Some days, finding three pitchers to stream is a challenge. Then there's a slate like Friday night's, dense with favorable options and even a couple land mines to avoid. With a full schedule, there's always a plush inventory of hitters in potentially productive spots.
Here's a look at the day's most interesting streaming options, focusing on players rostered in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
Pitchers to stream
Reynaldo Lopez (R), rostered in 25 percent of ESPN leagues, Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers: Like most young arms, Lopez has had his share of ups and downs. Look no further than his past three outings, sandwiching a pair of gems around a clunker. There's always risk in trusting a hurler lacking consistency with control and command, but the matchup with the Tigers favors Lopez: Detroit is one of the least patient teams in the league, along with the third-lowest home-run rate versus righties.
Clayton Richard (L), 10 percent, San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers: If it weren't for a rough outing to begin May, Richard could be in the running for pitcher of the month, as his three most recent appearances feature a 2.70 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in an impressive 23⅓ innings, with 20 strikeouts and just one free pass. The Dodgers offense against southpaws will improve with Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe back, but as a team they're still struggling to score runs.
Zach Eflin (R), 16 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Toronto Blue Jays: The inevitable regression began last time out, but Eflin's underlying skills appear to be improved from previous seasons. His velocity is up, resulting in more swinging strikes and thus more punchouts. This is integral, since Elfin is a fly ball pitcher, prone to the long ball. Ultimately, his fate will be tied to his control. The Blue Jays will be without their designated hitter, impeding an already below-average offense with a high strikeout rate versus righties. However, they are patient, so there's some ratio risk.
Ross Stripling (R), 9 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres: Stifling the Nationals last time out earned Stripling another start, this time at home against the offensively challenged Padres. Stripling fanned nine in six frames his last time out, allowing just four hits and one earned run. The Padres tote the league's third-highest strikeout rate into Dodger Stadium.
Eric Skoglund (L), 1 percent, Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers: While doing research to list Mike Minor as a streamer, it became apparent Skoglund is the better option for this contest, as the Rangers offense not only sports a lower weighted on-base average versus left-handers than the Royals, Texas fans at an elevated 27 percent clip in the scenario. Minor is a better pitcher than Skoglund, but the matchup tilts the pendulum to the Royals southpaw.
Pitchers to avoid
Julio Teheran (R), 73 percent, Atlanta Braves at Boston Red Sox: After a string of solid efforts, Teheran has hit a speed bump his past two times taking the hill. Historically, Teheran is vulnerable to lefty swingers. With Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, Mitch Moreland and a recently rejuvenated Jackie Bradley Jr. back at Fenway after a short road trip, Teheran's struggles could continue.
Dallas Keuchel (L), 98 percent, Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians: Keuchel hasn't been sharp as usual this season and now draws one of the league's best teams facing left-handed pitching. Further, already limited strikeout potential is further tempered taking on an Indians lineup with the third-stingiest strikeout rate versus southpaws.
It appears Jared Hughes will be the Reds' interim closer while Raisel Iglesias is disabled. Hughes was warming up in the ninth during a tie game at home Wednesday night, a scenario usually indicative of a closer. On Thursday, Cincinnati initially appeared to give Amir Garrett the Josh Hader treatment and sent him out for a save after already pitching 1⅓ innings. However, after Garrett served up a two-run gopher to Austin Meadows, Hughes was summoned for the final two outs, picking up his second save.
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.
Omar Narvaez (L), under 1 percent, Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers (RHP Mike Fiers): This note is as much to remind that Welington Castillo is in timeout for 80 games as much as it is to stump for Narvaez. However, the White Sox are likely to use a catcher platoon, with Kevan Smith facing lefties. Last season, this combo worked out well since it was clear who would be behind the dish. Once he gets back in the groove, Narvaez is a sneaky option for points and OBP leagues, as he makes good contact with a high walk rate.
Hunter Dozier (R), under 1 percent, Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers (LHP Mike Minor): Dozier is another stealth pick for OBP or points leagues as his forte is getting on base, though he has some pop. Minor is generally frugal with walks but has given up at least one homer in four consecutive outings, seven in total.
Jonathan Villar (B), 17 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. New York Mets (RHP Noah Syndergaard): The first step is getting on base, not an easy task when Thor is on. However, once you're on, Syndergaard is one of the easiest pitchers to run on. Villar has been eight steals in nine attempts.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa (R), 2 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Eric Skoglund): Kiner-Falefa held his own at the keystone filling in for Rougned Odor. Now he slides over to hot corner while Adrian Beltre is sidelined. He's been hitting third against southpaws. Skoglund was mentioned as a streamer, but not without caution. With the platoon edge, Kiner-Falefa is in a good spot to do some damage.
Dansby Swanson (R), 35 percent, Atlanta Braves at Boston Red Sox (LHP Eduardo Rodriguez): As has been the case all season, unearthing a shortstop has been a chore, primarily because not many candidates hit in the top half of the order. Since this is an interleague affair with a designated hitter, Swanson isn't penalized as much for hitting in the lower third. The same is true for Johan Camargo, eligible at both second and third.
Neil Walker (B), 3 percent, New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels (LHP Andrew Heaney): Walker has been productive lately, though his playing time will take a hit when Greg Bird is back over the weekend. As an aside, Bird is available in over 60 percent of ESPN leagues, so it would be wise to get ahead of the curve and grab him before he's officially back in the fold.
Niko Goodrum (B), 8 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Reynaldo Lopez): Goodrum is one of only 18 players to have at least five homers and five steals. His surprising start to the season might have moved him ahead of Dixon Machado at second base when Jeimer Candelario returns over the weekend.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (L), 18 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Julio Teheran): Teheran's issues with lefty swingers was cited earlier. After a few days off to gather himself, Bradley has been hitting the ball hard. He also can take advantage of the Braves' inability to control the running game. In fact, look for the Red Sox to keep the pressure on the Atlanta battery in this interleague series.
Albert Almora Jr. (R), 13 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants (LHP Derek Holland): Almora has fallen back into a platoon, but at least when he plays, he hits leadoff. With Holland, one of the lowest-ranked hurlers on the ledger, taking the Wrigley Field hill, Almora is in a great spot to get on base and score some runs.
Gerardo Parra (L), 5 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Sal Romano): While this might be a reflection of the Rockies' offensive woes, Parra has settled in as their cleanup hitter. He's not your typical power hitter, but Coors Field is not your typical ballpark. Romano is coming off a pair of efforts in which he's allowed 13 runs in 7⅓ combined innings.
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.