It looks like we're about to come full circle as the weather issues dotting the early season schedule are back this weekend. Hopefully pennant races, MLB and fantasy, aren't negatively affected.
Sunday's slate offers a nice array of pitchers to stream, including some "break glass in case of emergency" options for those in deeper leagues or needing a late-week miracle to pull out a head-to-head win. As always, confirm your hitters are in the lineup as more reserves get in the lineup on Sunday than any other day.
Here's what you need to end your fantasy week on a high note, everyone available in at least half of all ESPN leagues.
Pitchers to Stream
Trevor Cahill (R), rostered in 30 percent of ESPN leagues, Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers: While it's fair to look at the Athletics' rotation and ask, "How are they doing it?", ESPN research associate Kyle Soppe notes Cahill's 3.60 ERA is fully supported via his 3.36 FIP and 3.60 xFIP. The righty's 8.3 K/9 is decent but not dominant. His main reason for success is inducing an extreme number of ground balls, resulting in just seven homers in 100 innings. Cahill lines up for another solid effort as the Rangers are a different team on the road, sporting a low 84 wRC+ away from Arlington.
CC Sabathia (L), 39 percent, New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners: Whenever Sabathia is on the hill, the first thing to do is go through the opposing lineup to see how many good right-handed bats he'll likely face. The veteran southpaw can still dominate lefty swingers while having issues with righties. The Mariners have some solid right-handed batters, but in general won't stack the lineup like some do against Sabathia. Plus, for the season in general, Seattle is well below average with a left-hander on the hill.
Vince Velasquez (R), 34 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets: After serving up 13 homers in his first 86.1 innings of the season, Velasquez has surrendered only one long ball in the last 47.2 frames. He's still not very pitch efficient, working into the sixth only once in his last seven outings, fanning 30 with 17 walks in those 31 innings. On paper, the Mets should afford Velasquez the chance to go deeper than usual, but they've hit right-handers hard since the break. Velasquez is still in play, but the matchup isn't as rosy as it may appear on the surface.
Reynaldo Lopez (R), 17 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels: Often, second-half splits are just noise. However, in the case of young pitching, especially those with strong pedigree, a solid finish can be a sign something clicked. White Sox fans hope this is the case for Lopez, particularly in the light of the Michael Kopech news. Lopez is on a roll, posting a 1.83 ERA and .92 WHIP over his last three starts, fanning 19 in those 19.2 innings. Skeptics may point out two of those outings were against the Tigers, but the middle one was a seven-inning, one-run effort at Yankee Stadium. For the season, the Angels are an above average club facing righties, however for the past month they've struggled, striking out at a 25 percent clip in that scenario.
Touki Toussaint (R), 8 percent, Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks: Upon first glance, it appears Toussaint struggled against the Red Sox last time out, allowing three runs in 4.2 innings. The truth is, the rookie cruised through the first four frames, but Boston is adept at making in-game adjustments. Not every lineup is capable of that. Based on the Diamondbacks' below average numbers with a right-hander on the hill, Toussaint should have better results in his third career start.
Tyler Mahle (R), 2 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. San Diego Padres: Here's the pick for the desperate as Mahle rejoins the Reds' rotation after an early August demotion to the minors. Mahle started the season strongly, but eventually the league caught up. That said, he was in a groove at Triple-A Louisville before being recalled, registering a 2.77 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with the Bats, though only striking out 20 in 29 frames. In Mahle's favor is drawing a Padres club with one of the weakest offenses facing right-handers, punctuated with the highest strikeout rate.
Assuming he didn't pitch in Saturday's bullpen affair, Jalen Beeks lines up to work the bulk of the middle innings for the Tampa Bay Rays as the wrap up a home series with the Orioles. The Baltimore offense has been among the worst versus southpaw pitching all season, putting Beeks in play, especially if you play in a format with separate relief pitcher designations.
Projected game scores
Tucker Barnhart (B), 47 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. San Diego Padres (RHP Jacob Nix): Barnhart currently sits 14th overall among backstops on the Player Rater. Considering Evan Gattis has lost his job to Tyler White and Buster Posey is out for the season, Barnhart is essentially the 12th receiver. This puts him in streaming range. It doesn't get much better than facing a lesser arm in the hitter-friendly confines of the Great American Ballpark.
Matt Adams (L), 17 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Detroit Tigers (RHP Michael Fulmer): Fulmer has already allowed a career-high 17 homers, doing it only 126 innings, well below the 164.2 and 150 he totaled the past two seasons. Adams is seeing sporadic action upon his return to the Cardinals, but since the Redbirds will deploy a designated hitter in the interleague tilt, chances are he will be in the lineup.
Adrian Sanchez (R), 0 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs (LHP Mike Montgomery): After a 3-for-7 day with two runs and two RBI in yesterday's twinbill facing a couple of southpaws, Sanchez should get another shot with Montgomery on the hill.
Yandy Diaz (R), 1 percent, Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays (LHP Thomas Pannone): The last time the Indians faced a southpaw, Diaz occupied the two-hole. While he's likely keeping the spot warm for Josh Donaldson until the newly acquired slugger is ready, Diaz could get another chance or two to take advantage of the platoon edge hitting high in a very potent lineup.
Adalberto Mondesi (B), 13 percent, Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins (RHP Zack Littell: Mondesi is another hitter who should be on far more rosters, especially in rotisserie scoring leagues or formats awarding multiple points to steals. Since the break, Mondesi of one of five players leading the league with 13 pilfers, also chipping in with three useful homers during that span.
Joe Mauer (L), 7 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Ian Kennedy): Kennedy is slated to make his first start since July 10 after aggravating an oblique injury. While he may not possess the power to take advantage of Kennedy's proclivity for the long ball, Mauer's on-base ability on top of the Twins' order should afford him chances to get on and score, a couple of traits beneficial in points-based leagues.
Ian Kinsler (R), 41 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros (LHP Dallas Keuchel): Keuchel is obviously a very good hurler, but there's a couple of openings to leverage for matchup purposes. First, he allows an average of a hit an inning to right-handed batters. Second, in general, Keuchel doesn't miss many bats, whiffing just 136 in 179.2 frames. These feed into Kinsler's strength as a hitter, putting the ball in play, always a good thing at Fenway Park.
Hunter Renfroe (R), 44 percent, San Diego Padres at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Tyler Mahle): Renfroe has blasted 13 homers the past month, four coming during the past week. The major issue for Mahle earlier this season was gopheritis, authoring 21 homers in 109 frames.
Ramon Laureano (R), 14 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Ariel Jurado): The Athletics used to rely on platoons to generate offense. Over their second-half surge, they've settled on a largely right-handed lineup, with Laureano leading things off. Jurado, who may end up taking over for an "opener," is the day's lowest ranked pitcher, so you want any exposure you can muster.
Chris Shaw (L), 1 percent, San Francisco Giants at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Zach Davies): Injuries and trades have paved the way for the Giants to get a look at Shaw and his potential plus-power bat. The 24-year-old converted first baseman hit 24 homers for Triple-A Sacramento this season. Like many young hitters, strikeouts are a problem as he fanned at a 34 percent clip for the Bees. Davies is making his second start since rehabbing a shoulder injury incurred in May. For his career, Davis carries a below-average strikeout rate, giving Shaw good odds at taking advantage of Miller Park's generosity to left-handed power.
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.