The key to winning your league is to find that gem covered in mud. As the season progresses, they slowly shake the mud off and become fantasy stars.
Let's go ahead and dive into the planner to help keep your team on course.
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Ervin Santana vs OAK: Many fantasy owners were hoping that Santana could return to his to 2008 form, but that has yet to happen, as he is 1-2 with a 4.02 ERA. However, owners who have been waiting for a dominant performance out of Santana are in for a treat. In 15 starts against the A's, he is 10-2 with a 1.41 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, .203 BAA, 6.57 H/9 and 0.42 HR/9.
Matt Harrison vs OAK: Harrison has not been the most consistent pitcher this season, so most owners more than likely had him resting on their bench, if on their roster at all. That said, he should be able to get his second win of the season when the Rangers host the A's. In three starts, he is 3-0 and has allowed three ERs on 16 hits over 20 IP. While he is not great at hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark (7-4, 5.74 ERA and 1.52 WHIP), he has held the A's hitters he will face in check (3-for-20), so his numbers at home should improve.
Carl Pavano vs CWS: Pavano has been a better pitcher than his numbers reflect (3-3). His previous two starts resulted in losses, but he only allowed a total of four ERs and his team didn't provide any run support (zero runs and 10 hits). That said, I expect Pavano to get his fourth win against the White Sox, who have the 26th-fewest hits (240) and second-worst BA (.228) in the majors. In five starts against Chicago, Pavano is 3-2 with a 2.86 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and a 27:4 K:BB ratio. The batters he will face are batting .227 (23-for-101) against him.
Brian Bannister vs CLE; vs CWS: In eight career starts against Cleveland, Bannister is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .210 BAA and 7.02 H/9. The batters that he will face are batting .202 (17-for-84) against him. However, he has not fared as well against the White Sox (3-5 with an 8.22 ERA and 1.68 WHIP).
Phil Hughes @ DET: While Hughes is 2-2 against the Tigers in his career, his domination this season and the fact that the hitters that he will face are only batting .202 (4-for-24) against him, make him an excellent play this week.
Mark Buehrle @ KC: Buehrle's skid should come to a halt against the Royals, against whom he is 20-9 with a 3.55 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. The hitters he will face are batting .228 (39-for-171) against him.
Ricky Romero vs TEX: His solid start to the season should continue against the Rangers. While he is 0-1 against them, he's only allowed two ERs on 10 hits and zero HRs over 13.1 IP, and has not received any run support. The hitters that he will face are batting .250 (8-for-32).
Jake Peavy @ KC: Has done well against the Royals (3-1, 1.18 WHIP, .227 BAA) and even better against the hitters he will face (.194 BAA).
Keep em' in the pen
Joel Pineiro vs TB; vs OAK: In his first three starts, he was 2-1 with a 1.79 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. However, over his last three starts, he is 0-3 with a 10.13 ERA and 2.25 WHIP. I do not expect his stats to improve against the Rays or A's this week. In nine starts against the Rays, Pineiro is 2-4 with a 5.70 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, .304 BAA and a 1.35 HR/9. He is not much better at home (2-3 4.98 ERA). In 17 starts against the A's, he is 8-8 with a 4.68 ERA and 1.54 WHIP.
Dana Eveland @ BOS: Eveland started the season fairly well, but the wheels are starting to vibrate and could come off this week when he heads to Fenway Park to face the surging Red Sox. In four starts against the Red Sox, Eveland has allowed 30 hits, 25 ERs and three HRs over 12.1 IP. Did I mention that he will pitch at Fenway, where he's made two starts and allowed 14 hits, 13 ERs, and three HRs over 4.2 IP? Wait, it gets worse as the Red Sox hitters own Eveland to the tune of a .460 BAA (29-for-63).
Jeremy Bonderman vs NYY: Bonderman started the season 1-1, but now has three back-to-back no-decisions and an overall 5.74 ERA. That said, I do not think Bonderman will get another no-decision against the Yankees, but a loss is in his future. In 11 starts against the Yankees, Bonderman is 3-7 with a 5.55 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 10.33 H/9 and 1.39 HR/9. With the Yankees' bats warming up, it is a bad week to be a Bonderman owner.
Gavin Floyd @ KC: Career against the Royals: 1-6 with a 5.29 ERA. Career at Kauffman Stadium: 0-3 with a 7.54 ERA.
