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Let me preface what I am about to write by stating that I am by no means a doctor, nor do I claim to be one. That said, why can't these professional team doctors make the right decision on a player's health? After long stints on the DL, Jacoby Ellsbury and Coco Crisp returned, causing players to be shuffled and lineups to be changed. Now, Crisp is back on the DL and Ellsbury wasn't far behind. I would rather see a player spend more time on the DL and come back 100 percent, than come back at 80 percent, get hurt again and miss even more time.
Why is this relevant? A few players below are either on your bench or on the waiver wire and will help you fill those holes left by players that hit the DL or are headed that way.
John Lackey vs OAK; @ BAL: Lackey has had a rough time this season, currently sporting a 5-3 record with a 4.84 earned run average (ERA), 1.60 walks plus hits per innings pitched (WHIP) and a 35:30 K:BB. Even more disconcerting is that he is walking almost as many hitters per nine innings as he is striking out (4.40 BB/9 and 5.14 K/9). Yes, after all that, I am still recommending him in both of his starts. In 29 games against the A's, he is 16-4 with a 2.76 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and a 141:53 K:BB over 189 IP. In 14 games against the Orioles, he is 9-3 with a 3.17 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a 75:23 K:BB over 96.2 IP. In eight games at Camden Yards, he has a 3.58 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a 45:13 K:BB over 55.1 IP. Although he has not dominated the Orioles, the hitters that he will face have struggled against him (.213). Even though walks have been his crux this season, he has kept them in check against the Birds over his career.
Shaun Marcum vs TB: Marcum has been solid this season, going 4-1 with a 2.82 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .211 BAA, and a 53:15 K:BB. Granted, he has had some solid run support, but there is no denying those stats. I try to use the word "domination" sparingly and in appropriate situations. Well, this is one of those situations. In three starts against the Rays, Marcum is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, .105 BAA, and zero HRs over 24 IP. As you might imagine, the Rays starting nine are only batting .108 (5-for-46) against him.
Rick Porcello vs CLE: Porcello has not started the season off as he had hoped (4-4, 5.58 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP). However, he has the opportunity to get the train back on the tracks against the Indians. His first win of the season came against the Indians (two ERs on five hits), and he should be able to get another tick in the win column. Over his short career, he has dominated the Indians, going 4-0 with a 2.10 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .229 batting average against (BAA), and has only allowed two HRs over 30 IP. Still not convinced? The hitters that he will face are batting .175 (10-for-57) against him. Are you convinced now?
Scott Baker @ OAK: Career at Oakland Coliseum; 3-0, 3.32 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .221 BAA and zero HRs over 19 IP.
Joe Saunders @ SEA: Career at SAFECO Field; 5-0, 2.41 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, .213 BAA and the hitters he will face are batting only .209 against him.
Kyle Davies vs LAA: In two games against the Angels, Davies is 1-0 and has allowed two ERs on eight hits over 11 IP.
Daisuke Matsuzaka vs OAK: Dice-K has been hit or miss this season, but he should have a solid outing against the A's. In five games, he is 2-1 with a 1.21 WHIP and a .213 BAA. The A's hitters that he will face are batting only .222 against him.
Keep em' in the pen
Colby Lewis @ CWS: Even though Lewis has fared pretty well this season (4-2, 3.45 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and a .201 BAA), the White Sox have had his number over his career. In three starts against Chicago, he is 1-2 and has allowed 20 ERs on 35 hits, and nine BBs over 19.2 IP. When he hears the term "U.S. Cellular Field," he begins to sweat. In two starts at the Cell, he is 0-2 and has allowed 15 ERs on 20 hits and six walks over nine IP. If you have no other options this week and can drop a useless player, I hear the waiver wire calling your name. No, I am not recommending you drop Lewis, just don't allow him anywhere near your starting lineup.
Brian Matusz @ NYY; vs BOS: After posting two wins in three starts, Matusz has fallen off the deep end, with five losses in seven starts. His current numbers (2-5, 5.76 ERA and 1.63 WHIP) are flat out unacceptable. Unfortunately, he will extend his winless streak to seven once this week is complete. While it is true that he has not been horrible against the Yankees (four ERs on 15 hits over 12 IP) or Red Sox (one ER on 11 hits over six IP) this season, the concern is the offensive potential of both teams and Matusz's rocky start to the season. Yes, he could pull a rabbit out of the hat and come out with a win, but according to my magic eight ball, all signs point to "very doubtful."
Justin Masterson @ CWS: If you own Masterson, which I am not sure why you would at this point (0-6, 6.13 ERA, 1.89 WHIP and a .321 BAA), you should count your blessings. He only has one start this week and an 0-7 record is on the horizon. He has not been horrible against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field (two ERs on nine hits over 11.2 IP), but he has been horrid this season, and the Indians struggle to score runs (2.66) when he is on the mound. Not to mention that the Sox hitters are batting a solid .349 against him. One final note; the opposing pitcher is John Danks, who has been solid this season.
