Roto Riteup: September 23, 2016

Walking out of the office on Friday like:

Have a good weekend, everyone.

On the agenda:
1. Mets gonna Matz
2. Various News and Notes
3. Streaming Pitcher Options

Mets gonna Matz
What the heck is going on with the Mets and Steven Matz? Already leading the league in Roto Riteup mentions by a long shot, he’s now here for the third day in a row. On Wednesday, it was that he could start Friday. Yesterday, he had the green light for that start. And now he’s scratched, and may even be done for the season. And so it’s gone for Matz in 2016, a season in which he now looks likely to finish with 132.1 innings over 22 starts.

Sidelined since Aug. 14, Matz is once again dealing with shoulder soreness. This time it flared up in a side session. Even with the Mets holding a wild-card spot at present, Matz is running out of time to return, and Sandy Alderson admitted a return this year is unlikely. The postseason is theoretically possible since it doesn’t sound like Matz requires surgery, but damn, if this isn’t all a bit confusing and concerning. The 25-year-old might wind up one of the more intriguing risk-reward plays on draft day next spring.

Various News and Notes
Starling Marte returned to the starting lineup Thursday, only to get pulled in the third inning due to back tightness. Given that it’s now been over two weeks that Marte’s been dealing with the issue, and that the Pirates are running out of time in the wild card race, they may not see a lot of Marte down the stretch.

They may see a lot of Ivan Nova, though, as the two sides are reportedly working on an extension. For fantasy owners, this is great news if you’re a believer that a) the Pirates sprinkled their magic pitcher pixie dust on Nova, and that b) he’d lose it if he left (J.A. Happ would disagree). Nova’s been terrific since joining the Pirates, posting a 2.93 ERA and 2.66 FIP in nine starts while owning a ridiculous 19.1-percent strikeout-minus-walk ratio.

The Orioles are pushing Kevin Gausman’s next start back due to an intercostal issue, so owners won’t have him in action until at least sometime next week. It looks like Tuesday or Wednesday in Toronto is the hope, an absolutely massive series for both sides, considering how close they are in the wild card race (1.5 games), how much each values home field, and how tight the season series is (the Jays lead 9-7, the tiebreaker for home field if they finish with the same record).

A day after giving up four home runs, we found out Masahiro Tanaka will be skipped the next time through the rotation. He’s dealing with a strained flexor mass in his right arm, something that caused tightness his last time out. Tanaka believes he’ll be able to pitch again this season, possibly making a closing argument in the Cy Young debate.

This is unrelated to fantasy baseball but something I found interesting from a stats perspective nonetheless: The NBA is leaving Stats behind as its official data provider and dropping them as their partner for in-game tracking data. That will leave MLB as the only major sports league still using Stats over Sportradar, and I wonder if a change is coming on that front, too.

Streaming Pitcher Options
If you enjoy streaming pitchers or play DFS, tune into the Roto Riteup for recommendations each and every day.

A pitcher for today: Albert Suarez @ SD (Edwin Jackson)
Playing it a little safe here, grabbing a ground-ball pitcher in Petco Park in Albert Suarez. Suarez hasn’t exactly blown anyone away with his stuff in a swingman role this year, but he’s been serviceable, and his strikeout rate is actually a little higher as a starter. This is more a bet against the Padres, though, as they own a 68 wRC+ over the last month and managed almost nothing (one run in five innings) off of Suarez on Sept. 13. Maybe a second look scares you off a bit, but it’s not a flush day to stream and Suarez essentially comes free.

A pitcher for tomorrow: Robbie Ray @ BAL (Wade Miley)
Yeah, some people are surely tired of streaming Robbie Ray and his near-historically high ERA accompanying the strikeouts, but it’s just hard to get that kind of strikeout upside from the free agent bin. Still just 38-percent owned because of the 4.66 ERA, Ray draws an Orioles team that’s sputtered to an 87 wRC+ over the last month and that only has an 82 wRC+ against lefties for the season. They’re good at home and Ray’s had some issues with the long-ball, but again, there are few options as likely to bad a single category freely available.

Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.

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