Fantasy Forecaster updated Sunday, June 28, at 6:08 p.m. ET.
On tap: Jose Fernandez is back!
Four hundred and twelve days after he had Tommy John surgery, Fernandez returns to the Miami Marlins' rotation in a Thursday start versus the San Francisco Giants at Marlins Park. It's big news, considering Fernandez's historic career rankings through his age-21 season (modern era, 1901 on, pitchers with 200-plus innings): seventh in ERA (2.25); first in WHIP (0.97), batting average allowed (.181) and strikeout rate (29.0 percent of batters faced); and third in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.62:1). He'll make his fifth and final rehabilitation start for Double-A Jacksonville on June 27, and in his first four rehab starts, all for Class A Jupiter, he had game scores of 24, 64, 59 and 67, with pitch counts of 54, 65, 79 and 90, topping out at 97-98 mph with his fastball.
Two days later, weather permitting, we'll reach the mathematical midpoint of the 2015 Major League Baseball season. As things stood at our publishing date, that point would arrive once 11 games are in the books on Saturday, meaning that 1,215 of the 2,430 scheduled regular-season contests will be complete. Such measuring sticks tend to be good times to assess your fantasy baseball team's standing, so take this opportunity to do a thorough review and propose some trades if needed.
Fernandez's comeback overshadows many of the other anticipated injury returns, but there are several to watch in Week 13: Matt Moore, also coming back from Tommy John surgery, is expected to rejoin the Tampa Bay Rays' rotation mid-week. The Giants are expected to welcome both Matt Cain (elbow) and Jake Peavy (back) back into their rotation, setting them up with a seven-men-for-five-spots dilemma and thrusting their Week 13 arrangement into question. Ervin Santana, fresh off his 80-game suspension for PEDs, is expected to rejoin the Minnesota Twins' rotation on Sunday, making his 2015 debut in the ballpark he called home in 2013, Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium. And Josh Hamilton (hamstring), currently on a rehabilitation assignment for Double-A Frisco, should rejoin the Texas Rangers early in the week.
Hamilton's return is a key storyline: His Rangers conclude the week with a three-game series at Globe Life Park against his former squad, the Los Angeles Angels, in which two left-handed starters (Hector Santiago and C.J. Wilson) are the scheduled opponents. This is a lefty-heavy Rangers offense and Hamilton's addition only tilts that scale further; it also raises the question of rookie Joey Gallo's role. There's a good chance that Gallo will be demoted before week's end, but the Rangers might struggle as a squad in a week concluding with three opposing lefty starters in five games.
There are some intriguing pitching matchups on the Week 13 slate:
Happy Independence Day to all, and for it we've got a potentially 14 consecutive-hour slate to take us through the holiday on Saturday, beginning with the 11:05 a.m. ET game in Washington, D.C., through the 10:10 p.m. ET game in Arizona. Strangely, though, Week 13 presents us with precious few day games, particularly on the Friday federal holiday. There is only one day game on Friday, and only nine day games from Monday through Friday overall.
Quickly jump to any section, if you want specific intel
Monday's slate takes place entirely in the evening, so fantasy owners in weekly leagues have until 7 p.m. ET to set their lineups. Be aware that there is a morning (on the East Coast) game this week: Saturday's Giants-Washington Nationals game in Washington, D.C., has an 11:05 a.m. ET start.
Remember that game times have tremendous influence upon #DFS planning, so be aware of every day's first scheduled pitch. This week, they are: Monday, 7 p.m. ET (Rangers at Baltimore Orioles, on ESPN's Monday Night Baseball); Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET (Chicago Cubs at New York Mets, on ESPN); Wednesday, 12:35 p.m. ET (Twins at Cincinnati Reds, one of four day games); Thursday, 12:10 p.m. ET (Giants at Marlins and Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays, two of four day games); Friday, 2:10 p.m. ET (Marlins at Cubs, the day's only day game); Saturday, 11:05 a.m. ET (Giants at Nationals, one of eight day games); and Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET (Rays at New York Yankees, one of 13 day games).
