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A.L. weekly fantasy planner


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After almost two months since Opening Day, the 2010 season is starting to show signs of normalcy. Players who were drafted early are starting to show their worth, players who started hot are showing why they were drafted late, and key players are trickling their way back from the DL. That being said, your team should be all set, barring any injuries that may occur. So with a solid lineup and bench, whom should you start this week?

Let's go ahead and dive into the planner to get those questions answered.

Packin' heat

John Danks @ CLE; @ TB: Even though Danks has not fared well against the Indians (2-5, 4.89 ERA), he has done slightly better at Comerica Park (2-2, 3.82 ERA, 1.14 WHIP). That said, I think he will come out of this game with a win as the Sox will face Justin Masterson, who has been horrid this season (0-4, 5.65 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and a .307 BAA). Assuming the Sox can knock Masterson around, Danks should be fine. Over his career, he has been at his best against the Rays at Tropicana Field. In six games against the Rays, he is 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, .179 BAA and a 9.44 K/9. He has been perfect at Tropicana Field, going 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and a .179 BAA. To drive my point home, the Rays starting nine are only batting .156 with 29 Ks against Danks. If you were looking for a spot start, now is the time.

Dallas Braden @ BAL; @ DET: Braden followed up his no-hitter with two poor outings against the Tigers and Angels (0-2, 13 hits, six earned runs and two home runs in 14 IP). That said, he should be able to turn things around when he faces the Orioles at Camden Yards. In six games against the Orioles, he is 5-1 with a 1.57 earned run average (ERA), 0.79 walks plus hits per innings pitched (WHIP), and a .168 batting average against (BAA). He has been equally dominant at Camden Yards, allowing two ERs on seven hits and zero HRs over 11 IP. To top it off, the Orioles are batting a putrid .169 with 15 strikeouts against Braden. That said, he is not an advisable start against the Tigers (2-3, 6.63 ERA) at Comerica Park (1-2, 10.54 ERA)

Phil Hughes vs CLE: Even though he gave up five ERs (worst outing of the season) against the Red Sox on May 17, the Yankees got the win and thus prevented a loss for Hughes. In his two starts against the Indians, he is 1-0 and has allowed five ERs on nine hits with a 12:2 K:BB over 11 IP. He will host the Indians at Yankee Stadium where he is 6-1 with a 2.86 ERA and 1.20 WHIP.

Mitch Talbot vs CWS: While he has only faced the White Sox once, it was a complete game in which he allowed one ER on six hits and no walks. The White Sox were not hitting well then, and they are still at the bottom of the barrel in the AL with a .230 BA.

Dana Eveland vs BAL: Eveland has had a rough start to the season (3-3, 4.98 ERA, 1.71 WHIP), but he has pitched well against the Orioles. In two starts, he is 1-0 and has allowed zero ERs on eight hits with zero HRs. The Orioles hitters are batting .193 (6-for-31) against him.

Freddy Garcia @ TB: Garcia may have turned the corner as he is 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA over his past three starts, compared to 0-2 with a 5.86 ERA over his first four starts. In 14 starts against the Rays, Garcia is 7-2 with a 3.63 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. The hitters that he will face are batting .235 (24-for-102) against him.

Rich Harden @ KC: Even though he has been horrible thus far, he has the opportunity to turn things around. In five starts against the Royals, he is 2-0 with a 1.78 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and the hitters that he will face are batting .157 against him.

C. J. Wilson @ MIN: Over 23.1 IP against the Twins, Wilson sports a 2.35 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, .138 BAA, and the hitters he will face are batting a horrid .142.

Keep em' in the pen

Gio Gonzalez @ DET: Gonzalez has nightmares about the Tigers and he will face them again this week at Comerica Park. In three starts, he is 0-3 and has allowed 16 hits, 14 ERs and six HRs over 12.1 IP. Unfortunately, his luck will not improve any at Comerica Park, where he has allowed eight ERs on five hits and three HRs over 1.2 IP. Needless to say, the Tigers have his number and he should not come close to your rotation this week.

