"Just when you think you know the answers, I change the questions." Rowdy Roddy Piper said that, and although I don't think he was talking about fantasy baseball, he might well have been. How else can you explain Alfonso Soriano's four consecutive games with a homer? At least Dan Uggla and Ryan Theriot came through for me.
So even though I sometimes feel like Superfly Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka after the Hot Rod cracked him upside the head with that coconut, let's take a look at the upcoming week in the National League, with a little help from grunge icons Pearl Jam.
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Homer Bailey @ PIT: Bailey isn't a guy you're going to want to hitch your wagon to every week, but against the Pirates he makes a nice play. Bailey has four wins in four starts against the Buccos, pitching to a 2.13 ERA (six ERs in 25.1 IP) and a .239 BAA. In his two visits to PNC Park, Bailey has allowed three ERs in 13.1 IP (2.08 ERA) with a .182 BAA.
Yovani Gallardo vs. ATL: In three career starts against Atlanta, Gallardo is 2-0, allowing two ER in 13.1 IP (0.81 ERA) with a 0.851 WHIP, .125 BAA, .229 OBP, and 7.7 K/9. It certainly helps that he'll be pitching at home, where his winning percentage, ERA, WHIP, and BAA are all significantly better than on the road.
Johan Santana @ FLA: Santana had his worst career start against the Phillies last Sunday, but expect him to put that in his rearview mirror when he visits Florida. His overall numbers against the Marlins are phenomenal: 6-1 in eight starts, 1.66 ERA, .939 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, 4.06 K:BB, .177 BAA. His numbers at Sun Life Stadium are even better: 2-1 in three starts, 1.35 ERA (three ERs in 20 IP), .750 WHIP, 13.1 K/9, 7.25 K:BB, .153 BAA.
Johnny Cueto @ PIT: 3-1, 3.41 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 3.11 K:BB, .250 BAA in five starts (29 IP) at PNC Park.
John Garland vs. LAD: 2.06 ERA (eight ER in 35 IP) this season; 2.77 ERA (four ERs in 13 IP), 1.154 WHIP, .209 BAA in two career starts vs. Los Angeles.
Josh Johnson vs. NYM: Going against Santana, he has some impressive numbers of his own vs. New York (despite his poor last outing): 7-1 in ten starts, 2.69 ERA, 1.147 WHIP, .231 BAA.
Wade LeBlanc @ SF, vs. LAD: Off to a good start (2-0, 1.16 ERA, three quality starts); 2-0, 1.29 ERA (two ERs in 14 IP), .0714 WHIP, 7.1 K/9, .133 BAA in two starts vs. San Francisco. Not as good vs. Los Angeles, so you might want him to sit that one out.
Ubaldo Jimenez vs. WAS: Lights-out this year: 6-0, 0.87 ERA (four ER in 41.1 IP). 3-1, 3.05 ERA in five starts vs. Washington.
Livan Hernandez @ COL: Hernandez and his sub-1.00 ERA have been a pleasant surprise for the Nationals, but historically things haven't gone his way in Colorado. In 17 Coors Field starts, Hernandez is 4-6 with a 7.14 ERA, 3.5 K/9, and a .330 BAA. He'll be facing Ubaldo Jimenez, which makes securing a victory an uphill battle.
Roy Oswalt @ SF: Oswalt has had success all over the National League, but he's not at the top of his game when he visits the Giants. In nine career starts in San Francisco, Oswalt is 3-5 with a 4.39 ERA, .304 BAA, and 1.500 WHIP. He's going against Tim Lincecum, who's been dominant both this season and historically against Houston.
Jamie Moyer @ COL: The ancient wonder is still a useful starter, but against Colorado he's not a smart play. In six career starts against the Rockies, Moyer is 1-5 with a 6.16 ERA and 1.474 WHIP. In his two starts at Coors Field, Moyer allowed 11 ERs in 11 IP and pitched to a 1.909 WHIP and a .370 BAA.
