Fantasy Forecaster updated Sunday, Aug. 23, at 11:53 p.m. ET.
On tap: It's a week of wild-card implications, especially for two teams that need to make up some ground in their respective leagues' races. The Texas Rangers play six home games, hosting the Toronto Blue Jays (4 1/2 games ahead of the Rangers in the race; Blue Jays are the current American League East leaders) and Baltimore Orioles (2 games behind the Rangers in the race), while the San Francisco Giants play six home games of their own, hosting the Chicago Cubs (5 1/2 games ahead; Cubs are the current No. 2 wild card) and St. Louis Cardinals (12 games ahead; Cardinals lead the National League Central). Considering the nature of these teams (and weekly opponents), the Rangers will presumably attempt to hit their way to victory, while the Giants will seek to win closely fought pitchers' duels.
David Price will make a start at Globe Life Park on Wednesday, where he has two wins, two quality starts, a 7.36 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in five career games. Then, Chris Davis will return to the Texas park, where he's a lifetime .253/.306/.442 hitter in 148 career games, during the Orioles-Rangers weekend series.
We'll get a most unexpected, potential playoff preview at New York's Yankee Stadium, as the American League East-leading New York Yankees host the (surprise, surprise) AL West-leading Houston Astros for three games from Monday-Wednesday. It'll be Carlos Correa's first-ever series in New York; he terrorized Yankees pitching to the tune of six hits -- three of them doubles -- and one an inside-the-park home run in 16 at-bats during their June 25-28 series at Houston's Minute Maid Park.
Quickly jump to any section if you want specific intel.
Week 20 begins on Monday at 2:05 p.m. ET with an interleague make-up game, Cleveland Indians at Cubs, which is a rescheduling of their June 15 postponement. Fantasy owners in leagues with weekly transactions need to get their lineups in slightly earlier as a result.
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, 2:05 p.m. ET (Indians at Cubs, the day's only day game); Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. ET (three games begin at that time); Wednesday, 1:05 p.m. ET (Astros at Yankees, one of two day games); Thursday, 12:35 p.m. ET (Los Angeles Dodgers at Cincinnati Reds, one of five day games); Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET (three games begin at that time); Saturday, 1:07 p.m. ET (Detroit Tigers at Blue Jays, one of three day games); and Sunday, 1:07 p.m. ET (Tigers at Blue Jays, one of 14 day games).
This week's interleague series:
Cleveland Indians at Chicago Cubs (1 game, Monday)
Detroit Tigers at Cincinnati Reds (1 game, Monday)
Milwaukee Brewers at Indians (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
New York Yankees at Atlanta Braves (3 games, Friday-Sunday)
Indians' traditional DH: No team has taken more of a mix-and-match, "half-day off for their regulars" approach to the DH than the Indians, whose leader in starts at the position, David Murphy (28), is no longer on the team. Since Murphy was traded, Carlos Santana (8), Michael Brantley (7) and Jason Kipnis (4) have the Indians' most starts at DH, and they can slot in at first base, left field and second base. There's no major concern here with one game without a DH.
Tigers' traditional DH: Victor Martinez, who hasn't logged a single inning in the field this season, and is unlikely to in Cincinnati with Miguel Cabrera manning first base. Thankfully, it's only one game in a National League park and six in American League venues, so Martinez is still well worth your lineup spot.
Brewers' probable DH(s): Ryan Braun is the most logical choice, especially with the Brewers recalling Domingo Santana on Aug. 21. Santana warrants NL-only consideration, especially with the increase in available at-bats, though it's still possible that Braun and Adam Lind could split the DH starts in Cleveland, with Jason Rogers picking up a start at first base when Lind DHs.
Red Sox's traditional DH: David Ortiz, who has started at first base in each of the team's past three games and in five of seven overall this season in NL parks. Travis Shaw might be in a hot streak, but both are left-handed hitters and Ortiz has the considerably lengthier track record of the two. Shaw might start over Ortiz in one of the three games -- figure the middle game to space out Ortiz's starts in the field -- but Ortiz should play enough to warrant keeping active in all formats.