Fausto Carmona @ NYY: Even with his sterling 4-1 record, there are still many Carmona haters out there, including me. There is no way he can maintain his .216 batting average on balls in play (.301 career average) or his 3.8 HR/FB rate (10.7 career average). The wheels are destined to fall off at some point ... meaning now. In five starts against the Yankees, Carmona is 1-2 with a 5.17 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and has allowed six HRs over 31.1 IP. While he got a win in his lone start at Yankee Stadium, he allowed four ERs on six hits and gave up two HRs. Combine the six HRs over 31.1 IP that he has allowed, the fact that Yankee Stadium ranks second in HRs (park factor), and that the Yankees are batting .343 against him, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Jeremy Bonderman @ SEA: When a fantasy owner hears that a pitcher is headed to pitcher friendly SAFECO Field, they tend to get giddy as it is the most pitcher friendly venue in the AL. However, Bonderman must not have gotten the memo. In five games at SAFECO Field, he is 2-2 with a 4.81 ERA, .311 BAA, 1.08 HR/9, and 11.38 H/9. Not to rub it in, but the Mariners are batting .353 against him over his career. Do not let his latest win against the A's lure you in to taking a chance on him this week, it is a trap and you will pay the price.

Luke Hochevar vs TEX: In three starts, he is 1-0 and has allowed six ERs on eight hits. In his lone start against the Rangers this season, he allowed four ERs on three hits and four BBs over 2.2 IP.

Jake Westbrook vs CWS: Career against Chicago; 8-12 with a 5.00 ERA. In two starts this season against the White Sox, Westbrook allowed seven ERs on 10 hits over 11 IP.

Brian Bannister @ BOS: Career against the Boston; 0-4 with a 5.87 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and has allowed four HRs over 23 IP.

Carl Pavano vs TEX: In three career starts, Pavano has allowed 19 hits, 16 ERS, three HRs, and seven BBs over 11 IP. To compound the problem, the hitters he will face are batting .388 (21-for-54).

Rick Porcello vs OAK: Career against Oakland; In three starts, he is 1-2 with a 6.32 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, and a .313 BAA. Oakland's starting nine are batting .444 (12-for-27).

Two-start pitchers

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.

Clay Buchholz: @ TB (05/24); vs KC (05/29)A. J. Burnett: @ MIN (05/25); vs CLE (05/30)Jon Lester: @ TB (05/25); vs KC (05/30)John Danks: @ CLE (05/24); @ TB (05/29)James Shields: vs BOS (05/25); vs CWS (05/30)

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.

SI Recommends

* Note: The pitcher has the best chance at a win against the team in bold

Brett Cecil: @ LAA (05/24); vs BAL (05/30)Wade Davis: vs BOS (05/24); vs CWS (05/29)Jeremy Guthrie: vs OAK (05/25); @ TOR (05/30)Scott Baker: vs NYY (05/25); vs TEX (05/30)Jake Peavy: @ CLE (05/25); @ TB (05/30)Dallas Braden: @ BAL (05/25); @ DET (05/30)Joe Saunders: vs TOR (05/24); vs SEA (05/30)

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, instead of these unfulfilling options:

Justin Masterson: vs CWS (05/24); @ NYY (05/30)Gil Meche: vs TEX (05/25); @ BOS (05/30)

Start 'em if you got 'em

David Ortiz, DH: Throughout his career, Ortiz has been a slow starter, and this season is no different. During the month of April, he had a .143 BA with one HR and four RBIs over 56 at-bats. However, during the month of May, he has a .358 BA with seven HRs and 17 RBIs. His trend of being hot in May should continue against the Rays at Tropicana Field and the Royals at Fenway Park. In 499 at-bats against the Rays, he is batting .285 with a .964 On-base Plus Slugging percentage (OPS). His production improves at Tropicana Field, where he is batting .274 with a 1.025 OPS over 234 at-bats. In addition, he boasts a .965 OPS against the Rays' probables. While Ortiz has been decent against the Royals (.268 BA, .838 OPS), he does most of his damage at home (.307 BA, .990 OPS).

Johnny Damon, OF: Damon has been his typical self this season, with a .290 avg., .399 OBP and 30 runs scored. He should continue his solid play this week against the Mariners, against whom he is batting .283 with a .352 OBP, 10.4 percent walk rate, and an 89 percent contact rate over 502 at-bats. In 449 at-bats against Oakland, he is batting .298 with a .386 OBP and an 87 percent contact rate. While he will not dominate this week, he will get on base and should generate more runs than the average Joe.

Alberto Callaspo, 2B/3B: Callaspo has been hitting the ball well lately, going 6-for-15 with five runs scored and no strikeouts over the past four games. He should continue his solid play against the Rangers as he is batting .345 with a .368 OBP and only two Ks over 55 at-bats. He has been just as dominant against the Rangers' probables (.350). However, he has not done as well against the Red Sox (.286 BA, .364 OBP), but he has played well against them this season (4-for-12, zero Ks).

Nick Markakis, OF: Over the past four games, he has gone 6-for-15 with six BBs. Over 266 at-bats against the Blue Jays, he is batting .316 with a .914 OPS. He has not fared as well against the A's (5-for-17 this season), but I like him against Trevor Cahill (4-for-6) and Tyson Ross, who has struggled of late.