This week's interleague series:
Minnesota Twins at Cincinnati Reds (3 games, Monday-Wednesday)
Cleveland Indians at Pittsburgh Pirates (3 games, Friday-Sunday)
Twins' traditional DH: Kennys Vargas, who has 39 starts in the 54 Twins games he has been on their active roster, 29 of them at DH and 10 at first base, with Joe Mauer handling the other position (first base or DH) in 38 of those 39. The Twins' June 26-28 weekend series at Milwaukee's Miller Park might provide some hints as to their first-base plan, but as the Reds' rotation, like the Brewers', is entirely right-handed, there is no obvious righty/lefty platoon arrangement at first base. Mauer could get all three starts in Cincinnati, or perhaps the team could give Vargas a turn in one.
Rockies' probable DH(s): With Corey Dickerson and Justin Morneau on the DL, the Rockies will likely employ a mix-and-match approach to the DH in Oakland, with the team most likely to expand their platoons of Nick Hundley-Michael McKenry and Ben Paulsen-Wilin Rosario into the DH role. Those four should benefit most from the additional plate appearances.
White Sox's traditional DH: Adam LaRoche, though the White Sox have somewhat rotated Jose Abreu and LaRoche between first base and DH, the two responsible for 139 of the team's 144 total starts at either position. LaRoche started only one of the team's previous five games in National League parks at first base ahead of Abreu, and he's at best 50/50 to get the start there in Wednesday's game against the right-handed Lance Lynn.
Mariners' traditional DHs: Nelson Cruz and Mark Trumbo, with the two alternating between DH and right field since the latter's June 3 acquisition. That Cruz played in right field and Trumbo sat both games at San Francisco's AT&T Park June 15-16 provided a clear hint that Cruz has the edge in the two games at San Diego, especially in light of Trumbo's miserable .159/.172/.206 rates since his arrival.
Pirates' probable DH(s): A "day of rest" approach appears to be the Pirates' game at DH, so in their three games in Detroit, Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen could shift there to free up PAs for Sean Rodriguez and Jose Tabata.
Indians' traditional DH: A David Murphy/Ryan Raburn straight platoon, which is obviously going to remain on the bench in Pittsburgh, outside of the remote possibility that either could be used in left field as matchups dictate, with the Mike Aviles/Michael Bourn platoon that the Indians have going on between left and center fields -- Michael Brantley shifts between either to accommodate -- the one that drops into a four-man mix (Aviles, Bourn, Murphy and Raburn). None of those four belongs on the mixed-league radar this week as a result.
The chart below lists each of the 30 MLB teams' schedules and projected starting pitchers, and provides a projected Bill James Game Score for each day's starter.
Projected starting pitchers, June 29-July 5
P: The starting pitcher's projected Bill James Game Score, accounting for past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days), opponent and ballpark. A "50" is typically deemed a "quality start" by this measure, while a "70" is considered a dominant start.
Due to their June 27 postponement and subsequent June 28 doubleheader, the Baltimore Orioles will need a sixth starter this week. Kevin Gausman will make a spot start for them on Thursday, pushing the remainder of their rotation back.
Due to their June 27 postponement and subsequent June 28 doubleheader, the Cleveland Indians shuffled their rotation to account for the additional game. Toru Murata made a spot start on June 28, Cody Anderson was pushed back to Monday, and the remainder of the Indians' rotation was moved back by a day.
Justin Verlander (back) is expected to rejoin the Tigers' rotation on Tuesday, lining him up for a two-start Week 13.
After demoting Brett Oberholtzer to Triple-A Fresno, the Houston Astros will need a fifth starter the next time that spot arrives. Though the team could use Thursday's off day to push a decision back into Week 14, it appears that they will instead recall a fill-in on either Friday or Saturday, with Collin McHugh starting the other game.
Joe Blanton will continue serving as the Kansas City Royals' fifth starter, as neither Jason Vargas (DL, flexor strain) nor Yordano Ventura (DL, ulnar neuritis) is expected to return in time for a Week 13 start.
Ervin Santana is scheduled to rejoin the Minnesota Twins' rotation on Sunday, one day after his 80-game suspension expires. However, that would be Phil Hughes' day, so it is unclear whether the team will use a six-man rotation for one turn or skip a starter for one turn. Mike Pelfrey and Tommy Milone seem the most logical candidates to be bumped for Santana, long-term.
