Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, Sept. 14, at 5:22 p.m. ET.
On tap: The American League West race heats up this week, with the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers separated by 1½ games with the Astros leading (through Sept. 13), battling for four games at Texas' Globe Life Park from Monday to Thursday. Check out some of the pitchers scheduled to work during this series: Scott Kazmir and Cole Hamels square off on Monday in a pairing of two midseason acquisitions, Derek Holland, the No. 16 starting pitcher on our Player Rater's last-30 split, pitches Tuesday, and Dallas Keuchel, the No. 4 starting pitcher for the season on our Player Rater, pitches Wednesday.
The Subway Series rivalry will be rekindled during the weekend, as the New York Yankees and New York Mets play three games at Citi Field Friday to Sunday. Assuming both teams' current standings (through Friday) hold, this will represent the first time since 2000 that the Yankees and Mets faced each other after July 1 of a season with both teams in a playoff position. It's the first time the Yankees and Mets have played each other after the All-Star break during the regular season; they did, however, meet in the 2000 World Series. The Mets could pitch any of three youngsters Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard or Matt Harvey during the series, while the Yankees are likely to start both Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka.
There's an outside chance we'll see our first two division titles clinched late in Week 23: Through Sept. 12, the Kansas City Royals, who have a 10-game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central and a magic number of 11, and New York Mets, who lead the Washington Nationals by 9½ games in the National League East with a magic number of 11, could both clinch by the weekend, perhaps leading to a day-after rest for their regulars.
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Week 23 has a later start: The first two games on Monday begin at 7:05 p.m. ET. Fantasy owners in leagues with weekly transactions have extra time to set lineups.
Remember that game times have tremendous influence upon daily fantasy planning, so be aware of each day's first scheduled pitch. This week they are: Monday, 7:05 p.m. ET (two games begin at that time); Tuesday, 1:35 p.m. ET (Game 1 of the Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates doubleheader, the day's only day game); Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET (Cubs at Pirates); Thursday, 12:35 p.m. ET (Cubs at Pirates, one of two day games); Friday, 2:20 p.m. ET (St. Louis Cardinals at Cubs, the only day game); Saturday, 1:05 p.m. ET (two of five day games begin at that time); and Sunday, 1:07 p.m. ET (Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays, one of 14 day games).
This week's interleague series:
Toronto Blue Jays at Atlanta Braves (three games, Tuesday-Thursday)
New York Yankees at New York Mets (three games, Friday-Sunday)
Blue Jays' traditional DH: Edwin Encarnacion, who has started 22 of the team's past 23 games as DH in American League parks. Encarnacion started both games of the team's Aug. 18-19 series at Philadelphia at first base, and he is almost certain to play there in all three games in Atlanta. Usual platoon first basemen Chris Colabello and Justin Smoak will probably be relegated to pinch-hitting duty for half of the Blue Jays' games, making neither a recommended play.
Yankees' traditional DH: Alex Rodriguez, who has 117 of the team's 131 starts there this season and hasn't played an inning in the field since May 23. He won't play in the field at Citi Field, either, and with the Yankees scheduled to face nothing but right-handers -- including Chris Archer (Wednesday) and Jake Odorizzi (Tuesday) -- during their week-opening series at Tampa Bay, A-Rod isn't a recommended play.
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. 14-20 P: The starting pitcher's projected Bill James Game Score, accounting for 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.
Rich Hill joined the Boston Red Sox's rotation on Sunday, giving them six available starters for Week 23. If the team skips a starter this week, the most likely candidates would be Henry Owens or Eduardo Rodriguez, both of whom have innings-cap concerns.
Adam Warren is expected to join the New York Yankees' rotation on Tuesday, giving the team a six-man rotation for Week 23.
The Toronto Blue Jays activated Marcus Stroman (DL, left knee) to start on Sept. 12, pushing back Mark Buehrle to Tuesday, which gives them a six-man rotation for at least one turn. As the team has announced no rotation plans beyond Wednesday, it is unclear whether the Blue Jays will stick with six starters or skip someone, with Drew Hutchison and Stroman the most logical choices.
The Chicago White Sox will skip Carlos Rodon on Monday, starting John Danks in his place, and it is unclear whether Rodon will make a start during their weekend series. The team is using a modified six-man rotation, and if Rodon is skipped entirely during Week 23, then Jeff Samardzija will pick up a second start.