John Danks @ MIN: In 14 career starts, he is 4-5 with a 5.13 ERA, 1.51 WHIP and a 1.23 HR/9. The Twins hitters that he will face are batting .343 against him.
Kyle Davies @ CLE: Career against the Indians; 3-3, 6.18 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and a 16:18 K:BB.
Rick Porcello vs NYY; vs BOS: In his lone start against the Yankees, he allowed six ERs on six hits and three walks over 3.2 IP. In his lone start against the Red Sox, he allowed four ERs on nine hits over 5.1 IP.
Kevin Millwood vs SEA: Career against Seattle; 8-12 with a 5.05 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, .306 BAA and 11.55 H/9. The hitters that he will face are batting .307 against him.
You have all heard the saying, "two is better than one," right? There could not have been a truer statement spoken as the two-start pitchers below are excellent options and are must-starts this week.
Matt Garza: @ LAA (05/10); vs SEA (05/16)John Lackey: vs TOR (05/10); @ DET (05/16)Cliff Lee: @ BAL (05/11); @ TB (05/16)
The following pitchers are decent options, and while you should get a solid game out of them, there is a chance they could burn you during one of their outings.
* Note: The pitcher has the best chance for a win against the team in bold
Colby Lewis: vs OAK (05/11); @ TOR (05/16)Brian Bannister: vs CLE (05/11); vs CWS (05/16)Joel Pineiro: vs TB (05/10); vs OAK (05/16)Trevor Cahill: @ TEX (05/11); @ LAA (05/16)Jake Westbrook: @ KC (05/11); @ BAL (05/16)Dontrelle Willis: vs NYY (05/10); vs BOS (05/15)
Disregard what I said earlier about "two is better than one," in this case, erase that quote from your brain-housing group for the moment. You would be better off with one solid pitcher, than these unfulfilling options:
Brandon Morrow: @ BOS (05/10); vs TEX (05/16)David Hernandez: vs SEA (05/11); vs CLE (05/16)Rick Porcello: vs NYY (05/11); vs BOS (05/16)Javier Vazquez: @ DET (05/10); vs MIN (05/15)
Start 'em if you got 'em
Vladimir Guerrero, DH: Over the past six games, Guerrero has been knocking the cover off the ball, batting .381 (8-for-21) with four HRs and 13 RBIs. That trend should continue against the A's at Rangers Ballpark and the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. While he is solid against the A's (.280 BA, .531 SLG), he is dominant at Rangers Ballpark, batting .407 with a 1.190 On-base plus Slugging percentage (OPS) and a HR every 13 at-bats. He is equally impressive against the Blue Jays (.321 BA, .950 OPS) and at Rogers Centre (.335 BA, 1.002 OPS). Guerrero is 10-for-33 against the A's pitchers he will face and is 5-for-6 against the Blue Jays pitchers.
Magglio Ordonez, OF: Ordonez had a rough week at the plate last week, but he will get the opportunity to get back on track against the Yankees and Red Sox. In 325 at-bats against the Yankees, he is batting .311 with a .951 OPS, and in 323 at-bats against the Red Sox, he is batting .344 with a .982 OPS. Ordonez will host both teams at Comerica Park, which has a neutral park factor, but he's played well there (.327 BA, .892 OPS).
Daric Barton, 1B: Despite recent finger and elbow injuries, Barton seems to be hitting just fine. Barton will hit the road this week with games against the Rangers and Angels. In 86 at-bats against the Rangers, Barton is batting .279 with a .916 OPS, a 15:21 K:BB ratio and he's scored 26 runs. In 32 at-bats at Rangers Ballpark, he is batting .313 with a 1.051 OPS, a 6:10 K:BB and he's scored 12 runs. He should follow up his solid performance at Texas with another against the Angels. In 119 at-bats, he is batting .328 with a .855 OPS, and in 69 at-bats at Angels Stadium, he is batting .377 with a .963 OPS.
Billy Butler, 1B: Butler has lacked plate discipline so far this season (17:6 K:BB), but his solid .333 BA is what is keeping owners on board. Even though Butler has not been great against either team, he has hit well against the Indians (12-for-23) and White Sox (12-for-38) pitchers he will face.
Franklin Gutierrez, OF: Career against the Orioles: In 54 at-bats, he is batting .463 with a 1.274 OPS and is 5-for-11 at Camden Yards. Career against the Rays; In 87 at-bats, he is batting .287 with a .809 OPS.
