July 19, 2010

For more fantasy analysis, check out RotoExperts.com.

Is it just me or is the All-Star game a waste of time? If you are going to make this game the determination for which league hosts the World Series, why not play it like any other regular season game? Let the positional players play the full game and let the pitchers pitch as they normally would. If it means that a player does not get to play (Alex Rodriguez), then so be it. Yes, some players' feelings may be hurt, but I am sure that they would rather put their absolute best on the field and have an opportunity for their league to host the World Series as opposed to taking one measly at-bat.

The All-Star game is slowly becoming the Pro Bowl, without the free trip to Honolulu ... useless. Anyway, you came here to set your lineup, not to hear me rant about the All-Star game, so let's hit it.

Packin' heat

Max Scherzer vs TEX; vs TOR: In two career starts against the Rangers, he is 1-0 and has allowed five ERs on 12 hits and a 4.66 Ks per BB over 13 IP. The Rangers' hitters he will face are batting .242 against him and he has given up only one HR over 33 at-bats. Scherzer has never faced the Blue Jays, but given he is 5-3 since he return from the minors, who cares? Go ahead and score it Scherzer one, Blue Jays zero.

Joel Pineiro @ NYY: I did not expect it, but with his last win, he became the Angels' first 10 game winner this season. How did he do it? Over his past nine starts, he is 8-0 with a 2.52 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, that's how. In his lone career start at Yankee Stadium (this season), he is 1-0 and has allowed one ER on five hits, seven Ks and zero walks over seven IP. I know, we are talking about the Yankees, but you cannot argue with the above stats.

James Shields @ BAL: After recommending Shields in two straight starts (1-1), I am going to try it again this week. Shields will head to Camden Yards where he is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and a .236 BAA. In 16 career starts against the Orioles, he is 6-2 with a 3.01 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He has been much better on the road (4.20 ERA) than at home (5.59 ERA) this season. He has been decent against the hitters that he will face (.242 BAA) and in 150 at-bats, he has only allowed three HRs. One last note, the opposing pitcher, Brad Bergesen, is 0-2 and has allowed nine ERs on 16 hits and three HRs over 8.2 IP against the Rays.

Scott Baker vs CLE; @ BAL: Baker has struggled over his past six starts, going 2-4 with a 5.64 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. However, his control has been impeccable, fanning 39 while only walking two over 35.1 IP. Baker has dominated the Orioles over six starts, posting a 4-0 record with a 2.52 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, .221 BAA and a solid 3.50 K:BB ratio. The biggest question mark is the Indians. In 17 starts, he is 7-6 with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. The ERA and WHIP are solid, but he has been far too inconsistent against the Indians. However, the reason he gets the win here is due to his solid play at home (6-2 with a 3.28 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 5.66 K:BB ratio) and the fact that he improves after the All-Star break (4.95 ERA vs 3.71 ERA).

Francisco Liriano vs CLE: What the heck has happened to Liriano over the past month? Since his last win on June 11, he has gone 0-4 (five starts) with a 6.87 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. Obviously, owners are more than likely a little nervous about starting Liriano, but there is no need to worry, we are talking about Cleveland here, not the Yankees. In two starts against the Indians this season, he is 2-0 and has allowed three ERs on 14 hits and zero HRs over 15 IP.

Keep em' in the pen

Javier Vazquez vs LAA: Vazquez is another one of those rare birds that you hear about. Not rare as in seldom found, but rare as in rarely good. I am well aware that his ERA has dropped 2.21 points since May 21, but I am also aware of his inconsistent play this season. This season against the Angels, he is 0-2 and has allowed nine ERs on 11 hits and five walks over nine IP. Add to that the fact that he has not beaten the Angels in six career starts. At the end of the day, Vazquez will be looking at a 7-8 record with a slight rise in his ERA and WHIP.

Ricky Romero @ KC: After back-to-back games without allowing an ER, I figured that Romero had gotten his act together ... man was I wrong. In his previous three starts, he is 0-3 with an 11.94 ERA and 2.38 WHIP. During those three starts, he failed to make it out of the third inning. Romero faired pretty well in his lone start against the Royals last season chances of him struggling again this week are looking very favorable. The opposing pitcher, Zack Greinke, has won four of his last five starts and seems to be turning his season around, which will not bode well for Romero.

Joe Saunders @ TEX: Hit or miss badly! That sums up Saunders' season thus far. Well, be prepared for Saunders to miss very badly and have his worst start of the season. In five starts (if you want to call them that) at Rangers Ballpark, Saunders is 0-5 with an 11.68 ERA, 1.99 WHIP, .327 BAA and 12 HRs over 24.2 IP. To make matters worse, the opposing pitcher is Cliff Lee. Lee is out to set the record straight and prove he can pitch at Rangers Ballpark.

