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Field of Streams :: 9/16/08
by Tenacious D-Store
Published: September 16, 2008, 2:43 pm

Welcome back for another edition of Tenacious D-Store's Field Of Streams. We're heading down the final stretch now as H2H leagues are beginning their playoffs, and second and third place roto teams are making desperation moves in an attempt to pull in to the lead. By now even the owners who have been bitching and moaning about you streaming pitchers all season, are using the same strategy themselves in an attempt to boast their stats and win their playoff bracket.
As I do every week, I will focus on some of the better pickups who should be available in the majority of leagues for each day of the week as well as some that should be avoided. Since some people also choose to stream an outfield or utility spot with a hot bat each week, I will also include a weekly highlight on a hitter who may fly under your radar. Let's get started.

NOTE: All starts are probable. I can not be held responsible for last minute managerial decisions, injuries, rain-outs, alien abductions, arrests etc.

Monday September 15, 2008

Mark Buehrle CHW @ Alfredo Aceves NYY
Mark Buehrle's consistency has been a little suspect recently, but aside from a Red Sox Blowout on August 30th, Buehrle hasn't lost a start since July 2nd. I would like to excuse Mark Buehrle's recent struggles since he may have been distracted by his concern for his sick wife and what was an undiagnosed ailment until recently. With a diagnosis an old weight is lifted, and a new weight takes it's place. Mrs. Jamie Buehrle is pregnant, and perhaps now Mark Buehrle's distractions are caused by attempting to discover how that could happen during a lengthy string of away games. OK perhaps there's no need to go there, bottom line is Buehrle may be winning and his strike out numbers are tolerable, but overall he's looking pretty ugly out there and has a very disturbing 1-5 record and 6.58 ERA in seven previous starts against the Yankees. Although Buehrle appears to have settled down in his last two outings I think it's best that you avoid him in this start. The Yankees once again have a pitching prospect to look forward to. Rookie Alfredo Aceves, has pitched very well against two intimidating line ups to face. Five innings, one earned run and four punch outs against the Rays, followed by seven innings, one earned run, and only two strike outs but Aceves didn't walk anyone. Given the fact that Alfredo Aceves has already proven he can last seven innings and hold his own against even better teams than the White Sox, added to Buehrle's career long washouts against the Yankees I think Aceves is worth a gamble.

Hiroki Kuroda LA @ Ross Ohlendorf PIT
I certainly hope you heeded my warnings about Ross Ohlendorf in his second start. It isn't hard to look impressive against the Reds, the Astros can actually hit the ball as Ohlendorf discovered in his short four inning session. This is the Ohlendorf you should expect to see, and he has no value in fantasy leagues especially while pitching for the Pirates. In Hiroki Kuroda's last eight starts he has allowed more than two runs only twice (allowing four in the other two). Kuroda doesn't provide the numbers that will ever make him anything but a low end fantasy starter at best, but he'll provide six solid innings and four or five strikeouts. Pitching against the Pirates makes him an advisable spot start, but that won't be the case against stronger teams.

Wade LeBlanc SD @ Livan Hernandez COL
Wade LeBlanc's first two major leagues starts, both of which were against the Dodgers, were like night and day. He followed up a four innings train wreck with six lights out innings for his first career big league win. However, his AAA numbers seems to reflect that the first performance we saw from LeBlanc, is closer to what we can expect on a regular basis. He has some great strike out potential, as he managed to K a batter per inning in 25 starts with the AAA Portland Beavers, but his 11-9 record is soured by a 5.34 ERA. Everyone should be aware that at this point in Livan Hernandez's career we can't expect much more from him either. At 11-11in 29 MLB starts this season Hernandez carries a 6.21 ERA and a heavy 1.67 WHIP, in addition you can no longer expect more that four or five innings from the man who was once known as a work horse. Avoid both of these options at all costs even in NL only leagues.

Dontrelle Willis DET @ Kevin Millwood TEX
The Tigers bring back two names that we haven't heard in awhile, and for those of us whose pitching stats suffered while they struggled on the mound probably hoped we would never hear them again. We'll discuss Fast Freddy Garcia a little bit later, first up is The D-Train, Dontrelle Willis. 2005 was an amazing season for Dontrelle 22 wins and a minuscule 2.63 ERA, but how long can we dwell on that or continue to add him to fantasy teams praying for a repeat. Some of us expected a resurgence with a move to the Detroit Tigers, I admit I took him in the later rounds of a few drafts, but he got worse. However, fantasy owners appear to have lived and learned and they are not fooled this time around. Willis's ownership has not risen even one percent since his call up, and there hasn't been much to look forward too based on his AAA starts this season. Therefore I doubt I have to tell anyone, that Dontrelle Willis is not the solution. As for Kevin Millwood, I told you the streak would end at three. I would not recommend him even if he was pitching against... well pitching against Dontrelle Willis.

Tuesday September 16, 2008

Derek Lowe LA @ Tom Gorzelanny PIT
Why is Derek Lowe still available in anything other than AL only leagues? Lowe has pitched like a man possessed this season. He has now won his last three starts with a 0.47 ERA having only allowed one run. He's bound to have quite a tattoo from a line drive that got him right in the back of the knee, but that's a lot better that being caught in the knee cap. Lowe has said it looks worse than it feels and claims to have very little discomfort resulting from it. If you are in one of the leagues filled with comatose owners and failed to see a reason to add him previously, a match against Tom Gorzelanny and the Pirates is about as good as it gets. I wouldn't even be surprised to see a complete game shutout with double digit strikeouts.

Braden Looper STL @ Ramon A. Ramirez CIN
Braden Looper is Braden Looper, not much changes from week to week and he has been profiled enough in Field of Streams that very little remains to be said. Aside from a late August start against the Astros, Looper hasn't allowed many earned runs lately. Looper is usually good for about seven innings, and the only definitive trend you can count on from him is low strike out numbers. Looper hasn't been horrendous this season but I am still always reluctant to recommend him because we know he can have a melt down at any time as we saw in that start against Houston. I'm not going to do it this week even against the down-and-out Reds. The Cincinnati Great American Ball Park is just too unforgiving to below average, low velocity pitchers like Looper. Ramon Ramirez is an interesting option as he has pitched very well in his trio of major league appearances thus far. He is a hard throwing strike out specialist in the making and is able to keep the ball low in the strike zone which is imperative in a hitter friendly park. At this point he is nothing more than a spot starter even for the Reds and it is unclear what their plans for Ramirez are for the remainder of the season. Ramirez is young, and is likely to struggle with his command as he attempts to do too much on the mound and show off his fastball, something we see from a lot of rookies who see early big league sucess. I want to see more before I invest in Ramirez. I personally think he is ready for the Show and the Reds have nothing to lose by allowing him to showcase himself as a candidate for next seasons rotation. Continue to monitor him, but don't pounce too soon.

Armando Galarraga DET @ Dustin Nippert TEX
Armando Galarraga is getting his first taste of how unforgiving fantasy owners can be. Galarraga is mired in his first slump of the season is he is now winless in his last four, with back to back losses. He has reached a new career high in innings and it is normal for pitchers to struggle at this point. I'm a bit more optimistic in this case, I believe this is nothing more than a minor slump and owners should show some patience after the dominant season he has had. I'm not even going to recommend you bench him until he rights his ship, keep him in your active lineup, and have more faith in a free agent pitcher that provided you with a free ace all season long. It is far too early to drop him as many have already done. Who would have thought Rangers fans would be anticipating the return of Vicente Padilla to the rotation. Dustin Nippert can't realistically be labeled a bust, because there was nothing that supported his being labeled a top prospect. Even his 2006 AAA season where he had a 13-8 record in 25 appearances came with a 4.88 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. That's a sign that he received desperately needed run support, not the sign of a good pitcher.

Dustin Moseley ANA @ Sean Gallagher OAK
With John Lackey being sidelined for undisclosed reasons, Dustin Moseley has been granted a shot at redemption. Moseley struggled early in the season and lost the rotation spot he was battling for, but he is still a top pitching prospect. Moseley pitched well in his return to the rotation holding the Yankees to three hits and two earned runs with six strikeouts through five innings. This may be his last opportunity to prove his worth as a future staple for a major league rotation. Given the fact that the Oakland A's have failed to make much of anything happen this season, and Sean Gallagher has done very little of anything noteworthy, Moseley deserve a chance as a spot starter. However, you would be best advised to keep him to AL only or deeper leagues at this point.

Wednesday September 17, 2008

Josh Geer SD @ Jeff Francis COL
Last week I encouraged you to gamble and use Jeff Francis as a spot starter over Billingsley, especially since Billingsley has been dominated by the Rockies in every previous match up. As I write this segment I am currently watching that game as it unfolds. Francis hasn't pitched poorly but he has allowed three runs and trails by one. His strike out numbers are encouraging and helpful to your fantasy stats but he is simply throwing too many pitches and I highly doubt he takes the mound in the seventh. So at best we may get a no decision from him. Last week I made another ballsy recommendation with Jeff Geer who gave us another seven innings in a win over the Giants. He allowed nine hits, but only two runs. Those strikeouts that I love so much from my fantasy pitchers, really weren't there, but the potential to post high strike out numbers is possessed by Geer. So who gets the nod this week? It has to be Francis again. Geer was successful in his first major league start which came against Colorado, but the boys know what they are up against this time and the Padres are no match for the Rockies.

Tim Wakefield BOS @ Matt Garza TB
Tim Wakefield and Matt Garza are both 1-2 in their last three starts, however the differance in their earned run average in that span is 6.95 to Garza's favor. Garza was a little shaky against the Yankees, but also had to face a red hot Blue Jays line up twice. He pitched brilliantly in both starts shutting them out for a win in 7.2 innings the first time, and losing the last start despite only allowing one run. Garza pitches deep in to games, posts great strike out numbers most of the time and is always well composed on the mound. Wakefield is likely in his final MLB season and although he saw moderate success in the first half of the season, he has been falling apart at the seams down the final stretch. Boston may even attempt to replace him in the rotation with the Jays gaining speed down the final stretch. They will not allow Wakefield to be a liability and neither should you. Avoid him even in AL only leagues. Not even the mighty Red Sox are enough to make him worth it. Don't put to much thought in to what Wakefield did against the Jays on Friday. The Jays are tired and they have always struggled with Wakefield's knuckleball.

Todd Wellemeyer STL @ Bronson Arroyo CIN
Todd Wellemeyer has lost three of his last four starts, but really hasn't done anything wrong. He pitched well and provided plenty of strikeouts keeping his ERA under 2.00 during that stretch. Amazingly Bronson Arroyo has accomplished a similar feat, the strikeouts, the low ERA, the only difference is Arroyo is winning. Either of these options could be favorable as a spot start right now. I'm probably going to jinx Arroyo here, as we all know he is prone to a melt down at anytime, but he has actually been rather consistent all season. Posting 14 wins on a team as bad as the Reds is no easy task. I'm giving them both the green light this week, but going with the pitcher who is actually winning games for my teams.

Freddy An. Garcia DET @ Vicente Padilla TEX
For years and years I used to refer to Freddy Garcia as the most under-rated pitcher in the MLB. By 2006 people began to agree with me, as Garcia improved his strikeout numbers and showed himself to be a road warrior dominating in away games while still pitching moderately well at home. By 2007, he was drafted in more leagues than ever before following a trade to Philadelphia, and completely imploded. Garcia only pitched 58 innings over 11 starts. He went 1-5 with a 5.90 ERA and 1.60 WHIP before admitting that he was having shoulder issues, which lead to a rather serious surgical procedure. Now Garcia is ready to start on the road back with the Detroit Tigers. It's going to be a long road and it is doubtful we'll see more than five innings tops. I don't think Garcia will ever fully recover and he should be ignored for at least the rest of the season. Vicente Padilla is back from a far less serious DL stint which I really don't think was anything more than a rest for him. Padilla doesn't really do anything special, he is not over powering but he's been getting his job done this year. He's still nothing more than a low end AL only starter, but at 13-7 on the season, if he can pull out a victory here he may be useful for points leagues. I can't bring myself to suggest him for anything else, he's brutal to the rest of your roto stats.

Thursday September 18, 2008

Ryan Feierabend SEA @ Zack Greinke KC
Ryan Feierabend beats the Yankees with a rather good seven inning performance, and his ownership in fantasy leagues is cut in half from 4% to 2%. I congratulate those who were not fooled. In five starts for the Mariners this season, only two of Feierabend's starts have been classified as quality. Feierabend gives up too many hits, and if the M's defense isn't on their toes it only leads to trouble as they certainly aren't able to bail their pitchers out with their offense. I really haven't formed much of an opinion on Feierabend, his minor league numbers are nothing special and I don't see him suddenly becoming a stud pitcher even two or three years down the road. At best Feierabend may develop in to a pitcher very similar to Ted Lilly as far as the stats compare. I'm going to go with Zack Greinke here breaking my own cardinal rule about bad not being better than worse. Two prior relief appearances against KC have left Feierabend with a 16.88 ERA in only 5 innings pitched. I'm not looking forward to seeing what the Royals do to him in a full start. Besides, Greinke is pitching quite well recently and has even struck out eight batters in back to back starts.

Jered Weaver ANA @ Greg Smith OAK
Jered Weaver missed a couple weeks after cutting is right index and ring fingers on a protruding staple as he attempted to stick his gum under the dugout bench. Serves him right for having such poor manners. That combined with Weaver recent inability to pitch deep in to games has a few owners cutting him loose and he is currently available in about 10% of 12 team leagues. Weavers injury did not require stitches and enough time should have passed for the wound to heal. Since he has been averaging more than a strikeout per inning lately and has a great offense behind him, Weaver and the Angels should have no difficulty making quick work of Greg Smith and heavily outscoring the A's.

Joe Saunders ANA @ Josh Outman OAK
As the first team to clinch their division title and with it a playoff berth, the Angels are going to be resting a lot of their big bats for the remainder of the regular season, especially the big man Vladimir Guerrero. This is going to hurt the value of pitchers like Jon Garland and Joe Saunders whose limited fantasy value is inflated by a potent offense. Saunders is probably owned in your league anyway, but with little strike out potential, limited ability to effectively hold base runners and no Big Daddy Vladdy he's barely an antiquate #5 starter for most fantasy teams from this point out. Josh Outman did exactly what I said he would last week, so for those of you that took the gamble with me, you're welcome. This wasn't a fluke start. The Rangers can hit, but they couldn't hit Outman. The A's kept him on a short leash, and Outman received the managerial pat on the back after only five innings. He allowed only one run and struck out three. He has the ability to strike out far more, and that may come with longer outings. Oakland isn't usually capable of scoring a lot of runs, but they managed to score seven against the Rangers with Outman on the mound last time. Have faith in the youngster to improve in his second start.

Alberto Arias HOU @ Scott Olsen FLA
If Alberto Arias proved anything in his first major league starts, it was that the Astro's don't use him nearly as much as they should. Arias is a middle reliever and is best suited for that role, after five innings and 69 pitches Arias was evidently exhausted, but he allowed only two hits, no runs and struck out six batters for the win. His endurance is bound to be too problematic to risk him as a spot starter and he will likely be back to the bullpen after this start. Don't risk him burning out in the third or fourth inning when an option like Josh Outman is virtually unknown and available in most leagues. Scott Olsen has finally ended a nine game losing streak with a win over the Nationals. Olsen had looked promising back in April and heading in to May, but overall has been a complete flop this season. He has only two precious starts against the Astros and was victorious in both of them and posted excellent strikeout numbers in both games. As a top prospect Olsen is a bust, but he's not so horrible that he could kill you with one spot start. Give him a shot based on his previous success against the Astro's.

Friday September 19, 2008

Dave Bush MIL @ Ramon A. Ramirez CIN
Dave Bush has had a very good second half. His only bad start after the All-Star break has been a recent one against the Mets, which he followed up with seven solid innings against the Reds for a no decision. Bush will face the Reds again on Friday. I don't see any reason not to start someone who is pitching so well against a pathetic team like the Reds and rookie Ramon Ramirez. Ramirez is a darned good pitcher himself even with his inexperience. In two starts and one relief appearance this season he has logged 16 innings, 12 K's and only four runs. However, I believe you are better off using the six year veteran Bush and the better offensive team.

Oliver Perez NYM @ Jo-Jo Reyes ATL
I am always reluctant to recommend the inconsistent Oliver Perez. I would do so even against the Washington Nationals last week despite the fact that he had been pitching well in a series of starts preceding that. As proof of what I have been saying all along Oli was crushed for eight hits and seven runs in only three innings. There is no reason why Oli shouldn't be able to effectively win against Jo-Jo Reyes and the struggling Braves either, but I won't start him. His periodic arbitrary meltdowns just aren't worth it. I would be even more hesitant to recommend Jo-Jo Reyes though so take that what for what it's worth. Oli should win, but I want no part of him.

Randy Wolf HOU @ Ian Snell PIT
I was really on a roll with last weeks column and the recommendations within it. Randy Wolf was fantastic once again in his first start last week. However, despite a complete game shut out against the Cubs the last time they met, the Cubbies evened the score on Sunday scoring five runs in 2.2 innings before Wolf walked off the mound in disgust. I recommended Ian Snell against the Astros in a match up against Brandon Backe. Snell did not win the game, but he did strike out nine batters and allowed only three runs which was still far better that what Backe would have contributed to your pitching stats. I warned against starting Snell in his second start last week correctly predicting the damage the Cardinals line up would do to him. Bottom line is the Cubbies are a great team, and what happened to Wolf could have happened to the best of pitchers. Even Peavy and Santana get roughed up from time to time. Wolf has been far too effective lately to sit against one of the worst teams in the league based on what one of the best teams in the league did to him.

Glen Perkins MIN @ Edwin Jackson TB
After a lengthy winning streak and a very impressive rookie season to date from Glen Perkins, he has now provided three absolutely atrocious starts in a row. I have to wonder if Perkins has simply worn himself out. He has never pitched anywhere near as many innings as he has logged for the Twins this season at any level of his career. It's probably best to use a wait and see approach and avoid activating him in any league for now. The Rays don't just simply want to make the playoffs, they want to win the AL East division. With the Red Sox neck and neck with them now, the Rays won't be resting players or taking it easy. This works in Edwin Jackson's favor as at least he will have a loaded line up and some run support. Jackson has struggled in his last two starts. Jackson is a lot like Oliver Perez, you never really know what to expect. I am concerned partly because Jackson has never beaten the Twins in five previous starts against them. Even worse is his whopping 18.90 ERA in those five starts. Do yourself a favor and avoid both of these guys on Friday. There is no way to even fathom what the result will be, and you can't afford a train wreck now as we enter the second round of the play offs for most H2H fantasy leagues.

Max Scherzer ARI @ Jorge De La Rosa COL
I usually try and limited this column to four pitching match ups per day. However, I couldn't just ignore the fact that Max Scherzer is once again getting a start for the D-Backs. Scherzer is an animal who can post obscene strike out numbers. Forget his earlier starts this season. So what if he didn't win, he still kept his ERA around 3.00, his WHIP moderately low and has struck out 45 batters in only 39 innings. Truthfully, I don't think that is anywhere close to being his ceiling. You start a guy like Scherzer anytime he takes the mound. Period.

Saturday September 20, 2008

Jeff Suppan MIL @ Johnny Cueto CIN
Jeff Suppan is 5-2 in his last eight starts, but in two of his last three starts he has allowed four runs in 5.1 innings, then got hit hard by the Phillies in his last start. The Brewers are still in contention for the NL wild card spot, but they have now lost six straight and their playoff hopes appear to be slipping away. Johnny Cueto had a great start to the season, but has struggled and battled injuries in the second half. The Reds seem hesitant to leave him on the mound longer than five innings at this point even when he is pitching well. Cueto was very effective in his last start holding the Diamondbacks to one earned run in five innings. However, he threw 115 pitches and waked six batters which is reason for concern. Due to the fact that Suppan is struggling and the Brewers appear to be choking I am going to go out on a limb and predict a Reds victory here. Cueto will probably not factor in to that decision but might be the better option for deeper leagues.

Carlos Silva SEA @ Dana Eveland OAK
Carlos Silva is one of the most hittable pitchers in baseball, and now that he has been experiencing stiffness in his back it probably isn't going to change that fact. Silva has only managed to win four of 26 starts this season, that is absolutely pathetic even for a Mariners pitcher. Dana Eveland now has four consecutive no decisions in his last four starts. He has provided six or more innings of work in all but the last, and allowed more than three runs only once. If Eveland had just pitched one more inning on Sunday against the Rangers the win would have been his, but at least he provided six K's. This is a no brainer, Silva doesn't have anything on Eveland.

John Danks CHW @ Kyle Davies KC
John Danks was on his way to having a great sophomore season. Lately he has struggled a bit, and the White Sox have limited his innings most likely as precaution not to over work him before the post season. Kyle Davies doesn't go past the fifth very often either but has pitched a little better than Danks as of late. Davies won't be a horrible option in AL only leagues, but Danks posts more strikeouts and pitches for the division leaders rather than the basement dwelling Royals. Take the safer bet here.

Brad Hennessey SF @ Hiroki Kuroda LA
Brad Hennessey managed to hold his own in his only major league start this season, but despite only allowing one run against the D-Backs. He wasn't suburb by any means. There is enough risk in using a Giants starter alone, never mind one that stunk it up in his minor league starts this season, and hasn't been effective in relief either recently allowing five runs in two innings against the Pirates. Hennessey's 9.64 ERA this season speaks for itself. Don't be fooled by one half decent outing. Hiroki Kuroda has allowed far too many hits in his last two starts, but has still managed not to do too much damage to anyone's fantasy stats. Kuroda is almost never lights out as a pitcher, but he doesn't have many disastrous outings either. Consider him a reasonably safe option against the Giants.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Kenny Rogers DET @ Scott Lewis CLE
With Kenny Rogers still owned in about 22% of 10 team leagues, we can easily come to the conclusion that at least 22% of owners in 10 team leagues have dead teams. Kenny Rogers was already passed over from his last start because of a sore hip. Rogers has never been more than average at any point of his career, but now at 44 years old he's just the crazy old guy who hobbles around the Tigers clubhouse complaining about how the weather affects his bad hip. The Gambler is probably done after this season and there is no point in hanging on to him in any league. Sometimes, you've got to know when to fold 'em. Scott Lewis would have been a stud pitcher long ago if he could keep himself out of the doctor's office. Lewis must be made of glass as his list of minor league injuries is quite extensive. In his first major league start Lewis showed that the injuries haven't slowed him down at all, pitching eight shut out innings against the Orioles. Lewis is an unknown to most fantasy players but has loads of potential. This is a great spot start option for any fantasy team, but remember glass can't support it's own weight, if he shatters I can't be held responsible.

Dan Haren ARI @ Ubaldo Jimenez COL
When you are considered to be a top five NL pitcher, and fail to get the job done against the Padres, lose back to back starts against the Dodgers, and can't even make it out of the fourth inning against the San Francisco Giants, something is clearly wrong. Haren is normally a stud and you almost have to start him if you own him, but he has been horrible lately. He can't pitch like that and get away with it against the Rockies. I'm willing to bet he continues to struggle and the Rockies and Ubaldo Jimenez benifit.

Brandon Morrow SEA @ Sean Gallagher OAK
Brandon Morrow has done it all for the Mariners pitching staff this season. He picked up ten saves as an interim closer while J.J. Putz was on the DL, he spent some time as the set-up man, and now he's found himself in the rotation. Morrow was in control when he faced the Yankees in his first start. He pitched 7.2 innings with 8 strikeouts, and only gave up one hit, which was unfortunately hit in to orbit. Morrow had a bit more trouble with the Angels but still held his own. Sean Gallagher is making the Cubs look like geniuses, as he continues to get worse with every start. Clearly the Cubs realized that there was no moldable talent here and did the right thing by using him as a toss in to finalize the trade that netted them Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. Gallagher has no business on any team; MLB or fantasy.

Chris Waters BAL @ Alfredo Aceves NYY
Chris Waters pitched an eight inning shutout allowing only one hit against the best team in the MLB, the Anaheim Angels. That was back on August 5th and since then Waters has provided 7 consecutive atrocious outings. Waters was never much of a prospect and is only still a part of the O's rotation due to desperation, and the fact that they are not even close to contending this season. With so many injuries, they obviously prefer to rest their current pitches than actually win some ball games. So that makes the job of Alfredo Aceves rather easy. Aceves looked great against the Angels, holding them to one earned run through seven innings for the win. If he can do that against the MLB's best team, it seems reason enough to start him against one of the worst.

Highlight Of the Week

Felipe Lopez (2B,3B,SS,OF) St. Louis Cardinals

Felipe Lopez is currently riding a 14 game hitting streak, and would be very valuable to any league that uses a middle infielder or deeper leagues with more than three outfield spots. Lopez's 44 stolen bases in 2006 were clearly a fluke as he has yet to even hit double digits there this season, but he is playing everyday for the Cardinals and playing very productively at that. The Nationals are looking pretty foolish at the moment for releasing him, but clearly Lopez enjoys playing in St. Louis and continues to thrive. He could provide a nice push for your team down the stretch especially with his multiple position eligibility.

