Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, Sept. 7, at 8:22 a.m. ET.
On tap: Happy Labor Day weekend! Labor Day's arrival is sometimes regarded as the start of baseball's stretch run, and from a fantasy baseball planning perspective, roughly 84 percent of the schedule will be in the books at the beginning of Week 22. And it's a busy Week 22, as 16 of the 30 big-league teams will play all seven days, including 10 of the 15 National League squads.
Three series have significant playoff implications: The Toronto Blue Jays, up 1½ games on the New York Yankees in the American League East (entering play on Sept. 4), play a four-game weekend series at New York's Yankee Stadium. The Houston Astros, up 5½ games on the Los Angeles Angels, play a three-game weekend series at Los Angeles' Angel Stadium. And the New York Mets, up four games on the Washington Nationals, play a three-game, week-opening series at Nationals Park. We'll see David Price, Dallas Keuchel, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann all pitch during those series, and while the (probable) competitive nature of those series might detract from their individual matchups, the importance of their games makes them the ones where it's most likely that starting pitchers remain locked into those matchups. Remember, this is the time of year where change -- especially to rotations -- is constant.
A trio of two-start pitchers could make statements in their respective leagues' Cy Young races: Best-pitcher-in-fantasy -- and matchups-proof pitcher -- Zack Greinke makes road starts at the Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks; Chris Sale makes home starts against the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins; and the aforementioned Scherzer, in addition to his home start against the Mets, has a road start at the Miami Marlins.
Quickly jump to any section if you want specific intel.
What a summer. Just as on Memorial Day, Labor Day represents a baseball fan's dream: All 30 teams in action and scheduled first-pitch times ranging from 1 p.m. to 9:05 p.m. ET, meaning potentially 11-plus hours of nonstop baseball. ESPN has the first game of the day -- Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees, 1 p.m. ET -- and it forces fantasy owners in leagues with weekly transactions to set their lineups earlier. So before you head out for your holiday-weekend festivities, make sure you get those lineups in!
Remember that game times have tremendous influence on #DFS planning, so be aware of every day's first scheduled pitch. This week, they are: Monday, 1 p.m. ET (Orioles at Yankees, one of 11 day games); Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. ET (three games begin at that time); Wednesday, 1:45 p.m. ET (Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals, the day's only day game); Thursday, 3:40 p.m. ET (the day's only two day games both begin at that time); Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET (four games begin at that time); Saturday, 1:05 p.m. ET (Toronto Blue Jays at Yankees, one of two day games); and Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET (Blue Jays at Yankees, one of 14 day games).
This week's interleague series:
Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels (3 games, Monday-Wednesday)
The interleague schedule has already begun to wind down, with only 25 such contests remaining, and a maximum of one per day in September and October.
Dodgers' probable DH(s): Jimmy Rollins? Welcome to Corey Seager's path to regular at-bats, as Rollins, who made two starts at DH for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014 and is one of the Dodgers' weaker defenders, could easily shift into that position to free up shortstop for the team's top prospect. The additional lineup spot alone is reason to activate Seager, though it's possible that either Alex Guerrero (team-high 3 starts at DH this year), Carl Crawford (1) or Scott Van Slyke (1) could make a start there. If you're in a daily league, be mindful of those early lineup announcements.
Rockies' probable DH(s): Justin Morneau, Ben Paulsen and/or Wilin Rosario, as the Rockies are practically certain to use the DH to get an additional one of their first-base candidates into the lineup. Morneau, who has missed much of the year with a concussion and cervical neck sprain, would be an obvious candidate to DH in the team's two games against Mariners right-handed starters (Hisashi Iwakuma on Friday and Taijuan Walker on Sunday), assuming the team deems him healthy enough to play by then.
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, Sept. 7-13 P: Each starting pitcher's projected Bill James Game Score, accounting for past history (three years' worth, as well as the 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.
The New York Yankees, New York Mets and Colorado Rockies are currently using six-man rotations.
Miguel Gonzalez (elbow) is unlikely to be ready to pitch the next time his turn in the Baltimore Orioles' rotation arrives on Friday. Mike Wright, who filled in for Gonzalez on Sept. 5, will probably fill in again Friday, though the team could use Thursday's off day to skip his spot. In the latter event, Kevin Gausman would pick up a second start.
CC Sabathia (DL, knee) is expected to rejoin the New York Yankees' rotation on Wednesday, giving them a six-man rotation.
