The Tuesday slate sees Justin Verlander's Houston debut, the return of a one-time stud arm, and a great matchup in Game 2 of the Diamondbacks-Dodgers series. Beyond the handful of studs, there is a lot mediocrity on the mound, which of course creates an opportunity for those of us who stream bats -- so let's see what we've got!
Pitchers to stream
Garrett Richards (R), 13 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics: Richards made just one start before hitting the DL, but now he's back for the stretch run and I'm down to take a gamble. When healthy, he's a game changer without a doubt. It's hard to know what to expect, but five solid innings from Richards could provide value with his strikeout upside. Plus, the bullpen and offense are good enough to net him a win even if he does go only five innings.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (L), 45 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Ryu was pushed around his last time out in Arizona, but even with that, he has a 2.96 ERA in his past 10 starts, allowing three or fewer runs in all but the Diamondbacks outing (4 IP/6 ER). He gets the D-backs at home this time, and while his ERA isn't much different home versus road (3.69 to 3.72), his skills are a good bit better, with a 1.26 WHIP and 3.6 K/BB rate at home and 1.41 and 2.3 marks on the road.
Bartolo Colon (R), 4 percent, Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays: Big Bart is our deeeep league flier for those you really looking for anything. I've actually got a couple of Rays hitters I'm recommending, so it's not like I see Colon as a lock, but he's pitching decently with Twins, as least in comparison to what he did in Atlanta. He has a 4.09 ERA and 1.47 WHIP with the Twins after his 8.14 ERA and 1.78 WHIP with the Braves.
Pitchers to avoid
Zach Davies (R), 64 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds: There aren't any bona fide studs that worry me on Tuesday, so we're more in the midrange with the avoid pick. Davies has a tremendous 1.77 ERA over his past nine starts, with just one dud (6 ER vs. Minnesota), but this Cincinnati Reds lineup isn't one to be trifled with when picking spot starts. It has a .333 wOBA against righties that slots fifth in the league, tied with the Cleveland Indians. I think Cincinnati's bottom-feeding 58-79 record keeps folks from realizing they have a strong offense, especially against righties.
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.
Welington Castillo (R), 47 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees (LHP CC Sabathia): I filled in on Sunday's notes and recommended Castillo at catcher; he gets another lefty, so I'm sticking with him. Although, if he continues to rake, he'll soar north of 50 percent very soon. He has a .375/.400/.600 line versus lefties, which is in line with his career destruction of southpaws at .273/.336/.500. He's also playing his best ball with the 10th-best SLG since the All-Star break, ahead of even Nolan Arenado.
Lucas Duda (L), 10 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Bartolo Colon): Duda is one of two lefties I'm looking at against Colon for Tuesday. He savages righties to the tune of a .537 SLG and .298 ISO thanks to a 44 percent hard-contact rate. His strikeout rate is a manageable 24 percent against righties, too, compared to 32 percent vs. lefties. Colon has allowed a .332/.369/.552 line to lefties this year. Even as he posted a usable ERA in August, he still allowed 47 hits in 39 2/3 innings, as well as seven home runs in his past four starts.
Carlos Sanchez (B), 9 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians (RHP Danny Salazar): Carlos aka Yolmer does his best against righties with a .274/.327/.412 line that includes 21 extra-base hits with eight home runs. He also has six of his seven stolen bases against righties. Salazar is fresh off the DL on Tuesday, and while he's never an easy task, I'm perfectly comfortable spot-starting Sanchez here.
Chase Headley (B), 11 percent, New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Jeremy Hellickson): Headley has a solid .287/.383/.426 line against righties this year, an OPS 99 points higher than his work against lefties. Hellickson hasn't gotten anyone out consistently, with righties toting a .268/.307/.505 line and 17 of his 30 home runs allowed.
Jorge Polanco (B), 50 percent, Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays (RHP Jake Odorizzi): Let's keep riding the hot hand with Polanco while we can, as he now sits on 50 percent of rosters. He has a filthy .351/.390/.691 line with seven home runs and four stolen bases over the past month. As a switch hitter, he hasn't been too different versus righties and lefties, so even as Tampa Bay goes to the bullpen, Polanco won't be at a major disadvantage.
C.J. Cron (R), 9 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics (RHP Kendall Graveman): Cron struggled so much when returning from injury earlier this year that he was sent to the minors, but since being recalled he is clubbing the ball to the tune of a .294/.349/.603 with 11 HR in 149 PA. Graveman has a reverse platoon split, with righties smashing him at an .871 OPS compared to lefties at .750.
Ozzie Albies (B), 15 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Miguel Gonzalez): Would love to see the switch-hitting Albies get a lefty here, as he's done his most damage against them, but he's hitting everyone of late at .369/.438/.554 over his past 74 PA with four doubles and four triples. Gonzalez's struggles with lefties could aid Albies here, as he's allowed an .833 OPS with 35 extra-base hits out of 75 total hits.
Kevin Kiermaier (L), 34 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Bartolo Colon): Kiermaier has a .305/.368/.521 line against righties this year, and he's been excellent since returning from a hip injury, with a .361/.403/.607 line, 3 HR, and 2 SB in 67 PA.
Austin Jackson (R), 3 percent, Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox (LHP David Holmberg): Jackson's resurgence has been built on hitting lefties this year, with a .347/.431/.574 line fueled by a career-high 36 percent hard-contact rate. Jackson was hitting only .255 through May (against lefties and righties combined), but he's up at .333 since.
Delino DeShields (R), 16 percent, Texas Rangers at Atlanta Braves (LHP Luiz Gohara): This is as much a note to pick up DeShields for the rest of the season if you need steals as it is for today. Though, with the late pitching switch from Julio Teheran to Gohara, DeShields now holds the platoon edge over an intriguing, but still raw 20-year old rookie fresh up from Triple-A.
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.