Consecutive postponements on Sept. 11-12 have pushed the Cleveland Indians' rotation back, and their Sept. 13 doubleheader forces the need for a sixth starter on Thursday. Corey Kluber (right hamstring) is penciled in to take that turn.
The Detroit Tigers, seeking to keep Matt Boyd's innings in check, will skip the rookie left-hander in the rotation this week. Anibal Sanchez (DL, shoulder) will be activated to start Wednesday's game, with Daniel Norris (DL, oblique) activated to come on in relief of Sanchez in that game. Both pitchers are expected to throw 45-50 pitches.
Phil Hughes (DL, back) will rejoin the Minnesota Twins' rotation on Tuesday, though he's likely to be limited to 75 pitches. The team will move Tyler Duffey up to Monday and will skip Mike Pelfrey for at least one turn. The Twins will use a modified six-man rotation going forward, so it's possible that Pelfrey could be slotted in later during Week 23, costing Hughes his second start.
Matt Shoemaker (right forearm tightness) will not be ready to pitch by Tuesday, the next time his Los Angeles Angels will need a fifth starter. Nick Tropeano, who filled in for Shoemaker on Sept. 7, is the leading candidate to fill in this coming Tuesday and perhaps again Sept. 20, when that spot in the rotation arrives again.
James Paxton (DL, lat/blister) rejoined the Seattle Mariners' rotation on Sunday, giving the team six available starters for Week 23. However, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Taijuan Walker, after his scheduled Monday start, will be skipped in his following turn in the rotation, while the team's projected weekend rotation excludes Roenis Elias and keeps Felix Hernandez on four days' rest.
The Texas Rangers pushed Cole Hamels (shoulder) back to Monday, using Chi Chi Gonzalez for a spot start on Sunday in order to align Hamels in both series versus the division-rival Astros (the other is Sept 25-27). The Rangers are expected to stick with a five-man rotation from there.
Matt Wisler and Ryan Weber started for the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 11 and 13 respectively, with Wisler replacing Manny Banuelos (left elbow). Wisler and Weber will then probably pitch on Thursday and Sunday of Week 23, though the team could always replace either with Edwin Jackson or Sugar Ray Marimon.
Jose Fernandez (DL, right biceps) rejoined the Miami Marlins rotation on Saturday, presumably replacing Adam Conley and pushing Brad Hand and Justin Nicolino back by a day apiece, to Sunday and Monday.
Matt Harvey's spot in the New York Mets' rotation next arrives on Monday, but Logan Verrett will take that turn. The Mets have hinted that Harvey might make a start during their weekend series against the New York Yankees, in which case Harvey could be a candidate to pitch in Noah Syndergaard's spot on Saturday, as Syndergaard also faces an innings cap.
The Chicago Cubs' rotation was shuffled due to a Sept. 10 postponement, and the team used Travis Wood for a spot start on Sept. 12. Jake Arrieta, who had previously been aligned for the wild-card game, is now likely to start on Wednesday, though he'll now need to remain on nearly an every-fifth-day schedule (rather than every fifth game) to be available Oct. 7. Wood might make another start on Friday or Saturday, as the team will need a sixth starter during Week 23 due to Tuesday's doubleheader. The order of the starters above could be shuffled, but what's listed is their most logical order.
Their Tuesday doubleheader grants the Pittsburgh Pirates the opportunity to use all six of their starting pitchers, and comments on their rest-of-September and wild-card-game scheduling plans indicate that Gerrit Cole, skipped on Thursday, will pitch one of those Tuesday games as well as on Sunday. Their Monday off day also affords them the flexibility to push back any other starter to as late as Sept. 19, if they wish.
The St. Louis Cardinals could use Monday's off day to push either Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha back in their rotation, helping keep their innings in check. The team could also use Tyler Lyons for a spot start.
Jeremy Hellickson (DL, left hamstring) is expected to rejoin the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation on Monday, apparently replacing Chase Anderson. Anderson could be slotted into their rotation sometime later in the week, however, as the Diamondbacks have been using a six-man rotation of late.
