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Forecaster: Week of Sept. 22-28

Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, Sept. 22, at 10:51 a.m. ET.

On tap: This is it! It's the final week of the 2014 regular season, and with it, the fantasy baseball season. It's a mad dash to the finish for real-life teams, with seven of the 10 playoff spots still up for grabs, 16 of the 30 teams scheduled to play a seven-game week, and 24 of the 30 scheduled series between division rivals. Oddly, despite the volume of intradivision competition and competitive playoff races, Week 25 features only two head-to-head series with significant playoff ramifications: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians, three games apiece from Monday-Wednesday. As for the weekend, oh, sure, there's Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners (3 games, Friday-Sunday), but the Angels will almost assuredly have wrapped up the American League's top playoff seed before then, so that series, like the 14 others that weekend, will be a motivationally lopsided matchup.

Ah, but that might be a good thing in fantasy, because you want to draw players from motivated teams this time of year, and what better scenario than to have them fattening their statistics against teams uninvolved in a race? So, that in mind, let's identify those teams with playoff motivation entering the final week. All standings data is entering play on Sept. 21.

Clinched playoff spots, with seeding data noted: Baltimore Orioles, American League East champion (2 1/2 games back in race for AL's top seed, magic number 2 to clinch No. 2 seed); Los Angeles Angels, AL West champion (magic number 6 to clinch AL's top seed, clinched at least No. 2 seed); Los Angeles Dodgers (clinched at least a wild card; 3 1/2 ahead with magic number of 5 to clinch NL West); Washington Nationals, National League East champion (magic number 6 to clinch NL's top seed, 5 to clinch No. 2 seed). With the possible exception of the Dodgers, who have the NL West title in their sights, these teams are likely to rest players and/or shuffle their rotations to align for the postseason.

Within four games of a playoff spot: Cleveland Indians (3 1/2 games back for AL wild card), Detroit Tigers (2 1/2 games ahead in AL Central), Kansas City Royals (2 1/2 games back in AL Central, 1/2 game ahead for AL's second wild card), Oakland Athletics (1/2 game ahead for AL's first wild card), Seattle Mariners (1/2 game back for AL wild card), Milwaukee Brewers (3 1/2 back for NL wild card), Pittsburgh Pirates (3 1/2 back in NL Central, 3 1/2 ahead for NL's second wild card), St. Louis Cardinals (3 1/2 ahead with magic number of 5 to clinch NL Central), San Francisco Giants (3 1/2 back in NL West, 1 ahead for NL's first wild card). These teams are the most motivated to perform and make excellent sources of Week 25 fantasy plays.

Eliminated from the playoffs or possessing elimination numbers of four or less: Boston Red Sox (eliminated), Chicago White Sox (eliminated), Houston Astros (eliminated), Minnesota Twins (eliminated), Tampa Bay Rays (eliminated), Texas Rangers (eliminated), Arizona Diamondbacks (eliminated), Atlanta Braves (elimination number of 2), Chicago Cubs (eliminated), Cincinnati Reds (eliminated), Colorado Rockies (eliminated), Miami Marlins (eliminated), New York Mets (eliminated), Philadelphia Phillies (eliminated), San Diego Padres (eliminated). These teams can provide help, mostly from the "spoiler" angle, but auditioning players for 2015.

Quick-click by section, if you're seeking advice in a specific area:
ESPN lineup deadlines | Interleague impact | Projected starting pitchers
Pitching scuttlebutt | Week 25 pitcher rankings | Pitching advantages
Hitting ratings | Hitting advantages

ESPN leagues: Lineup deadlines

Week 25 has another late weekly lineup deadline, as two games Monday have 7:05 p.m. ET starting times: The conclusion of the Cleveland Indians-Kansas City Royals suspended game from Aug. 31 (their regularly scheduled contest will follow shortly after), and Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees. As a reminder, statistics from the completion of that Indians-Royals Aug. 31 game will not count towards head-to-head matchups or league standings, as those fall beyond ESPN's six-day window for finalized fantasy stats. The regularly scheduled game, however, will count.

Tuesday's schedule also features nothing but night games, but the final five days of the week feature day games. For daily-league lineup planning, here are the earliest start times by day: Wednesday, 1:05 p.m. ET (Orioles at Yankees, one of four day games); Thursday, 12:35 p.m. ET (Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds, one of three day games); Friday, 1:05 p.m. ET (first game of the Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals doubleheader, Friday's only day game); Saturday, 1:05 p.m. ET (Yankees at Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds, two of five day games); and Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET (Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians, no night games on Sunday).

