SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings – 5/5 & 5/6

Nick Pollack ranks every SP matchup for today and tomorrow.

With the 2021 season, I’m changing how I’m doing my starting pitcher streamers and daily matchup rankings

Instead of being featured in the SP Roundup, I’ll be highlighting my SP streamer picks for today and tomorrow inside this article, while also introducing four tiers and adding notes to each table.

The four tiers are as follows:


Auto-Start – Just do it. Don’t overthink this, start the man.

Probably Start – I’m likely starting these arms, though I recognize there is more risk than we’d like there to be. Either it’s a tough matchup for a good pitcher or a weak lineup for a volatile arm.

Questionable Start – There are situations where I’d take the chance, either with strong enough upside on the ability side, or a poor offense that a pitcher could take advantage of.

Do Not Start – The reward is not worth the risk. Don’t do it.


Obviously, there will be circumstances where pitchers should move between teams for your situation specifically and these new tiers should act as a little more help than the straight table from last year.

Please keep in mind that streaming is far from a perfect play. In fact, if they work out over half the time, I’d consider it a success. These matchup rankings & streamer picks are going to be wildly different than the actual results through the year, so please, have sympathy before the scathing comments and tweets. I’m only trying to help!

Make sure to read the notes if you’re wondering why I’m favoring certain pitchers over others – I won’t get to everyone and hopefully I answer what questions you will have.

There is a second table for tomorrow’s starting pitcher matchups as well, helping everyone get a jump on their nightly pickups. Please note that these matchups are subject to change, though, and there will be times when I have the incorrect pitcher going. I thank you for your future understanding.

Finally, I have highlighted in Green my streaming pick of the day – Yellow if I wouldn’t actually want to stream them (I have to pick one every day!) . These are defined as “rostered in 20% or fewer leagues,” which really emphasizes the point that I’d be happy if over 50% of these worked. I could do the whole sub 30/40% rostered, but there’s no fun in that. You can use the rankings to realize who would be those picks, instead.


Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings


  • It feels great to comfortably slot Pablo Lopez and John Means into the top tier as they’ve each been handed comfortable matchups against the Diamondbacks and Mariners. Expect both to go at least six frames here.
  • The White Sox may have been a team to fear in the past, but with Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez out indefinitely, I feel a bit safer starting Sonny Gray as he eases back into the rotation. After all, he settled in nicely against the Dodgers last week.


  • In the second tier, leading off is Freddy Peralta who showed that matchups don’t matter as he silenced the Dodgers bats last time out. As long as he has that fastball command, he should excel.
  • After leaving early due to an injury scare, I’m hoping Marcus Stroman can pick where he left off, with cutter and slider whiffs galore.


  • With the way Yusei Kikuchi has been pitching, you should have no fear starting him against the Orioles, even if they are better against lefties.
  • Even though this start was pushed back slightly, I’d still feel comfortable starting Brady Singer against Cleveland. He should be able to earn outs effectively.


  • Even though he has to face a solid Oakland offense, I’d be rolling Robbie Ray as he’s averaging 96 mph on his heater and adapted to throw it with confidence in the zone across his last two starts. This could be one of those classic Ray stretches.
  • Shohei Ohtani was pushed back today and gets a favorable matchup against Tampa Bay. I’d throw him out there, even if he could still damage your WHIP.


  • The third tier kicks off with Max Fried, who returns from the IL and will likely be in the top tiers constantly through the season, but this is a Still ILL scenario, even against Washington. No need to rush things.
  • I’m not in love with any of the remaining options. Ryan Yarbrough should be okay against the Angels but holds a questionable floor. JT Brubaker has performed well, but the Padres are tough. Jordan Montgomery and Chris Bassitt each have difficult matchups, and Dallas Keuchel may struggle in Cincy’s hitter-friendly environment.


  • The streaming pick of the day is Martin Perez as he faces the Tigers. Not my favorite stream as Perez doesn’t always take advantage of his opponents, but there’s enough upside with Perez’s affinity for a Quality Start to warrant the stream.
  • It’s hard to trust Luke Weaver after failing to get his command in order, but the Marlins will give him every opportunity to succeed.


  • In the final tier, there’s Casey Mize who has improved a touch lately, but shouldn’t be trusted against a powerful Boston squad. No need to take the risk here.


Today’s Starting Pitchers

Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings


  • Even though he missed a start with a glute injury, Hyun Jin Ryu can be trusted against Oakland. It’s not a Still ILL scenario.
  • I considered extending the “Auto-Start” tier as far down as through Nathan Eovaldibut in the end, I wanted to highlight Danny Duffy facing Cleveland. I just don’t see a scenario where you want to bench Duffy.


  • Michael Pineda rebounded with his slider in his previous start and now gets a date with the Rangers. Sign. Me. Up.
  • I considered pushing Andrew Heaney higher, but his volatile nature depresses his ranks. That innate risk can’t be ignored.


  • I’m definitely a fan of Lance McCullers for the full season, but I’m a little wary of this outing against New York. He didn’t have his new slider last time + the pinstripes are starting to heat up.
  • Madison Bumgarner in the second tier is startling, but he’s at 91+ mph on his heater and the Marlins intimidate few.


  • Lucky for us, Triston McKenzie gets the Royals instead of the Reds and I think you’re safe starting him there, even after his pummeling over the weekend. Trust the stuff to develop over time.
  • In the third tier, we have Taijuan Walker leading the way as a respectable Toby against a decent, but not exceptional St. Louis squad.


  • Drew Smyly is labeled as the streamer of the day, but it comes with heavy reluctance. I wouldn’t be rolling him out there in standard leagues.
  • In the final tier, we’re met with highly suspect options paired with poor matchups. I wouldn’t go near it.



Tomorrow’s Starting Pitchers

Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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