It's an extreme kind of day on the mound for Tuesday as it seems to be a bunch of No. 1s and No. 2s versus a bunch of No. 4s and No. 5s (and even some No. 6s who are filling in).
This opens up the opportunity to find some hidden gems on the mound while still leaving enough of the weaker pitchers to pick on with the bats.
Pitchers to stream
Freddy Peralta (R), rostered in 29 percent of ESPN leagues, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Kansas City Royals: Peralta returned to the majors after a month in the minors and threw six innings of two-hit ball in Pittsburgh with seven strikeouts and no walks. He has just three MLB starts with two gems and one dud and this matchup against the Royals gives him a chance to stay hot. Kansas City has been the second-worst offense in the league against righties by weighted on-base average for the season and dead last during the past 30 and 14 day spans.
Chad Kuhl (R), 13 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets: If you aren't streaming against the Mets, are you even fantasy baseballing? On the season, they are 25th in wOBA, 24th in ISO, and 6th in chase rate. Kuhl was pitching well with a 2.89 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in eight starts before running into the buzzsaw that is the Arizona Diamondbacks, who tattooed him for eight earned in just two innings of work. So, let's give him a shot to rebound immediately after that nightmare!
Steven Matz (L), 14 percent, New York Mets vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Even after five earned in 5.2 innings at Colorado, Matz still has a sparkling 2.88 ERA in his past six starts. He looked like a budding star in 2015-16 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with a 17 percent K-BB rate, but since the start of 2016, he has posted a 4.84 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and 11 percent K-BB while battling injuries. Perhaps he's turning a corner with this recent run and the Pirates give him a chance to keep going strong. They are 10th in wOBA against lefties for the season, but down to 27th during the past month.
The Toronto Blue Jays are likely starting lefty Ryan Borucki on Tuesday and while he has been a full-time starter in Triple-A, it could be an early exit against the great Houston Astros offense, which would turn it into a Johnny Wholestaff game and put a large burden on the Jays' mediocre bullpen. The Toronto pen is 19th in ERA at 4.04 and has the seventh-highest home run rate.
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.
Kurt Suzuki (R), 40 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Matt Harvey): Suzuki is surging again with a .957 OPS in 12 June games after a .681 OPS in May. He broke out last season at age-33 and has continued to dominate this season. He's better against lefties but has definitely held his own against righties. Harvey has been better with Cincinnati, posting a 4.79 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with his new club, but he still has a 1.5 HR per nine rate. Harvey hasn't logged a single start with double-digit swinging strikes this season, so even with a modicum of success in Cincy, he's not overpowering the opposition.
Yuli Gurriel (R), 44 percent, Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Gurriel's widespread availability is almost certainly due to his lack of power at the most prominent power position, but first base has been rough this season. Gurriel slots 16th at the position on the Player Rater and top 10 in the last month. Chasing batting average on the waiver wire can be especially difficult, making Gurriel a great target. Borucki is the likely starter for the Jays, a 24-year old backend-starter type with a huge platoon split in the minors favoring righty batters.
Ketel Marte (B), 38 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Miami Marlins (RHP Elieser Hernandez): Despite being a switch-hitter, Marte has a clear platoon with his best work coming against lefties, but I'm playing the matchup here with Hernandez. The Marlins' righty is allowing a horrendous 1.027 OPS to lefties so far this season. Plus, Marte has a .223 BABIP against righties that holds down his line and with his speed and contact approach, he should see his .609 OPS rise to something more in line with his .859 mark against lefties.
Ryon Healy (R), 39 percent, Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Kevin Gausman): Healy has enjoyed a power surge against righties this season, already clubbing 10 homers against them in 170 PA after 18 in 461 last year. Managing a neutral platoon split has made him a regular part of the Mariners' lineup. Meanwhile, Gausman has continued his career-long reverse platoon as righties hold an .867 OPS against him, including 11 homers in 216 PA.
Marcus Semien (R), 42 percent, Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers (LHP Blaine Hardy): Semien's power has routinely shown up when facing lefties and he has continued that trend this season with half of his hits against southpaws going for extra bases, yielding a .194 ISO. During the past three seasons, he's at .199 ISO and .803 OPS against lefties. Hardy has been a revelation for the Tigers as a surprise starter after four years of only relieving, but righties still hold a distinct platoon advantage over him. They have accounted for 32 of the 41 hits he's allowed all season and the top part of batting orders (in other words, the best players) do the most damage with a .375 AVG and as many RBIs as strikeouts.
David Freese (R), under 1 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets (LHP Steven Matz): It's easy to forget that Freese put up a .322/.419/.477 line against lefties in 2016-17, especially when he's at just .208/.298/.229 against them this season. Of course, that's just 57 PA of work and I'm more than willing to take a shot on his career .826 OPS against southpaws. Matz is our No. 3 starter recommendation, but that doesn't mean some of the Pirates' righties can't get loose against him. He's allowed an .805 OPS to them and has a poor 21 percent chase rate so he's not regularly fooling the opposition.
Yolmer Sanchez (B), 18 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Lance Lynn): A whopping 23 of Sanchez's 25 extra-base hits this year have come against righties, giving him a heavy platoon split despite being a switch-hitter. He also spends the bulk of his time in the top portion of the order so he should get plenty of opportunities. Lynn has gotten on track of late, but lefties still hold a healthy .274/.399/.425 line against him.
Aaron Hicks (B), 46 percent, New York Yankees at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Jake Arrieta): Hicks' success since the start of 2017 (.823 OPS) has been due in large part to getting better against righties. He's regularly handled lefties throughout his career but improvements against right-handers have fueled his surge. Health remains his biggest issue, which is why he's so available, but in this scenario, we just need a single game. Arrieta's wonky June (6.97 ERA) is due in part of the fact that he just doesn't miss as many bats as he used to with a meager 15 percent strikeout rate on the month and 17 percent for the season.
Max Kepler (L), 36 percent, Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox (RHP Reynaldo Lopez): Similar to Freese, Kepler has a healthy career platoon advantage against the side he's facing on Tuesday despite a rough go in 2018. Kepler brought a .261/.334/.475 career line against righties into this season, but has managed just a .196/.294/.324 line so far in 2018. He does have a .216 BABIP that should go up and he's maintaining a near 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio with 28 punchouts and 25 free passes. The enigmatic Lopez could be on and roll the Twins, or his horrendous 7 percent K-BB rate could make his day tough as it has multiple times this season, including a pair of starts in which he finished fewer than three innings and allowed at least six earned.
Scott Schebler (L), 23 percent, Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves (RHP Anibal Sanchez): Schebler's got his best OPS in three seasons thanks to some gains against lefties, but he's still holding up against righties with a .799 OPS and seven of his nine homers. Sanchez has been surprisingly strong for the Braves, but lefties have a .213 ISO against him with four of the six homers he's allowed, despite just 42 percent of the plate appearances.
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.