Ryan Sweeney, OF: In 119 at-bats against the Rangers, he is batting .319 with an .830 OPS, and in 51 at-bats at Rangers Ballpark, he is batting .314 with an .848 OPS. In 112 at-bats against the Angels, he is batting .348 with a .865 OPS, and in 88 at-bats at Angels Stadium, he is batting .386 with a .947 OPS.
Jose Bautista, OF: In 31 at-bats at Fenway Park, Bautista has four HRs and a .937 OPS. In 38 at-bats against the Rangers, he boasts a .953 OPS.
Austin Jackson, OF: Even though there is no history against either the Red Sox or Yankees, there is no denying he's had a solid season thus far (.369 BA, .929 OPS) and should continue his solid play as the season progresses.
Look away ... far away
Mark Teahen, 3B: If you were relying on Teahen this week, you may want to look elsewhere. In 285 at-bats against the Twins, he is batting .253 with a .684 OPS and he is 9-for-42 against the Twins' probables. He has done well against the Royals in limited at-bats (4-for-12), but struggled against the Royals' probables (1-for-10 with five Ks).
Jose Lopez, 2B/3B: Lopez has struggled this season and his stats will not get any better against the Orioles and Rays. While he has done well at Camden Yards (.312 BA, .316 OBP), over his career against the Orioles he is batting .244 with a .271 OBP and a 26:6 K:BB ratio over 197 at-bats, and batting .227 against the Orioles' probables. In 141 at-bats against the Rays, he is batting .270 with a .286 OBP, and batting .212 against the Rays' probables.
Pat Burrell, DH: Burrell has been on a downward slope and it may continue this week against the Angels and Mariners. Over his career, he is 1-for-30 with nine Ks and one walk against the Angels, and 2-for-8 against their probables. He plays just as badly at Angels Stadium, where he is 3-for-19 with four Ks and zero walks. He has to be better at Tropicana field, right? Wrong ... he is batting .229 and strikes out every third at-bat.
Brandon Wood, 3B: Had it not been for 6-for-11 effort in the series against the Indians, we might not be talking about Wood today. To tell you the truth, I am still curious as to why he is still starting at 3B with his 27:2 K:BB ratio and five errors. Anyway, he is still here, and his matchups against the Rays or A's will not do him any favors this week. Against the Angels, he is 2-for-18 with nine Ks and zero walks, and against the A's he is 6-for-44 with 20 Ks and one walk.
Travis Snider, OF: While we are seeing improvement at the plate, a rough week lies ahead. He is 9-for-53 with 23 Ks against the Red Sox and 6-for-29 with 12 Ks at Fenway Park. Against the Rangers, he is 3-for-28 with 11 Ks.
Rob Johnson, C: Johnson suffered bruised knuckles on his throwing hand and is day-to-day, but should not see the DL. That said, he should not see your starting lineup either. He is 4-for-21 against the Orioles, and 4-for-23 against the Rays.
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS: Career against Cleveland: .255 BA, .606 OPS in 110 at-bats. Career against Chicago; .207 BA, .610 OPS in 121 at-bats.
Andruw Jones, DH: I know, Jones has been hitting the cover off the ball, but I do not like his chances this week. He is 6-for-39 against the Twins and 2-for-23 against their probables. While he has fared better against the Royals (11-for-36), he has struggled against their probables (3-for-14). If you have to start Jones this week, your best bet would be to start him against the Royals.
If you are like me, the injury bug has bitten you a few too many times this season. Fortunately, the player pool is deep and you should be able to find some relief on the waiver wire. The players listed below are owned in less than 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues and they should be decent fill-ins until your starter returns from the DL.
Jason Kendall, KC, C: .290 BA and .366 OBPDaric Barton, OAK, 1B: .292 BA, .430 OBP and a 18:23 K:BBAdam Rosales, OAK, 2B: .286 BA with two HRs, 12 RBIs and is eligible at 1B/2B/3BReid Brignac, TB, SS: .273 BA with two HRs, 13 RBIs and only eight Ks in 55 at-batsJose Bautista, TOR, 3B: Six HRs, 20 RBIs and is batting .333 with two HRs and four RBIs over the past four games. He is also eligible in the OF.Austin Kearns, CLE, OF: .343 BA and .981 OPS in 67 at-batsGio Gonzalez, OAK, SP: In five starts, he is 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and .215 BAAJoel Zumaya, DET, RP: 2-0 with a 1.10 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 10.06 K/9
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