Bonus baseball is on tap as Friday's postponement in D.C. between the Giants and Nationals is rescheduled as part of a split doubleheader on Sunday's slate, with the nightcap featuring Max Scherzer Joining Scherzer on this top-heavy card are fellow aces Corey Kluber and Chris Sale.
While there are some decent streaming options, those chasing wins could find it difficult since the top four streamers face each other.
There has been a slew of hitters either called up from the minors or returning from injury flying under the radar, so instead of turning to the usual suspects, several new and infrequent visitors will be highlighted among the bats.
Pitchers to stream
J.A. Happ (L), 46 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Happ deserved to be on more ESPN rosters, but we're at the point of the season when some have checked out, turning their attention elsewhere. The astute player takes advantage of this, not taking for granted the availability of some players. That said, Happ has had issues with control, though he has solved his home run issue. Sunday's start will be against a Pirates club that appears to be losing Gregory Polanco, one of its key cogs, for the third time this season.
Parker Bridwell (R), 38 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners: Bridwell has some regression coming as he's not very dominant and has enjoyed a lucky hit rate against since joining the Angels' rotation. However, he doesn't beat himself with walks and is pitching in a nice venue, albeit on the road.
Ariel Miranda (L), 34 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels: Bridwell's mound foe is Miranda, a southpaw giving away homers like Oprah lately. The caveat here is the Angels have hit the second-fewest homers in the league off southpaws, despite Mike Trout's presence.
Chad Kuhl (R), 12 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Toronto Blue Jays: Facing Happ, it'll be tough for Kuhl to emerge with a victory, but he should do his part keeping the Bucs in the game. Kuhl has been solid in two August efforts, tossing 13 innings, allowing three runs with 12 punchouts. The Jays' offense has been in a malaise all season, though they hit homers at a slightly above-average rate. However, Kuhl hasn't allowed a homer in his past seven outings, spanning 43 innings.
Zach Eflin (R), 1 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets: In the break-glass-in-case-of-chasing-wins department, Eflin is a sneaky option to vulture a victory. His mound opponent is Chris Flexen, so he should receive some run support. Eflin's numbers are pretty ugly, but the majority occurred early in the season when he faced a rough stretch of offenses. He was pitching reasonably well at Triple-A Lehigh before being summoned back to the majors. Eflin carried that over in his first start back, holding the Braves to two runs in seven innings.
Pitchers to avoid
If you want to sit Samardzija against the dangerous Washington Nationals, I won't argue, but I'm starting him. The exception is with extremely tight ratios in the final day of a head-to-head matchup. As I've discussed previously, I'm old-school in that I believe in skills over surface stats, and Samardzija continues to carry ace-like strikeout and walk rates.
It's not official, but it looks like Cam Bedrosian could replace Bud Norris as the Angels' closer. Norris has given up multiple runs in four of his past seven appearances while Bedrosian has six consecutive clean efforts.
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.
Kevan Smith (R), 1 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Jason Vargas): Despite his 2017 numbers being better versus right-handers, Smith has assumed the soft side on the catcher platoon on the South Side. Don't worry about the splits, they're too small to be predictive. Take the platoon bump, especially since Smith most often hits from the fantasy-friendly 5-hole.
Rhys Hoskins (R), 15 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets (RHP Chris Flexen): Hoskins is one of the rookies alluded to in the introduction. He was arguably the top hitter in Triple-A prior to his promotion. A first baseman by trade, Hoskins has been playing mostly left field. His calling card is power and he has been hitting cleanup early on. Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams are all also readily available and great options to get exposure to a raw righty who is still learning the ropes.
Yangervis Solarte (B), 28 percent, San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers (RHP Kenta Maeda): If he hadn't missed time, Solarte would be more widely owned. Maeda is a good pitcher, but Solarte is a good hitter. The Dodgers fortified their bullpen, but as a switch-hitter, Solarte will have the platoon edge regardless of who toes the rubber.
Jefry Marte (R), less than 1 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners (LHP Ariel Miranda): Marte and Kaleb Cowart are filling in for Yunel Escobar, out with an oblique strain. Marte gets the call at the hot corner versus southpaws and possesses the pop to take advantage of Miranda's generosity with the long ball.
Ketel Marte (B), 4 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Jake Arrieta): Injuries to Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed have opened up shortstop for Marte and Adam Rosales. Known more for speed than power, Marte is slugging a tidy .494, rendering him a dual threat against Arrieta who's deficient at controlling the running game.
Dominic Smith (L), 11 percent, New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Zach Eflin): I jumped the gun profiling Smith a couple weeks ago, but it's not official the rookie will see most of the action at first base down the stretch. Keeping in mind Triple-A Las Vegas is an extreme hitting environment, Smith slashed .333/.386/.519 previous to his promotion.
Yoan Moncada (B), 31 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Jason Vargas): Moncada is another example of a player whose ownership would be greater if this were April or May. After a slow start, he's come on lately, registering an .890 OPS the past two weeks, including a 1.076 mark the past week. After sitting out Saturday, Moncada's bat should be back in the 5-hole on Sunday.
Jarrett Parker (L), 2 percent, San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals (RHP A.J. Cole): With a pair of games on the docket, Parker could see double duty, though the first contest will be against Max Scherzer. Parker was slated to open the season as the Giants' left fielder before missing several months on the disabled list. Other widely available Giants with a chance to play two include Ryder Jones and Joe Panik.
Byron Buxton (R), 12 percent, Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers (LHP Matthew Boyd): Much like last season, Buxton is making a late-season push toward respectability, getting on base at a .377 clip since his reinstatement from the disabled list right after the trade deadline. Buxton has swiped two bags the past week, hopefully a sign his hamstring is fully healed and more steals are on the way.
Matt Olson (L), 1 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Jeremy Hellickson): Olson will pick up the right-handed at-bats at first with Yonder Alonso shipped to Seattle. Ryon Healy will play the bag against southpaws, serving as designated hitter with a righty on the hill. Joining Olson and Healy as strong options against the middling Hellickson is old friend Matt Joyce and budding star Matt Chapman, manning the hot corner on Rickey Henderson Field.
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.