Yankees' traditional DH: Alex Rodriguez, who hasn't played a single inning in the field since May 19, that the team's first of the year in an NL park; he came on as a late-inning replacement and didn't start any of the team's subsequent three games in NL venues. A-Rod isn't regarded more than a DH at this stage, which means he'll get three starts all week, one of which will be against Dallas Keuchel. Heads-up to those of you in mixed leagues.
Athletics' traditional DH: Billy Butler, who has made 105 of his 110 starts this season at the position. With the Diamondbacks scheduled to start two lefties during their weekend series, Butler might get at least two starts at first base ahead of the team's Ike Davis/Mark Canha platoon, though he has been performing so poorly -- .189/.274/.284 rates in 29 games since the All-Star break -- that even AL-only owners might not have been trusting him this week anyway. It's actually worse news for Canha, a .353/.389/.529 hitter in 15 August games.
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. 24-30 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.
Rick Porcello (DL, triceps) is expected to rejoin the Boston Red Sox's rotation on Wednesday, replacing Matt Barnes. Steven Wright (DL, concussion) could return during the weekend, though there is no indication that he's likely to yet.
Michael Pineda (DL, forearm) made his second rehabilitation start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Aug. 21 and will rejoin the Yankees' rotation on Wednesday. CC Sabathia (knee), meanwhile, is likely to land on the DL.
Drew Hutchison, the Blue Jays' traditional fifth starter who was demoted to Triple-A Buffalo on Aug. 17, should be recalled to start on Saturday.
With both Daniel Norris (DL, oblique) and Anibal Sanchez (DL, shoulder) sidelined, the Tigers acquired Randy Wolf and will move Buck Farmer into their rotation in their places. Wolf started Aug. 22, lining him up for a Thursday start during Week 20, while Farmer will start on Monday and Saturday.
The Astros will recall Lance McCullers to start on Aug. 23, and will use a modified six-man rotation that keeps both Keuchel and Scott Kazmir on regular rest from there. It's unclear how that impacts the team's Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday starters, but what's listed above projects the best guess.
Felix Doubront is expected to get at least another start for the Athletics on Monday. It is unclear whether he'd then stay on turn and pitch Sunday, Jesse Chavez would be moved up by a day or another pitcher would assume that spot.
The New York Mets, seeking to keep their young starters' workloads in check, skipped Matt Harvey's Aug. 23 start, and might then skip Noah Syndergaard's turn during Week 20. Harvey is expected to return to the Mets' rotation on his regular turn on Friday; Syndergaard might have his Sunday turn replaced by Logan Verrett, who was Harvey's fill-in on Aug. 23.
With Tyler Cravy (DL, elbow) sidelined and off days on Monday and Thursday, the Brewers will use only four starters this week.
Randall Delgado joined the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation in place of Jeremy Hellickson (DL, glute) on Aug. 22, and Chase Anderson returned to start Aug. 23 after a brief trip to Triple-A Reno. Delgado and Anderson are lined up for Thursday and Friday starts during Week 20.
Chad Bettis is expected to join the Colorado Rockies' rotation, pushing everyone else back by a day. It is unclear whether the team will go with a six-man rotation during their weekend series or remove another starter, but Jon Gray, Chris Rusin and David Hale the most likely to be removed.
Mat Latos, whose turn was skipped by the Dodgers during Week 19, should return to the rotation as their fifth starter on Saturday.
Mike Leake (DL, hamstring) rejoined the Giants' rotation on Aug. 22 in place of Chris Heston, who was demoted to Triple-A Sacramento on Aug. 21. Ryan Vogelsong was pushed back by a day, so Leake will start Friday and Vogelsong Saturday during Week 20.
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.
Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Mon-@PHI (Morgan), Sat-BOS (Rodriguez)
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Fri-CHC (Hammel)
Chris Sale (CWS) -- Wed-BOS (Porcello)
Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Mon-@CHC (Lester), Sun-LAA (Weaver)
Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Wed-SD (Ross)
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Wed-MIL (Nelson)
Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Tue-SD (Shields), Sun-MIA (Hand)
Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Thu-CHC (Haren)
Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Tue-@SF (Cain), Sun-@LAD (Wood)
Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Thu-@CIN (DeSclafani)
Jon Lester (CHC) -- Mon-CLE (Kluber), Sat-@LAD (Latos)
Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Wed-OAK (Bassitt): It's difficult to weight his recent funk -- 7.28 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in his past five starts -- more than the extensive track record of success that preceded it. It's still a home game against a mediocre A's offense, after all.
David Price (TOR) -- Wed-@TEX (Lewis)
Johnny Cueto (KC) -- Wed-BAL (Chen)
Chris Archer (TB) -- Wed-MIN (Duffey)
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Mon-@NYY (Eovaldi), Sun-@MIN (Santana)
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Tue-@PHI (Williams), Sun-BOS (Kelly): There's significant risk that he'll have one of these two starts skipped, especially as neither is against a direct playoff competitor of the Mets. Assume a one-start week, which is precisely why he's ranked as he is despite the two-start current alignment.
Cole Hamels (TEX) -- Fri-BAL (Gausman)
Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Fri-BOS (Owens): Why is it that right when he recaptures his Cy Young-caliber form -- he has a 1.01 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in his past five starts -- we get chatter about him skipping starts? He'd rank higher if not for that small risk, which will remain present through the remainder of the year.
Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Mon-OAK (Doubront), Sat-@CWS (Samardzija)
Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Fri-@ATL (Perez)
Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Fri-LAA (Richards)
Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Fri-@ARI (Anderson)
Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Thu-@MIA (Nicolino)
Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Tue-@ARI (Corbin), Sun-@SF (Cain)
Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Fri-COL (Gray)
Tyson Ross (SD) -- Wed-@WSH (Scherzer)
James Shields (SD) -- Tue-@WSH (Strasburg), Sun-@PHI (Williams)
Nathan Karns (TB) -- Tue-MIN (Santana), Sun-KC (Duffy)
Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Fri-@CLE (Salazar)
Michael Wacha (STL) -- Fri-@SF (Leake)
Jeff Samardzija (CWS) -- Mon-BOS (Kelly), Sat-SEA (Iwakuma)
Scott Kazmir (HOU) -- Fri-@MIN (Gibson)
Lance Lynn (STL) -- Mon-@ARI (Ray), Sat-@SF (Vogelsong)
Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Sat-MIA (Koehler)
Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Mon-COL (De La Rosa), Sun-NYY (Eovaldi)
Charlie Morton (PIT) -- Tue-@MIA (Hand), Sun-COL (Hale)
Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Thu-@ARI (Delgado)
Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Tue-BOS (Miley), Sun-SEA (Montgomery)
Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Sat-KC (Medlen)
Chris Bassitt (OAK) -- Wed-@SEA (Hernandez)
Alex Wood (LAD) -- Tue-@CIN (Lamb), Sun-CHC (Arrieta)
Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Fri-@CWS (Danks)
Carlos Rodon (CWS) -- Thu-SEA (Nuno)
Raisel Iglesias (CIN) -- Fri-@MIL (Jungmann)
Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Tue-@NYY (Nova)
Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Wed-HOU (Fiers)
Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Thu-@TEX (Gallardo)
Joe Ross (WSH) -- Fri-MIA (Conley)
Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Thu-SD (Cashner)
Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Tue-@SEA (Montgomery)
Taylor Jungmann (MIL) -- Fri-CIN (Iglesias)
Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Fri-@LAD (Kershaw): I need some sort of evidence of improvement before he can be fully trusted with a matchup like this, though pitchers with Hammel's command numbers are still going to generate borderline-quality-start ratings in pitchers' parks. You could do worse.
Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Tue-@DET (Simon), Sun-@CLE (Kluber): With Weaver getting more ground balls and swings and misses recently than he ever has before, he's on the radar even for road matchups such as these. Caveat: Remember, he was a pretty extreme fly-baller who didn't have an elite swing-and-miss rate, so "more" shouldn't be construed as an extreme shift in the opposite direction. It's merely some improvement.