Kevin Slowey @ SEA: In his lone start at SAFECO Field, he is 0-1 and allowed four ERs on 10 hits and three HRs over 4.2 IP. The Mariners are batting .361 against him over two games.
Brett Cecil vs NYY: Solid start to the season, but he was roughed up in his two career starts against the Yankees. He has allowed 10 ERs on 16 hits, three HRs and eight BBs over eight IP.
Jeremy Guthrie vs BOS: In 12 games against the Red Sox, Guthrie is 1-5 with a 4.72 ERA, 1.64 WHIP and a poor 41:34 K:BB over 74.1 IP.
Ricky Romero vs NYY: Career against the Yankees; In three games, Romero is 1-1 and has allowed 11 ERs on 17 hits, three HRs and 12 BBs over 16.2 IP.
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.
Justin Verlander: vs OAK (05/31); @ KC (06/05)Andy Pettitte: vs CLE (05/31); @ TOR (06/05)John Lackey: vs OAK (06/01); @ BAL (06/06)Matt Garza: @ TOR (05/31); @ TEX (06/06)Francisco Liriano: @ OAK (05/31); @ SEA (06/05)
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 at a win against the team in bold
Nick Blackburn: @ SEA (06/01); @ OAK (06/06)Jeremy Bonderman: vs OAK (06/01); @ KC (06/06)Mark Buehrle: vs TEX (06/01); vs CLE (06/06)Doug Fister: vs MIN (05/31); vs LAA (06/05)Luke Hochevar: vs LAA (05/31); vs DET (06/05)Joel Pineiro: @ KC (06/01); @ SEA (06/06)Ervin Santana: @ KC (05/31); @ SEA (06/05)Jason Vargas: vs MIN (06/01); vs LAA (06/06)Brian Bannister: @ LAA (06/01); vs DET (06/06)Trevor Cahill: @ DET (05/31); vs MIN (06/05)Mitch Talbot: @ NYY (05/31); @ CWS (06/05)Javier Vazquez: vs BAL (06/01); @ TOR (06/06)Rich Harden: @ CWS (06/01); vs TB (06/06)
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:
Brian Matusz: @ NYY (06/01); vs BOS (06/06)Brandon Morrow: vs TB (05/31); vs NYY (06/06)Gio Gonzalez: @ BOS (06/01); vs MIN (06/06)Jake Westbrook: @ DET (06/01); @ CWS (06/06)
Start 'em if you got 'em
Vladimir Guerrero, DH: Guerrero has been hammering the ball lately, and over the past 10 games, he is batting .341 with five HRs and 11 RBIs. Vlad will take his show on the road to U.S. Cellular Field against the White Sox, where he boasts a .306 BA, .923 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS), and a 13:12 K:BB. He is at his best against Mark Buehrle, batting .375 with a 1.328 OPS, four HRs, and a 2:6 K:BB over 28 at-bats. He will then host the Rays at hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark, where he has dominated this season with a .385 BA, 1.100 OPS, and nine HRs. Couple that with his .346 BA and 1.016 OPS (234 ABs) against the Rays and you have a player that can take you to the promised land this week.
J.D. Drew, OF: Drew is batting .307 with seven RBIs over the past 10 games, but he only has one HR during that stretch. He has an opportunity for another solid week when he faces the A's at Fenway Park and the Orioles at Camden Yards. Over 85 at-bats against the A's, Drew is batting .341 with a .930 OPS. Drew has always hit well against the Orioles, regardless of the location. He has gone 8-for-19 with three HRs and seven RBIs against the birds this season, which is in line with his career numbers against the Orioles (.351 BA, 1.141 OPS). He has been equally impressive at Camden Yards (.366 BA, 1.185 OPS). Drew has a history of striking out more than he walks, but that is not the case against the Orioles, which is evident by his 22:29 K:BB. Even though he is battling a sore hip flexor, start him with confidence this week.
Jason Kubel, OF: Even though he has increased his average over the past 10 games, he is still well below his career average. However, during that span he has three HRs and 12 RBIs. Who knows if he will be able to continue this hot streak, but he will have a solid opportunity against the Mariners and A's. His first series this week will be at SAFECO Field, where he is batting .283 with a .509 slugging percentage. While those numbers aren't great, they are not bad considering SAFECO Field is the most pitcher-friendly venue in the AL. He follows that series up with a trip down the coast to Oakland Coliseum, another pitcher-friendly park. Over 58 at-bats at Oakland Coliseum, he is batting .345 with a 1.046 OPS.