Interleague impact

This week's interleague series:
• Arizona Diamondbacks at Minnesota Twins (3 games, Monday-Wednesday)
• Houston Astros at New York Mets (3 games, Friday-Sunday)

The addition of the designated hitter merely means an additional 10-15 plate appearances for Diamondbacks hitters, with the team almost certain to rotate players into the role, just as it has done with most every position for the month of September. First baseman Mark Trumbo is the only Diamondbacks player to make more than nine consecutive starts at his position during September and right fielder A.J. Pollock the only other to make more than seven in a row, and Trumbo himself could slide over to DH 2-3 times to clear first base for Jordan Pacheco. More likely, though, the team will grant three different players additional starts thanks to the DH, with Jake Lamb, Tuffy Gosewisch, Cliff Pennington, Alfredo Marte, Nick Ahmed, Brett Jackson and Nolan Reimold all candidates. All the Minnesota series does for the Diamondbacks is bolster their hitters' value in deep-mixed and NL-only leagues; it makes players like Trumbo, Pollock, Ender Inciarte, Chris Owings and Aaron Hill marginally better starts.

Chris Carter started all three games of the Astros' series at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park Aug. 5-7 in left field, and he'll almost assuredly do the same in all three games at New York's Citi Field, considering he's a .308/.419/.500 hitter in 15 September games, for the team's second-highest weighted on-base average during the month (.388). The real debate is whether usual left fielder Robbie Grossman will be relegated to pinch-hitting duty, or straight platooned in right field with Jake Marisnick.

Projected starting pitchers

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.