The Toronto Blue Jays pushed Mark Buehrle back in their rotation to Monday, giving them the option of then skipping him during their weekend series at New York's Yankee Stadium. Marcus Stroman (DL, knee), who is scheduled to make his final rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo on Monday, could be a candidate to take Buehrle's Saturday start.
Erik Johnson made a spot start for the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 6, pushing their other starters back by a day apiece. It is unclear whether the team will give Johnson another start during Week 22, either as part of a six-man rotation or perhaps in Carlos Rodon's spot to slow his innings pace. Chris Sale would lose his second start if the team goes with six starters.
Carlos Carrasco (DL, shoulder) is expected to rejoin the Cleveland Indians' rotation on Tuesday. It is unclear whether Corey Kluber (hamstring) will be ready to pitch during Week 22, so Carrasco might simply slide into Kluber's spot, with the other Indians' starters shuffling accordingly. Kluber's original rotation spot next arrives on Wednesday, so it's conceivable -- though unlikely -- that he could replace Josh Tomlin.
Scott Feldman (shoulder) might need some extra rest this week, perhaps restoring the Houston Astros to a five-man rotation. The team has announced Mike Fiers and Scott Kazmir as their Monday and Tuesday starters, and Dallas Keuchel has been pitching on an every-fifth game schedule, making the above order the most logical order..
Nick Tropeano will make a spot start for the Los Angeles Angels on Monday in place of Matt Shoemaker (forearm). That turn in their rotation will next arrive on Sunday, and it is unclear whether Shoemaker will be ready by then. Tropeano could make another start then if needed, or Andrew Heaney could pitch on four days' rest.
Sean Nolin joined the Oakland Athletics' rotation on Sept. 6, and will presumably pitch again on Saturday.
The Atlanta Braves will probably need a fill-in on Tuesday after Matt Wisler threw 41 pitches in relief on Sept. 6. Sugar Ray Marimon or Ryan Weber could be an option. Wisler might then be slotted in earlier than the next time his rotation spot arrives on Sunday.
Matt Harvey (dehydration) isn't expected to miss his next scheduled start on Tuesday, but considering all the recent debate about his seasonal workload, it's possible they could scratch him.
Stephen Strasburg (DL, back) missed his Sept. 4 start, but he might be ready the next time that spot in the Washington Nationals' rotation arrives on Wednesday. A decision will be made following a Monday side session.
The Cincinnati Reds will require a sixth/spot starter by no later than Wednesday, following their Sept. 5 doubleheader, and while Brandon Finnegan and David Holmberg could be logical candidates, the Reds have provided no hints as to who it might be.
The Milwaukee Brewers have removed Matt Garza from their rotation -- he might be shut down entirely for the season if he doesn't accept a bullpen assignment -- and will need a spot starter on Wednesday due to their Sept. 5 doubleheader.
The St. Louis Cardinals skipped Carlos Martinez (back/innings cap), Michael Wacha (innings cap) and Lance Lynn (ankle) in their rotation during Week 21, and could skip any of the three again during Week 22. Lynn and Wacha appear most likely to return Monday and Tuesday, but Marco Gonzales and/or Tyler Lyons could make spot starts to give anyone additional rest.
Zack Godley joined the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation on Sept. 4, aligning him for a Wednesday start during Week 22. As he is facing an innings cap, however, it's possible that the team could use a fill-in, like Allen Webster or Randall Delgado.
The Los Angeles Dodgers pushed back everyone in their rotation by a day after giving Mike Bolsinger a spot start on Sept. 4. They have given no indication that they will go with a six-man rotation or give Bolsinger another start during Week 22.
These rankings include the entire slate of projected starters to provide a more organized approach for finding favorable matchups, DFS tidbits and the "Streamer's Delight" picks. Notes for relevant pitchers are included.
Chris Sale (CWS) -- Mon-CLE (Bauer), Sun-MIN (Milone)
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Tue-@LAA (Heaney)
Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Sat-SD (Kennedy)
Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Mon-@LAA (Tropeano), Sun-@ARI (Corbin)
Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Thu-@PHI (Asher): He has a major league-leading active streak of 14 quality starts -- eight of those games with at least seven innings pitched and no more than one run allowed -- and has a 1.07 ERA and 26.7 percent strikeout rate during that span.
Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Mon-NYM (Niese), Sun-@MIA (Nicolino)
David Price (TOR) -- Thu-@NYY (Severino)
Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Wed-@WSH (Strasburg)
Cole Hamels (TEX) -- Tue-@SEA (Walker), Sun-OAK (Doubront)
Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Tue-@WSH (Zimmermann): Despite all the chatter about a 180-inning cap -- which I frankly don't believe the Mets will heed -- Harvey is not about to miss a Nationals matchup that has been lined up for weeks.
Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Thu-TEX (Holland)
Chris Archer (TB) -- Sat-BOS (Rodriguez)
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Tue-@CWS (Rodon), Sun-DET (Boyd)
Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Thu-DET (Simon)
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Thu-@ATL (Miller)
Jon Lester (CHC) -- Wed-@STL (Martinez)
Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Tue-HOU (Kazmir)
Johnny Cueto (KC) -- Sat-@BAL (Tillman)
Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Wed-NYM (deGrom): As with Kluber, the injury risk deflates his appeal somewhat, despite the lofty Game Score projection. Remember, those projections assume the pitcher works the game without restriction; this ranking accounts for fantasy owners in weekly leagues estimating the player's ability to pitch.
Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Tue-@CIN (Iglesias), Sun-MIL (Jungmann)
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Fri-@LAA (Weaver): He's going to pitch in that L.A. series, you can count on that.
Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Mon-BAL (Chen), Sun-TOR (Dickey)
Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Fri-MIL (Nelson)
Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Tue-BAL (Gausman)
Tyson Ross (SD) -- Thu-COL (De La Rosa)
Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Fri-COL (Bettis)
Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Mon-COL (Kendrick), Sat-@SF (Bumgarner)
Raisel Iglesias (CIN) -- Tue-PIT (Liriano): Though he could be shut down for the season at any moment, Iglesias appears on track for at least his Tuesday start, and even if he pitches just once this week, he's difficult to sit, considering he's riding a streak of seven consecutive quality starts with a 2.31 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and 31.8 percent strikeout rate. If the Reds choose to skip another starter, Iglesias could conceivably start Sunday as well and enjoy a two-start week.
Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Wed-LAD (Latos): No active American League pitcher with at least five interleague starts has a lower career interleague ERA than Richards' 1.03.
Michael Wacha (STL) -- Tue-CHC (Hammel), Sun-@CIN (DeSclafani): I'm not sure I'd trust the Cardinals to give Wacha two starts in any single week for the rest of the year, so judge his utility in fantasy off the one turn, at home against the Cubs early in the week.
Scott Kazmir (HOU) -- Tue-@OAK (Gray)
Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Mon-MIN (Milone), Sun-@BAL (Chen): He has five consecutive quality starts with a 1.13 ERA and 33.3 percent strikeout rate, and has averaged 97.1 mph with his fastball during that span, up from 95.9 in his first 17 games of the season. The Twins and Orioles, meanwhile, have been two of the five most strikeout-prone teams since the All-Star break.
Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Wed-CHC (Lester)
Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Wed-@OAK (Brooks)
Lance Lynn (STL) -- Mon-CHC (Haren), Sat-@CIN (Lorenzen)
Steven Matz (NYM) -- Sat-@ATL (Perez): His Sept. 6 return to the Mets' rotation will influence this rating, but Matz couldn't ask for a much better matchup here. The Braves have averaged a major-league-worst 2.96 runs per game since the All-Star break.
Drew Smyly (TB) -- Mon-@DET (Wolf), Sun-BOS (Porcello)
Mike Fiers (HOU) -- Mon-@OAK (Doubront), Sun-@LAA (TBD): His raw ability easily propels him into the top 40 starting pitchers in weekly fantasy leagues regardless of his matchups -- well, except in Coors games, but the Astros are done with those for 2015 -- but the Astros do hold the option of skipping him, Scott Feldman or Lance McCullers in any given week. Fiers' prospects of pitching in Week 22, though, are outstanding, what with Feldman less than 100 percent.
Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Tue-TEX (Hamels), Sun-COL (Kendrick): He's one of the few young pitchers whose innings cap hasn't been widely discussed, but it'll absolutely be a factor in coming weeks. Do the Mariners skip one of these starts?
Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Tue-@STL (Wacha), Sun-@PHI (Nola)
Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Thu-@CIN (Sampson)
Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Tue-NYM (Harvey)
James Shields (SD) -- Wed-COL (Rusin)
Carlos Rodon (CWS) -- Tue-CLE (Carrasco): Among the one-start pitchers, Rodon has a slightly bigger chance than average of having his turn skipped.