The Los Angeles Dodgers pushed back Alex Wood to Friday, will give Mike Bolsinger a Saturday spot start in place of Mat Latos (neck stiffness), and will push Brett Anderson back by a day to Tuesday. It is unclear whether Bolsinger will remain their fifth starter this week, as his turn would next arrive on Friday, and the team could use Latos or use Thursday's off day to skip his turn.
Colin Rea (elbow/forearm) is questionable for his Saturday start for the San Diego Padres. Odrisamer Despaigne could fill in if Rea isn't ready, or the team could use Thursday's off day to skip Rea's spot in the rotation, meaning Tyson Ross would get a second start on Sunday.
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) -- Mon-COL (Gray), Sun-PIT (Cole)
Chris Sale (CWS) -- Fri-@CLE (Anderson)
Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Wed-@PIT (Burnett)
Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Tue-LAA (Tropeano), Sun-@TEX (Holland): Many have asked about his two-start week. The Mariners haven't announced their weekend rotation, but Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune projected Hernandez for Sunday's game, which is why Hernandez is a listed two-start pitcher
Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Fri-MIA (Hand)
Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Fri-ARI (De La Rosa)
David Price (TOR) -- Wed-@ATL (Miller)
Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Tue-@PHI (Buchanan), Sun-MIA (Koehler)
Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Tue-MIA (Koehler)
Cole Hamels (TEX) -- Mon-HOU (Kazmir), Sat-SEA (Paxton)
Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Sat-PIT (Liriano)
Jon Lester (CHC) -- Tue-@PIT, Gm. 2 (Happ), Sun-STL (Martinez)
Chris Archer (TB) -- Wed-NYY (Severino)
Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Tue-CHC, Gm. 1 (Hammel), Sun-@LAD (Kershaw)
Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Mon-@CWS (Danks), Sat-@HOU (Kazmir)
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Wed-@TEX (Perez)
Jose Fernandez (MIA) -- Thu-@WSH (Roark)
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Sat-NYY (Nova)
Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Sun-@NYM (Harvey)
Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Mon-@SEA (Walker), Sat-@MIN (Duffey)
Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Wed-KC (Duffy)
Raisel Iglesias (CIN) -- Sat-@MIL (Jungmann)
Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Tue-NYY (Warren), Sun-BAL (Jimenez): He's a potential top-20 fantasy option in weekly formats, based upon his working both games at home, having a high likelihood of making both starts -- remember, all dome games for the Rays from Sept. 11 through the end of Week 23, so no weather concerns potentially influencing the Rays' rotation -- and the strength of that second matchup. The case could be made that the Orioles have been baseball's coldest offense during the past three weeks; certainly they're the American League's coldest.
Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Mon-@PHI (Nola), Sat-MIA (Nicolino)
Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Tue-@TEX (Holland), Sun-OAK (Brooks)
Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Sat-@LAD (Greinke)
Tyson Ross (SD) -- Tue-@ARI (Chacin)
Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Wed-LAA (Weaver)
Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Fri-@NYM (Matz)
Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Tue-@MIL (Pena), Sun-@CHC (Lester): It's dangerous to assume the two-start week, as the Cardinals, destined for the playoffs, will want to keep Martinez under his prescribed innings cap. It makes a lot of sense for them to use Monday's off day to push his start back into the Cubs series, so it's that game -- a 56 Game Score projected game -- that mostly drives his ranking. He's about five spots higher than he would be with a firm one-start week, as there's always a chance he could go twice.
Scott Kazmir (HOU) -- Mon-@TEX (Hamels), Sat-OAK (Gray)
Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Tue-TOR (Buehrle), Sun-PHI (Harang)
Kris Medlen (KC) -- Tue-@CLE (Tomlin), Sun-@DET (Lobstein)
Johnny Cueto (KC) -- Fri-@DET (Verlander)
Derek Holland (TEX) -- Tue-HOU (McHugh), Sun-SEA (Hernandez)
James Shields (SD) -- Mon-@ARI (Hellickson), Sun-@COL (Kendrick)
Mike Fiers (HOU) -- Fri-OAK (Doubront)
Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Wed-@MIL (Peralta)
Lance McCullers (HOU) -- Thu-@TEX (Lewis)
Michael Wacha (STL) -- Sat-@CHC (Wood)
Steven Matz (NYM) -- Fri-NYY (Pineda)
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Mon-KC (Volquez), Sun-CWS (Danks): Carrasco's poor Sept. 8 return from the DL, unfortunately, casts serious doubt about his Week 23 fantasy appeal. This rating accounts for only the skills, mostly assuming close-to-full health, but consider: The White Sox have batted .290/.344/.455 and averaged 5.83 runs per game as a team on the road since the All-Star break.
