Weekly Planner: Pitching matchups key with busy week ahead

Monday April 21st, 2014

Wily Peralta's strong start makes him a good candidate to pick up in fantasy leagues.
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Eighteen teams play seven games this week and 49 pitchers will take the ball twice, including some of the very best pitchers in the game. Yu Darvish, Felix Hernandez, Chris Sale, David Price, Adam Wainwright, Anibal Sanchez, Johnny Cueto, Justin Verlander and Cliff Lee, all legitimate fantasy aces, get two starts this week. Strong second-tier guys like Andrew Cashner, James Shields, Masahiro Tanaka, Julio Teheran, A.J. Burnett, Jon Lester, Francisco Liriano and Danny Salazar will all start twice, as well.

In a week that could be dominated by pitching, owners who find themselves in the unenviable position of facing one or more of the starters listed above may need to be proactive early in the week to compete in the pitching categories. With nearly 50 pitchers making two starts this week, there is plenty of opportunity to stream right off the bat. Below are a few of the best bets.

Jenrry Mejia, Mets -- Mejia popped a blister in his start last week, but he will make his scheduled start on Monday against the Cardinals. That isn't the best matchup in the world, but he gets a nice one Saturday against the Marlins. In 16 innings this year, Mejia has allowed five runs and fanned 18 batters. He has surrendered just 12 hits, and while he has issued 11 free passes, he has been able to get away with it thanks to all his strikeouts. He was having his best start his last time out, holding the Diamondbacks scoreless through five innings before popping his blister. Not only is he a great pitcher to stream this week, he's well worth keeping on your roster.

Dan Straily, A's -- Straily gets a tough matchup with Yu Darvish and the Rangers on Monday, though at least that start is in Oakland. He gets the lowly Astros in Houston on Saturday, and that's a matchup you'll certainly want to exploit. Straily has struggled with the longball this year, allowing four runs in 16.2 innings, and that's what you have to worry about if you choose to stream him this week. The Rangers are a big home run team, even with Adrian Beltre on the on the DL, and Minute Maid Park can play like a bandbox. Still, Straily has whiffed 15 batters while walking just four this season, and can certainly help owners going up against one or more of the two-start aces.

Travis Wood, Cubs -- Wood starts for the Cubs Monday against the Diamondbacks and Saturday in Milwaukee. He's off to another strong start, allowing six earned runs in 18 innings, striking out 19 and walking just four. Both his cutter and slider have been particularly effective this season and, like Mejia, he's worth owning in most mixed leagues.

Roster trends

Most added

Kyle Farnsworth, Mets -- Terry Collins named Farnsworth the Mets' new closer after Jose Valverde's constant struggles. He pitched in a tie game in the 10th in his first game in his new role, allowing just one hit and striking out one. You know the drill here. If he's somehow still available in your league, go grab him.

Marcell Ozuna, Marlins -- Ozuna hot a hot weekend against the Nationals and Mariners, and is now hitting .343 with a .912 OPS and 10 RBI this year. He should be widely owned in mixed leagues, but remains readily available.

Wily Peralta, Brewers -- Peralta has made three strong starts at the back of the Brewers' rotation, pitching at least five innings all three times out and allowing no more than two earned runs. His fastball velocity is up a touch this year to 95.1 mph from 94.6 mph and he's inducing a ton of weak contact. Hitters have a 12.7-percent line-drive rate and 61.8-percent ground-ball rate.

Most dropped

Brad Miller, Mariners -- Miller has had a disastrous start to the season, hitting .194/.237/.361 through 76 plate appearances. He also has an ugly 27.6-percent strikeout rate to go along with a 2.6-percent walk rate. The Mariners called up Nick Franklin from Triple-A Tacoma, a sign that Miller could be on the verge of losing his starting gig.

Jose Valverde, Mets -- Consider this the equal and opposite reaction from the Farnsworth news. Unlike some other changes in the closer's chair, Valverde isn't worth holding onto in mixed leagues. It's hard to imagine him being inserted back into the role.

Ivan Nova, Yankees -- Nova was a popular sleeper pick this year, but we finally learned the likely root of his lackluster performance this year. He was diagnosed with a partial tear to his ulnar collateral ligament over the weekend, and looks headed for Tommy John surgery. Feel free to cut bait, regardless of the depth of your league.

