Fantasy Forecaster updated Sunday, Sept. 11, at 10:51 p.m. ET.
On tap: The American League East race, which is four teams deep, and entering play on Sept. 12, had all four squads within four games of one another in the standings, comes into focus in Week 23, as intradivision play increases in volume. The Boston Red Sox play all seven days, entirely at Fenway Park, against the division rival Baltimore Orioles (three games, Sept. 12-14) and New York Yankees (four games, Sept. 15-18), and they'll have David Price and Drew Pomeranz lined up for starts against each.
There are a few "last gasp" series between first- and second-place teams, with the leader holding a substantial lead in the standings, as the Detroit Tigers visit the Cleveland Indians (three games, Sept. 16-18), the Texas Rangers visit the Houston Astros (three games, Sept. 12-14), the New York Mets visit the Washington Nationals (three games, Sept. 12-14) and the Chicago Cubs visit the St. Louis Cardinals (three games, Sept. 12-14). Each one of those division leaders -- Indians, Rangers, Nationals and Cubs -- enjoys at least a seven-game lead entering play on Sept. 12, so these series will either narrow those gaps or help the leaders chip away at their playoff magic numbers.
Besides the Red Sox series, the Yankees face a tough series to begin the week: three games at home versus the Los Angeles Dodgers -- with ace Clayton Kershaw and rookie Jose De Leon, who tossed a nine-strikeout quality start in his Sept. 4 big league debut, scheduled as starting-pitching opponents.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, face a critical week, heading west to AT&T Park to battle a San Francisco Giants team that, despite sporting the National League's worst second-half record (20-32, .385 winning percentage), holds a two-game advantage over those Cardinals in the National League wild-card standings.
Among the week's schedule oddities: The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds play a doubleheader on Sept. 17 to make-up their May 10 postponement. This also gives the Pirates a rare eight-game week; they are only the second team to play that many games in a single week all year, joining the Chicago White Sox (Week 8).
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Games don't begin until 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday, so fantasy owners have additional time to set their lineups for Week 23.
Week 23 is also the second week of Round 1 of the fantasy playoffs in ESPN standard leagues. This round concludes with the games on Sunday, Sept. 18, with the two winning teams in the championship bracket then facing off in Weeks 24-25.
Remember that game times have tremendous influence upon daily planning, so be aware of each day's first scheduled pitch. This week, they are:
Monday, Sept. 12: 7:05 p.m. ET (three games begin at that time)
Tuesday, Sept. 13: 7 p.m. ET (Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Yankees)
Wednesday, Sept. 14: 12:37 p.m. ET (Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays, one of five day games)
Thursday, Sept. 15: 1:10 p.m. ET (Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers, one of two day games)
Friday, Sept. 16: 2:20 p.m. ET (Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs, the day's only day game)
Saturday, Sept. 17: 12:10 p.m. ET (Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds, Game 1 of a doubleheader, one of five day games)
Sunday, Sept. 18: 1:10 p.m. ET (Tigers at Cleveland Indians, one of 14 day games)
This week's interleague series:
Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Yankees (three games, Sept. 12-14)
Minnesota Twins at New York Mets (three games, Sept. 16-18)
Dodgers' probable DH(s), three games in AL ballparks: The Dodgers mix and match daily lineups as much as any team, and they're likely to use the same approach at designated hitter at Yankee Stadium, rotating players into the role. While it would make the most sense for the team to DH either Yasiel Puig or Josh Reddick, granting them both places in the lineup, the Dodgers have been giving Charlie Culberson (versus left-handers) and Andrew Toles (versus right-handers) starts when lacking the platoon advantage. It's possible that either or both could sneak in a start (or three) instead. Puig's production, and the chance of 1-3 additional starts, makes him the Dodgers bat who most benefits, though Toles also warrants a look in NL-only.
Twins' traditional DH, three games in NL ballparks: Miguel Sano, who has 22 starts at DH in the Twins' 34 games in AL ballparks since Aug. 1, and Joe Mauer, who has eight, have largely been the team's DHs. During their Aug. 16-17 series at Atlanta's Turner Field, Sano was limited to pinch-hitting duty due to an elbow injury, though he has four starts at third base in the team's past 10 contests and could sneak in a start (or three) there at New York's Citi Field. Mauer, meanwhile, is iffy due to a quadriceps injury, despite his seemingly having an advantage as the opposing Mets' rotation is entirely right-handed. Eduardo Escobar is the Twins player most likely to suffer lost playing time during Week 23.
