Saturday brings us another full slate, and it's even fuller than usual. There are 16 games on the docket, with the Rays and A's set for a double-header. It's an intriguing set of games, headlined by rookie prospect Sean Newcomb making his big-league debut with the Braves in the afternoon, and Chris Sale and Justin Verlander squaring off under the lights at Fenway Park.
Here's a look at the day's top streaming options.
Pitchers to stream
Ariel Miranda (L), 45 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Seattle Mariners vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Miranda's ownership is on the rise, and it's easy to see why. In his past five starts, the left-hander has posted a 2.03 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and a strikeout per inning. Although he has benefited from some good luck, his improved swinging strike rate (10 percent) and 29 percent hard-contact rate (which ranks top-12 in the AL) are good signs. On Saturday, Miranda gets to start at Safeco Field, where he owns a 2.02 ERA this season, against a Blue Jays team that doesn't hit lefties well (84 wRC+).
Sean Manaea (L), 66 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Manaea's ownership percentage would normally disqualify him from this list. However, the Oakland left-hander is still widely available, and his home date with the Rays is just too appealing to ignore. Not only are the Rays largely ineffective against southpaws (83 wRC+), they are striking out a whopping 28 percent of the time versus lefties, the highest mark in baseball. For his part, Manaea is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 27 K's in 25 innings in his past four outings.
Dan Straily (R), 47 percent, Miami Marlins at Pittsburgh Pirates: As a streaming option, Straily has been awfully consistent this season. He has allowed no more than three runs in six straight starts, and only once all season has he allowed more than four runs in an outing. That kind of safe floor is very valuable when you're streaming starters. Straily's road affair with the Pirates, who are below average against righty pitching (94 wRC+), makes him a fine streaming option once again on Saturday. His 5.46 road ERA is somewhat concerning, but PNC Park is even less favorable to power hitters than Marlins Park, which helps offset the risk.
Josh Tomlin (R), 8 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox: Tomlin hasn't exactly been a great fantasy asset this season, but things aren't as bad as they look. His 3.75 FIP suggests his 5.54 ERA is due to regress, his 60 percent strand rate is unsustainably low and his .327 BABIP is 47 points above his career average. Tomlin's 1.5 percent walk rate is also best in baseball among starting pitchers. Against a White Sox club that's 28th in wOBA and sports baseball's sixth-highest whiff rate, Tomlin finds himself in a nice spot on Saturday.
Pitcher to avoid
Justin Verlander (R), 97 percent, Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox: This is one of the few times I'd consider leaving Verlander on my bench. Not only did he leave his last outing with a groin injury, but his past five starts have seen him post a 5.20 ERA and 1.55 WHIP with seven homers allowed. Something doesn't look right. Boston's offense hasn't been firing on all cylinders of late, but it's still a dangerous lineup in a ballpark that inflates offense.
The Pirates' bullpen is one to watch. Closer Tony Watson has blown back-to-back save chances and has converted only nine of his 14 save opportunities this season. Felipe Rivero, who has been lights-out this season with a 0.58 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and 9.9 K/9 in 31 frames, could very well be the next man up. He's still available in 80 percent of ESPN leagues. That said, it's very possible the Pirates try to keep Rivero's future arbitration costs down and go with veteran Juan Nicasio, the owner of a 1.35 ERA in 28 appearances, so he's a name to tuck away, as well.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. A "*" means that the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings. A 50 typically earns the pitcher a "quality start" by this measure, while a 70 is considered a dominant start.
Tony Wolters (L), 3 percent, Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs (RHP Eddie Butler): It's not often we like to recommend Rockies hitters away from Coors Field, but Saturday's matchup against Butler looks pretty appealing for Wolters. Butler is allowing a .424 weighted on-base average (wOBA) to lefty bats with a 33 percent hard-contact rate, while Wolters owns a career .277/.362/.402 slash line against righties, and has greatly improved his strikeout and walk rates this season.
Yonder Alonso (L), 62 percent, Oakland A's at Tampa Bay Rays (RHP Erasmo Ramirez): Against right-handed pitching, no first baseman in baseball has been better than Alonso this season. In fact, his .444 wOBA against righties is 65 points better than the next best first baseman (Logan Morrison, .379 wOBA). Ramirez has handled left-handed batters effectively this season, but that hasn't always been the case (.374 wOBA allowed to lefties in 2016).
Brandon Phillips (R), 34 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets (RHP Robert Gsellman): Gsellman has been a reverse-splits pitcher so far in his big-league career. He has allowed a .307/.368/.476 slash line to right-handed batters in his career, and things have only gotten worse so far in 2017 (.343/.390/.557). Phillips, meanwhile, owns a .291/.323/.409 career slash against righties, including a .299/.345/.403 slash line in 2017. The veteran second baseman has also delivered multi-hit efforts in seven of his past 15 games, so he's swinging the bat well right now.
Brandon Drury (R), 42 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Junior Guerra): Drury should be a popular target on days he doesn't have the platoon advantage. He has hit slightly better against righties in the course of his big-league career, and so far this season the splits have been drastic (.305/.361/.489 vs. righties; .241/.254/.362 vs. lefties). Guerra and his 1.83 ERA might scare some people away, but his 5.04 FIP and 4.93 xFIP tell us regression is coming.
Andrelton Simmons (R), 38 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros (RHP Mike Fiers): Like Gsellman, Fiers has shown reverse splits in his career. From 2014-2016, he has allowed a bloated .195 ISO to right-handed batters, and this year's ISO against righties has ballooned all the way to .404, not to mention a .317/.377/.721 slash line allowed. Simmons isn't a big power guy, but he's still hitting .293/.343/.436 against righties this year. Minute Maid Park is also a significant upgrade over Angel Stadium in terms of both runs scored and home runs.
Yuli Gurriel (R), 28 percent, Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Ricky Nolasco): Gurriel is another hitter to target when he lacks the platoon advantage. While he has done nothing against lefties this season (.173/.214/.192), he's crushing righties to the tune of a .314/.349/.518 triple slash. He matches up well with Nolasco, who is allowing a .388 wOBA to right-handed swingers this season.
Jed Lowrie (S), 40 percent, Oakland A's at Tampa Bay Rays (RHP Erasmo Ramirez): We mentioned above how Yonder Alonso leads all first basemen in wOBA against right-handed pitching. As it happens, Lowrie's .392 wOBA against righties leads all second basemen. Ramirez isn't a hurler who should give him much trouble.
Max Kepler (L), 30 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Jeff Samardzija): Samardzija has been on a roll, with an incredible 59:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio since May 1. Still, if there's a way to attack the Giants righty, it's with left-handed batters, who have produced a .361 wOBA against him this season. Kepler hits in the middle of Minnesota's order and is batting .301/.376/.515 against righty pitching in 2017.
Michael Taylor (R), 6 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Martin Perez): Taylor, whose career OPS is 74 points higher against lefties than righties, gets a nice draw against Perez, who doesn't always fare so well against hitters from the right side (.283/.348/.432). It's true that Taylor can be a liability because of his swing-and-miss tendencies (32 percent whiff rate in 2017), but that's offset by the fact that Perez is working with a career-worst 6.6 percent swinging strike rate.
Josh Reddick (L), 27 percent, Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Ricky Nolasco): Reddick earns his money against right-handed pitching. He sported a .297/.355/.492 triple slash against righties from 2014 to 2016, and on Saturday he'll likely be batting second in one of the best lineups in baseball against a weak righty with a 5.00-plus ERA.
Hitter matchup ratings
Notes: Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth, as well as the past 21 days) and 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. So, for example, a 10 is a must-start rating, whereas 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.