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Fantasy Forecaster: Aug. 10-16

Fantasy Forecaster updated Sunday, Aug. 9, at 9:31 p.m. ET.

On tap: It's one of the lighter weeks on the volume-of-games scale, as a trio of early-week interleague series results in five teams playing only five games apiece. The Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins have the disadvantage of the shortened, five-game schedule; contrast that with the seven teams that are scheduled to play all seven days.

The high-flying Toronto Blue Jays, winners of eight of their first 10 August games, return home after a brief, three-game visit to New York, playing the final six games of what was a 16-home-games-out-of-19 stretch. Home games have been advantageous for these Jays, which have one of the widest home/road differentials -- more than 20 winning percentage points (.632 at home, .415 road). But perhaps most importantly, the Jays get three more games against the American League East-leading New York Yankees -- 4 ½ games ahead entering their series in New York on Aug. 7 -- and they'll be the hosts this time. The Jays have averaged 5.6 runs per game at home, and might be facing a pitcher eight starts removed from Tommy John surgery (Ivan Nova) as well as a rookie making only his third big league start (Luis Severino) during the series.

That's hardly the only divisional showdown, however. The Pittsburgh Pirates also visit the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium for a three-game series on Tuesday, and the Pirates entered play on Aug. 7 six games behind. These teams have already played five extra-inning games against each other this season, including what was a three-game sweep by the Cardinals at Busch from May 1-3. Check out the possible pitching showdowns: Jeff Locke versus Carlos Martinez on Tuesday, Gerrit Cole versus Michael Wacha on Wednesday and Francisco Liriano versus Lance Lynn on Thursday.

We'll also have some familiar-to-fantasy names visiting cities in which they initially gained prominence: Jose Reyes and his Colorado Rockies visit New York's Citi Field for a four-game series beginning on Monday; Hanley Ramirez and the Red Sox visit Miami's Marlins Park for a two-game series beginning Tuesday; CC Sabathia and the Yankees visit Cleveland's Progressive Field for a three-game series beginning Tuesday; and Brett Lawrie and the Oakland Athletics visit Toronto's Rogers Centre for a three-game series beginning Tuesday.

Quickly jump to any section if you want specific intel.


ESPN leagues: Lineup deadlines

Week 18 begins on Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET, with the first pitch of Colorado Rockies at New York Mets, so fantasy owners in weekly leagues have some additional time to get their lineups set.

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, 7:10 p.m. ET (Rockies at Mets); Tuesday, 7:07 p.m. ET (Oakland Athletics at Toronto Blue Jays); Wednesday, 3:40 p.m. ET (three day games out of five total begin at that time); Thursday, 12:10 p.m. ET (Rockies at Mets, one of four day games); Friday, 4:10 p.m. ET (Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox, the day's only day game); Saturday, 1:07 p.m. ET (New York Yankees at Blue Jays, one of two day games); and Sunday, 1:07 p.m. ET (Yankees at Blue Jays, one of 14 day games).


Interleague impact

This week's interleague series:

  • Boston Red Sox at Miami Marlins (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)

  • Houston Astros at San Francisco Giants (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)

  • Atlanta Braves at Tampa Bay Rays (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)

  • Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox (3 games, Friday-Sunday)

Red Sox's traditional DH: David Ortiz (92 starts out of 104 games). Ortiz has also made five starts at first base this season, three of them in games at National League parks, and remember, the Red Sox traded Mike Napoli on Aug. 7, clearing room for Ortiz at the position in NL games. Though it's possible that Travis Shaw might pick up a start in one of the two games in Miami, Ortiz has a good chance at all five starts and is well worth keeping in your lineup.

Astros' traditional DH: Evan Gattis (91 starts out of 104). He has started eight games in left field as well, three of those since the All-Star break, and it's possible he'll do so again on Tuesday against Giants left-handed ace Madison Bumgarner. Expect Preston Tucker to start the other game in left field against Giants right-hander Chris Heston, who has a wide platoon split. As the Astros are scheduled to face four right-handers plus Bumgarner, Gattis is a poor play for Week 18.