The chart below lists each of the 30 MLB teams' schedules and projected starting pitchers and provides a projected Bill James game score for each day's starter.
Projected starting pitchers, Sept. 12-18
P: The starting pitcher's projected Bill James game score, accounting for past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days), opponent and ballpark. A 50 is typically deemed a "quality start" by this measure, while a 70 is considered a dominant start.
Baltimore Orioles: Chris Tillman (DL: shoulder) rejoined the Orioles' rotation on Sept. 11, making it likely they'll use a six-man rotation through Week 23. Yovani Gallardo, who was skipped during the most recent turn, will next start on Sept. 15.
Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox pushed Drew Pomeranz back in their rotation to Sept. 13 in order to provide him additional rest. There remains no timetable for Steven Wright's (DL: shoulder) return, though his spot in the rotation, currently occupied by Clay Buchholz, arrives on Sept. 11 and 16.
New York Yankees: The Yankees will stick with Bryan Mitchell as their Sept. 12 starter, though depending upon his performance, Luis Severino could be a candidate to fill in the next time that turn arrives on Sept. 17.
Toronto Blue Jays: Francisco Liriano will replace R.A. Dickey in the Blue Jays' rotation on Sept. 12, and presumably also the next time that turn arrives on Sept. 17. Dickey could be a candidate to fill in should Aaron Sanchez (blister) be unable to pitch on Sept. 16.
Texas Rangers: Colby Lewis (DL: shoulder) rejoined the Rangers' rotation on Sept. 11, lining him up for a Sept. 17 start during Week 23. It appears that he'll replace Derek Holland outright, rather than the Rangers going to a six-man rotation, as Holland isn't scheduled for a start before Sept. 16 at the earliest.
Atlanta Braves: Aaron Blair (DL: knee) made a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Sept. 8 and could be a candidate to fill-in for the Braves if needed during Week 23, particularly if Williams Perez (elbow) is unable to pitch. Matt Wisler (side) should be able to make his next scheduled start on Sept. 13.
Washington Nationals: With Stephen Strasburg (elbow) sidelined, Mat Latos will fill in for him on Sept. 12. It is unclear who will pitch the next time that turn in the Nationals' rotation arrives on Sept. 18, though Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Joe Ross (DL: shoulder), in addition to Latos, are candidates.
Cincinnati Reds: Keyvius Sampson will make a spot start on Sept. 12, providing Anthony DeSclafani some additional rest. Sampson is expected to eventually replace Brandon Finnegan, who is approaching an innings limit, so it's possible that Sampson could get another start during the Sept. 17 doubleheader.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Chad Kuhl and Jameson Taillon, whose Sept. 10 and 12 starts were skipped, are expected to rejoin the Pirates' rotation on Sept. 15 and 17. Gerrit Cole (DL: elbow) will return on Sept. 12, lining him up for the other start during the Sept. 17 doubleheader. Drew Hutchison and Tyler Glasnow remain available to fill in if the team chooses to skip other starters.
Arizona Diamondbacks: After Rubby De La Rosa made an abbreviated start on Sept. 9, with Braden Shipley following him in relief, it was unclear whether the Diamondbacks would use De La Rosa or Shipley when that spot in their rotation next arrives on Sept. 14.
Los Angeles Dodgers: With Scott Kazmir (DL: neck, ribs) having suffered a setback during his Sept. 7 start for Triple-A Oklahoma City, Jose De Leon will start on Sept. 12 and Julio Urias on Sept. 13. It seems probable that Urias and De Leon would also start on Sept. 17-18, though Bud Norris, Brock Stewart or Ross Stripling could also be candidates.
1. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Wed-SD (Perdomo)
2. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Wed-@NYY (Pineda): His Sept. 9 return start wasn't encouraging enough to boost his game-score projection for this game. For example, how limited will Kershaw's pitch count be? If we could assume he'll be afforded 100 or more for this start, he'd earn a 70.
3. Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Sat-MIL (Davies)
4. Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Fri-@ATL (Gant)
5. Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Mon-@CWS (Gonzalez), Sat-DET (Norris)
6. Jose Fernandez (MIA) -- Wed-@ATL (Teheran)
7. Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Tue-@WSH (Cole)
8. Rich Hill (LAD) -- Thu-@ARI (Bradley): He'll be a slight risk for early departure the remainder of the year due to his past blister issues, but Hill has been as valuable, on a per-batter-faced basis, as all but a small handful of starting pitchers.
9. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Fri-@KC (Kennedy)
10. David Price (BOS) -- Mon-BAL (Miley), Sat-NYY (Mitchell)
11. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Fri-DET (Verlander)
12. Jon Lester (CHC) -- Wed-@STL (Martinez)
13. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Mon-@STL (Leake), Sun-MIL (Peralta)
14. Chris Archer (TB) -- Fri-@BAL (Jimenez)
15. Kenta Maeda (LAD) -- Fri-@ARI (Greinke)
16. Jeff Samardzija (SF) -- Mon-SD (Clemens), Sat-STL (Leake)
17. Drew Pomeranz (BOS) -- Tue-BAL (Bundy), Sun-NYY (Sabathia)
18. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Fri-@CLE (Kluber)
19. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Mon-@PHI (Hellickson), Sat-@CIN, Gm. 1 (DeSclafani)
20. Cole Hamels (TEX) -- Fri-OAK (Graveman)
21. Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Wed-LAD (Kershaw)
22. Zack Greinke (ARI) -- Fri-LAD (Maeda)
23. Johnny Cueto (SF) -- Thu-STL (Wainwright)
24. Tanner Roark (WSH) -- Wed-NYM (Gsellman)
25. John Lackey (CHC) -- Fri-MIL (Anderson)
26. Ivan Nova (PIT) -- Tue-@PHI (Asher), Sun-@CIN (Straily)
27. Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Wed-CHC (Lester)
28. Julio Urias (LAD) -- Tue-@NYY (Sabathia), Sun-@ARI (Ray)
29. Robbie Ray (ARI) -- Tue-COL (De La Rosa), Sun-LAD (Urias)
30. Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Wed-BAL (Gausman)
31. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Fri-HOU (McHugh)
32. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Wed-MIA (Fernandez)
33. Danny Duffy (KC) -- Tue-OAK (Cotton), Sun-CWS (Quintana)
34. Yu Darvish (TEX) -- Wed-@HOU (Musgrove)
35. Luke Weaver (STL) -- Fri-@SF (Moore): He has a 29 percent strikeout rate through his first five big league starts, and now he'll face a Giants team that is one of the coldest in baseball offensively, averaging just 2.57 runs per game in September.
36. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Tue-CLE (Bauer), Sun-@KC (Duffy)
37. Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Fri-@PHI (Morgan)
38. Tyler Anderson (COL) -- Mon-@ARI (Miller)
39. Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Tue-CHC (Hammel), Sun-@SF (Suarez)
40. Francisco Liriano (TOR) -- Mon-TB (Odorizzi), Sat-@LAA (Nolasco)
41. Jose De Leon (LAD) -- Mon-@NYY (Mitchell), Sat-@ARI (Miller)
42. Chad Kuhl (PIT) -- Thu-@PHI (Eickhoff)
43. Marcus Stroman (TOR) -- Tue-TB (Smyly), Sun-@LAA (Meyer)
44. Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Wed-TB (Cobb)
45. Jon Gray (COL) -- Sat-SD (Jackson)
46. Andrew Cashner (MIA) -- Mon-@ATL (Foltynewicz), Sun-@PHI (Asher)
47. Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Fri-@SEA (Hernandez)