Pitching scuttlebutt

Ubaldo Jimenez is expected to make a spot start for the Baltimore Orioles this week, most likely on Tuesday, as a way to get their starters an extra day's rest as well as to line them up for the postseason. Wei-Yin Chen will be the Orioles' only two-start pitcher this week, and he might be on a limited pitch count during his second turn, as might be all of the Orioles' weekend starters.
• As suggested here on Sept. 19, the Boston Red Sox will give Clay Buchholz two starts this week, while shutting down Rubby De La Rosa for the season; Brandon Workman will also be skipped.
• The Chicago White Sox maintain that they won't revert to a five-man rotation in order to grant Chris Sale a Tuesday-Sunday combo of starts as he fights for the AL's Cy Young award, but Scott Carroll's (cracked fingernail) status for Tuesday's game might have a lot to do with the decision. Though the team insists that Carroll and Chris Bassitt will each make a start in the final week, don't be surprised if either is pushed back and indeed Sale gets two turns.
• The Cleveland Indians could use Thursday's off day to skip T.J. House as a way of limiting his innings, in which case Danny Salazar would pick up a second start.
• The Detroit Tigers pushed back Kyle Lobstein to Monday (and therefore also Saturday) and kept David Price slotted on Tuesday (and therefore also the Sunday regular-season finale). If the Tigers clinch playoff positioning before Sunday, Price will almost assuredly either be skipped or kept on a limited pitch count.
• The Houston Astros shut down Dallas Keuchel for the season, giving them a five-man rotation for the season's final week.
• The Los Angeles Angels, looking to align their playoff rotation, pushed back Jered Weaver's next start to Sept. 20 to slot him into Friday's game during Week 25 (and therefore Game 1 of the Division Series). The rest of their rotation should follow what's listed above, though Matt Shoemaker (oblique), if healthy, could pitch Saturday. Expect the Angels' weekend starters to be on limited pitch counts.
Tommy Milone (neck) was questionable for both his Sept. 21 and Friday of Week 25 starts, and the Minnesota Twins will need a fill-in, probably Anthony Swarzak, if Milone isn't ready for either game.
• Following his successful return to the New York Yankees' rotation on Sept. 21, Masahiro Tanaka will get another start on Saturday, according to manager Joe Girardi. That will presumably result in a six-man rotation for the Yankees this week, costing Brandon McCarthy his second start.
Jason Hammel was scheduled to skip his Sept. 20 start to attend the birth of his child, but he is expected to rejoin the Oakland Athletics' rotation on Thursday.
Roenis Elias (elbow) is likely done for the season, so the Seattle Mariners slotted Taijuan Walker into their rotation on Sept. 19 to give Chris Young and Hisashi Iwakuma an additional day of rest apiece. That spot would next arrive on Wednesday of Week 25, and Walker is the most likely candidate to pitch then.
• The Tampa Bay Rays' rotation listed above is per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times on Sept. 17. The team has six potential starters from which to draw during Week 25, so Alex Colome could sneak in a turn if the team desires.
• If Scott Baker (triceps) heals in time, he might be able to rejoin the Texas Rangers' rotation in place of Lisalverto Bonilla on Wednesday.
Marcus Stroman dropped the appeal of his suspension and it was lowered from six to five games; he will be eligible to rejoin the Toronto Blue Jays' rotation on Friday. Manager John Gibbons previously had said he would use a "bullpen day" led by Todd Redmond to fill Stroman's spot on Thursday, and the team seems likely to use a six-man rotation in Week 25 as a result, costing R.A. Dickey his second scheduled turn.
• The Arizona Diamondbacks planned to shut down Chase Anderson following his Sept. 19 start, as he had reached his innings cap. Expect the team to use five starters during Week 25, with Andrew Chafin remaining in the rotation.
• The Chicago Cubs announced their rotation for their Monday-Wednesday serious versus the St. Louis Cardinals, as well as the fact that Kyle Hendricks will be their lone two-start pitcher, working Tuesday and Sunday. Friday's and Saturday's games are up for grabs, with Edwin Jackson, Felix Doubront, Jacob Turner and Eric Jokisch all candidates to pitch either day.
Eddie Butler was expected to join the Colorado Rockies' rotation on Sept. 20, giving the team six starters, which is their likely alignment through Week 25.
• The Los Angeles Dodgers held back Dan Haren to Monday to pitch the opener of the team's all-important Monday-Wednesday series versus the San Francisco Giants, but neither he nor Zack Greinke (Tuesday's starter) has any promise of a two-start week. If the Dodgers wrap up the NL West title before Friday, they'll either shuffle their rotation to align for the Division Series or have all of their starters on limited pitch counts.
• The Miami Marlins will need a spot starter for Friday's doubleheader, and Brad Penny is a candidate to pitch one of those games.
• The New York Mets are currently deciding whether Jacob deGrom will make his final scheduled start on Saturday; he is approaching his innings cap but he wants to pitch another game. If deGrom is shut down, Rafael Montero would probably fill in.
Charlie Morton (sports hernia) experienced a setback and had his scheduled Sept. 21 start for the Pittsburgh Pirates scratched, with Vance Worley filling in for him and performing admirably. Morton's season might be done, so Worley might be needed to pitch again when that rotation spot arrives next on Friday.
Michael Wacha (shoulder) was scheduled to rejoin the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation on Sept. 20, setting him up for another turn on Friday of Week 25. By the weekend, however, the team might have locked itself into the NL's No. 3 seed and therefore will shuffle (or limit workloads of) its rotation, especially ace Adam Wainwright, who is currently lined up to start the Sunday finale.
Tyson Ross (general soreness) will not be ready to make Tuesday's start for the San Diego Padres, so Robbie Erlin will fill in once again. Ross hasn't yet been formally ruled out for the year, however, so Sunday's starter remains undecided.
• If the San Francisco Giants clinch playoff positioning before Sunday's game, they will almost assuredly hold projected Sunday starter Madison Bumgarner back for the Wild Card game/Division Series Game 1.
Blake Treinen, who made a Sept. 17 spot start for the Washington Nationals, is the leading candidate to make a spot start in one of the games of Friday's doubleheader. Thanks to Monday's off day, however, and with the team in position to align its starters for the postseason, the Nationals could both change their current order (including Treinen's turn) and limit their weekend starters' pitch counts.