Luis Severino (NYY) -- Wed-@TB (Archer)
Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Fri-BOS (Miley)
J.A. Happ (PIT) -- Tue-CHC, Gm. 2 (Lester): I love this matchup. Ray Searage has helped Happ adjust his arm slot, leading to an elite walk rate since Happ's trade to the Pirates, and get this: The Cubs have .212/.278/.367 triple-slash rates and a whopping 32.8 percent strikeout rate against left-handers since Aug. 1.
Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Thu-KC (Ventura)
Drew Smyly (TB) -- Fri-BAL (Chen): Sneaky fantasy play here: The Orioles have batted a ghastly .179/.243/.256 with a 26.8 percent strikeout rate against lefties the past three weeks.
Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Tue-@PIT, Gm. 1 (Cole)
Jeff Samardzija (CWS) -- Tue-OAK (Brooks)
Lance Lynn (STL) -- Fri-@CHC (Haren)
Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Wed-@PHI (Morgan)
Kevin Gausman (BAL) -- Mon-BOS (Rodriguez), Sat-@TB (Ramirez)
Taylor Jungmann (MIL) -- Sat-CIN (Iglesias)
Justin Verlander (DET) -- Fri-KC (Cueto)
Alex Wood (LAD) -- Wed-COL (De La Rosa)
Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Mon-LAA (Richards)
Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Thu-@CLE (Kluber)
Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Sun-NYY (Tanaka): He'll be on a pitch count of some sort, so this might even be too generous a ranking.
John Lackey (STL) -- Thu-@MIL (Nelson)
Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Wed-@CWS (Johnson)
Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Thu-OAK (Nolin)
John Lamb (CIN) -- Tue-@SF (Heston)
Logan Verrett (NYM) -- Mon-MIA (Nicolino)
Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Tue-BOS (Kelly), Sun-@TB (Odorizzi): The "onlies" class of two-start pitchers arrives quickly in the rankings this week and it has only a small handful of pitchers, and Jimenez belongs in it partly because he hasn't pitched great in recent weeks, partly because the Red Sox represents a brutal first matchup.
Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Fri-@COL (Bettis)
Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Tue-DET (Simon), Sun-LAA (TBD)
Aaron Nola (PHI) -- Mon-WSH (Zimmermann)
A.J. Burnett (PIT) -- Wed-CHC (Arrieta)
Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Wed-MIA (Cosart)
Josh Tomlin (CLE) -- Tue-KC (Medlen)
Marcus Stroman (TOR) -- Sat-BOS (Porcello): Without a firm read on his pitch count or his effectiveness in his Sept. 12 return to the Blue Jays' rotation, Stroman's Week 23 matchup represents a difficult read. Right now, I'd lean towards the Red Sox being an elite offense, and I'd try to find better options.
Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Wed-@LAD (Wood)
Mike Bolsinger (LAD) -- Fri-PIT (Locke)
Tanner Roark (WSH) -- Thu-MIA (Fernandez)
Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Sat-CWS (TBD)
Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Wed-@ARI (Ray)
Tyler Duffey (MIN) -- Mon-DET (Lobstein), Sat-LAA (Richards)
Adam Warren (NYY) -- Tue-@TB (Odorizzi)
Jerad Eickhoff (PHI) -- Sat-@ATL (Weber)
Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Mon-@CLE (Carrasco), Sat-@DET (Wolf)
Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Thu-@ATL (Wisler)
Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Thu-STL (Lackey)
Shelby Miller (ATL) -- Wed-TOR (Price): This is one time where I'm doing everything possible to avoid using Miller, whether daily or weekly. He has been a barely-borderline-quality-start type for a couple rotation turns now and the Blue Jays boast one of the game's scariest offenses.
Charlie Morton (PIT) -- Thu-CHC (Hendricks)
Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Sat-@TOR (Stroman)
Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Tue-@NYM (deGrom), Sun-@WSH (Strasburg): This Mets offense is a lot scarier than you might think it is. That alone is the reason I lean closer to Koehler being a "no thank you" than an "onlies" play for Week 23.