48. Adam Wainwright (STL) -- Thu-@SF (Cueto)
49. Seth Lugo (NYM) -- Sat-MIN (Santana)
50. Drew Smyly (TB) -- Tue-@TOR (Stroman)
51. Mike Fiers (HOU) -- Sat-@SEA (Paxton)
52. Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Wed-OAK (Manaea)
53. A.J. Cole (WSH) -- Tue-NYM (Syndergaard)
54. Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Tue-@STL (Garcia)
55. Ian Kennedy (KC) -- Fri-CWS (Sale)
56. Steven Brault (PIT) -- Wed-@PHI (Thompson)
57. Matt Moore (SF) -- Fri-STL (Weaver)
58. J.A. Happ (TOR) -- Thu-@LAA (Wright)
59. Tyler Skaggs (LAA) -- Wed-SEA (Iwakuma)
60. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Sat-@ATL (Perez)
61. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Thu-@BOS (Rodriguez)
62. Brandon Finnegan (CIN) -- Sat-PIT, Gm. 2 (Taillon)
63. James Paxton (SEA) -- Sat-HOU (Fiers)
64. Jerad Eickhoff (PHI) -- Thu-PIT (Kuhl)
65. Kevin Gausman (BAL) -- Wed-@BOS (Porcello)
66. Mike Montgomery (CHC) -- Thu-MIL (Nelson)
67. Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) -- Mon-MIA (Cashner), Sun-WSH (TBD)
68. Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) -- Sat-PIT, Gm. 1 (Cole)
69. Jameson Taillon (PIT) -- Sat-@CIN, Gm. 2 (Finnegan)
70. Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Tue-@CWS (Quintana), Sun-DET (Boyd)
71. Michael Fulmer (DET) -- Thu-MIN (Santiago)
72. Robert Stephenson (CIN) -- Fri-PIT (Vogelsong)
73. Robert Gsellman (NYM) -- Wed-@WSH (Roark)
74. Carlos Rodon (CWS) -- Wed-CLE (Tomlin)
75. Chad Bettis (COL) -- Sun-SD (Clemens)
76. Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Fri-TB (Archer)
77. Aaron Sanchez (TOR) -- Fri-@LAA (Weaver)
78. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Wed-@LAA (Skaggs)
79. Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Tue-@LAA (Meyer)
80. Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Thu-OAK (Mengden)
81. Rafael Montero (NYM) -- Mon-@WSH (Latos), Sun-MIN (Gibson)
82. Clayton Richard (SD) -- Tue-@SF (Suarez)
83. Albert Suarez (SF) -- Tue-SD (Richard), Sun-STL (Garcia)
84. Jharel Cotton (OAK) -- Tue-@KC (Duffy)
85. Zach Davies (MIL) -- Sat-@CHC (Arrieta)
86. Sean Manaea (OAK) -- Wed-@KC (Ventura)
87. CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Tue-LAD (Urias), Sun-@BOS (Pomeranz)
88. Jose Urena (MIA) -- Sat-@PHI (Hellickson)
89. Matt Andriese (TB) -- Sat-@BAL (Tillman)
90. Ricky Nolasco (LAA) -- Mon-SEA (Miranda), Sat-TOR (Liriano)
91. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Wed-MIN (Duffey)
92. Mike Clevinger (CLE) -- Thu-@CWS (Shields)
93. Jeremy Hellickson (PHI) -- Mon-PIT (Cole), Sat-MIA (Urena)
94. Dylan Bundy (BAL) -- Tue-@BOS (Pomeranz)
95. Ariel Miranda (SEA) -- Mon-@LAA (Nolasco), Sun-HOU (Fister)
96. Tyler Chatwood (COL) -- Fri-SD (Friedrich)
97. Tim Adleman (CIN) -- Wed-MIL (Guerra)
98. Matt Wisler (ATL) -- Tue-MIA (Esch)
99. Clay Buchholz (BOS) -- Fri-NYY (Cessa)
100. Junior Guerra (MIL) -- Wed-@CIN (Adleman)
101. Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Tue-@ARI (Ray)
102. Blake Snell (TB) -- Thu-@BAL (Gallardo)
103. Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Sat-OAK (Alcantara)
104. Jake Thompson (PHI) -- Wed-PIT (Brault)
105. Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Mon-@TOR (Liriano), Sun-@BAL (Miley)
