I attended my 25-year high school reunion yesterday. It was a blast, both because I have a great group of classmates and also because we found that sweet spot of reminiscence that wasn’t buried under the “OMG, we’re so old!” pretense.
One of these spots is the Mark McGwire/Sammy Sosa home run chase of 1998, the year I graduated. For those of us in Iowa, having a home run chase between a Cardinal and a Cub was electrifying, and it was everywhere. Every game was televised, and people who didn’t even really like baseball knew the count.
The summer after high school graduation can be filled with anxiety about the unknown and/or the realization that everything is going to change. As part of that, I went on a “farewell tour” before leaving for college. I visited both sets of my grandparents, who lived on opposite sides of the state, and we listened to the Cubs in the car. (In fact, we planned our leave times for when the games started.) The Chicago broadcast would give us updates about every McGwire at-bat, and the sound the Wrigley crowd made whenever Sosa hit one was the loudest I’d ever heard.
I left for college on August 17. When McGwire broke the record, I was in my dorm room. When Sosa hit his 66th and took the lead late in September, I was pretending to study for a physics test. That massive year of change for me was bookmarked almost every day by the most enjoyable summer of baseball I can remember, and I have always felt weirdly fortunate because of it.
I’m back again to fill in for the great Joshua Thusat and make suggestions for a streaming pitcher option for each day. I’ll follow his rules. I have to pick a pitcher to stream every single day, no matter what, but I will tell you if it’s a tough day to stream so you can understand that I am not actually suggesting you do it unless you’re desperate.
I will also use the FantasyPros weekly scheduler for probable starters and try to stay under 50% rostership on Yahoo for my recommendations. And I hope that the 1998 story helped distract you from my Osvaldo Bido recommendation from last week that went horribly awry.
Fantasy Baseball Pitching Streamers: July 3 – July 9
Monday, July 3
Drew Smyly (SP – CHC) @ MIL: 49% Rostered
Hi, yes, we’re back to streaming against the Brewers, even though they haven’t been quite an offensive disaster in the last week. Whatever that marginal improvement is, they still have the worst OPS in the majors against lefties at .642. Smyly has been inconsistent this season, to say the least, but that has caused his roster percentage to drop just far enough to land in this article.
And if I can’t sell you on Smyly, feel free to turn to the other dugout and grab Julio Teheran for his start against the Cubs.
Tuesday, July 4
Kolby Allard (SP – ATL) @ CLE: 5% Rostered
Happy Fourth of July! The Guardians are the fourth-worst in the majors against Southpaws, and Allard showed some promise in his first start, going 4 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts, three hits, and one walk against the Twins last week. We’ve reached the point where stocking up on all things Atlanta is a viable strategy for fantasy baseball success. The win equity will always be there with that team. Might as well grab yourself a piece of the pie.
Wednesday, July 5
Ronel Blanco (SP, RP – HOU) vs. COL: 3% Rostered
I feel like we can start creating some good streaming pitcher rules of thumb for the 2023 season.
- Need strikeouts? Grab whoever is facing the Twins.
- Are the Oakland A’s playing? Look there.
- Are the Colorado Rockies on the road? Go, go, go.
If you need actual information to hang your hat on, Blanco has thrown at least five innings in every start this season. He has 39 strikeouts in 40 innings, so there are multiple categories to like when he faces the team with a .663 OPS in normal altitude.
Thursday, July 6
Kyle Bradish (SP – BAL) @ NYY: 43% Rostered
Truthfully, I almost didn’t bother to look up Bradish because I assumed his roster percentage would be too high. His early season struggles apparently have caused fantasy managers to overlook the improvements he has made. Over his last five starts, he has allowed nine total runs while walking only six and striking out 33. The Yankees just had a terrible June offensively. I would see Bradish as a pick-up-and-hold guy right now.
Friday, July 7
Kutter Crawford (SP – BOS) vs. OAK: 9% Rostered
Crawford is coming into his own this season which leads to some great outings and some forgettable ones. But he lines up against the A’s this week, so I’m willing to bet on the former. The 27-year-old has maintained his 23.71% K-rate while reducing his walk percentage to 5.17. If he qualifies for the win, chances are very high that he will get it.
Saturday, July 8
Garrett Whitlock (SP – BOS) vs. OAK: 31% Rostered
Whitlock had a terrible outing last week against the Marlins, pitching 5.2 innings and allowing six earned runs on 11 hits. He did strike out seven and walked no one, which is in line with his 46:7 K-to-BB ratio this season. It’s a similar song to Crawford. He has gone at least five innings in every start since April, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t do the same against Oakland.
Sunday, July 9
Alec Mills (SP – CIN) @ MIL: 0% Rostered
The day before the All-Star Break is tricky to predict, and you should choose your streamer a little later in the week if you can once info about who is playing, who is sitting, etc., comes out. I’m not recommending Alec Mills with any seriousness, but he has a bit of intrigue depending on the situation and the fact that he is not pitching in Great American Small Park. This is a slightly more difficult recommendation, given his absolute trash outing against San Diego on Saturday. But the Brewers are not the Padres.
I’d still stay away, but if you absolutely HAD to, then okay.
That’s all for me this week! Josh will be back next week and will presumably not tell stories from three decades ago. It’s been a joy filling in. May all of your streaming pitchers hit and all your ratios stay low.
And, as always, good luck!