Braves' probable DH(s): Nick Markakis and/or A.J. Pierzynski? They received two of the team's three DH starts during their July 27-29 series at Baltimore, which was their most recent series in an AL park with similar roster structure to today. Markakis might get two starts against the Rays' right-handers, with Pierzynski perhaps getting the third. Ryan Lavarnway and Eury Perez received the starts at catcher and right field, respectively, during that most recent series, but neither is a fantasy consideration.

Cubs' probable DH: Kyle Schwarber. What a convenient time for the Cubs to regain the DH, as Miguel Montero should return from the DL either before or early during Week 18, cluttering the team's catcher picture. Both Montero and Schwarber can start for three games during the team's South Side Showdown, though the White Sox are scheduled to throw two tough lefties -- Jose Quintana and Chris Sale -- during the series, which neutralizes the advantage of additional at-bats. Schwarber has hit against lefties effectively enough that he's worth keeping in there as a result, though Montero's owners who lack a pressing need to activate him might prefer to keep him stashed in a DL spot or on the bench for another week.


Projected starting pitchers

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, Aug. 10-16 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.


Pitching scuttlebutt

  • Chris Tillman (ankle) is scheduled to rejoin the Baltimore Orioles' rotation on Tuesday.

  • The Cleveland Indians placed Cody Anderson (DL, oblique) on the DL on Aug. 8, and they seem likely to push his spot in their rotation back to Saturday. It is unclear who will fill in then, though Josh Tomlin could be a candidate.

  • The Detroit Tigers, who are trying to keep rookie starters Matt Boyd's and Daniel Norris' innings in check, might skip Boyd's Sunday start following Thursday's off day. Anibal Sanchez would pick up a second start in that event.

  • Jered Weaver (DL, hip) will rejoin the Los Angeles Angels' rotation on Aug. 7, lining him up for a Friday start during Week 18.

  • The Minnesota Twins demoted Tyler Duffey to Triple-A Rochester on Aug. 6, but they can push back his spot in the rotation as far as Saturday of Week 18. Tommy Milone (DL, elbow) isn't eligible to return until Sunday, however, so the Twins will need a spot starter for Saturday's game.

  • The Seattle Mariners will give Vidal Nuno at least one more start, with him pitching on Monday. It is unclear whether he'd then remain on turn and pitch Sunday, or Taijuan Walker or a replacement (Roenis Elias?) would pitch then.

  • The Toronto Blue Jays have Monday off and are considering shuffling Drew Hutchison, who aligns for Tuesday's game, in their rotation. He would lose his second start of the week, and Mark Buehrle would gain one, if pushed back in the order. It's likely that Hutchison would pitch before Friday, however, to keep David Price's matchup in the weekend series versus the New York Yankees.

  • The Miami Marlins placed both Jose Urena (DL, knee) and Jose Fernandez (DL, shoulder) on the DL, and will replace them with Justin Nicolino and Adam Conley on Tuesday and Wednesday. It is unclear whether they will then skip a starter due to Monday's and Thursday's off days, but it seems likely they'll go with the five starters listed above in some order.

  • Based upon the importance of their Tuesday-Thursday series at St. Louis, the Pittsburgh Pirates used Monday's off day to push J.A. Happ back in their rotation; he can be pushed as late as Saturday, though he might pitch Friday.

  • Mike Leake (DL, hamstring), on Thursday, will again be replaced in the San Francisco Giants' rotation by Ryan Vogelsong.


Tristan's Week 18 pitcher rankings

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.

  1. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Wed-WSH (Zimmermann)

  2. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Tue-WSH (Ross), Sun-CIN (Lorenzen)

  3. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Mon-LAA (Santiago), Sun-CHC (Haren): Before you get all panicky over his 7.61 second-half ERA, might I point out that his xFIP is a reasonable 3.04?

