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I was thumbing through some stats the other day and noticed that the A.L. is dominating the stat line during the month of June, specifically Texas and Boston. Texas is leading the majors in runs (140), hits (232) and RBIs (134). While Boston is leading the majors in HRs (29), total bases (374), extra base hits (94), batting average (.307), on-base percentage (.379) and slugging percentage (.509).
The pitchers for those two dominating offensive teams gain some added value, while the opposing pitchers' value decreases. While I will not list all of those pitchers below, it would be a good idea to keep the aforementioned stats in mind when setting your lineups this week.
Without further ado, let's roll into this week's planner.
Dallas Braden @ BAL: Since his no-hitter on May 9, Braden has gone 0-5 (eight starts) with a 4.37 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and has allowed six HRs over 47.3 IP. I am sure most, if not all, Braden owners had him riding the pine, but it is time to give him a go this week against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Against the Orioles this season, Braden has one win over two starts and has allowed two ERs on six hits over 11 IP. Four of those 11 IP came at Camden Yards, where he allowed zero ERs on three hits with four Ks. Need a larger sample size? In six career starts against the O's, he is 5-1 with a 1.41 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and a .173 BAA. Of those six starts, three of them came at Camden Yards where he is 2-0 and has allowed two ERs on four hits over 15 IP. The opposing pitcher, Brian Matusz, has lost eight of his last 11 games, so if Braden is not able to pull out a win here, owners can feel free to cut bait.
Francisco Liriano vs DET; @ TB: Liriano is having a rough 10-game stretch, going 3-5 with a 4.12 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and is currently on a two-game losing skid. However, he should be able to right his ship this week against Detroit at home and Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field. In his lone start against Detroit this season, he got the win and allowed zero ERs on four hits, 10 Ks and one walk over eight IP. Over his career (eight starts) against the Tigers, he is 4-1 with a 3.94 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and an insane 11.26 K/9. In four starts against the Rays, he is 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and has allowed only one HR over 26.1 IP. Over 11 IP at The Trop, he is 1-1 and has allowed five ERs on 12 hits. While the sample size is a little small against the Rays, the opposing pitcher, Wade Davis, is carrying a four-game losing streak. Therefore, the Twins should rough Davis up, creating some solid run support.
Jake Peavy @ KC: During Peavy's first five starts, he was giving out free passes at a cyclic rate (20). However, over his last nine starts, he has given up only nine walks. Peavy's ERA and WHIP continue to decline, and if the White Sox continue to hit as they have been, the wins will start to increase. During his two starts against the Royals this season, he has gone 2-0 and has allowed four ERs on 11 hits, 14 Ks, and two walks over 15.1 IP. However, all four ERs and seven of the 11 hits came at Kauffman Stadium. While this is unfortunate, stay the course with Peavy this week as the opposing pitcher, Zack Greinke (more on him later), has been horrendous at home this season, so the White Sox should continue their hot streak.
Gio Gonzalez @ CLE: Gonzalez dominated the Indians in his lone start against them this season (zero ERs on five hits over seven IP). Over his career against the Indians, he is 2-0 (three starts) and has allowed three ERs on 13 hits over 16.2 IP. He has one start at Progressive Field and got the win, allowing two ERs on six hits and eight Ks over six IP.
Scott Kazmir vs TEX: Just off a four-game winning streak (2.42 ERA, 1.39 WHIP), but he also has given up 13 walks during that span (22.3 IP). Kazmir has dominated the Rangers over his career. In 11 starts, he is 6-2 with a 2.37 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.
Colby Lewis @ LAA: Lewis is riding a three-game winning streak. During that span, he boasts a 1.44 ERA, 0.52 WHIP, and 24 Ks over 15 IP. With the run support of a Rangers team that is batting .306 with 25 HRs and 134 RBIs over 21 games played in the month of June, Lewis should take his streak to four games.
