Before we enjoy that marquee showdown, set your lineups for the five-game afternoon slate, starting at 1:10 p.m. ET with the Reds and Brewers (more on that later). On the interleague front, the Royals lose their designated hitter while visiting the Cardinals (watch for Jorge Soler's status). The Dodgers (at Rays) and the Marlins (Tigers) gain one for their road trips.
Pitchers to stream
Eric Lauer (L), 4 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: You have permission to play the home squad's hurler as well. The Diamondbacks come in as one of the toughest matchups for a lefty pitcher, but Lauer has played to Padres pitcher stereotypes, leaning on his performance at Petco Park with a 3.04 ERA.
Of course, you could also play the other side of this one with Merrill Kelly (7.2 percent), who had one poor start versus the Padres on April 13 but spun a quality start at Petco Park in his MLB return April 1. However, I wanted to focus on a different Diamondback in the Hitting section.
Jeff Samardzija (R), 8.9 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves: The Shark's submerged indicators (6.60 K/9, 3.11 BB/9) say his 3.69 ERA won't hold up, and the Braves are at least competent against righties (.330 wOBA ranks tied for 11th), but he is always in play when starting at the pitcher's haven of Oracle Park. Hence the 2.61 home ERA versus 4.56 elsewhere.
Daniel Norris (L), 1.8 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Miami Marlins: Looking at Norris' 5.89 home ERA would chase away most streamer seekers, but before his six-run disaster against a capable Athletics club, Norris had gone five-plus innings and allowed two or fewer runs in three of his previous five outings. Also, Miami ranks last with a .264 wOBA and second to last with a 5.4 BB% versus lefties.
Pitchers to avoid
Marco Gonzales (L), 83 percent, Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers: Gonzales has already endured a horrific correction of his hot start with a 5.94 ERA in May, and heading to Arlington in May spells disaster for most pitchers, especially those with in-between skills.
Zach Davies (R), 63.8 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds: Another strikeout-deficient, fast-starting hurler heading into a perilous palace for hitting, Davies will probably see his 85.6 LOB% dip versus a Reds club that's shown slightly more life in May.
Bullpen: Rangers manager Chris Woodward said Jose Leclerc is "real close" to retaking the closer role. The righty has delivered a 1.13 ERA with 15 strikeouts and four walks in eight innings, including a two-frame, five-punchout showcase Sunday, when Chris Martin blew a save chance. Shawn Kelley (illness) is expected to return soon (if not Tuesday) and could complicate the closing picture, but Leclerc is still available in about 40 percent of ESPN leagues. I'd rather err on his side for the duration of the season.
Three teams will be going with "bullpen games." Two will utilize the newfangled "opener followed by a primary pitcher" while the third is of the old-fashioned "all hands on deck" variety. Beginning with the latter, Montana DuRapau will lead off a parade of Pirates relievers likely to include Steven Brault and/or Nick Kingham with the rest depending on the score. DuRapau has pitched well as an opener, but without the ability to log a win, save or hold, his fantasy value is limited.
The Rays will send out the familiar pair of Ryne Stanek and Yonny Chirinos in an interleague tilt with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chirinos is better than most standard starters, but has a tough matchup, especially since the NL visitors can use a designated hitter. The Texas Rangers will hand the ball to Jesse Chavez before turning to Adrian Sampson. The combination of Sampson's low strikeouts and the Seattle Mariners leading the league in homers make the right-hander a big risk.
Projected game scores
Pedro Severino (R), under 1 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees (LHP CC Sabathia): Carving out a role on a club with plenty of opportunities for the taking, Severino has particularly excelled during his 29-plate-appearance sample versus left-handers: 9-for-27 with three homers. Sabathia owns a 4.70 ERA away from Yankee Stadium and has allowed seven of his nine homers against righties.
Daniel Vogelbach (L), 46.8 percent, Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers (RHP Adrian Sampson): Vogey's batting average has skidded in May (.218), but his power has held true to his breakout year (six homers this month), and he's at least remaining trustworthy versus righties (.295/.423/.705, .458 wOBA, 0.80 BB/K across 130 plate appearances). Sampson (career 5.35 K/9) permits too much contact.
Logan Forsythe (R), 7.1 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Seattle Mariners (LHP Marco Gonzales): Forsythe actually has shown reverse splits this year for power (all three homers have come against lefties), but the resurgent 32-year-old owns a .406 wOBA and a 0.89 BB/K against lefties. Gonzales' six homers allowed this year were all sent upward by righty bats, and his slugging percentage on the road (.468) is 96 points higher than in his safe confines of T-Mobile Park. That's not a positive trend heading into Arlington as the weather heats up.
Miguel Sano (R), 26.8 percent, Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Angels (RHP Matt Harvey): Harvey typically wilts against lefty batters, but his 8.63 home ERA leaves him open for business for any hitter when he takes the hill in Anaheim. Having slapped a homer in two of his previous three games, Sano, who returned from the injury list last Thursday, will soon earn considerably more attention from fantasy players, so this may be your last call to roster him before people start to notice.
Nick Ahmed (R), 8.3 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres (LHP Eric Lauer): Might as well talk about someone who could benefit from this risky assignment for Lauer. The slick-fielding shortstop also has kept a solid rep as a matchup play versus southpaws. He's lived up to it in 2019, tying for 12th with a .443 wOBA in that window.
Gio Urshela (R), 8.6 percent, New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dan Straily): Straily has coughed up 10 homers, nine of which have come at Camden Yards and six of which have come from righty bats -- who've tormented the right-hander to a .478 wOBA through 15 innings this year. This could provide another chapter of Urshela's unexpected but somewhat legit rise to Yankees regular.
Nicky Lopez (L), 7.1 percent, Kansas City Royals at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Adam Wainwright): The recent call-up has hit second in each of his first six games. Waino has failed to contain lefty batters, who've accounted for five of the seven big flies he's allowed while collecting a .329/.402/.633 triple slash and .416 wOBA.
Jesse Winker (L), 46 percent, Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Zach Davies): Davies' stellar start to the season notwithstanding, this assignment in Great American Ball Park holds plenty of danger. Winker has clubbed all 10 of his homers against righties and six of them at home. His precipitous drop in batting average has allowed him to sneak back into this article, which is a mistake.
Josh Reddick (L), 20.3 percent, Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Ivan Nova): Lefty opponents have tagged Nova for a .297/.350/.516 slash and a .435 wOBA. While Jake Marisnick (1.1 percent) has stolen the spotlight with a hot streak in place of George Springer (back), Reddick continues to chug along with a .331/.384/.466 line of his own.
Dexter Fowler (S), 2.5 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Brad Keller): Fowler had long been a better deployment against lefties, but in 2019, the 33-year-old has flipped that script (.289/.405/.454 against righties, .208/.387/.208 for lefties). The on-base machine is a poor matchup for the grounder-reliant Keller, who's also walked 5.74 per nine so far.
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).