A quartet of division matchups highlight the streaming pitchers, giving head-to-head one last chance to make up ground. With several aces on the card, choosing the right arm to keep up with your opponent is even more important.
Today's bats come with the standard Sunday warning that teams often give regulars the day off, so it's crucial to check lineups as they're announced. All the featured hitters enjoy the platoon advantage, increasing their likelihood of being in the lineup.
Good luck. Let's get that W.
Pitchers to Stream
Jakob Junis (R), rostered in 23 percent of ESPN leagues, Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland Indians: The Indians could have Carlos Gonzalez in the lineup, but even so, Junis is in a good spot, facing a depleted offense averaging the fifth-fewest runs per game in MLB. With Corey Kluber on the hill for Cleveland, the Indians don't need many runs to win, but that's out of Junis' control. All the righty can do is continue to exhibit the skills leading to 20 strikeouts in 15⅔ innings and watch his 5.74 ERA drop.
Eric Lauer (L), 11 percent, San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks: Early season numbers are often misleading, especially when looking at a parsed sample such as team production against left-handed pitching. To wit, the Diamondbacks are crushing southpaws, fueled by an unsustainable .347 BABIP in that scenario. Arizona's lineup profiles mid-pack with a lefty on the hill, which is where it'll likely settle. Look for Lauer to fare better than he did against the Snakes in early April, when he was touched for four runs in five frames, allowing a pair of homers.
Derek Holland (L), 5 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies: You know the expression, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" Well, despite some roster turnover, the Rockies have had fits with lefty pitching away from Coors the past several seasons. Until they demonstrate otherwise, using a competent southpaw at home against Colorado is a winning play. With 21 punchouts in 16 innings, Holland is certainly competent. However, he has eight walks in that span.
Vince Velasquez (R), 5 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at Miami Marlins: As expected, the Marlins are at the bottom of the pack in team scoring while sitting close to the top in easiest to whiff. Their mound foe is essentially lock and load.
Fun fact: In 2017, Anything Swarzak had a better season than Edwin Diaz. Hey, I said fun, not useful. Regardless, Swarzak is currently in possession of the gig Diaz held last season: closing for the Mariners. Swarzak is off to a scorching start, fanning at least one in his first four outings and totaling five in 3⅓ stanzas. Despite the early prowess, Swarzak is available in 81 percent of ESPN leagues.
Projected Game Scores
Catcher: Blake Swihart (S), 2 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles (LHP John Means): Call it a hunch, but with the early game Monday, Alex Cora could give Swihart the start behind the dish. After a modest three-game hitting streak, Swihart is without a knock in his past nine trips to the dish. Still, for the season, his exit velocity and hard-hit rate are by far career bests.
First base: Yonder Alonso (L), 9 percent, Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees (RHP Masahiro Tanaka): Alonso gets lost in the shuffle with respect to the elevated-swing revolution, but he has smacked 28 and 23 homers the past two seasons after failing to reach double digits in a career begun in 2010. He has a pair already this season, though he's off to a slow start in general, hitting just .162 through Friday's action. Tanaka has done a good job keeping the ball in the yard this season (one homer in 18⅓ innings). However, he's vulnerable, especially to lefties in Yankee Stadium.
Second base: Brandon Lowe (L), 2 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Marcus Stroman): With four homers in 40 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, Lowe has earned the strong side of a platoon at the keystone.
Third base: Daniel Descalso (L), 7 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Trevor Cahill): Descalso is Joe Maddon's type of player, bringing defensive versatility along with being a pesky out. He's off to a solid start with the Cubs, posting a .874 OPS.
Shortstop: Garrett Hampson (R), 11 percent, Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants (LHP Derek Holland): After a sluggish start, Hampson has hit safely in four of his past five games. He has yet to swipe a base, but that won't last long, as Hampson was 123-for-146 (84 percent) coming up through the Colorado farm system.
Corner infield: Wilmer Flores (R), 18 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Diego Padres (LHP Eric Lauer): The expectation was for Flores to be the everyday second baseman, with Ketel Marte taking over in center. However, after a slow start, Flores fell into the soft side of a platoon, with Marte floating between the infield and outfield. Now, Christian Walker is slumping, so Flores is seeing more time at first. With a lefty on the hill, Flores will be in the lineup somewhere, as he has thrived in that scenario.
Middle infield: Jeff McNeil (L), 31 percent, New York Mets at Atlanta Braves (RHP Julio Teheran): It has become Pavlovian. See who's on the mound for the Braves, and if it's Teheran, load up on opposing lefty sticks. Since 2015, Teheran has been crushed by lefties to the tune of a .352 wOBA. Against righty swingers, that drops to just .279.
Outfield: Leonys Martin (L), 5 percent, Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals (RHP Jakob Junis): Known for his plus glove and speed, Martin has muscled up so far in 2019, smashing five of his eight hits for extra bases.
Outfield: Robbie Grossman (S), 3 percent, Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers (RHP Adrian Sampson): Sampson's return to the Rangers rotation, replacing the injured Edinson Volquez was delayed a day after last night's postponement in Arlington. Sampson is stretched out, having made a six-inning start earlier in the season but he hasn't worked since a 3 ⅔ inning relief stint on April 3 so he may not be able to work as deep into the game as usual. Not only is Grossman in a good spot hitting leadoff, but as a switch-hitter, he'll retain the platoon edge as the Rangers inevitably turn to a weak bullpen.
Outfield: Joey Rickard (R), under 1 percent, Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox (LHP David Price): The Red Sox's rotation is beginning to come around after its collective spring work was curtailed. Maybe this is the outing in which Price returns to form, but until he proves it, it's worth using opposing batters, especially those enjoying the platoon bump. In his career, Rickard has fared much better against southpaw pitching.