Field of Streams :: 9/08/08
by Tenacious D-Store
Published: September 8, 2008, 5:34 pm

Welcome back for another edition of Tenacious D-Store's Field Of Streams. We're heading down the final stretch now as H2H leagues are beginning their playoffs, and second and third place roto teams are making desperation moves in an attempt to pull in to the lead. By now even the owners who have been bitching and moaning about you streaming pitchers all season, are using the same strategy themselves in an attempt to boast their stats and win their playoff bracket.
As I do every week, I will focus on some of the better pickups who should be available in the majority of leagues for each day of the week as well as some that should be avoided. Since some people also choose to stream an outfield or utility spot with a hot bat each week, I will also include a weekly highlight on a hitter who may fly under your radar. Let's get started.

NOTE: All starts are probable. I can not be held responsible for last minute managerial decisions, injuries, rain-outs, alien abductions, arrests etc.

Monday September 8, 2008

Gio Gonzalez OAK @ Zach Miner DET
Gio Gonzalez struck out more than a batter per inning in his last start against the Kansas City Royals, which is good. However he only lasted four innings and the Royals scored four runs in that span which is bad. One of the runs was not an earned run which is good, but Gio lacked control and and those four runs scored on only two hits which is bad. This should have been Gio's easiest outing to date this season and he still stunk. His 7.18 ERA and outrageous 1.78 WHIP are all the warning you need. He's still not ready for the major leagues. Zach Minor is back in the rotation and someone who is easily overlooked as a spot starter. In eight outings this year, he has had one bad start and six brilliant ones, and one that was a little shaky, but the Tigers pulled through even if Miner didn't factor in to the decision. This is not a challenging start for Miner but it should be a productive one for you fantasy team, and that's good. However, the Frogurt contains potassium benzoate... that's bad, and I'll be getting sued by the producers of The Simpson's and that's worse.

Ian Snell PIT @ Brandon Backe HOU
How's that new approach working for our friend Brandon Backe? As you remember from last week, we discussed Mr. Backe's epiphany as to why he has previously sucked. It would appear that poor Brandon Backe has become an expert on making a fool of himself both on and off the field. The Cubs made quick work of Backe in his previous start ending his night early in the fourth inning. His improved pitching approach resulted in nine hits including three home runs, and a couple of walks (I'd be afraid to throw the ball over the plate after that too). Now, you might be thinking "Surely Backe can beat the Pirates". I say don't count on it, and don't call me Shirley. I'm actually going to recommend Ian Snell this week. Snell has won two of his last three, with plenty of strikeouts. He had a rough start against the Cubbies, but in the two games against the Cards and Reds where he was victorious he allowed only one earned run in 13 total innings. Snell's seasonal stats are despicable, but if he can stay focused, he has the ability to out pitch Backe. We know Snell can pitch like an ace, we've seen it... just not this season. Maybe he's ready for a hot streak. This is a risky recommendation, but take a shot if you are desperate.

Clayton Kershaw LA @ Cha Seung Baek SD
Things got ugly for Clayton Kershaw for awhile, even the Nationals crushed him in a recent start as Kershaw got the hook early in the third inning, after allowing five runs on five hits. Kershaw looked pretty good in his last start posting six strikeouts through seven innings, he was victorious over the Padres but strangely enough allowed three runs off three hits. He didn't give up any homers this time, but Kershaw has to keep his walks down and stop trying to paint the corners when he's behind in the count. Instead, he should be relying more on his filthy fastball. Kershaw will face the Padres again this week, he got the job done the first time, so have faith that he will do it again. Cha Seung Baek has been atrocious lately and has lost his last four decisions. The Dodgers blasted Baek for eight hits and seven runs in only 3.2 innings, that combined with Petco being an extremely pitcher friendly park, only serves to make Clayton Kershaw an even more attractive option and I strongly recommend him on Monday.

Fausto Carmona CLE @ Daniel Cabrera BAL
Fausto Carmona has won three in a row, but I still hesitate to recommend him. Nothing he did was impressive, spectacular or special. He still gave up plenty of free passes to first, still allowed three or four earned runs in six or less innings of work, and continues to post poor strike out numbers. So for those of you who are starting him, you are getting wins and nothing else. Danial Cabrera used to be known for a great fastball and strikeout abilities. Those days are over, Cabrera isn't even a decent innings eater anymore and has been a complete train wreak this season, not to mention he is coming off a suspension that he welcomed, as he was nursing a sore forearm. Carmona gets the nod over Cabrera if those are your only choices, but I would honestly much rather go with a guy like Ian Snell who has the ability to pad your strike outs numbers as well as post the win this week.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Jesse Litsch TOR @ Clayton Richard CHW
Jesse Litsch returned to the major league level with back to back shutout performances against the Tigers and Red Sox, allowing AL only owners who had hung on to him to breathe a sigh of relief. If Litsch can hold his own against two of the more potent offenses in the AL, then his owners have something to look forward to. Try not to be overly concerned that following that start, the Rays fed it to Litsch with 10 hits in 6.2 innings. The Rays have always had the Blue Jays number even when they were struggling to stay above .400. The good news is that despite all those hits, Litsch held them to only three earned runs. Richard Clayton is still being bounced between the bullpen and rotation. Twice in the past month he has been used as a reliever only to start a game a day or two later. It's completely absurd. Clayton has been fairly decent in his rookie season. He did take a loss against the Indians for the first time in five appearances, but if not for a fielding error it may have been a different story. I think it's best to ignore Richard as a spot start option. If the White Sox are going to use him on a regular basis out of the bullpen, and still expect him to start every fifth game, Richard simply will not have the endurance to pitch past the fifth inning at most. Go with Litsch.

Ross Ohlendorf PIT @ Randy Wolf HOU
After pitching in short relief appearances for the Pirates all season, rookie Ross Ohlendorf didn't do too bad in his first career major league start. Most impressive was the fact that he managed to pitch six complete innings, which isn't easy when you've been pitching one or two at a time as a mop up guy. Ohlendorf managed to retire the first eight batters he faced, before Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez lined one out to centerfield. Ohlendorf was a bit shaken by giving up a hit to the pitcher and began to struggle a bit, but pulled himself together for a relatively strong finish. By the end of the night he had allowed three runs and did not factor in to the decision. Ohlendorf may be worth a look in deeper leagues, but I'm not about to suggest him over Randy Wolf who is fresh off a complete game shut out of the Cubs where he tallied eight punch outs. Wolf has allowed just one run in his last 15 innings. He's not an over powering pitcher but has a great 5-1 record in eight career appearances against the Pirates.

Chris Volstad FLA @ Joe Blanton PHI
Many of Chris Volstad's no decisions lately should have been losses, he was lucky enough to be bailed out by his team mates repeatedly. Volstad started hot, but it didn't take long for opposing batters to figure him out. As a result he is not striking out batters as frequently as he was, he is giving up far too many walks, and he's not winning games. Joe Blanton isn't winning games either. There is no reason why even a below average pitcher would fail to win in six consecutive starts especially when those starts came against teams like the Dodgers, Pirates and Nationals, when he has the big bats of the contending Phillies behind him. Neither of these guys are worth your time. Even if you manage to pick the pitcher for the winning team, and even if that starter factors in to the decision, you're still just going to have a win and a whole lot of ugliness to come with it. High ERA, high WHIP, low strikeouts and no more than five or six innings are to be expected from them both.

Josh Fogg CIN @ Jeff Suppan MIL
With only one win in his last ten starts since recovering from a back ailment, Josh Fogg would have been far more valuable to your team when he was still on the DL. His seasonal 7.29 ERA should be all the warning you need to avoid Fogg as a spot starter. Jeff Suppan would have been a decent spot start for you last week after all, as his start was pushed back and came against the Pirates rather than Johan Santana and the Mets. Suppan usually isn't a viable mixed league option but he has won his last five decisions in six starts and continues to pitch fairly deep in to games. Against the bottom feeding Reds and Josh Fogg, he remains a strong spot start option despite has low strike out numbers.

Wednesday September 10, 2008

Andy Pettitte NYY @ Ervin Santana ANA
Jered Weaver was original scheduled when I selected this pitching match up to review, and regardless of my long history of Weaver joke I was actually going to recommend him here. Andy Pettitte simply is not pitching very well right now. In his last two combined starts, he allowed 20 hits and 12 runs in only 10 combined innings. Now Pettitte must face a far better pitcher than Weaver, and there is very little chance that Ervin Santana is available in your league. Pettitte may be, or perhaps you own him already. I recommend that you do not activate him for this match up.

Ricky Nolasco FLA @ Brett Myers PHI
It would appear that we have all forgiven Brett Myers as he is now owned in virtually all leagues of ten teams or more. However, his previous record against the Marlins is as shaky as Myers was earlier this season. With a 6-8 record and 5.05 ERA in 26 career starts against the fish, it's worth taking a look at Ricky Nolasco who has pitched very well this season. In Nolasco's last seven starts he has struck out 59 batters and walked only four giving him the best K/BB ratio of all starting pitchers in the MLB over the past two months. You can't sit Myers while he's this hot, but I expect Nolasco to come out on top here.

Anthony Reyes CLE @ Chris Waters BAL
Chris Waters has had moments where the rookie looked like a seasoned vet on the mound this season. Then he's had moments where he looked like he might be Brandon Backe's retarded cousin. The fact that he pitched eight scoreless innings against the Angels, and held off the Red Sox to pick up a win in a bit of a shaky start proves that Waters has potential. One also has to remember that Chris Waters is 28 and only debuting in the majors now. That forces us to draw a line between potential and fluke. I'm not about to recommend Waters in any start based on one great outing, and another where he didn't exactly impress but managed to win. His other starts have just been to ugly. Anthony Reyes is now becoming a regular weekly recommendation, and has now lowered his season ERA to 2.93 thanks to one solid start after another. Maybe it's time Reyes got the respect to be a permanent fixture in all mixed leagues now. Yet, he remains only 40% owned in ten team leagues. Go get him again.

Kyle Davies KC @ Kevin Slowey MIN
Kyle Davies pitched five solid innings for a win against Oakland, but it follows four losses in his previous four starts. When starting a pitcher on a team as bad as the Royals, you have to make sure you are starting an ace. As of right now the Royals have no pitchers that fit that profile. Slowey had won four straight decisions before taking a loss to the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays are crushing the ball right now however, and that start can't be held against him. You can usually count on Slowey for at least six innings and some solid strike out numbers, he may even hit double digit K's again against Kansas City.

Thursday September 11, 2008

Kevin Millwood TEX @ Greg Smith OAK
I'll have to check and see if Hell has frozen over, somehow Kevin Millwood has put together his longest winning streak since 2002 at a whopping three games. Damn, even Josh Towers put together a six game streak once. That poor jolly ol' fellow, this is all Kevin Millwood will have to tell his grandchildren. Well, perhaps he and Ned Yost can sit down over a hot cup of chamomile tea and whine together about how pathetic and meaningless their lives are. By now you've probably realized that I am still not going to recommend Millwood, and I'm going to encourage you to pass on Greg Smith too. Smith hasn't had much success against the Rangers in the past, and to be blunt, he's really not much better than Millwood.

Matt Cain SF @ Josh Geer SD
After a series off lights out performances, Matt Cain appears to be in a bit of a slump losing his last two games and ending up on the receiving end of a Cincinnati Reds outburst allowing eight hits and five runs through five innings. For the Reds, that is a rarity. Even when Cain is on, he still struggles to collect wins with the lowly Giants. Josh Geer was a nice surprise in his first ever major league appearance winning against the Rockies with a strike out per inning. I considered Geer in some of my leagues with weekly line ups as a two start option, but the Padres put an end to that idea with a rotation shuffle. Given the fact that your selection of free agent spot starters will be limited with a reduced Thursday schedule, Geer is an intriguing option albeit a risky one. Give him a shot, how much damage could the Giants really do?

Shaun Marcum TOR @ Gavin Floyd CHW
I knew Shaun Marcum would not be in the minor leagues long, and with the Jays tearing the cover off the ball he is almost guaranteed to receive plenty of run support. Marcum has been victories in four of his five minor leagues starts and picked up a no decision in the other. Not to shabby since the AAA Sky Chiefs are a ridiculously bad team. Gavin Floyd has only faced the Jays once resulting in a solid no decision. He is also 5-0 in his last seven starts. Maybe there is a little bit of homerism involved in recommending a Jays pitcher, but Marcum is currently dating my baby sister-in-law so believe me, he is on my no-no-list. I am recommending Marcum over Floyd due to the Jays hot streak. Both could be decent options to start on Thursday though.

Ubaldo Jimenez COL @ James R. Parr ATL
How do you end a Colorado Rockies eight game winning streak? That's right, you put Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound. Jimenez hasn't been the same pitcher that shined late last season and played a big role in carrying the Rockies to the World Series, not even close. He looked like he might turn it around with a nice July, but then it all seemed to fall apart again. Jimenez has a 6.75 ERA in his last three starts and a 6.32 ERA in three previous career starts against the Braves. As bad as Atlanta has been this season I just don't see any reason to believe U-Jim can put up a solid showing here. James Parr had a pretty easy go in his first major league appearance and it's hard to judge him based on an outing against the Nationals. Parr only gave up two hits in six innings and both came off the bat of Ronnie Belliard. Don't be so quick to use Parr as a spot start but continue to watch his progression. He may prove to be a viable option, but it's foolish to risk him with very little to critique him on.

Friday September 12, 2008

Matt Harrison TEX @ Josh Outman OAK
Matt Harrison is 4-1 in his last six starts, but he has allowed a lot of runs in some of those starts, and his season 5.73 ERA shows that he has been far from flawless. Harrison pitched well in the first inning of his last start against Seattle, but when he allowed a solo shot to Adrian Beltre with his first pitch of the second inning everything seemed to come apart. Harrison beat the Oakland A's with a five inning performance and allowed only one run the last time they met, but Harrison has been so inconsistent that you can't judge this start based on the previous one. Josh Outman will step up and step in for the injured Justin Duchscherer on Friday. Outman has only ever pitched two innings in relief at the major league level, he struck out two and also allowed only two hits. His minor league numbers tell the story of a young Randy Johnson like strike out pitcher who sometimes struggles with his control. Let's see if the Out Man lives up to his name, he won't be up long, but I think the youngster is worth a shot in this match. His three year minor league 3.18 ERA over 344 innings with 343 strikeouts, are numbers that would have deep dynasty owners salivating. Outman is defiantly worth a gamble.

David Purcey TOR @ Tim Wakefield BOS
David Purcey has shown us the best and the worst of what he has to offer. From an eight inning showdown against the Rays where he allowed only one run and struck out eleven, to a three inning nightmare against the Twins where he allowed five runs off seven hits with a pair of walks. Those were just his last two starts. He has another start before this one on Sunday September 7th, which will come against the Rays again. The Jays are hitting well, but I don't expect Purcey to be anywhere near as effective as he was the first time around. Tim Wakefield suffered a complete melt down against the Texas Rangers last weekend. He walked four and allowed seven earned runs on only four hits in 1.2 innings. Wakefield's three outings previous to this were decent enough not to harm any fantasy team, even the loss he took to the White Sox was a strong outing for him. After 16 years however, Wakefield doesn't appear to have much left in the tank. The Jays are too hot to recommend Wakefield and his soft throwing style, and you won't want to start someone as inconsistent as the young David Purcey against a loaded lineup like the Red Sox. This is going to be a slobberknocker, and I don't believe either of these pitchers will prove to be a acceptable spot starter by the end of the night. Avoid them both.

Ryan Rowland-Smith SEA @ Joe Saunders ANA
I sang the praises of Ryan Rowland-Smith in an earlier edition of Field Of Streams, but questioned his ability as a starter, suggesting he would be more suitable for long relief. Rowland-Smith however, has now not only proven he can go at least seven innings but that he has the ability to be a more more effective starter than Washburn, Silva and possibly Morrow. He should be a solid fixture of the Mariners rotation by next season after they find some way to get rid of Washburn and Silva. Rowland-Smith has allowed only a total of four runs in his last three starts of 20 combined innings. His strike outs totals fluctuate but his minor league numbers show the ability to regularly strike out more than a batter per inning. I see a bright MLB future ahead of him. Joe Saunders hasn't won since July 30th and appears to be getting progressively worse this season. The soft throwing Saunders offers nothing to a fantasy team anyway, the fact that he can't manage more wins on one of the most offensively and defensively gifted teams in the MLB proves what a joke he is. Saunders is completely worthless as a fantasy pitcher.

Chad Billingsley LA @ Jeff Francis COL
Let's just cut to the chase with this one, since many of you are now looking at my recommendation and shaking your heads. Chad Billingsley is owned in just about every league, but hopefully not by you this week. Billingsley has a horrible record against the Rockies, especially at Coors Field. In seven appearances against last seasons NL champions, Billingsley has an 0-2 record and 5.63 ERA. Jeff Francis on the other hand, has no problem with the Dodgers with a career 2.60 ERA and only a pair of losses against them in 13 prior meetings. Fantasy owners are still avoiding Francis like the plague right now as he is still available in almost half of 12 team leagues. Perhaps, they haven't notice that Francis has given the Rookies five solid performances in a row even if he does have only one win to show for it. Jeff Francis is without a doubt the way to go here.

Saturday September 13, 2008
TBA CHC @ Brandon Backe HOU
Look, it's Brandon Backe again. I recommend To Be Announced. He can't be any worse than Backe.

Aaron Harang CIN @ Randy Johnson ARI
Let's start off by wishing Randy Johnson a Happy 45th Birthday. It would appear fantasy owners have decided to give him a birthday break, as his ownership has taken a bit of a dip recently, while Aaron Harang's ownership has remained surprisingly high considering the awful season he has this year. Both Harang and The Big Unit have increadable low career ERA's against the others respective team, regardless of the fact that those previous outings have resulted in mainly no decisions for both pitchers. Here's the kicker, Harang is nowhere near as effective as he has been in previous seasons, so it is unrealistic to expect a similar result from him. Maybe Johnson isn't quite as dominant as he used to be, but he just won't quit and seems to have enough left in him to make the 300 win milestone. Johnson has also averaged twice as many strikeouts against the Reds as he has innings pitched. That's impressive. If you can find the Big Unit available to you, commence your happy dance now. If you can only find Harang, perhaps mentioning his previous record against the D-Backs to your H2H opponent would be a better strategy.

Clayton Kershaw @ Jorge De La Rosa COL
Jorge De La Rosa gets another nod from me here for the same reasons I discussed last week. Regardless of the fact that Clayton Kershaw pitched relatively well against the Padres in his last start allowing three runs on just as many hits, he still has a 9.45 ERA over his last three starts including a humiliating loss to the Nationals where he barely lasted two innings. Kershaw is unsuitable even for anything other than deeper NL only leagues at this time. He also has lost both previous starts against the Rockies with a combined 7.88 ERA.

Glen Perkins MIN @ Garrett Olson BAL
Glen Perkins has been victorious in his last five decisions and hasn't lost since July 23 against the Yankees. He may not strikeout many batters but has been far too effective to ignore. Garrett Olson is 0-2 in his last four appearances with an ERA around 11.00. Olson's season ERA is 6.53 with a 1.72 WHIP and he pitches on the third worst team in the AL, there isn't a whole lot to consider here. Stick with Perkins.

Sunday September 14, 2008

Nick Blackburn MIN @ Jeremy Guthrie BAL
Nick Blackburn hasn't won a start since the first week of August. He has only lost twice since then and allowed more than three runs in a game only once. It seems that every time Blackburn is featured in Field Of Streams, it comes down to the same mitigating factor. His inability to pitch deep into games. Until that changes there are long relief pitchers with more strikeout potential such as Hong-Chih Kuo, who would make far more appealing pick ups compared to Blackburn. Jeremy Guthrie has now lost three in a row following four straight wins where he allowed only a single run in each outing. At nearly 190 innings on the season now, it appears that he has simply burned out. The Orioles pushed back his last start hoping the extra rest would do him some good, but at this time Guthrie doesn't seem like a very reliable option.

Kyle Lohse STL @ Ian Snell PIT
Kyle Lohse is coming off three straight no decisions, rounding them off with six scoreless innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and totaling 13 strike outs in his last two outings. He has never lost against the Pittsburgh Pirates in six previous appearances. Despite Ian Snell's previous recommendation this week and two very good recent outings. You'd have to believe that in a Cardinals - Pirates match up, Lohse isn't about to blemish his record.

Brian Bannister KC @ Jeremy Sowers CLE
It's been a long time since I've given Brian Bannister the green light, but despite the fact that he hasn't won a game since June 24th in what was still a brutal outing for him, he still has a 2.91 ERA in his last three games. He also has a very favorable 2-1 record and 1.33 ERA in four appearances against the Indians. Jeremy Sowers has an ERA of 9.00 in his last three starts and has severely struggled with his control. Sowers has picked up only two wins in 18 appearances this season. So if there is ever a good time to start Bannister, this is it.

Ryan Dempster CHC @ Randy Wolf HOU
My recommendation of Randy Wolf this week, again comes down to pitching trends against opposing teams. Wolf may be hot now, but his past history against the Cubs is nothing special. However, Ryan Dempster has not fared well against the Astros at all. In 41 previous appearances against Houston, Dempster is 4-10. Now I admit, many of those were relief appearance, but Dempster has a fair amount of blown saves mixed in with those losses. Since Dempster is most likely not available to you, take a shot on Wolf who pitched a complete game shutout against Dempster and the Cubs only a week ago. History may repeat itself in this rematch.

Highlight Of the Week

Travis Snider (OF) Toronto Blue Jays
Travis Snider may only have 23 at bats with the Blue Jays as I write this, but even though he has struck out seven times he managed to keep his batting average above .300. I don't expect to see great numbers from Snider in the remainder of the season, but he does have a big powerful swing and could develop in to a Jim Thome type player in time. By that I mean that he could hit 35-40 home runs a year while striking out about 150 times per season. Snider was chosen as the Highlight of the week, mainly do to the fact that the Jays finish strong just about every season (unfortunately they don't do it until it is nearly mathematically impossible for them to make the post season). Even now the Jays are tearing up their competition and scoring runs in bunches. Since the Jays seem dedicated to keeping Snider in the line up for the remainder of the season, you have to think he's going to be involved in that mayhem somewhere. Snider is a great sleeper down the stretch for AL only and deeper leagues.

Field of Streams :: 9/01/08
by Tenacious D-Store
Published: September 1, 2008, 3:42 pm

Welcome back for another edition of Tenacious D-Store's Field Of Streams. Each week, I will focus on some of the better pickups who should be available in the majority of leagues for each day of the week as well as some that should be avoided. Since some people also choose to stream an outfield or utility spot with a hot bat each week, I will also include a weekly highlight on a hitter who may fly under your radar. Let's get started.

NOTE: All starts are probable. I can not be held responsible for last minute managerial decisions, injuries, rain-outs, alien abductions, arrests etc.

Monday September 1, 2008

Mike Hampton ATL @ Josh Johnson FLA
Ok Ok I got your e-mails. Not only is Mike Hampton still pitching, he actually went eight innings. Well he also lost didn't he, so put that in you pipe and smoke it you self-righteous jerks! Ok Ok, so maybe the Braves lost, which is certainly nothing new this season. I admit it, I'm impressed, but I didn't get any of the e-mails when I first made the comments, so I'll admit I may have been wrong, but you all have to admit that you were all right on board with me. Hampton has still only logged 40 innings so I'm not convinced he still won't break down again. Hampton remains too big of a risk, he doesn't rack up many K's and still has an ERA of nearly 6.00 on the season. Leave him alone. Josh Johnson is now 4-0 in nine starts on the season and all of his other stats are very admirable. He should be owned even in 10 team leagues at the moment but he's still available in many of them. Without a doubt he is the better option here and could be an asset to any team down the stretch.

Jonathan O. Sanchez SF @ Jorge De La Rosa COL
I'm always perplexed as to why some fantasy sports sights list a player as hot just for coming of the DL. They could have been hitting .125 all season before hand, but if they spend a couple weeks on the DL they are "Hot". Or is it just celebrational? Yay! He didn't die! Jonathan O. Sanchez in all his 4.53 ERA glory in fact did not die, but some of us who have suffered in our ownership of him may have wished otherwise after he flopped following a hot May/June. Jonny O was only placed on the DL on August 11th, but hasn't won a game since June 24th. It was ugly for everyone involved. His strikeout numbers are always sweet, but everything you have to put up with to get them is far too sour for my liking. Perhaps if he was on a team that actually won games it would be worth it, but for now you are swapping K's for a huge hit to your ERA and WHIP. For Jonny to win, the Giants have to win, and that doesn't happen often even though they play half their games in a Mickey Mouse division. Go with Jorge De La Rosa by default. His season ERA is even worse than Sanchez's, but the Giants can't hit anyway. Besides De La Rosa is actually 2-1 in his last three starts with a 2.50 ERA and has just as much strikeout potential as Sanchez. The Rockies winning percentage isn't much better than the Giants but they are without a doubt the better team.

