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Armando Galarraga was the story of last week and for good reason. The promising young righty was denied history by an epic bonehead call. But with interleague action back late this week, things get tricky as teams face pitchers they have not seen before, and American League pitchers get pinch-hit for in the middle to late innings. If you have some inconsistent American League pitching talent, you might want to give them a shot in a National League park, where they only have to deal with eight batters. The other story to watch is the impending return to the DL of Brett Anderson; the promising young Athletics hurler who would be a stud if not for constant elbow inflammation.
Armando Galarraga @ CHW; vs PIT:Dallas Braden had two rocky games after his perfect game, but then again Braden was matched up against the Angels and Tigers. The Pirates are the worst run-scoring team in the league and the White Sox aren't much better. With the trade of Dontrelle Willis, Galarraga is going to have a long leash, but he shouldn't need it. He's talented and the should-be-perfect game will give him the confidence he needs to stay in the bigs.
Jeremy Guthrie v. NYM: Despite being 3-5, Guthrie's 3.85 ERA is nothing short of impressive as the Orioles have completely melted down into an epic disaster. The Mets are not a prolific offensive squad and their unfamiliarity with him should be to his advantage.
Clay Buchholz @ CLE: Buchholz is on a tear of late going 5-0 with a 0.99 ERA over his last five starts. Luckily for fantasy owners he will miss out on the big weekend series with Philadelphia. Cleveland is one of the five worst offensive teams in the league and even on the road; Buchholz should be able to mow them down.
C.J. Wilson v. SEA: There is something inherently likeable about C.J. Wilson. His seamless transition to the rotation has shown his talent is for real. This week he has a start against the now hapless Mariners. Although he didn't pitch well in his first start against Seattle, Wilson is coming off a win and should return to form after a recent slump.
Francisco Liriano v. ATL: Liriano pitched great after suffering a four-start slump in which he lost three times despite pitching reasonably well in each start. The bottom line is Liriano is back and is a legitimate starter, perhaps the only quality guy in the Twins' rotation. One or two more good outings and Liriano will officially enter automatic start status.
Javier Vazquez v. HOU: Vazquez has pitched well in three of his last four starts. This includes his first home win in what was probably his best outing of the year. Following up that start with another against the punchless Astros could be just what the doctor ordered to truly set Vazquez onto sustainable success.
Joe Saunders @ OAK: Oakland can't hit and Saunders isn't quite as bad as his numbers indicate. Only three Athletics even remotely have the ability to get wood on the ball against Saunders, who has already faced them twice.
Keep em' in the pen
Brian Tallet @ COL; @ TB: Tallet has had an up and down year despite the Blue Jays flying high above expectationsn. Despite having some good performances overall, he's been slipping of late to the point that manager Cito Gaston admitted mulling over dropping Tallet from the rotation. For the time being Tallet can't be trusted.
Ricky Romero @ COL: Saying that Romero is worth sitting is quite a statement, and for some owners sitting Romero may simply not be an option, but he is facing a tough test against Ubaldo Jimenez in Colorado. Because of his opponent, a win could be near impossible to come by against a talented hitting team in Colorado, humidor or not.
Rich Harden @ MLW: Harden is undoubtedly one of the most frustrating pitchers in all of fantasy. The guy has talent but his inability to go more than 5.1 innings over his last five starts is flabbergasting. In those starts he has only one decision, albeit a win, and his ERA has climbed after each outing. The Brewers are the second best run scoring team in the NL and should give Harden trouble.
Joel Pineiro @ LAD: Despite Pineiro's most recent outing in which the veteran used 98 pitches to get through 8 innings, the Angels and the righty both logged a loss. He's 0-2 in his last three starts and has seen his ERA balloon to over 5.00. It seems as if the former Dave Duncan reclamation project hasn't translated his success to the AL and going up against a good offensive team like the Dodgers isn't likely to help.
Max Scherzer @ CWS: Even accounting for his 14 strike-out performance over 5.2 innings versus Oakland, Scherzer has lost four of his last five starts and has only once gone over 5.0 innings pitched. Scherzer is still young and can't be relied on as an every start pitcher. He hasn't face Chicago yet this year, but just the way he is pitching now isn't comforting.
Carl Pavano v. KC: Pavano is an innings eater and seems to be just good enough to keep the Twins in games. But there are at least five Kansas City regulars who have good numbers against him this year. Combine that with losses in three of his last four starts and you have a recipe for disappointment.
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.