Shelby Miller (ATL) -- Thu-NYM (Syndergaard)
Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Wed-@DET (Lobstein): In his defense, the Tigers have struggled mightily against right-handers of late. Since the All-Star break, their .304 wOBA versus righties is sixth worst in the majors, and their .062 wOBA differential between righties and lefties (.366-.304) is third-largest.
Aaron Nola (PHI) -- Tue-ATL (TBD), Sun-CHC (Hammel)
Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Wed-@PHI (Morgan)
Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Fri-@NYY (Eovaldi): Look, 10 of his 11 best starts this season, using Game Score as the measure, were pitched in hitter-friendly parks, and three of them were on the road, including an Aug. 9 game at New York's Yankee Stadium. Fly baller or not, does Estrada really deserve skepticism these days?
Luis Severino (NYY) -- Thu-TOR (Price)
Justin Verlander (DET) -- Fri-@CLE (Anderson)
Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Mon-TOR (Buehrle), Sun-@TB (Smyly)
Jeff Samardzija (CWS) -- Wed-CLE (Tomlin)
Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Mon-@CWS (Sale), Sat-DET (Wolf)
Joe Ross (WSH) -- Sat-@MIA (Cosart)
Kris Medlen (KC) -- Wed-MIN (Pelfrey): If he's not afforded 90-plus pitches in his Sept. 4 start, he should certainly get that leeway by Wednesday.
Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Fri-@MIA (Hand)
Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Sat-MIN (Duffey)
Taylor Jungmann (MIL) -- Tue-@MIA (Conley), Sun-@PIT (Liriano)
Lance McCullers (HOU) -- Sat-@LAA (Santiago)
John Lackey (STL) -- Fri-@CIN (Lamb)
Alex Wood (LAD) -- Fri-@ARI (Ray)
Derek Holland (TEX) -- Thu-@SEA (Hernandez)
Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Fri-@SF (Peavy)
Mike Leake (SF) -- Mon-@ARI (Corbin), Sun-SD (Rea)
John Lamb (CIN) -- Fri-STL (Lackey)
Zack Godley (ARI) -- Wed-SF (Heston)
Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Fri-@ATL (Banuelos)
Josh Tomlin (CLE) -- Wed-@CWS (Samardzija)
Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Fri-@TEX (Lewis)
R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Tue-@BOS (Owens), Sun-@NYY (Pineda): We're now in the "onlies" class of two-start pitchers, and these two starts make tricky matchups even for AL-only owners, what with the Red Sox being one of the most productive offenses in the second half and Yankee Stadium a good park for lefty power.
Roenis Elias (SEA) -- Mon-TEX (Gallardo), Sat-COL (Flande)
Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- Mon-@NYY (Pineda), Sun-KC (Ventura): Bad ballpark for a pitcher (Yankee Stadium) and contact-hitting offense (Royals); I lean towards Chen being a "no."
Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Wed-@BOS (Kelly)
Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Fri-@PIT (Cole)
Dan Haren (CHC) -- Mon-@STL (Lynn), Sat-@PHI (Harang)
Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Wed-@NYY (Sabathia)
Kevin Gausman (BAL) -- Tue-@NYY (Tanaka)
Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Mon-@WSH (Scherzer), Sun-@ATL (Wisler): He might be the least likely Met to have a start skipped or shuffled out of order the remainder of the year, and lo and behold, he's got a two-start week!
Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) -- Mon-PIT (Locke), Sun-STL (Wacha)
Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) -- Sat-@TB (Archer)
Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Fri-@PHI (Eickhoff)
Jerad Eickhoff (PHI) -- Fri-CHC (Hendricks)
Yovani Gallardo (TEX) -- Mon-@SEA (Elias), Sat-OAK (Nolin)
Charlie Morton (PIT) -- Thu-MIL (Peralta)
Wade Miley (BOS) -- Fri-@TB (Moore)
Alec Asher (PHI) -- Thu-CHC (Arrieta)
Randy Wolf (DET) -- Mon-TB (Smyly), Sat-@CLE (Bauer)
Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Tue-MIN (Gibson)
Colin Rea (SD) -- Tue-COL (Gray), Sun-@SF (Leake)
Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Sat-HOU (McCullers)
Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) -- Fri-TOR (Estrada)
Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- Mon-SF (Leake), Sun-LAD (Greinke): I'm torn. The "no thank yous" begin here, or at Randy Wolf a few spots higher, or even at Aaron Harang a few spots lower. If you really need to dig this deep for volume, you could toss all of these in a hat and draw one -- it's that close.