Aaron Cook vs. PHI; vs. WAS: Nine games (eight starts) against the Phillies: 1-5 with a 5.85 ERA, 1.594 WHIP, and a .333 BAA. Going against Roy Halliday. Fares a little better against the Nats, but not much (4.54 ERA, 19 BB vs. 20 Ks).
Aaron Harang vs. STL: 7-12, 4.57 ERA career vs. St. Louis; 0-2, 4.91 ERA vs. the Cardinals. You might say he's due, and I agree ... due for another loss.
Mat Latos @ SF: Much better at home (3.52 ERA) than on the road (6.28 ERA).
Ted Lilly vs. FLA; vs. PIT: 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA in six career starts vs. Florida. A little better against Pittsburgh, but has still pitched to a career .295 BAA.
Bud Norris @ STL: Although he's hasn't allowed an earned run in 18 IP vs. St. Louis, his 7.25 ERA (18 ERs in 22.1 IP) this season indicate it will all come crashing down.
Only a few two-start pitchers will be on your wish list, while the rest are not for you.
Tommy Hanson @ MIL 5/10; vs. ARZ 5/15Brad Penny vs. HOU 5/11; @ CIN 5/16Barry Zito vs. SD 5/11; vs. HOU 5/16
Bronson Arroyo @ PIT 5/10; vs. STL 5/16Chad Billingsley @ ARZ 5/10; @ SD 5/16Tim Hudson @ MIL 5/11; vs. ARZ 5/16Kyle Kendrick @ COL 5/10; @ MIL 5/16Wade LeBlanc @ SF 5/11; vs. LAD 5/16Ted Lilly vs. FLA 5/10; vs. PIT 5/16Ricky Nolasco @ CHC 5/11; vs. NYM 5/16Nate Robertson @ CHC 5/10; vs. NYM 5/15
Louis Atilano @ NYM 5/10; @ COL 5/15Aaron Cook vs. PHI 5/11; vs. WAS 5/16Doug Davis vs. ATL 5/10; vs. PHI 5/16Rodrigo Lopez vs. LAD 5/10; @ ATL 5/16John Maine vs. WAS 5/10; @ FLA 5/15Brett Myers @ STL 5/11; @ SF 5/16Charlie Morton vs. CIN 5/10; @ CHI 5/16Jonathon Niese vs. WAS 5/11; @ FLA 5/16Scott Olsen @ NYM 5/11; @ COL 5/16Greg Smith vs. PHI 5/10; vs. WAS 5/10
Ryan Doumit, C: Doumit gets things started against Cincinnati. His batting average against Reds' pitching is a little below his career average, but many of his hits have gone for extra bases (.493 SLG in 49 games). Doumit really shines at Wrigley Field, where he's 18-for-52 (.346 AVG), with a .452 OBP and a 1.067 OPS (his highest at any ballpark). He's been fighting it a bit in his last four games, but in his last 40 at-bats he has 14 hits (.350 AVG).
Dexter Fowler, OF: There's a lot to like about Fowler this week. He'll be playing at his home ballpark, Coors Field, where his career batting average improves by .60 points. He starts the week against Philadelphia, against whom he's 9-for-23 (.429 AVG) with three doubles and a home run. He hasn't been as sharp against Washington, but he's been hot over the last two weeks, batting .381 (16-for-42) in his last 12 games.
David Freese, 3B: Freese has played very well this year: .348 AVG, .402 OBP, three HRs, 19 RBIs in 26 games. Against Houston, Freese is a career .313 hitter (5-for-16). He's even better against Cincinnati: 11-for-23 (.378 AVG) with three home runs, two doubles, and seven RBIs in five games. Freese has been raking with RISP this season, going 10-for-23 (.435 AVG).
Jason Heyward, OF: The Natural has seven hits in his last 10 at-bats, with two HRs and seven RBIs.
Yadier Molina, C: Six for his last 14 (.429 AVG), 11 for his last 35 (.314 AVG); .374 AVG, .400 OBP in 36 games at The Great American Ball Park.
