We're getting down to crunch time, folks. After this weekend's games, there will be only two weeks remaining in the regular season. For those of you who've been playing the streaming game all year, let's try to finish strong.
Here are the best hitting and pitching streamers for Saturday's slate!
Pitchers to stream
Alex Cobb (R), 50 percent rostered in ESPN leagues, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox: Since returning from the disabled list with a toe injury, Cobb has a 2.14 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in four starts. What's more impressive is that he's racked up 29 whiffs during his past 27 innings -- a huge spike over the 6.4 K/9 rate he'd previously sported this season. A matchup against Boston won't ever be a cakewalk, but it's not as intimidating as it appears. The Red Sox rank 27th in baseball with an 86 wRC+ since the break, and bottom-10 (92 wRC+) versus right-handed pitching this season.
Reynaldo Lopez (R), 12 percent, Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers: Lopez may have posted a 4.76 ERA in five starts this season, but that ERA is inflated by one bad start. The young right-hander has registered quality starts all of the other four of his outings this year, including a six-inning, one-run performance against the red-hot Indians earlier this month. While Lopez's K/9 rate sits at just 7.9, he's showcased higher strikeout potential in the past, including a 9.8 K/9 in 22 Triple-A starts this year. He finds himself in a favorable spot on Saturday, facing a Tigers club that ranks in the bottom 10 against righties this year (91 wRC+).
Jordan Montgomery (L), 16 percent, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles: Montgomery is more of an upside play on Saturday. While he's had trouble working deep into games, he's still racked up 37 strikeouts in his past 36 2/3 innings, giving him a nice ceiling against an Orioles team fanning at a 23 percent clip against southpaws. There is risk in this matchup, however, as the Orioles are an above-average offense against lefties and have scored the fifth-most runs in baseball in the second half.
Kendall Graveman (R), 8 percent, Oakland Athletics at Philadelphia Phillies: There were a few other hurlers I considered for this final spot, but none have as favorable a matchup as Graveman. The right-hander gets a Phillies team which struggles against righties (90 wRC+) and has trouble making contact (a 24 percent K-rate in the past month). He also gets to trade in a DH for a pitcher in this interleague matchup. That said, I do have concerns about starting Graveman on the road (6.75 ERA), which makes him more deep-league material than someone to target in standard leagues.
Pitcher to avoid
Cole Hamels (L), 90 percent, Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels: I'm probably not sitting Hamels if I'm trying to make up ground in the pitching categories, but I don't feel great about starting him Saturday. The southpaw has a gaudy 6.03 ERA in his past six outings, allowing multiple homers in three of those starts. The Angels, meanwhile, are vying for a playoff spot and have had a top-10 offense since the All-Star break. If you're looking for positives, you can at least hang your hat on the fact that the Angels have struggled against left-handed pitching this year (76 wRC+).
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. A "*" means the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.
Robinson Chirinos (R), 38 percent, Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels (RHP Parker Bridwell): Chirinos is typically a guy you want to target when he has the platoon advantage, but with the way he's been hitting lately, I'm not sure it matters. The Texas backstop is batting .322/.444/.548 in the second half, including .379/.526/.759 in September. If you need a boost at catcher during the last two weeks, here's your guy.
Lucas Duda (L), 10 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox (RHP Rick Porcello): Porcello is a pitcher we'll be picking on today. His 39 percent hard-contact rate is the second-highest mark in baseball and he's allowed the second-most hits (220) -- including a whopping 35 balls that have left the yard. Duda, who owns a .315 ISO versus right-handed pitching this season, must be licking his chops.
Ozzie Albies (B), 18 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets (RHP Jacob deGrom): Based on his availability on waiver wires, it seems most fantasy owners haven't noticed what Albies has done lately. Over his last 24 games, the rookie has hit .362/.435/.543. Normally we wouldn't stream against a hurler of deGrom's caliber, but he looks vulnerable right now, with a 5.35 ERA over his last five starts.
Chase Headley (B), 15 percent, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Jeremy Hellickson): Headley is in the middle of a nice run, batting .317/.380/.511 in the second half. He's also proven to be much more dangerous at Yankee Stadium (.302/.396/.484). This all puts him a highly appealing spot against Hellickson, who has surrendered a whopping 10 homers over his last six starts.
Erick Aybar (B), 0 percent, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies (LHP Tyler Anderson): Aybar is far from an exciting option, but he typically fares better against southpaws and has been swinging a hot bat since the start of September (.297/.350/.459). He also gets the Coors Field bump on Saturday. Anderson, meanwhile, sports a 6.04 ERA at Coors this year and is allowing a .384 wOBA to right-handed hitters.
Matt Olson (L), 49 percent, Oakland Athletics at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Ben Lively): Given how well he's been playing, it's a surprise that Olson is still available in more than half of all ESPN leagues. The young slugger has been nothing short of elite since the break, batting .314/.390/.724 with 14 homers in just 105 at-bats. Olson is in an enticing spot against Lively, who struggles against lefties and allows lots of fly balls (44 percent).
Jose Reyes (B), 47 percent, New York Mets at Atlanta Braves (RHP R.A. Dickey): We're witnessing a Reyes resurgence. The 34-year-old veteran is batting .368/.463/.618 over his last 19 games, with four homers and seven steals. On Saturday, he finds himself in a nice spot against Dickey, who has allowed five or more runs in back-to-back outings.
Kevin Kiermaier (L), 42 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox (RHP Rick Porcello): Kiermaier is the second Rays lefty we're targeting against Porcello, who has allowed a .360 wOBA to lefty bats this season. For his part, Kiermaier is batting .296/.356/.507 versus right-handed pitching, including .327/.361/.574 since the All-Star break.
Jacoby Ellsbury (L), 22 percent, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Jeremy Hellickson): Ellsbury has been on a tear, batting .412/.524/.559 with a pair of steals since the beginning of September. He also does nearly almost all of his damage against righties, with 20 of his 25 extra-base hits and 16 of his 17 stolen bases. Hellickson, who has been cursed with a 6.66 ERA since the break, doesn't figure to slow him down.
Gerardo Parra (L), 38 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres (RHP Jordan Lyles): Lyles already has an 8.03 road ERA, and now he has to go to Coors Field? This doesn't figure to end well. He's also been hammered by lefties (.430 wOBA), which makes Parra, who is hitting .305/.337/.483 versus righties this year, pretty much a must-play.
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.