Fantasy Forecaster updated Sunday, May 25, at 9:09 a.m. ET.
On tap: Memorial Day has arrived, and shortly after it the month of June, as we reach both important marker points to the baseball season during Week 9. A full schedule on Memorial Day, Monday, results in one of the busier schedules we'll see all year; 20 of the 30 teams play a full seven games. It's for that reason that matchups take on greater importance; it's a quality-over-quantity week.
The Oakland Athletics, currently the American League West leaders, are in the midst of one of the most challenging portions of their schedule all season. They have home-field advantage for their seven-game week, but they face the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels, the American League Central leader and their closest competition in the AL West, respectively. (After that, consider that the Athletics play road series at the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Angels before returning home to host the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox.) These Athletics have been up to the task before -- they took four of six in a pair of three-game series at Texas and Boston around the beginning of the month -- but if they're going to this week, it'll probably be on the strength of their pitching, which has the majors' second-best ERA (2.87).
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ESPN lineup deadlines | Interleague impact | Projected starting pitchers
Pitching scuttlebutt | Week 9 pitcher rankings | Pitching advantages
Hitting ratings | Hitting advantages
Monday is Memorial Day, and with it, a full slate of games. It's the only time all season that all 30 teams play on a Monday, and 11 of the 15 games will begin before 7 p.m. ET; the first is Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN. That kicks off a Memorial Day doubleheader: New York Yankees at St. Louis Cardinals follows at 4 p.m. ET. Consider this your reminder to set your fantasy lineups before heading out for Memorial Day activities.
There are also day games Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Wednesday's action kicks off with Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets at 1:10 p.m. ET; Thursday begins with Texas Rangers at Minnesota Twins at 1:10 p.m.; Saturday starts with Rangers at Washington Nationals at 12:05 p.m. ET; and Sunday gets underway with Minnesota Twins at Yankees and Colorado Rockies at Cleveland Indians at 1:05 p.m. ET.
This week's interleague series:
• Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves (two games, Monday-Tuesday)
• Baltimore Orioles at Milwaukee Brewers (three games, Monday-Wednesday)
• New York Yankees at St. Louis Cardinals (three games, Monday-Wednesday)
• Atlanta Braves at Boston Red Sox (two games, Wednesday-Thursday)
• San Diego Padres at Chicago White Sox (three games, Friday-Sunday)
• Colorado Rockies at Cleveland Indians (three games, Friday-Sunday)
• Texas Rangers at Washington Nationals (three games, Friday-Sunday)
David Ortiz, the No. 33 name on our Player Rater's "Last 15" split, is the most significant name impacted by interleague play in Week 9. He'll have to play first base to avoid sitting the two Boston Red Sox games in a National League park -- Atlanta's Turner Field -- but bear in mind that, last season, he started six of the team's nine games in NL venues at first base, including five of the team's six against a right-handed starter. Don't be surprised if Ortiz sits one of the two games in Atlanta, but since the opposing starters are both right-handed, it might be Mike Napoli relegated to pinch-hitting duty.
No other significant American League name should have his playing time dramatically affected by interleague play, however. Both the Yankees -- they conclude the NL portion of their 2014 interleague schedule Wednesday -- and Rangers head to NL parks at convenient times, as the injuries to Carlos Beltran and Prince Fielder have whittled down their DH options. David Lough of the Orioles (Nelson Cruz played left field over him in the team's past two games in NL venues), Ichiro Suzuki of the Yankees and Michael Choice of the Rangers are the three players most likely to sit.
The addition of the DH in American League parks also comes at a convenient time for the Rockies, who have a place to stash their abundance of outfielders. The opposing Indians have three right-handers scheduled during their weekend series, so Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson should all have a place to play. Considering the Rockies face five righty starters overall, Dickerson is a more attractive fantasy option, even in shallow mixed leagues.
