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Between 10-hour tennis matches, last-second soccer heroics, and drafts in the NBA and NHL, last week was a heck of a time for sports fans. But smart fantasy players won't take their eye off the ball for too long; while the rest of your league is distracted by other sports, not to mention the beach or the pool, now is your time to strike. So join me and my musical guest, Chapel Hill indie-rock legends Superchunk, as we give you everything you need to win the Fantasy week.
Jamie Garcia @ SD: The Cardinals' rookie has been a revelation this season, and his solid season should continue at Petco Park, when he faces one of the lowest-scoring, worst-hitting teams in the National League. Through his first 14 starts, Garcia boats a 1.79 ERA, a .220 batting average against, has only allowed three home runs, and has a solid, if unspectacular 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio. I expect the latter to improve this week, as the Padres have one of the worst K/BB ratios in the National League.
Hiroki Kuroda @ ARZ: Over the course of Kuroda's two starts against Arizona this season, he has struck out 16 hitters while walking only one. That right there is enough to warrant a start this week. When you factor in that Kuroda has only allowed four ERs in 14.1 IP (2.51 ERA) against the D'backs, the case only gets stronger. And when you toss his 38:8 K:BB ratio in eight career games against Arizona, it becomes a no-brainer. Kuroda is facing Ian Kennedy, who's only career start against the Dodgers was an absolute disaster.
Stephen Strasburg @ ATL; vs. NY: I stand by my comments following Strasburg's debut: just plug him in every fifth day and sit back and count your fantasy points. His numbers through his first four games are mind-blowing: 1.78 ERA, 0.947 walks plus hits per innings pitched, .202 BAA, 14.6 strikeouts per nine innings, 8.2 K/BB, and 1.8 walks per nine innings. Despite the fact he's facing two good hitting teams, not to mention Tim Hudson and R.A. Dickey who are a combined 13-3 this year, Strasburg simply delivers strong numbers across too many categories to not be my two-start of the week.
Dave Bush vs. HOU: In 12 games against Houston, Bush is 6-1 with a 3.25 ERA and 57:11 K:BB ratio. Helping his cause is the fact that he faces 0-4 Brain Moehler and his 5.86 ERA and 20:20 K:BB ratio.
Jon Garland vs. HOU: Last time he faced the Astros, Garland hurled a gem, allowing two hits and no ERs over seven innings. For his career Garland is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA against Houston. He won't help you much with strikeouts, but a quality start and a victory are a good bet.
Cole Hamels @ PIT: 20 Ks against four BBs in three starts against the Pirates bodes well for Hamels' Fantasy prospects this week.
Mike Pelfrey @ FLA: Despite Pelfrey's 1-6 career record against Florida, I like him this week. Pelfrey isn't the same pitcher he was when racking up those losses, and his numbers this year (9-2, 2.69 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .244 BAA) make me a believer.
Johan Santana @ WAS: Santana has never lost at Nationals Park, going 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts. For his career, Santana is 6-2 with a 3.23 ERA, 1.170 WHIP, 54:15 K:BB ratio, and 9.2 K/9 in eight starts versus the Nats.
Jhoulys Chacin vs. SF: Despite the fact that Chacin tossed a gem in his first outing against the Giants this season, I can't recommend him this week. For starters, that outing was the first time Chacin faced the Giants, and in that situation the pitcher has the advantage. Second, Tim Lincecum will take the hill for San Francisco, and despite his average career numbers against the Rockies, his presence makes securing a win an uphill battle for Chacin. Finally, Chacin's ERA improves by a little under three runs on the road, so it all adds up to a tough fantasy week for the Rockies' hurler.
Aaron Cook vs. SF: Cook's penchant for walks dooms his fantasy prospects, particularly when he faces San Francisco. In his lone 2010 appearance against the Giants, Cook walked five batters (with only one K) and allowed five ERs over six IP in a losing effort. His career mark against San Francisco stands at 7-10 with a 4.99 ERA and a putrid 41:53 K:BB ratio.
