It's a slate of haves and have-nots on Tuesday with several aces going, but also a host of fourth and fifth starter types as well. The abundance of studs limited the hitting options a bit, but some of our gems from last week were still widely available so we're going back to the well. There was a solid group of streamable pitchers and we avoided going against any of the aforementioned aces with our streamers, too.
Pitchers to Stream
Chase Anderson (R), rostered in 45 percent of ESPN leagues, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds: Anderson has allowed just three earned runs in 14 September innings and has allowed just four hits in his last 12 innings against the Reds. He has lost just one of his last 15 outings so points leaguers can feel more comfortable about not taking that hit, though part of that is because he's averaging just over five innings per start in that run so there's a tradeoff. The Reds are just 26th in wOBA against righties during the second half with a .305 mark.
Joey Lucchesi (L), 18 percent, San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants: Outside of a couple five earned run duds (both against Arizona), Lucchesi's had a solid second half with a 4.13 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 48 innings. The Giants have been a total nightmare against lefties this year with a .288 wOBA (27th) and even worse in the second half with a league-worst .262 mark. This will be a very popular playoff stream start as will fellow Padre lefty Robbie Erlin on Wednesday.
Joe Ross (R), 3 percent, Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins: Ross wasn't bad in his season debut against the Cubs, though he didn't fan a single batter in his five innings of work. Of course, the Cubs are a lot better than the Marlins so I think we'll see Ross get a few whiffs in this outing. They are toting a .268 wOBA against righties in the second half (29th) with a 24 percent strikeout rate (sixth-highest).
There are four bullpen games and, believe it or not, the Tampa Bay Rays aren't involved as Blake Snell will be looking for his 20th win. Liam Hendriks will open his sixth game for the Athletics. Since he's only worked one frame each time, he's not of any interest, even in leagues with separate reliever designations. However, the other three openers are all likely to work multiple frames and could rack up enough strikeouts to be useful in some formats.
Michael Lorenzen will do the honors for the Reds and he's used to pitching more than one inning. Matt Andriese takes the ball for the Diamondbacks with a 50-pitch limit, enough potentially for three or four stanzas. Finally, Gerrit Cole is being pushed to Friday as the Astros are beginning to set things up for the playoffs. In his stead, Josh James will open. In three appearances, James has whiffed 17 batters in 10.2 innings so, even if he tosses just three or four innings, James is capable of enough punch-outs to be considered in points leagues.
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), 45 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals (LHP Austin Gomber): Suzuki is sprinting to the finish line with an 1.107 OPS and three homers in his 30 September plate appearances. He's been strong against lefties all year, hitting .268/.318/.488 with five home runs in 88 PA. That said, he and Tyler Flowers are sharing duties and Flowers has been even better against lefties so he might draw the start. Just go with whoever gets the nod.
Ji-Man Choi (L), 12 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers (RHP Yovani Gallardo): I wonder how many fantasy teams Choi boosted down the stretch with a .284/.370/.569 line and six home runs in his last 30 games. He has a .976 OPS against righties during the stretch, too. Gallardo has allowed a blistering .331/.404/.564 line to righties on the season.
Jonathan Villar (B), 49 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Aaron Sanchez): Villar has gotten himself back on track in Baltimore with a solid .787 OPS, 8 HR, and 12 SB in 180 plate appearances since being traded there. He's no doubt been a major fantasy factor given his speed, but the fact that it's also come with some pop has made him a second half star. Sanchez has a major 216-point platoon split against lefties, allowing an .867 OPS against them.
Aledmys Diaz (R), 7 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dylan Bundy): Diaz has regained his power stroke in the summer with a .794 OPS and 10 home runs since July 1 and though he's done his best work against lefties, Bundy is a home run machine so I'm rolling with him here. Bundy is yielding a .257 ISO against righties with 21 homers allowed (tied for fourth most).
Paul DeJong (R), 48 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves (RHP Anibal Sanchez): I was actually really worried that DeJong's plate skills profile from last year (28 percent strikeout rate, five percent walk rate) would foster some sophomore struggles. That seems to be the case with his .730 OPS, despite some improvements in those plate skills (25 percent K, eight percent BB). So why the recommendation? Because the power is still viable, especially as a waiver pickup. He has a .202 ISO and eight homers since August 1 (a 32-home run full season pace) so I'm really just looking to spike a longball here.
Ryan O'Hearn (L), 11 percent, Kansas City Royals at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Jameson Taillon): O'Hearn returns after giving us a 1-for-3 (with a triple and run scored) effort last Tuesday. Taillon is no walkover, but O'Hearn is smashing all righties with a 1.284 OPS, nine homers, and 18 extra-base hits total in 99 plate appearances. Random note: Taillon has allowed exactly two 3B, nine HR, six SB, and one CS to both lefties and righties. It doesn't matter but the symmetry is fun.
Nick Ahmed (R), 9 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Chicago Cubs (LHP Mike Montgomery): Ahmed's a perfect platoon against lefties with an .828 OPS and eight homers in 174 PA (he also has eight homers against righties, but in 349 plate appearances). He also gets Cole Hamels on Wednesday.
Hunter Renfroe (R), 49 percent, San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants (LHP Derek Holland): Renfroe was known for his lefty-smashing ways prior to this year, but he's been nice and balanced this year with just a five-point split (favoring his .820 OPS vs. LHP). Holland has a major 284-point platoon split with righties toting a .769 OPS against him and all 17 of his homers allowed.
Billy McKinney (L), 13 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dylan Bundy): McKinney has been hitting leadoff often lately and has a healthy .892 OPS against right-handers. He went cold for five games at the Red Sox and Yankees (0-for-14), but still has a .289 AVG on the season.
Robbie Grossman (B), 2 percent, Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers (LHP Daniel Norris): Grossman is quietly surging since returning in late August with an .852 OPS, including an eye-popping .538 OBP against lefties (albeit in just 26 PA). It's been a punchless run with just an .095 ISO in his .324/.433/.419 line, but he's not striking out (nine percent) and walking a ton (14 percent).
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.