The Padres are in a similar situation, their trip to Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field providing them a fourth spot in which to stash one of their five outfielders. With two right-handers on the mound during that weekend series, Chris Denorfia and Carlos Quentin experience the largest boost in fantasy stock. Meanwhile, the Braves now have a place to play Ryan Doumit, their most likely starter during a two-game series at Boston's Fenway Park during which the Red Sox will throw two righty starters.
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. Pitchers scheduled to start at least twice this week are in gold/beige boxes.
• The Baltimore Orioles could push Chris Tillman's scheduled Monday start back after he reported a groin issue following his May 21 start.
• The Boston Red Sox, who placed Felix Doubront (shoulder) on the DL on May 21, recalled Brandon Workman for a May 25 start, lining him up to pitch on Friday of Week 9.
• The Houston Astros, aiming to give all of their starters an extra day of rest, recalled Brett Oberholtzer for a spot start on May 24. Everyone else has been pushed back accordingly, but there's no indication yet whether Oberholtzer would remain in the rotation and the team would go to six starters.
• Joe Saunders (ankle) will rejoin the Texas Rangers' rotation this week, replacing Scott Baker on Wednesday.
• Randy Wolf was expected to join the Miami Marlins' rotation May 25, and it's presumed he'll then pitch again Saturday of Week 9.
• Yovani Gallardo (ankle) was scratched from his scheduled May 25 start, replaced in the Milwaukee Brewers' rotation by Jimmy Nelson. It is unclear whether Gallardo will be ready to pitch on Saturday; Nelson would presumably get another turn if Gallardo can't.
• With Wandy Rodriguez designated for assignment on May 22, the Pittsburgh Pirates are expected to recall Brandon Cumpton to assume his rotation spot beginning Monday. Jeff Locke has an outside chance at the assignment, however.
• Two-fifths of the San Diego Padres' rotation is entirely undecided, as the team has been using Tim Stauffer and Billy Buckner to fill in for their other injured starters. Stauffer is currently aligned for Wednesday and Buckner for Friday, though the team could choose alternatives or skip Buckner's Friday turn entirely if it wishes.
• Matt Cain (hamstring) will miss his scheduled start for the San Francisco Giants on Monday of Week 9, and his Saturday start is currently unclear. Yusmeiro Petit will fill in on Monday and would make a second start if Cain is unable to pitch by then.
1. Yu Darvish (TEX) -- Tue-@MIN (Hughes), Sun-@WSH (Roark)
2. Max Scherzer (DET) -- Mon-@OAK (Milone), Sat-@SEA (Young)
3. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Wed-CIN (Bailey)
4. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Mon-NYY (Whitley), Sat-SF (Cain)
5. Johnny Cueto (CIN) -- Mon-@LAD (Ryu), Sat-@ARI (McCarthy)
6. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Tue-CLE (Masterson)
7. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Fri-TEX (Lewis)
8. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Tue-DET (Smyly), Sun-LAA (Weaver)
9. Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Tue-COL (De La Rosa), Sun-NYM (Niese)
10. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Tue-CIN (Simon), Sun-PIT (Volquez)
11. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Sat-MIN (Correia)
12. Drew Smyly (DET) -- Tue-@OAK (Gray), Sun-@SEA (Elias)
13. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Wed-LAA (Wilson)
14. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Fri-@STL (Wainwright)
15. Jeff Samardzija (CHC) -- Mon-@SF (Petit), Sun-@MIL (Lohse)
16. David Price (TB) -- Fri-@BOS (Workman)
17. Adam Wainwright (StL) -- Fri-SF (Bumgarner)
18. Tyson Ross (SD) -- Mon-@ARI (McCarthy), Sun-@CWS (Quintana)