Though the Yankees utilized a six-man rotation during Week 12, it seems likely that they'll remove either Nathan Eovaldi or Adam Warren this week. Warren appears the more likely to go due to his past relief experience.
Matt Moore (DL, Tommy John surgery) made a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Durham on June 27, and is scheduled to rejoin the Rays' rotation on Thursday. Erasmo Ramirez (groin) is expected to rejoin the Rays' rotation on Tuesday.
Matt Harrison (DL, spinal fusion surgery) made his fifth rehabilitation start for Double-A Frisco on June 24, and could be ready to rejoin the Rangers' rotation. The team could choose to DL Wandy Rodriguez, who had an awful outing on June 24, replacing Rodriguez with Harrison or Anthony Ranaudo.
With Williams Perez (DL, foot) sidelined, the Atlanta Braves will need a fifth starter no later than Saturday. Manny Banuelos is expected to get the call for that start, and it'll probably be on Thursday, which was Perez's spot and would have Banuelos on four days' rest.
Jose Fernandez (DL, Tommy John surgery) is due back in the Marlins' rotation on Thursday, sliding into Justin Nicolino's spot. It appears the team will go with Tom Koehler and Jose Urena for their fourth and fifth starter spots for this week.
The New York Mets promoted Steven Matz from Triple-A Las Vegas to start on June 28 and will use a six-man rotation for the foreseeable future.
Adam Morgan has been serving as the Phillies' fifth starter, but Chad Billingsley (DL, lat) will make his final rehabilitation start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on June 26, making it likely that Billingsley will replace Morgan on Thursday.
Jaime Garcia (groin), who left his June 24 start due to injury, is tentatively scheduled to be ready for his next start for the Cardinals on Tuesday.
Matt Cain (DL, elbow) and Jake Peavy (DL, back) will make their final rehabilitation starts for Triple-A Sacramento on June 26 and 27, and they are tentatively scheduled to rejoin the San Francisco Giants' rotation on Thursday and Friday. That timetable hints that Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum are the two Giants starters in greatest danger of being demoted to the bullpen, though the team could use Monday's off day to tweak its rotation, perhaps moving Hudson up to Wednesday and removing either Ryan Vogelsong or Chris Heston.
These rankings include the entire slate of projected starters, in order to provide a more organized approach to favorable matchups, #DFS tidbits and the "Streamer's Delight" picks. Notes for relevant pitchers are included below.
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Fri-NYM (Syndergaard)
Chris Sale (CWS) -- Tue-@STL (Garcia), Sun-BAL (Norris)
Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Thu-@ATL (Banuelos)
Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Thu-CHC (Arrieta): He's riding the majors' longest active quality-start streak and has a 29.9 percent K rate during it.
Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Tue-COL (De La Rosa), Sun-SEA (Montgomery)
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Wed-@TB (Colome)
Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Sat-@LAD (Greinke)
Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Sat-@WSH (Strasburg)
Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Tue-@DET (Verlander), Sun-CLE (Salazar)
Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Tue-@TB (Ramirez), Sun-@PIT (Cole)
Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Thu-@TB (Moore)
Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Sat-@OAK (Graveman)
Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Thu-@NYM (deGrom)
Johnny Cueto (CIN) -- Wed-MIN (May)
Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Tue-CWS (Sale), Sun-SD (Kennedy)
Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Thu-@DET (Sanchez)
Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Tue-MIL (Jungmann), Sun-@ATL (Miller)
Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Fri-TB (Archer)
Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Sat-NYM (Harvey)
David Price (DET) -- Sat-TOR (Dickey)
Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Sat-SD (Despaigne)
Chris Archer (TB) -- Fri-@NYY (Tanaka): He has never lost at Yankee Stadium, and he's a perfect 4-for-4 in quality starts there as well. Just thought you should know.
Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Sat-SF (Bumgarner)
Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Fri-SEA (Happ)
Tyson Ross (SD) -- Thu-@STL (Lackey)
Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Tue-@ATL (Miller), Sun-SF (Vogelsong)
Michael Wacha (STL) -- Fri-SD (Cashner)
Alex Wood (ATL) -- Sat-PHI (O'Sullivan)
Jose Fernandez (MIA) -- Thu-SF (Cain): I'm activating him. The talent is oh-so-good, and the Giants' lineup suffers a bit with both Nori Aoki and Hunter Pence sidelined. Only the pitch count holds me back.
