It's getting late early, as Yogi Berra once astutely opined.
Fantasy baseball players are running out of time to find useful streaming options and hitting rentals for the stretch run.
Luckily, despite the fact that the Nationals and Marlins are off the docket for Wednesday's action, there are still some pieces to fix what ails those teams working through their fantasy postseason or trying to gain category points with 12 days left in the season.
Pitchers to Stream
Felix Pena (R), rostered in 14 percent of ESPN leagues, Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics: You can argue the next two pitchers on this list are safer, but Pena also qualifies as a relief pitcher, which can provide a huge advantage in squeezing out extra starts in those head-to-head matchups, which is likely in the playoffs right now. Despite the tough matchup, Pena has churned out six straight starts of six-plus innings, including four straight and five of them overall earning the "quality" sticker. In that stretch, he's posted a 2.37 ERA with an 8.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
Chris Stratton (R), 11 percent, San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres: Following up a complete-game shutout at home against the Rockies (seven strikeouts, two walks, two hits), Stratton next travels to Petco Park. He's spun a 2.70 ERA in 20 September innings and is playing a team evaluating intriguing but flawed young hitters.
Matt Harvey (R), 14 percent, Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers: With a quality start and/or six-plus strikeouts in five of his past seven trips to the mound, Harvey looks at least partially like the tantalizing pitcher who stole headlines in New York. Milwaukee's lineup is stacked, but at this point in the season, riding with hot hurlers can work as an against-the-grain play.
The Rays will likely use soft-tossing left-hander Jalen Beeks as their primary pitcher following frequent opener Diego Castillo. The Twins will give the ball to lefty Gabriel Moya for one frame before passing the baton to an all-in bullpen brigade.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. The "*" symbol means the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa (R), 7 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays (Bullpen game): "IKF" has pulled together a .291 average in the second half as he's pulled ahead of Robinson Chirinos (15 percent) for primary catcher duties. Either one would work in this matchup, which is expected to open with Castillo then feature lefty Beeks. Opposing batters have gotten to Beeks for a .282/.380/.415 line in 32 innings so far, plus 18 walks to 27 strikeouts.
C.J. Cron (R), 21 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers (LHP Yohander Mendez): Even in the more damaging parts of his uneven breakout year, Cron has kept himself afloat as a bottom-side platoon piece, crushing lefties with a .303/.372/.538 slash and seven homers in just 132 at-bats. Expect him to replace first baseman Jake Bauers or designated hitter Ji-Man Choi.
Jeff McNeil (L), 31 percent, New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Zach Eflin): McNeil is hitting .343/.389/.493 in 146 plate appearances against righties. He should remain at least a useful matchup tool for the remainder of this regular season, and he might've boosted his long-term stock with the rebuilding Mets. Eflin, meanwhile, has wilted against LHBs (.362 wOBA, .291/.345/.519 with nine homers in 52 innings).
Jeimer Candelario (B), 10 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins (Bullpen game): Lost in a season that gets him lost within the deep third-base pool, Candelario's domination of lefty pitching (.361 wOBA, .288/.344/.496 with six homers in 151 plate appearances) deserves praise. He'll get at least one at bat facing southpaw opener Gabriel Moya, then the switch-hitting Candelario will enjoy the platoon edge on the ensuing relievers.
Kevin Newman (R), 0.2 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Heath Fillmyer): Riding a six-game hit streak, the 25-year-old looks to be getting the majority of work at the 6 as the Pirates play out the string. Pirates hitters look good against Fillmyer, who's been thumped to a 5.24 ERA in 11 starts this season.
Yonder Alonso (L), 35 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Dylan Covey): Alonso should be on speed dial against a righty pitcher, considering he's launched 19 of his 23 homers off them. Covey has yielded a .350 wOBA, (1.48 K/BB and a 5.00 BB/9 to RHBs.
Kolten Wong (L), 1 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves (RHP Touki Toussaint): Call it regression to the mean. Or perhaps attribute it to the Cardinals firing Mike Matheny and replacing him with new manager Mike Shildt the weekend before the All-Star break. Whatever has happened in the second half, Wong's bat has woken up (.317/.374/.452). His patience could help him reach base several times against control-challenged prospect Toussaint, whose future as a starter is uncertain.
Randal Grichuk (R), 11 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Jimmy Yacabonis): Grichuk has surrounded two two-homer games with a lot of 0-fers this month, but it doesn't hurt to keep trying for his potentially game-changing pop to go off at Camden Yards, especially with the Orioles turning to righty Yacabonis and his 7.22 ERA. The 27-year-old outfielder has crushed right-handers to a tune of an .823 OPS, .348 wOBA and 121 wRC+.
Cedric Mullins (B), 4 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Marco Estrada): Mullins has tattered righty hurlers with a .297/.360/.495 slash in 101 plate appearances, with three homers and eight RBIs since his callup. Baltimore has given him free rein to prove he's a future everyday lineup piece, and at least in this platoon split, he's in a fine spot to excel. Estrada, after all, has allowed 1.76 HR/9 and struck out only 17 percent of LHBs lining up across from him this season.
Steven Souza Jr. (R), 6 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Chicago Cubs (LHP Cole Hamels): Souza's crazy 2017 split -- 27 of 30 homers versus righties -- has been flipped a little in an otherwise forgettable 2018, as he's slashing .253/.337/.443 with a .337 wOBA against southpaws. Hamels has revived his career after the trade to the Cubs, but Souza is one of those sneaky late-season bats with plenty of experience who can break through in the final week-plus.
Hitter matchup ratings
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth), as well as ballpark factors. "LH" and "RH" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.
Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.