19. Tony Cingrani (CIN) -- Thu-@ARI (Collmenter)
20. Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Mon-TB (Bedard), Sat-KC (Ventura)
21. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) -- Mon-CIN (Cueto), Sat-PIT (Cumpton)
22. Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Mon-HOU (Feldman), Sat-@TOR (Hutchison)
23. Lance Lynn (STL) -- Tue-NYY (Phelps), Sun-SF (Hudson)
24. Jon Lester (BOS) -- Tue-@ATL (Harang), Sun-TB (Bedard)
25. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Tue-@SEA (Elias), Sun-@OAK (Gray)
26. Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Thu-DET (Porcello)
27. Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Tue-PIT (Volquez), Sun-@PHI (Hamels)
28. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Mon-CLE (Tomlin), Sun-SD (Ross)
29. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Fri-@MIA (Turner)
30. Marco Estrada (MIL) -- Wed-BAL (Norris)
31. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Fri-@LAD (Beckett)
32. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Fri-@SEA (Iwakuma)
33. A.J. Burnett (PHI) -- Fri-NYM (Montero)
34. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Fri-DET (Verlander)
35. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Wed-@OAK (Kazmir)
36. James Shields (KC) -- Thu-@TOR (Dickey)
37. Tanner Roark (WSH) -- Mon-MIA (Eovaldi), Sun-TEX (Darvish)
38. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Thu-KC (Shields)
39. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Thu-@LAD (Haren)
40. Alfredo Simon (CIN) -- Tue-@LAD (Greinke), Sun-@ARI (Miley)
41. Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Mon-@MIL (Lohse), Sat-@HOU (Feldman)
42. Tim Hudson (SF) -- Tue-CHC (Arrieta), Sun-@STL (Lynn)
43. Kyle Lohse (MIL) -- Mon-BAL (Tillman), Sun-CHC (Samardzija)
44. John Lackey (BOS) -- Wed-ATL (Floyd)
45. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Fri-COL (Nicasio)
46. Homer Bailey (CIN) -- Wed-@LAD (Kershaw)
47. Ervin Santana (ATL) -- Mon-BOS (Buchholz), Sat-@MIA (Wolf)
48. Mike Minor (ATL) -- Thu-@BOS (Peavy)
49. Shelby Miller (STL) -- Wed-NYY (Kuroda)
50. Wade Miley (ARI) -- Tue-SD (Stults), Sun-CIN (Simon)
51. Tyler Skaggs (LAA) -- Mon-@SEA (Young), Sat-@OAK (Milone)
52. Matt Cain (SF) -- Sat-@STL (Wacha)
53. Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Mon-PIT (Cumpton), Sat-@PHI (Kendrick)
54. Brandon McCarthy (ARI) -- Mon-SD (Ross), Sat-CIN (Cueto)
55. Tim Lincecum (SF) -- Wed-CHC (Jackson)
56. Alex Cobb (TB) -- Tue-@TOR (Buehrle)
57. David Phelps (NYY) -- Tue-@STL (Lynn)
58. Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Tue-TEX (Darvish), Sun-@NYY (Whitley)
59. Nick Tepesch (TEX) -- Mon-@MIN (Correia), Sat-@WSH (Fister)
60. Scott Kazmir (OAK) -- Wed-DET (Sanchez)
61. Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Thu-@HOU (Peacock)
62. Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) -- Wed-@STL (Miller)
63. Tommy Milone (OAK) -- Mon-DET (Scherzer), Sat-LAA (Skaggs)
64. Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Sat-COL (Morales)
65. C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Wed-@SEA (Hernandez)
66. Matt Garza (MIL) -- Tue-BAL (Chen)
67. Aaron Harang (ATL) -- Tue-BOS (Lester), Sun-@MIA (Eovaldi)
68. Jake Peavy (BOS) -- Thu-ATL (Minor)
69. Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Fri-CHC (Wood)
70. Doug Fister (WSH) -- Sat-TEX (Tepesch)
71. Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Sat-@CWS (Rienzo)
72. Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Tue-TB (Cobb), Sun-KC (Guthrie)
73. Scott Feldman (HOU) -- Mon-@KC (Ventura), Sat-BAL (Tillman)
74. Yovani Gallardo (MIL) -- Sat-CHC (Hammel)
75. Chris Archer (TB) -- Wed-@TOR (Hendriks)
Two-start options for AL-/NL-only leagues:
Jhoulys Chacin (COL) -- Mon-@PHI (Kendrick), Sun-@CLE (Tomlin)
Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- Tue-@MIL (Garza), Sun-@HOU (McHugh)
Brandon Cumpton (PIT) -- Mon-@NYM (DeGrom), Sat-@LAD (Ryu)
Nate Eovaldi (MIA) -- Mon-@WSH (Roark), Sun-ATL (Harang)
Jeremy Guthrie (KC) -- Tue-HOU (McHugh), Sun-@TOR (Buehrle)
Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Tue-@KC (Guthrie), Sun-BAL (Chen)
Josh Tomlin (CLE) -- Mon-@CWS (Quintana), Sun-COL (Chacin)
No-thank-yous, among two-start pitchers:
Erik Bedard (TB) -- Mon-@TOR (Hutchison), Sun-@BOS (Lester)
Clay Buchholz (BOS) -- Mon-@ATL (Santana), Sat-TB (Odorizzi)
Kevin Correia (MIN) -- Mon-TEX (Tepesch), Sat-@NYY (Tanaka)
Roenis Elias (SEA) -- Tue-LAA (Weaver), Sun-DET (Smyly)
Kyle Kendrick (PHI) -- Mon-COL (Chacin), Sat-NYM (DeGrom)
Edinson Volquez (PIT) -- Tue-@NYM (Niese), Sun-@LAD (Greinke)
Chase Whitley (NYY) -- Mon-@STL (Wacha), Sun-MIN (Hughes)
Chris Young (SEA) -- Mon-LAA (Skaggs), Sat-DET (Scherzer)
• After a week of awful pitching performance against the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox should rebound in a major way facing a seven-game schedule of far softer matchups. The Red Sox have gone six consecutive games without a quality start and have a 4.89 starters' ERA in the month of May, and they'll be seeking to replace Felix Doubront in their rotation beginning May 25.
Still, the Atlanta Braves are the majors' third-most strikeout-prone team (23.4 percent rate) and have the fifth-worst team weighted on-base average (.294), and three of the Red Sox's four veteran starters have good track records during interleague play to boot: Since the beginning of 2009, Jon Lester has a 3.02 ERA and 1.20 ERA in 19 starts, Jake Peavy has a 3.25 ERA and 1.09 ERA in 33 starts, and John Lackey has a 3.93 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 16 starts. The team will then battle the Tampa Bay Rays, whose .290 team wOBA in May is sixth-worst in the majors.
• Not a single one of the Arizona Diamondbacks' starting pitchers is owned in more than 16.3 percent of ESPN leagues -- that's team leader Bronson Arroyo's percentage -- yet in the month of May, their starters combined have managed a 3.58 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, the latter second-best in the majors. With a seven-game schedule against two of baseball's worst-hitting road teams -- the San Diego Padres have the majors' worst weighted on-base average (.259) and the Cincinnati Reds the third-worst (.281) -- Diamondbacks starters make outstanding streaming choices for Week 9. Three, in fact, are highlighted in the "Streamer's Delight" section below, and the favorable pitching schedule is good news for closer Addison Reed, as well.
• The Toronto Blue Jays represent the American League's version of the aforementioned Diamondbacks, a staff full of streaming candidates for your consideration. The difference: Two-start pitcher Mark Buehrle is owned in 100 percent of ESPN leagues, and Thursday starter R.A. Dickey in 82.9 percent, but that still leaves three potential pickups for the taking.
Consider that the opposing Rays and Kansas City Royals rank sixth- and third-worst in terms of team wOBA in the month of May. They also rank among the bottom 10 in the category in road games for the season. Those are pluses for two-start pitcher Drew Hutchison, Friday starter J.A. Happ and potentially even Wednesday starter Liam Hendriks, assuming he impresses in his May 23 spot start.
• Here are this week's Streamer's Delight picks (pitchers must be available in at least 75 percent of ESPN leagues as of our publishing time Friday):
1. Drew Hutchison (KC, Saturday): His slider is his out pitch, and he'll battle a Kansas City Royals team that produces the majors' highest rate of soft contact (50 percent of their at-bats) and fourth-highest rate of ground balls (52 percent) against sliders.