Scott Kazmir (OAK) -- Thu-SEA (Walker)
Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Thu-@OAK (Kazmir)
Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Fri-@TEX (Gonzalez): There's a somewhat scary downside to a Globe Life Park game loaded with powerful lefties. Might be the most "lineup-diligence" matchup on the list.
Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Tue-BOS (Rodriguez), Sun-@DET (Verlander)
Lance Lynn (STL) -- Wed-CWS (Quintana): He looked great in his return from the DL at Marlins Park, and the White Sox are effectively a worse version of the Marlins offensively. Oh, and it's a home game.
A.J. Burnett (PIT) -- Wed-@DET (Simon)
Kendall Graveman (OAK) -- Mon-COL (Hale), Sat-SEA (Hernandez)
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Tue-KC (Duffy)
C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Mon-NYY (Sabathia), Sun-@TEX (Lewis)
Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Sat-@CWS (Samardzija)
John Lackey (STL) -- Thu-SD (Ross)
Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Tue-@NYM (Niese), Sun-MIA (Latos): The Mets have baseball's third-worst team wOBA against righties (.292), and the Marlins have baseball's fifth-worst wOBA against righties (.293).
Mike Fiers (MIL) -- Fri-@CIN (Lorenzen)
Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Sat-TB (Karns)
Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Sat-MIA (Urena)
Lance McCullers (HOU) -- Mon-KC (Blanton), Sun-@BOS (Rodriguez)
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Fri-@LAD (Kershaw): The scariest-downside matchup on this list thus far not named Garrett Richards.
Mike Bolsinger (LAD) -- Mon-@ARI (Webster), Sun-NYM (Matz)
Shelby Miller (ATL) -- Tue-WSH (Zimmermann), Sun-PHI (Hamels)
Matt Shoemaker (LAA) -- Wed-NYY (Eovaldi)
Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Thu-PIT (Liriano)
Clay Buchholz (BOS) -- Mon-@TOR (Dickey), Sat-HOU (McHugh): If his K-to-walk ratio was any lower - it's a healthy 4.14:1 in June - these matchups would register a "no."
Jesse Hahn (OAK) -- Wed-COL (Bettis)
Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Wed-@STL (Lynn)
Nathan Karns (TB) -- Mon-CLE (Anderson), Sat-@NYY (Pineda)
Jon Lester (CHC) -- Wed-@NYM (Colon): He has a 5.74 ERA in five June starts, but at the same time, the Mets' two best power threats are left-handed (Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson) and their right-handed bats aren't especially threatening.
Cody Anderson (CLE) -- Mon-@TB (Karns), Sat-@PIT (Locke): He's neither an elite strikeout or ground-ball artist and he's got a fairly sizable platoon split as a pro, but the Rays are one of the most righty-heavy teams in the game. Decent streamer value here.
Jeff Samardzija (CWS) -- Sat-BAL (Jimenez)
Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Fri-PHI (Correia)
Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Mon-@PHI (O'Sullivan), Sat-@CIN (Simon): It's all about the Phillies matchup. Nelson is breaking-ball reliant, throwing the knuckle-curve and slider roughly 40 percent of the time, and the Phillies have baseball's worst team wOBA (.222) and seventh-worst hard-hit rate (.096) against breaking balls.
Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Tue-SEA (Montgomery), Sun-@STL (Garcia)
Chi Chi Gonzalez (TEX) -- Fri-LAA (Richards)
Mike Montgomery (SEA) -- Tue-@SD (Kennedy), Sun-@OAK (Gray)
Mat Latos (MIA) -- Tue-SF (Vogelsong), Sun-@CHC (Hendricks)
James Shields (SD) -- Wed-SEA (Elias): His monthly ERAs have risen by more than a run in each, to a whopping 5.52 in June, but there's an advantage to this matchup: The Seattle Mariners have baseball's worst wOBA and third-worst strikeout rate against righties in the month. Bounce-back opportunity, but some dice-roll to it.