Tristan's Week 25 pitcher rankings: Top 75

1. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Wed-SF (Hudson)
2. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Tue-@TOR (Dickey), Sun-LAA (Wilson)
3. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Wed-@DET (Verlander)
4. Max Scherzer (DET) -- Thu-MIN (May)
5. David Price (DET) -- Tue-CWS (Carroll), Sun-MIN (Gibson)
6. Johnny Cueto (CIN) -- Tue-MIL (Fiers), Sun-PIT (Cole)
7. Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Mon-KC (Duffy), Sun-TB (Cobb)
8. Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Sat-HOU (McHugh)
9. Alex Wood (ATL) -- Tue-PIT (Cole), Sun-@PHI (Hamels)
10. Mike Fiers (MIL) -- Tue-@CIN (Cueto), Sun-CHC (Hendricks)
11. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Mon-@ATL (Harang), Sat-@CIN (Simon)
12. Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Tue-@MIA (Alvarez), Sun-ATL (Wood)
13. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Tue-@LAD (Greinke), Sun-SD (TBD)
14. Alex Cobb (TB) -- Tue-@BOS (Buchholz), Sun-@CLE (Carrasco)
15. Jeff Samardzija (OAK) -- Mon-LAA (Wilson), Sat-@TEX (Holland)
16. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Sat-TB (Karns)
17. Yusmeiro Petit (SF) -- Thu-SD (Cashner)
18. Adam Wainwright (STL) -- Mon-@CHC (Wood), Sun-@ARI (Collmenter)
19. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Tue-@ATL (Wood), Sun-@CIN (Cueto)
20. Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Wed-STL (Lackey)
21. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Tue-LAA (LeBlanc), Sun-@TEX (Martinez)
22. Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Tue-KC (Ventura)
23. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Sat-MIA (Eovaldi)
24. Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Sat-@NYM (DeGrom)
25. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Tue-SF (Bumgarner), Sun-COL (Bergman)
26. Derek Holland (TEX) -- Mon-HOU (Tropeano), Sat-OAK (Samardzija)
27. Tanner Roark (WSH) -- Tue-NYM (Colon), Sun-MIA (Alvarez)
28. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Wed-NYM (Gee)
29. Jon Lester (OAK) -- Wed-LAA (Santiago)
30. Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Sat-BAL (Gonzalez)
31. James Paxton (SEA) -- Mon-@TOR (Happ), Sat-LAA (Rasmus)
32. Jake Peavy (SF) -- Mon-@LAD (Haren), Sat-SD (Stults)
33. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Wed-PIT (Locke)
34. A.J. Burnett (PHI) -- Sat-ATL (Harang)
35. Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Mon-BAL (Chen), Sun-@BOS (Buchholz)
36. James Shields (KC) -- Thu-@CWS (Quintana)
37. Clay Buchholz (BOS) -- Tue-TB (Cobb), Sun-NYY (Pineda)
38. Marcus Stroman (TOR) -- Fri-BAL (Tillman)
39. Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Tue-@CLE (Salazar), Sun-@CWS (Bassitt)
40. Josh Collmenter (ARI) -- Mon-@MIN (Nolasco), Sun-STL (Wainwright)
41. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Sat-@BOS (Kelly)
42. Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Tue-@WSH (Roark), Sun-HOU (Tropeano)
43. Danny Duffy (KC) -- Mon-@CLE (Carrasco), Sat-@CWS (Danks)
44. Zack Wheeler (NYM) -- Thu-@WSH (Fister)
45. Rick Porcello (DET) -- Fri-MIN (TBD)
46. Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Fri-@SF (Vogelsong)
47. Ervin Santana (ATL) -- Fri-@PHI (Williams)
48. J.A. Happ (TOR) -- Mon-SEA (Paxton), Sun-BAL (Chen)
49. Dan Haren (LAD) -- Mon-SF (Peavy), Sat-COL (Butler)
50. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Thu-@SF (Petit)
51. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Fri-@ARI (Cahill)
52. C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Mon-@OAK (Samardzija), Sun-@SEA (Hernandez)
53. John Lackey (STL) -- Wed-@CHC (Arrieta)
54. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Thu-KC (Shields)
55. Scott Kazmir (OAK) -- Fri-@TEX (Tepesch)
56. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Wed-CWS (Sale)
57. Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Wed-@TOR (Buehrle)
58. Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Wed-@BOS (Ranaudo)
59. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Tue-STL (Miller), Sun-@MIL (Fiers)
60. Kyle Lobstein (DET) -- Mon-CWS (Bassitt), Sat-MIN (Nolasco)
61. Matt Garza (MIL) -- Fri-CHC (Jackson)
62. Lance Lynn (STL) -- Sat-@ARI (Miley)
63. Jason Vargas (KC) -- Wed-@CLE (Bauer)
64. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Fri-@SEA (Iwakuma)
65. Kevin Gausman (BAL) -- Thu-@NYY (Kuroda)
66. Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Wed-ARI (Nuno)
67. Henderson Alvarez (MIA) -- Tue-PHI (Hamels), Sun-@WSH (Roark)
68. Nick Tropeano (HOU) -- Mon-@TEX (Holland), Sun-@NYM (Colon)
69. Mike Minor (ATL) -- Thu-PIT (Volquez)
70. T.J. House (CLE) -- Fri-TB (Archer)
71. Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Fri-MIA, Gm. 1 (Cosart)
72. Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Fri-HOU (Peacock)
73. Yovani Gallardo (MIL) -- Thu-@CIN (Holmberg)
74. Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Thu-PHI (Buchanan)
75. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Tue-SEA (Hernandez)