Jason Vargas vs BOS: Outside of the six ERs that Vargas gave up to the Tigers on July, he has been solid. While he has pitched well in his only start against the Red Sox, Jon Lester will take the hill opposite of Vargas. Lester (11-3) has not done much over his past five starts except go 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Even if Vargas has the game of his life, which I doubt, Lester will erase any hope for a win.

Mark Buehrle @ OAK: Buehrle has been solid over his previous six starts (4-1 with a 2.28 ERA and 1.37 WHIP), but he has struggled over his career at Oakland Coliseum (0-6 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.39 WHIP).

Two-start pitchers

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.

Max Scherzer: vs TEX (7/20); vs TOR (7/25)Scott Baker: vs CLE (7/19); @ BAL (7/24)Tommy Hunter: @ DET (7/20); vs LAA (7/25)Daisuke Matsuzaka: @ OAK (7/19); @ SEA (7/24)

The following pitchers are decent options and while you could 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

Jeremy Bonderman: vs TEX (7/19); vs TOR (7/24)Brett Cecil: @ KC (7/19); @ DET (7/24)Wade Davis: @ BAL (7/19); @ CLE (7/25)Phil Hughes: vs LAA (7/20); vs KC (7/25)Tim Wakefield: @ OAK (7/20); @ SEA (7/25)Doug Fister: vs CWS (7/20); vs BOS (7/25)Ben Sheets: vs BOS (7/19); vs CWS (7/25)Kevin Slowey: vs CLE (7/20); @ BAL (7/25)

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:

Scott Kazmir: @ NYY (7/20); @ TEX (7/25)Kyle Davies: vs TOR (7/19); @ NYY (7/24)Scott Feldman: @ DET (7/19); vs LAA (7/24)Daniel Hudson: @ SEA (7/19); @ OAK (7/25)Anthony Lerew: vs TOR (7/20); @ NYY (7/25)Aaron Laffey: @ MIN (7/19); vs TB (7/25)

Start 'em if you got 'em

Brennan Boesch, OF (vs TEX; vs TOR): In nine games (32 at-bats) this month, Boesch is batting .406 with a 1.031 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS). While he has not hit a HR in his last 12 games, I would not be concerned as he proved that he has the power to keep it going (28 HRs over 527 at-bats in 2009 and is on pace for 24 this season). What's not to like about a player that will cover all of your categories, sans SBs. In a three game series at Rangers Ballpark this season, Boesch struggled (3-for-12 with three Ks), and he has never faced the Blue Jays. Do not look to deep into those stats from Rangers Ballpark or the fact that he has never faced the Jays. Both series will be played at Comerica Park, where he is batting .375 (.304 on the road) with a 1.062 OPS (.907 on the road).

Casey Kotchman, 1B (vs CWS; vs BOS): After posting a .135 BA in May and a .171 BA in June, Kotchman is heating up. Over 30 at-bats this month, Kotchman is batting .400 with a 1.367 OPS, four HRs, seven RBIs and a solid 1.20 BB:K ratio. If you are one of the few that own Kotchman, plug him in this week. In three games against the White Sox this season, he has gone 3-for-11 (.273) with two doubles, one triple, and two RBIs. Over 121 career at-bats against the Red Sox, he is batting .306 with a .504 SLG. This run may be short lived, so ride the train while it is moving.

Jhonny Peralta, 3B/SS (@ MIN; vs TB): Even though Peralta is having his worst month of the season (.243 BA and a .282 OBP), he should be able to get it going again this week. In five games against the Twins this season, Peralta has gone 6-for-18 (.333) with a .429 OBP, one HR and three walks. He has never played at Target Field, but he is better on the road (.274 BA) than at home (.221 BA). He has been even more dominant against the Rays this season, going 8-for-21 (.381) with one HR and four RBIs. Over 199 career at-bats against the Rays, Peralta is batting .347 with a .976 OPS.

Orlando Hudson, 2B (vs CLE; @ BAL): In six games against the Indians this season, Hudson has gone 8-for-23 (.348) with .444 OBP, one HR and four RBIs. In three games against the Orioles, he has gone 4-for-11 (.364) with a .417 OBP.

Alexei Ramirez, SS (@ SEA; @ OAK): Ramirez posted a putrid .221 BA in April, but since then he is batting .292. This month, he is starting to heat up, batting .342 with a .885 OPS, two HRs and four RBIs over 38 at-bats. Ramirez will take his game on the road this week, where he is batting .295 (.255 at home). In six career games against the Mariners at SAFECO Field, he has gone 8-for-25 (.320) with a .370 OBP. In six career games at Oakland Coliseum, he has gone 8-for-22 (.364) with a .391 OBP, two HRs and six RBIs.