Steven Matz (NYM) -- Sun-@LAD (Bolsinger)
Brett Anderson (LAD) -- Wed-@ARI (Ray)
Joe Blanton (KC) -- Mon-@HOU (McCullers), Sat-MIN (Pelfrey): I feel like the fifth starter shouldn't be the one for the Royals who scares me least in their first five games of the week, but maybe that's more of a statement about the team's current rotation state than Blanton himself.
Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Sat-@BOS (Buchholz)
CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Mon-@LAA (Wilson), Sun-TB (Ramirez): Now it begins to get scary. The Angels have two of the game's best right-handed thumpers and the Rays have a wOBA 16 points better against lefties (.319) than righties (.303).
Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Fri-@PIT (Morton)
R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Mon-BOS (Buchholz), Sat-@DET (Price)
Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Sat-@TEX (Rodriguez): Adrian Beltre's return has tempered my expectations for Rangers' lefty opponents, and it's the wrong park for Santiago - stick to the L.A. games when you can - but there's still a lot of swing-and-miss lefties in this lineup.
Ervin Santana (MIN) -- Sun-@KC (Duffy): I'm loathe to toss the word "motivation," but I think Santana will have it. It's a gut feel, but I feel pretty good about this matchup.
Chris Heston (SF) -- Wed-@MIA (Haren): So long as this matchup doesn't shift, this is a fantastic one on the lower tiers. Remember, Giancarlo Stanton was the only Marlins hitter handling righties aptly.
Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) -- Tue-@TOR (Estrada), Sun-HOU (McCullers): Total coin flip. If you can't stomach the risk of a disastrous outing, you don't want Rodriguez active.
Yovani Gallardo (TEX) -- Thu-@BAL (Gausman)
Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Fri-SF (Peavy)
Matt Moore (TB) -- Thu-CLE (Kluber): You could talk me into it, as the Indians haven't been stellar offensively in June, but Moore strikes me as the precise type of pitcher we need to see in game action before he'll get the "OK."
Ivan Nova (NYY) -- Tue-@LAA (Heaney): A home game against the light-hitting Phillies is a considerably more favorable matchup than a road one, out west, against the Angels. I want more proof first.
Matt Garza (MIL) -- Thu-@PHI (Billingsley)
David Hale (COL) -- Mon-@OAK (Graveman), Sat-@ARI (Webster)
Kyle Lohse (MIL) -- Wed-@PHI (Harang)
Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Fri-@DET (Ryan)
Taylor Jungmann (MIL) -- Tue-@PHI (Hamels), Sun-@CIN (Leake): He flustered a Mets offense on June 25 that is comparably thin to the Phillies, so there could be some one-start - the Tuesday start - magic remaining.
Dan Haren (MIA) -- Wed-SF (Heston)
Danny Duffy (KC) -- Tue-@HOU (Keuchel), Sun-MIN (Santana)
Roenis Elias (SEA) -- Wed-@SD (Shields)
Mike Leake (CIN) -- Mon-MIN (Pelfrey), Sun-MIL (Jungmann)
Carlos Frias (LAD) -- Tue-@ARI (De La Rosa)
Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Wed-CHC (Lester)
Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Tue-LAD (Frias), Sun-COL (De La Rosa): We've reached the "no thank yous," and the ones who you could exploit for volume are listed first and tightly grouped. Chancing De La Rosa is merely hoping that the Rockies continue to play like a bottom-10 offense in their road games, not banking on his skills.
Charlie Morton (PIT) -- Fri-CLE (Bauer)
Bud Norris (BAL) -- Mon-TEX (Rodriguez), Sun-@CWS (Sale): If you're chancing Norris, it's all about exploiting that ice-cold - especially against righties - White Sox lineup.
Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Fri-@STL (Wacha)
Erasmo Ramirez (TB) -- Tue-CLE (Salazar), Sun-@NYY (Sabathia)
Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Tue-@BAL (Gonzalez), Sun-LAA (Wilson)
Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Fri-@CWS (Danks)
Andrew Heaney (LAA) -- Tue-NYY (Nova)
Kyle Ryan (DET) -- Fri-TOR (Hutchison)
Justin Verlander (DET) -- Tue-PIT (Cole), Sun-TOR (Estrada)
Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- Wed-TEX (Martinez)
Michael Lorenzen (CIN) -- Fri-MIL (Fiers)
Mike Pelfrey (MIN) -- Mon-@CIN (Leake), Sat-@KC (Blanton)
Robbie Ray (ARI) -- Wed-LAD (Anderson): Well, at least he's a lefty, as the Dodgers hit righties far better, but Ray hasn't provided enough evidence yet to be trusted against the game's top-10 offenses.
Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Tue-@OAK (Gray), Sun-@ARI (De La Rosa)
Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Tue-@CIN (DeSclafani): Fly-baller in an extremely homer-friendly ballpark, especially for left-handed hitters. It's a "no."
Trevor May (MIN) -- Wed-@CIN (Cueto)
Alfredo Simon (DET) -- Wed-PIT (Burnett)
Manny Banuelos (ATL) -- Thu-WSH (Scherzer)
J.A. Happ (SEA) -- Fri-@OAK (Chavez)
Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Wed-@HOU (Velasquez)
Miguel Gonzalez (BAL) -- Tue-TEX (Lewis)
Doug Fister (WSH) -- Wed-@ATL (Wisler)
Chad Billingsley (PHI) -- Thu-MIL (Garza)
Aaron Harang (PHI) -- Wed-MIL (Lohse)
Jose Urena (MIA) -- Sat-@CHC (Hammel)
Matt Cain (SF) -- Thu-@MIA (Fernandez)
Chase Anderson (ARI) -- Fri-COL (Kendrick)
Matt Boyd (TOR) -- Thu-BOS (Miley)
Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Sat-CLE (Anderson)
Vincent Velasquez (HOU) -- Wed-KC (Volquez)
Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Fri-@CHC (Roach)
Wandy Rodriguez (TEX) -- Mon-@BAL (Norris), Sat-LAA (Santiago)
Alex Colome (TB) -- Wed-CLE (Carrasco)
Ryan Vogelsong (SF) -- Tue-@MIA (Latos), Sun-@WSH (Zimmermann)
Tommy Milone (MIN) -- Fri-@KC (Guthrie)
Odrisamer Despaigne (SD) -- Sat-@STL (Martinez)
Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Wed-BOS (Porcello)
Wade Miley (BOS) -- Thu-@TOR (Boyd)
Chad Bettis (COL) -- Wed-@OAK (Hahn)
Donn Roach (CHC) -- Fri-MIA (Koehler)
Chris Rusin (COL) -- Thu-@ARI (Hellickson)
Jake Peavy (SF) -- Fri-@WSH (Gonzalez)
Jeremy Hellickson (ARI) -- Thu-COL (Rusin)
Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) -- Tue-MIN (Hughes)
Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) -- Wed-@LAA (Shoemaker)
Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Wed-@TOR (Buehrle)
John Danks (CWS) -- Fri-BAL (Tillman)
Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Thu-@KC (Young)
Matt Wisler (ATL) -- Wed-WSH (Fister)
Jeremy Guthrie (KC) -- Fri-MIN (Milone)
Chris Young (KC) -- Thu-MIN (Gibson)
Sean O'Sullivan (PHI) -- Mon-MIL (Nelson), Sat-@ATL (Wood)
Justin Masterson (BOS) -- Fri-HOU (TBD)
Allen Webster (ARI) -- Mon-LAD (Bolsinger), Sat-COL (Hale)
Josh Smith (CIN) -- Sat-MIL (Nelson)
Kyle Kendrick (COL) -- Fri-@ARI (Anderson)
Nick Martinez (TEX) -- Wed-@BAL (Chen)
Kevin Correia (PHI) -- Fri-@ATL (Teheran)
The chart below lists each of the 30 teams' total number of scheduled games, home games and games versus right- and left-handed pitchers, and provides a matchup rating for the week's games in terms of overall offense, offense for left- and right-handed hitters and base stealing. Matchup ratings for each individual game are listed under the corresponding date.
