Beat the Streak gets Bizarro spin

Fans challenged to pick nine batters to go hitless for chance at $5K prize

Entering Monday, big league batters owned a combined .252 average, the lowest mark in the Majors since 1972. The dwindling hit totals have not helped fans chase Beat the Streak's $5.6 million grand prize.

In a year so many pitchers dominated the landscape, not one fan was even able to reach 40 games in MLB.com's most popular fantasy game. And now that no fan can mathematically reach 57 games in 2014, the grand prize has sat unclaimed for 14 years running.

So to have a little fun during the final week of the regular season, MLB.com has reversed the challenge.

The name of the game is Bizarro Beat the Streak, and the prize for prevailing is $5,000.

How do you play? Simple. Presciently pick nine batters who you think will go hitless on Wednesday. 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 $5,000 can be yours. Not a bad bonus for a few minutes of thought.

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 plot much differently in Bizarro Beat the Streak. Seek out unfavorable batter matchups. Peruse the ballpark factors. Might as well peek at Wednesday's weather while you're at it. Any edge could be the difference between winning and losing, between $5,000 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.