Bizarro Beat the Streak returns today

Participants who select nine players to go hitless can win $2,500

Entering Friday, big league batters owned a combined .254 average, the Majors' fourth-lowest mark since 1972. The dwindling hit totals have not helped fans chase Beat the Streak's $5.6 million grand prize.

In a year with so many pitchers dominating the landscape, few fans have achieved runs of more than 40 picks in MLB.com's popular fantasy game. And with time running out to mathematically reach 57 straight successful selections -- the requisite mark to seize the lifetime's worth of fame and fortune -- BTS is at risk of going unsolved for a 15th straight campaign. So to have a little fun, MLB.com is again reversing the challenge.

The name of the game is Bizarro Beat the Streak, and the prize for prevailing is $2,500. Just click on the link to play, or download the app and select Contests from the dropdown menu.

How do you play? Simple. Presciently pick nine batters who you think will go hitless today. If they combine to go 0-fer with a minimum of 27 at-bats, you'll have spun a Bizarro Beat the Streak no-hitter.

Should you succeed, the $2,500 can be yours. Not a bad bonus for a few minutes of thought. Last time the contest ran in July, one fan fell just shy of triumph. Our close-call participant went a "perfect" 0-for-24 before a day off spoiled our chances of witnessing the necessary 0-for-27 effort.

But things can be different for you today. This riddle has been solved before, after all.

So start planning. Think backward and outside the box. This isn't traditional Beat the Streak, where participants try to establish a virtual "hitting streak" by picking one or two big leaguers per day, with their runs continuing as long as their selections collect at least one hit.

You'll need to strategize much differently in Bizarro Beat the Streak. Seek out unfavorable batter matchups. Peruse the ballpark factors. Might as well peek at today's weather while you're at it. Any edge could be the difference between winning and losing, between a $2,500 haul and a virtual flyout to the warning track.

Fans can play Bizarro Beat the Streak one of two ways. A "Quick Pick" option will allow you to sign up in seconds. And those seeking to flaunt their acumen can set a lineup through manual selection.

Either way, the final decision on hitters will be yours. So think like a pitcher and pick one of the most ignominious starting nines of all time.

Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.