Manny Parra vs. HOU; @ STL: Although Parra's numbers in St. Louis and against Houston look pretty good at first glance, when you look a little deeper you'll see he's not a good two-start option this week. The first issue is matchups. Against Houston he faces Brett Myers, who is 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA against Milwaukee. Parra is 4-3 against Houston, but his 4.91 ERA shows he hasn't been outstanding in those games. In St. Louis, Parra goes up against Chris Carpenter and his 9-1 record and 2.63 ERA. Parra is 2-0 with a 2.94 ERA in six games against St. Louis, but the 31 hits/18 BBs (1.455 WHIP) and five HRs he's allowed in 33 IP indicate he's had some luck along the way. Parra's lucky streak ends this week.
Jeff Francis @ SD: A 5-10 record, 5.15 ERA, and 1.547 WHIP against San Diego doesn't inspire much confidence.
Jamie Moyer @ PIT: Don't assume an easy win is in store for Moyer; in two career starts at PNC Park, Moyer has allowed eight ERs in 10 IP
Chris Narveson @ STL: Five BBs/five Ks and four ERs in 6.1 IP against the Cards this year a good Fantasy start does not make; facing the aforementioned Garcia doesn't help.
Jonathan Sanchez vs. LAD: In 11 games against the Dodgers, Sanchez is 0-4 with a 5.95 ERA and 1.630 WHIP. Last season, Sanchez was 0-3 with a 6.46 ERA in five starts against LA.
This week finally gives us plenty of two-start options, as well as some guys who are good for at least one strong outing.
Matt Cain 6/29 vs. LAD; 7/4 @ COLChris Carpenter 6/28 vs. ARZ; 7/3 vs. MILJohnny Cueto 6/28 vs. PHI; 7/3 @ CHCR.A. Dickey 6/28 @ FLA; 7/3 @ WASTim Hudson 6/28 vs. WAS; 7/4 vs. FLAUbaldo Jimenez 6/28 @ SD; 7/3 vs. SFMike Leake 6/29 vs. PHI; 7/4 @ CHCStephen Strasburg 6/28 @ ATL; 7/3 vs. NYMAdam Wainwright 6/29 vs. ARZ; 7/4 vs. MIL
Anything could happen
Kevin Correia 6/28 vs. COL; 7/3 vs. HOUJohn Ely 6/28 @ SF; 7/4 @ ARZYovani Gallardo 6/29 vs. HOU; 7/4 @ STLJason Hammel 6/29 @ SD; 7/4 vs. SFDan Haren 6/28 @ STL; 7/4 vs. LADWade LeBlanc 6/29 vs. COL; 7/4 vs. HOUTed Lilly 6/29 vs. PIT; 7/4 vs. CINBrett Myers 6/28 @ MIL; 7/3 @ SDRicky Nolasco 6/28 vs. NYM; 7/4 @ ATLHisanori Takahashi 6/29 @ FLA; 7/4 @ WASRandy Wells 6/28 vs. PIT; 7/3 vs. CINBarry Zito 6/28 vs. LAD; 7/3 @ COL
Joe Blanton 6/29 @ CIN; 7/4 @ PITJeff Karstens 6/29 @ CHC; 7/4 vs. PHIKyle Kendrick 6/28 @ CIN; 7/3 @ PITPaul Maholm 6/28 @ CHC; 7/3 vs. PHIManny Parra 6/28 vs. HOU; 7/3 @ STLWandy Rodriguez 6/29 @ MIL; 7/4 @ SD
Matt Holliday, OF: Dominant isn't a strong enough word to describe Holliday right now. Over his last five games, Holliday is an astounding 13-for-22 (.591 AVG) with five HRs, 11 RBIs, and five runs. Holliday is at home all week, starting with Arizona, against whom he's a .299 hitter in 76 games with nine HRs, 46 RBIs, and five SBs in six attempts. Then Milwaukee comes to town, and when that happens, lookout. In 40 games against the Brewers Holliday is hitting .392 with a .453 on-base percentage, 1.132 on-base plus slugging, 10 HRs, 30 RBIs, and four SBs in five attempts. Look for Holliday to stay red hot.
Miguel Montero, C: Since returning from the DL, Montero has hit in nine straight games (11-for-25) with two HRs, seven RBIs, and six runs. Montero starts the week in St. Louis, where he's hitting a robust .393 (11-for-28) in eight games with four HRs, six RBIs, and five runs. He's been pretty good against the Dodgers as well, hitting .286 with 32 games with a .381 OBP.
