On the final day of week 9, we look at the Sunday pitching matchups. Sunday’s are a beast of their own in season-long leagues with daily lineups as everyone is trying to steal categories/snag points late and reach the innings minimum. Some intriguing matchups and some highly owned guys that you may want to consider sitting but also guys that will rack up Sunday stats. Like Saturday in fantasy baseball, the starters are assessed in three tiers based on Yahoo ownership percentage. The top tier is over 80 % owned, the middle tier is 50%-80% owned, and the bottom tier is under 50%.
Fantasy Starting Pitchers Sit, Start, and Stream
Start as Usual
Zac Gallen (99% owned) vs. Braves
Sandy Alcantara (99 % owned) vs. A’s
Joe Ryan (96 % owned) vs. Guardians
Nathan Eovaldi (93 % owned) vs. Mariners
Marcus Stroman (90% owned) @ Padres
Nothing to overthink about here with any of these guys. Gallen is a Cy Young contender that should be considered matchup-proof. Alcantara and Ryan are coming off of rocky performances, but both catch a break with ideal matchups against Oakland and Cleveland. Kodai Senga has been unhittable at Citifiled. He is a must-start every time he pitches at home. Eovaldi and Stroman have been consistent all year and are in the start-every-week category.
Sit if Possible
Triston McKenzie (89% owned) @ Twins
After a breakout performance in 2022, Triston McKenzie makes his long-awaited 2023 debut after recovering from ateres major strain. Fantasy owners who have held onto him are probably eager to start him, and understandably so. He is likely to be on a pitch count in his first start and does not have a very favorable matchup against Joe Ryan, even if he does last a full five innings to qualify for a win.
Bryce Miller (83% owned) @ Rangers
Miller started his MLB career off strong going 4-1 in his first six starts allowing only four runs in the process. He did this with an insane fastball usage percentage of just under 70 percent, the most of any pitcher. This seemed a little too good to be true and proved to be last week against the Yankees when he got shelled for eight runs. His number of strikeouts has also been a bit inflated by two dominant performances against Oakland, who barely qualifies as a major league team. Now he takes on the Rangers in Texas, one of the most dynamic offenses in baseball who has particularly feasted on lefties this year. Start if you must, but if it can be avoided, that would be advisable.
Miles Mikolas (75% owned) @ Pirates
This one is a no brainer to be hoenst. Mikolas had a rough start to the season, having an ERA of nearly 6 in April but has been under 2 in that category since and had a batting average against May of .213, down from .333 in April. The Cardinals’ disappointing season is likely preventing Mikolas from getting the attention he deserves, but fantasy managers seem to be catching on as his ownership has gone up to 75 percent on Yahoo. As for the opposition, the Pirates had the least runs scored at home in May, so this matchup bodes well for Mikolas.
Michael Kopech (65% owned) vs. Detroit
The Tigers’ offense has been a little more productive lately but not enough to avoid the crazy tear Kopech is on. He has 29 strikeouts in his last three games and has allowed zero runs in two of his last three. Kopech’s big struggle this season has been keeping the ball in the park, which, and the Tigers are not a power-hitting ball club. The upside is too good to pass up here, especially on Sundays.
Taj Bradley (58% owned) @ Red Sox
Bradley is an awesome streaming option if he is available in your league but in more than half of all leagues, he is not I would consider him a must-start on Sunday. His strikeout totals are great, with a k/9 of 12.6, and this matchup is terrific. Bradley has dominated lefties both at the major and minor league levels. He has a minuscule 1.76 ERA against them this season in the majors. The Red Sox, who have been struggling offensively in recent weeks, have the most lefty-dominant roster in baseball. Stalwarts Rafael Devers, Jarren Duran, Alex Verdugo, and Masataka Yoshida all bat left-handed, as do Raimel Tapia and Triston Casas. This is a dream matchup for Bradley.
Tyler Wells (73% owned) @ Giants
Wells has enjoyed an excellent 2023 campaign so far and has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners. Sunday is not the best situation for Wells, though. Two significant factors here lead me to say this; Wells does not pitch nearly as well away from Camden, and his weakness has been the long ball this year. The Giants’ offense relies seemingly entirely on home runs (second most in baseball), so this has the makings of a nightmare matchup for Wells. He does not offer much strikeout upside either, and with Cedric Mullins on the IL and Gunnar Henderson leaving early on Saturday, his chance at getting run support is dwindling.
Anthony DeSclafani (63% owned) vs. Orioles
Even though I do not think Wells is a good start on Sunday, I am not in love with his opponent, DeSclafani. Lefties have done well against him, so guys like Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander will be licking their chops being able to hit from their natural side of the plate against a pitcher who has not pitched well at home this season.
Bobby Miller (63% owned) vs. Yankees
it has been a great first two starts for Bobby Miller and the Dodgers, but I think he will hit his first bump in the road on Sunday. His numbers in his first two MLB starts are inconsistent with his minor league numbers. The most considerable discrepancy in my eyes is that he hasn’t let up a home run yet. In the minors, he was very susceptible to them, and going up against the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and the team who hit the most home runs in May are the ideal candidates to help him regress to the mean.
Here we look at the players rostered in less than 50 percent of the leagues to see if there are any worthwhile streaming options. To be honest, the pickings are slim. I am fading some of the higher-owned players in this tier hard, such as German, Kikuchi, and Soroka. However, if you need a streamer, check these two guys out.
Ben Lively (33% owned) vs. Brewers
Lively has been outstanding in his return to the majors after five years in the Korean league. He has allowed only five runs across 22 innings this season. No reason not to ride the hot hand here. The Red’s offense has been playing well, and the Brewers are among the weaker offenses in the league, so the matchup is a nice one. There is also probably more strikeout upside here than other likely streaming options.
J.P. France (25% owned) vs. Angels
France has been like Jekyll and Hyde in his five starts this season, but he has shown he has the stuff to perform in the big league ever. He has struggled at home, but the Astros are going for the four-game sweep against the Angels with Griffin Canning on the bump for LA. The defending champs should perform very well offensively, and France should, at the very least, be able to do enough to pick up a win.
Biggest Take Aways
So there you have it, Sunday’s pitching matchups. Here is to hoping we snag some categories late to end the weekThe three biggest takeaways from this write-up should be:
Sit: Bryce Miller
Stream: Ben Lively