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Fantasy baseball Pitcher Streaming Options: Beckett, Erlin

Photo: Tony Dejak/AP

Robbie Erlin racked up 13 strikeouts over his last two starts, and has walked only one batter all year.

Streaming is a time-tested approach prized by fantasy owners of all stripes. Categories in head-to-head leagues can often come down to the thinnest of margins, making the weekend a crucial time to think about streaming pitchers. Below are this weekend's best options -- all owned in 30 percent or less in either Yahoo!, CBSSports or ESPN leagues as of Thursday night.

FANTASY BASEBALL WEEK 3: Weekly planner | Power rankings | Hitting report | Pitching report | April 18 news | Prospect watch | Closer rankings | Pitcher scouting: Andrew Cashner | Tips for daily games

Robbie Erlin, San Diego Padres -- Erlin warrants attention not just for his streamability against the Giants on Sunday, but perhaps because he warrants a roster spot in most mixed leagues. He got knocked around a bit by the Rockies in his last start, allowing three runs in 4.2 innings, but he still struck out seven batters. In 11.1 innings this year, he has fanned 14 and walked just one. His near-total avoidance of walks isn't a fluke, either. In 426 minor league innings, Erlin put up 1.8 BB/9. His average fastball is a touch under 90 mph, so he's not going to continue striking out more than a batter per inning, but his fly-ball tendencies play very well at Petco Park, where he'll be making his start this weekend. Go grab Erlin, regardless of what stats you're in need of in your matchup. He can help across the board.

Josh Beckett, Los Angeles Dodgers -- Beckett bounced back from a rough first outing of the season to hold the Giants scoreless in five innings his last time out. He did walk five batters in that game, but allowed just two hits and struck out four. The Dodgers host the struggling Diamondbacks this weekend, and Beckett is slated to take the ball on Sunday. This is purely a matchup-based stream; Beckett is not the kind of guy you'll want to keep on your roster once you're done with him this weekend. With Arizona reeling, however, Beckett is one of the better, available options for owners chasing wins in their matchups.

Hector Santiago, Los Angeles Angels -- Santiago did not fare well in his first two starts this year, both against the Mariners, but he impressed his last time out, allowing just one run on five hits in seven innings against the A's. After walking six batters in his first two starts combined, he issued only one free pass to Oakland. Santiago isn't going to blow hitters away with fastballs, so he really can't afford to lose the strike zone the way he did against Seattle. His shutdown performance against the A's may have been a sign of him righting the ship. His matchup with the Tigers on Sunday isn't great, but he's still a worthy stream option.

Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers -- Sunday's game in Detroit provides two streamable pitchers for the fantasy community, with Porcello opposing Santiago. The former was shelled in his last start, allowing five runs on 10 hits in 6.1 innings against the Padres. He didn't walk a batter in that start and threw 66 of his 91 pitches for strikes. When you get as many ground balls as Porcello does, you're going to have days when a lot of them find holes. Given that he doesn't walk very many batters, and that there isn't a ton of patience through the Angels' lineup, Porcello is a good bet to help out in the rate categories when he takes the mound over the weekend.

David Hale, Atlanta Braves -- If you need strikeouts this weekend, Hale is not your man. Even with the Braves visiting the swing-and-miss Mets, Hale isn't likely to rack up gaudy strikeout numbers. If you need a win, though, Hale is a great choice to stream. The Braves have been on fire in the early going, propelled by Freddie Freeman and a pitching staff that has allowed 40 runs -- the fewest in the league -- in 15 games. Hale struggled the last time he saw the Mets, walking five batters and allowing three earned runs in 4.1 innings, but as long as his control doesn't abandon him, he should have a better-than-average chance to pick up a win on Sunday.

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