Nick Markakis, OF: Over the past 10 games, he is batting .315 with a solid 5:9 K:BB. Over his career, he is batting .310 with a .858 OPS against the Yankees. In six games against the Red Sox this season, he has gone 12-for-25 with one HR and six RBIs.
Erick Aybar, SS: Over 57 at-bats at Kauffman Stadium, Aybar is batting .421 with a 1.126 OPS. Over 11 at-bats at SAFECO Field this season, he is 3-for-11 with three walks.
Mark Teahen, 3B: Teahen is sporting a .346 BA and a .444 OBP over the past 10 games. Career against the Rangers; .329 BA and a .408 OBP over 146 at-bats. Over 27 at-bats against the Indians this season, Teahen is batting .259 with a .394 OPS.
Miguel Tejada, SS/3B: Tejada is 4-for-12 with zero Ks at Yankee Stadium this season. He is 12-for-25 with two HRs and five RBIs against the Red Sox this season.
Look away ... far away
Russell Branyan, 1B: With Branyan, the potential is there for power, but he has yet to find it this season. His HR/FB percentage is 13.8 as opposed to 21.7 last season, and his Isolated Power (ISO) is also down, currently at .200 this season compared to .269 last season. While Branyan will eventually get back to his norms, that will not happen this week on the road against the Tigers and White Sox. Over 82 at-bats against the Tigers at Comerica Park, Branyan is batting .195 with a .272 OBP and 36 Ks. Over 45 at-bats against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, he is batting a horrid .156 with a .502 OPS and 20 Ks.
Franklin Guiterrez, OF: Guiterrez is having a career season thus far (.291 BA, .825 OPS and a 13.1 BB%), but owners should expect him to level out and regress to his career numbers (.271 BA, .746 OPS and a 7.2 BB%) very soon, likely this week. I understand that he has hit well at SAFECO Field over his career (.312 BA and .818 OPS), but he has struggled against the Twins (.220 BA and .614 OPS over 123 at-bats) and Angels (.218 BA and .660 OPS over 110 at-bats). Guiterrez has to be better against the pitchers he will face ... right? Wrong. He is 3-for-31 with nine Ks against the Twins' probables and 10-for-43 with 15 Ks against the Angels' probables.
Mike Napoli, C: Napoli has been downright dominant this week, batting .363 with five HRs and 10 RBIs over the past 10 games. However, he has not fared well against the Royals or Mariners over his career. Over 69 at-bats against the Royals, he is batting .174 with a .293 OBP, and he is batting .200 with a .265 OBP over 45 at-bats at Kauffman Stadium. Napoli plays a little better against the Mariners (.233 BA, .310 OBP over 150 at-bats) at SAFECO Field (.230 BA, .289 OBP over 74 at-bats), but he has been horrible against the Mariners' probables (5-for-26).
Daric Barton, 1B: Over 36 at-bats against the Red Sox, Barton is batting .167 with a .302 OBP. Over 59 at-bats against the Twins, he is batting .136 with a .239 OBP.
Nick Punto, SS/3B: Punto has gone 3-for-25 over the past eight games and there is no sign that his rough stretch will improve. Over 67 at-bats at Oakland Coliseum, he is batting .149 with a .227 OBP. While he is slightly better at SAFECO Field (.193 BA, .324 OBP over 57 at-bats), the overall picture is still poor.
Corey Patterson, OF: Even though he has fared well against the Yankees (.256 BA, .309 OBP over 125 at-bats), he is 1-for-8 with five Ks at Yankee Stadium. Career against Boston; .186 BA and a .229 OBP over 102 at-bats.
Denard Span, OF: Career at SAFECO Field; .222 BA and a .333 OBP over 36 at-bats. Career at Oakland Coliseum; .229 BA and a .317 OBP over 35 at-bats.
Do you find yourself waiting for a particular player to perform as expected, but growing tired of his poor performance? If you can't allow yourself to drop him, stash him on your bench and pick up one of these widely available players (owned in less than 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues) who are performing well and will be a nice fill-in until that player returns to form.
Edwin Encarnacion, TOR, 3B: Since returning from the DL (nine games), he has six HRs and 13 RBIs over 30 at-bats.
Adam Rosales, OAK, 1B/2B/3B: Over the past 10 games, Rosales is batting .419 (13-for-31) with two HRs, seven RBIs and eight runs scored.
John Jaso, TB, C: Jaso is batting .342 (13-for-38) with a HR and seven RBIs over the past nine games. In addition this season, he has an outstanding 7:16 K:BB ratio.
Luke Hochevar, KC, SP: Over his past two starts (17 IP), he is 2-0 and has allowed five ERs on 10 hits with a 11:2 K:BB.
* All stats are current as of 05/27
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Did I leave a player off that you think should be here? Is a player on here that should not be? If so, drop me a line at email@example.com and we can discuss statistics and lineups until we are blue in the face ... I've got time.
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