  4. Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Fri-@SF (Cain)

  5. Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Tue-NYY (Severino), Sun-@MIN (Gibson)

  6. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Sat-@BOS (Miley)

  7. Johnny Cueto (KC) -- Mon-DET (Boyd), Sat-LAA (Santiago)

  8. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Tue-HOU (Kazmir), Sun-WSH (Ross)

  9. Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Wed-COL (De La Rosa)

  10. Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Thu-COL (Butler)

  11. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Fri-@MIN (Hughes)

  12. Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Sat-@CWS (Quintana)

  13. Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Tue-COL (Rusin), Sun-PIT (Locke)

  14. David Price (TOR) -- Fri-NYY (Nova)

  15. Jon Lester (CHC) -- Thu-MIL (Cravy)

  16. Cole Hamels (TEX) -- Thu-@MIN (Santana)

  17. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Thu-@STL (Lynn)

  18. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Wed-@STL (Wacha)

  19. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Thu-@TOR (Dickey)

  20. Chris Archer (TB) -- Sat-@TEX (Lewis)

  21. Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Tue-PIT (Locke), Sun-MIA (Hand)

  22. Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Wed-@SF (Heston)

  23. Matt Shoemaker (LAA) -- Tue-@CWS (Rodon), Sun-@KC (Ventura): He has 19 consecutive shutout innings, representing the entirety of his three starts, since the All-Star break, so he has earned a bit of trust in fantasy terms. That said, Shoemaker's other key contribution during that span has been the strikeouts -- 27 during that span -- and his second matchup is against a Kansas City Royals team that is the best in baseball at making contact.

  24. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Wed-BAL (Gausman)

  25. Joe Ross (WSH) -- Tue-@LAD (Greinke), Sun-@SF (Bumgarner): This rating feels generous, but the guy has six consecutive quality starts and an outrageous 43 K's compared to four walks during that span. Hasn't he earned your trust at this point?

  26. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Wed-PIT (Cole)

  27. Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Wed-NYY (Sabathia)

  28. Taylor Jungmann (MIL) -- Tue-@CHC (Haren), Sun-PHI (Harang)

  29. Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Thu-@KC (Guthrie)

  30. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Mon-@LAD (Anderson), Sat-@SF (Peavy)

  31. Jeff Samardzija (CWS) -- Fri-CHC (Hendricks)

  32. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Thu-@SF (Vogelsong): His Aug. 8 start will influence my opinion, as I've declared it a clear "bench-and-evaluate" matchup. My hunch: The best he could do is a rating around 40 for the week, which is mixed-worthy but not a "must."

  33. Scott Kazmir (HOU) -- Tue-@SF (Bumgarner)

  34. Lance Lynn (STL) -- Thu-PIT (Liriano)

  35. Luis Severino (NYY) -- Tue-@CLE (Carrasco), Sun-@TOR (Hutchison)

  36. Tyson Ross (SD) -- Fri-@COL (Flande)

  37. Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Tue-BAL (Tillman)

  38. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Sat-CHC (Arrieta)

  39. Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Mon-CIN (Holmberg), Sun-@COL (Rusin)

  40. James Shields (SD) -- Wed-CIN (Iglesias)

  41. Mike Fiers (HOU) -- Sun-DET (Boyd)

  42. Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) -- Wed-@MIA (Conley)

  43. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Fri-ARI (Ray)

  44. Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Fri-MIA (Phelps)

  45. Nathan Karns (TB) -- Fri-@TEX (Perez)

  46. Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Wed-@LAD (Kershaw)

  47. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Tue-@KC (Ventura)

  48. Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Sat-NYY (Tanaka)

  49. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Sat-@HOU (McHugh)

  50. Alex Wood (LAD) -- Fri-CIN (DeSclafani)

  51. Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Wed-ATL (Wisler)

  52. John Lackey (STL) -- Sat-MIA (Koehler): He has 10 consecutive quality starts, the second-longest active streak behind Clayton Kershaw (12).

  53. Brett Anderson (LAD) -- Mon-WSH (Gonzalez), Sat-CIN (Holmberg)

  54. Shelby Miller (ATL) -- Sun-ARI (De La Rosa)

  55. Steven Wright (BOS) -- Tue-@MIA (Nicolino): He's a knuckleballer so you never know what you're going to get, but now he's going from one of the worst matchups a pitcher could generally face (New York's Yankee Stadium against the potent New York Yankees offense) to one of the best (Miami's Marlins Park against the light-hitting and Giancarlo Stanton-free Miami Marlins).