Jose Reyes, SS: The Mets' shortstop is delivering on all fantasy fronts right now, and despite two series on the road this week, I don't expect him to slow down. Reyes' career home/road splits are pretty even, and his power numbers are a little better away from home. In his last six games, Reyes is 13 for 28 (.464 AVG), three HRs, seven RBIs, 11 runs, and two SBs. His career numbers against Florida and Washington are decent, but I expect him to vastly improve upon them this week.
Chris Coghlan, OF: How's this for a fantasy stat line over his last 23 games: .394 AVG, .467 OBP, 1.116 OPS, two HRs, 14 RBIs, 12 doubles, three triples, and 25 runs.
Jimmy Rollins, SS: Although the Phillies are being cautious with Rollins in order to avoid another trip to the DL, I think he'll get going this week. He faces two pitching staffs (Cincinnati and Pittsburgh) in the NL's bottom-five in ERA. The Pirates have the worst BAA in the league (.286), and the Reds are also in the bottom six (.270).
Cody Ross, OF: There must be something in the water down in Miami; Ross is 8 for his last 23 (.348 AVG) with two doubles, five RBIs, five runs, and two SBs.
Justin Upton, OF: Another guy who's getting it done across several categories, Upton has 11 hits in his last 28 at-bats (.393 AVG) with two HRs, four RBIs, two SBs, and nine runs.
Rickie Weeks, 2B: In nine games against Houston and St. Louis this season, Weeks is 13-for-36 (.333 AVG) wit four HRs, seven RBIs, nine runs, and seven BBs/four Ks.
Misfits & mistakes
Ian Stewart, 2B/3B: Through his first 16 June games, Stewart was batting .167 with no extra base hits and 20 strikeouts. Although he finally went yard in his 17th game, I don't think we'll be seeing him turn it around this week. In 17 games at Petco Park, Stewart is only hitting .200 with 14 Ks; in 38 games against the Giants, he's hitting .216 with 39 Ks.
Drew Stubbs, OF: I love Stubbs' talent and potential, but he's been inconsistent this year and has struggled of late. What really troubles me are Stubbs' numbers with ducks on the pond. In 67 at-bats with runners in scoring position, Stubbs is hitting .239 with 25 Ks. With men on base, Stubbs is hitting a dreadful .193 with 34 Ks in 101 at-bats.
Dan Uggla, 2B: If you like strikeouts, you'll love Uggla this week. In 156 games against the Mets and Braves, Uggla has managed to strike out 153 times. June has been a rough month for Uggla; in 19 games he's hitting only .214 with 22 Ks. Uggla's .209 average with RISP and .211 mark with men on base further cement him as a candidate for benching this week.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B: I love Alvarez's potential, but considering he only has three hits in his last 22 at-bats, I'm tempering my enthusiasm. I predict, however, that Alvarez will prove he belongs in the big leagues before too long.
Orlando Cabrera, SS: With one hit in his last 26 at-bats, and a nagging ankle injury, Cabrera can't be trusted right now.
Ian Desmond, 2B/SS: Two hits in his last 22 at-bats; hasn't knocked in a run in nine games.
Chase Headley, 3B/OF: Spending the week at Petco Park isn't a good thing for Headley; he's averaging about a strikeout per game at home this year, and is hitting about .60 points lower than on the road.
Buster Posey, C/1B: Looks like I jumped the gun with my pro-Posey enthusiasm; he's 1-for-his-last-12 and hasn't driven in a run in seven games. Keep him on the bench until he shows some consistency.
We've talked hitters recently in this space, so now it's time to give our old friends in the bullpen another look. Here are some relievers, owned in less than 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues, who could give your team a lift.
Joe Beimel, COL (two percent owned): He won't help you with strikeouts, but Beimel is 1-0 with 10 holds, a 0.76 ERA (two ERs in 23.2 IP), 15 hits/five BBs (0.85 WHIP), and a .188 BAA.
Rafael Betancourt, COL (three percent): Although he will give up his share of runs and hits, if you're desperate to improve your K/9 numbers, Betancourt's 11.10 K/9 could help, if you pick your spots with him.
Brandon Lyon, HOU (10 percent): Lyon has five wins (against one loss), one save, and 13 holds this season.
Jonny Venters, ATL (three percent): The rookie has been impressive in his 31 IP: 1.45 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .185 BAA, and four holds.
* All stats through 6/23/10.
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