Two-start options for AL-/NL-only leagues:
Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- Mon-@NYY (Pineda), Sun-@TOR (Happ)
Aaron Harang (ATL) -- Mon-PIT (Liriano), Sat-@PHI (Burnett)
Eric Stults (SD) -- Mon-COL (Matzek), Sat-@SF (Peavy)

No-thank-yous, among two-start pitchers:
Chris Bassitt (CWS) -- Mon-@DET (Lobstein), Sun-KC (Ventura)
Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Tue-ARI (Chafin), Sun-@DET (Price)
Nick Martinez (TEX) -- Tue-HOU (Oberholtzer), Sun-OAK (Gray)
Ricky Nolasco (MIN) -- Mon-ARI (Collmenter), Sat-@DET (Lobstein)

Pitching advantages

• Rotation changes and pitch counts are usually the story of Week 25, and besides the mere "Scuttlebutt" notes above, here are some of the considerations that went into what might seem odd Game Score projections/rankings above:

Adam Wainwright: I'd be stunned if he even pitches Sunday. You're starting him on the strength of one start, Monday at Wrigley Field.
Felix Hernandez: If you own him and desperately need his two starts, root for his Seattle Mariners to remain no more than one game up for a wild-card spot into Sunday. If the team clinches before then, there is zero chance he'd pitch that day; he'd be held back for the team's Wild Card game.
Madison Bumgarner: I'd be stunned if he pitches Sunday as well. The San Francisco Giants surely want him for the Wild Card game/Division Series Game 1.
C.J. Wilson: He might be skipped on Sunday, as the Los Angeles Angels could use Wade LeBlanc on four days' rest then to keep Wilson fresh for the playoffs.
Jered Weaver: He's likely to be on a pitch count on Friday.
Zack Greinke: The Dodgers will likely have wrapped up the NL West title before Sunday, in which case he'll probably be skipped and the team will go with a bullpen day.
Lance Lynn: Ditto.
Jordan Zimmermann: Um, ditto ditto?
Detroit Tigers starters: Just guessing here, but if they face elimination entering Saturday's game, don't be shocked if they try using David Price and Justin Verlander on three days' rest for Saturday's and Sunday's games.

• 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 on Friday):

1. J.A. Happ (SEA, Monday): He has five consecutive quality starts at Rogers Centre and a 3.23 ERA and 1.18 WHIP there overall this season. Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners have batted just .216/.288/.317 against left-handers in September.
2. Jonathon Niese (HOU, Friday): He has five consecutive quality starts at Citi Field, and a 2.81 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 27 starts there since the beginning of last season, which was when the New York Mets brought in the outfield fences. Niese has also induced misses on at least 20 percent of hitters' swings in six of his past seven starts, which bodes well for a matchup against a Houston Astros team that has the majors' highest strikeout (28.4 percent) and swing-and-miss (29.9 percent) rates in September.
3. Clay Buchholz (TB, Tuesday): He owns the Tampa Bay Rays, with eight wins, nine quality starts, a 2.21 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 17 career starts; both ratios represent his best (by far) against any opponent he has faced five or more times. He hasn't allowed a run to them in any of his past three starts.
4. Josh Collmenter (STL, Sunday): He might be facing a St. Louis Cardinals "B" lineup, if the Cardinals have clinched playoff positioning by then (which seems likely). He also has a 2.75 ERA at home this season, and he's riding (into his Monday start) a streak of five consecutive quality starts, during which time his ERA is 1.01.
5. Tom Koehler (PHI, Thursday): He's 3-for-3 in quality starts with a 2.00 ERA and 1.06 WHIP versus the Philadelphia Phillies, and 10-for-13 in quality starts with a 2.68 ERA and 1.07 WHIP at Marlins Park, this season.
6. Tyler Matzek (@SD, Monday): He's 5-for-6 in quality starts with four wins, a 1.96 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 21.1 percent strikeout rate since Aug. 19, including a shutout of these San Diego Padres at Coors Field on Sept. 5. The Padres, meanwhile, have the majors' second-lowest wOBA at home this season (.284).
7. Jeff Locke (@ATL, Wednesday): The Atlanta Braves offense is in a freefall, batting just .206/.269/.287 thus far in September for the majors' worst team wOBA (.249). Locke, meanwhile, entered his Sept. 19 start with a 2.88 ERA in his previous five turns.

