom in terms of weighted on-base average versus righties while fanning the third most in that scenario. After a pair of solid outings, Mengden ran into the buzz saw Astros. The Orioles are the perfect panacea, especially at home where the visitors endure a huge park downgrade.
Tonight's Padres-Dodgers affair will be played in Mexico with San Diego wearing the home unis. According to ESPN contributor Derek Carty, Estadio Monterrey profiles as a favorable hitter's park, so be careful streaming starting pitchers Joey Lucchesi and Walker Buehler.
Don't look now, but Arodys Vizcaino has four saves. This is relevant seeing as he had just one a week ago. He's only available in about one-quarter of ESPN leagues so this serves a more of a reminder saves can come in bunches, so don't panic if your closer doesn't receive many chances over a short stretch. The other takeaway is those stashing A.J. Minter, hoping he wrests the role from Vizcaino can look elsewhere, at least for now.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. The "*" symbol means the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating. These are the author's ratings.
Tucker Barnhart (B), 10 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Wei-Yin Chen): The Reds have been playing Devin Mesoraco a lot so consider either of the Reds receivers in play. Chen looked OK in his 2018 debut at home against Colorado. That said, the Rockies have had difficulties with southpaws away from Coors the past few seasons. The Reds are off to a sluggish start offensively, though they've fared better against left-handers.
Matt Adams (L), 4 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Nick Pivetta): After hitting three homers in two games, Trevor Williams cooled off Adams, holding him hitless in four at bats Thursday afternoon. Still, despite Pivetta's penchant for keeping the ball in the yard, Adams is in play whenever a righty is on the hill. Sitting in the three-hole is a bonus.
Adam Frazier (L), 2 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Junior Guerra): The Pirates have had difficulty replacing Josh Harrison with Frazier getting another chance after the Max Moroff experiment failed. Frazier has had contact issues all season, fanning almost twice as much as last season. Guerra's strikeout rate is a little above league average, not nothing to be afraid of.
Cheslor Cuthbert (R), 1 percent, Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Francisco Liriano): At some point, the Tigers will wise up and realize Liriano's best role is a situational lefty. Until then, feel free to pick on his with righty swingers. Cuthbert has been hitting in the meat of the order with a lefty on the hill, spurred by a .894 OPS with the platoon edge.
Enrique Hernandez (R), 8 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres (LHP Joey Lucchesi): The broken record pick of the day is Hernandez against a southpaw. He's off to a slow start but historically hits lefties hard. Note Hernandez is in line to see more playing time with Corey Seager out for the year as Chris Taylor moves to shortstop, opening up center for Hernandez, among others.
Logan Morrison (L), 15 percent, Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox (RHP Carson Fulmer): Morrison has been a huge disappointment for the Twins, but there are signs a turnaround is imminent. Morrison has fanned only three times the past week, while drawing three free passes. He also had a hit in five of his last six games through Wednesday night, including a homer. Fulmer is coming off a couple of good outings, allowing just two runs in 13 innings, however just six whiffs with four walks is reflective of his true skill level.
Scott Kingery (R), 43 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals (LHP Gio Gonzalez): Kingery is expected to return to the lineup after missing Wednesday following being hit by a pitch on the elbow. The rookie's average is down to .217, though a pair of homers with three bags reinforce the power-speed skills that fantasy managers lust after. Like many youngsters, Kingery's issue has been contact, though his minor league pedigree suggests patience, he'll figure it out.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (L), 35 percent, Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers (RHP Bartolo Colon): Colon continues to defy Father Time, sporting a tidy 2.87 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in his six outings, including four starts. As great a story as Colon has been, he's due some regression and the Red Sox have been crushing right-handed pitching. Bradley Jr. should be able to put the ball in play against Colon and with no other Red Sox hitters available, take the exposure wherever you can get it.
Leonys Martin (L), 28 percent, Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals (RHP Ian Kennedy): Martin's .950 OPS versus right-handers, including four homers has him entrenched in the leadoff spot. Kennedy is annually among the league leaders with respect to homers allowed.
Rajai Davis (R), 1 percent, Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees (LHP CC Sabathia): The Indians continue facing a string of lefty pitching. Teammate Brandon Guyer and Davis has made some noise, including a couple of steals for Davis. On paper, this is a rough matchup in terms of running, but that hasn't stopped Davis before.
Hitter matchup ratings
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth), as well as ballpark factors. "LH" and "RH" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.
Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.