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I climbed out on a few limbs last week, and if you followed my advice and grabbed Jonny Gomes or Andres Torres, I'm sure you like the view. I liked Justin Upton as my must-start of the week, and things were looking good until he started missing games; I just hope I didn't jinx him. One guy I know I didn't jinx was Johnny Cueto; the Pirates might as well forfeit when he takes the mound against them. I'll also take credit for Jose Reyes' recent play; it's obvious my suggestion to sit him down spurred his current tear.
Let's take a look at the upcoming week in the National League, with a little help from musical guest Rush.
John Ely vs. ARZ, vs. ATL: Why am I making a rookie my featured two-start pitcher of the week? Well, for one, no one came here to have me tell them to give Tim Lincecum two starts. But what really draws me to Ely is his 32 Ks/6 BBs; when a guy strikes out five times more hitters than he walks, that's a good sign. I love the fact that he's at home for both starts where he's struck out 18 and only allowed, get this, one walk. Opposing hitters are only batting .226 against Ely, and his batting average on balls in play of .289 indicates that there's nothing fluky about his success. Oh, and he hasn't allowed a home run yet. I love what I've seen from Ely so far, and think he's going to deliver this week.
Josh Johnson vs. MIL: Johnson has been money in his first six starts at home this season, going 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, .171 batting average against, 0.875 walks plus hits per innings pitched, 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings, and 53 Ks/11 BBs. Johnson has had success in his four career starts against the Brewers, posting a 2-0 record, 3.55 ERA, .237 BAA, and 24 Ks/nine BBs.
Kyle Kendrick @ ATL: Although Kendrick won't do you any favors with his strikeout numbers, his success against the Braves makes him a solid start this week. In five career games (four starts) at Turner Field, Kendrick is 2-0, with a 2.22 ERA (seven ERs in 28.1 IP) and a .231 BAA. In eight IP against Atlanta this season he hasn't allowed an earned run and only given up four hits.
Clayton Kershaw vs. ATL: In seven IP vs. Atlanta, Kershaw hasn't allowed an ER, only surrendered two hits, and has 10:1 K:BB. He's been dealing lately (3-1, 0.64 ERA in his last four starts), so continue to roll with Kershaw.
Hiroki Kuroda vs. ATL: Two career starts vs. the Braves: two ERs in 15 IP (1.20 ERA), eight hits/four BBs (0.800 WHIP), one shutout.
Jonathan Sanchez @ PIT: Although he got shelled in his only career start at PNC Park (back in 2008), Sanchez's last outing against the Buccos was stellar: eight IP, zero ERs, three hits, 11 Ks/three BBs.
Johan Santana @ SD: In 14.1 IP at Petco Park, Santana has allowed only two ERs (1.29 ERA), nine Ks/three BBs, and a .235 BAA. His last three starts have been solid, and expect that run to continue.
Carlos Silva @ HOU: Silva is 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA (six ERs in 17.1 IP), 13 Ks/three BBs in two career starts vs. Houston. In seven IP in 2010 vs. Houston, Silva has allowed zero ERs, five hits, five Ks, and zero walks.
Tommy Hanson vs. PHI, @ LAD: I've been on the Hanson bandwagon most of this season, but I'm jumping off now (at least for one week). In 11.2 IP against the Phillies, Hanson has allowed 15 hits and seven ERs (5.40 ERA). I know the Phillies bats were cold against the Mets, but an offense like that won't stay down long. In his only outing against Los Angeles, Hanson gave up eight hits and four ERs in six IP and took the loss. Hanson hasn't been good lately (15 ER in his last 14.2 IP), and I'm not ready to say he'll turn the corner this week.
Livan Hernandez vs. CIN: I predicted the end of the Livan-gravy train, and his last few starts have proven me right. Based on his history against Cincinnati, don't expect things to turn around this week. For his career Hernandez is 2-7 with a 5.64 ERA and a .298 BAA against the Reds, and he hasn't won in Cincinnati since 2000. His last road start against the Reds was a disaster: 3.2 IP, six ERs, eight hits, and one HR. Factor in his poor K/9 rate on the season (3.41), and you can do much better.
Derek Lowe vs. PHI: Loyal readers may recall I recommended starting Lowe earlier this year against the Phillies. While the historical numbers validated that choice, it didn't quite pan out, and the Phillies fell on Lowe like a ton of bricks. In his two starts against Philadelphia this season, Lowe is 0-2, with a 9.90 ERA (11 ERs in 10 IP), 17 hits (.378 BAA), and a 4.5 K/9. I won't be fooled again.
Brian Burres vs. SF: Even though the Giants are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the National League, don't be tempted to give Burres a start when he faces them; the last time he did, the Giants tuned him up for eight hits and six ERs in four IP.
