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Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Thursday

In his last five starts, Kevin Gausman has posted a 2.93 ERA with a .223 BAA. Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday brings us yet another abbreviated schedule, with only 10 games on the docket. There's no shortage of aces taking the mound, however, as Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Luis Severino, Blake Snell and Charlie Morton are all toeing the rubber for their respective teams.

While the number of aces certainly makes it a more exciting slate, it doesn't do any favors for those of us in the habit of streaming starting pitching. After all, the more big names on the slate, the fewer stream-worthy options we have to choose from. All hope is not lost, however, as there are still a few names that fit the bill.

Here's a look at the day's top streaming options, focusing on players rostered in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.


Pitching

Pitchers to stream

Kevin Gausman (R), rostered in 51 percent of ESPN leagues, Baltimore Orioles vs. Philadelphia Phillies: While Gausman is slightly over the usual streamer threshold for this column, the Baltimore pitcher has provided a relatively safe floor of late, so we're happy to include him. He has surrendered three-or-fewer runs in six straight starts, culminating in a 3.13 ERA. Wins will always be hard to come by on the Orioles, one of the worst teams in the majors, but there's value here regardless. Gausman is a solid bet against the Phillies, the team with the highest strikeout rate in baseball against right-handed pitching (26.3 percent) and a 94 wRC+ that ranks 21st overall.

Nick Pivetta (R), 32 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at Baltimore Orioles: Opposing Gausman is Pivetta, who has actually pitched better than his 4.62 ERA would indicate (3.75 FIP, 3.47 xFIP). While the Phillies right-hander has been the victim of multiple blowup outings this season, he's also flashed high-end upside thanks to a a pair of double-digit strikeout performances and a 27.4 percent strikeout rate which ranks top 20 in baseball. Against an Orioles team that ranks 22nd in ISO, 28th in wOBA and 29th in wRC+, Pivetta makes for one of the day's more intriguing streaming options.

Steven Matz (L), 29 percent, New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals: Matz has a 2.55 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over his last nine starts, dating back to May 24. Only once in that span did he allow more than three runs in an outing. The southpaw will carry that success into a home start against Washington on Thursday. While the Nationals offense has picked things up over the last couple of weeks, this is still a team that ranks 22nd in baseball with an 88 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.

Kyle Gibson (R), 31 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Gibson finds himself in a favorable spot on Thursday, squaring off against a Tampa Bay club that lacks firepower. Against right-handed pitching, the Rays sport a .128 ISO that ranks 28th in baseball and a .308 wOBA that ranks 20th. Gibson, meanwhile, is whiffing nearly a batter per inning this season (8.8 K/9) and holds a 3.14 ERA in his last eight starts.

Projected game scores


Hitting

Catcher

Tom Murphy (R), 2 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP Robbie Ray): Ray has a 5.23 ERA in nine starts this season, including a 5.88 ERA in three outings since returning from the DL. The lefty is still missing plenty of bats (13.6 K/9), but he's also allowing tons of free passes (5.0 BB/9) and a bloated 47.5 percent hard-hit rate, which doesn't figure to play well in Coors Field. This is an appealing spot for either Murphy or Chris Iannetta, whichever backstop is in the lineup on Thursday.

First base

Chris Davis (L), 6 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Nick Pivetta): After a brutal start, Davis is finally starting to show signs of life. He's hit safely in five straight games, including popping a pair of homers last week. There's downside here, but there's also high upside, as Davis gets the platoon advantage in a hitter-friendly park against a pitcher who has allowed eight homers in his last seven starts.

Second base

Brad Miller (L), 3 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Jameson Taillon): Since joining the Brewers, Miller is batting .289/.360/.489 in 14 games. He'll look to build off that success against Taillon and his 4.76 ERA in July and his career .335 wOBA against left-handed bats.

Third base

Maikel Franco (R), 22 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Kevin Gausman): Franco is on fire. The Phillies third baseman is batting .429/.520/.619 so far in July and has "gone yard" twice in his last three games. Franco won't have the platoon advantage here, but Gausman has shown reverse splits this season, allowing a .346 wOBA to right-handed bats and a .323 wOBA to lefties.

Shortstop

Ketel Marte (B), 25 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies (LHP Kyle Freeland): Since June 1, the switch-hitting Marte is batting .298/.357/.632. He's done most of his damage against left-handed pitching, putting up a .310/.366/.584 slash line against them (.210/.269/.338 vs. righties). Freeland has pitched well at home this season (2.89 ERA), but I'll still give the nod to Marte in this Coors Field matchup.

Corner infield

Josh Bell (B), 48 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers (LHP Wade Miley): Miley is set to rejoin the Brewers rotation after having been sidelined since early May with an oblique injury. The left-hander has allowed a .290/.356/.467 slash line to right-handed bats over the last three seasons, so they figure to be a problem for him on Thursday as he attempts to shake off the rust. For his part, the switch-hitting Bell has pummeled lefties to the tune of a .296/.388/.437 slash line this season.

Middle infield

Josh Harrison (R), 30 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers (LHP Wade Miley): We're going back-to-back with Pirates bats against the "fresh off the DL" Miley and his 5.10 ERA over the last three seasons. Dating back to 2015, Harrison is a .299/.363/.448 hitter against left-handed pitching.

Outfield

Joc Pederson (L), 30 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres (RHP Tyson Ross): Things set up quite nicely for Pederson on Thursday. While the ballpark isn't ideal for offense, Ross has allowed six homers in his last three starts and has been extremely vulnerable to left-handed bats (.303/.378/.505). Pederson, meanwhile, has settled into the leadoff spot against righties and has blasted 12 homers since June 1 -- all against right-handed pitching.

Steve Pearce (R), 4 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays (LHP J.A. Happ): Pearce is crushing lefties this season, putting up a .339/.381/.610 slash line against them, and he looks to be getting Happ at the right time. The Toronto southpaw posted a 3.48 ERA over his first 14 starts, but he's crumbled of late, with a sad 7.94 ERA over his last four outings -- including 13 earned runs over his last 8.1 frames.

Randal Grichuk (R), 7 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox (LHP David Price): Speaking of getting a pitcher at the right time, that also appears to be the case with Price. The Boston left-hander has allowed 12 earned runs, including a whopping six home runs, in just eight July innings. Meanwhile, Grichuk (39 percent career hard-hit rate) is coming off an encouraging month of June in which he batted .294/.341/.647 with eight bombs.

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.