Cliff Lee: @ TEX (06/07); @ SD (06/12)Felix Hernandez: @ SD (06/08); @ TEX (06/13)Phil Hughes: v. HOU (06/08); @BAL (06/13)Jeff Neimann: v. FLA (06/08); v. TOR (06/13)Colby Lewis: @ MIL (06/08); v. SEA (06/13)Armando Galarraga: @CHW (06/08); v. PIT (06/13)
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
Tim Wakefield: v. PHI (06/08); @ CLE (06/13)Scott Kazmir: @ OAK (06/7); @ LAA (06/12)Scott Feldman: v. SEA (06/07); @ MIL (06/12)Ben Sheets: v. LAA (06/07); @ SF (06/12)Jared Weaver: @ LAD (06/08); v. OAK (06/13)Fausto Carmona: v. BOS (06/07); v. WAS (06/12)Daisuke Matsuzaka: @ CLE (06/07); v. PHI (06/12)Kevin Slowey: v. ATL (06/08); v. KC (06/13)
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:
Gavin Floyd: @ CHC (06/08); v. DET (06/13)Vin Mazzaro: @ SF (06/08); v. LAA (06/13)David Huff: v. BOS (06/08); v. WAS (06/13)Kyle Davies: @ CIN (06/08); @ MIN (06/13)Brian Tallet: @ COL (06/08); @ TB (06/13)Bradley Bergeson: v. NYM (06/08); v. NYY (06/13)
Start 'em if you got 'em
Josh Hamilton, OF: Everyone's favorite rehabilitated baseball player is on an absolute tear right now. He has three hits in three of his last four games along with three doubles and a home run. His average is up to .300, he looks healthy, and despite Nelson Cruz being banged up and not hitting behind him, there is no reason to think Hamilton can't hit at the most elite of levels.
Nick Swisher, OF: Swisher is batting .315. No that is not a typo, and truth be told, it looks to be sustainable over the long haul. He has five multi-hit games over the last 10 days and we know he can hit for power and drive in runs. Swisher should be a no-doubt starter in your outfield until further notice and it looks like playing in the vaunted Yanks offense has brought out the best in the 31-year-old.
Marco Scutaro, SS: Scutaro had back-to-back home run games a weeka dn a half ago and it was revealed that he has been feeling better as he recovered from a pinched nerve. The Red Sox offense looks back on track, and Scutaro is pulling his weight in the revival. His four games with three hits in the past week and a half prove just how his stroke has returned.
Kevin Youkilis, 1B: Youkilis had four great games in a row after getting only one hit in the previous six. Fantasy owners need batting average from Youkilis to make up for his lack of elite power and he has provided. He's back up to .312 and his six RBIs over the last four games shows that he will always be one of the more important run producing players in the American League.
Brett Gardner, OF: Gardner is finally starting to get the attention of fantasy owners. It's becoming apparent that his .300-plus batting average is not a fluke. Beyond that his 18 stolen bases are hard to ignore. Although Curtis Granderson's return could slightly affect his playing time, manager Joe Girardi likes him too much to limit his starts.
Alex Rios, OF: Rios is one of the few bright spots for GM Kenny Williams this season and has reverted back to the multi-tool outfielder he was for the Blue Jays. He is hot again after seeing his average steadily climb over the last two weeks. Even more importantly it seems his home runs and stolen bases are good enough to where a 30/30 season isn't out of the question.
Look away ... far away
Denard Span, OF: Is in an 0-for-16 slump which has seen his batting average fall all the way to .271. Because he isn't going to provide you anything other than stolen bases, there is no reason to keep him in the lineup until he can string together some hits over a couple day span.
A.J. Pierzynksi, C: Pierzynski is usually at the very least a reliable batting average guy, especially for those who don't waste draft picks on catchers. However his .225 batting average makes him tough to carry even in AL-only leagues. If he continues playing this badly, blue chip prospect Tyler Flowers could be called up.
J.J. Hardy, SS: Just 5-for-33 since returning from the DL, Hardy is not playing the way the Twins expected. Despite battling a sore wrist, he looks as if he is not in any threat of losing his everyday job. However for fantasy owners, he is a disappointment and there should be other names filling your shortstop spot.
Carlos Pena, 1B: All fantasy owners knew they might take a hit on their team averages with Pena on the roster but hitting below the Mendoza line is not something they wanted to deal with, especially with only eight home runs.
Chone Figgins, 3B: There is just no way around it; more and more the prolific base stealer is looking like a bad signing for Seattle. For fantasy owners he simply looks washed up and his .211 average doesn't justify his 11 stolen bases.
There is a huge dearth in talent behind the plate this year. Even the big three of Mauer, Martinez, and McCann have had injuries or slumps to create pain for fantasy owners. Play the waiver wire, play the hot hand, do anything but let your catcher spot be an anchor. Here are a few below the radar guys who can contribute.
Buster Posey, C: The kid can hit, and all Giants not nicknamed after Pandas can't. Posey already has four multi-hit games in his first six. He's probably still available in your league.
Kurt Suzuki, C: The guy won't kill you and he's currently on a streak of four multi-hit games, including three long balls.
Rod Barajas, C: Barajas has anchored what the Mets thought was a weak spot in their team and now he can help you fill a need. His 30 RBIs are nothing to sneeze at for a catcher.
Yorvit Torrealba, C: There's nothing special about Torrealba other than the fact his .287 average is going to keep your catcher spot from being detrimental to your team batting average. Plus, he's pretty much unowned across fantasy.
Chris Snyder, C: Yes he hits .218, but 8 home runs and 25 RBIs in 133 at-bats ... not bad, not bad at all. He's certainly a must get for those that wasted a draft pick on Miguel Montero.
* All stats are current as of 06/04
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