  56. Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Sat-DET (Verlander)

  57. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Fri-@CWS (Samardzija)

  58. Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Fri-@BAL (Jimenez)

  59. Dan Haren (CHC) -- Tue-MIL (Jungmann), Sun-@CWS (Sale)

  60. Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Fri-OAK (Chavez)

  61. Kevin Gausman (BAL) -- Wed-@SEA (Iwakuma)

  62. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Sat-@TOR (Estrada)

  63. Mat Latos (LAD) -- Thu-CIN (Sampson)

  64. Aaron Nola (PHI) -- Wed-@ARI (Anderson)

  65. Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Mon-COL (Gray), Sat-PIT (Happ): I toyed with bumping his ratings and ranking, but the Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates do both still have some scary right-handed bats.

  66. Jon Gray (COL) -- Mon-@NYM (Niese), Sat-SD (Cashner): I'm teetering on the brink of this being a "no thank you," as the Colorado Rockies are trying to rein in Gray's innings, and could A) push back the second start, B) skip one of the turns entirely or C) keep him on limited pitch counts in one or both.

  67. Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Tue-DET (Sanchez), Sun-LAA (Shoemaker)

  68. Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Tue-OAK (Graveman), Sun-NYY (Severino): With whispers that he'll be pushed back in the rotation, I'd bank upon only the Oakland Athletics matchup. Hmmm... frankly, that's a lot better than the two with a New York Yankees matchup included, but then there's also the risk he could be pushed back into that series, in which case he's a flat-out "no," ranked in triple-digits.

  69. Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- Mon-@SEA (Nuno), Sun-OAK (Graveman)

  70. Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Thu-NYY (Eovaldi)

  71. Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) -- Thu-@CLE (Bauer)

  72. Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Wed-MIL (Garza)

  73. Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Sat-PHI (Williams): The primary issue I have with this matchup is that the Philadelphia Phillies have a lot of left-handed bats on their roster and tend to load up with the platoon advantage, and Nelson has an extremely wide righty/lefty split, more than 250 points of OPS in fact.

  74. Andrew Heaney (LAA) -- Wed-@CWS (Danks)

  75. Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Mon-@CWS (Sale), Sat-@KC (Cueto): Monday's game will represent his first start at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field as a visiting player. His career ERA is nearly a half-run higher and his WHIP nearly a quarter of a point higher there than at Angel Stadium.

  76. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Sat-@COL (Gray)

  77. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Thu-OAK (Gray)

  78. Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Tue-@SEA (Walker): You can believe in the recent uptick in performance if you wish; I see the 3.69 xFIP in three second-half starts and fear it's a mirage.

  79. Chris Bassitt (OAK) -- Sat-@BAL (Gonzalez)

  80. Chris Heston (SF) -- Wed-HOU (Keuchel): The names to fear here: Preston Tucker, Colby Rasmus, and to a lesser extent Luis Valbuena and Jason Castro. The fewer of these lefties there are in the lineup, the better Heston's matchup becomes, but that means homework and some will need make the decision two days in advance.

  81. Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Fri-PIT (Morton)

  82. Keyvius Sampson (CIN) -- Thu-@LAD (Latos)

  83. Henry Owens (BOS) -- Sun-SEA (TBD)

  84. Ervin Santana (MIN) -- Thu-TEX (Hamels)

  85. Yovani Gallardo (TEX) -- Tue-@MIN (Gibson), Sun-TB (Ramirez): Gallardo has an 8.53 ERA in his four second-half starts, incidentally, not at all an unexpected rate of regression after the wizardry he displayed in June.

