As far as shortened Thursday slates go, this one falls somewhere in the middle. There have been better days, and there have been worse -- much, much worse. In other words, we'll take it. Justin Verlander and Blake Snell lead the way at the top, while a decent number of mid-level hurlers offer enough streaming options to at least make things interesting.
Here's a look at the day's top streaming options, focusing on players rostered in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
Pitchers to stream
Lance Lynn (R), 23 percent, Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers: It's hard to get past Lynn's 5.08 ERA and 5.8 walk rate, but he is showing signs of turning things around. He's delivered four straight quality starts, posting a 1.46 ERA in those four outings. While walks continue to be a problem, he has the ideal matchup on Thursday to offset the issue. Not only do the Tigers rank 25th in baseball with an 85 wRC+ against righties, but they sport the worst walk rate against right-handed pitching (6.8 percent).
Frankie Montas (R), 42 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros: Montas has been a pleasant surprise since joining Oakland's rotation, posting a 1.25 ERA and 0.87 WHIP over three starts. Now, he is a big-time regression candidate because he's not missing bats (5.8 K/9) and is allowing too much hard contact (40 percent). That said, he's showing great control (1.3 BB/9) and has displayed more "swing and miss" stuff in the minors (9.4 K/9), so there's also some untapped upside here. Normally, a matchup against Houston would be one to stay away from. Alas, we don't always have that luxury when streaming starters on a short slate. The good news is that the Astros will take a substantial park downgrade going from Minute Maid Park to the Oakland Coliseum.
Carlos Rodon (L), 18 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians: Rodon is an upside play in another tough matchup, as the Indians are a top-five offense against lefties this year (110 wRC+). That said, he had a similarly tough matchup in his first start back from the disabled list and held the Red Sox to two earned runs in five innings with seven whiffs. In 10 career games (nine starts) against Cleveland, Rodon holds a career 2.34 ERA and 9.3 K/9.
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.
Tom Murphy (R), under 1 percent, Colorado Rockies at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez): Recalled from Triple-A on Tuesday, Murphy went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI in his 2018 debut. It remains to be seen how the playing time will shake out with Chris Iannetta and Tony Wolters both still on the roster, but Murphy -- who was hitting .289/.359/.642 with 16 bombs in Triple-A -- has nice upside if he can carve out a regular role. If he's in the lineup on Thursday, he's in play against Velasquez, who was blasted his last time out (10 ER in 3 2/3 IP).
Ryon Healy (R), 25 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Boston Red Sox (LHP David Price): Healy offers plenty of thump whenever a lefty is on the mound. He produced a .314/.347/.526 slash line against lefties in 2017, and this season he's put up a .275 ISO against them. Price doesn't exactly present a favorable matchup. Then again, he is more susceptible to righties, and he has a tendency to pound the strike zone early in the count. His first-pitch strike percentage ranks sixth-highest among 176 qualifiers. That certainly plays to Healy's strength (1.000 OPS in 0-0 and 0-1 counts this season).
Brock Holt (L), 2 percent, Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners (RHP Felix Hernandez): Holt may not be a high-upside play, but he is a high-contact hitter who gets to match up with a pitcher sporting a career-worst 7.7 swinging-strike percentage. Good things happen when you consistently put the ball in play, and that's especially true for left-handed batters against King Felix this season (.254 ISO).
Derek Dietrich (L), 21 percent, Miami Marlins vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Dereck Rodriguez): After a lackluster April, Dietrich batted .306/.383/.528 in May and has improved that line to .414/.419/.690 so far in June. He also sports a .295/.347/.460 slash line against right-handed pitching, putting him in a favorable spot against an exploitable starter like Rodriguez.
Scott Kingery (R), 16 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez): As is the case with many a pitcher, Marquez has been much more effective away from Coors Field. Still, Citizens Bank Park is also a very hitter-friendly venue that's not kind to pitchers. While Kingery has been a big disappointment this season, he has begun to take some baby steps, reaching base in seven straight games with extra-base hits in three of his last five contests. He's too talented to not turn things around sooner or later.
Cory Spangenberg (L), 1 percent, San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves (RHP Anibal Sanchez): Spangenberg has been heating up, batting .313/.353/.625 over the last week. He gets a nice park boost going to Sun Trust Park and faces off against Sanchez -- a pitcher destined for the Atlanta bullpen, but needed for at least one more start with both Julio Teheran and Mike Foltynewicz nursing injuries.
Joe Panik (L), 16 percent, San Francisco Giants at Miami Marlins (RHP Dan Straily): Panik is batting .310/.390/.408 against right-handed pitching, and he draws a pristine matchup against Straily, who is allowing a .294/.423/.518 slash line to lefty batters to go along with a disastrous 7.11 ERA at home this season. While Marlins Park is pitcher-friendly, it's still an upgrade over AT&T Park for left-handed hitters.
Leonys Martin (L), 29 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Lance Lynn): Martin's power output has been a surprise this season, as he is showing some growth at the plate, including a career-best 5.2 percent chase rate. He's batting .291/.360/.513 versus righties and gets a crack at Lynn, the owner of a 7.12 road ERA and a .317 BAA.
Gerardo Parra (L), 4 percent, Colorado Rockies at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez): This matchup doesn't take place at Coors Field, but that shouldn't be an issue. Citizens Bank Park ranks fifth in HR Park Factor (after ranking first last season), so there's still reason to expect plenty of offense in this matchup. Parra is batting .319/.361/.420 against righties this season, while Velasquez sports an ugly 7.85 ERA and 1.60 WHIP at home in 2018.
Jake Bauers (L), 6 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees (RHP Domingo German): Bauers has added a spark to the Rays lineup since his promotion, sporting a .912 OPS and four extra-base hits in five games. While he's not a big power prospect, he has enough thump to take advantage of Yankee Stadium's friendly confines. Meanwhile, German has posted a 7.33 ERA over his last five starts, which doesn't provide much optimism, even against non-threatening Tampa Bay.