Shaun Marcum @ CLE: Had it not been for a letdown in the bullpen during his last start on June 20 (bullpen gave up five ERs over final four innings), Marcum could very easily be sitting on a 6-2 record. Even though he has not had solid starts against the Indians (0-2 with a 4.38 ERA over 24.2 IP), the opposing pitcher is the consistently disappointing, Justin Masterson. Assuming the bullpen can keep it together, Marcum should be in line for win number seven.
Keep 'em in the pen
James Shields @ BOS, @ MIN: Many fantasy owners drafted Shields as their ace, but he has done nothing but disappoint this season (6-7, 4.55 ERA, 1.35 WHIP). His last win came in relief on June 19 (one IP). Shields will take his 6-7 record on the road to battle it out against the Red Sox and Twins. In 14 starts against the Red Sox, he is 4-8 with a 5.02 ERA. In seven starts at Fenway Park, he is 1-6 with a 7.53 ERA, 1.82 WHIP and a .338 BAA. To add insult to injury, the Red Sox are leading the majors in total bases (374), BA (.307), SLG (.509) and OBP (.379) during the month of June. Once he gets shellacked by the Red Sox, he will make a trip to Target Field. In six starts against the Twins, he is 2-1 with a 5.15 ERA, 1.61 WHIP and a .318 BAA. If you start Shields this week, he will haunt your dreams ... so stay away.
Zack Greinke vs CWS: Here is another early draft pick, who continues to disappoint. His ugliest stat, besides the 2-8 record, is his 1.21 HR/9. He has had some decent starts, but he has been far too inconsistent. Greinke will face an improving White Sox team (.278 BA in June) at Kauffman Stadium. In 19 starts against the White Sox, he is 5-10 with a 4.20 ERA and 9.13 H/9. To compound the problem, he has been terrible at home this season. In six starts at Kauffman Stadium, he is 1-3 with a 4.89 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, .318 BAA, 1.02 HR/9 and an outrageous 12.08 H/9. Many of you will start Greinke hoping for a solid start, but you need to pull the trigger and stick him on your bench.
Gavin Floyd @ KC: Floyd has not pitched horribly over his past five starts (3.46 ERA, 1.21 WHIP), but he still has an 0-3 record, which can be attributed to a lack of run support (10 runs scored over past five games). That said, even with proper run support, Floyd is looking at another loss on the horizon. In two starts against the Royals this season, Floyd is 0-2 and has allowed 11 ERs on 23 hits over 12.1 IP. In five career starts at Kauffman Stadium, he is 0-4 with a 7.53 ERA and 1.53 WHIP over 28.2 IP. If you let the allure of three ERs over his past three starts lure you into starting Floyd this week, just understand that you will get burned.
Freddy Garcia @ TEX: Unless it happens sooner, Garcia's five-game winning streak will come to an end when he faces the smoking hot Rangers. While it is true that his lone start against the Rangers this season ended in a win (two ERs on seven hits), the problem was that he was pitching at home (U.S. Cellular Field), which is 946 miles away from this week's venue, hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark. In 10 starts at Rangers Ballpark, Garcia is 3-2 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Couple that with the fact that the Rangers are one of the best hitting teams in the majors this month and the chances for another win look dim.
John Danks @ TEX: Danks was on a three-game winning streak, but he has struggled at Rangers Ballpark (1-2, 5.30 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and .296 BAA). As was previously mentioned, the Rangers are knocking the cover off the ball in June, with no signs of slowing down.
Wade Davis @ MIN: Davis has never faced the Twins, but his horrid stats over the past four games (0-4, 7.50 ERA, 1.71 WHIP over 19.2 IP) scream ... BENCH ME!
Bruce Chen @ LAA: Since he secured a spot in the rotation on May 30, Chen has gone 2-2 with a 4.40 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. In two starts against the Angels, he is 0-1 and has allowed five ERs on 14 hits and two HRs over 12.1 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.
