We have a Coors Field game featuring Jason Vargas and German Marquez, so that will obviously be a very popular game, but there are soft spots throughout the slate. In fact, the studs are confined to two games, with Chris Sale facing Jose Berrios and Blake Snell in Houston against Justin Verlander. We have a couple guys who are worth keeping beyond Tuesday, too, so check out the top starter and top outfielder recommendations for those names.
Pitchers to stream
Michael Soroka (R), rostered in 28 percent of ESPN leagues, Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays: Soroka returned from the disabled list with a brilliant effort against the Mets, allowing just one hit in 6⅓ innings with four strikeouts and one walk. The 20-year-old righty has flashed strong skills in his four MLB outings and draws a Jays team that is 14th in wOBA against righties (.314) with the ninth-highest strikeout rate (24 percent). Soroka has shown a bit of a reverse platoon split so far with righties getting the better of him, and I wonder if Toronto will play into that and start Teoscar Hernandez over Curtis Granderson, giving the Jays six righties.
Matthew Boyd (L), 20 percent, Detroit Tigers at Cincinnati Reds: What if I told you I had a lefty starter with a 5.47 ERA and 1.47 WHIP coming into 2018 and shaved 3 mph off his fastball and 6 off his slider? I'm also going to push his walk rate and essentially leave his strikeout rate flat ... is that something that would interest you? No? OK, fine, then I'll take the guy who has done all that and lowered his ERA by two full runs while posting a 1.09 WHIP in 75⅓ innings. The slower slider has spurred Boyd's success: He's using it 33 percent of the time (up from 11 percent in 2016-17) and thwarting both lefties and righties with it. His 6 percent HR/FB rate is far and away a career best and plays a major role given his fly-ball tendencies, but the Reds might not be the best team to push it upward, as they sit 23rd in ISO against lefties (.147).
Domingo German (R), 10 percent, New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners: No one's rushing to get a 5.23 ERA off the wire, but the rookie righty has posted back-to-back quality starts with 19 strikeouts in 12 innings. He has to face a quality Mariners ballclub, but German's stuff plays against anyone when it's on, so let's roll the dice that it'll be on for a third consecutive start. The Mariners are 21st in OPS against righty curveballs (.600) and have the eighth-highest strikeout rate at 37 percent.
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.
Yan Gomes (R), 10 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox (LHP Carlos Rodon): Gomes managed just a .643 OPS in 2015-17 and often looked lost at the dish, but he's savaging lefties this season, giving him some spot-start appeal. He has a .985 OPS against southpaws in 62 plate appearances, though that's heavily influenced by a .455 BABIP, of course. That said, we only need him to sustain it for one game.
Colin Moran (L), 9 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Freddy Peralta): Moran's been a regular entrant in my edition of the Daily Notes when he faces righties, thanks to a solid .280/.358/.446 line against them, with all six of his homers on the season. He walks 10 percent of the time and strikes out at just a 15 percent clip. I actually like his opponent, Freddy Peralta, a bit and considered him for my third SP spot, but lefties have been much better against him this year in both the majors and minors.
Cory Spangenberg (L), 3 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Paul Blackburn): Spangenberg's slash line (.224/.257/.410) hasn't been anything to write home about, but he's been surging of late with a .341/.372/.659 line in his past 13 games. Spangenberg strikes out a lot at 31 percent, but facing Blackburn is the perfect remedy. In 66 MLB innings dating to last season, he's netted a meager 9 percent strikeout rate. Nine percent! At the very least, Spangenberg should put the ball in play a few times and maybe find a few hits. Once on base, he can add to his 5-for-5 stolen-base rate on the season.
Daniel Descalso (L), 27 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Angels (SP Undecided): Another one of our Tuesday staples, Descalso has been smashing righties this year to the tune of a .966 OPS, with 20 of his 38 hits going for extra bases. The 31-year-old utilityman is crushing the ball, with a career-high 44 percent hard-contact rate, while amplifying both his pull and fly-ball rates, which is why he already has eight homers in 209 plate appearances (he hit 10 in 398 PAs last year).
Jurickson Profar (B), 47 percent, Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals (RHP Jason Hammel): Profar is starting to show something with his bat, and he's really turned it up against righties lately, with a 1.016 OPS and five homers in his past 80 PAs against them. Hammel isn't overly susceptible to lefties, but fans them at only a 16 percent clip. Profar has struck out just 13 percent of the time, so we should see the ball in play for Profar and hope that results in a couple hits.
Yolmer Sanchez (B), 21 percent, Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians (RHP Mike Clevinger): Yolmer the Triples God seems to be doing something good every time I check a White Sox box score, and yet he's got only a .730 OPS on the season, so maybe I just don't check White Sox box scores that often. He does lead baseball with eight triples and seven of those have come against righties, so Clevinger had better watch out! Clevinger has actually done better against lefties this year, but let's see if we can spike a triple and a stolen base from Sanchez around the 13 strikeouts the White Sox are going to rack up.
Ehire Adrianza (B), 2 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Boston Red Sox (LHP Chris Sale): We have to run it back with Adrianza! He was our Hail Mary pick last week and went off with a 3-for-4 game, including a grand slam. He has been riding hot against lefties this year at .325/.386/.500, and even though he's facing arguably the game's best lefty, we're giving him another shot. This is admittedly a much bigger long shot than when he was up against superstar Blaine Hardy, but In Adrianza We Trust!
Brandon Nimmo (L), 51 percent, New York Mets at Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez): It's basically our final opportunity to use Nimmo as his roster rate continues to rise. Among left-handed batters, Nimmo's 1.093 OPS against right-handed pitchers is the best, and among all hitters, he's third to only Mike Trout and J.D. Martinez. He has a 57 percent extra-base hit rate (21 of 37), including nine homers. Oh yeah, and he's at Coors Field for this one. Marquez has a 7.71 ERA at home and lefties have an .819 OPS against him.
Albert Almora Jr. (R), 19 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (LHP Rich Hill): Almora has always excelled against lefties, but this year he's on another level, with a .345/.403/.527 line in 62 PAs. His .930 OPS slots 25th against lefties and he has more walks (10 percent) than strikeouts (7 percent). Hill has been brutal through five starts this year, with righties doing the bulk of the damage (1.023 OPS). One hopes the blister doesn't reopen so Almora can get more than one at-bat against Hill.
Enrique Hernandez (R), 3 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs (LHP Mike Montgomery): We're going with back-to-back lefty mashers in this Dodgers-Cubs matchup. Hernandez is hitting only .226 against them this year, but a .224 BABIP is holding him back. He still has a .238 ISO thanks to six homers in his 97 PAs against southpaws.
Hitter matchup ratings
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth) as well as 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. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while 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.