Tommy Milone (MIN) -- Mon-@KC (Ventura), Sun-@CWS (Sale)
Justin Nicolino (MIA) -- Mon-MIL (Davies), Sun-WSH (Scherzer)
Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Fri-HOU (Keuchel)
Aaron Harang (PHI) -- Mon-ATL (Perez), Sat-CHC (Haren)
Mat Latos (LAD) -- Wed-@LAA (Richards)
Jake Peavy (SF) -- Fri-SD (Cashner)
Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Thu-@SD (Ross)
Ervin Santana (MIN) -- Fri-@CWS (Danks)
Brett Anderson (LAD) -- Sat-@ARI (De La Rosa)
Nick Tropeano (LAA) -- Mon-LAD (Greinke)
Adam Conley (MIA) -- Tue-MIL (Jungmann)
J.A. Happ (PIT) -- Wed-@CIN (TBD)
Zach Davies (MIL) -- Mon-@MIA (Nicolino), Sat-@PIT (Locke)
Tyler Duffey (MIN) -- Sat-@CWS (Quintana)
Sean Nolin (OAK) -- Sat-@TEX (Gallardo)
Kyle Lobstein (DET) -- Wed-TB (Odorizzi)
Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Wed-MIL (TBD)
Henry Owens (BOS) -- Tue-TOR (Dickey)
Andrew Heaney (LAA) -- Tue-LAD (Kershaw)
Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Mon-@BOS (Porcello), Sat-@NYY (Nova)
Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Mon-@CIN (DeSclafani), Sat-MIL (Davies)
Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Sat-KC (Cueto)
Cody Anderson (CLE) -- Fri-DET (Verlander)
Brad Hand (MIA) -- Fri-WSH (Gonzalez)
Martin Perez (TEX) -- Wed-@SEA (TBD)
Chase Anderson (ARI) -- Tue-SF (Vogelsong)
Aaron Brooks (OAK) -- Wed-HOU (McHugh)
Chad Bettis (COL) -- Fri-@SEA (Iwakuma)
Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Sat-LAD (Anderson)
Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Thu-@PIT (Morton)
Chris Heston (SF) -- Wed-@ARI (Godley)
Mike Wright (BAL) -- Fri-KC (Duffy)
Danny Duffy (KC) -- Fri-@BAL (Wright)
Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Tue-@KC (Volquez)
Felix Doubront (OAK) -- Mon-HOU (Fiers), Sun-@TEX (Hamels)
Yohan Flande (COL) -- Sat-@SEA (Elias)
Jon Gray (COL) -- Tue-@SD (Rea)
Joe Kelly (BOS) -- Wed-TOR (Hutchison)
Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Fri-OAK (Chavez)
Alfredo Simon (DET) -- Thu-@CLE (Salazar)
Erasmo Ramirez (TB) -- Tue-@DET (Boyd)
Jarred Cosart (MIA) -- Sat-WSH (Ross)
Chris Rusin (COL) -- Wed-@SD (Shields)
Matt Boyd (DET) -- Tue-TB (Ramirez), Sun-@CLE (Carrasco)
Ryan Vogelsong (SF) -- Tue-@ARI (Anderson)
Manny Banuelos (ATL) -- Fri-NYM (Colon)
Robbie Ray (ARI) -- Fri-LAD (Wood)
John Danks (CWS) -- Fri-MIN (Santana)
Keyvius Sampson (CIN) -- Thu-STL (Garcia)
Adam Morgan (PHI) -- Wed-ATL (Teheran)
Matt Moore (TB) -- Fri-BOS (Miley)
Kyle Kendrick (COL) -- Mon-@SD (Kennedy), Sun-@SEA (Walker)
Ivan Nova (NYY) -- Sat-TOR (Buehrle)
Mike Pelfrey (MIN) -- Wed-@KC (Medlen)
Michael Lorenzen (CIN) -- Sat-STL (Lynn)
Matt Wisler (ATL) -- Sun-NYM (Niese)
Williams Perez (ATL) -- Mon-@PHI (Harang), Sat-NYM (Matz)
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, Sept. 7-13 H: Hitters' matchup rating, which accounts for the opposing starting pitcher's past history (three years' worth, as well as the 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: New York Yankees 7, Toronto Blue Jays 7, Cleveland Indians 7, Detroit Tigers 7, Seattle Mariners 7, Texas Rangers 7, Atlanta Braves 7, New York Mets 7, Philadelphia Phillies 7, Chicago Cubs 7, Cincinnati Reds 7, Milwaukee Brewers 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 7, St. Louis Cardinals 7, Colorado Rockies 7, San Diego Padres 7.