106. Mike Leake (STL) -- Mon-CHC (Hendricks), Sat-@SF (Samardzija)
107. Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Fri-MIN (Berrios)
108. Jake Esch (MIA) -- Tue-@ATL (Wisler)
109. Josh Tomlin (CLE) -- Wed-@CWS (Rodon)
110. A.J. Griffin (TEX) -- Tue-@HOU (Peacock)
111. Ervin Santana (MIN) -- Mon-@DET (Norris), Sat-@NYM (Lugo)
112. Keyvius Sampson (CIN) -- Mon-MIL (Peralta)
113. Luis Perdomo (SD) -- Wed-@SF (Bumgarner)
114. Archie Bradley (ARI) -- Thu-LAD (Hill)
115. Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Sat-TB (Andriese)
116. Dan Straily (CIN) -- Tue-MIL (Garza), Sun-PIT (Nova)
117. Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) -- Thu-NYY (Tanaka)
118. Shelby Miller (ARI) -- Mon-COL (Anderson), Sat-LAD (De Leon)
119. Alex Cobb (TB) -- Wed-@TOR (Estrada)
120. Matt Boyd (DET) -- Tue-MIN (Gibson), Sun-@CLE (Bauer)
121. Daniel Mengden (OAK) -- Thu-@KC (Volquez)
122. Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Wed-COL (Hoffman)
123. Luis Cessa (NYY) -- Fri-@BOS (Buchholz)
124. Joe Musgrove (HOU) -- Wed-TEX (Darvish)
125. Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Thu-@CHC (Montgomery)
126. James Shields (CWS) -- Thu-CLE (Clevinger)
127. Daniel Norris (DET) -- Mon-MIN (Santana), Sat-@CLE (Carrasco)
128. John Gant (ATL) -- Fri-WSH (Scherzer)
129. Dillon Gee (KC) -- Mon-OAK (Detwiler), Sat-CWS (Gonzalez)
130. Alec Asher (PHI) -- Tue-PIT (Nova), Sun-MIA (Cashner)
131. Hector Santiago (MIN) -- Thu-@DET (Fulmer)
132. Adam Morgan (PHI) -- Fri-MIA (Koehler)
133. Jeff Hoffman (COL) -- Wed-@ARI (De La Rosa)
134. Tyler Duffey (MIN) -- Wed-@DET (Sanchez)
135. Jose Berrios (MIN) -- Fri-@NYM (Colon)
136. Chase Anderson (MIL) -- Fri-@CHC (Lackey)
137. Yovani Gallardo (BAL) -- Thu-TB (Snell)
138. Wade Miley (BAL) -- Mon-@BOS (Price), Sun-TB (Odorizzi)
139. Alex Meyer (LAA) -- Tue-SEA (Walker), Sun-TOR (Stroman)
140. Matt Garza (MIL) -- Tue-@CIN (Straily)
141. Ryan Vogelsong (PIT) -- Fri-@CIN (Stephenson)
142. Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Tue-@DET (Boyd), Sun-@NYM (Montero)
143. Miguel Gonzalez (CWS) -- Mon-CLE (Carrasco), Sat-@KC (Gee)
144. Raul Alcantara (OAK) -- Sat-@TEX (Lewis)
145. Daniel Wright (LAA) -- Thu-TOR (Happ)
146. Bryan Mitchell (NYY) -- Mon-LAD (De Leon), Sat-@BOS (Price)
147. Paul Clemens (SD) -- Mon-@SF (Samardzija), Sun-@COL (Bettis)
148. Williams Perez (ATL) -- Sat-WSH (Gonzalez)
149. Kendall Graveman (OAK) -- Fri-@TEX (Hamels)
150. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Fri-TOR (Sanchez)
151. Edwin Jackson (SD) -- Sat-@COL (Gray)
152. Doug Fister (HOU) -- Mon-TEX (Perez), Sun-@SEA (Miranda)
153. Brad Peacock (HOU) -- Tue-TEX (Griffin)
154. Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Mon-@CIN (Sampson), Sun-@CHC (Hendricks)
155. Martin Perez (TEX) -- Mon-@HOU (Fister), Sun-OAK (Detwiler)
156. Christian Friedrich (SD) -- Fri-@COL (Chatwood)
157. Ross Detwiler (OAK) -- Mon-@KC (Gee), Sun-@TEX (Perez)
The chart below lists each of the 30 teams' total number of scheduled games, home games and games versus right- and left-handed pitchers and provides a matchup rating for the week's games in terms of overall offense, offense for left- and right-handed hitters and base stealing. Matchup ratings for each individual game are listed under the corresponding date.