Drew Smyly (TB) -- Thu-MIN (Milone)
Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Fri-@PHI (Nola)
John Lamb (CIN) -- Tue-LAD (Wood), Sun-@MIL (Peralta)
Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Thu-@WSH (Gonzalez)
John Lackey (STL) -- Wed-@ARI (De La Rosa)
Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- Tue-STL (Garcia), Sun-OAK (TBD)
Justin Verlander (DET) -- Wed-LAA (Santiago)
Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Mon-@KC (Medlen), Sat-@TEX (Perez)
Luis Severino (NYY) -- Sat-@ATL (Wisler)
Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Thu-BAL (Tillman)
Mike Fiers (HOU) -- Wed-@NYY (Pineda)
Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Wed-@CLE (Carrasco)
Kevin Gausman (BAL) -- Fri-@TEX (Hamels)
Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) -- Sat-@NYM (deGrom)
Ervin Santana (MIN) -- Tue-@TB (Karns), Sun-HOU (Keuchel)
Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) -- Mon-HOU (Keuchel), Sun-@ATL (Teheran)
Robbie Ray (ARI) -- Mon-STL (Lynn), Sat-OAK (Graveman)
Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Wed-@PHI (Eickhoff)
Matt Shoemaker (LAA) -- Sat-@CLE (Bauer)
Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Sat-LAA (Shoemaker)
Derek Holland (TEX) -- Tue-TOR (Buehrle), Sun-BAL (Gonzalez): Here's where we drop into the "onlies" tier of two-start pitchers, and Holland belongs here primarily because of that Blue Jays matchup, with all their powerful righties. How lucky do you feel?
Shelby Miller (ATL) -- Wed-COL (Flande)
Josh Tomlin (CLE) -- Tue-MIL (Peralta)
Kris Medlen (KC) -- Mon-BAL (Jimenez), Sat-@TB (Odorizzi): Though Medlen represents an intriguing AL-only and deeper-mixed stash, this week's matchups have diminished appeal because he'll still be ramping up his pitch count to that of a starter's. Expect between 60-75 during his Monday start, meaning he probably still won't be afforded 100 during his Saturday turn.
Jon Gray (COL) -- Fri-@PIT (Liriano): Here's a Jon Gray matchup I actually like! Braves are a light-hitting team, road game...
Mat Latos (LAD) -- Sat-CHC (Lester)
Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Wed-@SF (Peavy)
Mike Leake (SF) -- Fri-STL (Wacha): Keep close watch on his Aug. 23 return from the DL, assuming he makes it. It'd dictate quite a bit about his usefulness for this game.
Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Mon-PIT (Happ), Sat-@WSH (Zimmermann)
Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Sat-DET (Farmer)
R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Fri-DET (Boyd)
Aaron Nola (PHI) -- Fri-SD (Kennedy): One thing that tempers somewhat enthusiasm for even his most favorable-on-paper matchups: Nola hasn't been afforded more than 99 pitches in any of his six starts, has averaged 91 and isn't likely to be allowed more the rest of this year due to a prescribed innings cap.
Jake Peavy (SF) -- Wed-CHC (Hendricks)
Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Wed-@DET (Verlander)
Brad Hand (MIA) -- Tue-PIT (Morton), Sun-@WSH (Strasburg)
Randy Wolf (DET) -- Thu-LAA (Heaney)
Tyler Duffey (MIN) -- Wed-@TB (Archer)
Vidal Nuno (SEA) -- Thu-@CWS (Rodon)
J.A. Happ (PIT) -- Mon-@MIA (Koehler), Sat-COL (Rusin)
Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Fri-@TB (Ramirez)
Henry Owens (BOS) -- Fri-@NYM (Harvey)
Keyvius Sampson (CIN) -- Mon-DET (Farmer), Sat-@MIL (Garza)
Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Thu-@PHI (Harang)
Matt Garza (MIL) -- Sat-CIN (Sampson)
Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Tue-@CLE (Tomlin), Sun-CIN (Lamb)
Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- Wed-@KC (Cueto)
Wade Miley (BOS) -- Tue-@CWS (Quintana)
Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Thu-@KC (Ventura)
Jerad Eickhoff (PHI) -- Wed-NYM (Colon)
Colin Rea (SD) -- Sat-@PHI (Morgan)
Andrew Heaney (LAA) -- Thu-@DET (Wolf)
Alfredo Simon (DET) -- Tue-LAA (Weaver), Sun-@TOR (Buehrle): Welcome to the clear "no thank yous" among two-start pitchers. I know, I know, Simon had a great outing last game against the Rangers, but the Angels and Blue Jays are every bit as challenging matchups, and the latter will be played at the Rogers Centre. Over/under 1.50 WHIP, anyone?