Carlos Silva SEA @ Matt Harrison TEX
Carlos Silva is also coming off the DL, but at 4-14 on the season with a 6.36 ERA and 1.55 WHIP, even the fantasy sports sites are smart enough not to put him on the hot list. Silva is among the worst starting pitchers in the MLB and on a horrible team to boot. there is not a league deep enough to justify owning him in, never mind spot starting him. So Matt Harrison gets the green light from me again. Harrison has had his rough outings this season, but for a young rookie he has been impressive overall. His biggest down fall is his inability to hold base runners. He simply doesn't pay enough attention and becomes easy to run on, but that will change with experience. This one should be a cakewalk for him.

Chad Reineke SD @ Greg Maddux LA
Chad Reineke is 2-1 in his three major league starts despite only pitching five innings in all but one start where he gave us a sixth. Not bad since he pitches for the lowly Padres, but his 4.50 ERA to date has to be concerning. He might have some upside in deeper NL only leagues but before he gets a recommendation from me, I need to see a little more from him. Greg Maddux hasn't pitched well at all since joining the Dodgers. Not that any of us should have expected anything different from him. Maddux is just too old, and his soft pitches just don't have the accuracy that they used to. Ignore him too.

Tuesday September 2, 2008

Mike Mussina NYY @ Matt Garza TB
Matt Garza may be available in more leagues than Mike Mussina, but as of late Garza is the one looking like a stud on the mound. At 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA in his last three starts including a complete game shutout of the Texas Rangers, Garza is looking like the guy who will carry the Rays to the playoffs. We all know he can be streaky, but when he's this hot he has to be owned and active. Moose is most likely not available to you in any league, but after getting roughed up by the Orioles in his last start, I wouldn't be too upset over that fact.

Glen Perkins MIN @ David Purcey TOR
David Purcey was incredible in his last outing against the Tampa Bay Rays, but the Jays couldn't even score a single run for him. With a career high 11 strike outs in the game Percy moves to a second place tie for the Jays franchise in that feat, behind only Ted Lilly who managed 13 in 2004. Purcey is going to develop in to a great pitcher someday, but he is just too inconsistent right now and still has much to work on. Glen Perkins is too hot for the Jays to handle right now. Having won his last four straight outings and eating lots of innings in the process, Perkins is without a doubt the better option here. Very few fantasy owners appear to have noticed his 12-3 record in 21 appearances this season either. Perkins ownership remains extremely low despite his consistency and winning ways.

Clayton Richard CHW @ Fausto Carmona CLE
After going 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA after his first call up this season, it's hard to get excited about Clayton Richard winning back to back starts now. After all it did come against Baltimore and Seattle. This is the same guy who has failed to get out of the fourth in his other starts and once gave up eleven hits and six runs to the Royals in four innings of work. Sorry, I am no where near convinced that he is worth a shot yet. My opinion of Fausto Carmona has not changed. Even though he has provided the Indians with back to back wins and an equally solid no decision prior to that, he is still giving up too many walks and fails to strike out batters. I'll give him a reluctant nod here, for his recent ability to prevent things from getting out of hand. I don't don't see him as much more than an AL only option.

Brandon Backe HOU @ Ryan Dempster CHC
Brandon Backe says he's figured out why he's pitched so badly at times this month. However, he failed to elaborate on that, and I have to ask the question, What about all the previous months? Are we supposed to believe that the same guy who allowed eleven runs on nine hits, with five walks in 5.2 innings is suddenly a new pitcher because he managed what was still a rather unimpressive win against the Mets. Or that he just suddenly realized over night why he completely sucks and is now ready to be the Astros Ace? Mr. Backe, listen up buddy. You are an absolutely horrible f***ing pitcher. See what you are doing now? You are making my editor do some actual work because I'm not supposed to use that word, but you have forced my hand because you are that bad. You are a free agent in my 20 team league that starts nine pitchers per team. So suck my balls you delusional jolly ol' fellow, it's one win that comes after your worst outing of the season, get over yourself. Ryan Dempster is owned, so this segment serves no real purpose, I'm sure none of you were so moved by Backe's speech that you rushed to pick him up.

Wednesday September 3, 2008

Jorge Campillo ATL @ Chris Volstad FLO
Jorge Campillo has given up five runs in three of his last four starts with six or less innings per outing. The run he had earlier this season appears to be over. Despite his 3.37 season ERA, he has posted a 7.02 ERA in his last three starts and must be avoided until he manages to right his ship again. Chris Volstad has been far from consistent himself. Due to the fact that he does not pitch deep in to games, his win-loss record has suffered. I don't see Volstad as a viable mixed league pitcher, but the match up seems to lean in his favor. Use him as a desperation option only.

Oliver Perez NYM @ Dave Bush MIL
Oliver Perez has taken three straight no decisions and has walked five batters in two of those games. Nothing has changed, Oli remains too inconsistent for me to recommend as a spot start. You just never know what you are going to get from him. Normally the same would be said for David Bush, but he has come on extremely strong over the past couple of months. He has now won his last four decisions and has a 2.66 ERA in his last three starts. Bush has also won both of his previous appearances against the Mets holding them to only three earned runs in total. Continue to spot start Bush.

Carl Pavano NYY @ Edwin Jackson TB
Carl Pavano has won both of his starts since his return, but they came against the Orioles and the Blue Jays. He also still has an ERA over 6.00 and a 1.60 WHIP. It is far from impressive when you compare all the numbers. I don't think anyone really takes Pavano seriously as a pitcher and starting him against the AL East leading Rays would be a big mistake. Edwin Jackson has won back to back games as well against the White Sox and the Jays, allowing only a combined three runs in those starts. He did walk five White Sox batters which is a bit of a concern but overall he pitched very well. Run support has not been an issue for Jackson as he has received plenty of it this season. Feel confident that the trend will continue despite some inconsistency from Jackson along the way.

Dana Eveland OAK @ Brian Bannister KC
Dana Eveland is obviously feeling better after a stint in the minor leagues. Eveland was doing superbly this season until it all began to unravel and he was sent to AAA to work on his mechanics. He returned to pitch a gem against Seattle fanning seven batters in seven innings. He did well in his second start against the Twins even though the strikeouts weren't there and he failed to factor in to the decision. Eveland is back on track and should be picked up again in any league. Clearly some are skeptical as he ownership remains very low. He should have no problem with the Royals, and Brain Bannister remains as awful as ever. Don't be fooled by one good start against the Rangers.

Thursday September 4, 2008

Thursdays are enough of a challenge to find four pitching match ups worth analyzing as it is. However, looking at the projected pitchers for September 4th all I can see is owned, and garbage. Tom Gorzelanny, Kenny Rogers, Jo-Jo Reyes, Darrell Rasner, Dan Meyer, Kyle Davies, I can't suggest any of them. Perhaps Jeff Suppan would have gotten the nod as a desperation spot start, but not against Jake Peavy. You'll survive one day without streaming, you may not survive using any of the options available to you today.

Friday September 5, 2008

Brett Myers PHI @ Mike Pelfrey NYM
Brett Myers, what are we gonna do with you? We gave you one last chance and you gave us a night to remember. Myers has a ridiculous 1.66 ERA in his last six starts including a complete game shut out, and two seven inning scoreless performances. On top of that, his strikeout numbers in those games can only be described as redonkulous. I'm probably too old to really know what that means, but I hear it's what the cool kids are saying. There is always the risk that Myers will burn you again at the drop of a hat, but right now he is far too sexy to stay angry at. Mike Pelfrey ain't exactly your brother's ugly sister right now either. Pelfrey has won three straight with an ERA of 1.44 and has gone the distance in his last two. The strikeouts make Myers a far more attractive option, but if you get shot down when checking your free agent pool, Pelfrey is a decent plan B.

Ricky Nolasco FLA @ Braden Looper STL
Ricky Nolasco and Braden Looper are looking like another win-win situation. Both have won two of their last three and although Nolasco has a slightly better ERA in that span, Looper has gone seven innings in his past six starts. Nolasco is the better strike out pitcher and rarely gives up walks. Looper is just about ready for a melt down as he has been pitching over his head all season. I'm going to recommend Nolasco and not Looper this week.

Anthony Reyes CLE @ Brandon Duckworth KC
Anthony Reyes is 2-1 with a 2.22 ERA in his four starts since being traded to the Indians, yet remains only 35% owned in 12 team leagues. He recently faced the Texas Rangers in his longest outing of the season allowing only one earned run for a no decision. Fantasy owners need to forget about his ineffectiveness as a starter in previous seasons and respect what he is doing now. Reyes is worthy of ownership in all leagues of at least 12 teams and a must add in AL only leagues. Brandon Duckworth may have won his first start since his call up this season, but he failed to post any strikeouts in his five innings against the Tigers. Duckworth can't really be taken seriously mostly due to his career 5.35 ERA, but also because he pitches for the Royals. This should be another strong outing for Reyes.

Brian Moehler HOU @ Ubaldo Jimenez COL
Brain Moehler and Ubaldo Jimenez both enjoyed nice winning streaks in late July and early August. However, it's been all down hill since. Both now have ERA's of about 5.00 in their last three starts and horrible career ERA's against the others respective teams. Neither is effective enough to take a risk on, so ignore both of these options on Friday.

Saturday September 6, 2008

Jamie Moyer PHI @ Pedro Martinez NYM
Jamie Moyer had a pretty easy road to travel in his recent starts facing the Nationals, Marlins, Pirates, Padres and Nationals again. Although he provided some solid outings in those five games, he only managed a 2-1 record. Then reality came knocking as Moyer had to face a real team again. The Mets smacked Moyer around for nine hits and six runs sending Moyer back to the locker room after only three innings. Now the Mets have an opportunity to do it to him again. Pedro Martinez is still pitching deeper in to games than he was in the first half, as well as posting strong strikeout numbers. However, in his last two outings he also allowed a lot more earned runs. We'll forgive him for that since he had allowed more than two runs only once since his reactivation in late July after the death of his father. Continue to ride out Pedro.

Scott Olsen FLA @ Todd Wellemeyer STL
Scott Olsen's struggles continue as in his last two starts he allowed both the Braves and Giants to get the best of him. If he can't pitch well against those two teams right now I certainly don't want him in my lineup when he's facing Albert Pujols and the Cardinals. Olsen has only six wins in 29 starts this season, and isn't even recording strikeouts any more. He is a terrible option for any team right now. Todd Wellemeyer couldn't get it done against the Brewers in his last start as they humiliated the Cards in a 12-0 finish. Wellemeyer was only responsible for four of those runs in a six inning night, and even some of those are partially to blame on fielders who looked like they were playing with gloves that were a couple sizes two small. Wellemeyer did manage to win three in a row before that and hasn't lost since July 12th. Wellemeyer has been a remarkable waiver wire addition to deeper leagues this season and remains a strong spot start option.

Wandy Rodriguez HOU @ Jeff Francis COL
Do two solid outings and a win make Jeff Francis a suitable fantasy pitcher again? I doubt it. Especially since the Dodgers are ice cold right now, and a win over the Giants is never much of an accomplishment. On the other hand, with the complete mess we've seen from Francis all season three earned runs in 13 innings is still something to think about. Francis has also held the Houston Astros to a 1.93 ERA in his previous outings against them. As of right now the Astros would have more success allowing the opposing batters to hit off a tee than hit off Wandy Rodriguez. I am skeptical that Francis is suddenly going to turn his season around. but I feel comfortable suggesting him for his start this weekend.

Tim Wakefield BOS @ Kevin Millwood TEX
I warned you last week not to be fooled by Kevin Millwood's complete game one run performance against the Tigers. Now that he has repeated that feat, his ownership is rising. It came against the Royals, and again I think people are being fooled by a deceptive performance against a team that can't hit. Millwood didn't just suddenly become an ace overnight. He earned that 4.95 ERA and 1.64 WHIP this season with one poor performance after another. He also hadn't pitched out of the sixth inning in countless performances before this. Come on people, I know you are smarter than this. Millwood isn't worth a jug of warm piss and you all know it. Tim Wakefield is a bit more of a risk as a spot start than he used to be. He hasn't pitched deep in to games this season and has been knocked around in a few starts, but despite it all he is still on pace for the best season ERA of his career. Wakefield as now won back to back starts as well. Millwood can't handle the Red Sox lineup, so Wakefield should have no problem getting run support here.

Sunday September 7, 2008

Jason Marquis CHC @ Aaron Harang CIN
Jason Marquis is 3-0 in his last four starts against some rather easy competition. The only remarkable feat he accomplished was going seven innings against the Pirates without walking anyone. Marquis is a bad pitcher on a contending team. He may have his moments, but if you look at his season numbers it's not hard to see why he cannot be relied on for an entire season, and I don't personally want to risk him even in an easier match up. Maybe if he struck out more batters, but he doesn't. The Reds may look hot after sweeping the Giants in a three game series, and maybe they are because as bad as the Giants are, the Reds aren't much better. The Reds haven't fared too poorly against the Cubs this year. In two July series with the Cubs they went 3-3, and almost took a fourth game as they rallied in the ninth inning to score five runs but allowed the winning Cubs run to score in the eleventh inning. Harang has pitched well in his last two starts, he may have lost one of them but only allowed three runs through seven innings and struck out eight batters. This recommendation comes from the gut only, since most people have the brains enough to stay clear of both these guys. Give Harang a shot.

Josh Johnson FLA @ Joel Pineiro STL
It's hard to believe that Josh Johnson has come back from Tommy John surgery to actually pitch better then he ever did prior to it. Johnson is now 4-0 in nine starts and his strikeout numbers are enough to prove that the surgery has not affected his velocity. I'm not sure what is going on with Joel Pineiro at the moment. The Cards were planning to pull him from the rotation and have him work in long relief, now he's scheduled to start a game again. His spot in the rotation now depends on the health of Chris Carpenter. Pineiro should make this start as scheduled, but regardless you should ignore him.

Joe Saunders ANA @ Clayton Richard CHW
Joe Saunders had been solid (even if unspectacular us usual) through most of the season. He now hasn't won a game in his last five starts and has an ERA of almost 12.00 in his last three alone. Saunders is among the lowest caliber strike out pitchers in the MLB, so when he can't get out of the second inning before allowing six runs against a team like the Oakland A's, you know it's time to cut him loose. Clayton Richard has done alright for him self in his last two starts, but posted an ERA over 9.00 in his three starts before that. First of all the White Sox need to determine whether they want Richard in the bullpen or the rotation, because yanking him back and fourth can't be helping him in his adjustment to the big leagues. Richard has plenty of upside, but I wouldn't chance him just yet.

Paul Byrd BOS @ Matt Harrison TEX
Paul Byrd has now won six of his last seven appearances, it's amazing what a team that can score eight or more runs in a game on a fairly regular basis can do for a below average pitcher. It's no secret now that I think Matt Harrison has the potential to be an amazing pitcher. Although he posted four wins in August, he still got roughed up at times and has plenty to work on. The Red Sox are just too much for him this early in his career. My money is on Byrd.

Highlight Of The Week

Elijah Dukes (OF) Washington Nationals

Maybe the Nationals pitchers aren't worth a damn, but Elijah Dukes has returned from the DL picking up right where he left off. Smacking long balls and stealing bases. Dukes only two hits against the Dodgers soon after his return both found the cheap seats. It's nice to see that the problematic outfielder finally has his head on straight and is focusing on baseball. Between trying to smash David Bush's face open with his batting helmet and an alleged murder plot of his wife, Elijah Dukes has been in the headlines for everything but his baseball accomplishments for the past couple of years. However, if he stays on his current pace and keeps himself in check he could prove to be a poor mans Carl Crawford, and a nice pick up for those that are struggling after losing Crawford for the season.

Field of Streams :: 8/25/08
by Tenacious D-Store
Published: August 26, 2008, 12:07 am

But I don't see it in my sent items?
Welcome back for another edition of Tenacious D-Store's Field Of Streams. Each week, I will focus on some of the better pickups who should be available in the majority of leagues for each day of the week as well as some that should be avoided. Since some people also choose to stream an outfield or utility spot with a hot bat each week, I will also include a weekly highlight on a hitter who may fly under your radar. Let's get started.

NOTE: All starts are probable. I can not be held responsible for last minute managerial decisions, injuries, rain-outs, alien abductions, arrests etc.

Monday August 25, 2008

Brian Moehler HOU @ Mike Pelfrey NYM
Brian Moehler hasn't lost since June 18th and has won his last five decisions. He nearly pitched a complete game on July 29th during a brilliant three game winning streak as well. However, many of his wins this season have been due to late inning rallies and pure luck. He has not had a very successful career as a starter by any means despite his recent hot streak. I suppose the same could be said of Mike Pelfrey, who is also having a nice run right now winning his last two starts and four of his last six decisions. Neither will provide much in the means of strike outs, but Pelfrey has been pitching deeper in to games lately. I think it's important in this case to look beyond the most recent starts. Pelfrey is clearly the better pitcher, and the NL East leading Mets are more likely to provide the run support needed to secure a win. Go with Pelfrey in this match up. If Pelfrey is not available to you, I still don't recommend falling back on Moehler. Reality is bound to catch up to him soon.

Kevin Millwood TEX @ Gil Meche KC
Kevin Millwood is coming off what could be a career best outing for him. He pitched a complete game against the Detroit Tigers allowing only one run on six hits. However, most of his other starts this season have been horrendous, and he still has a 5.28 ERA in his last three starts including on that only lasted 1.2 innings. Millwood cannot be relied on for fantasy use and it is unrealistic to expect a repeat of his last outing. Although Gil Meche hasn't gotten a decision in his last three starts he still pitched very well keeping his ERA below 2.80 and posted a ton of strikeouts. He really hasn't pitched poorly since his three game losing skid in early June. The Royals may not have a lot to offer and may not always provide the run support needed for a win, but Meche's strike outs in and of themselves are extremely valuable. There is no real contest here.

Dallas Braden OAK @ Jered Weaver ANA
Dallas Braden has done pretty well for himself in his last three starts and has clearly become more confident in his strike out pitches. I still wouldn't expect more than four strikeouts per start at the most despite the fact that he just struck out seven Twins in 5.2 innings. Braden certainly has what it takes to become a very good pitcher, but he is too young and green to demand consistency from. Add to that a lack of offense from the Oakland A's and Braden becomes a very risky spot start outside of AL only leagues. As for Jered Weaver, I think I've made it clear through my writings that I would prefer not to have anything named Weaver on my teams. Weaver certainly has a great offense behind him, but he fails to pitch late in to games resulting in a lot of no decisions. He is capable of posting obscene strike out numbers even during a bad outing. That combined with a team that will provide better run support make Weaver the better option in this match up, but one that is not without risk as well.

Jeff Francis COL @ Matt Cain SF
Jeff Francis continues to stink up the joint, and it's beginning to make me nauseous. I don't even want to discuss him in this column anymore. Matt Cain on the other hand has been lights out most of the season, yet his season loses outweigh his wins. It's just so sad to see someone who is among the MLB's most elite pitchers, waste away on a piss poor team. The lack of wins makes Cain virtually useless in points based leagues, but he still provides solid stats in the other four main pitching categories in roto leagues. Feel confident using him there.

Tuesday August 26, 2008

Derek Lowe LA @ Collin Balester WAS
It doesn't take much to beat the Nationals or Braves this season so Derek Lowe's most recent wins remain unimpressive. He did manage to defeat the Phillies in his last win and followed it up with a great seven inning display against the Brewers allowing only a single run, but still not pulling off the win. It's hard to view the Dodgers as real contenders considering the Kindergarten class NL West division, and Lowe's inconsistencies are worrisome. However, his best recent outing was against the Nationals, and he will face them again here. Collin Balester isn't anywhere near as bad a pitcher as his stats reflect, but the Washington Nationals are every bit as horrid as their .352 winning percentage reflects. That leaves Balester unworthy of consideration in anything other than the deepest of NL only leagues. The Nats couldn't possibly do much damage to Lowe. So this is a relatively safe opportunity to start him.

Scott Olsen FLA @ Jair Jurrjens ATL
Scott Olsen is winless in his last six games picking up the big L in four of them. He has allowed nine or more hits in each of his last three starts and his ERA has risen significantly. This is what happens when a great prospect skips AAA altogether. Olsen was never properly conditioned to face major league hitters and it is too late to change what the Marlins have done to him. Even though Olsen is still rather young I don't ever see him becoming a viable pitcher in mixed fantasy leagues. With a better managed team, it could have been a very different story. Jair Jurrjens cannot be blamed for a pair of fielding errors leading to his most recent loss, but the fact that he walked three in a row certainly didn't help anything. He did his part to ensure he got himself out of trouble. It was Chipper Jones who dropped, the ball or in this case practically threw it in to the dugout. Jurrjens has been the most solid member of the Braves pitching staff, a couple of rough starts aren't enough to frighten my away from activating him.

Pedro Martinez NYM @ Jamie Moyer PHI
Pedro Martinez continues to pitch well and appears to be gaining some endurance as he is now pitching in to the sixth and seventh innings again. He is not allowing many earned runs at all. If he can manage to give us seven or even eight innings again and lock down a few more wins, I may have to eat my words about him barely being an NL only viable starter. His lack of run support is not likely to continue so taking a chance on Pedro down the stretch isn't a bad option. Moyer has done very well for himself this season, and recently he and Pedro's stats are very similar right down to the lack of run support. However, everything Moyer has done, Pedro has done just a little bit better. I surprise myself this week as Pedro gets the nod over Moyer. Neither is a horrible option but with two beefed up line ups like these teams offer, mistakes by either pitcher will be capitalized on in the unforgivable band box that is Citizens Bank Park.

Ben Sheets MIL @ Todd Wellemeyer STL
A side from a five hit compete game shut out of the Nationals, Ben Sheets can't seem to buy a win lately losing the other four of his last five starts and picking up countless no decisions since early July. Sheets has remained healthy this season, and run support cannot be blamed. Despite a reasonable ERA, Sheets has not quite been the type of pitcher we expect him to be. You can't choose to bench someone you invested so heavily in this season without good cause, so if you own him you might as well activate him. However, look for Todd Wellemeyer who has won three in a row and is 4-0 in his last eight starts, to get the better of the Brewers adding to his recent winning streak. The Brewers have clobbered Wellemeyer to the tune of a 5.85 ERA in 20 innings over his career, but Sheet's 5-14 record against the Cards isn't all that flattering either. The way Wellemeyer is pitching he shouldn't have any problems picking up his first career win against Milwaukee.

Wednesday August 27, 2008

Glen Perkins MIN @ Ryan Feierabend SEA
Glen Perkins has defiantly redeemed himself after ruffling some feathers with a poorly thought out comment in an early season interview. Even so, his comment doesn't appear to be so off base given the success he has seen this season. Remember, it's only arrogance if you can't back it up, otherwise it's called confidence. With a 10-3 record in 19 appearances this season, Perkins continues to dominate even the most feared AL teams. The Yankees, The White Sox, The Tigers, The Rangers, and the lowly Mariners have all been no match for Perkins in the past five weeks alone. He has an upcoming game against the Angels which is only hours away as I write this, but with soft throwing opposing pitcher Joe Saunders taking the mound, Perkins could easily add the Angels to his path of destruction. Perkins has earned my respect. As for Ryan Feierabend, he's just not major league material. Although he has only pitched three innings this season, it resulted in an ERA of 18.00 and WHIP of nearly 4.00. He now has a total career ERA of 7.42 on 69 innings pitched at the major league level. It's hard to believe this is the same pitcher who went 7-1 with a 2.04 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Tacoma before his call up this season. Don't even consider using Feierabend if Perkins is unavailable in your league. (Update: Perkins completely dominated the Angels pitching eight scoreless innings for the win).

Paul Byrd BOS @ Sidney Ponson NYY
Paul Byrd's last three straight starts have been against the Blue Jays. He started off with a complete game for the win allowing only two runs, while still with the Indians. He didn't fare as well in his first start with the Red Sox as the Jays got to him for ten hits and four runs through seven innings. He then followed that up with a very similar performance where he at least got enough run support to pick up a win. All this proves that offense doesn't necessarily make a bad pitcher better. The Blue Jays also recently made a victim out of Sidney Ponson who had actually been riding a nice hot streak. The Jays butchered the porky Ponson for eight hits and seven runs in only two innings ending his night early. Even when Ponson was red hot when the Yankees first put him to work, his ownership in fantasy league remained very low. Obviously, we all knew it was too good to be true and wouldn't last as Ponson now stands 0-2 in his last three starts. Byrd has still won five of his last six games and has pitched well enough to have only a 1.98 ERA in his last five starts. He is not an over powering pitcher and won't post more than a few strike outs tops, but he seems like a solid low end spot starter on a solid team.

Greg Maddux LA @ Tim Redding WAS
42 year old Greg Maddux is back in Dodger town who he spent a few months with late in the 2006 season. Maddux offers very little to a fantasy team, but although he doesn't throw very hard, his pin point accuracy remains as solid as ever. Maddux was riding a three game winning streak with the pathetic Padres before joining the Dodgers. He continued to pitch very well in his first start with L.A allowing just a single run, but the Dodgers failed to get anything going and Maddux still picked up the loss. I'm not going to recommend any Nationals pitcher right now, not even Tim Redding who has been solid, but far from spectacular. Ride out Maddux for a little bit longer. He's not a great fantasy option with his low strike out totals, but he will be an asset to your ERA and WHIP and should also pick up the win here.