  86. Jake Peavy (SF) -- Sat-WSH (Gonzalez)

  87. Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Fri-CLE (Kluber)

  88. Aaron Harang (PHI) -- Mon-@ARI (De La Rosa), Sun-@MIL (Jungmann)

  89. Erasmo Ramirez (TB) -- Tue-ATL (Perez), Sun-@TEX (Gallardo)

  90. Raisel Iglesias (CIN) -- Wed-@SD (Shields)

  91. Tyler Cravy (MIL) -- Thu-@CHC (Lester)

  92. Robbie Ray (ARI) -- Fri-@ATL (Teheran)

  93. Vidal Nuno (SEA) -- Mon-BAL (Chen)

  94. Adam Conley (MIA) -- Wed-BOS (Rodriguez)

  95. Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Tue-@STL (Martinez), Sun-@NYM (Harvey)

  96. Matt Garza (MIL) -- Wed-@CHC (Hammel)

  97. Carlos Rodon (CWS) -- Tue-LAA (Shoemaker)

  98. CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Wed-@CLE (Salazar)

  99. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Fri-@KC (Duffy): I'm not risking starting him until he shows me firm evidence he can contribute meaningful fantasy stats. An extreme fly-baller facing the contact-hitting Royals? No thanks.

  100. Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Mon-PHI (Harang), Sun-@ATL (Miller)

  101. Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Tue-TEX (Gallardo), Sun-CLE (Carrasco): He has a major league-worst 8.59 ERA in his four starts since the All-Star break and the Texas Rangers can hit. Hey, at least they're home games.

  102. Justin Nicolino (MIA) -- Tue-BOS (Wright)

  103. Mike Montgomery (SEA) -- Fri-@BOS (Kelly)

  104. David Holmberg (CIN) -- Mon-@SD (Kennedy), Sat-@LAD (Anderson)

  105. Matt Boyd (DET) -- Mon-@KC (Cueto), Sun-@HOU (Fiers)

  106. Charlie Morton (PIT) -- Fri-@NYM (Colon)

  107. Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Sat-@STL (Lackey)

  108. Wade Miley (BOS) -- Sat-SEA (Hernandez)

  109. Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) -- Sat-ARI (Corbin)

  110. Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- Sat-@ATL (Foltynewicz)

  111. Yohan Flande (COL) -- Fri-SD (Ross)

  112. Aaron Brooks (OAK) -- Wed-@TOR (Buehrle)

  113. Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) -- Fri-@LAD (Wood)

  114. Matt Cain (SF) -- Fri-WSH (Scherzer)

  115. Odrisamer Despaigne (SD) -- Tue-CIN (Lorenzen)

  116. Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Wed-@NYM (deGrom)

  117. Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Wed-DET (Norris)

  118. Daniel Norris (DET) -- Wed-@KC (Volquez)

  119. Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Fri-PHI (Morgan)

  120. Chris Rusin (COL) -- Tue-@NYM (Harvey), Sun-SD (Kennedy)

  121. Brad Hand (MIA) -- Sun-@STL (Martinez)

  122. Williams Perez (ATL) -- Tue-@TB (Ramirez)

  123. Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Wed-OAK (Brooks): My guess is that he'll move up to Tuesday and be a two-start pitcher, but that's not necessarily a good thing, because the second matchup would become a game at the Rogers Centre against the Yankees. Buehrle is 2-14 with nine quality starts, a 6.03 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 22 career starts against them.

  124. Kendall Graveman (OAK) -- Tue-@TOR (Hutchison), Sun-@BAL (Chen)

  125. Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Sat-TB (Archer)