Hitting matchup chart, Sept. 12-18
H: Hitters' matchup rating, which accounts for the opposing starting pitcher's past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days) as well as ballpark factors.
L: Hitters' matchup rating accounting only for left-handed hitters.
R: Hitters' matchup rating accounting for only right-handed hitters.
S: Base stealing matchup rating, which accounts for the opponent's catchers' ability to gun down opposing base stealers.
Ratings range from 1-10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst.
Here are this week's "volume plays," defined as the teams that play the most home games, or games against right- or left-handed starters:
Total games: Pittsburgh Pirates 8, Baltimore Orioles 7, Boston Red Sox 7, New York Yankees 7, Tampa Bay Rays 7, Toronto Blue Jays 7, Chicago White Sox 7, Cleveland Indians 7, Detroit Tigers 7, Kansas City Royals 7, Minnesota Twins 7, Los Angeles Angels 7, Oakland Athletics 7, Philadelphia Phillies 7, Chicago Cubs 7, Cincinnati Reds 7, Milwaukee Brewers 7, St. Louis Cardinals 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 7, San Francisco Giants 7.
Home games: Boston Red Sox 7, Kansas City Royals 7, Los Angeles Angels 7, Philadelphia Phillies 7, Cincinnati Reds 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 7, San Francisco Giants 7, Atlanta Braves 6.
Versus LH: New York Yankees 5, Cleveland Indians 4, Kansas City Royals 4, Arizona Diamondbacks 4, Baltimore Orioles 3, Houston Astros 3, Los Angeles Angels 3, Oakland Athletics 3. Seven teams face two left-handed starters.
Versus RH: Cincinnati Reds 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 7, Toronto Blue Jays 6, Chicago White Sox 6, Detroit Tigers 6, New York Mets 6, Philadelphia Phillies 6, Washington Nationals 6, Chicago Cubs 6, Milwaukee Brewers 6.
Besides the advantage of an additional game, the Pirates benefit from facing two below-average pitching staffs in that of the Phillies (four games) and Reds (four games), and they'll do so while visiting those two teams' ballparks, both of which are more favorable hitters' environments than the Pirates' own PNC Park. Examining the individual opposing starters, six of the eight have greater-than-four FIPs and xFIPs, and a seventh, Alec Asher, has a 6.22 career FIP and is a pitch-to-contact type. It's advantageous timing for a Pirates team that still finds itself within range of a wild-card spot, though it'd be better for this team to face more left- than right-handed starters, considering the team's 26-point wOBA split favoring success against southpaws (.346-.320).
Assuming the team can find enough space for them in their lineups, lefty (or switch-hitting) hitters Josh Bell and Matt Joyce could be worth your while, considering Bell is a .304/.433/.500 hitter against them so far this season, while Joyce is a .262/.407/.524 hitter against them. Chances are, neither will get more than four starts, capping their value in standard leagues, but bear in mind that Starling Marte (back) has missed some time recently and fellow first baseman John Jaso lacks Bell's upside, so the Pirates might well find ways to give them more at-bats in Week 23.
When it comes to the Rays, you want weeks in which they're slated to face the fewest left-handed pitchers possible. Since Aug. 1, they have an 81-point wOBA split hitting right-handers better (.365-.284), and they've struck out more than 6 percent less often against righties than lefties. As things stand, the Blue Jays won't have their best lefty starter on turn to pitch during that series, leaving only two logical lefties available to battle these Rays during Week 23: Francisco Liriano, who will face them on Sept. 12, and Wade Miley, who has a ghastly 7.15 ERA in seven starts since joining the Orioles. That both of the Rays' series will come in much more hitter-friendly environments than their home ballpark, too, only helps matters.
Among the Rays' lefty and switch-hitters, Logan Morrison is a .297/.409/.676 hitter against righties since Aug. 1, Brad Miller is a .275/.359/.615 hitter during the same time span, Nick Franklin is a .290/.329/.580 hitter and Kevin Kiermaier is a .300/.358/.470 hitter. All four warrant places in your Week 23 lineups, and don't overlook that two of the team's key right-handed hitters, Logan Forsythe (.333/.425/.589) and Evan Longoria (.287/.342/.564) have also hit righties well during that time span.