The last Friday of the regular season offers bonus baseball with the Twins and White Sox gracing their fan bases with a doubleheader. Several National League teams still have something to play for with the Central and West divisions still up for grabs, not to mention the second wild-card berth. In the American League, the Yankees and Athletics are still aiming to host the other in the wild-card game.
This is significant since players from these clubs, and perhaps their opponents, will still be using their A-team while the eliminated squads will be pulling key pitchers and hitters early, if they even choose to deploy them. This will be more pertinent over the weekend, though some teams already have been doing this. If you're looking for a last-minute pitching boost, this is the slate to use, as there are multiple solid options and you don't want to be tussling with others over the Saturday and Sunday remnants.
To that end, here are Friday's pitching and hitting streamers, all available in at least half of ESPN leagues.
Pitchers to stream
Wade LeBlanc (L), rostered in 36 percent of ESPN leagues, Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers: LeBlanc continues to get it done, albeit with the aid of smoke and mirrors. His 4.27 FIP and 4.55 xFIP suggest Lady Luck has influenced his 3.55 ERA. However, with the comfort of working in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field, facing a Rangers lineup sitting third from the bottom with respect to road production versus southpaws since the break, it's worth hoping the regression monster leaves LeBlanc alone in his last start of the season.
Jose Urena (R), 32 percent, Miami Marlins at New York Mets: This note comes with a warning, as the Mets have handled right-handed pitching well since the break and even better lately, ranking ninth in weighted on base average (wOBA) versus righties in September. Still, with success of his own as the season winds down, Urena is in play, posting a 1.85 ERA and 0.89 WHIP over his past six outings, albeit with a meek 24 strikeouts in those 39 frames.
Adam Wainwright (R), 22 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs: On paper, Wainwright matches up well against the Cubs, but I can't shake a feeling of trepidation. Both teams are in heated playoff battles, so that's a wash. Wainwright's results have been a mixed bag since returning from the disabled list, with two mediocre efforts allowing four earned runs in each sandwiching a scoreless outing. However, 18 punchouts with just three walks in those 17 1/3 frames demonstrate Wainwright's skills are solid. On the flip side, the Cubs have been an offensive enigma all season, hence my reticence. In September, they're 24th in wOBA versus righties, with a healthy 24 percent strikeout rate. The numbers don't lie: The Cubs' offense has fallen short of reputation. It's just I wish I didn't have to hope Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and company don't wake up all at once.
Tyler Glasnow (R), 21 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Glasnow and those fantasy enthusiasts counting on him for one last start caught a huge break when the Rays opted to give their 25-year-old fireballer an extra day's rest, pushing off a start against the Yankees and onto this outing facing the less daunting Blue Jays at home. This will be the third time Glasnow has drawn the Jays this month, in essence being a rubber match. Toronto lit him up for seven earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning on Sept. 5, while Glasnow evened the score the last time out, allowing three runs in six frames, fanning a half-dozen. This is the best matchup among the streamers for whiffs, as Glasnow has registered an impressive 9.8 K/9 since being acquired by the Rays at the trade deadline, while the Jays are fanning at a 24 percent clip versus righties in September.
Lucas Giolito (R), 14 percent, Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins: With bonus baseball comes a bonus spot starter, as Giolito is scheduled to work the nightcap, squaring off with Chase De Jong. Especially with expanded rosters, expect a plethora of non-regulars to be in the lineup. After a solid August, Giolito has struggled in September, though he has averaged 6 2/3 innings his past three starts. But, facing a weak lineup knowing this is his last outing of the season, expect Giolito to end the season on a high note.
Need saves? With a pair of Friday games, the Twins and White Sox offer twice the chance of the other 28 clubs. Minnesota's Trevor Hildenberger is available in over 90 percent of ESPN leagues. If he's rostered, consider Trevor May, as the Twins may give him a ninth-inning look to close the season. The White Sox are also splitting duties, with Juan Minaya and Nate Jones the likely save candidates.
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.
Mike Zunino (R), 18 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Martin Perez): Zunino is closing out the season strong, registering a .966 OPS the past three weeks, punctuated by a 1.433 mark the past week. Perez has spent September coming out of the Rangers bullpen. His 2.40 ERA as a reliever seems impressive, but just eight strikeouts with five walks in 15 innings this month dictate otherwise.
Yonder Alonso (L), 34 percent, Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals (RHP Ian Kennedy): The Indians likely will give extra time off to their regulars this weekend, but since Alonso usually sits versus southpaws, he's likely to be in the lineup since he already receives periodic off days. Kennedy has the dubious distinction of authoring the second-most homers allowed since 2015.
Tony Kemp (L), 1 percent, Houston Astros at Baltimore Orioles (RHP David Hess): The Astros are using Kemp all over the diamond to give their regulars a break before the playoffs begin. He's hit second in the order a couple of times, which is a nice spot to take advantage of the Orioles' inability to control the running game. Kemp is one of the better options for those looking for a swipe or two this weekend.
Chris Owings (R), 2 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres (LHP Eric Lauer): A second-half swoon has eliminated the Diamondbacks from playoff contention, availing more playing time for some of their bench players as the season wraps up. Owings is one of the beneficiaries, especially with a southpaw on the hill. He's taking full advantage, slashing .381/.409/.619 the past three weeks with most of the damage the past week.
Jorge Polanco (B), 13 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Reynaldo Lopez): Chances are, no one will start in both ends of the doubleheader, but if someone does, Polanco has as good of a chance as anyone on the Twins. In what's obviously a disappointing season for the club and Polanco with his suspension, the 25-year-old provided some hope by improving across the board, except for the stolen base department, where he's been successful on only half of his dozen tries.
Steve Pearce (R), 5 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees (LHP J.A. Happ): While the Red Sox have clinched the best record in baseball, they've stated as long as the Yankees still have something to play for, they'll use their regulars. Of course, Boston would like nothing more than to have the Yankees board a flight out of Logan Airport, flying 3,000 miles to Oakland for the wild-card game. Since being acquired from the Jays at the end of June, Pearce has recorded a tidy .269/.390/.477 line, coming mostly against lefty pitching.
Willy Adames (R), 16 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays (LHP Thomas Pannone): Overshadowed by the second-half exploits of Adalberto Mondesi and Amed Rosario, Adames has enjoyed a solid second half, stroking a .801 OPS, featuring seven homers and six swipes.
David Dahl (L), 24 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Washington Nationals (RHP Joe Ross): If this were the end of June and not September, Dahl would have been picked up in many more leagues after homering in three consecutive games this week, going 6-for-14 with nine RBIs and five runs in this span.
Daniel Palka (L), 20 percent, Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins (RHP Jose Berrios): Like the Twins, the White Sox are likely to empty their bench in the twin bill, with Palka having a shot to play in both contests since he'll have the platoon edge on both starters. Sitting on 27 homers, you know the slugger would love as many chances as he can muster to end the season with 30.
Victor Robles (R), 8 percent, Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies (LHP Kyle Freeland): Freeland has pitched surprisingly well, particularly at home. That said, if Robles hadn't hurt his elbow diving for a ball in center field, we could be talking about him and Ronald Acuna Jr. for the National League Rookie of the Year and not Robles' teammate Juan Soto. Robles offered a taste of what's to come with Wednesday night's combo meal featuring a 4-for-5 night to go along with his homer and steal.
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.