Brennan Boesch, OF: Even though he has been held without a hit over the past two games, you have to like his season stats thus far (.354 BA, .987 OPS over 82 at-bats). Now that Carlos Guillen will take over 2B when he returns from his rehab assignment, the OF spot now belongs solely to Boesch.

Mike Aviles, SS: Currently sporting a .375 BA and a .906 OPS in 64 at-bats. He has hit safely in 13 of his 16 games and has eight multi-hit games this season. While he only has one at-bat against Boston, he has done well against the Rangers this season (5-for-14).

Delmon Young, OF: Young has struggled against the Yankees over his career, but he has dominated the Yankees' probables to the tune of a .431 BA (19-for-44). In 101 at-bats against the Rangers, he has a .356 BA and a 1.020 OPS.

Look away ... far away

Adam Jones, OF: What was with the preseason hype of Jones? He has a career .262 BA and .722 OPS. Owners who wasted a mid-round pick on him are kicking themselves in the rear now after his sub-par start to the season (.250 BA, .678 OPS). Unfortunately, his stats will continue to dive this week when he faces Oakland and Toronto at Rogers Centre. In 74 at-bats against the A's, he is batting .216 with a .551 OPS and a 74 percent contact rate. His misery will continue against the Blue Jays (.236 BA and a .692 OPS in 148 at-bats) at Rogers Centre (.200 BA and a .622 OPS in 70 at-bats). Not only should be not play this week, he should not be on your team at all as there are a plethora of better OF options in the wire.

Marco Scutaro, SS: My main concern with Scutaro this week is his bum elbow. He has a form of tennis elbow and has been receiving cortisone shots. He has already missed the past two games, and who knows how many he will miss next week. That said, even if he is feeling good enough to pony up to the plate, he has struggled against the Rays (.236 BA and a .292 OBP in 229 at-bats) at Tropicana Field (.245 BA and a .288 OBP in 102 at-bats). He has also struggled mightily against the Rays' probables (.219). In 106 at-bats against the Royals, he has a .236 BA and a .751 OPS. Bottom line, his elbow must be taken into account when plugging him into your lineup this week.

Daric Barton, 1B: Over the past 10 games, Barton is 9-for-40 with a 77 percent contact rate. Things will not get any better when he heads to Camden Yards to face the Orioles. In 28 at-bats, he is batting .143 with a .529 OPS and is 0-for-5 at Camden Yards. He has fared slightly better against the Tigers (.235 BA and a .644 OPS in 51 at-bats). However, he struggles at Comerica Park (2-for-22) and is 1-for-11 against the Tigers' probables.

Russell Branyan, 1B: Over his past five games, Branyan is 1-for-17 with zero HRs and zero RBIs. In 125 at-bats against the White Sox, he is batting .208 with a .275 OBP and 51 Ks. In 81 at-bats against the Yankees, he is batting .222 with 37 Ks. Over three games at Yankee Stadium, he is 2-for-11 with nine Ks.

Brandon Inge, 3B: Career at SAFECO Field; .193 BA and a .555 OPS over 88 at-bats. Career against Oakland; .207 BA, .270 OBP and is 4-for-21 against the A's probables.

Carlos Quentin, OF: Career at Progressive Field; .100 BA, .095 OBP over 40 at-bats, and is 1-for-19 against the Indians' probables. Career against the Rays; .218 BA and a .787 OPS over 78 at-bats and 5-for-28 against the Rays' probables.

Austin Kearns, OF: Even though Kearns has been solid this season, I think he is due for a bump in the road, which will more than likely happen at Yankee Stadium. Even though he has had limited at-bats, he has not done much with said at-bats. He is 2-for-19 with five Ks and is 0-for-8 with two Ks in New York.

Did you choose to punt saves during your draft? Were you one of the unlucky owners that have seen their closer struggle, hit the DL, or lose their job? If that is the case and there are no closers on the wire, here are a few options (owned in less than 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues) that will more than likely not net you any saves, but they can help you in other categories.

Daniel Bard, BOS: One win, 2.45 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 10.63 K/9 and a .182 BAA over 22 IPSergio Santos, CWS: Eight hits, one ER and 18 Ks over 14.1 IPGrant Balfour, TB: 2.60 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 2.06 BAA and 18 Ks over 17.1 IPDarren Oliver, TEX: 1.66 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, .203 BAA, four holds, and 23 Ks over 21.2 IPTony Sipp, CLE: 1.59 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, .158 BAA, five holds, and 10.05 K/9 over 17 IP

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