The Fantasy Baseball Forecaster has been updated as of Tuesday, Aug. 15, at 10:30 a.m. ET.
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On tap: The week begins with a compelling game with playoff implications, Cleveland Indians at Boston Red Sox at 6:10 p.m. ET, but it's a makeup game of their Aug. 2 rainout that mostly forces fantasy owners in weekly leagues to set their lineups roughly an hour earlier. Outside of that, it's a week of mostly lopsided matchups with the most compelling battles set for the weekend: Red Sox at New York Yankees, Indians at Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners at Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates.
Early in the week, Baltimore Orioles at Mariners could have American League wild-card implications, but the real story from Monday through Thursday is the four-game, home-and-home (two games apiece at each site) interleague series: New York Mets versus New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks at Houston Astros.
Speaking of the "Subway Series," ESPN will broadcast Mets at Yankees on Monday Night Baseball at 7 p.m. ET, and Yankees at Mets on Wednesday Night Baseball at 7 p.m. ET. The week concludes with Cardinals at Pirates on Sunday Night Baseball at 8 p.m. ET.
The Major League Baseball season will reach the quarter pole on the final day of Week 19, barring a significant number of postponements before that date (Aug. 20). That means that slightly more than three-quarters of the schedule will be in the books at the week's conclusion, and for those of you in standard ESPN head-to-head leagues, it means you've got just two more weeks before the playoffs begin. Quarter marks tend to be good times to thoroughly re-evaluate your team's standings and needs.
Loyal Forecaster readers probably know by now that the Diamondbacks sport one of the game's best wOBA against right-handed pitching -- .341, fifth-best in the majors against them -- but what they might not realize is how good their Week 19 schedule is for their righty bats. Lefty-hitting Jake Lamb and David Peralta are no-brainers in weeks like this, facing six right-handed starters, but the righties the Diamondbacks will face are generally worse against same-handed hitters -- especially Collin McHugh, Charlie Morton and Mike Fiers. This should be a big week for the Diamondbacks' top five in the batting order, but it also makes Chris Iannetta, a .256/.333/.538 hitter against righties since the beginning of July, a good fill-in for those hurting at catcher due to recent injuries.
The Los Angeles Angels are one of three teams that play only five games, during a Week 19 in which 15 other teams play a full seven, and they're the only American League team to play that few. They'll also play two of their five at Washington's Nationals Park, where they'll face a Washington Nationals staff with the eighth-best second-half ERA (3.80) while lacking the benefit of the designated hitter, which is why they're the rare AL squad with poor hitting ratings despite the rest of the league having fairly balanced, average-to-above-average grades. Albert Pujols is this team's usual DH, and while he's just a .174/.200/.326 hitter since the All-Star break, he still gives the Angels a better chance from one of their nine lineup spots than a pitcher. He also hasn't played first base since June 26, so it's possible he'll be limited to pinch-hitting duty in Washington. Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons are the only truly "safe" Angels hitter plays for Week 19, unless you're of the belief that C.J. Cron will get all five starts at first base while continuing his recent hot play.
The Atlanta Braves have four left-handed hitters who have thrived against righties this season: Freddie Freeman (.339/.445/.689), Matt Adams (.298/.343/.580), Nick Markakis (.288/.376/.411) and Ender Inciarte (.292/.338/.389). All four should be in your lineup with the team facing six right-handed starters this week, especially since four of their games will be played at Colorado's Coors Field. Incidentally, Inciarte's owners in daily leagues should most be able to capitalize, as he'll probably experience the most success on days Colorado's Jonathan Lucroy or Cincinnati's Devin Mesoraco is the opposing catcher, as both rank among the worst in baseball at reining in the running game.
If you thought Joey Gallo's past week has been something special, imagine what he might do in Week 19, in which all seven Texas Rangers games will be played at home and potentially six will be against right-handed starters. He's a .207/.325/.573 hitter against righties for the season, and could sneak up to fifth or sixth in the order based on his recent play. Nomar Mazara and Rougned Odor, both of whom are significantly better against righties than lefties and typically bat third and fifth against them, are also strong plays. Leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo should be an automatic.
Despite a five-game schedule, the Milwaukee Brewers match up rather well on the hitting side, thanks to two games at Miller Park with one against contact-oriented Ivan Nova and three at Coors Field. Though this team is traditionally better against lefties than righties, Travis Shaw, Eric Thames, Ryan Braun and Domingo Santana all have wOBA greater than .360 and warrant keeping active in the short week. Daily-league owners should also keep an eye out for starts by Eric Sogard, a .289/.404/.400 hitter against righties, as well as on the recovery of Stephen Vogt, who might return sometime during Week 19 and has .235/.303/.435 rates against righties.
With three games at Chicago's Wrigley Field, the Toronto Blue Jays will lose the DH for three-sevenths of their week, forcing a conundrum between Justin Smoak, their usual first baseman, and Kendrys Morales, their usual DH. As Smoak has been the clearly superior hitter since the All-Star break -- .289/.405/.588 rates for a .431 wOBA in 26 games compared to Morales' .247/.363/.459 and .362 in 23 -- he's likely to get at least two if not all three starts in Chicago. Morales' owners in standard leagues should wisely fade him, especially with a Chris Archer start facing him on Thursday.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a reasonably favorable five-game schedule of their own, in large part because they've got two games against the weak Chicago White Sox pitching staff plus will face Detroit Tigers fifth starter Matthew Boyd. Gaining the DH for three games at Detroit's Comerica Park during the weekend is a big advantage for Dodgers infielders, as Justin Turner or Chase Utley typically slides into that spot to open up an infield place for Logan Forsythe. As the team will face two left-handed starters in five games, Forsythe, a .318/.459/.482 hitter against lefties this season available in nearly 90 percent of ESPN leagues, is worth a start.
Speaking of DH gains among National Leaguers, the St. Louis Cardinals' Jose Martinez should benefit most from the team's two-game trip to Boston's Fenway Park. A .316/.449/.658 hitter in 16 games since the All-Star break who has started 10 of the team's past 11 contests, he's well worth a pickup in deeper-mixed and NL-only leagues.