Home games: Yankees 7, Mariners 7, Phillies 7, Reds 7, Chicago White Sox 6, Los Angeles Angels 6, Miami Marlins 6, Arizona Diamondbacks 6, Indians 4, Braves 4, Pirates 4, Padres 4.
Versus RH: Cubs 7, Blue Jays 6, Tigers 6, Mets 6, Phillies 6, Pirates 6, Rockies 6, White Sox 5, Cardinals 5, San Francisco Giants 5.
Versus LH: Tampa Bay Rays 5, Indians 4, Mariners 4, Reds 4, Brewers 4, Boston Red Sox 3, Yankees 3, Minnesota Twins 3, Rangers 3, Braves 3, Washington Nationals 3, Los Angeles Dodgers 3, Padres 3.
Though their rating might not reflect it, the Cubs have quite a sneaky-good set of Week 22 matchups. The primary reason for their middling rating is that Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn and Carlos Martinez are projected to face them in the Cardinals series, which is entirely possible considering that these are two playoff-hopeful squads facing off, but the fact that all three Cardinals missed starts during the past week suggests that any of them could sit out this series, too. And even if all three do pitch, that means a seven-righty-starters week for the Cubs, who have a .350 team wOBA against right-handers since the All-Star break, their .065 wOBA differential during that time (.350-.285) the largest in baseball favoring that side.
The wild card for the Cubs is Kyle Schwarber's health. If he's cleared to play, he's an outstanding choice, with a .313/.412/.652 line against right-handers this season. He'd also boost the counting-numbers (read: runs, RBI) potential of other Cubs, especially the lefties: Anthony Rizzo is a .270/.377/.535 hitter against righties this season, and since the All-Star break, Chris Coghlan is a .275/.342/.560 hitter against righties, Dexter Fowler has hit .296/.438/.548 against righties and Miguel Montero is .289/.396/.644 against right-handers. All five hitters are musts in any fantasy format, as is Kris Bryant.
The Mariners have been facing a shockingly large volume of left-handed pitching of late; Since Aug. 5, they have faced a lefty starter in 17 of their 26 games, their 575 plate appearances against lefties during that span are 129 more than any other team, and they are the only team with more plate appearances against lefties than righties (458) during that span. Here's another week with a hefty dose of lefties, including the two top Rangers pitchers, Cole Hamels (Tuesday) and Derek Holland (Thursday), so stick by your Mariners with good stats versus lefties despite the raw ability of those two specific opponents.
Also since Aug. 5, Nelson Cruz is a .298/.365/.579 hitter against lefties, and against lefties for the season, he has the second most home runs (12), the seventh most hits (52) and third-best wOBA (.467). Cruz is one of the top plays on the hitting side of Week 22, even with all seven games played at more pitching-oriented Safeco Field. Mark Trumbo is a .273/.327/.659 hitter against lefties during that same time span, recapturing his fantasy owners' trust facing a schedule like this. Franklin Gutierrez is a .391/.440/.804 hitter against lefties during that span, and this is enough volume of favorable matchups that he's well worth your while in all but the shallowest of mixed leagues. And if you're a Robinson Cano owner, never fear the lefty-heavy weeks, especially since he's a .317/.377/.460 against them since Aug. 5.
From a plugging-holes angle, especially in mixed leagues, the Phillies should be an under-the-radar source. Besides facing the imploding Braves rotation to open the week, they'll face all three weak links in the Cubs' rotation during their weekend series: Kyle Hendricks (6.57 ERA in the past month), Dan Haren (5.87) and Jason Hammel (5.28). A six-righty-starters week -- and a possible seven depending upon the Braves' Tuesday spot starter -- is good news for Odubel Herrera, a typical 1-3 hitter for the Phillies who has .298/.330/.425 triple-slash rates against righties this season; Ryan Howard, who has started nine in a row against righties and batted .265/.317/.504 against them this season; and Andres Blanco, who has eight starts in the Phillies' past nine against righties and .279/.348/.500 rates against righties for the year. And for a super-sneaky play, consider Darnell Sweeney, who had a .271 batting average and .334 on-base percentage against righties in the minors this season, and might see increased playing time against them as the Phillies audition youngsters for 2016.