The weekend kicks off with the usual full Friday slate with all 15 contests under the lights. Corey Kluber heads the card, with Rick Porcello facing James Paxton being the marquee matchup. There's a nice array of pitchers to stream, including a rookie making his debut in the Big Apple. Hitting offers a little of everything.
Here's a look at the day's top streaming options, focusing on players rostered in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
Pitchers to stream
Reynaldo Lopez (R), rostered in 23 percent of ESPN leagues, Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers: While Perez has pitched into some luck, he's helping himself by limiting homers, something integral in today's landscape. On Friday, Lopez draws a Tigers squad dead last in the league in homers versus righties, with one of their top power threats, Miguel Cabrera, out for the season.
Chad Kuhl (R), 14 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds: With the understanding many disparage quality starts, feeling three runs in six innings isn't special, you must draw the cutoff somewhere. So far this season, the average number of runs allowed in a quality start is fewer than two. Besides, in points leagues, a quality start almost always renders positive points. With that as a backdrop, Kuhl amassed seven quality starts in 13 outings. Facing a Reds team with a below-average weighted on base average versus righties, enduring a park downgrade, Kuhl lines up for another quality effort.
Seth Lugo (R), 14 percent, New York Mets at Arizona Diamondbacks: There haven't been many bright spots coming out of Queens this season. With Lugo being one of the few worth mentioning. His excellent work in long relief thrust him into the rotation while Noah Syndergaard is out and perhaps longer with Jason Vargas struggling. Lugo stifled the crosstown Yankees last time out, tossing six shout frames, allowing just two hits, no walks and eight punchouts. The Diamondbacks, behind a rejuvenated Paul Goldschmidt, are showing signs of snapping their malaise at home but are still nowhere near the offense expected.
Jonathan Loaisiga (R), 4 percent, New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: In a surprising move, the Yankees will summon the 23-year-old Loaisiga from Double-A Trenton to make his MLB debut under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium. Loaisiga began the season in High-A Tampa before accelerating to the Eastern League. His 4.32 ERA and 1.24 WHIP aren't impressive, but 32 whiffs with just three free passes in six starts, spanning 32 innings for Trenton, indicate his skill set is superior to the small-sample surface stats. With so many new faces in the Rays' lineup, season-long stats aren't as telling, but for reference, they're mid-pack with a right-hander on the hill. The allure is the unfamiliarity factor combined with a solid bullpen, so Loaisiga is likely protected from a blowup in his first foray into the bigs.
Without a bullpen game to comment on, we can revert back to reviewing some transient closer situations. While White Sox manager Rick Renteria continues to say Joakim Soria isn't the automatic closer, he's called for the righty in the ninth six times since June 5, with Soria converting the save each time. Plus, Nate Jones is back home on the disabled list with a sore arm, devoid of a timetable to return. For what it's worth, Soria credits his recent success to lowering his release point, resulting in an improved and more utilized slider.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. The "*" symbol means the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.
Austin Barnes (R), 4 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants (LHP Derek Holland): It's not a sure thing for Barnes to be in the lineup, but he's been behind the plate the past few games a southpaw has toed the rubber for the opposition, plus Yasmani Grandal has cooled considerably from his early-season rampage. Barnes has yet to find his groove, but he usually shows excellent plate skills. He's still walking at an elevated clip, useful in points leagues, but he's fanning more than last season. Contact shouldn't be an issue facing Holland and his middling 20 percent strikeout clip.
Justin Bour (L), 41 percent, Miami Marlins at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Kevin Gausman): It's a risk streaming against a potentially dominant pitcher like Gausman, but Bour is a quality batter and Gausman has always been homer-prone, issuing four over his previous three efforts.
Wilmer Difo (B), 4 percent, Washington Nationals at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Aaron Sanchez): Difo gas been a first-half favorite in this space, rightfully so as a nice power-speed option from the middle. With Daniel Murphy back, Difo should still play, but more sparingly. However, with another interleague tussle in an American League park, expect Murphy to be the designated hitter, paving the way for another Difo start at the keystone.
Colin Moran (L), 9 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Matt Harvey): Moran's power hasn't played yet in PNC Park, but he's making good contact and drawing walks. This sounds more like a table-setter than cleanup man, but that's where the Pirates are slotting him. With Harvey reverting to previous poor form, allowing 13 runs in his past 16 1/3 frames, Moran should have chances to do some damage.
Marcus Semien (R), 44 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Angels (LHP Tyler Skaggs): Skaggs has pitched well, though he's still vulnerable to power-hitting righties. That may not seem like a description of Semien, but it was just two years ago that he was among the league leaders in homer per plate appearance versus lefties.
Jose Miguel Fernandez (L), under 1 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics (RHP Chris Bassitt): Please note, based on last season's games played in the minors, Fernandez qualifies at second in ESPN leagues, though it shouldn't be long before he gains eligibility at first. The 30-year-old Cuban refugee is off to a decent start with the Halos, though he's yet to homer or draw a walk. Both are in play facing Bassitt, filling in for the injured Trevor Cahill. Bassitt is coming off a sparkling 2018 debut, allowing one run with just three hits to the Royals, whiffing six with one free pass in seven frames. Still, one outing doesn't erase a career of mediocrity.
Dansby Swanson (R), 35 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres (LHP Clayton Richard): A .916 June OPS, including three long balls, has propelled Swanson to the 2-hole, at least until Ronald Acuna comes back. Richard's on an impressive run, averaging over seven innings for his past seven starts, but he hasn't faced a team like the Braves in SunTrust Park.
Travis Jankowski (L), 17 percent, San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves (RHP Brandon McCarthy): McCarthy enters the contest with a high 1.49 WHIP. While some of that may be bad luck, he's giving up a lot of hard contact -- and much of it on the ground, which tends to inflate batting average on balls in play. If Jankowski can get on, look for him to run as McCarthy typically struggles to control the running game.
Greg Allen (B), 1 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Kyle Gibson): This is the spot usually reserved for Lonnie Chisenhall, but in the spirit of mixing it up, let's give Allen a day in the spotlight. The center fielder is filling in for the demoted and now injured Bradley Zimmer. He hits ninth, but that's less of an issue in the American League since it's one of the better spots for base stealers and Allen can swipe a bag here and there. While on the subject of the Indians, please note they released Melky Cabrera.
Charlie Tilson (L), under 1 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Mike Fiers): Like Allen, Tilson has taken a back seat in this space, usually to Daniel Palka. With Palka skidding, the focus shifts to Tilson, another threat to steal a base. Note: Avisail Garcia is on rehab with Leury Garcia not far behind, so there could be a shuffling of the fly chasers in the South Side toward the end of the month.