Ryan Dempster @ HOU: Although he shut the Astros down in their last meeting, history says lightning won't strike twice. Dempster is 4-10 with a 4.27 ERA in 19 games vs. Houston.
John Garland @ PHI: The Phills flat out own Garland; in four games against Philadelphia he's 0-3 with an 8.02 ERA and 11 BBs vs. only nine Ks.
Manny Parra @ FLA: Parra is filling in for Doug Davis, but if you need a replacement starter, please look elsewhere. In 15.1 IP against Florida, Parra has allowed 15 ERS, 23 hits, and a .348 BAA.
Randy Wolf @ STL: Wolf is 0-2 at the new Busch Stadium, and in 11.2 IP has allowed 15 hits/four BBs (1.629 WHIP) and six ERs (4.63 ERA).
John Ely 06/01 vs. ARZ; 06/06 vs. ATLJaime Garcia 05/31 vs. CIN; 06/06 vs. MLWTim Hudson 06/01 vs. PHI; 06/06 @ LADUbaldo Jimenez 05/31 @ SF; 06/06 @ ARZTim Lincecum 05/31 vs. COL; 06/06 @ PITRoy Oswalt 05/31 vs. WAS; 06/05 vs. CHC
One little victory
Luis Atilano 05/31 @ HOU; 06/05 vs. CINBronson Arroyo 05/31 @ STL; 06/06 @ WASChad Billingsley 05/31 vs. ARZ; 06/05 vs. ATLJoe Blanton 05/31 @ ATL; 06/06 vs. SDKevin Correia 05/31 vs. NYM; 06/06 @ PHIBrett Myers 06/01 vs. WAS; 06/06 vs. CHCChris Narveson 05/31 @ FLA; 06/05 @ STLRicky Nolasco 06/01 vs. MLW; 06/06 @ NYMNate Robertson 05/31 vs. MLW; 06/05 @ NYMHisanori Takahashi 05/31 @ SD; 06/06 vs. FLA
Dave Bush 06/01 @ FLA; 06/06 @ STLTommy Hanson 05/31 vs. PHI; 06/05 @ LADRoss Ohlendorf 05/31 vs. CHC; 06/06 vs. SFRodrigo Lopez 05/31 @ LAD; 06/06 vs. COLCraig Stammen 06/01 @ HOU; 06/06 vs. CINCarlos Zambrano 05/31 @ PIT; 06/06 @ HOU
Best I can
Matt Holliday, OF: Holliday will spend the week in his home park, which is a great thing for fantasy owners; the fact that Cincinnati and Milwaukee are coming to town makes things even better. In 39 career games against the Reds, Holliday is a .317 hitter and is 5-for-6 in stolen base attempts. In eight games this season, Holliday has knocked around Reds' pitching to the tune of a .313 average (10-for-32), with a home run and six RBIs. In 37 games against the Brew Crew, Holliday boasts a .408 AVG, .466 on-base percentage, 1.181 on-base plus slugging, 10 HRs, and 29 RBIs. In '10 Holliday is 6-for-13 (.462 AVG) against Milwaukee with two HRs, three RBIs, one double, and four runs scored.
Adam LaRoche, 1B: I think I owe Andy's brother an apology; I bad-mouthed him in this space a while back, and now I've got to eat my words. LaRoche has put together a pretty impressive season, especially with runners in scoring position (16-for-42, .381 AVG), RISP with two outs (6-for-19, .316 AVG), and men-on-base (23-for-77, .299 AVG). He starts the week at Dodger Stadium, where he's gone 3-for-8 (.375 AVG) with two doubles, two RBIs, and three walks in two games this year. LaRoche is back home against Colorado to end the week. He's only 2-for-9 (.222 AVG) this season against the Rockies, but he has managed to record one HR, five RBIs, two runs, and three BBs in three games.
Joey Votto, 1B: Votto is hitting the road this week, but that's not such a bad thing, especially since he'll be visiting St. Louis and Washington. In 12 career games in St. Louis, Votto is 14-for-37 (.378 AVG), with a .500 OBP, 1.095 OPS, two HRs, six RBIs, and 10 BBs/five Ks. Votto has only played three games in Washington, but in those games he's 4-for-9 (.444 AVG) with one HR and four RBIs. For those of you who want a larger sample size, in 11 games against the Nats, Votto is 12-for-36 (.333 AVG), with a .442 OBP and .914 OPS.
Jason Bay, OF: Batting .370 (10-for-27) with a .433 OBP and 1.026 OPS in seven games vs. Florida this year; not great career numbers in San Diego, but he hasn't played there since '07. He's been going good lately, so keep him in the lineup.
Orlando Cabrera, SS: Don't worry about his road trip; his career home/road splits are pretty even. In six games at the new Busch Stadium, Cabrera is 7-for-28 (.292 AVG) with six RBIs. He's 5-for-10 in his career vs. Washington, and although those numbers are from five years ago, I like him to stay hot when he visits DC.