Ervin Santana (MIN) -- Wed-DET (Sanchez)
Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Thu-@PIT (Morton)
Mike Leake (SF) -- Sat-ARI (Corbin)
Travis Wood (CHC) -- Sat-STL (Wacha)
Wade Miley (BOS) -- Fri-@TOR (Estrada)
Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Thu-@MIN (Milone)
Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- Fri-@TB (Smyly)
R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Sun-BOS (Hill)
Vidal Nuno (SEA) -- Fri-@TEX (Gallardo)
Ariel Pena (MIL) -- Tue-STL (Martinez), Sun-CIN (Sampson): He has been promised only the Tuesday start, but a lack of alternatives makes it pretty likely that Pena will pitch twice. He's mainly a volume option in NL-only leagues, and one whose minor league stats say he's high-risk, at least for that Cardinals game.
Jake Peavy (SF) -- Wed-CIN (Lorenzen)
Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Wed-@SEA (Iwakuma)
Zach Davies (MIL) -- Fri-CIN (DeSclafani)
Dan Haren (CHC) -- Fri-STL (Lynn)
Brett Anderson (LAD) -- Tue-COL (Rusin)
Ryan Weber (ATL) -- Sat-PHI (Eickhoff)
CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Mon-@TB (Ramirez)
Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) -- Fri-@MIL (Davies)
Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) -- Mon-@BAL (Gausman)
Erasmo Ramirez (TB) -- Mon-NYY (Sabathia), Sat-BAL (Gausman)
Henry Owens (BOS) -- Wed-@BAL (Wright)
Rich Hill (BOS) -- Sun-@TOR (Dickey)
Nick Tropeano (LAA) -- Tue-@SEA (Hernandez)
Tommy Milone (MIN) -- Thu-LAA (Santiago)
Cody Anderson (CLE) -- Fri-CWS (Sale)
Andrew Heaney (LAA) -- Fri-@MIN (Gibson)
Sean Nolin (OAK) -- Thu-@CWS (Quintana)
Jeremy Hellickson (ARI) -- Mon-SD (Shields), Sun-@SF (Hudson)
Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Thu-@TB (Moore)
Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- Sat-@SF (Leake)
Tim Hudson (SF) -- Mon-CIN (Sampson), Sun-ARI (Hellickson)
Alec Asher (PHI) -- Fri-@ATL (Perez)
James Paxton (SEA) -- Sat-@TEX (Hamels)
Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Fri-LAA (Heaney)
Yovani Gallardo (TEX) -- Fri-SEA (Nuno)
Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Fri-@SF (Bumgarner)
Erik Johnson (CWS) -- Wed-OAK (Chavez)
Justin Nicolino (MIA) -- Mon-@NYM (Verrett), Sat-@WSH (Zimmermann)
Joe Kelly (BOS) -- Tue-@BAL (Jimenez)
Chris Heston (SF) -- Tue-CIN (Lamb)
Kyle Lobstein (DET) -- Mon-@MIN (Duffey), Sun-KC (Medlen)
Aaron Harang (PHI) -- Sun-@ATL (Teheran)
Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Wed-STL (Garcia)
Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Fri-@LAD (Bolsinger)
Danny Duffy (KC) -- Wed-@CLE (Salazar)
Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Thu-HOU (McCullers)
Jon Gray (COL) -- Mon-@LAD (Kershaw)
Randy Wolf (DET) -- Sat-KC (Volquez)
Alfredo Simon (DET) -- Tue-@MIN (Hughes)
Martin Perez (TEX) -- Wed-HOU (Keuchel)
Brad Hand (MIA) -- Fri-@WSH (Scherzer)
Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Tue-@ATL (Teheran)
Mike Wright (BAL) -- Wed-BOS (Owens)
John Danks (CWS) -- Mon-OAK (Gray), Sun-@CLE (Carrasco)
Jhoulys Chacin (ARI) -- Tue-SD (Ross)
Robbie Ray (ARI) -- Wed-SD (Cashner)
Jarred Cosart (MIA) -- Wed-@NYM (Colon)
Adam Morgan (PHI) -- Wed-WSH (Gonzalez)
Chris Rusin (COL) -- Tue-@LAD (Anderson)
Keyvius Sampson (CIN) -- Mon-@SF (Hudson), Sun-@MIL (Pena)
Chad Bettis (COL) -- Fri-SD (Kennedy)
Felix Doubront (OAK) -- Fri-@HOU (Fiers)
Matt Moore (TB) -- Thu-BAL (Tillman)
Yohan Flande (COL) -- Sat-SD (TBD)
Aaron Brooks (OAK) -- Tue-@CWS (Samardzija), Sun-@HOU (McHugh)
Ivan Nova (NYY) -- Sat-@NYM (Syndergaard)
Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Wed-@MIN (Santana)
Williams Perez (ATL) -- Fri-PHI (Asher)