Dallas Braden: @ BAL (06/29); @ CLE (07/04)Francisco Liriano: vs DET (06/28); vs TB (07/03)Cliff Lee: @ NYY (06/29); @ DET (07/04)Phil Hughes: vs SEA (06/29); vs TOR (07/04)
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
Fausto Carmona: vs TOR (06/29); vs OAK (07/04)Ricky Romero: @ CLE (06/28); @ NYY (07/03)Mark Buehrle: @ KC (06/28); @ TEX (07/04)Brandon Morrow: @ CLE (06/29); @ NYY (07/04)Joel Pineiro: vs TEX (06/29); vs KC (07/04)
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:
James Shields: @ BOS (06/29); @ MIN (07/04)Jeremy Bonderman: @ MIN (06/28); vs SEA (07/04)Brian Matusz: vs OAK (06/29); @ BOS (07/04)Nick Blackburn: vs DET (06/29); vs TB (07/04)Anthony Lerew: vs CWS (06/28); @ LAA (07/04)Jake Westbrook: vs TOR (06/28); vs OAK (07/03)Dustin Nippert: vs LAA (06/29); vs CWS (07/04)
Start 'em if you got 'em
Delmon Young, OF (vs DET, vs TB): Can someone tell me why Young is still only owned in 41 percent of Yahoo! leagues? This season, he is batting .305 with eight HRs and 47 RBIs. Over the past 10 games, he is batting .405 (15-for-37) with a HR, 10 RBIs and only four strikeouts. What's not to like? While he has been decent against both the Rays and Tigers over his career, owners should expect for this engine to stay firmly on the tracks this week.
Adrian Beltre, 3B (vs TB, vs BAL): Beltre continues to impress and has been dominant over the past 10 games (.378 BA, three HRs and eight RBIs over 37 at-bats). In seven games against the Rays this season, Beltre is 10-for-24 with two HRs, eight RBIs and only three Ks. In seven games against the Orioles, he is 11-for-28 with four RBIs, four walks and two Ks.
Jorge Posada, C (vs SEA, vs TOR): Posada is having a rough stretch since his back-to-back grand slams on June 12 and 13 against the Astros. Over the past eight games, he is 5-for-22 (.227) with one HR, three RBIs and seven Ks. Having said that, he should break out of his funk when he faces the Mariners and Blue Jays at home, where he is batting .366 with a 1.092 OPS. Over his career, he has dominated the Mariners (.310 BA and a .942 OPS over 306 at-bats) and Blue Jays (.306 BA and a .926 OPS). Considering those factors, forget about his recent struggles and play him with confidence this week.
Shin-Soo Choo, OF (vs TOR, vs OAK): After a forgettable May that saw him bat .250 with a .350 OBP, Choo is rebounding nicely in June, boasting a .310 BA and a .396 OBP. Choo will host both Toronto and Oakland at Progressive Field, where he is batting .356 with a 1.079 OPS, 23 RBIs and a solid 22:24 K:BB ratio. Over 64 career at-bats against the Blue Jays, Choo is batting .391 with a 1.112 OPS. Over 42 career at-bats against the A's, he is batting .333 with a 1.003 OPS.
Carlos Quentin, OF (@ KC, @ TEX): It seems as though Quentin has turned the corner and things are on the up and up. Over the first two months of the season (152 at-bats), Quentin sported a .210 BA with just five HRs and 26 RBIs. However, during the month of June (70 at-bats), Quentin is batting .257 with six HRs and 17 RBIs. Quentin has been just average against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium (.242 BA), but has dominated the Rangers at Rangers Ballpark (.344 BA and a 1.042 OPS over 32 at-bats).