Matt Harrison TEX @ Brian Bannister KC
Hmm... Matt Harrison who is 3-0 in his last three starts with a 3.72 ERA, or Brian Bannister who is 0-3 in his last three starts with a 12.75 ERA and hasn't won a game since June 24th. This is a tough one. Brian Bannister also continues to perform even worse in night games as he does in days games, and this well be an evening game. Decisions, decisions. All sarcasm aside. Matt Harrison also has slightly better stats in day games and home games, and this game falls under neither of those categories. He also hasn't had enough starts for those stats to mean much of anything since he struggled a bit while adjusting after his call up. He is smoking hot right now, not only enjoying a three game winning streak, but also shutting down the AL East leading Rays through eight innings adding a K per inning as well. This really is an easy choice, Bannister has had a horrible season and isn't about to suddenly turn it around here.

Thursday August 28, 2008

David Purcey TOR @ Edwin Jackson TB
We begin another lowly Thursday with a look at free agent spot start options who are probably free agents for very obvious reasons. What was originally a great hard breaking slider has now become a predictable pitch that hitters seem to hungrily wait on when David Purcey is on the mound, and Purceys curve ball and change up are laughable. Therefore in Purcey's last start after struggling to establish his curve ball, he turned to repetitive fastballs allowing hitters to comfortably sit back knowing what was coming and wait for the one they liked. The result was a four inning disaster where he allowed seven hits and five runs, and would have allowed many more if not for some amazing fielding by the Jays. Unfortunetly, Toronto does not currently have the luxury of sending Purcey down to AAA to work on his mechanics and command. The potential is there for him to be a good #3 pitcher for the Jays but he is being pushed too hard and too fast due to injury woes. Edwin Jackson is rolling once again, and although he is far from one of the leagues more consistent pitchers he has the blazing Tampa Bay Rays providing him with enough run support to recover from the odd mistake. Jackson is now 4-1 in his last five starts and has now lowered his once bloated ERA to below 4.00. Jackson has had difficulty against the Jays, his record against them current sits at 1-3 in nine appearances, but the Rays patient hitters will be a nightmare for Purcey if he continues to rely solely on his fastball.

Anibal Sanchez FLA @ Charlie Morton ATL
Anibal Sanchez is 2-2 in his four starts since coming off the DL. Even in the starts that he lost he only allowed three earned runs apiece. He hasn't exactly been lights out, but he is showing promise and striking out more than a batter per inning on average. Charlie Morton has been a complete disaster at home in Turner Field failing to win all of his nine starts there this season. Morton also got pounded in his only start against the Marlins this season, while Sanchez has pitched very well against the Braves with a combined 1.80 ERA against them in two career starts. Stick with Sanchez.

Nick Blackburn MIN @ Gio Gonzalez OAK
Both Gio Gonzalez and the A's have failed to impress this season and I'm sure I don't have to warn any one to leave Gio alone until he proves he can locate his pitches. Oakland actually managed to pull off a victory recently when they faced Nick Blackburn, but it was still a solid outing as Blackburn went eight innings allowing only three runs. Although he has had a nice rookie season, keeping his ERA under 4.00 and coming up on double digit wins, Blackburn does not have knockout stuff. He will still provide decent stats overall with the exception of his low strike out numbers. He still isn't someone I would want to rely on regularly outside of AL only leagues, but he is a nice spot start option when the match up is right. Oakland and a struggling Gio Gonzalez appear to be the right time.

Brandon McCarthy TEX @ Jon Garland ANA
Brandon McCarthy is coming off 13 scoreless innings over two starts at the AAA level and will now join the Rangers so called major league rotation. The AAA outings are very promising since McCarthy has been out all season with forearm issues. However, he has never really shined at the major league level. He is young enough and talented enough to turn that all around with a late start to his third season as a major leaguer which is typically a breakout period for young talent. Jon Garland has won three of his last five, but his high ERA and low strike out numbers reflect the fact that his success is more related to run support than dominant pitching. The Rangers are familiar with Garland as they have tattooed him for a 4-8 record and 5.87 ERA in 18 previous meetings. I'm all over McCarthy here, despite what I've said about minor league starts meaning nothing when it comes to the show, He truly looked amazing in his two rehab starts. It's time McCarthy brings it like we all know his capable of. Not only do I recommend him as a spot start, but suggest you grab him in all AL only and deeper leagues immediately.

Friday August 29, 2008

Jesse Litsch TOR @ Darrell Rasner NYY
After going from the Jays most effective starter earlier in the season to an absolute mess almost overnight, Jessie Litsch made his return to the Blue Jays rotation shutting out the Tigers through seven innings for a no decision. He then stepped up for the Jays again last weekend pitching six scoreless innings against the Red Sox, in an embarrassing 11-0 Boston defeat. As usual the Jays offense has exploded when it's too late in the season to even matter. They still have little hope of contending, but regardless they are hitting, and Litsch appears to have found his groove once again. Darrell Rasner continues to do very little of any interest to any fantasy owner. Even if the Yankees rally, Litsch has the potential to post better numbers in a loss than Rasner will with the win. Not that he is likely to see the win since he can't pitch out of the fifth inning most of the time. I wouldn't be jumping on Litsch in any league just yet. Look for better options first, but I would take him over Rasner any day.

Dave Bush MIL @ Jeff Karstens PIT
Dave Bush may be one of the most over looked pitchers in fantasy leagues this season. He has maintained an extremely low WHIP of 1.12 this season as well as moderate strike out numbers. However, when Bush is off his game things get ugly quickly and he has been the victim of the occasional blow out leaving his ERA something to be desired. Bush has a 3-0 record in his last three starts, and although those wins came against the Pirates and Nationals, he recently dominated the Rockies posting 13 strike outs in eight shutout innings. Jeff Karstens was far less impressive in his last two appearances as he was in his previous starts as a Pirate. Karstens allowed a combined 16 hits and seven runs against the Mets and Reds, which isn't horrible but not what those who picked him up want to see. Bush is the hot hand right now, so give him the spot start and wait to see if Karstens manages to turn things around.

Jorge Campillo ATL @ Odalis Perez WAS
Jorge Campillo has already pitched far more inning this season than he is accustomed to, and it is beginning to show. With a 7.04 ERA in his last four starts after an impressive first half, the only thing Campillo has maintained is his low WHIP as he very rarely walks a batter. Campillo will most likely not be a viable mixed league option from this point out, with his aggressive approach and his decreasing velocity those fast balls down the middle are getting hit and hit hard. So for the second week in a row I'm going to recommend Odalis Perez for NL only and deeper leagues. It's tough for Perez to pick up wins on a team that struggles to score runs, but he has continued to pitch well despite a lack of strike outs. The Braves have a pretty weak offense themselves so it's not too unreasonable to think that Perez could pick up the win here.

Hiroki Kuroda LA @ Yusmeiro Petit ARI
After three consecutive seven plus inning starts where Hiroki Kuroda allowed only one earned run, he suffered a loss to the Rockies. He didn't pitch poorly allowing only six hits in as many innings, but made enough mistakes that the Rockies were able to capitalize scoring four runs to win the game. His earlier start against the Phillies this week will probably be pretty ugly as Kuroda tends to leave his fast ball up, in Citizens Bank Park you simply cannot do that, as what would be a pop out in most stadiums becomes a home run in Philadelphia. Yusmeiro Petit has posted a 2.89 ERA in his five starts this season and proved he can go seven strong innings when needed. He has far better strike out potential than Kuroda, and with the Dodgers scrapping at the heals of the D-Backs in the race to be the NL East division champs, I expect the D-Backs to turn in on to ensure they extend the gap. I'm going with Petit in this one.

Saturday August 30, 2008

Felix Hernandez SEA @ Anthony Reyes CLE
Unless you play in a NL only league, Felix Hernandez will be owned, but his owners can't be too thrilled about his performances lately. King Felix is 0-2 in his last six outings. He has struggled with his control and allowed far too many hits. Anthony Reyes however, has remained solid since joining the Indians rotation. Despite a recent embarrassing loss to the Orioles, he is now a must own pitcher in AL only leagues and a respectable mixed league option. Expect Reyes to have little trouble against a weak Seattle line up and feel confident starting him on Saturday.

Braden Looper STL @ Brian Moehler HOU
Braden Looper has allowed two runs or less in each of his last six starts, and somehow only managed a 2-2 record during that span. He has now matched his season high for career wins and still remains unowned in the majority of leagues. Anyone who follows baseball knows that Looper is prone to a melt down at any time, but although he doesn't K many batters he has been a solid choice as a bottom end starter even in 10 team leagues. Brian Moehler is also pitching well, but not as well as Looper. Moehler carries a higher ERA and WHIP and also has less strike out abilities. Although Moehler has never lost when facing St. Louis he has only won three starts in fourteen career appearances. The main differences right now is that Moehler is winning games he shouldn't be, while the exact opposite can be said for Looper at the moment. The law of averages has to catch up to these two and even the score eventually. Go with Looper who has a minuscule 1.71 ERA in his last three starts.

Mark Buehrle CHW @ Tim Wakefield BOS
Tim Wakefield is back from the DL after some shoulder woes, but one has to have concerns as to whether or not he is being rushed back to work after the loss of Josh Beckett due to his dead arm. Consider Wakefield far too big a risk even in AL only leagues until he can definitively prove his health. Mark Buehrle was riding a three game winning streak until the Tampa Bay Devil Rays came to town. The Rays seem to be enjoying spoiling the party this season, and they have handed far worse losses to far better pitchers this year. The White Sox rallied late in the game to squeak by with a win, but Buehrle picked up a no decision. Buehrle pitched a gem on August 8th when he faced the Red Sox, he should be able to hold his own in this rematch.

Kevin Correia SF @ Johnny Cueto CIN
Well I called it last week, Kevin Correia did in fact beat the Padres to pick up his third win of the season. He gave up a homer with his very first pitch of the game, but remained calm and was solid after that. However, a pitcher who only has three wins, and just earned his second since April is not someone who really belongs on any fantasy team. There is no way he gets another recommendation from me this week. I was all ready to give Johnny Cueto the go, until he left his April 24th start in the third inning with what is being reported as sore triceps. Risking a pitcher with a sore arm is just as foolish as expecting back to back wins from a Giants pitcher. Forget them both this week.

Sunday August 31, 2008

Matt Cain SF @ Bronson Arroyo CIN
Funny that we would go from a comment about the unlikelihood of back to back wins from a Giants pitcher, to one that seems to win only every second start. Matt Cain did not get a decision in his last start, and I recommended him against Jeff Francis and the Rockies earlier this week. So where does that leave us now? Bronson Arroyo is coming off a respectable outing against the Cubs, but overall he his been rather unimpressive this season. Matt Cain has an earned run average that is almost 2.00 lower than Arroyo's, and Arroyo's bloated WHIP doesn't even compare to Cain's. I have no choice but to be a hypocrite here and predict back to back wins for Matt Cain, and as I do almost every week, steer you away from Arroyo who has little to offer in any situation.

Todd Wellemeyer STL @ Wandy Rodriguez HOU
My reasons for recommending Todd Wellemeyer remain the same as when I suggested him for Tuesday's start. Although Wandy Rodriguez has allowed fewer hits than usual in his last few starts, he still isn't winning or pitching very deep in to games. The reasons are fairly obvious.

Scott Baker MIN @ Greg Smith OAK
Scott Baker hasn't had a decision in his last five starts, despite facing offensive weaklings like the Royals and the Mariners twice. He hasn't been horribly bad, but hasn't been consistent enough to be labeled anything but mediocre. In four major league seasons now, Baker really hasn't improved at all. What you see is what you get, and I doubt that will ever change. Greg Smith has performed on very much the same level, but this is still his rookie year. I wouldn't comfortably start either of these guys, but at least Smith managed to beat the Mariners. Try him in AL only leagues.

Kevin Millwood TEX @ John Lackey ANA
Wow, a six hit complete game from Kevin Millwood. Well I'm impressed aren't you? (note: Tenacious D-Store is using sarcasm). Personally I'm impressed by the fact that he allowed less than 10 hits in a game for a change. He managed that in only five innings in three straight starts before this one. Don't be fooled by the fact that some fantasy sports sites with writers who are clearly less intelligent than you or I or a retarded guppy for that matter, are listing Millwood as hot. The Angels and John Lackey are gonna pound the snot out of him.

Highlight Of The Week

Denard Span (OF) Minnesota Twins
Denard Span is still virtually an unknown name outside of the North Star State. Yet he has been a regular part of the Twins line up, and a differance maker since game one. Span isn't much of a slugger, but he has powered out three long balls. Span has made a bigger impact with his speed, legging out 12 doubles and five triples as well as swiping 11 bases. Even better, is the fact that he has maintained a BA above .300 in just over 200 at bats. Those who found Denard Span in AL only leagues may have found a differance maker down the stretch, but Span is an asset in any league right now, especially roto leagues. It's time more people began paying attention to him.

Field of Streams :: 8/17
by Tenacious D-Store
Published: August 18, 2008, 8:00 pm

Welcome back for another edition of Tenacious D-Store's Field Of Streams. Each week, I will focus on some of the better pickups who should be available in the majority of leagues for each day of the week as well as some that should be avoided. Since some people also choose to stream an outfield or utility spot with a hot bat each week, I will also include a weekly highlight on a hitter who may fly under your radar. Let's get started.

NOTE: All starts are probable. I can not be held responsible for last minute managerial decisions, injuries, rain-outs, alien abductions, arrests etc.

Monday August 18, 2008

John Maine NYM @ Paul Maholm PIT
John Maine's ownership plummeted to 67% during his DL stint, nearly 30% lower than it had been previously. In his first start back he collected his tenth win of the season in a strong outing against the Nationals. I know, I know, it's the Nationals. Well this week he gets the Pirates so things aren't going to get an more difficult for him. Paul Malholm has been pitching well enough to deserve a recommendation this week too. Especially after striking out 10 Phillies in seven shutout innings. Given his career 3-1 record and 2.16 ERA against the Mets it would appear that you could certainly do worse. Those who forgot about John Maine as he sat in their leagues free agent pool, are likely looking for him right about now. So if you can't find Maine, don't hesitate to settle for Maholm. Just don't expect a win from him. As I've said in the past, there is such a thing as a quality loss.

Barry Zito SF @ Jorge Campillo ATL
When you pitch for a team like the San Fransisco Giants it's easy to blame a lack of wins on a lack of run support. However, when you've racked up 14 losses in 23 starts as Barry Zito has, you know there has to be more to the story. Zito has more losses than any other pitcher in the MLB this season. Johnathan Sanchez has the second most loses for the Giants with nine. Zito was never a great pitcher at any point of his career and now he's not half as good as he used to be. Barry Zito currently isn't even worthy of NL only ownership. Jorge Campillo has last four decisions while averaging five or six K's per start. This will be his first career outing against the Giants, but as of late Campillo has been the Braves most consistent pitcher (which really isn't saying much). This should be no contest for him.

Justin Duchscherer OAK @ Nick Blackburn MIN
Justin Duchscherer has been flat out horrible lately after one of the most surprising first halves of the season where he had the lowest ERA of any MLB starter. The converted middle reliever has already surpassed his innings pitched record for any previous season, and one has to wonder if he has simply run out of gas. I have already begun to drop Duchscherer from some of my shallower leagues and cannot possibly recommend him while his in his current slump. Duchscherer, has also never beaten the Twins. Despite an ugly outing against the Yankees recently, Nick Blackburn has posted decent stats this season. His stuff isn't overly impressive but he gets the job done and is a considerable low end starter for fantasy teams. Blackburn gets the nod this week against the offensively challenged A's and the struggling Duchscherer.

Jarrod Washburn / Mariners Scrub SEA @ Mark Buehrle CHW
By the time this weeks edition of Field Of Streams is published, Jarrod Washburn may be wearing a Cardinals uniform. I doubt it though. Most of the waiver deals seem to head South before they ever truly get off the ground. I wasn't going to recommend him anyway, and if the deal does go down I probably won't recommend the scrub who gets his job either. Mark Buehrle is shaping up to have a suburb second half. A side from ugly back to back loses three weeks ago, Buehrle has been on a roll and has allowed only one run in his last 14 innings pitched. Buehrle should have superior run support and better pitching stats regardless of who takes the mound for Seattle. Not to mention the fact that he is 6-3 at home with a 2.97 ERA, and with the way Buehrle is pitching he is still available in far too many leagues. Go do something about that.

Tuesday August 19, 2008

Phil Hughes NYY @ David Purcey TOR
I took some heat for referring to Phil Hughes as a bust earlier this season. He has yet to even come close to proving otherwise. His minor league numbers are of little interest to me. If he can't bring it to the show, then it's irrelevant. David Purcey pitched six outstanding innings against the Tigers in his last start, but with such an inexperienced young pitcher and the Jays sketchy offense, it's difficult to use Purcey as a spot start. Go for it in AL only, deeper leagues or any league you want to gamble in. I'll give him the green light over Hughes, but it's not someone I'd be jumping to pick up for my leagues.

Luke Hochevar KC @ Anthony Reyes CLE
Luke Hochevar actually pitched quite well in his last start against the White Sox, but there was just no way he could match Mark Buehrle's seven shutouts innings. The fact that Hochevar wasn't absolutely horrible was rather out of character for him. Ethough the Royals looked like they were going to make something happen early in the season, it's back to the same old same old in Kansas City. You can't rely on Hochevar even in an AL only league. Anthony Reyes has been a rather pleasant surprise since his recent call up by the Indians. Reyes has provided six solid innings in both of his major league starts, beating the Blue Jays and being robbed of a victory against the O's. He's also allowed only a combined three runs. The Tribe may not be a very exciting team this season, but they can handle the Royals. I want to see more K's from Reyes, but he's not a bad spot starter in this match up.

Ricky Nolasco FLA @ Kevin Correia SF
I want so much to recommend Kevin Correia after two solid performances in a row, but the last time he faced the Marlins it was a horror show. Ricky Nolasco has been the victim of some tough undeserved losses and no decisions where he pitched well enough to win. However, his last two starts left a lot to be desired. He allowed a lot of hits, but kept the runners in check and hasn't allowed more than three runs in his last four starts. Stick with Nolasco in his very first appearance against the Giants.

Jeff Francis COL @ Brad Penny LA (Chan Ho Park or Hong-Chih Kuo)
Damn, all that rest and Jeff Francis got worse! Francis isn't even getting close to cutting the mustard in any fantasy league of 12 or less teams. Perhaps he's worth stashing on the bench, but for crying out loud don't even think about activating him until he pitches like the ace of the Rockies once again. As I write this, Brad Penny has actually been placed on the 15 day DL. He's been pitching like crap anyway and I'd be more willing to recommend Chan Ho Park or Hong-Chih Kuo, so keep an eye on the situation, and go with either of the later two if there are in fact given the start, don't expect more than five innings though.

Wednesday August 20, 2008
Wandy Rodriguez HOU @ Manny Parra MIL
Wandy Rodriguez finished his last night on the mound after only two innings. It probably wasn't even the three hits and four earned runs that sent manager Cecil Cooper out to the mound, but those six walks he gave up and the fact that it took him 77 pitches to get seven outs. Manny Parra is winless in his last five starts losing his last four decisions. A side from some pretty strike out numbers, he has been a mess this month with an ERA of about 6.00. Neither Rodriguez or Parra have fared well in the past against these opposing teams, and with their struggles at the moment I would suggest you pass on them both. You can find some strike outs elsewhere.

Jason T. Davis PIT @ Todd Wellemeyer STL
For someone who only started five games last year for AAA-Tacoma and hasn't started since, Jason Davis's endurance level was completely unexpected. In his two major league starts he gave six solid shutout innings before getting the ol' pat on the back and an escort back to the dugout. He could be seen saying "I can keep going" to manager John Russell before relenting and calling it a night. Five days later he was back to go seven innings against the Mets only giving up a pair of earned runs, which unfortunately is usually enough to beat the Pirates. Davis doesn't strike many out, and I'm not going to recommend him here, but he might be worth watching in NL only leagues. Todd Wellemeyer saw the seventh inning for the first time in longer than I can remember last week. He also hasn't sucked in his last two starts. We aren't quite seeing the strike out numbers he provided during his hot streak earlier this season, but the Cubs and Marlins are a much bigger handful than the Pirates and he held is own just fine, so feel secure in spot starting Wellemeyer once again.

Jair Jurrjens ATL @ Mike Pelfrey NYM
When comparing Jair Jurrjens and Mike Pelfrey over there last three starts, many might decide to go with Pelfrey since he has won two of those starts while Jurrjens has learned that the Giants have his number and only managed a win over the D-Backs. However, despite the fact that the Giants knocked him around like a pinata in both starts, Jurrjens has still bested Pelfrey in every category other than wins and he has done so all season. Jurrjens also has yet to be beaten by the Mets winning both previous starts with a combined ERA of 2.77. Pelfrey on the other hand has a 1-3 record and 6.85 ERA in five career starts against the Braves. The choice is clear.

Collin Balester WAS @ Brett Myers PHI
Brett Myers? Is that really you? Do you think that after what you did to everyone who drafted you this season, that you can pitch four great games in a row and just stroll back in to our lives like nothing ever happened? You told us you could change and went down to AAA to work on bettering yourself and instead in your first minor league start you walked five batters in the first inning alone, it was all lies Brett and we can't trust you anymore. How do you allow nine runs on six hits and expect us to forget that? You've fooled us in to believing things were going to be different before Brett, once you struck out 11 Giants in seven innings, only to literally get booed off the field in your next start against the Braves. That's right Brett, we all remember, and we're still hurting. It's never going to be like it was two years ago, we're different people now. No more deception, no more manipulation, we are stronger without you, and we've moved on. But, what the Hell. How about one more romp before we say goodbye since it's against the Nats. After this, we're through forever though.

Thursday August 21, 2008

Mike Hampton ATL @ Pedro Martinez NYM
Mike Hampton partially proved me wrong. He made it to the mound and actually pitched. However, he pitched like crap so I got that part right. Hampton did manage to somehow collect two wins against the Giants despite his poor performances. His season ERA is now up to a plump 6.92 and we all know his days on the mound are limited. Pedro Martinez went seven innings for only the second time in his last 22 starts, shutting down the Pittsburgh Pirates. It's hard to get excited since he faced the Pirates in the previous week and failed to get the job done, and lost to the Padres before that. However, Pedro has allowed only five earned runs in his last five starts, and Mike Hampton and the Braves seem to be as good a time as any to risk starting the spiraling Dominican. Pedro is worthy of the spot start with an easy match up, but is still no where near worthy of full time ownership even in NL only leagues at this time.

Greg Smith OAK @ Ryan Rowland-Smith SEA
Ryan Rowland-Smith is probably going to be one of the better middle relievers in the MLB with more experience, but as a starting pitcher he just doesn't cut it. After he's thrown about 30-40 pitches he seems gassed and was absolutely humiliated by the Twins and Blue Jays which are hardly offensive power houses. Pitching for the lowly Mariners certainly doesn't help his cause and he must be ignored as a spot starter even in AL only leagues. Greg Smith also fails to pitch deep in to games and would probably manage to pick up more wins if he could. The Athletics are also far from contending this season and Greg Smith remains a low end AL only pitcher. His low strike out totals and excessive walks are damaging to any team in the long run but if you are desperate consider using him in this start, he managed to shut out the Mariners through six innings the last time they met.

Tim Redding WAS @ Jamie Moyer PHI
Tim Redding has lost six of his last seven starts and continues to prove that his hot start to the season was merely a fluke. Redding has seen success against the Phillies going 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in three starts against them this season, but some of his early luck is reflected in those numbers. Jamie Moyer has been rather consistent losing only once since June 29th. Not bad for a 45 year old pitcher who is available in about half of ten team leagues. Moyer doesn't really do anything to provide a huge boost for your fantasy team, but he doesn't exactly hurt you in any one category either. Moyer makes a decent spot starter especially given a match up like this.

Josh Johnson FLA @ Matt Palmer SF
What a debut from the rookie Matt Palmer. He allowed seven hits, six earned runs while waking four and not even posting a single strike out earning himself an early third inning exit. Pack your bags kid, you're going back where you came from. I believe it's unlikely that Palmer will make a second start, but then again with the Giants being near the bottom of the totem pole in the NL West, they may not see the harm in giving him another shot. However, you should not even remotely consider it. Regardless of how deep your league is ignore Palmer, even his minor league numbers are disgusting. You didn't see nerves, you saw what truly is a horrible pitcher. Josh Johnson hasn't lost in seven starts so far this season but wasn't winning games either. He has now won three of his last four (his only three wins in 2008) and appears to have recovered from his Tommy John surgery. He looked outstanding against the Cubs fanning eight batters in six innings which oddly enough was the start he failed to win during his recent run. Regardless of whether Palmer starts for the Giants or some other scrub they dig up, Johnson is hot and a great option on Thursday.