Two-start pitchers

(* indicates a pitcher worth in weekly leagues)

1. Yu Darvish
2. Felix Hernandez
3. Chris Sale
4. Jose Fernandez
5. David Price
6. Adam Wainwright
7. Anibal Sanchez
8. Johnny Cueto
9. Andrew Cashner
10. Justin Verlander
11. Cliff Lee
12. James Shields
13. Masahiro Tanaka
14. Julio Teheran
15. A.J. Burnett
16. Jon Lester
17. Francisco Liriano
18. Danny Salazar
19. R.A. Dickey
20. Garrett Richards*
21. Clay Buchholz
22. Hyun-Jin Ryu
23. Scott Feldman*
24. Wily Peralta*
25. Dan Straily*
26. Jenrry Mejia*
27. Travis Wood*
28. Jorge De La Rosa*
29. Mike Leake*
30. Tommy Milone*
31. John Danks*
32. Jason Hammel*
33. Tanner Roark*
34. Erasmo Ramirez*
35. Ryan Vogelsong*
36. Paul Maholm*
37. Jeremy Guthrie*
38. Ian Kennedy*
39. Brandon McCarthy*
40. Wei-Yin Chen
41. Bronson Arroyo
42. Tom Koehler
43. Kyle Gibson
44. Zach McAllister
45. Michael Gonzalez
46. Taylor Jordan
47. Dallas Keuchel
48. Tyler Lyons
49. Edinson Volquez

Teams playing seven games

Red Sox
White Sox

Weekday day games

(All times Eastern)


Orioles @ Red Sox, 11:05 am


Marlins @ Braves, 12:10 pm
Diamondbacks @ Cubs, 2:20 pm
Giants @ Rockies, 3:10 pm
Rangers @ A's, 3:35 pm
Astros @ Mariners, 3:40 pm


Royals @ Indians, 12:05 pm
Reds @ Pirates, 12:35 pm
White Sox @ Tigers, 1:08 pm
Cardinals @ Mets, 1:10 pm
Twins @ Rays, 1:10 pm
Diamondbacks @ Cubs, 2:20 pm

Favorable matchups

Giants (@ Colorado, vs. Cleveland) -- The Giants start the week at Coors Field for three games, then return home to take on the Indians. They end the week with a matchup against Danny Salazar, but don't face anyone else regularly owned in mixed leagues.

Indians (vs. Kansas City, @ San Francisco) -- The Indians have to face James Shields in the second of their four games against the Royals, but avoid Yordano Ventura. They head to San Francisco over the weekend, but don't face Matt Cain or Madison Bumgarner.

Tigers (vs. Chicago White Sox, @ Minnesota) -- Like the Giants and Indians, the Tigers have one tough matchup this week when they face Chris Sale on Tuesday. The next best starter they will see is likely Jose Quintana. Couple that with a soft schedule against the Twins, and fantasy owners will likely reap rewards with their Tigers this week.

Mariners (vs. Astros, vs. Rangers) -- The Mariners start the week at Minute Maid Park, and get the unimposing trio of Dallas Keuchel, Scott Feldman and Jarred Cosart. They'll return home to play the Rangers over the weekend, and while they do have to face Yu Darvish on Sunday, they have relatively comfortable matchups with Colby Lewis and Robbie Ross on Friday and Saturday.

Rays (vs. Twins, @ White Sox) -- After an off-day Monday, the Rays see Kyle Gibson, Mike Pelfrey and Ricky Nolasco of the Twins, and start their weekend series against the White Sox with Erik Johnson. That's good news for the Rays, as all four of those pitchers are righties. They've had trouble against southpaws, so they may run into trouble against John Danks and Chris Sale, but they should feast before Saturday and Sunday.

Unfavorable matchups

White Sox (@ Tigers, vs. Rays) -- The White Sox face Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Chris Archer and David Price this week. Three of those five pitchers have won Cy Young awards in their career. Better than all five, I guess.

Twins (@ Rays, vs. Tigers) -- The Twins have the same week as the White Sox but in reverse, first playing the Rays in Tampa and then hosting the Tigers. They face Price, Sanchez and Verlander, which is enough to land them in this section.

Mets (vs. Cardinals, vs. Marlins) -- Any team that plays a four-game series against the Cardinals is going to be a candidate here, and the Mets are no different. They get Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn. They end the week with Jose Fernandez at Citi Field.

Pirates (vs. Reds, @ Cardinals) -- The Pirates will face Johnny Cueto and Tony Cingrani in two of their four games against the Reds, then get Shelby Miller and Wainwright in St. Louis. Those are four rough matchups.

Astros (@ Mariners, vs. A's) -- The Astros kick off their week at Safeco Field and draw Felix Hernandez on Monday. The A's visit Houston over the weekend, and have to face two hot pitchers in Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez, as well as Dan Straily and Tommy Milone.

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