Table Setter: Will Matt Carpenter Start Hitting After Moving Out of Leadoff Spot?

The Cardinals dropped Matt Carpenter from his usual leadoff spot to the five-hole on Friday, and he's 5-for-8 with a home run in their first two games with the new batting order. Is the lineup switch all he needed? Let's set the table for another week of baseball.
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The Fantasy Baseball Table Setter gets you ready for the week ahead with a focus on the hitters and pitchers who deserve extra attention in the coming days, and all the schedule details you need to get your lineups set for this week’s games.

Pitchers to Watch

Gerrit Cole, Astros

Cole allowed six earned runs over five innings in his last start against the White Sox, spiking his ERA from 3.56 to 4.11. The 28-year-old righthander has been inconsistent over the first two months of the season, with two bad starts blemishing his overall fantasy numbers. Still, Cole leads the majors with 13.71 strikeouts per nine innings and his walk rate is the lowest it’s been since 2015 when he was with the Pirates. Those figures, along with his elite 16.2% swinging strike percentage, suggest Cole will remain a top-tier starter. He’ll face the Cubs at home on Monday and the A’s in Oakland next Sunday.

Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees

Tanaka’s command escaped him during his rough stretch from the mid-April through May 1—10 of his 15 walks this season came during that four-start span. But he’s been on a roll since then; beginning on May 7, Tanaka has a 1.42 ERA with 22 strikeouts and three walks in 25 1/3 innings across four starts. He’s scheduled to pitch twice this week at Yankee Stadium, against the Padres on Tuesday and the Red Sox on Sunday.


Lance Lynn, Rangers

Lynn is 4-1 with a 3.18 ERA in the five starts since his dreadful April 23 outing against the A’s, when he allowed eight runs over 3 1/3 innings. His last three starts, specifically have been excellent. He completed seven innings in all three games with a combined 24 strikeouts and three walks. Lynn will pitch Monday at Seattle and on Saturday at home against the Royals.

Max Scherzer, Nationals

Will Scherzer end up being this year’s Jacob deGrom? Well, he probably won’t finish the season with a 1.70 ERA, but the Nationals’ horrendous bullpen and underwhelming offense has definitely hurt Scherzer’s win-loss record thus far (2-5 in 11 starts). While wins don’t really matter much anymore in terms of evaluating a pitcher’s performance, they still are important in fantasy leagues. However, Mad Max’s 3.41 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and NL-leading 96 strikeouts still make him one of the best options for starting pitchers. Plus, his ERA and WHIP both should continue to improve, based on his 2.33 FIP. He goes twice this week, against the Marlins on Monday and in Cincinnati on Sunday.

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Hitters to Watch

Eugenio Suarez, 3B, Reds

Like almost the entire Reds lineup, Suarez underperformed over the first month of the season. Since then, he’s returned to form as one of the most underrated hitters in baseball. Entering Sunday, Suarez is slashing .310/.375/.609 with seven home runs, 18 RBI and 17 runs in May.

Alex Bregman, 3B/SS, Astros

Bregman was white hot over the first half of the month, bashing nine homers and 20 RBI in 14 games from May 1-15. Since then, however, he is batting .222 with one home run and one RBI. Remarkably, Bregman has just one double this month and six total this season after leading the majors with 51 last year. This could be nothing to worry about. Often times, as great hitters enter the prime of their careers, they hit fewer doubles because the pitches they once hit in the gaps start carrying over the fence for homers. Still, Bregman’s recent skid is worth keeping an eye on this week, especially because both George Springer and Jose Altuve are on the injured list and will not be providing protection in the Astros lineup.

Matt Carpenter, 1B/2B/3B, Cardinals

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt dropped Carpenter from the leadoff spot Friday night after his cold start to the season and the team’s prolonged offensive dry spell. So far, the move seems to have jolted Carpenter’s bat. In his two games batting fifth, Carpenter is 5-for-8 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored. The Cardinals will finish up their three-game series with the Braves Sunday night before traveling to Philadelphia for three games starting Tuesday and then returning to St. Louis to host the Cubs for a weekend series.


Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers

Andrus was off to a great start to the season—slashing .325/.373/.510 with six homers, 26 RBI, 25 runs and eight stolen bases—before landing on the injured list on May 15. The Rangers activated him on Saturday night, and he went 2-for-3 with a stolen base in their 3-2 loss to the Angels.

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Pitchers scheduled to make two starts this week (alphabetical order by team)

Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks

Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks

Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox

Ryan Weber, Boston Red Sox

Cole Hamels, Chicago Cubs

Ivan Nova, Chicago White Sox

Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox

Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds

Sonny Gray, Cincinnati Reds

Jefry Rodriguez, Cleveland Indians

Zach Plesac, Cleveland Indians

Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies

Antonio Senzatela, Colorado Rockies

Daniel Norris, Detroit Tigers

Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers

Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros

Homer Bailey, Kansas City Royals

Trevor Cahill, Los Angeles Angels

Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

Rich Hill, Los Angeles Dodgers

Jose Urena, Miami Marlins

Trevor Richards, Miami Marlins

Gio Gonzalez, Milwaukee Brewers

Michael Pineda, Minnesota Twins

Jacob deGrom, New York Mets

Steven Matz, New York Mets

Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees

Chris Bassitt, Oakland Athletics

Nick Pivetta, Philadelphia Phillies

Jordan Lyles, Pittsburgh Pirates

Montana DuRapau, Pittsburgh Pirates

Matt Strahm, San Diego Padres

Tommy Milone, Seattle Mariners

Marco Gonzales, Seattle Mariners

Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants

Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals

Yonny Chirinos, Tampa Bay Rays

Ryan Yarbrough, Tampa Bay Rays

Lance Lynn, Texas Rangers

Adrian Sampson, Texas Rangers

Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays

Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

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Teams playing eight games: Pirates

Teams playing seven games: Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Reds, Indians, Rockies, White Sox, Royals, Angels, Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Yankees, Mariners, Rays, Rangers,

Teams playing six games: Orioles, Cubs, Tigers, Astros, Brewers, Twins, Athletics, Phillies, Padres, Giants, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Nationals

Teams playing five games: Braves