Friday August 22, 2008

Paul Byrd BOS @ Shaun Marcum TOR
It's amazing what a little offense can do as Paul Byrd has now won four of his last five starts, but don't kid yourself. Byrd has simply gone from being a bad pitcher on a bad team, to being a bad pitcher on a good team. Oddly enough with his recent change in teams he will now face the Toronto Blue Jays for the third straight time in a row. Which really just means that the Jays should be even more tuned in to his stuff. Byrd may have a 1.98 ERA in his last five starts but that is not much of a reflection on what we have seen through this season and his career. I predict that Byrd implodes early and that the Jays put an end to his night in dramatic fashion within the first four innings. Shaun Marcum is 3-1 in nine starts with an ERA of exactly 3.00 against the Red Sox in his career and would have about seven wins if the Jays could ever string together some runs. Again I believe the Jays have seen enough of Byrd lately to have his number. I expect a quick offensive burst early in the game to give Marcum a nice cushion on his way to his fourth victory against the Sox.

Clayton Kershaw LA @ Kyle Kendrick PHI
Following a rough go after his call up Clayton Kershaw is finally looking like the highly anticipated prospect we expected. A boost in offense from the newly acquired Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake isn't hurting his cause either. The run support is still somewhat laking and his win/loss record is disappointing, but everything else is there right now including the strike outs and Kershaw could have a very nice second half run. Kyle Kendrick is still struggling failing to get out of the third inning in his last two starts. He falls behind in the count with almost every batter then tries to compensate with an placate fastball down the middle. Even with the ample run support he has received from the Phillies lately, Kendrick is still unable to capitalize. 2007 was fun to watch, but it was merely the luck of a pitcher with a sloppy delivery who was difficult to read. Kendrick will likely have a very short MLB career. He just stinks.

Edwin Jackson TB @ John Danks CHW
Edwin Jackson and John Danks have posted very similar numbers and results in their last three outings. Both have also had a very similar up and down roller coaster season. Danks is by far the better pitcher however, Jackson has won most of his games with tremendous run support and lost three more games than Danks this season due to atrocious pitching more than anything else. If you still find yourself on the fence between these two consider this. Each pitcher has faced the opposing team three times in their career. Edwin Jackson has never beaten the White Sox leaving him with a career 7.71 ERA against them, while John Danks has won every start against the Tampa Bay Rays with an average ERA of 2.50.

Fausto Carmona CLE @ Matt Harrison TEX
What the heck has gotten in to Matt Harrison? This after my recent rant about the pathetic Rangers rotation. Well don't get overly excited, it's still the worst rotation in the American league and Harrison's recent success is just smoke and mirrors. Although Harrison has posted victories in his last three starts, he barely beat the Yankees, still allowed 10 hits and six runs against Baltimore, and that wasn't the real Tampa Bay Rays he dominated last weekend. They had given all their studs the night off. Congratulations, on shutting out a line up consisting of Justin Ruggiano and Gabe Gross. Before this streak Harrison was dragging around a hefty 5.57 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. I was never to keen on Fausto Carmona last season, as I believed he was a mediocre, low strike out pitcher, riding out a relatively hot team. Well now the Indians aren't so hot and Carmona has contributed a 10.42 ERA in his four starts since returning from the DL. When I think of Fausto Carmona I am reminded of Gustavo Chacin. Another lack luster, low strike out pitcher who never quite recovered from his injury, only to be released and eventually disappear to a place where everyone soon forgets you existed (admit it you all forgot all about Chacin). Carmona is traveling down that same road. I can't recommend either one of these guys.

Saturday August 23, 2008

Odalis Perez WAS @ Ryan Dempster CHC
Odalis Perez is pitching much better than what we have come to expect from him losing only once in his last five starts. I have some reservations about how effective Ryan Dempster will be in the second half. Even more so I have some concerns about the mystery "personal matter" that has kept him away from his team for the past week and how it may affect his concentration on the mound. Dempster is more than likely not available in your league so really we are discussing whether or not Odalis Perez makes a fathomable spot starter in this match up, and I'm going to say yes. Perez has been very focused as of late which is not something we can say about Dempster. Perez also has a life time 3-1 record and 3.44 ERA against the Cubs. Don't expect a spectacular start or a ton of strike outs, but don't be surprised to see the Nats upset the Cubs here.

Jorge Campillo ATL @ Joel Pineiro STL
Regardless of Jorge Campillo's recent sucess and the fact that I have recommended him over the Giants and Barry Zito (really, who wouldn't I have recommended in that scenario) he is still sporting an ERA of 4.91 in his last three starts despite picking up a pair of wins. Joel Pineiro has performed better winning all three of his starts with a more reasonable combined ERA of 3.60. Neither is a great pitcher, but the Braves are a horrible team this season and it is unlikely that they will see much sucess against the Cardinals. Pineiro should provide more innings and less free passes to first than Campillo who may strike out more batters, but will probably not win this game. Take a shot on Pineiro for this one if you have few other options.

Jeff Karstens PIT @ Jeff Suppan MIL
With all the hype around Jeff Karstens right now it is easy to see this as a no brainer, but don't be too hasty. Yes, Karstens has been lights out since being dealt to the Pirates winning his first two starts with out allowing a single run, and allowing three runs in a great effort against the Reds. However, he is still a part of the rotation of a horrible team, and one that is currently mired in a four game losing streak. The Brewers on the other hand have been playing very well this season and remain on of the hottest teams in the MLB. Jeff Suppan, while not usually being worthy of consideration is riding a three game winning streak with an 2.05 ERA to go along with it. It's great to see Karstens enjoying sucess, and he may very will be the only Pirates pitcher worth starting at all, but not here. Neither one of these pitchers are capable of big strike out numbers so you might as well go with the one who is going to get the win, especially considering his recent hot streak.

Phil Hughes NYY @ Garrett Olson BAL
Let's cut to the chase, you've all heard my opinions on Phil Hughes and nothing has changed. However, even if you agree with me don't be so quick to jump on Garrett Olsen. Olsen was looking great there for awhile, but he has struggled in a big way as of late allowing 28 runs in his last 16 innings pitched over three starts. The Yankees may not be the Evil Empire any longer, but compared to the O's they will be a force to be reckoned with, and Olsen has been knocked around by the Yankees in the past. Pass on Olsen too until he gets his act together again.

Sunday August 24, 2008

Darrell Rasner NYY @ Jeremy Guthrie BAL
So we go from one bad Yankees pitcher to one that might even be worse if that's possible. How is Rasner still even in the rotation? A side from an ugly win against the Blue Jays, Rasner hasn't won since May 21st against the Orioles. He offers absolutely nothing in even the deepest of fantasy leagues, especially considering he has walked more batters than he has struck out in his last four starts. However, unlike Garrett Olsen, Jeremy Guthrie continues to be the unexpected Ace of the O's rotation. He is simply unstoppable as he unceasingly mows down batter after batter and rakes in wins. He is now 6-1 in his last eight starts and it is difficult to imagine what kind of numbers he would be capable of posting if he pitched for a contending team. Guthrie should not be available in any league, but he is out there in many of them, either simply for being an Oriole or because people just aren't paying attention. Go take a look, and if you are lucky enough to find him, do what you have to do to make a permanent roster spot for him.

Randy Wolf HOU @ Oliver Perez NYM
Randy Wolf may appear to be a better pitcher with the Houston Astros than he was with the Padres, but really he looks about the same out there. He just gets run support now which is enough to boost his fantasy value. With is career 11-5 record and 3.25 ERA against the Mets, it's reasonable to expect the same sort of success since most of those starts occurred when he was in Phillie. I say the same thing every week. Oliver Perez should never be relied on outside of desperation. He is just far too inconsistent, and every time he appears to be on a hot streak and safe to start, that's when he gets you. Give Randy Wolf a shot, he's even been posting some nice strike out numbers as of late.

Kenny Rogers DET @ Luke Hochevar KC
Both Kenny Rogers and Luke Hochevar have lost their last four decisions in a big way. Even with the Detroit Tigers huge offense Kenny Rogers still can't manage to get the job done as his ERA continues to soar. You may be thinking, surely The Gambler can get one past the lowly Royals. Think about how long it's been since the Royals were any good. In 20 years on an major league mound, Kenny Rogers has a pathetic record of 21-18 against them in 58 carrer starts. There are no usable options here. Move along.

Josh Banks SD @ Kevin Correia SF
Well it would appear I get to recommend Kevin Correia after all. Reasons for ignoring Josh Banks should be painfully obvious. Although Correia has only one win in his last four starts he has actually pitched very well. However, being a Giants pitcher doesn't appear to be much fun. I don't claim that Correia is a good pitcher, but he has shown vast improvement in August and may be worthy of NL only ownership if the trend continues. Even now I recommend him only in the deepest of fantasy leagues, but against Banks and the Padres he should coast to victory.

Highlight Of The Week

Matt LaPorta, OF Cleveland Indians
Matt LaPorta came over to the Cleveland Indians as part of the C.C. Sabathia deal, immediatly becoming the Tribes top prospect. LaPorta is currently in Beijing, as a part of Team USA's Olympic team and was recently a huge factor in their 7-0 victory over the Netherlands on Thursday. Since the Indians are currently relying on Shin-Soo Choo, and I might be the only one who recognizes Choo's value as a young Lyle Overbay type hitter and a doubles machine, I wouldn't be surprised if the Tribe allowed him to forgo the minor leagues all together and stake his claim in right field by September. It's not so far fetched, John Olerud, Al Kaline and Dave Winfield just to name a few all skipped the minor leagues and went on to have great MLB careers. LaPorta may have more potential and baseball ability than any of them. Young prospects like this are easily over-hyped leaving some of us disappointed when they don't immediatly produce huge numbers once called up. However, if there is anyone capable of making a huge impact at such a young age with so little professional experience, it would be Laporta. He is one of few two time Southeastern Conference Players of the Year, a two time Southern League Player of the Week, and on his way to being the USA Olympic teams MVP. LaPorta is a huge power threat, with great agility. Keep an eye on the situation and be ready to pounce at the first suggestion that he may be called up. He is also a must own in all long term leagues.

Field of Streams :: 8/03/08
by Tenacious D-Store
Published: August 3, 2008, 9:09 pm

Welcome back for another edition of Tenacious D-Store's Field Of Streams. Each week, I will focus on some of the better pickups who should be available in the majority of leagues for each day of the week as well as some that should be avoided. Since some people also choose to stream an outfield or utility spot with a hot bat each week, I will also include a weekly highlight on a hitter who may fly under your radar. Let's get started.

NOTE: All starts are probable. I can not be held responsible for last minute managerial decisions, injuries, rain-outs, alien abductions, arrests etc.

Monday August 4, 2008

Manny Parra MIL @ Bronson Arroyo CIN
Manny Parra suffered his first loss since May 3rd, and ironically enough it came at the hands of the same opposing team, The Houston Astros. As I begin my work on this weeks column. Parra's start against the Cubs and Ryan Dempster is just getting under way. Expect similar performances from both pitchers and don't be turned off from Parra if he suffers another loss. The Reds and Bronson Arroyo are as good an opportunity as any for the hard throwing Parra. It's easy to think Bronson Arroyo is worth a shot as he is coming of a recent six game winning streak. However, upon closer examination you may change your opinion as those were starts that required almost no effort from Arroyo himself. The Indians and Aaron Laffey on June 29th. The Indians were struggling and Laffey was already close to wearing out his welcome in the rotation. Laffey allowed five runs in the fifth inning alone and the Indians bullpen allowed four more. Reds win. July 4th against the Nationals and Jason Bergmann, Arroyo pitches six shutout innings against the worst team in the MLB with four of their top players injured and out of the line up. Who cares? July 10th, Arroyo allows seven hits and five earned runs in five innings against the Cubs. However, Ted Lilly manages to do that in 2.2 innings ending his night. The Cubs bull pen would allow eight more runs to score. The game ends with a ridiculous 12-7 score and Arroyo picks up a win despite being horrendous. On July 18th Arroyo manages to beat the Mets again while opposing pitcher John Maine is mired in a horrible cold streak. Arroyo actually pitches eight solid innings and we'll leave him alone for this start. Last but not least, the Padres on July 23rd. Arroyo would not have gotten this win if not for the fact that he pitched just deep enough in the game to take advantage of Padres relief Pitcher Joe Thatcher, who loaded the bases then served up a cream puff to Adam Dunn permitting him to unload them. So out of a six win streak, we have one game that Arroyo didn't look like crap out there. If you aren't convinced yet, then you go ahead and start Arroyo. Myself and the rest of the fantasy baseball world will go with Manny Parra.

Clay Buchholz BOS @ Gil Meche KC
Clay Bucholz has returned to the Red Sox line up and looks even worse then he did when he left, going winless in all four starts and picking up a loss in three of them. In the 15 innings he has pitched since his return he has allowed 21 hits, 12 earned runs and 12 walks. Absolutely unacceptable for the rotation of what is arguably the best team in the American League. It won't be much longer before he finds himself back with AAA Pawtucket. Gil Meche on the other hand is 6-1 in his last 10 starts and has claimed impressive wins in his last three. The Royals may not even be close to contending this season but if they had five Gil Meche's in the rotation it would be a much different story. Buchhloz isn't even in the same league as Meche, and despite the offensive differences between these teams Meche is pretty much a no-brainer. As a side note Meche has done quite well against the Red Sox in the past, sporting a 4-2 record and 3.69 ERA against them in his career.

Tim Redding WAS @ Aaron Cook COL
Finally, we get another solid start from Tim Redding, but I say too little too late. Redding came out like gang busters at the bigging of the season, blowing a nasty fastball past just about anyone who stepped up to the plate. However, it only lasted about a month, and that heater began to cool off. Maybe fatigue set in or maybe it was just the reality that he has never been a particularly good pitcher. It's going to take a lot more than a complete game shut out against the San Fransisco Giants before I recommend him again. And almost like clockwork I just checked the score of his current outing against the Phillies to see that they just sent him packing after four innings and seven earned runs. Aaron Cook continues to pitch like the Ace of the Colorado Rockies in place of Jeff Francis who simply wasn't cutting it even before the injury. Cook is a must start in any league but remains available in about 10% of ten team leagues. Go take a look.

Jair Jurrjens ATL @ Matt Cain SF
Both Jair Jurrjens and Matt Cain have been excellent in their last three starts, Cain has managed to post the better ERA in that period but lost two of three games for no other reason than he pitches for the Giants. Jurrjens also picked up a tough loss because as of right now, the Braves are looking just as bad as the Giants. These guys are both great pitchers, on bad teams so you have to assume that the result will be a low scoring game. Start whichever you can find find, and don't be afraid to start them both as they go toe to toe. Both are capable of posting solid strike out numbers as well as low ERA and WHIP for this match up.

Tuesday August 5, 2008

Dave Bush MIL @ Edinson Volquez CIN
Welcome to Bizarro World, where David Bush is a better pitcher than Edinson Volquez. Then again, as of late even George W. Bush would be a better option than Edinson Volquez. Volquez is coming off a four inning start where he throw an astonishing 99 pitches (remember this is in four innings) and only 59 of those pitches were strikes. It's just more of the same over and over again. Volquez has an impressive 2.77 season ERA but pitches wildly, and throws ridiculous amounts of pitches per inning. That is a sign of needing some more work in AAA. Volquez has all the potential in the world to become the next inning eating strike out king, but with out proper guidance he will become Homer Bailey the second. I can't recommend a pitcher who is usually as hittable as David Bush is in a small ballpark with guys like Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey being knocking the cover off the ball. Despite Volquez's issues he is still the better pitcher, but he won't win when he can't get out of the fourth before he is exhausted. He needs to get his act together and is a reluctant recommendation.

Fausto Carmona CLE @ Edwin Jackson TB
Upon breaking news that Fausto Carmona would be rejoining the Tribes rotation after a lengthy DL stint, his ownership shoots up be about 50%. In his first outing back he pitches like crap and his ownership drops almost 30%. That makes me laugh. Is he not permitted to be rusty after having three months off? Carmona is over-hyped after his 2007 season anyway. He has walked almost twice as many batters as he has struck out this season which is reason enough to stay away. The Indians dismal showing this season certainly won't help his cause either. So we have a pitcher who won't give you K's, walks far too many batters, and is on a team that probably won't win even if he pitches well. That 30% who dropped him were clearly asking themselves just what the hell they were thinking in the first place. Carmona is for AL only leagues. Edwin Jackson's strike out to walk ration is just as bad, and his endurance stinks. Jackson has benefited from hot Tampa bats and nothing more. Will someone throw this moron in the bullpen and call up David price already. Edwin Jackson is for NO leagues.

Sean Gallagher OAK @ Scott Richmond TOR
I'll make this one short and sweet. I live near Toronto and I'm a big Jays fan. I don't know who the hell Scott Richmond is. So much for the Jays having the best rotation in the MLB as was the consensus at the start of the season. Sean Gallagher has pitched better for the A's so far than he ever did with Cubs. He's been a big two start add for my teams in leagues with weekly line ups this week. This should be a great opportunity for him to shine.

Chad Billingsley LA @ Chris Carpenter STL
Chad Billingsley is a no brainer at this point. I went on in length during my pre-season column about how phenomenal this strike out specialist would be this season. Some of you agreed and the rest of you were wrong and should have known better than to doubt me. I made no comments as to Chris Carpenter's return in last weeks column, mostly because I wanted to wait and see. Six innings was more than I expected. However, there is no need to get excited over what was still a relatively short outing against a team that not even a contender. Tommy John surgery usually takes about two years to recover from, and no one has ever... EVER returned from it mid season and performed even moderately well. For crying out loud, quit banking on the names of broken down has-beens and focus on some of the young talent out there blowing away batters and being ignored just because their names aren't in the record books. I guarantee Carpenter will not be in the rotation by September.

Wednesday August 6, 2008

Jeff Suppan MIL @ Aaron Harang CIN
With the Brewers mired in a six game losing streak to date, Jeff Suppan has had his own troubles. In his last three starts, Suppan has an earned run average of almost 10.00. July has not been kind to Suppan but it's not like he's ever been a pitcher to garner any consideration in most fantasy leagues anyway. He certainly shouldn't be considered when he visits the hitter friendly Great Canadian Ball Park. Aaron Harang is expected to return from the 15 day DL on Wednesday. Since I don't believe he ever really had a forearm injury in the first place, I don't expect it to have much of an impact in his return to the mound. I believe Harang was just given time of to work on the things that haven't been working, and the DL was just to spare him the embarrassment. Always insist on seeing something before you buy in to it. I'll say it again, when Harang does something notable, I will consider recommending him. Until then I will continue to insist he is NL only waiver trash.

Brandon Backe HOU @ Jason Marquis CHC
Although there are pitchers with far worse numbers, I have always believed that Jason Marquis is among the worst pitchers in the MLB. The double digit season wins he posted with the Cardinals were more of a result of an incredible offense than skilled pitching. Marquis is now winless in his last five starts and has allowed five or more runs in three of them. I cannot fathom any situation where I would recommend spot starting Marquis. I really enjoyed watching Brandon Backe as a middle reliever, but his inability to pitch deep in to games is proof that he still belongs in the bull pen and not the rotation. However, he is pitching well even if he rarely makes it past the fifth, and his strike outs are an asset to owners in NL only or deeper leagues. This isn't a bad situation to give Backe a shot especial since he has only a 2.84 ERA in his last three starts, even though he allowed four runs against the Cubs in a recent loss.

Anibal Sanchez FLA @ Kyle Kendrick PHI
Anibal Sanchez is back from the 60 day DL and will be making his first start in the band box Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Sanchez is a huge sleeper in the final months of the season and showed little rust going 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in five rehab starts. Sanchez has loads of potential after his 2006 season where he went 10-3 with 2.83 ERA and a complete game no hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Normally I would insist that you use patience before starting him to see of he performs, but since Sanchez did so well in his rehabs starts and faces Kyle Kendrick, I say go for it.

Tim Wakefield BOS @ Luke Hochevar KC
Tim Wakefield is coming of a nightmare outing and possibly his worst start of the season against the Yankees. The Yankees have always had Wakefield's number and it really came as no surprise. Wakefield has fared much better against the Royals in his career, which should also come as little surprise. After all we're talking about the Royals. You can never expect too much from the knuckle baller, but when the match up is right he can provide seven or eight good innings and a handful of strike outs. This is one of those match ups. Luke Hochevar is an average pitcher on a horrible team, that combination is enough to make him a horrible pitcher by fantasy standards. Ignore Hochevar, and give Wakefield the green light in this one.

Thursday August 7th, 2008

Clayton Kershaw LA @ Kyle Lohse STL
Clayton Kershaw is coming of his first major league win and already his ownership is on the rise. Let's get real here, first of all it was a win against the Nationals. Secondly, his start previous to that was a four inning horror show where he allowed ten hits, five runs and three walks against the Rockies. Kershaw simply does not have the star potential he was projected to have. Things got a little rocky for Kyle Lohse against the Mets, but Lohse has been pitching like a man possessed, and he very well could be because I don't ever remember seeing Lohse pitch like he has this season. Why is he still available in so many leagues? Go take a look, and if your are lucky enough to find him, don't even thinking about tossing him back. He's not a condom, he's safe to use more than once.

Dana Eveland OAK @ A.J. Burnett TOR
I have been extremely high on Dana Eveland since the moment I heard he'd be joining the A's rotation. In fact I think I have recommended him every week that he has been featured. However, not this time. Even with the Jays being as putrid a team as they are, A.J. Burnett is pitching like the Cy Young winner he will unfortunately never be. He is on fire and posting insane strike out numbers. Eveland has lost two of his last three starts and has won only two of his last seven. Oakland isn't much better than the Jays offensively, so let Eveland sit this one out.

Jason Bergmann WAS @ Valerio De Los Santos COL
Why am I recommending Valerio De Los Santos? Because, Jason Bergmann posted an ERA of 12.27 the last time he faced the Rockies and there isn't much else to talk about with a typically reduced MLB Thursday schedule. It might be worth a shot in deeper leagues if De Los Santos drinks some Red Bull or something. He's not a starter, and there just isn't enough gas in the tank for him to throw more than maybe 70 pitches max.

Zach Miner DET @ Javier Vazquez CHW
Zach Miner certainly has gotten my attention since I tend to play in a lot of deeper leagues. I'm not getting overly excited yet but I will say that I am partially responsible for his sudden 3% increase in ownership since his call up. Miner beat the Royals in six shut out innings in his first start. Then performed admirably shuting down the White Sox and displaying some great strike out potential. If he did it once, he can do it again. Javier Vazquez has been allowing so many hits that he might as well just set up a tee for the hitters and go for lunch. He's been horribly inconsistent, or consistently horrible depending on whether you are a glass is half empty or half full type of guy. Give Miner a shot, he has already been pitching better than Vazquez and Detroit should out play the White Sox even on their worst day.

Friday August 8,2008

Dallas Braden OAK @ Kenny Rogers DET
Dallas Braden was called upon in lieu of Gio Gonzalez due to the fact that he was dominating batters in AAA. Braden knows he isn't supposed to be there and it wasn't his time, he must continue to perform the same way at the major league level or Gonzalez will be taking over that #5 rotation spot after all. However, Braden seems to work just as well under pressure. He allowed only a single run through five innings against one of the hottest teams in baseball the Tampa Bay Rays, and actually pitched well against the Royals over all, despite giving up two run shots to both Jose Guillen and Alex Gordon. He did strike out seven in only 6.2 innings though. Kenny Rogers has managed to lower his ERA by two points in the past couple of months but I would hardly say that he has been pitching well with the amount of hits he gives up in each start. He also posts very poor strike out numbers. Betting on the Gambler is usually a mistake, even a win could come with a side order of ugly. Stick with Braden.

Luis Mendoza TEX @ Jeremy Guthrie BAL
Eighteen hits and eleven runs in his last nine innings of work, no thank you Luis Mendoza. I don't care how hot the Rangers bats are, I want no part of that. I'd much rather go with Jeremy Guthrie who has posted only a single loss in his last ten starts despite pitching for the Baltimore Orioles. Guthrie is a serviceable back end starter for most mixed leagues and quite possibly a future stud for keeper and dynasty leagues. As most young pitcher do, he has struggled at times with consistency, so you don't necessarily want to start him in every situation. However, Mendoza is bad enough that I will still give Guthrie the nod even against the Rangers.

Jorge Campillo ATL @ Doug Davis ARI
Jorge Campillo is now 2-0 in his last three start (discounting a second inning rain out on July 27th) with a 1.15 ERA. Campillo has also never been one to give out many free passes to first, keeping his season WHIP at a very respectable 1.06. That's fairly impressive considering how disappointing the Braves have been this season. In fact you almost have to place most of the blame with the Braves for his lack luster season since Campillo's season ERA is only 2.76. Campillo routinely pitches in to the seventh inning, yet the Braves just can't do enough to allow him to collect as many wins as he deserves. The Diamondback's aren't performing much better this season and regardless of Doug Davis brilliant outing against the Padres he still isn't a good fantasy pitcher. Campillo remains a decent roto option since wins are only one category, but he is of little use to anyone in point based leagues.

Hiroki Kuroda LA @ Barry Zito SF
I warned you last week that bad is not always better than worse. However, Hiroki Kuroda does have the odd brilliant start, and now he has the bat of Mad Manny Ramirez in the line up to help him out. I have to admit that Manny is the sole reason behind suggesting Kuroda in this high risk start. The Dodgers were very close to running away with their division, and then just fell apart or stopped trying or something. Perhaps the addition of Manny's much needed big bat will provide the Dodgers with the enthusiasm they seem to be lacking.