Mark Reynolds, 1B/3B: Loves it at Miller Park: 11-for 36 (.306), .390 OBP, three HRs, eight RBIs.
Ryan Theriot, SS: Two series this week at Wrigley, where he's a career .305 hitter; .359 AVG, .439 OBP in 58 games vs. Pittsburgh.
Troy Tulowitzki, SS: Feasts on Nationals' pitching: .323 AVG, .412 OBP, five HRs, 18 RBIs in 27 games (6-for-17 this season). Not bad against the Phils either.
Lance Berkman, 1B: The veteran has been struggling since coming of the DL, and recently suffered a groin strain, which hasn't helped matters. Berkman has four hits in his last 31 at-bats, and I wouldn't expect him to turn things around this week. Berkman's career batting average at AT&T Park and the new Busch Stadium is just above .260, almost .40 points below his career average. He has yet to get a hit on the road this year (0-for-5), and is 1-for-16 with RISP. I wouldn't give up on him yet though, as he could be traded to a contender with better lineup protection.
Russell Martin, C: Martin is eight for his last 46 (.174 AVG), with only one extra-base hit during that 12 game stretch. Martin's career numbers at Arizona's Chase Field are pretty good, but over the last two seasons he's only 12-for-61 (.197 AVG) with no home runs and six RBIs. Things don't get much better when he's in San Diego; he's a career .207 hitter at Petco Park, with zero home runs in 33 games. Martin is 2-for-17 (.118 AVG) with RISP this season, and 8-for-40 (.200 AVG) with men on base.
Cameron Maybin, OF: Maybin has been removed from the leadoff spot, which should come as no surprise given that he's 9-for-56 (.161 AVG), and has 20 Ks vs. five BBs over his last 15 games. He's also been coming up small in the clutch this season, batting .150 (3-for-20) with RISP, and .161 (5-for-31) with men on base. Sit him down until he gets back on track.
Casey Blake, 3B: Two hits in his last 15 at-bats (.133 AVG). 8-for-40 (.200 AVG) at Petco Park; a little better vs. Arizona, but 34 Ks with only nine BBs isn't going to help.
Jay Bruce, OF: Also two for his last 15, with zero HRs and RBIs. Struggling with RISP (4-for-19) and men on base (7-for-36).
Jeff Francoeur, OF: Two for his last 14 (.143 AVG); 6-for-29 (.207 AVG) with RISP. Hit Washington and Florida pitching well early this year, but he's struggling right now.
Chipper Jones, 3B: Larry's been scuffling of late, with five hits in his last 42 at-bats (.147) and only two RBIs.
Ryan Ludwick, OF: In the midst of a 1-for-20 slide; on the road this week where he's 9-for-56 (.161 AVG) this season, which is .100 points below his home pace.
By now you have probably been bitten by the injury bug, and might be scanning the waiver wire for some help. To that end, I give you one player at each position who's owned in less than 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues who might be able to get you through the next week or so.
C -- Carlos Ruiz, PHI: Hitting .314, will move up to the seven-hole while Jimmy Rollins is out of the lineup.
1B -- Aubrey Huff, SF: .278 AVG, four HRs, 14 RBIs.
2B -- Craig Counsell, MIL: Also has SS/3B eligibility; hitting .340 with one HR and 10 RBIs.
SS -- Omar Infante, ATL: Also offers 2B/3B/OF eligibility; .296 AVG, one HR, seven RBIs, two SBs.
3B -- Andy LaRoche, PIT: .320 AVG, three HRs, seven RBIs, 13 runs.
OF -- Nate Schierholtz, SF: Regained the starting right field job; .381 AVG, 1.045 OPS, three SBs.
SP -- Mike Leake, CIN: 3-0 with five quality starts, 2.94 ERA, .233 BAA.
RP -- Tim Stauffer, SD: 0.49 ERA in 18.1 IP, two wins, 0.87 WHIP, 8.84 K/9; also has SP eligibility.
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