Hitting matchup chart, June 29-July 5
H: Hitters' matchup rating, which accounts for the opposing starting pitcher's past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days) as well as ballpark factors. L: Hitters' matchup rating accounting only for left-handed hitters. R: Hitters' matchup rating accounting for only right-handed hitters. S: Base stealing matchup rating, which accounts for the opponent's catchers' ability to gun down opposing base stealers. Ratings range from 1-10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst.
Here are this week's "volume plays," defined as the teams that play the most home games, or games against right- or left-handed starters:
Total games: Baltimore Orioles 7, Boston Red Sox 7, Tampa Bay Rays 7, Toronto Blue Jays 7, Cleveland Indians 7, Kansas City Royals 7, Minnesota Twins 7, Oakland Athletics 7, Texas Rangers 7, Philadelphia Phillies 7, Milwaukee Brewers 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 7, Colorado Rockies 7.
Home games: Athletics 7, Diamondbacks 7, Detroit Tigers 6, Atlanta Braves 6, Cincinnati Reds 6, St. Louis Cardinals 6.
Versus RH: Rockies 7, Rays 6, Twins 6, Miami Marlins 6, Phillies 6, Reds 6, Brewers 6, Pittsburgh Pirates 6.
Versus LH: Blue Jays 4, Orioles 3, Athletics 3, Rangers 3, Diamondbacks 3, San Diego Padres 3.
You can't ask for a much more favorable schedule than four games against the Phillies, whose 5.63 ERA in June (through June 25) is worst in the majors, followed by three at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, which has ranked among the four most homer-friendly venues in baseball in each of the past five seasons (2011-15), against a Reds team that isn't currently scheduled to pitch Johnny Cueto in that series. That's what the Brewers have ahead of them, so don't fret about their fifth-worst-in-the-majors-against-righties .293 wOBA coupled with a six-opposing-righty-starters week, because this is about the most favorable set of matchups a team could ask facing largely the wrong side of their platoon. By the way, the only truly tough pitcher the Brewers will face all week is Cole Hamels on Tuesday. He's left-handed, and he's coming off one of his worst outings of the year.
Adam Lind, a .290/.367/.500 hitter against right-handers this season, and Gerardo Parra, .283/.306/.428 against them, are effectively auto-plays. Scooter Gennett, however, fits the sleeper criteria, hitting .270/.308/.568 against righties since his early-June recall, including all 10 of his hits during that time. Right-handed hitters Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy should be fine as well, and Hernan Perez could warrant an NL-only look thanks to his .296/.321/.407 rates against right-handers during the month of June.
The Baltimore Orioles, whose offense has been entirely up and down in June -- as many games scoring seven-plus runs as being held to one or fewer (five apiece) -- might follow a somewhat similar pattern in Week 13, but what lines up as five meaty matchups out of seven sums to an outstanding hitters' week. The danger with relying upon Orioles is that the Chicago White Sox will go with four starters and therefore snuck Chris Sale into Sunday's game, but that also resulted in Jose Quintana exiting that series (and moving up in their rotation), so it's not taking matchups from one extreme to the other. Wandy Rodriguez, Nick Martinez and John Danks, three of the most hittable pitchers in the American League, remain three-sevenths of the Orioles' opposing starters, and scheduled Rangers Tuesday starter Colby Lewis can fit into that group at times (though he has pitched better of late).
Beneath the obvious - Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Matt Wieters - the Orioles have some sneaky bats beneath the radar. Chris Parmelee is a .313/.371/.750 hitter in nine games for them thus far. Nolan Reimold is a .281/.378/.563 hitter in June and should get at least the three starts against those left-handed starters. Travis Snider has batted .304/.371/.464 in June, while Steve Pearce has hit .314/.351/.429 in the month. Even Jimmy Paredes has a .304 batting average and .411 slugging percentage in 15 June contests, meaning five worthy plug-ins for AL-only and deep-mixed owners.
Don't ignore those Phillies, either, especially if you're looking for cheap speed. This is an exceedingly left-handed lineup, and one that tends to be aggressive on the base paths as a way of "manufacturing runs," and their opponents' usual catchers, Milwaukee's Lucroy and Atlanta's A.J. Pierzynski, rank among the worst at their craft in throwing out opposing base stealers. Ben Revere, Cesar Hernandez and even Freddy Galvis could provide their owners with healthy stolen-base totals.