2. Brandon McCarthy (SD, Monday): He's 4-for-5 in quality starts with 33 K's compared with four walks since April 27, including a seven-shutout-inning performance against these very San Diego Padres, the worst-hitting team in the league.
3. Jaime Garcia (SF, Thursday): He has a 2.72 ERA and 3.16:1 K-to-walk ratio in his career at Busch Stadium, he's cutter-reliant and will face a San Francisco Giants team with the majors' worst wOBA against cutters since the beginning of 2013 (.239).
4. Danny Duffy (HOU, Wednesday): His Game Scores in his three outings so far in 2014 have gone 52, 65, 75, and now he battles a Houston Astros team with the third-worst road runs per game average (3.2) and second-worst road wOBA (.281).
5. Bronson Arroyo (CIN, Friday): In the month of May, he's 3-for-4 in quality starts with a 1.78 ERA and 23 K's compared with four walks, and now he's facing his former team, the Cincinnati Reds, the majors' lowest-scoring team in May through May 22.
6. Tanner Roark (TEX, Sunday): He has a 0.78 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 11 career games (five starts) at Nationals Park, and he's working against a Texas Rangers team that has .258/.306/.381 triple-slash rates in its past five series (May 9-22).
7. Wade Miley (SD, Tuesday): He's riding an active streak of four consecutive quality starts versus the San Diego Padres, and he's 3-for-4 in quality starts with a 4.05 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in the month of May.
Best days to stream (accounting both quality and quantity of candidates): Monday, Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, Tuesday, Thursday.
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.
• 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:
Home games: Oakland Athletics 7, Seattle Mariners 7, Toronto Blue Jays 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 7, Philadelphia Phillies 7, St. Louis Cardinals 7
Versus RH: Texas Rangers 7, Baltimore Orioles 6, New York Yankees 6, Chicago Cubs 6, Los Angeles Dodgers 6, Miami Marlins 6, New York Mets 6, St. Louis Cardinals 6, San Francisco Giants 6, Washington Nationals 6. Eleven teams face five right-handed starters.
Versus LH: Boston Red Sox 3, Cleveland Indians 3, Detroit Tigers 3, Los Angeles Angels 3, Seattle Mariners 3, Cincinnati Reds 3, San Diego Padres 3. Eleven teams face two left-handed starters.
• Expect big things from the Chicago White Sox, who will be facing a pair of beleaguered rotations at their homer-friendly home ballpark. Consider that the opposing Indians, their first opponent, will be completing a span of 16 consecutive days with a game played as they play their fourth, fifth and sixth games of a six-game road trip, and two of their starters -- Josh Tomlin on Monday and Justin Masterson on Tuesday -- have had their schedules dramatically altered within the past week, while the third, T.J. House, will be making only his second career big league start. The San Diego Padres, meanwhile, remain without ace Andrew Cashner and fifth starter Robbie Erlin, forcing them to plug two holes this week (probably one during their series).
Though the White Sox are a righty-heavy lineup and their week is heavy on right-handers, keep in mind that, as a team, their righties have .271/.324/.431 triple-slash rates against same-siders (.327 wOBA, fifth-best). That means this is a week where Gordon Beckham (.310 AVG in 20 games in May), Adam Eaton (only recently activated from the DL), Dayan Viciedo (3 HR in 20 games in May) and even Paul Konerko (now receiving regular at-bats with Jose Abreu injured) warrant a look.
• The Philadelphia Phillies have performed better than expected of late offensively, their .313 team wOBA in the month of May 11th-best in the majors. Much of their improved output has come from third baseman Cody Asche (.317/.406/.550 hitter in May) and winter addition Marlon Byrd (.329/.382/.614). The Phillies face three pitchers struggling mightily during the middle portion of the week: Jordan Lyles (Wednesday), Zack Wheeler (Thursday) and Rafael Montero (Friday). Their most challenging matchup comes Sunday, against noted Phillie-killer Jonathon Niese.