Saturday August 9, 2008

Francisco Liriano MIN @ Zack Greinke KC
I really wanted to wait until after Francisco Liriano's August 3rd start in Cleveland before reviewing this match up, but I do have a deadline to meet so that is a luxury I will have to do without. Since he is facing Matt Ginter I will predict a six inning win with two earned runs and five strike outs. Liriano has been dominating in the minors as he and his fantasy owners have waited impatiently for what we all knew was coming. As I predicted in the All Star break edition, veteran Livan Hernandez was dishonorably discharged from the Twins 40 man roster and released. Since Liriano has been working so hard to get back on track, I don't expect to see any rust. However, if he thinks he can dominate at the major league level as easily as he did in AAA, he is in for a reality check. Liriano will make a few mistakes but should be a great fantasy pitcher from here on out. If you haven't grabbed him yet, you better cross your fingers and get on it. His ownership has already climbed to 85% in 10 team leagues. Zack Greinke had some pretty horrendous outings before bouncing back against the Oakland A's. He had a pretty tough schedule in those starts though. This one likely won't be any easier for him or the Royals, so keep him benched this weekend.

Vicente Padilla TEX @ Daniel Cabrera BAL
In the politically inclined world of Major League baseball, you simply can't attempt to behead the leagues top revenue grossing player with a fastball, and expect to get away with it. Especially, if you yourself are a sub par pitcher who has never lived up to your own potential. Daniel Cabrera, what the hell were you thinking? The fact that 10,000 pissed off Yankees fans didn't rush the field and beat you to death is in and of itself a miracle. The fact that Edwar Ramirez receives a three game suspension for throwing at Kevin Millar, and Cabrera gets six games for doing the same thing except to A-Rod, proves my point. Cabrera is appealing his suspension and therefore should resume his scheduled start against Texas on Saturday. Cabrera has beaten the Rangers only once in his career with a combined 6.33 ERA against them. Cabrera hasn't seen a Rangers lineup like this in his five year career so don't expect those numbers to improve. Vicente Padilla is 5-2 in his last eight starts and is looking like a viable mixed league pitcher. Joba and the Yankees are going to give him some trouble before he gets to this start, but be confident in the Rangers bats and Padilla's hot streak.

Jason M. Johnson LA @ Kevin Correia SF
Jason Johnson isn't anyone I ever thought I'd see in a major league rotation again, especially after opting to play in Japan last season when not a single team would return his agents calls. Johnson is only a stop gag option for the Dodgers. if they don't hold him to much value, there is no reason why you should. He did pitch six solid but unspectacular innings against the Giants in his first start, and did reasonably well in a couple of long relief appearances before that. In a total of 13 innings he has only allowed two earned runs and two walks. However, the Dodgers have little use for another long reliever Chan Ho Park and Hong-Chih Kuo are doing just fine in that role. So you have to wonder where that really leaves Jason Johnson when Brad Penny returns. My guess is back in the free agent pool with nobody returning his calls. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Giants will be better prepared this time around and that Johnson will not have the same success. With 28 hits and 14 earned runs in his last 13 innings over three starts, I'm not about to recommend Kevin Correia either.

Matt Garza TB @ Miguel Batista SEA
Matt Garza is hot again, and Miguel Batista never was. There is very little need for further explanation here.

Sunday August 10, 2008

Sean Gallagher OAK @ Nate Robertson DET
Sean Gallagher looked amazing in his first start with the A's laying a path of destruction through the MLB leading Angels line up. His ownership shot up by 25% as owners eagerly awaited a repeat performance. He pitched well against the Yankees for the no decision while striking out seven batters in five innings. We all know you can't win them all, and with another solid outing his ownership climbed a little higher. Then things got ugly against the Rangers and the Royals, as he posted two more, far less impressive no decisions. Gallagher has yet to lose with the Athletics and the strike out numbers are great, but you have to wonder how consistent he will be throughout the season, and he will ever be able to pitch deep in to games on a regular basis. My opinions on Nate Robertson should be common knowledge by now, so I'll go with Gallagher one more time. I've added him to all all my AL only leagues.

Wandy Rodriguez HOU @ Edinson Volquez CIN
It has finally happened. Wandy Rodriguez has actually posted back to back away game wins. I'm a little concerned that the Nationals actually provided him with more problems than the Brewers, but lets not split hairs. In between he held his own at home against the Cubs for another win, but took a beating back on the road against the Reds not even getting past the fourth inning. Wandy's biggest problem is that he allows too many hits. Whether or not he manages to keep them from scoring is usually a matter of luck, and he's been lucky lately. I am a big Wandy Rodriguez fan, and I have patiently waited for him to pull it together. I'm just not seeing any real progression. A stud pitcher does not allow eight or nine hits in six inning on a consistent basis. The strike outs are nice, but I am beginning to think Wandy is a career #4 pitcher at best. Edinson Volquez pitched beautifully in Houston, and will now try to duplicate his success against the Astro's on his own turf. Volquez appears to be back on track after a mid-season stumble, and based on what the Reds did to Wandy Rodriguez last week at home, and given his record in away games, my money is on Volquez here.

Matt Harrison TEX @ Dennis Sarfate BAL
I am confused and disappointed as to why the Texas Rangers made no attempt to procure a veteran starting pitcher before the trade deadline. In not doing so they have essentially thrown away any chance of contending for a playoff spots this season. What was arguably the worst starting rotation in all of baseball at the beginning of the season, is looking even more grim now in the second half. Despite a potent offense I find myself unable to recommend any of these young low end prospects even against a team like the Orioles. Neither Matt Harrison nor Dennis Sarfate appear to have any place in a major league rotation at this time, Therefore, both should be ignored.

Chris R. Young SD @ Jeff Francis COL
Chris Young and Jeff Francis are both returning from the DL and have had a rather disappointing season thus far in 2008. Young, however showed no lasting effects after virtually having his face crushed by a line drive, and as far as pitching stats alone, probably has the greater chance of rebounding regardless of a less effective offense. Nothing has gone right for Francis this season who doesn't have a particularly favorable record against the Padres anyway, going 5-10 with a 5.42 ERA against them throughout his career. Fantasy owners have been quicker to pick up Jeff Francis, but I believe they have made the wrong choice. Go with Chris Young here, and hang on to him for his next few starts and see how he performs.

Highlight Of The Week

Jeff Baker - Colorado Rockies (1B,2B,RF)
With most of the Rockies line up playing extremely well at the moment, it is easy to miss the solid play Jeff Baker has been displaying. He consistently gets on base and has raised his batting average from .267 to .302 in the past week alone. With the ability to play just about any position Baker's position eligibility is an asset in and of itself, especially at second base. He has above average power and a knack for displaying the power swing in key situations, and hitting the line drives when he simply needs to get on base or get a runner in from scoring position. The fact that he doesn't swing for the fences in every at bat is a sign of true maturity as a ball player. Baker has found most of his playing time in a replacement role for injured players. It is inevitable that Baker will end up replacing Clint Barmes on a permanent basis this season. His ownership in fantasy leagues is just about nil, when he is actually worthy of ownership in leagues with as few as 10 teams.

Field of Streams :: 7/28/08
by Tenacious D-Store
Published: July 29, 2008, 5:26 pm

Welcome back for another edition of Tenacious D-Store's Field Of Streams. Each week, I focus on some of the better pickups who should be available in the majority of leagues for each day of the week as well as some that should be avoided. Since some people also choose to stream an outfield or utility spot with a hot bat each week, I will also include a weekly highlight on a hitter who may fly under your radar. Let's get started.

NOTE: All starts are probable. I can not be held responsible for last minute managerial decisions, injuries, rain-outs, alien abductions, arrests etc.

Monday July 28, 2008

Jeremy Guthrie BAL @ Darrell Rasner NYY
Jeremy Guthrie remains virtually the only bright spot in what was formerly the joke of a team in the AL East (a title now held by my Toronto Blue Jays). I'm not exactly sure what happened in Guthrie's last start, or how he managed to pick up the win. After allowing 12 hits in six innings, only a quartet of runners managed to find their way back home. As I mentioned in a recent edition Guthrie was among the AL leaders in quality starts, a category he has now fully claimed as his own. The only reason Guthrie may still be a free agent in your league is because he's an Oriole, if he pitched for any other team he would be far more respected as a fantasy stud (except maybe the Blue Jays). Even Darrell Rasner managed to beat the Jays, but don't get too used to seeing a W next to Rasner' s name. Rasner is fighting to keep his job in the Yankees rotation and losing the battle.

Ubaldo Jimenez COL @ Ian Snell PIT
I had this great idea for a T-Shirt to be sold at PNC Park with the slogan "What's That Snell?" Ian Snell continues to be pathetic and uninteresting so let's talk about Ubaldo Jimenez instead. 2007's second half hero for the Rockies probably should have be included in the All-Star Break edition but I honestly don't know what to make of him at the moment. Jimenez has been horrendous so far this season but does appear to be on the verge of turning his season around, winning three of his last four starts with a 2.70 ERA and putting up some impressive strike out numbers with what seems to be a recently improved fastball. I really do not believe Jimenez will ever develop into a quality starter, but he does have his moments and is worth NL only consideration when the match ups are right. Jimenez being bad, and Snell being worse does not automatically make the bad the good option. Confused? If you are desperate or play in a deeper league I'll give Ubaldo Jimenez the slight edge, but you've been warned.

Braden Looper STL @ Charlie Morton ATL
Braden Looper is simply too untalented to rely on in standard mixed leagues. When he does win, it is usually a matter of run support than quality pitching. Charlie Morton has also proven to be a rather inferior pitcher. Two bad pitchers on strong hitting teams will provide an exciting game for fans who dig the long ball, and a complete disaster for anyone who opts to use either of this pitchers as a spot start.

John Maine NYM @ Anibal Sanchez FLO
John Maine is one of many struggling aces at the moment, and some have already grown impatient, dropping him in shallower leagues. Maine owners need to remain patient that the secondary ace of the the contending Mets team will regain his form and begin to provide a more acceptable number of innings per start. Although there is no shame to be had in making him ride the pine for now, he shouldn't be dropped in any league. Anibal Sanchez is a name we haven't heard in awhile. Fresh off the 60 day DL for a bum shoulder, Sanchez put up a couple of unimpressive rehab starts for Class A Jupiter. It is likely the Marlins are rushing Sanchez simply because they are desperate for starting pitching. Should you pick him up? Absolutely, Sanchez has the potential the give any fantasy team a huge boost down the final stretch. Should you start him right away? Absolutely not. Sanchez also has the potential to revisit the 60 day DL one more time if in fact I am correct about the Marlins pushing him too soon.

Zack Greinke KC @ Dallas Braden OAK
I won't mask my disappointment that Gio Gonzalez lost his spot in the rotation without ever getting to stand on the mound. Why gets Gio's hopes up if they felt more comfortable with Dallas Braden? Gonzalez has been pitching extremely well for AAA Sacramento, but for all we know it was his decision to hold off for a bit. Regardless I am confident we'll see him up at some point this season. For now, Braden is the A's Lefty of choice. Personally I am concerned about his inability to pitch deep in to games during his 14 starts last season. There is also nothing in his pitch repertoire that stands out as being anything but average. It's a confusing decision and probably a short lived one. Don't bother with Braden for now. Zack Greinke may have blown it in his last start against the White Sox, but he's still the best option in Royal Blue. Give him another shot.

Tuesday July 29, 2008

Brett Myers PHI @ Collin Balester WAS
Brett Myers is back in the Phillies rotation and his ownership in fantasy leagues is once again beginning to rise. While his strikeout numbers were impressive in his minor league starts, his 1-3 record was not and the disappointment continued as the Mets got the better of him in his return. It's looking like more of the same old same old from Myers. Although the Nationals may seem like an easy task for the Phillies, I still expect them to be a handful for Myers who still holds this season record for giving up the most home runs despite his time off. I cannot recommend Brett Myers until he manages to string together some quality starts, and I personally do not think he has it in him. Collin Balester should also be avoided, especially after the beating he took from the Astro's recently.

Glendon Rusch COL @ Yoslan Herrera PIT
Glendon Rusch has had a relatively unsuccessful pitching career. After joining the Rockies rotation he provided strong back to back starts scoring victories over the Brewers and Pirates, but then ran in to some trouble against the Dodgers. Rusch kept his focus however, and a strong showing from the Rockies bullpen allowed Rusch to collect his third win in as many starts. I do not believe that Glendon Rusch will remain an effective enough option for standard mixed leagues but has earned the right to a spot start in a rematch against the Pirates. Don't expect Yoslan Herrera to take the mound as scheduled on Tuesday after two god awful starts for the Pirates. Who would have thought the Pirates could find a worse pitcher than John Van Benschoten to join their rotation. If Herrera does in fact get the nod, it only gives that much more strength to Rusch in this start.

Oliver Perez NYM @ Ricky Nolasco FLO
With a 1.38 ERA in his last four starts, it is easy to be tempted to start Oliver Perez. However, just when you think it's safe to rely on him is probably when he'll go from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Perez's strike out potential is also part of the lure in our consideration to give him a spot start, but consider this. Ricky Nolasco has matched Oli's strike outs in their past three starts, and Nolasco has won six of his last seven decisions. I say forget Oli and go with Nolasco who is a more consistent option and someone who is beginning to gain more respect in mixed leagues. If you find him as a free agent you may even want to hang on to him. He could be a real asset down the final stretch.

D.J. Carrasco CWS @ Glen Perkins MIN
Every now and then I have to swallow my pride. I wanted to see Glen Perkins fail and enjoyed celebrating the early rough starts for the newest addition to my love to hate list. However, Perkins has been fairly solid for the Twins, and even after giving up a season high five runs to the Yankees in his last start he is a favorable spot start option. Think about it, a season high five runs is nothing. Even Johan Santana can't make that claim. Perkins doesn't strike out many hitters, but you have to be impressed with his .500 winning percentage. He also seems to be quite popular with his team mates despite his comments in an interview after his first start which soured me on him. I suppose nerves could have played a factor as it was his first televised interview after a win in his first major league start. Perhaps he simply chose his words wrong. I'm willing to ease up on the kid and have even added him to some of my deeper leagues. Jose Contreras has been a disaster in the past six weeks and has now been placed on the 15 day DL with some elbow tendinitis which should be considered no real loss for the White Sox. D.J. Carrasco will step in and take the mound. I admit, I'm not sure what to expect from Carrasco. Much like Runelvys Hernandez, we have only ever seen Carrasco with the Royals at a time when they were as pathetic as ever. Regardless, stick with Perkins in this match up, and keep an eye on Carrasco before determining if he is worth any consideration in the future.

Wednesday July 30, 2008

Edwin Jackson TB @ John Parrish TOR
The Tampa Bay Rays are still smoking hot, but starter Edwin Jackson, well not so much. Bottom line is Jackson has been putrid at every level other than single A. I'm not even sure where his once highly touted prospect status ever came from. Sure he got hot for a short period of time early this season, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Helloooo, David Price... we're ready for you. In other news, my Toronto Blue Jays are still blowing chunks even under the guidance of Cito Gaston. Cito still needs more time, but I really don't expect anything to change until the puppet master J.P. Ricciardi is shown the door. John Parrish was unfairly given an early curtain call after allowing four runs on four hits, there was some pretty ugly fielding on the part of the Jays. However, two of those runs were solo shots so I suppose we need to split the blame. Parrish still has one of the most incredible sliders in the game, but even when the Rays stunk, and the Blue Jays... well stunk less than they currently do, the Rays always had the Jays number. I expect a more solid pitching performance from Parrish than Jackson, but neither is likely to get the win. Look for stronger options, but if desperate times call then they are calling for Parrish in this match up.

Brian Bannister KC @ Sean Gallagher OAK
There isn't much to discuss when it comes to Brian Bannister. His 9.82 ERA in his last three starts is reason enough to pass him by as a spot starter. Let's instead focus on the A's newly acquired Sean Gallagher. In his first two starts with his new team he put up a pair of seven strikeout performances against two of the tougher AL offenses, with a win over the Angels and a no decision over the Yankees where he received an early exit for allowing too many base runners. However he only allowed two earned runs. Based on his strike out potential Gallagher seems like a no brainer in this match up. Oakland may not be a powerhouse, but they can beat the Royals.

Mike Pelfrey NYM @ Scott Olsen FLA
Scott Olsen has managed to win his last two starts, but they were far from pretty. His lack of strike outs also leaves much to be desired from a fantasy perspective. I would much rather put my eggs in Mike Pelfrey's basket as he is coming off a no decision after winning six in a row prior to that while posting much more K's per 9 than we have seen from him in earlier starts.

Miguel Batista SEA @ Vicente Padilla TEX
The Mariners know they need to find a better option than Miguel Batista and if he puts up another start like his seven hit eight run outing against the Indians, he may find himself in the waiver pool rather than back in the bullpen. With an 6.89 ERA and 1.96 WHIP Batista is among the worst pitchers in the Major Leagues. Under no circumstances should he be relied on to start for your fantasy team regardless of how deep it is. If nothing else, Vicente Padilla has one thing going for him. The hottest line up in baseball giving him all the run support he ever could have dreamed of. Try him in points based league for what should be an easy victory, be somewhat leery of him in roto leagues even with an easy match up.

Thursday July 31, 2008

Justin Verlander DET @ Fausto Carmona CLE
Obviously Justin Verlander is a must start option in any situation and is unlikely to be a free agent in your league. I included this match up to discuss Fausto Carmona. Carmona has been side lined since late May with a bad hip and will make is return on Thursday against the Tigers. He was lights out, allowing only a single run in his two rehab starts and appears ready to go. He walks a lot of batters and fails to post impressive strike out numbers but he is still a 19 game winner from last season and worthy of ownership in any league of 10 teams or more. Carmona is capable of pitching deep in to games but do not expect him to go past five in this start after so much time off. He is worthy of a spot start for what should be a solid outing, but don't bank on him picking up the win in this start, Detroit is a far superior team than the Tribe. Carmona does have a favorable record against the Tigers, however.

Kyle Kendrick PHI @ John Lannan WAS
Any speculation that Kyle Kendrick will repeat his strong second half from last season has probably faded a bit after a crushing at the hands of the Florida Marlins, but I don't think anyone honestly expects another 10 wins from him in the second half. We expect him to be up and down. With his questionable pitch control and weak strike out power Kendrick is not a favorable option outside of NL only leagues, but could be worthy of the odd spot start when the match up is right. The Washington Nationals may appear to be one of those starts, but John Lannon has shown far more consistency thus far. Lannon is coming off back to back wins allowing only a single earned run in those starts combined. Lannon won't give you strike out numbers either, but also won't bog down your pitching stats with as many walks. I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend Lannon over Kendrick regardless of the fact that Phillie has the offense.

Jorge De La Rosa COL @ Chris Volstad FLA
It's nothing short of amazing that Jorge De La Rosa manages to K so many batters and allow so many hits at the same time. De La Rosa has pretty decent movement on his pitches but hasn't yet mastered his mechanics. The day will come when he becomes a viable mixed league option and perhaps even a must start option, but that is nowhere in the foreseeable future. All De La Rosa is going to get your team is a ton of allowed hits which will turn in to too many earned runs. The strike outs become next to worthless when he leaves each game with an ERA over 5.00. Chris Volstad, on the other hand is defiantly ready for a major league run. After dominating the Dodgers and nearly pitching a complete game in his first MLB start, the Braves took him down a notch. Volstad still pitched relatively well against the Braves but with absolutely no run support, the three runs that Volstad allowed was enough to secure the loss. Volstad deserves another shot, and I strongly recommend him against the Rockies on Thursday.

John Danks CHW @ Scott Baker MIN
Well it's official, when John Danks is facing the Kansas City Royals... John Stanks. OK, so stanks isn't a word, but you get the idea. I think just about every pitcher has one team that they just don't feel comfortable facing. Even though Danks has two career wins against the Royals, they weren't pretty. None of his starts against them have been, especially the one one July 20th. After allowing nine hits and six runs in four innings, Danks now has a career 7.06 ERA against KC. However, he only has a season ERA of 3.03. Danks is always a great spot start, and really is almost a must start, when not facing the AL's worst team anyway. When did Scott Baker become an innings eater? After being limited to five innings max all season, the Twins decided to give him a little more slack and Baker pitched six innings in five straight games. Then the Twins gave him seven innings in a pair of back to back starts, then eight, where despite a lights out performance Baker suffered a disappointing loss after allowing only a single run. He did strike out a batter per inning though. Baker actually seems to improve his stuff the longer he is on the mound and perhaps the right people have noticed. Baker is really pitching well right now, I would recommend picking him up in any league and riding this out. Baker could be a late blooming stud. You can't go wrong with either starter, but I'm going to tag Baker the better option.

Friday August 1, 2008

Jeff Suppan MIL @ Mike Hampton ATL
Mike Hampton? Seriously? Hampton hasn't pitched in a major league game since August of 2005. The last time he was supposed to start he apparently injured himself just thinking about pitching in a game. His last DL report stated that his injury was a pectoral, groin, back and hamstring injury. Is there anything left? Hampton's list of injuries is about as long as Rosie O'Donnell's grocery list. I like Mike Hampton, he was a fun pitcher to watch and was a great hitter to boot, but the guy has literally fallen apart at the seams. I do not believe Hampton is going to make this start or any other MLB start. If in fact it does happen, I predict Hampton won't even make it out of the second inning. Hampton is another case of a veteran pitcher who just doesn't know when to call it quits. As for Jeff Suppan, he just flat out sucks. Stay away from him even in this situation.

Ubaldo Jimenez COL @ Rick VandenHurk FLA
Ubaldo Jimenez is still smoking hot even after the all star break. He is pitching deep in to games and he is pitching effectively. His season ERA and WHIP are still quite high but dropping rapidly. Well, the ERA anyway, Jimenez still walks too many batters, but if they don't score, it doesn't hurt as much. So now we are left with another Kyle Kendrick type situation. Are we gonna see a repeat second half performance where a pitcher we all know isn't very good, begins to pitch over there head in the second half for whatever reason? Rick VandenHurk managed to strike out seven batters in five shutout innings in his last start against the Braves, but he also walked three in row and five in total. His season ERA of 6.10 and WHIP of 1.94 are a better reflection of what type of pitcher VanderHurk is.

Pedro Martinez NYM @ Brandon Backe HOU
Pedro Martinex is expected to return from the Dominican Republic for his start on August 1st, but there are no guarantees. Pedro is reported to be in pretty rough emotional condition after his father lost a year long battle with brain cancer. Pedro is also nursing a sore shoulder as well which also could be a partial reason why he has procrastinated his return. Pedro has been a flop this season winning only four of his fourteen starts and posting a ridiculously high ERA and WHIP. I expect either one of two things to happen. One, Pedro's grief leads him to retire and simply stay in the Dominican with his family. Or two, Pedro attempts to come back and pitch like he's never pitched before, so he can stand there in the spotlight with a microphone in hand and say "I did it for Dad". However, even in the second scenario, it is more likely he comes out trying to overthrow everything and is given an early escort of the mound after a three or four inning train wreck. Brandon Backe is usually a questionable option even in NL only leagues. Backe's been very consistent in his last four starts and posting plenty of strike outs. If you chose to ignore a rough interleague game against the Red Sox, Backe's last 10 starts haven't been bad at all. He just can't win even when he goes seven innings. Give Backe a go on his home turf. Pedro needs to be avoided at all costs.

Radhames Liz BAL @ Not Jarrod Washburn??? SEA
As I write this, there are swirling rumors that Jarrod Washburn has just been shipped to the Yankees. Seattle fans everywhere are thankful, Yankees fans are confused (I mean more confused than usual). So who steps in? It would be foolish to put so much on the shoulders of Erik Bedard so soon (pun intended). Sean Green perhaps, he has pitched more innings than anyone else in the bull pen. It really doesn't matter though, if any of those options actually take the mound I'm not sure I would count on any of them. So far Radhames Liz's only bad outings outside of his first two, were back to back starts against the Rangers and Red Sox. Those are tough tasks for even the most experienced pitchers right now. Liz is a gamble, there is so much potential there but he hasn't quite harnessed it yet. I find that he focuses so much on his mechanics that he advertises his pitches. Start Liz in AL only or deep leagues , stash him in dynasty leagues and pass him by everywhere else.

Saturday August 2, 2008

Mark Buehrle CHW @ Kyle Davies KC
Mark Buehrle has now won back to back starts including an impressive win over the best hitting team in baseball right now, the Texas Rangers. Buerhrle should already be starting in most mixed leagues now that he has won six of his last eight starts but he is still available in plenty of them so take a look. Kyle Davies and the Kansas City Royals are no match for Buehrle and the White Sox at all.

Kenny Rogers DET @ Andy Sonnanstine TB
Kenny Rogers has a 2.92 ERA in his past eleven starts despite only collecting a win in four of them. He is a decent AL only option, but those lack of wins and low strike out numbers do not make The Gambler much of an asset in most fantasy leagues. Andy Sonnanstine isn't much of a pitcher, but with the Rays blazing through the AL east and being particularly strong at home, Sonnanstine makes a decent spot start for this match up. The Tigers have actually never faced Sonnanstine before which could also work in his favor.

