Friday's MLB schedule consists of the typical 15 games, with the Cardinals and Cubs meeting for a matinee affair at Wrigley Field. Keep in mind the series between the Brewers and Marlins has been moved to Miller Park with the Fish getting last ups as the home team. This contest will be a "bullpen game" for Milwaukee, with a parade of relievers taking the hill. The Angels are also planning on utilizing multiple relievers in short stints today as they host the Rangers.
Good luck to all those winding up Week 2 of head-to-head playoffs. Now here are some names to strengthen any holes in your lineup.
Pitchers to stream
Jose Urena (R), 46 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Miami Marlins vs. Milwaukee Brewers: Urena was initially scheduled to work Thursday, but the Marlins opted to give Vance Worley a spot start, pushing Urena to Friday. I'd like this more if it were held in South Beach, but the strikeout potential offered by the Brewers puts Urena in play.
Sean Newcomb (L), 7 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets: Newcomb needs to improve his control, but he's racking up goodly punchouts along with keeping the ball in the yard. The Mets have been surprisingly effective versus southpaws the past month, but we're at the point of the season where risk-taking is necessary.
Rafael Montero (R), 5 percent, New York Mets at Atlanta Braves: Like his mound foe, Montero's primary issue is control. Over his previous 36 1/3 innings, Montero has fanned a respectable 32 with just one homer allowed, but he's issued 22 free passes. The Braves aren't especially patient, nor productive facing right-handers, giving Montero a chance at a solid effort.
Mark Leiter Jr. (R), 3 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Oakland Athletics: As is often the case with young hurlers, Leiter's second half bas been uneven. To the good, he's pitched at least six frames in three of his past four outings, striking out 19 in those 19 2/3 innings, but he was shellacked by the Mets in the other effort. Coming from Boston, the trip wasn't far and the A's did play in the afternoon, but they're in the midst of an East Coast road swing and will be devoid of their designated hitter.
Homer Bailey (R), 1 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: With no pitchers to avoid, let's add an extra streamer. Admittedly, I wrote Bailey off for this season a few weeks ago, but he's picked it up lately. He still has a ways to go to return to pre-surgery form, but it's nice to see Bailey ending the campaign on a positive note. Friday, he draws one of the weakest lineups in the league versus righties.
If you were stashing Carter Capps hoping the Padres would give him some save chances down the stretch, he's been placed on the disabled list with a blood clot. These can be scary, though the club has not disclosed the location or severity.
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.
Kevin Plawecki (R), less than 1 percent, New York Mets at Atlanta Braves (LHP Sean Newcomb): It will be either Plawecki or Travis d'Arnaud behind the plate for the Mets, and both have been hitting cleanup this month. Plawecki's been getting on base at a 36 percent clip for the past month, making him an intriguing pickup in points leagues. Jose Reyes, Juan Lagares, Amed Rosario and Travis Taijeron are all in play with a southpaw on the hill.
Luis Valbuena (L), 2 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Nick Martinez): Valbuena's not hitting for average, but as usual, he's a power threat versus righties, knocking 18 long balls in just 267 at-bats facing a right-hander. Martinez returns to the rotation, bumping the ineffective A.J. Griffin. Martinez's stint as a starter earlier in the season was rather ineffective as well, largely due to issues with lefty swingers.
Hernan Perez (R), 8 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Miami Marlins (RHP Jose Urena): Because he doesn't play every day, it's understandable why Perez isn't on more rosters. That said, he's eligible all over the diamond, and on a per-game basis, he's a fantasy asset. He's been playing frequently in September, but make sure he's in there Friday before locking him in. Also, keep in mind this tilt in in hitter-friendly Miller Park.
Johan Camargo (B), 2 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets (RHP Rafael Montero): Camargo has been sharing the left side with Rio Ruiz and Dansby Swanson, with Camargo flipping between short and third, playing almost every day. Camargo hasn't missed a beat since coming off the disabled list, recording a 1.252 OPS following activation. Ruiz is also in play, as is Nick Markakis.
J.P. Crawford (L), 4 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Daniel Mengden): The Phillies are moving Crawford all around the infield to get him playing as the season winds down. He was getting some time at the hot corner with Maikel Franco slumping. Lately, Crawford has been playing second for Cesar Hernandez even with Hernandez continuing to play well. Mengden is making his second start since the roster expanded, sporting a career 6.59 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in the majors.
Jeimer Candelario (B), 1 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Carson Fulmer): Candelario hit his first career homer in Thursday's blowout. He's getting a long look at the hot corner with Nicholas Castellanos playing right as well as designated hitter. Candelario's minor league numbers aren't eye-popping, but he's been young for his level and the scout's like him. Fulmer isn't likely to work deep, giving the switch-hitter the platoon edge against weak relievers as the game progresses.
Richard Urena (B), less than 1 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins (RHP Bartolo Colon): With Troy Tulowitzki out for the season, Urena is getting regular playing time at shortstop, and hitting from the leadoff spot. The Jays' lineup is depleted, but hitting in front of Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak is still a good place to be.
Ian Desmond (R), 41 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres (LHP Clayton Richard): It's been a lost season for Desmond, who's been spending a lot of the summer on the shelf. He's healthy now, playing against all southpaws and some righties. With the lefty Richard on the hill, expect Desmond to be in the lineup, hitting in Coors Field.
Scott Schebler (L), 21 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Chad Kuhl): Schebler has scuffled over the second half, but he continues to hit the ball hard, when he makes contact. Kuhl carries a league-average strikeout rate, so Schebler has a chance to do some damage, along with rookie Jesse Winker.
Austin Jackson (R), 2 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Jason Vargas): Jackson, Brandon Guyer and Yandy Diaz all enjoy the platoon edge on a southpaw who's been nothing short of terrible in the second half. Something to watch as the season comes to a close is the Tribe may use Jason Kipnis in center (instead of Jackson) versus some righties, ostensibly to keep Diaz's bat in the lineup with Jose Ramirez staying at second.
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.