Dan Haren (CHC) -- Thu-@SF (Bumgarner)
Brett Anderson (LAD) -- Wed-@CIN (Holmberg)
Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Wed-@CWS (Sale): There's no guarantee that he'll return from his concussion in time to make this start, a risk that does contribute to the more modest projection.
Adam Conley (MIA) -- Fri-@WSH (Ross)
Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Tue-@TEX (Holland), Sun-DET (Simon)
Yohan Flande (COL) -- Wed-@ATL (Miller)
Danny Duffy (KC) -- Tue-BAL (Gonzalez), Sun-@TB (Karns)
Yovani Gallardo (TEX) -- Thu-TOR (Estrada)
Buck Farmer (DET) -- Mon-@CIN (Sampson), Sat-@TOR (Hutchison)
Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Mon-@ATL (Teheran): It needs be said: De La Rosa has a 3.17 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 10 games on the road, and 5.91/1.65 in 11 games at Coors Field, this season. De La Rosa might yet have a shot at a second start on Sunday as well, in which case he'd rank approximately 20-25 spots higher.
Justin Nicolino (MIA) -- Thu-PIT (Cole)
Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Wed-TOR (Price)
Joe Kelly (BOS) -- Mon-@CWS (Samardzija), Sun-@NYM (Syndergaard)
Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Fri-HOU (Kazmir)
Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Wed-STL (Lackey)
Erasmo Ramirez (TB) -- Fri-KC (Volquez)
Miguel Gonzalez (BAL) -- Tue-@KC (Duffy), Sun-@TEX (Holland)
Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) -- Thu-LAD (Greinke)
David Hale (COL) -- Sun-@PIT (Morton)
Mike Montgomery (SEA) -- Tue-OAK (Chavez), Sun-@CWS (Quintana): After a hot start to his big-league career, he has cooled considerably, with a 7.81 ERA and 2.02 WHIP in his past six starts.
Adam Morgan (PHI) -- Mon-NYM (deGrom), Sat-SD (Rea)
Aaron Harang (PHI) -- Thu-NYM (Niese)
Ivan Nova (NYY) -- Tue-HOU (McHugh)
Ryan Vogelsong (SF) -- Sat-STL (Lynn)
Chase Anderson (ARI) -- Fri-OAK (Gray)
Matt Cain (SF) -- Tue-CHC (Arrieta), Sun-STL (Garcia)
Randall Delgado (ARI) -- Thu-STL (Martinez)
Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Wed-@MIA (Flores)
Scott Feldman (HOU) -- Sat-@MIN (Pelfrey)
Chris Rusin (COL) -- Sat-@PIT (Happ)
Jerome Williams (PHI) -- Tue-NYM (Syndergaard), Sun-SD (Shields)
Matt Boyd (DET) -- Fri-@TOR (Dickey)
Kendry Flores (MIA) -- Wed-PIT (Locke)
Tommy Milone (MIN) -- Thu-@TB (Smyly)
Chad Bettis (COL) -- Tue-@ATL (Foltynewicz)
Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) -- Tue-COL (Bettis)
Williams Perez (ATL) -- Fri-NYY (Tanaka)
Felix Doubront (OAK) -- Mon-@SEA (Iwakuma)
Martin Perez (TEX) -- Sat-BAL (Jimenez)
John Danks (CWS) -- Fri-SEA (Walker)
Matt Wisler (ATL) -- Sat-NYY (Severino)
Kendall Graveman (OAK) -- Sat-@ARI (Ray)
Mike Pelfrey (MIN) -- Sat-HOU (Feldman)
David Holmberg (CIN) -- Wed-LAD (Anderson)
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. 24-30 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, Chicago White Sox 7, Detroit Tigers 7, Kansas City Royals 7, Seattle Mariners 7, Miami Marlins 7, New York Mets 7, Philadelphia Phillies 7, Chicago Cubs 7, Cincinnati Reds 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 7, St. Louis Cardinals 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 7.
