The bad news is that Monday is a lousy slate for streaming pitchers. The good news is that this week presents a healthy number of games, so there will be abundant opportunities to fortify arms as the week progresses. Don't take chances on Monday, though, as the Daily Notes team will be here to guide you for the rest of the week.
Hitting is also sparser than normal, so doubling down on some of the weaker hurlers is necessary. With the supply low and the demand high -- at least in theory, as many teams have shifted their attention elsewhere -- it's best to act swiftly and not wait until the last minute to fill the inevitable holes in a Monday lineup. With that in mind, here are the recommendations for Monday, all available in at least 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
Jordan Lyles (R), rostered in fewer than 23% of ESPN leagues, Milwaukee Brewers at Miami Marlins: If you need a spot starter, stop reading and check Lyles' availability as he's by far the top option on the docket. Since joining the Brewers, Lyles is 5-1 with a 2.56 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP in seven games started with the Brewers, spanning 38 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, the Marlins are the least-productive lineup in the league with a right-hander on the hill.
Merrill Kelly (R), fewer than 12%, Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets: After allowing eight homers in 19 1/3 innings early in the second half, Kelly has settled down, surrendering just two long balls in his last 21 frames. He's coming off his best game of the season, throwing seven scoreless against the Padres, scattering just three hits while fanning nine. The Mets are a middling offense with a right-hander on the hill.
Catcher -- Roberto Perez (R), 8%, Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels (LHP Patrick Sandoval): Perez had Sunday off, virtually assuring he'll play on Monday. This is a good spot, as Perez is slugging .491 versus southpaws and will enter the contest with seven hits in his prior 19 at-bats.
First Base -- Brandon Belt (L), 11%, San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Trevor Williams): Good pitching stops good hitting, right? Well, what happens when mediocre pitching meets slumping hitting? Williams has course-corrected of late, but for the season he's posted a disappointing 5.16 ERA. Belt's OPS since the break is just .563, with most of the damage against right-handers.
Second Base -- Robinson Cano (L), 45%, New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Merrill Kelly): Cano is ending the season in a platoon, manning the keystone against most righties. It's been a long year for the veteran, who hit just his 11th homer late last week.
Third Base -- Cory Spangenberg (L), under 1%, Milwaukee Brewers at Miami Marlins (RHP Robert Dugger): Keston Hiura's injury has paved the way for Spangenberg's call-up. The veteran utilityman slashed .309/.378/.498 while spending most of the summer with Triple-A San Antonio. Since his promotion, Spangenberg has a homer and steal in a dozen games.
Shortstop -- Addison Russell (R), 1%, Chicago Cubs at San Diego Padres (RHP Cal Quantrill): The unfortunate news Javier Baez has a hairline fracture in his left thumb has returned Russell to his former haunts as the Cubs' starting shortstop. He's been rather unproductive, but has a chance to build on his smacking his ninth homer over the weekend. If he plays on Monday, he'll be facing Quantrill, who allowed eight runs in both of his last two starts. However, Russell was hit in the head by a pitch Sunday, initially staying in and subsequently stealing second before ultimately getting removed for precautionary reasons. If Russell is out, David Bote is a viable pivot.
Corner Infield -- Ty France (R), 4%, San Diego Padres vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Kyle Hendricks): France opened September with three homers in the first two games but has been silent ever since. After batting .399 for Triple-A El Paso, it stood to reason that the Padres would give him a look to close out the season. If France is on the bench again, left-hander Greg Garcia is an option against Hendricks.
Middle Infield -- Jon Berti (R), 10%, Miami Marlins vs. Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Jordan Lyles): Berti has been one of the few bright spots in South Beach, though temper some enthusiasm as he is a far-from-youthful 29 years old. Still, six homers and nine steals in what amounts to one-third of a season in one of the worst hitting parks is promising.
Outfield -- Franmil Reyes (R), 44%, Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels (LHP Patrick Sandoval): After struggling a bit following his acquisition by the Indians, Reyes is finally exhibiting the power the club yearned with four long balls over the past two weeks.
Outfield -- Mike Yastrzemski (L), 19%, San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Trevor Williams): After being called up for what was assumed to be a short stay, Yastrzemski has forced the Giants hand. He has earned regular at-bats by poking 19 homers -- including seven at Oracle Park, which typically squelches left-handed power.
Outfield -- Adam Haseley (L), 1%, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Mike Foltynewicz): Even factoring in the fact that Foltynewicz has spent time on the IL this season, it's been a frustrating campaign. Struggles with left-handed batters remains an issue, putting Haseley in play, despite hitting at the bottom of the Phillies order. Teammate Corey Dickerson has been leading off against right-handers, but his 57% rostership puts him over the threshold for this column. Still, it's worth noting that Dickerson could be available in very shallow leagues.