Hitting ratings

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 advantages

• 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: Detroit Tigers 7, Texas Rangers 7, Toronto Blue Jays 7, Washington Nationals 7, Boston Red Sox 6, Cleveland Indians 6, Cincinnati Reds 6, Los Angeles Dodgers 6. No other team plays more than four home games.
Versus RH: Baltimore Orioles 6, New York Yankees 6, Arizona Diamondbacks 6, Chicago Cubs 6, Miami Marlins 6, Washington Nationals 6. Ten teams face five right-handed starters.
Versus LH: Minnesota Twins 4, Oakland Athletics 4, San Diego Padres 4, Chicago White Sox 3, Seattle Mariners 3, Atlanta Braves 3. Twelve teams face two left-handed starters.

• Injuries -- and the impact upon hitters' playing time -- is often a big story in the season's final week, so here's a quick look at big-name injury risks entering Week 25:

Matt Adams (illness): He missed the Sept. 20-21 games but is listed as day-to-day.
Nolan Arenado (pneumonia): He might miss the remainder of the season.
Carlos Beltran (elbow): He will require surgery after the season for his injury, and it's possible that, once the New York Yankees are mathematically eliminated from the postseason, he will be shut down to have the operation.
Jacoby Ellsbury (hamstring): He'll miss at least a few days and is at risk of being shut down for the season.
Evan Gattis (kidney stone): He pinch hit on Sept. 20 and is expected back in the lineup during the next few days, but the Atlanta Braves' depth at catcher minimizes their need to rush him.
Josh Hamilton (shoulder): He has been indefinitely shut down, so barring a significant turn of events before Monday, he shouldn't be activated in weekly leagues.
Jason Heyward (thumb): He's listed as day-to-day.
Desmond Jennings (knee): The Tampa Bay Times reports that he is done for the season.
Juan Lagares (elbow): He's day-to-day, but the New York Mets have no reason to hurry him back. If he doesn't play by Sept. 21, bench him for the final week.
Nick Markakis (shoulder): He's listed as day-to-day.
Michael Morse (oblique): It's unclear whether he'll be ready for the final week.
Marcell Ozuna (ankle): He left the Sept. 21 game with the injury, and while X-rays were negative, he is probably done for the season.
Angel Pagan (back): He suffered a setback and, while listed as day-to-day, might miss a few more games this week.
Steve Pearce (wrist): He received a cortisone shot on Sept. 20 and will miss at least a few days as a result. Don't expect much more than 3-4 games from him, some of them perhaps only as a pinch hitter.
Alex Rios (thumb): He's out indefinitely and there has been little news on his status since the beginning of September.
Jimmy Rollins (hamstring): He might return sometime during the Philadelphia Phillies' series at Oakland Sept. 19-21.
Mark Teixeira (wrist): He is likely to require a cortisone shot, in which case he'll assuredly miss at least a couple of games during Week 25.
Ryan Zimmerman (hamstring): He returned to action on Sept. 20, but tread carefully, as the Nationals have no reason to push him, using this week only to get a read on his postseason role and get him at-bats as a tune-up.

• Both the contending Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics rate among the best hitting schedules for Week 25, so it's a good thing that their playoff fates might remain undecided into Sunday. For the Tigers, they'll play seven home games against teams that have long since been eliminated from contention, with Chris Sale (Wednesday) the toughest individual matchup they'll face all week.

Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez and Victor Martinez rank among the most productive September hitters in the game, none of them available in ESPN leagues, and Torii Hunter has numbers not far off those three. But Nick Castellanos is available in more than 60 percent of ESPN leagues, and he's a .295 hitter in 15 September games, as well as a .296/.343/.445 hitter in 70 home games this season.

The Athletics, meanwhile, conclude the season with four games at hitter-friendly Globe Life Park against Texas Rangers pitchers that, with the exception of Derek Holland, project with game scores beneath 45. Granted, the Athletics rate among the worst hitting teams in the past month -- they have .223/.292/.332 slash rates -- but for those seeking to plug final-week lineup holes, they could be a sneaky source of production. Consider their hitters' track records at Globe Life: Derek Norris is a .351 hitter with a .579 slugging percentage in 16 games, Adam Dunn is a .281/.423/.614 hitter in 17 games, Josh Reddick is a .258 hitter with a .517 slugging percentage in 27 games and Brandon Moss is a .268/.369/.549 hitter in 22 games.