Cliff Pennington, SS (vs BOS; vs CWS): Pennington has carried over his solid June (.338 BA) into July. Over 34 at-bats this month, he is batting .382 with a 1.047 OPS, three doubles, three triples, and two SBs. While his play against the Red Sox has been rough in limited at-bats (1-for-9), owners should not shy away from Pennington. In seven games against the White Sox this season, he is batting .333 (6-for-18) with a .429 OBP. Don't let his poor play against the Red Sox deter you from starting him this week, as he should continue to hit the ball well.

Look away ... far away

Jose Bautista, 3B/OF (@ KC; @ DET): It never fails, every time I recommend sitting Bautista, he proves me wrong, but that is going to change this week. Yes, he is having a solid month (.297 with four HRs and six RBIs), but he has struggled mightily at Kauffman Stadium and Comerica Park. In 10 career games at Kauffman Stadium, Bautista has gone 4-for-22 (.182) with a .630 OPS and zero HRs or RBIs. In six career games at Comerica Park, he has gone 3-for-14 (.214) with a .639 OPS and zero HRs or RBIs. To compound things, he is batting .219 with a .802 OPS on the road, as opposed to a .257 BA and 1.015 OPS at home.

Alex Rios, OF (@ SEA; @ OAK): Like Bautista, Rios has been playing fairly well, but a tough road lies ahead. Over 72 career at-bats against the Mariners at SAFECO Field, he is batting .250 with a .299 OBP, zero HRs, two RBIs, and a poor 0.38 BB:K ratio. Over 72 career at-bats against the A's, he is batting .250 with a .286 OBP.

Yunel Escobar, SS (@ KC; @ DET): Escobar is having a rough season thus far, but don't think that a change of scenery is going to help his struggling bat. In three games against the Royals, he has gone 1-for-6. In five career games against the Tigers, he has gone 1-for-17. While the sample size is small for both matchups, he is going to have some growing pains with the move to the AL, so don't expect much in the form of a turnaround.

Adam Lind, 1B (@ KC; @ DET): Watch out, Lind is on fire. He has increased his BA from a .204 to a .214. Yes, he is batting well this month (.313), but six of those 10 games have come at home, where he is batting .247 with a .702 OPS as opposed to batting .179 with a .575 on the road. To break his July numbers down a bit further, he has gone 2-for-12 on the road as opposed to 8-for-20 at home. In three games against the Royals this season, he has gone 1-for-11 with one RBI. In six career games at Kauffman Stadium, he is batting .143 (3-for-21) with a .566 OPS. He has fared better at Comerica Park (7-for-29), but that still does not justify starting Lind this week.

David DeJesus, OF (vs TOR; vs NYY): After posting an excellent .410 BA and .980 OPS in June, DeJesus has come back to reality this month (.286 BA and a .689 OPS). In three games against the Blue Jays, he has gone 1-for-12 with three Ks. He has been just as disappointing over 127 career at-bats against the Blue Jays (.228 BA and a .626 OPS). Over 120 career at-bats against the Yankees, he is batting .242 with a .676 OPS.

Juan Pierre, OF (@ SEA; @ OAK): In 15 career games against the Mariners, he is batting .211 with a .274 OBP and is 2-for-12 in three career games at SAFECO Field. In nine career games against the A's, he is batting .184 with a .262 OBP and is 2-for-11 in three career games at Oakland Coliseum.

It seems for the moment, that the closer shuffle has slowed down a little bit. If you missed out on snagging any of the current closers, below are a few middle relievers (available in 25 percent of less of Yahoo! leagues) that could help with a few of your categories.

Daniel Bard, Boston: One win, three saves, 45 Ks, 1.90 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP.J.J. Putz, Chicago: Five wins, two saves, 40 Ks, 1.56 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP.Darren Oliver, Texas: One save, 45 Ks, 1.32 ERA, and a 0.85 WHIP.Darren O'Day, Texas: Three wins, 25 Ks, 1.49 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP.Scott Downs, Toronto: Three wins, 29 Ks, 2.65 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.Chris Perez, Cleveland: Seven saves, 29 Ks, 2.62 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP (could be in line for saves if Kerry Wood is dealt).

* All stats are current as of 7/15

Wake up every morning with RotoExperts on Sirius XM's new Fantasy Sports Radio channel. Listen live starting at 7 am ET as RotoExperts.com covers all Fantasy Sports and takes your calls on Sirius channel 211 and XM channel 147.

Are you having problems finding accurate and up-to-date daily and weekly rankings? Check out our Xclusive Edge Rankings.

Did I leave a player off that you think should be here? Is a player on here that should not be? If so, drop an e-mail at rdaniel@rotoexperts.com or on Twitter RotoExp_RDaniel and we can discuss.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)