Are you a believer in the Boston Red Sox's recently improved play? This might not be the week to dive right into the matchups, considering the six starting pitchers they'll face: Jeff Samardzija, Jose Quintana, Chris Sale, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Even if the Mets skip or shuffle one or more of their youngsters out of that weekend series, that still represents a minimum of two games out of six against left-handers; the Red Sox's two best hitters since the All-Star break are left-handed, David Ortiz (.353/.422/.716 triple-slash rates) and Travis Shaw (.434/.475/.830), and only one can play during the series at Citi Field, during which the team will see the bulk of its right-handers. Be cautious, too, believing in Jackie Bradley Jr.'s improved play (.302/.400/.667 in 75 plate appearances) facing these caliber pitchers.
The Mets, meanwhile, have the considerably more favorable matchups, not only during that series, but also for the week overall. Consider the states of the Phillies' and Red Sox's rotations: Eduardo Rodriguez arguably represents the scariest individual pitching matchup the Mets could face all week, unless Rick Porcello returns during the weekend and you put more trust in his career than 2015 track record. That the Mets go more mix-and-match these days does limit their options in shallow mixed -- there remains a chance their righty/lefty opposing starter split could shift to 4-and-3 rather than its current 5-and-2 -- but Lucas Duda (.266/.352/.617 since the All-Star break), Curtis Granderson (.272/.350/.552) and Yoenis Cespedes (.271/.314/.481) are all musts. Should Henry Owens remain in the Mets series, David Wright would become a more attractive play in his projected first week back from the DL; in a 5-and-2 split, Michael Conforto would be a sneakier play.
The Cardinals catch a break with the scheduling this week, missing Madison Bumgarner during their weekend series at San Francisco's AT&T Park; it'll be the second time in a two-week span they've dodged Bumgarner (well, other than as a pinch-hitter). They'll also face the weak links in both the Diamondbacks' (Randall Delgado) and Giants' (Matt Cain) rotations, not to mention five right-handed starters. Considering how bruised and battered this offense is, that's great news for those seeking value on the lower tiers, especially as this team has handled right-handed pitching better all year. Matt Carpenter (.270/.349/.574 since the All-Star break) and Jason Heyward (.330/.387/.500) are musts, Kolten Wong (.206/.265/.270) has improved odds of breaking out of his funk, and even right-handed Stephen Piscotty (.333/.364/.516) should be locked into your lineup despite the high volume of righty starters.
The Blue Jays caught a major break when the opposing Tigers placed Anibal Sanchez on the DL; it thrust Matt Boyd and Buck Farmer into their weekend series at the Rogers Centre, and it gave the Blue Jays a 3-and-3 split of righty/lefty opposing starters, significant in that the team's most potent sluggers bat from the right-handed side. The Blue Jays will play all six games in hitter-friendly venues -- they begin with three at Texas' Globe Life Park -- and the only starter they'll face who has a strikeout rate of 20 percent or greater during the past two calendar years is Martin Perez. You know the Blue Jays to play -- reminder that Russell Martin also belongs in the "automatic" class in which names like Bautista, Donaldson, Encarnacion and Tulowitzki reside -- but the one you'll definitely want in a week like this is Chris Colabello, a .321/.355/.536 hitter since the All-Star break.