Joe Blanton PHI @ Braden Looper STL
Anyone who thought that Joe Blanton's fantasy value would rise after being traded to the Phillies just because he wouldn't have to face a DH is in for a rude awakening. First let's take a look at some of the designated hitters in the AL West. The Angels have Juan Rivera and Garrett Anderson, the Rangers are currently relying on Frank Catalanotto, and Seattle has Jose Vidro. I am hardly shaking in my boots at the DH's a Mariners pitcher would most often have to face. Now Blanton takes his mid 80's fastball to one of the smallest ball parks in the MLB and he is suddenly supposed to become less hittable. Give me a break. The Mets destroyed Blanton in his first National League start and we should expect more of the same from a pitcher with a season ERA above 5.00. Braden Looper is an even worse option and someone I just dropped from a 12 team NL only league. Stay away from both these options.

Shaun Marcum TOR @ Luis Mendoza TEX
Shaun Marcum has returned from the DL, only to get beaten up by the Baltimore Oriales. A little rust is to be expected. The Jays bats have sparked a bit recently but they are still one of three teams fighting for the worst team batting average in the American League. I hope that Marcum can come on strong in the second half, but suggest you sit him until he proves he is healthy and has his arm strength back, especially against a team like the Texas Rangers. Luis Mendoza is not good enough for a major league rotation in my opinion. He really belongs in the bullpen as a mop up guy. After giving up nine hits and six earned runs to the Angels in only 1.1 innings, he came back with a decent out against the White Sox, only to have the White Sox take him for a ride when they met again the following week. Once again I have to caution you to avoid them both this week.

Sunday August 3, 2008

Armando Galarraga DET @ James Shields TB
After spending nearly a decade in the minor leagues Armando Galarraga now finds himself in contention for the AL rookie of the year. He won't win it, but he's still done pretty well for someone who was supposed to be nothing but a stop gag option for the Tigers. Galarraga had a recent five game winless streak, but then came back strong against the Royals retiring the first 18 batters and taking a perfect game in to the seventh inning. Three singles and walk allowed a run to score in the seventh, and his night was over, but the bullpen was able to retain his win. Armando Galarraga is still a very solid option and the Tigers are capable of scoring a lot of runs. Even against the AL East leaders and ace James Shields, Galarraga must be started. He is still available in about 20% of 12 team mixed leagues and there is no reason for it.

Johnny Cueto CIN @ Collin Balester WAS
Why is it that when Johnny Cueto has a great outing he doesn't strike out more than a couple of batters, but when he gets creamed out there, he posts 8 - 10 K's? It truely is one of the strangest things I've ever seen, and one of the most frustrating things I have ever seen as a fantasy baseball enthusiast. I'm done with the kid in one year leagues, I just don't need the inconsistency. I still have enough faith that I will not sell him off or release him in dynasty leagues however. Cueto is becoming another Oli Perez this season, and I cautioned you against Oli earlier in the week. The same applies to Cueto, he's probably going to be the next big thing, but we're gonna have to wait a lot longer than Sunday to see it. Collin Balester really isn't worth analyzing. He very clearly is a horrible pitcher. Steer clear.

Matt Ginter
CLE @ Glen Perkins MIN
There's not a whole lot more I have to add about Glen Perkins and I'm going to go ahead and recommend him in his second start of the week as well. It would appear that Aaron Laffey will be replaced in the Indians rotation by Matt Ginter who may also see two starts this week. Ginter is a veteran middle reliever who has bounced from the minors to the MLB and is now with the Cleveland Indians (his fourth major league team). 31 year old Matt Ginter brings absolutely nothing to the table. Ginter has already made a couple of starts this season, and pitched well in his first five inning outing against the Rays. He failed to get the job done against the Twins though, and Ginter's unspectacular arsenal of pitches just won't cut it at the major league level for more than an inning or two. He is not cut out to be a starter.

Brett Myers PHI @ Todd Wellemeyer STL
At an average of 70% ownership in ten team leagues, Brett Myers owners seem insistent on clinging to a dream. It isn't a dream though, it is a nightmare. Aside from a start on May 30th, Myers has done absolutely nothing that makes him worthy of ownership in even an NL only league. He is not going to get better, in fact he's actually getting worse since rejoining the rotation. Myers has been a worse option this season than Dontrelle Willis was last year. Willis's ownership had dropped to about 30% by this point in 2007, so I do not understand the foolish hesitation to cut him loose. I was very high on Todd Wellemeyer in the first half, not only recommending him week after week, but also adding him and retaining him on many of my own teams. Last week I finally removed him from my teams. Ever since his DL stint he has lost whatever spark was driving him. His strike out numbers have plummeted, his base on balls have skyrocketed and he as nowhere near as favorable an option. Maybe he'll turn it around again, but Wellemeyer is no rookie. He's never pitched like that at any other point of his career. Chalk it up to a fluke, cut him loose and move on.

Highlight Of The Week

Melvin Mora 3B, Baltimore Orioles
I'm not sure how Melvin Mora managed to escape the All-Star week edition second half projections. Melvin Mora has often been considered a post all-star break player and as early as the second half is, Mora is currently the MLB's best hitter so far. We are finally seeing a resurgence of power from Mora that has been missing since 2005. His batting average still leaves much to be desired, but if he keeps going at this clip, he'll have it up closer to .280 in no time. Pick him up even as just a stop gag option, he's struggling a bit in the current series against the Angels but he should get going again.

Field of Streams :: All-Star Break Edition
by Tenacious D-Store
Published: July 13, 2008, 11:00 am

The All-Star break is upon us, and what is practically a whole new season is about to begin. Several players are known to either improve or fall apart in the second half of the season, and there are plenty of young rookie players that many are wondering what to expect from in the second half. Not to mention all of the unexpected studs and duds we have seen thus far in 2008. This week we will break away from the structure of business as usual and put a handful of these players under the microscope.

Hank Blalock - Hank Blalock only stepped up to the plate 87 times this season before a recurring wrist injury sent him to the disabled list. He is expected to return after the all star break and many expect him to do it with a bang. I'm assuming this is the many people who live in Texas and/or are Rangers fans. Blaklock had shown a drastic reduction in power since 2004 when he exceeded 30 homers. Now after back to back injury plagued seasons, I do not understand how he could be expected to come back and hit 20 homers in the second half and also expect not to re-injure his wrist in the process. Blalock will have to reinvent himself not as a power hitter but as a gap hitter and give that wrist a bit of a break.
Hank Blalock's second half prognosis: Grim

Michael Bourn - One of the most anticipated base burning rookies this season was the Astro's Michael Bourn. Since I myself tend to draft power heavy, I too took Bourn in the later rounds to provide some speed. This was usually followed by draft chat room moans and groans by league mates who regretted the decision of letting him drop one more round. After posting a minor league batting average of .278 with 45 stolen bases in only 118 at bats in 2006, and showing similar promise in a brief 2007 call up, many were sure they were getting the next Juan Pierre or Jose Reyes as late as the final two rounds of their drafts. Michael Bourn is fast, there is no denying that, he already has over 30 stolen bases at this point of the season. Which is really impressive when you consider how infrequently he actually gets on base. After failing to get on base in nearly 80% of his at bats, Bourne has so many owners frustrated that they have tossed him and his super human speed right back in the waiver pools. The stolen bases simply are not worth it when he is so destructive to your other offensive scoring categories. To date he has shown no signs that he is improving his presence at the plate.
Odds of Micheal Bourn raising his BA to a respectable level in the second half: Low

Milton Bradley - Milton Bradley has gone from being 28% owned to open the season, to 97% ownership in fantasy leagues. At the All-Star Break, Bradley has already exceeding his numbers from any previous season. Those who own him are ecstatic because they likely got him as a free agent, but at the same time his history of injury has us wondering how much longer we will get to enjoy this. Usually, by this point in the season Bradley has already had a lengthy DL stint. Not only have we not seen a significant injury, we have seen his best power numbers and batting average of his entire career as part of a potent Rangers offense.
Odds that Milton Bradley continues to tear it up: High
Odds that Milton Bradley avoids tearing himself up: Moderate

Billy Butler - Billy Butler has yet to live up to his potential and just doesn't seem have what it takes to be the super slugging all star at the major league level that the Royals need him to be, and needed Ryan Shealy to be before that. Even now, Butler has received a call up out of sheer desperation with Shealy and Russ Gload on the DL, it had nothing to do with how well Butler was performing in AAA because he's never performed poorly at that level. I'm just not convinced Butler will be anything more than a Phil Nevin type player in the big leagues and he has done nothing so far to discount that claim.
Odds that Billy Butler proves me wrong in the second half: Low

Miguel Cabrera - Miguel Cabrera had been a disappointment to his owners throughout most of the season. Although he maintained a decent batting average, the lack of pop from a late first round pick left many of his fantasy owners with a bitter taste in their mouth. However, through the darkness has come a beam of light. Miggy has doubled his home run totals by smacking seven home runs in the past 25 games while batting .340 during the same span. I have heard the excuse that Comerica Park just isn't a good place for Cabrera to be playing, and I fail to see any logic in that especially with it being a shallower park that he played in with Florida and the protection of better hitters surrounding him in the line up. Cabrera has been troubled by a sore hip throughout the season with is a more likely reason for his lack luster start. We enter the second half looking at the Miguel Cabrera we all thought we had drafted. Better late than never.
Odds of a more Miggy-like second half: High

Ryan Dempster - Ryan Dempster is an all-star, who would have thought we'd ever see the day. Not only has Dempster set a Cubs record this season for winning 10 straight decisions at home, his ERA and WHIP are so uncharacteristically low compared to what we have come to expect from him that it is very tough to believe he won't implode in the second half. However, even if Dempster ends up somewhere in the middle of where he was and where he is, we certainly can't be disappointed. If you compare Dempster's career stats from the first half and second half, there is a nasty trend of a downward spiral after the all-star break. I think it is unrealistic to think Dempster is truely on pace for a 20 win season. I personally would be looking to trade Dempster away at this point.
Odds that Ryan Depster keeps it up: Low-Moderate

Jeff Francoeur - Jeff Francoeur has been such a huge disappointment this season not only to your fantasy team but to the Atlanta Braves themselves. So much so, that he was actually demoted all the way down to AA class reportedly at his own request in order to work on his swing and plate presence with a familiar mentor, Phillip Wellman (most famous for the most entertaining manager tantrum ever and the imaginative rosin bag grenade), However, the demotion lasted only a few days which leads me to ask the question "What was the point"? He hasn't looked any sharper at the plate since his return and his .230 batting average and measly eight home runs has fantasy owners looking for whatever they can get for him, and some owners seeking a bargain hoping for improvement in the second half. As of right now Frenchy is looking like an NL only outfielder.
Odds of Jeff Francoeur coming out of the coma: Very Low

Jason Giambi - Jason Giambi's resurgence of power this season has some people questioning if he is continuing to use steroids. In my personal opinion, this allegation is extremely unlikely. Giambi was man enough to come clean and admit his errors, even calling his decision to violate MLB banned substance policies "stupid". He has to know that he is under the microscope after escaping with a mere slap on the wrist. Giambi is a terrific slugger who is capable of hitting 40 home runs in a season even without the use of performance enhancing substances. I don't think any athlete in any professional sport can honestly say that they have not considered the use of a performance enhancer, even if just for a brief moment. As fans we are unforgiving of a players disappointing season, we expect them to put up bigger and better numbers with every passing year and view them as a failure if they do not meet those expectations. With players also viewing themselves and their careers in a similar light, the lure of readily available steroids is like putting a bowl of candy in front of a child and demanding that they not eat any. Giambi made a mistake, he admitted his mistake and he deserves to be forgiven and credited for his success thereafter. Giambi is clean, I am as sure of that as I can be. As long as he can stay healthy he should be able to continue at his current pace, if not excel in the second half.
Odds of Jason Giambi maintaining or exceeding his current pace in the second half assuming he stays healthy: Very High

Aaron Harang
Odds that Aaron Harrang is even worth the time to write a segment on: Null

Chase Headley - Suddenly Chase Headley's ownership is plummeting just as fast as it rose after word of his call up. He's only played 20 games and still managed to hit five homers, with 11 RBI's and is hitting for a less than impressive average thus far. As for Headley's lack luster RBI totals, Headley can not help the fact that he is a Padre surrounded by an incompetent hitting staff who can't get on base in front of him. I certainly have no complaints about his home run totals. How many homers has Prince Fielder hit in his last 20 games? Headley deserves to be given some adjustment time to get his batting average up. He can't be expected to hit a five run homer in every at bat. Chase Headley has done a fine job thus far. You got him for free, stop whining.
Odds that Chase Headley is a bust: Very Very Low

Aubrey Huff - Aubrey Huff hadn't been anything special for most of the season, but for those who are surprised by his recent hot streak better wake up and realize what is happening. Huff has always been a big time second half monster who is best picked up about a week before the all star break. Huff has gotten an early start so hopefully you aren't too late if you need help at 1st, 3rd, Utility or in some leagues Huff may still have outfield eligibility. Huff has added about twenty points to his batting average in recent weeks, and the power stroke will come soon as well, I guarantee it.
Odds of studly second half from Aubrey Huff: Very High

Randy Johnson - OMG! Let's all list Randy Johnson as being on a hot streak, just because he struck out ten batters for the win against the San Diego Padres. Let's all just forget the fact that the Padres are playing horrible baseball right now, and that Randy Johnson has lost six consecutive outings previous to this one which included being completely destroyed by both the Pirates and the Royals during that losing streak. Let's all go blindly pick up The Big Unit, a man who is a disgrace to his own legacy, because of one freaking start shall we. Randy is five wins away from breaking Nolan Ryan's record. I predict he will actually manage that feat by mid-2012 at his current pace with his future injuries taken in to consideration. Then maybe he will finally retire.
Odds of Randy Johnson being anything but waiver trash: Very Low

Kyle Kendrick - Speaking of huge second halves of the season. Remember how Kyle Kendrick exploded on to the scene in mid-2007 to win ten games. Many drafted Kendrick as a late round sleeper this season only to be sickened by what they actually got. Kendrick had none of the precision breaking pitches we had previously seen. His stuff seemed sloppy and telegraphed and as a result, his offerings were crushed by hitters. However, Kendrick has made quality starts in five of his last six outings, picking up four wins during that streak. Could Kendrick be repeating his second half trend? It certainly doesn't hurt too pick him up in NL only or deeper leagues and find out. Kendrick doesn't offer much in the strike out department, nor does he have an exciting fastball. Neither did a young Tom Glavine which is who Kendrick began to remind me of last season.
Odds of a repeat strong second half from Kyle Kendrick: Moderate - High

Cliff Lee - Currently tied for second in American League wins, Cliff Lee has been this seasons biggest surprise especially with his extremely low ERA and WHIP not to mention his career high strikeouts to date. Since Lee's first hot week baseball fans everywhere have been expecting him to falter with every passing start, but he has maintained his status as a must start pitcher in fantasy play and an ace of the Indians pitching staff after being seen as a number four starter at best, throughout his seven year MLB career. Without even the slightest sign of weakness so far this season, there is no reason to expect anything different in the second half.
Odds that Cliff Lee maintains his current pace: Very High

Francisco Liriano - Francisco Liriano missed the entire 2007 season with an injury, and attempted a rather unsuccessful comeback early this season. After his demotion to AAA Liriano continued to struggle, and many began to wonder if Tommy John surgery had ended his career before it ever really started. However, Liriano has now won six straight decisions for the AAA Red Wings and is beginning to look like the stud we all envisioned him to be. There's a new problem though, the Twins claim they have no room for him. No room? Are you kidding me? This is a team that considers Livan Hernandez their Ace. Does Livan Hernandez know that an earned run doesn't mean that he has accomplished something? Glen Perkins is pitching over his head as well, and has little talent. The Twins are just being cautious. There will suddenly be room not long after the all-star break.
Odds that Francisco Liriano gets called up in the second half: Very High
Odds that Francisco Liriano is even remotely effective at the major league level: Moderate - High

Dustin McGowan - Dustin McGowan hasn't pitched well thus far in 2008, and he had a rather disappoint first half to 2007 as well. He turned it around becoming the Jays best pitcher in the second half last season, and I was prepared to predict the same type of turn around this year. Then his shoulder exploded. The Jays are notorious liars when it comes to disclosing injuries. So for JP Ricciardi to say in a public interview, that "things are not looking good" when discussing McGowan, I don't think we'll see him for the rest of the season.
Odds of a strong second half from Dustin McGowan: Very Very Low

Hunter Pence - Don't get excited by Hunter Pence's recent home run against the Washington Nationals, it had a little help from near hurricane force winds. Pence has struggled since his explosive rookie season. It's the ol' sophomore slump and probably nothing more. I don't think his .322 BA from last season is any more of a reflection than the .250 BA we are seeing now. I believe the true Hunter Pence will settle right in the middle to become a .280 hitter capable of spanking 25 long balls a season, but finding his gap power to become an RBI hero. Most of that will most likely come in 2009, although I expect a tad more consistency in the second half, it will hardly be substantial enough to sell the farm in an attempt to get him via trade.
Odds of seeing the 2007 version of Hunter Pence: Low - Moderate

Ian Snell - Ian Snell has gone from being owned in 94% of leagues to 25% ownership on average in fantasy leagues. One look at his 5.84 ERA and 1.93 WHIP and there is no need to ask why. Snell has been flat out horrid on the mound this season. Since he has always carried a higher than acceptable WHIP and his ERA has averaged 4.64 in his 5 year career, this type of downward spiral was almost predictable. All Snell brings to the party is a load of strike outs, and now that the K's are down too, all we have is a load of sh...ocking resemblance to Dontrelle Willis.
Odds that Ian Snell will prove to be anything but an over hyped prospect: Null

Nick Swisher -
Nick Swisher appeared to be turning around his disappointing season last month by batting .315, however now in July he is batting .212 once again. However we are still seeing far fewer 0 for games for Swisher as we did previously. Although I doubt we'll see his batting average rise much above .250, we should see some increased power numbers and possibly even see him moved up in the batting order. Swisher remains a 30 HR, 90 RBI threat. He's got to play some catch up if he expects to even come close to that potential this season.
Odds of Nick Swisher reclaims his powers stroke in the second half: High

Mark Reynolds - How quaint that Mark Reynolds would fall right behind Nick Swisher on our alphabetically sorted list. They really do appear to be very similar players. Reynolds really hasn't shown any indication that he is more than a .260 hitter at best. He has a great power swing, but very poor timing. The timing will likely improve with experience, the power will be there for years to come and the batting average will likely stay put. I think we will see some 30 home run seasons from Reynolds in the future, and probably even an out of nowhere 2004 Adrian Beltre type season mixed in there somewhere, but he'll never be a top five third baseman.
What can we expect from Mark Reynolds in the second half: Same old same old.

Ivan Rodriguez - Ivan Rodriguez did next to nothing all season until about mid June. His average has gone from .245 to .290 in the last few weeks alone. It is doubtful that we will ever see more than a dozen home runs from Pudge in a season again, but this was at one time the best hitting catcher in the game. Pudge appears to be on track for a great second half and should be a formidable source of RBI's from here on out for a catcher. Pudge is beginning to show his age though and is most likely going to need at least one day of a week. He still has the potential to be a top five catcher in the second half.
Odds that Pudge continues to perform like a top 10 catcher: High

Jimmy Rollins - With a 100% sucess rate in stolen bases this season and a .270 BA Jimmy Rollins is hardly a slouch at shortstop, but he hasn't quite performed like a first round draft pick. Rollins has always put up a strong second half. Currently on pace for around forty stolen bases, it is reasonable to expect that he will not only reach that projection, but exceed his projected on pace season totals in every offensive category.
Odds that there will be no regrets in your first round pick: Very High

Troy Tulowitski - Troy Tulowitski has only logged 151 at bats so far this season due to a lengthy DL stint, and now finds himself back on the DL with a cut hand due to a freak accident. Tulo is without a doubt this years most regrettable draft pick. In his limited at bats this season he has still done bupkis. A disgusting .165 batting average with none of the power and RBI success he and his owners enjoyed last season. The injuries provide a convenient excuse, but given the fact that he had only 126 at bats at the minor league level, I think it's safe to say 2007 was just a fluke.
Odds Tulo is even worthy of second half ownership in a 12 team league: Very Low

Justin Verlander - Is Justin Verlander just enjoying a hot streak or is he finally back to stud status? I know all his other fantasy owners are asking themselves that question as well. Drafted this season as a top five starter in most leagues, Verlander's season to date has been beyond disappointing. As of right now we are enjoying the strike out machine we all expected and Verlander also has yet to allow more than two runs in his last six starts. His ERA is quickly plummeting, and although it still currently sits above 4.00 it should continue to fall. Verlander is a must start pitcher once again and should be on pace for a strong finish.
Odds Verlander continues to turn it around this season: High

Delmon Young - Delmon Young is enjoying a moderate hot streak, and has maintained a respectable batting average all season, but it has still been rather under-whelming. We just expected so much more than a few home runs, nine steals, and a disappointing 20 RBI's by mid-season. Get used to it folks, I have a feeling this is as good as it gets. We might see him gain more confidence in his base stealing, but I'm not convinced he can ever become a 30-30 player, never mind the 40-40 player he was expected to become.
Odds Delmon Young begins to hit for more power this season: Low

Barry Zito - Barry Zito was once trademarked has a second half stud. Many of you will remember last year that just about every week after the all-star break I suggested that it was coming. Start after start I assured you, the strong second half was coming, and to be patient. I took my own advice and it wasn't a matter of patience, it was foolishness. It simply never came, and this season Zito looks worse that ever. Once again he is picking it up, and the Giants looked on pace to become serious contenders due to a hot streak and an ice cold D-Backs team. Although, Zito is looking strong coming in to the second half again, the Giants have cooled off mired in a seven game losing streak at this time. Bottom line is even if Zito does return to have a hot second half, his strike out to walk ratio has always been poor, and he pitches for a joke of a team, in a joke of a division. There is no need to ride this roller coaster, there are currently plenty of young up and coming pitchers this season ripe and ready to be plucked off the free agent tree.
Odds That Barry Zito returns as a strong second half pitcher: Moderate
Odds that you should care: Low

Questions or comments? You can contact me by e-mail at .

Field of Streams :: 7/6/08
by Tenacious D-Store
Published: July 6, 2008, 11:24 pm

Welcome back for the return of Tenacious D-Store's Field Of Streams. Each week, I will focus on some of the better pickups who should be available in the majority of leagues for each day of the week as well as some that should be avoided. Since some people also choose to stream an outfield or utility spot with a hot bat each week, I will also include a weekly highlight on a hitter who may fly under your radar. Let's get started.

NOTE: All starts are probable. I can not be held responsible for last minute managerial decisions, injuries, rain-outs, alien abductions, arrests etc.

Monday July 7, 2008

Ricky Nolasco FLO @ Josh Banks SD
Nope, it would appear that my original assessment of Josh Banks was correct after all. Blue Jays waiver trash it is. Maybe thats not fair. Perhaps he belongs somewhere in between. He's still young enough that he could fall on either side of the fence. Josh Banks last four starts have clearly not been as enjoyable for him or his fantasy owners as there first few were. He is now mired in a three games losing streak, with a 5.75 ERA in those starts. Banks is also not exceeding the fifth inning. I wonder if Banks would make a better long reliever than he would a starter. Banks is only worthy of starting in the deepest of NL only leagues at this time. Ricky Nolasco however is on fire with an 8-1 record in his last 11 starts, and best of all, no one has noticed and he is probably available in your league. Two of Nolasco's last three starts have included a nine strike out game and a twelve strike out game and his ERA is plummeting like the value of the U.S. dollar. At the present time Nolasco is worthy of a permanent spot even in leagues with as few as ten teams.

Gil Meche KC @ Matt Garza TB
Gil Meche and Matt Garza have both pitched well in their recent starts. So lets put them on the scale. Garza has the better offense behind him. Garza has a 1.64 ERA in his last three starts as opposed to Meche's 2.25 ERA. Garza has pitched a couple more innings with two more strikeouts than Meche during the same period. Meche has won his last three games while Garza only picked up a pair of wins and lost to Houston even though he put forth a great effort. All arrows point towards Garza, and I don't think you can really go wrong either way. However, I'm going to give Meche the edge in this one. He's just been more consistent and it seems that whenever Garza convinces us that he is a must start option, he falls apart. Garza's just a little riskier.

Runelvys Hernandez HOU @ John Van Benschoten PIT
Elvys, what are you doing to me? As I write this Runelvys Hernandez is facing the Dodgers in the fourth inning and is already down 3-0. The Dodgers are playing some great small ball leaving the Astro's defense looking dazed and confused, but Elvys can't avoid all the blame, he simply isn't pitching well. Third times the charm, he's got the rust out and will face the easiest matchup since his return. What the hell is John Van Benschoten still doing in the Pirates rotation, anyway? He stunk in relief, he stunk in his first start, he stunk last season when he was called up, he stunk in 2004 when he was called up, and he's been stinking up the minor leagues since 2001. I wonder if he's ever stopped to think that maybe baseball just isn't his thing? Chess can be a very challenging game. Why don't you trying playing chess, Mr. Van Benshitten? (I'll work on the pronunciation. This is it for Elvys, if he blows this one I'll just have to accept the fact that I was wrong, and millions of baseball fans weren't.

