Wednesday's slate is highlighted by a pair of NL arms hoping to embellish their Cy Young resume. Zack Wheeler and the Phillies host the Orioles in an interleague tilt. Meanwhile, Walker Buehler leads the Dodgers into Coors Field for an NL West affair with the Rockies.
The schedule begins at 12:35 PM ET in the Great American Ballpark with the Reds entertaining the Pirates. There are two more matinees including the playoff bound Rays hosting a Blue Jays club battling for a wild card perch.
The steaming inventory isn't great, but there are options for those continuing to grind pitchers and batters. Here we go, some options to get you over the midweek hump, all available in more than half of ESPN leagues.
Joe Ryan (R), rostered in 13% of ESPN leagues, Minnesota Twins at Chicago Cubs: Ryan was initially slated to start last Sunday, but he needed a couple of extra days for his bruised wrist to heal after taking a ball up the middle off his wrist. The 25-year-old rookie has impressed, posting a 2.12 ERA and .53 WHIP in his inaugural 17 frames, fanning 14 while issuing just a pair of free passes.
Carlos Hernandez (R), 24%, Kansas City Royals at Cleveland: Hernandez's stellar second half hit a speed bump last time out when Oakland tagged him for nine hits and seven runs in just four frames. Look for a better effort this time, facing a Cleveland lineup with the sixth lowest wOBA and fifth highest strikeout rate with a righty on the hill for the past month.
Reynaldo Lopez (R), 9%, Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers: Lopez is also looking to rebound from a subpar effort against a beatable lineup. Before the Angels torched Lopez for six runs on seven hits over four frames last time out, he compiled a 2.63 ERA and 0.92 WHIP over his prior 24 frames.
Taylor Hearn (L), 9%, Texas Rangers at New York Yankees: Make it three hurlers looking for retribution as Hearn's second half surge was interrupted last time out by the White Sox who toasted the lefty with eight hits and seven runs in 3 1/3 stanzas. In the previous five outings, Hearn registered a 3.94 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 24 frames. Facing the Yankees can be daunting, but over the last month they've recorded the fourth lowest wOBA plus the third highest wOBA versus southpaws.
The search for saves never ends. With a week and a half left in the season, a few names have emerged as strong candidates to continue to close down the stretch and all are readily available. They are Michael Fulmer (Detroit Tigers, 12% rostered), Andrew Chafin (Oakland Athletics, 13%), Chris Stratton (Pittsburgh Pirates, 12%), Dylan Floro (Miami Marlins, 24%), Scott Barlow (Kansas City Royals, 35%) and Dominic Leone (San Francisco Giants, 3%).
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Catcher -- Keibert Ruiz (S), 5%, Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins (RHP Elieser Hernandez): Ruiz was one of the key components of the Max Scherzer deal. He's showing why he was so highly coveted with a trio of three-hit games over his last four starts.
First Base -- Lewin Diaz (L), 1%, Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals (RHP Josiah Gray): Diaz has been quietly tattooing the ball lately. In his last 10 games, he's blistered 12 balls over 95 mph, nine in triple digits with three over 105 mph.
Second Base -- Josh Rojas (L), 30%, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Ian Anderson): Rojas truthers have been clamoring for him to get a chance at regular playing time. Rojas was afforded the chance this season and has not disappointed. He's one steal shy of double-digit totals in homers and stolen bases, while posting a decent .766 OPS. While he still isn't a stud, eligibility at 2B, 3B, SS and OF renders Rojas a nice complementary part.
Third Base -- Hunter Dozier (R), 24%, Kansas City Royals at Cleveland (LHP Logan Allen): Maybe it's just a hot streak, but with Dozier producing a .342/.381/.789 line over his last dozen games, the possibility exists his lingering wrist issue is finally gone. Regardless, he's always more productive with the platoon edge while Allen is the rare Cleveland hurler not yet showing signs of growth.
Shortstop -- Freddy Galvis (S), 9%, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Baltimore Orioles (LHP Keegan Akin): Not as many batters still follow the credo, "If you put the ball in play, good things can happen." Galvis does, as evidenced by fanning just twice in 35 plate appearances since taking over at third base. The veteran infielder has been rewarded with a .321/.429/.500 live over that span.
Corner Infield -- Nathaniel Lowe (L), 23%, Texas Rangers at New York Yankees (RHP Corey Kluber): Lowe is another hitter crushing the ball recently, without the commensurate results. In his last 11 games, Lowe has sent 11 batted balls over 95 mph, with nine topping the century mark, seven of which eclipsed 105 mph. Kluber registered his best outing since returning last time out, but Lowe's current Statcast data can't be ignored.
Middle Infield -- Gavin Lux (L), 33%, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez): Lux is doing all be can to salvage a disappointing campaign by posting a .500/.577/.773 over the past 10 days. Streaks can be misleading, but with a 11.5% strikeout rate in this span, Lux has been more than lucky. The icing on the cake is enjoying the platoon edge in Coors Field.
Outfield -- Rafael Ortega (L), 15%, Chicago Cubs vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Joe Ryan): Ortega has cooled considerably, largely due to a 35% strikeout rate over the last week. However, even though Ryan has been impressive, he's only punched out 14 in 17 innings, giving Ortega a chance to get back on track.
Outfield -- Jose Siri (R), 6%, Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels (RHP Janson Junk): Ideally, a lefty swinger would fill this spot against Junk, but only righthanders Chad McCormick and Jake Meyers are rostered in fewer than 50% of ESPN leagues. All three are in play against a rookie off to a sluggish start, with Siri getting the nod due to his ability to steal bases and Houston checking in with a "9" in stolen bases on the Hitter Matchup Ratings for September 22.
Outfield -- Seth Brown (L), 1%, Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners (RHP Chris Flexen): Before missing time on the COVID-19 IL, Brown has been flexing his muscles with a righty on the hill, slugging 15 of his 16 homers with the platoon edge. He's still looking for his first dinger since returning a little over a week ago, despite smashing five balls over 100 mph with four exceeding 105 mph in that span.