Jose Bautista, 3B/OF (@ CLE; @ NYY): Bautista has struggled over the past 10 games, going 7-for-33 (.212) with two HRs and four RBIs (both HRs and three RBIs came in one game). However, he has played both the Indians and Yankees well this season. In three games against the Indians at Progressive Field, Bautista is 4-for-11 with two HRs and four RBIs. In three games against the Yankees, he is 3-for-10 with two HRs, three RBIs and four walks. The HRs and RBIs against the Yankees this season has come against A.J. Burnett, whom he will face in the opening game of the series. He has also had success over his career against Andy Pettitte (8-for-26 with three RBIs and four walks).
Nick Markakis, OF (vs OAK; @ BOS): In six games against the A's this season, Markakis is 7-for-23 with three doubles and three RBIs. In nine games against the Red Sox, he is batting .351 with a .982 OPS over 37 at-bats. In three games at Fenway Park, he is 5-for-13 with three doubles.
Look away ... far away
Adam Lind, OF (@ CLE; @ NYY): Lind was moved down the order from second to fifth to see if this move will help him break out of his season-long slump. Over his past 10 games, Lind is 8-for-37 (.216) with one HR, three RBIs, 10 Ks and one walk. While he has done fairly well at Yankee Stadium over his career (.286 BA, .876 OPS, three HRs and seven RBIs over 35 at-bats), he is 6-for-39 (.153) with 16 Ks against the Yankees' probable pitchers. Regardless if he moves to second, fifth or ninth in the batting order, he is going to continue to struggle this week.
John Buck, C (@ CLE; @ NYY): Buck has been a nice surprise this season (.268 BA, 12 HRs and 38 RBIs) and his solid play has continued in the month of June (.291 BA and a .527 SLG). However, he will face both teams that he has struggled against this season. In 10 at-bats against the Indians at Progressive Field, his only hit was for a HR. In eight at-bats against the Yankees, Buck never reached base, but he did have one RBI on a sacrifice fly. It's going to be hard to sit Buck as he has been a solid Fantasy backstop this season, but you would be advised to seek other options, if you can.
Brandon Inge, 3B (@ MIN; vs SEA): Inge had a fair April (.264 BA, .337 OBP) and a horrendous May (.205 BA, .263 OBP), but he seems to have righted his ship in June (.343 BA, .418 OBP). However, that ship is about to capsize once again. This season, Inge is 4-for-22 with eight Ks and zero walks against the Twins. Inge has been equally horrible against the Mariners (2-for-16 with five Ks). While the sample size is too small for the Twins' probables, Inge is 8-for-45 (.177) with 18 Ks against the Mariners' probables.
Jose Lopez, 3B (@ NYY; @ DET): In three games at Yankee Stadium, Lopez is 1-for-12 and is 4-for-34 against the Yankees' probables. Over 87 at-bats at Comerica Park, he is batting .241 with a .283 OBP.
Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF (@ BOS; @ MIN): This will be a tough sit, but the biggest concern is the series against the Red Sox. In seven games this season against the Red Sox, Zobrist has gone 6-for-31 with 11 Ks and 3-for-18 with six Ks at Fenway Park. Is this sample size too small? Over his career against the Red Sox, he is batting .179 with a .515 OPS over 106 at-bats. He has struggled even more at Fenway Park (.176 BA and a .484 OPS over 51 at-bats). Zobrist has been decent against the Twins over his career (11-for-40, but only two RBIs).
Austin Kearns, OF (vs TOR; vs OAK): Kearns has struggled over the past 10 games, going 5-for-37 with one RBI and zero HRs. Career against Toronto; 7-for-32 with zero HRs. Career against Oakland; 3-for-13 with three RBIs.
Jhonny Peralta, 3B (vs TOR; vs OAK): Peralta has been decent over the past 20 games (10-for-36), the RBIs (two) have not been coming in. Over 149 at-bats against the Blue Jays, Peralta is batting .242 with a .299 OBP and 46 Ks. Over 164 at-bats against the A's, he is batting .226 with a .312 OBP and 48 Ks.
* All stats are current as of 06/24
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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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