Michael Lorenzen (CIN) -- Wed-@SF (Peavy)
Kyle Kendrick (COL) -- Sun-SD (Shields)
Matt Wisler (ATL) -- Thu-TOR (Hutchison)
David Buchanan (PHI) -- Tue-WSH (Strasburg)
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. 14-20 H: Hitters' matchup rating, which accounts for the opposing starting pitcher's 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 catcher's ability to gun down opposing base stealers. Ratings range from 1 to 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, Tampa Bay Rays 7, Chicago White Sox 7, Cleveland Indians 7, Kansas City Royals 7, Minnesota Twins 7, Houston Astros 7, Los Angeles Angels 7, Oakland Athetics 7, Texas Rangers 7, Miami Marlins 7, Washington Nationals 7, Chicago Cubs 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 7.
Home games: Rays 7, Indians 7, Twins 7, Rangers 7, Atlanta Braves 6, New York Mets 6, Milwaukee Brewers 6, Los Angeles Dodgers 6, San Francisco Giants 6, White Sox 4, Nationals 4, Pirates 4.
Versus LH: Orioles 4, Astros 4, Rangers 4, Dodgers 4, Indians 3, Twins 3, Athletics 3, Nationals 3, Colorado Rockies 3. Nine teams face two left-handed starters.
Don't be too quick to cast aside the San Diego Padres. They play a pair of three-game road series, first at Arizona's Chase Field (Monday-Wednesday) and next at Colorado's Coors Field (Friday-Sunday), two of the best hitters' environments in baseball, against two of the game's weakest rotations. Consider: The Padres rank 10th in the majors in runs per game (4.71), 11th in isolated power (.170) and 11th in wOBA (.331) as a team since the beginning of August; the opposing Diamondbacks and Rockies rank 16th (4.47) and 24th (5.34) in starters' ERA, respectively, during that same time.
Among the less obvious (read: non-Matt Kemp/Justin Upton) Padres to consider: Wil Myers, who has seven consecutive starts since his activation, batting .269/.367/.423 along with 16 hits and two home runs in 10 games in his career at those two ballparks combined; Jedd Gyorko, a .268/.306/.500 hitter in 36 games since Aug. 1 and .310/.370/.607 hitter in 21 games in his career at Coors; and Yangervis Solarte, who has started 36 and appeared in all 38 Padres games since Aug. 1, batting .317/.374/.538. And in a four-righty-starters week, Cory Spangenberg, who has started 12 consecutive games against righties and batted .298/.327/.489 against right-handers since the All-Star break, also warrants your consideration in NL-only and larger mixed leagues.
Despite Hamels, Holland and Sonny Gray as three of their seven starting-pitching opponents this week, the Astros match up quite well in Week 23. Much of it has to do with the team's recent success against left-handers; the Astros have a .353 team wOBA with a .216 isolated power average against lefties since Aug. 1, compared with .313 and .164, respectively, against righties during that same time. Individually, Jose Altuve (.375/.435/.500 rates against lefties this season) and George Springer (.280/.400/.540) are standout choices, with Springer's seasonal success against that side an encouraging factor for those deciding on him in weekly formats. Jed Lowrie is a lesser-known, sure-fire play in a week like this, thanks to his .286/.351/.448 career rates against left-handers (.341/.460/.732 this season). And for those digging deeper for last-spots-in-your-lineup choices, Jake Marisnick is a .300-hitting, .800-slugging hitter against lefties since Aug. 1 (granted, 33 plate appearances) who has started 15 straight Astros games against a lefty, and Marwin Gonzalez is a .304/.355/.496 hitter against lefties this season who has started four in a row against a lefty (those coming at three different positions).