A normally full Friday slate is short a few games, as the Marlins and Phillies remain quarantined and their expected opponents (the Nationals and Blue Jays) are impacted as a result. All of the scheduled contests will now be played under the lights, as the sole scheduled matinee between the Brewers and the Cardinals has been postponed due to positive tests.
Good luck heading into the weekend! Here's a look at the top streaming plays of the day, focusing on players rostered in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.
Jordan Montgomery (L), 25%, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox's offense is off to a tepid start, but it remains dangerous. Still, with their subpar pitching, the opposing pitcher will usually be a candidate for a win, especially when supported by one of the league's most productive lineups. Montgomery's velocity has finally returned after he rehabbed most of last season following Tommy John surgery.
Sean Newcomb (L), 11%, Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets: Newcomb was pulled after 3⅓ innings in his debut, also against the Mets. It isn't clear how long he'll be allowed to pitch in the rematch, so be aware that he may not qualify for a potential win. At the time of this writing, there were five starters to be announced. If any of the named starters are in a favorable matchup, they may well supplant Newcomb as a recommended play. For now, the left-hander is an option, based on good control and a ground ball lean, helping to keep the ball in the yard.
Tony Gonsolin (R), rostered in 5% of ESPN leagues, Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks: The weather-induced postponement of Thursday's tilt between the Reds and Cubs pushed Tyler Chatwood to Saturday's notes. In his stead is Gonsolin, called up from the Dodgers' alternate training site to fortify a depleted staff. Gonsolin was vying for a starting role in camp, so he should be able to work multiple innings, though perhaps not enough to qualify for a win. It's only been one week but the Diamondbacks are averaging the second fewest runs per game in the league.
Spencer Turnbull (R), 4%, Detroit Tigers vs. Cincinnati Reds: Old habits are sometimes hard to break. When poring over the slate for spot starters, the Pavlovian approach is to focus on National League venues, especially for interleague affairs. However, with the universal DH, the two leagues are now on even ground. Turnbull is still a work in progress, but the Tigers organization is quietly focusing on arms with good spin rates. Turnbull is a prime example. While not exceptional, Turnbull does sport a fastball and curve with above average spin rates.
We're barely one week into the season, and already 34 different relievers have garnered a save. Only five guys have more than one. Seven teams have two different relievers who have captured a save, while the Phillies, White Sox, Reds and Nationals have all been shut out in this category through Wednesday's action. Buckle up, my friends, it's going to remain wacky all season. The takeaway here is that ratios from closers matter more in a 162-game season. In this abbreviated campaign, ERA and WHIP are so volatile that it's best to grab saves wherever you can and not worry about the collateral damage.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, consult our Closer Chart.
Projected game scores
Catcher -- Isiah Kiner-Falefa (R), 10%, Texas Rangers at San Francisco Giants (Undecided): In season-long leagues, Kiner-Falefa is the classic won't-hurt-you catcher, likely to post a good batting average, albeit with limited production. His allure is volume since he's catcher-eligible but playing every day at third base. In daily leagues, there's intrigue after seeing him steal a pair of bases on Wednesday night.
First Base -- Michael Chavis (R), 23%, Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees (LHP Jordan Montgomery): Chavis remains undisciplined at the dish but is quite capable of hitting a mistake a long way, especially with a southpaw on the mound. Last year, eight of Chavis' 18 long balls came with the platoon advantage, despite 160 fewer chances against left-handed pitching.
Second Base -- Leury Garcia (S), 13%, Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals (LHP Kris Bubic): At some point, Nick Madrigal will usurp the keystone from Garcia. Until then, the versatile switch-hitter is an ideal plug-and-play, assured of the platoon edge in a time where extended benches lead to more batters being lifted for pinch-hitters. Garcia has cooled since his two-homer game last week, but the Royals staff could be the perfect panacea.
Third Base -- Tommy La Stella (L), 33%, Los Angeles Angels vs. Houston Astros (RHP Lance McCullers Jr.): Early on, La Stella is exhibiting more plate patience than in the past. He's always been tough to strike out, but four walks with just one whiff in 26 plate appearances from the seven-hole is lengthening the Angels order, helping to turn it over and getting Mike Trout and his friends more chances.
Shortstop -- Willy Adames (R), 11%, Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Alex Cobb): Adames is off to a solid start, though he's still looking for power. He's also displaying good patience with four walks fueling an early .474 on-base mark. Adames is in a good spot to continue mashing, in a great hitting venue. Cobb pitched well in his opener against the Red Sox, but it's only one game -- and last season he allowed a startling nine homers in just 12.1 stanzas.
Corner Infield -- Jake Lamb (L), 2%, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (RHP Tony Gonsolin): The Dodgers are handing the ball to right-hander Gonsolin, replacing the injured Alex Wood. Lamb is off to a slow start but is likely going to be in the lineup and capable of a breakout.
Middle Infield -- Adam Frazier (L), 6%, Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs (RHP Yu Darvish): Frazier continues to be one of the underappreciated players in the league, primarily because he doesn't excel anywhere but is capable of chipping in across the board. He makes excellent contact and leads off against right-handers, both fine traits for a fill-in option.
Outfield -- Ender Inciarte (L), 3%, Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets (RHP Rick Porcello): Inciarte's playing time will lessen once Nick Markakis is back in game shape after opting back in the season. While he's in the lineup, Inciarte is a threat to run and faces one of the easiest catchers for speedsters to take advantage of.
Outfield -- Raimel Tapia (L), 2%, Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres (RHP Garrett Richards): The Rockies continue to play Tapia against right-handers, despite lacking the power to take advantage of Coors Field. Still, the mile-high yard is even better for hits than it is for power, playing directly into Tapia's game. Who knows? Perhaps he runs into a longball.
Outfield -- Robbie Grossman (S), 1%, Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners (RHP Taijuan Walker): Oakland has a few options for this spot, but Grossman has started strong and the Athletics have been riding the hot hand. Plus, Walker's workload will be monitored, as Tommy John surgery has limited the 27-year-old right-hander to just 14 frames the past two seasons. The result is that Grossman will have the platoon edge against a weak Mariners bullpen.