Ronny Paulino, C: He's making the most of his opportunity with John Baker on the DL. Paulino is 3-for-9 (.333 AVG) in three games at Citi Field this year; 6-for-19 (.316 AVG), two RBIs in six games against the Mets in 2010. Baker isn't ready to return just yet, so Paulino makes a nice play at the thin catcher position.
Drew Stubbs, OF: I've been waiting for Stubbs to turn it around, and lately he's been looking good. In his last six games he's 9-for-20 (.450 AVG) with one HR and four RBIs. Although his season numbers are pretty poor, he's getting it done in the clutch: .308 AVG (12-for-39) with RISP, .364 AVG (8-for-22) with RISP and two outs.
Ryan Theriot, 2B/SS: He hasn't been great lately, but he'll turn it around this week. Thirty games in Pittsburgh: .309 AVG, .411 OBP, 6-for-8 SBs, 19 BBs/10 Ks. Twenty-four games in Houston: .314 AVG, .390 OBP.
Ghost of a chance
Ryan Doumit, C: Speaking of the thin catching position, Doumit is one guy you'll want to consider stashing on your bench this week. Now, I know what you're thinking: the Buccos are at home all week, and Doumit has been hitting well lately. However, when you look at Doumit's '10 home/road splits (.242 AVG/.777 OPS at home; .317 AVG, .876 OPS on the road), you start to see why I feel the way I do. Toss in his dreadful '10 performances against Chicago (4-for-23, four Ks in six games) and San Francisco (1-for-11, three Ks in three games), it's clear that going with Doumit this week is a pretty big risk.
Brad Hawpe, OF: Hawpe will be away from Coors Field all week, which is bad news for his RBI numbers (12 RBIs in 16 home games; four RBIs in 14 road games). Hawpe starts the week in San Francisco, where he was 4-for-27 (.148 AVG) with seven Ks in eight games last season. His career average of .229 in 35 career games in San Francisco doesn't inspire much confidence either. Don't expect things to get much better when Hawpe hits the desert; in his last 17 games in Arizona he's 11-for-51 (.216 AVG). Give Hawpe a break this week and look forward to his return to Denver.
Aramis Ramirez, 3B: Ramirez may be headed to the DL due to a thumb injury, but if he does make it back to the Cubs' lineup this week, he should not be in yours. The Cubs are on the road all week, and Ramirez has been horrendous away from Wrigley (not to mention at Wrigley, too) this year. Ramirez has played three games this year in his old stomping grounds of PNC Park, during which he's 1-for-11 (.091 AVG) with a .154 OBP. In three games against Houston this season, Ramirez is 3-for-12 (.250 AVG). Although two of those hits were doubles, he also struck out twice, so let's not get too excited.
Lance Berkman, 1B: Berkman has two series at home, where his numbers are down this year (.394 SLG, .703 OPS, at home; .455 SLG, .862 OPS, on the road). Average career numbers against Washington and Chicago indicate his recent struggles won't end.
Chris Coghlan, OF: Mediocre recent numbers combined with historical poor performances against Milwaukee (4-for-20 in six games), and at Citi Field (8-for-35 with one RBI in nine games) make Coghlan a must-sit this week.
Ian Desmond, 2B/SS: Desmond has been decent for most of the season, but he's hit a rough patch lately, with only three hits in his last 18 at-bats (.167 AVG)
Ryan Ludwick, OF: Historically, Ludwick displays more power on the road than at home (one HR every 5.2 games on the road vs. 7.3 games at home). He's also hitting .187 in his last 24 games against Cincinnati with eight RBIs and 17 Ks, and is 1-for-11 (.091 AVG) with four Ks this season against Milwaukee.
Dan Uggla, 2B: He's been OK against Milwaukee, but when he hits the Big Apple, get him on the bench. In 39 combined games at Shea Stadium and Citi Field, Uggla is a .164 hitter with 38 Ks/13 BBs.
Speed is something you can't teach, which makes stolen bases a sought-after fantasy treasure. Here are a few guys to keep an eye out for, who should be available in your league and can help boost your stolen base totals.
Carlos Gomez, OF: (owned in six percent of Yahoo! leagues): Six SBs to go along with a respectable .269 AVG and three HRs.
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B/3B/SS/OF (four percent): Four SBs on the year, two HRs in his last three games, and can play almost anywhere in your lineup. Not a bad guy to grab if you have room on your bench.
Adam Kennedy, 1B/2B/3B (eight percent): Gotta love speed (seven SBs) to go along with triple eligibility.
Angel Pagan, OF (11 percent): Eight SBs to go with his .296 AVG.
* All stats through 5/27/10.
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