Wednesday's starting pitcher slate is packed at the top, including the return of Indians ace Corey Kluber from the disabled list. The schedule also finds two hurlers who can become permanent parts of many fantasy teams, and one that's on the cusp.
Another faces an already quiet offense, losing the best player in the game for what could be around two months.
Pitchers to stream
Aaron Nola (R), 49.9 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Philadelphia Phillies at Miami Marlins: The right-hander has had quite different outcomes in his two starts since coming off the DL. He gave up one run in seven frames on May 21 but five in six innings on May 26. Still, his velocity and stuff have come back to normal, and the Marlins carry a weak .309 wOBA against right-handed hurlers, which ranks 22nd.
Zack Godley (R), 39.7 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates: That 1.99 ERA is too good to last, though his 7.4 K/9 also seems low when looking at his first-pitch strike rate (62.8 percent) and swinging-strike rate (an excellent 13.3 percent). Godley's revived curveball has profiled as a plus pitch. Visiting pitcher-friendly PNC Park against a minus offense (.305 wOBA, 26th) could open the gates to snagging a breakout arm.
Jaime Garcia (L), 8.8 percent, Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Angels: Time to pick more aggressively on the Angels, who weren't scary even before Mike Trout needed surgery on his left thumb. They're 27th overall with a .301 wOBA and 19th against southpaws (.307). Garcia's 3.58 ERA looks unsustainable (6.2 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, .242 BABIP), but his continued ground-ball success should serve him well Wednesday.
Junior Guerra (R), 11.7 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at New York Mets: He's come back with authority from the DL with nine strikeouts and three earned runs in 8 2/3 innings (two starts). The embattled Mets carry the league's third-worst home wOBA (.289).
Pitchers to avoid
Sean Manaea (L), 32.7 percent, Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians: Cleveland's .366 wOBA in the past seven days is tied for fourth in the majors, and hidden beneath their season-long struggles, they're tied for second with a 0.61 BB/K against left-handed arms. The hard-working Manaea builds up his pitch and walk counts. He'll endure plenty of hurdles with this patient lineup.
Last week, Brad Hand appeared to be taking over the San Diego Padres' closer role. The left-hander, who has turned into an elite reliever, swiped two saves. Brandon Maurer was struggling with a 6.88 ERA after May 20. Of course, that was chiefly fueled by an inflated BABIP, and he has now regained the lead by closing out his past two appearances and re-learning to pitch inside with his often triple-digit heat. He'll have to keep this going before Carter Capps (elbow) returns to extend his leash.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. A "*" means that the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.
Alex Avila (L), 31.2 percent, Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals (RHP Ian Kennedy): Avila leads catchers with at least 100 plate appearances with an absurd .472 wOBA versus righty pitching. Kennedy fares better at Kauffman Stadium, but he's on pace for his third straight season with at least 1.50 homers allowed per nine innings.
Joe Mauer (L), 7.2 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Houston Astros (RHP David Paulino): Mauer Power is back -- sort of, at least against right-handed hurlers (.315/.393/.460 with all three of his home runs in 140 plate appearances). He's worth a matchup play roster spot in 12-team leagues right now, notably in head-to-head and points formats.
Jed Lowrie (B), 34.7 percent, Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians (RHP Mike Clevinger): The resurgent Lowrie has clubbed all six of his home runs against right-handers to complement a .312/.384/.539 split. Don't buy Clevinger's 2.82 ERA. Oakland's secretly dangerous lineup should pepper him with crooked numbers.
Ryan Schimpf (L), 6.9 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Jake Arrieta): Despite some bright spots, Arrieta still hasn't turned a corner in 2017 and has wilted against lefty bats to a .402 wOBA, the league's 11th-highest. During a recent run, Schimpf left the yard in four out of six games. His ugly .167/.298/.440 line makes him a part-timer player, but here's a reminder that he's a useful matchup piece.
Tim Anderson (R), 14.3 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Boston Red Sox (LHP Drew Pomeranz): Anderson has smacked all five of his homers this season in May, and he feels more comfortable against southpaws (.294/.333/.333). Pomeranz looked dominant in punching out 11 on May 25 but still has a ways to go before rediscovering his peak form.
Mitch Moreland (L), 23.9 percent, Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox (RHP Mike Pelfrey): Moreland may have the quietest hot bat of the year, considering his hard-hit contact rate stands at a whopping 45.2 percent, unsurprisingly a career best. The 31-year-old continues to enjoy facing right-handers (.271/.358/.472), and despite better numbers this year, Pelfrey's lefty-hitting opponents rattled off a .317/.392/.461 line on him from 2014 to 2016.
Whit Merrifield (R), 3.5 percent, Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Matthew Boyd): Hard to buy into many Royals batters, but heading into Tuesday, Merrifield carries a 14-game hit streak, during which he's 20 for 50 with three home runs, three stolen bases, nine runs and a .400/.434/.660 line. He's matched that clip in his performance against lefties on the year in 35 at-bats. To top it off, right-handed bats have walloped Boyd to a .389 wOBA, the sixth-highest in the majors.
David Peralta (L), 26.9 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Chad Kuhl): He might as well own a reserved spot in this series when he faces a right-hander. His .371 wOBA in that split and Kuhl's .437 against lefty sticks -- the third-highest in the majors -- make Peralta a must-start.
Jayson Werth (R), 24.5 percent, Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants (RHP Matt Cain): Werth ranks tied for 20th in PITCHf/x value against four-seam fastballs (5.7 value per Fangraphs), and Cain owns the sixth-worst value on that offering (-6.3). Though Werth's OPS sits nearly 200 points lower against right-handers, Cain's flat heat should welcome plenty of offense.
Jorge Bonifacio (R), 5 percent, Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Matthew Boyd): Two Royals! As noted, righty bats torture Boyd. An 0-for-4 outing on Monday cooled Bonifacio, but in the previous nine games, he filled up the box score with a .294/.333/.794 line, five home runs and 10 RBI in 36 plate appearances.
Hitter matchup ratings
Notes: Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth, as well as the past 21 days) and 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. So, for example, a 10 is a must-start rating, whereas 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.