Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Friday

Starting pitcher CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees face the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

We have bonus baseball on Friday as the White Sox and Athletics play an old-fashioned doubleheader after their Thursday game was rained out. The first game begins at 4:10 p.m. ET, so make sure you set your lineups early.

The card is devoid of an ace, but that leaves a lot of spots for streaming. Hitting features several established batters off to slow starts but showing signs of getting it back on track.

Here are some suggestions to start the weekend off on the right foot, all available in at least half of all ESPN leagues:


CC Sabathia (L), rostered in 42 percent of ESPN leagues, New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays: After a rough stretch in May, when Sabathia allowed at least four runs in four straight outings, he settled down in his past three, permitting just five earned in 20.1 frames, fanning 19 with just five free passes. His last victims were the Rays at home, with the rematch in Tropicana Field. Repeating that 7 2/3-inning, 10-strikeout effort is optimistic. However, since the Rays are a below-average unit with an above-average strikeout rate versus southpaws, a strong follow-up is in order.

Junior Guerra (R), 38 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals: Guerra isn't as good as his 2.89 ERA and 1.16 HIP suggest, but his skills portend a better-than-average pitcher who should be able to get it done versus the Cardinals, a below-average offense versus righties with an above-average strikeout clip in that arrangement.

Clayton Richard (L), 36 percent, San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants: Because so few pitchers work into the sixth, the ability to consistently do so is often overlooked, especially in points leagues in which innings are scored. Richard has tossed at least six frames in his past eight outings, working at least seven stanzas in six of those starts. The Giants are an average squad versus lefties, so expect another long effort from Richard.

Chris Stratton (R), 21 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres: Stratton isn't missing many bats, but he isn't allowing homers either. This could be a game for Stratton's punchouts to jump back up, facing a Padres club with the lowest weighted on-base average and highest strikeout rate facing righties in all of baseball.

Shane Bieber (R), 5 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers: The Tigers aren't as poor as the Padres versus right-handers, but they're close. Bieber is battling Adam Plutko for a rotation spot when Carlos Carrasco returns. He's off to a good start, fanning 13 with two walks in 11 1/3 frames.


Ryne Stanek gets the ball to open the festivities for the Rays as they entertain the Yankees. Southpaw Ryan Yarbrough is slated to follow. Even in pitcher-friendly Tropicana Park, Yarbrough is a risk facing the league's most prolific lineup with a lefty on the hill.

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.



Tom Murphy (R), 4 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Wei-Yin Chen): The underperforming Rockies offense took advantage of some lesser Mets starters, and now they get the chance to continue the momentum against a suspect Marlins staff. Murphy has been sharing the at-bats against a lefty with Chris Iannetta. Using either is fine -- Iannetta played versus a lefty on Thursday, so it's probably Murphy's turn on Friday.

First base

Justin Bour (L), 41 percent, Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies (RHP Jon Gray): Bour has been a frequent visitor to this space, so we'll try to keep his mentions to the most apropos scenarios. Having the chance to unleash his power in Coors is such an occasion, despite facing Gray. To that end, after handling his home starts well the past couple of seasons, Gray checks in with a 6.45 ERA and 1.59 WHIP at home.

Second base

Jason Kipnis (L), 14 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Mike Fiers): Yonder Alonso, Lonnie Chisenhall and, recently, Tyler Naquin are the usual suspects when the Indians are highlighted. They're all in play, but this time, Kipnis gets the spotlight as his bat appears to be coming out of hibernation with hits in four straight, including two homers.

Third base

Yolmer Sanchez (B), 20 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Chris Bassitt): With just enough time to put on a fresh uniform between games, not many players will partake in both ends of the twin bill. Someone like Sanchez has the best shot, since he's a switch-hitter and the Athletics are starting lefty Sean Manaea in the nightcap. Matt Davidson is another option, since he usually occupies the designated hitter role.


Dansby Swanson (R), 31 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Alex Cobb): Cobb continues to be one of the worst starters in the league, sporting a 7.14 ERA and 1.71 WHIP. Both Swanson and switch-hitter Johan Camargo are in play today. Swanson's allure is hitting second on what should be a productive night in SunTrust Park while Camargo enjoys the platoon edge all game, albeit down in the order.

Corner infield

Matt Duffy (R), 22 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees (LHP CC Sabathia): While pitching well overall, Sabathia is still vulnerable to righty swingers. Duffy has been smoking, posting a 1.008 OPS the past two weeks.

Middle infield

Rougned Odor (L), 28 percent, Texas Rangers at Minnesota Twins (RHP Fernando Romero): As has been suggested in this space previously, it was just a matter of time before Odor's underlying metrics that showed a high hard-hit rate proved to be fruitful. It's only three games, but Odor has a homer and triple in that span. Romero throws the ball hard, but he has recorded only 40 punchouts in 45 1/3 innings, as opposed to 46 hits allowed.


Dustin Fowler (L), 4 percent, Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox (RHP Lucas Giolito): After facing a weeklong string of southpaw starters, the White Sox will send a pair of righties to the Guaranteed Rate Park hill. It's not assured, but after sitting all week, Fowler is a good bet to start both games. James Shields gets the ball for the home team in the second game, so even if Fowler starts only one, he's a dual power-speed threat, facing a couple of homer-prone arms and batteries not adept at controlling the running game.

Aaron Hicks (B), 44 percent, New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays (Bullpen game): The Yankees' productivity versus lefties was previously cited. Not only does Hicks contribute to that, but as a switch-hitter, he'll enjoy the platoon edge on all the Rays' arms.

Kole Calhoun (L), 6 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Marco Estrada): It was only his second homer of the season, but Calhoun has to start somewhere, as he's a much better hitter than what he displayed the first 2 1/2 months of the season. He's 3-for-7 with said homer since coming off the disabled list. Estrada has pitched better lately, though for the season, he's administered 14 homers in 77 1/3 innings.

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.