  126. David Phelps (MIA) -- Fri-@STL (Garcia)

  127. Danny Duffy (KC) -- Fri-LAA (Weaver)

  128. J.A. Happ (PIT) -- Sat-@NYM (Niese)

  129. Martin Perez (TEX) -- Fri-TB (Karns)

  130. Ryan Vogelsong (SF) -- Thu-WSH (Strasburg)

  131. Matt Wisler (ATL) -- Wed-@TB (Odorizzi)

  132. Alfredo Simon (DET) -- Fri-@HOU (Feldman)

  133. Miguel Gonzalez (BAL) -- Sat-OAK (Bassitt)

  134. Scott Feldman (HOU) -- Fri-DET (Simon)

  135. Chase Anderson (ARI) -- Wed-PHI (Nola)

  136. Ivan Nova (NYY) -- Fri-@TOR (Price)

  137. Michael Lorenzen (CIN) -- Tue-@SD (Despaigne), Sun-@LAD (Greinke)

  138. Jerome Williams (PHI) -- Sat-@MIL (Nelson)

  139. Joe Kelly (BOS) -- Fri-SEA (Montgomery)

  140. Jeremy Hellickson (ARI) -- Tue-PHI (Buchanan)

  141. John Danks (CWS) -- Wed-LAA (Heaney)

  142. Adam Morgan (PHI) -- Fri-@MIL (Peralta)

  143. Jeremy Guthrie (KC) -- Thu-LAA (Richards)

  144. Mike Pelfrey (MIN) -- Wed-TEX (Martinez)

  145. David Buchanan (PHI) -- Tue-@ARI (Hellickson)

  146. Nick Martinez (TEX) -- Wed-@MIN (Pelfrey)

  147. Eddie Butler (COL) -- Thu-@NYM (Syndergaard)


Hitting ratings

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, Aug. 10-16 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.


Hitting advantages

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: Kansas City Royals 7, Los Angeles Angels 7, New York Mets 7, Washington Nationals 7, Cincinnati Reds 7, Colorado Rockies 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 7.

  • Home games: Royals 7, Mets 7, Dodgers 7, Toronto Blue Jays 6, Chicago White Sox 6, Minnesota Twins 6, St. Louis Cardinals 6, San Francisco Giants 6.

  • Versus RH: Blue Jays 6, Detroit Tigers 6, Texas Rangers 6, Philadelphia Phillies 6, Arizona Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 6, Baltimore Orioles 5, New York Yankees 5, Twins 5, Oakland Athletics 5, Reds 5, Pittsburgh Pirates 5, Dodgers 5.

  • Versus LH: Angels 4, Mets 4, Royals 3, Seattle Mariners 3, Nationals 3, Cardinals 3, San Diego Padres 3, Giants 3.

The Angels, baseball's worst team against left-handed pitchers since the All-Star break -- though, granted, they have faced only four lefty starters during that span -- get a bounce-back kind of week against four southpaw starters, all of whom have shown some sort of weakness since the All-Star break. It's a favorable week of matchups for Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, naturally, but digging deeper in their offense, a four-lefty-starter week presents more options: C.J. Cron, a .306/.313/.452 hitter against lefties this season who gets considerable time at first base and DH; Chris Iannetta, a .184 isolated power and 4.8 percent home run-rate hitter against lefties; and Shane Victorino, a .310/.408/.405 hitter against lefties this season who typically starts only against them. Conversely, such a lefty-heavy week is a bad thing, matchups-wise, for fellow Angels David DeJesus, Conor Gillaspie and David Murphy.

The scorching-hot Mets' Week 18 hitting matchups look good, especially since the visiting Pirates moved Francisco Liriano up and out of Friday's game (J.A. Happ entered in his place). Yes, you read this correctly: The New York Mets have great hitting matchups this week. Now, this is a mix-and-match team, so a four-lefty-starter week will grant the advantage to the team's righty bats. That means Yoenis Cespedes, a .318/.348/.455 hitter thus far for the team, ranks among the week's best hitters, matchups-wise. It also makes worthy options of Juan Uribe, a .288/.373/.559 hitter against lefties this season; Wilmer Flores, .300/.347/.543 against southpaws; and Travis d'Arnaud. And if Michael Cuddyer returns in time for the week, he'd instantly warrant NL-only consideration and be a daily-leagues consideration in larger mixed leagues.

By the way, while he's almost assured of sitting one to two games against all those lefties, Lucas Duda shouldn't be benched simply because of the team's opposing-pitcher splits. His splits haven't been problematic: .304/.355/.539 against left-handers.

Are San Diego Padres hitters actually fantasy options this week? Believe it, thanks to three games against the young-and-largely-untested Reds' rotation, followed by three at Colorado's Coors Field. It's the Coors games that drive the matchups; consider some of their players' histories there: Jedd Gyorko, .319/.388/.597 rates in 18 career games; Matt Kemp, .321/.394/.591 in 66 games; and Will Venable, .261/.323/.504 in 43 games.