Pedro Martinez NYM @ Adam Eaton PHI
Pedro Martinez is averaging about 90 pitches per start, but hasn't been pitching out of the fifth inning and often isn't even making it out of the fourth. It's no surprise that his WHIP is an abysmal 1.75 this season His ERA that has now soared past 7.00 leaves Pedro unworthy of even NL only consideration. My how the once mighty have fallen. He still might be better than Adam Eaton though. Under no circumstances should either of these pitchers be started.

Ubaldo Jimenez COL @ Seth McClung MIL
After Ubaldo Jimenez played such a huge role in the Rockies making it to the world series, many had high hopes for him to have a breakout season this year. Instead he just looks broken. He put up a decent outing against the Mets a couple of weeks ago picking up his second win of the season, but there hasn't been anything else to praise when it comes to Jimenez. Seth McClung hasn't been great this season, but he has been moderately good. He's on pace for his best season ever and has showed huge improvement in his mechanics and velocity this season, which is very promising since McClung had Tommy John surgery in 2003. McClung is still relatively young and a break out season within the next three years seems very possible. For this season, expect him to continue at his current average pace and start him during weeks like this when the match ups are right.

Jarrod Washburn SEA @ Dana Eveland OAK
Jarrod Washburn may have a season 5.23 ERA, however his ERA over his last six starts is a respectable 3.10. Sadly he has only a single win to show for it. He just doesn't pitch deep enough in to games, and since Seattle isn't exactly blowing any teams out of the water it becomes very difficult for him to lock down a win. Stick with Dana Eveland. He hit a bit of a rough patch in late May / early June but he appears to be back on track now. Oakland also poses a less than stellar offense, but Eveland has maintained a modest 3.34 ERA this season and Eveland should pick up a win in what should be a very low scoring game.

Tuesday July 8, 2008
Micah Owings @ Odalis Perez WAS
Micah Owings has been struggling through most of the season raising his ERA to 5.18, and now he is struggling with back issues as well which certainly can't help his lack luster performances. Odalis Perez has done relatively well in his last four outings despite picking up only his second win of the season during his recent streak. He has shown improved command of the strike zone but you really can't expect him to provide much assistance in the win column when pitching for the lowly Nationals. Give Perez the go ahead in deeper roto leagues, but avoid them both in points based leagues. A lack of wins and strike outs doesn't do much for you in a points format.

Daniel Cabrera BAL @ Dustin McGowan TOR
Daniel Cabrera may have pitched a complete game while allowing only two runs which is somewhat impressive even if it did come against the Royals. However the absolute crushing he took at the hands of the Nationals and Pirates in he recent starts before that was anything but impressive. Try not to get too excited over a feat that Cabrera will be hard pressed to repeat any time in the near future. Dustin McGowan has been dropped in many leagues as he has recently struggled as well. The Jays are trying hard to turn there season around. In one of Cito Gaston's first interviews after stepping in as the new manager, he stated that the Jays problem was they just weren't scoring runs and that if he could get this team to score five or six runs a night, the Jays would be a different team. The Jays are actually scoring about half a dozen runs per game now, but unfortunately they are allowing seven or eight. McGowan improved significantly in the second half last season, so stick with him. He's going to get back on track and the O's seem like an easy task for him.

Nick Blackburn MIN @ Jon Lester BOS
Nick Blackburn had back to back quality starts and wins, then received a reality check from the Brewers to remind him that he's really not that good. Even if Blackburn had continued his success in that outing I still wouldn't give him the green light against the Red Sox. Blackburn's combined efforts against the Sox has resulted in an ERA of 10.29. Jon Lester is coming off a rather poor outing himself but has been an adequate number three of four starter for fantasy teams this season. He really shouldn't be available in any league, but if he is this should be a no-brainer.

Kevin Correia SF @ Mike Pelfrey NYM
Mike Pelfrey has won three straight, but they weren't pretty. Pelfrey relies heavily on run support and flawless fielding by his teammates. He has a decent fastball which results in erratic strike out totals from game to game, but his breaking pitches tend to hang and become predictable and easy to hit. Kevin Correia is unable to exceed five innings the majority of the time he pitches. He really doesn't have anything in his arsenal that is overly impressive and is a career #5 pitcher in the rotation. Not to mention that he is on a horrible team that won't make his job any easier. Both Correia and Pelfrey are horrible streaming options. The Mets will likely win this game, but Pelfrey probably won't factor in to the decision.

Mark Redman COL @ Manny Parra MIL
When I originally chose to review this match up, Jeff Francis was the scheduled starter. I still heavily recommended Manny Parra. Now that Francis is on his way to the DL and Mark Redman has stepped in to his rotation spot, you don't need me to tell how much more favorable this start is for the red hot Manny Parra.

Jair Jurrjens ATL @ Chad Billingsley LA
Jair Jurrjens has not allowed a run in any his last three three starts and won his last four decisions. His pitch location couldn't have been better and even I was impressed as a watched him sit down one Blue Jay batter after another. Despite his periodical struggles, Jurrjens is a force to be reckoned with on the mound and will continue to get better. He'll be clearing some shelf space for a couple of Cy Young awards before his career is over. Chad Billingsley's strike out abilities are intense as he continues to K more than a batter per inning this season. The Braves haven't been quite as hot as the Dodgers as of late, so even though neither pitcher is a bad options. Billingsley gets the edge from me.

Wednesday July 9, 2008

Tim Hudson ATL @ Derek Lowe LA
Despite giving up back to back homers against the Jays, Tim Hudson still ranks third for the fewest home runs allowed per nine innings pitched this season. He is not a strike out pitcher, instead he relies heavily on ground ball outs and requires the infield players behind him to be on their toes at all times. Recently he has been let down. Even though Hudson has only a single win in his last seven starts he has been rock solid for the braves this season. The Braves have also been hit with injuries which have left holes in their defense. It is ridiculous that Hudson has been dropped in some leagues and remains a must start option in any situation. Derek Lowe has suffered some hard luck losses as of late, but allows very few runs considering how many hits he's given up in recent starts. Lowe is also on pace for his highest season strike out totals of his career. The Dodgers are picking up their game and Lowe should be picked up in any league where he is available as he is shaping up to have a great second half. Again either pitcher is a decent start here, but I like the Dodgers to squeak out a narrow victory here.

Edwin Jackson TB @ Andy Pettitte NYY
Andy Pettite is blazing right now. In his last four starts he has allowed a combined total of only three earned runs. Pettite is now 6-0 since mid-May, and is blemished only by a ten hit, ten run, 6.2 inning outing against the Royals that I still cannot fathom how he didn't lose. Edwin Jackson is proving that regardless of some early luck this season, he is as incompetent on the mound as ever. He is absolutely useless as a fantasy pitcher, and as a major league pitcher for that matter.

Garrett Olson BAL @ John Parrish TOR
I told you all about John Parrish's nasty unhittable slider. Now you have all seen it as so have the Braves, as Parrish had them chasing it nearly the entire six innings he was on the mound. Even Braves first baseman Mark Teixeira was quoted as saying. "He pitched me tough. I drew a couple of walks off him and hit a ball hard my first at bat, but he didn't give me much to hit and that's the way he was against the whole team." Parrish has been rotting away in the Orioles system for almost 15 years. Now in his early 30's Parrish has been a wasted commodity, his talent and above average minor leagues performances have been disregarded, and even now his name his unknown to baseball fans and even other franchises. I admit he's a bit of a one trick pony, but can't the same be said about just about every knuckle baller to ever pitch in the major leagues? Ride out Parrish and what could very well be the best slider in the MLB, as soon as Marcum is back, Parrish will likely be disregarded once again.

Mitchell Boggs STL @ J.A. Happ PHI
J.A. Happ's first and only major league appearance to date didn't go well. the Mets got to him early ending his night after only four innings, before this column is published he will face the Mets again this time going head to head with Johan Santana. It is unrealistic to expect anything but a repeat of the previous match up. His minor league stats are average, but still leave much to be desired. Happ cannot be relied on as a spot start and should be avoided in all leagues at this time. Mitchell Boggs has won three of his four starts since he was appointed to fill in for the injured Adam Wainwright and only averaging five innings per start. He did manage to strike out a batter per inning in his most recent start while allowing only a single run which is very promising. He is worthy of a spot start in NL only or deeper leagues, but is at risk of a melt down at any time. Starting him against the Phillies is especially risky, but the Cardinals have supplied Boggs with adequate run support up to this point.

Johnny Cueto CIN @ Ryan Dempster CHC
Johnny Cueto is still experiencing a bit bit of a roller coater season. I have also noticed a three win - three loss pattern with Cueto. He has just put together his first win of the next set so as I see it, he's good to go for his next two starts. Ryan Dempster has gone from being absolutely brilliant, to being right back to the Ryan Dempster we have all come to expect. That expectation is to expect the unexpected. His inconsistency is back and it's best to start him with caution at this point. Start Cueto and bench Dempster for this match up. If you own Dempster it is to early to drop him, if he finishes the way he started you'll be kicking yourself for it later.

Thursday July 10, 2008

Braden Looper STL @ Jamie Moyer PHI
Jamie Moyer has lost his last three starts despite allowing three runs or less per start and striking out more than a batter per inning on average. It makes you wonder if the rest of the Phillies ball club has it out for him. This is a first place NL East team and they just can't seem to scrape together any runs for Moyer. Braden Looper and Jamie Moyer are pretty evenly matched as are the Cards and Phillies. Moyer will strike out more batters per inning, so go with Moyer. Moyer is likely to pitch more innings as well, increasing his odds of picking up a win over Looper.

Kevin Slowey MIN @ Kenny Rogers DET
Kevin Slowey is smoking hot right now, winning three of his last four games and pitching a complete game shutout of the Brewers. In Slowey's last 30 innings pitched he has allowed only three runs and a pair of walks. He has also upped his strike out numbers to a level uncharacteristic of what we have come to expect. Slowey is proving to be an excellent innings eating control pitcher. Kenny Rogers is pitching well for an MLB pitcher, but nothing he's doing is worth while for a fantasy team, unless wins, K's or innings pitched aren't stats in your league. I'm gonna recommend the Slow ride one more time.

Jeremy Guthrie BAL @ A.J. Burnett TOR
Jeremy Guthrie's 4-7 record this season is completely unjustified and is a result of poor run support, not poor pitching. In one of the saddest MLB rotations currently in existence Jeremy Guthrie has emerged as a true ace in the making. There are very few American League pitchers who have posted more quality starts than Guthrie this season. I can assure you that AJ Burnett defiantly is not one of them. AJ has continued to be a great strike out pitcher and has provided some truly brilliant starts, but he's also gone out there and flat out stunk up the place just as often. If your league heavily rewards strike outs AJ is probably your best option, but he's not likely to be a free agent in most leagues. So I'm going to recommend Jeremy Guthrie in this one. He is a much better all round roto pitcher and could easily pick up the win with the Jays continuing to come up short in games.

Darrell Rasner NYY @ Paul Maholm PIT
Wow, Darrell Rasner does stink. The only Yankees pitching prospect I have given any praise to what so ever (with the exception of Joba Chamberlain) and he makes me look like a chump. Rasner has to be nearing the end of his big league stint and will likely end up back in the minors at the drop of a Steinbrenner tantrum. He can't be labeled a bust yet, but he needs a bit more fine tuning. Avoid him in all leagues right now. Pittsburgh absolutely throttled Rasner in one of the worst beatings he's taken all season a couple of weeks ago. Expect Paul Maholm to benefit from a repeat performance of that. Maholm hasn't pitched too poorly as of late, posting an ERA just over 2.00 in his last few outings. He has only a loss to show for it, but I think he'll pick up a win against the Yankees.

Mark Buehrle CHW @ Zack Greinke KC
Mark Buehrle got slapped around by the A's on Friday, but before that he had been rock solid and hadn't lost a start in almost a month and a half. Buehrle still isn't getting respect in fantasy leagues so take advantage of th ignorance of others. Buehrle pitches for a great team and is doing a damn fine job.

Andy Sonnanstine TB @ Aaron Laffey CLE
Andy Sonnanstine may be 9-3 and on pace for a 17 win season but I just don't trust him enough to use him myself, or recommend him to you. That win - loss record still comes with a 4.60 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Sonnanstine simply allows too many hits and is lucky enough to be bailed out by a Red Hot Rays team that demands respect this season. I mean how impressive is a win for a pitcher when a team scores 12 runs as they did the last time Sonnanstine pitched? Or nine runs in his start previous to that one? As of right now I would still rather start Andy Sonnanstine than Aaron Laffey, but I'd prefer to avoid them both.

Friday July 11, 2008

Doug Davis ARI @ Kyle Kendrick PHI
Doug Davis is coming of a shaky start against the Brewers. Although he started well, he fell apart in the sixth inning allowing three runs off five hits and just barely hung on for his first win since May 23rd. Kyle Kendrick continues to show improvement as we move closer to the second half of the season adding more fuel to the speculation that he may just be a second half miracle worker. Arizona has been faltering as of late and it seems inevitable that the Dodgers will move in first place in the NL West. The Phillies are still knocking the cover of the ball so stick with Kendrick and ride his hot streak.

Kyle Lohse STL @ Zach Duke PIT
Kyle Lohse has won his last seven decisions and aside from an early exit against the Tigers hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start since mid-may. Yet he is still available in about 20% of ten team leagues. I've been saying it for weeks and no one is listening. Lohse is a viable mixed league pitcher in any league despite the lack of strike out potential. Zach Duke and the Pirates are no match for Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals right now.

Aaron Cook COL @ Oliver Perez NYM
You may think that Aaron Cook would make a fine spot starter after shutting out the Padres. However, that's nothing new for Cook. Since 2004 Aaron Cook has posted an 8-1 record and 1.52 ERA against the Padres limiting them to two runs or less in their last eleven encounters. Cook isn't having a bad season at all though even with him coming off a couple rough starts. Cook also has a fairly decent 3-1 record against the Mets with a 2.94 ERA. Oliver Perez hasn't faired that well against the Rockies, or any other team this season for that matter. Stick with the hot hand, and start Aaron while he's still cooking.

Felix Hernandez SEA @ Luke Hochevar KC
It is now time for the Tenacious Long Shot Pick. Every time King Felix comes off the DL (which seems to be an awful lot) he pitches like crap. Luke Hochevar makes an intriguing spot start option if in fact Felix Hernandez is ready to make this start. If he isn't, it'll be Ryan Rowland-Smith who will burn out like a black powder candle forcing the bullpen to work double time. In either scenario it's looking good for Kansas City.

Josh Fogg CIN @ Jeff Suppan MIL
If you are just looking for a win in a points league, Suppan will probably get you that with half a dozen strike outs or so. You roto owners will not appreciate the half dozen earned runs that will come along with it, though. Whatever Suppan does will look expertise in comparison to Josh Fogg who must think that earned runs makes it sound like he's doing something useful. With an 8.40 season ERA and a 12.71 ERA in his last three starts alone, Fogg isn't even worthy of the right to sit on your bench in an NL only league.

Saturday July 12, 2008

Matt Cain SF @ Sean Marshall CHC
Matt Cain appears to have finally decide to play some baseball, and with the D-Backs faltering and Dodgers really not being all that good, it's not entirely unprobable that the Giants could win the NL West division (which is more or less the equivalent of winning a medal at the Special Olympics). Cain is striking out batters and winning games looking like the solid Ace the Giants knew he was all along. Sean Marshall looked solid in his last start, making his only mistake to Ryan Ludwick who smashed a solo shot, but Marshall still isn't ready. He is too inconsistent, and will be too over confident after such an impressive win. I expect a rather short outing from him in this match up.

Scott Baker MIN @ Nate Robertson DET
Scott Baker has won three games in a row for the first time in his sixty career starts, and could possibly have four by the time he takes the mound for this start. Normally, I would be very cautious of a relatively green pitcher faltering after the excitement of setting a career record, but Baker is really pitching well. He is giving up very few walks, had a recent streak of a higher than average K/9, and just isn't allowing runners to score despite giving up a less than desirable number of hits. Nate Robertson is just flat out garbage. I don't care how hot the Tigers are when Robertson is allowing nearly a dozen hits per very short outing as of late.

Jarrod Washburn SEA @ Gil Meche KC
Jarrod Washburn and Gil Meche have both been solid over their last three starts. Either would appear to be an adequate spot starter at the moment. however, I have very little faith in Washburn to keep up his recent pace. I'll take the pitcher who has been consistently solid any day. Even though he is far from spectacular, Gil Meche is a much better option on Saturday.

Randy Johnson ARI @ Adam Eaton PHI
OMG! Let's all list Randy Johnson as being on a hot streak, just because he struck out ten batters for the win against the San Diego Padres. Let's all just forget the fact that the Padres are playing horrible baseball right now, and that Randy Johnson has lost six consecutive outings previous to this one which included being completely destroyed by both the Pirates and the Royals during that losing streak. Let's all go blindly pick up The Big Unit, a man who is a disgrace to his own legacy, because of one freaking start shall we. Randy is five wins away from breaking Nolan Ryan's record. I predict he will actually manage that feat by mid-2012 at his current pace with his future injuries taken in to consideration. Then maybe he will finally retire. Don't start Adam Eaton either, I just felt the need to rant about Randy again.

Sunday July 13, 2008

Andy Pettitte NYY @ Dustin McGowan TOR
Regardless of Dustin McGowan's steady strikeout numbers, his struggles on the mound have continued to the point where many fantasy owners must be contemplating dropping him for a hot free agent. McGowan struggled in the first half of last season as well and turned it around become a solid high end fantasy starter in the second half, so there is some hope for his owners. For now McGowan needs to be benched until we begin to see some positive results from him. Andy Pettitte had a rough go against the Yankees in his last start, but had won his last six decisions prior to that. The odds seem to favor Pettitte bouncing back more than McGowan, so give the nod to Pettitte if he is available to you, he should post decent strike out numbers against the offensively challenged Blue Jays as well.

Brandon Backe HOU @ Odalis Perez WAS
Although Brandon Backe would be a favorable start against Ian Snell and the Pirates earlier this week (really who wouldn't be a favorable starter against Ian Snell right now), I'm not sure I would take the risk against the Nationals. Not because the Nationals would be any better than what we have seen from them at the plate, but more due to what we have seen for Odalis Perez on the mound lately. Perez has strung together a handful of quality starts, including the one that resulted in an early exit due to some tendinitis. He won't give you many innings, or a load of strike outs but he has shown great control and poise on the mound recently. In Perez's last start he threw 53 of his 77 pitches for strikes and has posted a 1.98 ERA in his last three appearances. Backe can't pitch deep in to games or K a lot of batters either, and has been far more hittable than Perez. Although it is very likely that neither pitcher will pick up a win in this one, Perez will provide better stats for you pitching categories.

Aaron Harang CIN @ Manny Parra MIL
Aaron Harang managed to strike out eight Pirates picking up a no decision in what should have been an easy victory as The Reds barely squeaked out a win. This was actually one of Harang's better outings of the season which certainly isn't saying much. Now, we are hearing that he is experiencing some soreness in his forearm. I don't believe the so called injury is anything more than an excuse for an unforgivable season. Injury or not, Harang still can't be relied on at this time. Manny Parra, on the other hand remains unstoppable and is currently one of the hottest pitchers in the MLB. Yet for some unfathomable reason his ownership in fantasy leagues remains about 15% lower than Harang. Wake up people.

Jose A. Contreras CHW @ Eric Hurley TEX
Well I think we can officially say that a hot May from Jose Contreras was nothing more than a fluke. It was nice while it lasted as I was one of many who rode it out. I didn't waste any time dropping him after he posted back to back poor outings and I would recommend anyone else do the same if they are still clinging to hope. Eric Hurley is coming off some rest for a bad hamstring, but he will have a start this week that proceeds this one. Follow his progress in that start, if he shows no ill effects from his injury, then feel confident starting him in this match up. Hurley is an exciting prospect to watch, and once the Rangers feel confident in giving him a longer leash on the mound, he should have no problem providing you with plenty of wins and strike outs. Don't expect that in this start though, it's too soon especially given his current situation. Just expect a quality outing provided he is in good health.

Highlight Of the Week

Jerry Hairston, Cincinnati Reds LF/SS
Many thought Jerry Hairston was just a flash in the pan when he got off to a hot start after his call up. Then, Hairston suffered a broken thumb, and those who were riding the wave dropped him and promptly forgot about him. Now Jerry Hairston is back, and picking up right where he left off. He is showing no effects of his previous injury, and has now raised his batting average to .342 with 14 stolen bases in just over 150 at bats. Hairston is a roto dream. He doesn't have a lot of power, but has gone deep a couple of times and can get the ball deep enough to turn out his share of extra base hits and send some runners home. Hairston's ownership in fantasy leagues is just about null. Go take a look, because Hairston is looking like the real deal.

Field of Streams :: 6/29
by Tenacious D-Store
Published: June 29, 2008, 4:34 pm

Welcome back for the return of Tenacious D-Store's Field Of Streams. Each week, I will focus on some of the better pickups who should be available in the majority of leagues for each day of the week as well as some that should be avoided. Since some people also choose to stream an outfield or utility spot with a hot bat each week, I will also include a weekly highlight on a hitter who may fly under your radar. Let's get started.

NOTE: All starts are probable. I can not be held responsible for last minute managerial decisions, injuries, rain-outs, alien abductions, arrests etc.

June 30, 2008

John Maine NYM @ Kyle Lohse STL
Kyle Lohse has now won his last six starts in a row and is finally getting some respect in fantasy leagues as his ownership has soared to 78% in 10 team leagues. He has posted of ERA of only 1.95 during his winning streak. Forget his past seasons, if he is available in your league he needs to be picked up now. John Maine may have won his last two starts but he has still posted an ERA of 5.00 in his last three. The Cards have have exploded offensively even without the great Mr. Pujols in the lineup. Lohse is a must start in any situation right now.

Justin Masterson BOS @ James Shields TB
Did you drop Justin Masterson when you heard Dice-K would be rejoining the Red Sox rotation? Don't be too ashamed I did it in a couple of leagues as well. The absence of Bartolo Colon has left plenty of work for Masterson and he hasn't disappointed. He's had some shaky outings and will have a few more, but with the potent Red Sox offense he's not a bad streaming option. This could be a tough start for him however, The Rays and Sox are neck and neck in the AL east and there will be a lot of balls flying around the park in this one. It will be a battle of defense if either Masterson or Shields are going to put up acceptable stats. Masterson may not be the best option on Monday, but you can certainly do far worse.

Zach Duke PIT @ Aaron Harang CIN
Why is Aaron Harang still owned in 95% of ten team leagues? There are crack addicted prostitutes that has sucked less than Harang this year. What's even more surprising is people are still starting him. What is it that you think is suddenly going to happen? If I have to pick a pitcher in this Match up, I'll take the man who has allowed nearly a third of the earned runs Harang has in recent starts. Gimme Zach Duke in this one.

Shawn Hill WAS @ Ryan Tucker FLA
You know I'm not going to recommend Shawn Hill, but I can't give the green light to Ryan Tucker either. Tucker can be forgiven for getting spanked by a Tampa Bay team that is demanding respect this season. However, there is no excuse for the disgraceful outing he had against the Mariners. He picked up the win thanks to some great defensive plays by his teammates, but it can hardly be described as earned. Tucker really doesn't have very good stuff, and by no means should have skipped AAA. I can understand the Marlins desperation for pitching, but there is no way your fantasy team can be that desperate. Stay away.

Eric Stults LA @ Roy Oswalt HOU
Eric Stults won his first MLB start with a 1.50 ERA and five strike outs in six innings, then followed it up with a complete game shut out. No no no, don't buy in to this at all. This is the same Eric Stults who has spent four seasons in AAA. The same Eric Stults who posted a season 7.58 ERA and 1.91 WHIP last season for the Las Vegas 51's. and a 6.13 ERA in his AAA career (and he's been there long enough for it to be called a career, he's 28 years old for crying out loud). This boy is horrible and this is a fluke. Don't even give him a second thought.

July 1, 2008

Kyle Kendrick PHI @ Charlie Morton ATL
I've recommended Charlie Morton for two weeks in a row now, and although he hasn't pitched poorly he hasn't exactly been impressive either. Kyle Kendrick has been a disaster so far this season, but is coming of the longest start of his career pitching 8 shut out innings and being robbed of an opportunity to pitch a complete game shut out. We all remember what Kendrick did in the second half last season. Could it be a repeating trend? This is a high risk recommendation, but I going with Kendrick and the Phillies. This could be a turning point.

Nate Robertson DET @ Scott Baker MIN
I may have actually been crueler to Nate Robertson in my fantasy baseball writings than I have to even Bartolo Colon. So it pains me to say, that even though Scott Baker has been no slouch either, Nate Robertson should be the better spot start. The Tigers have been better than the Twins, offensively and defensively as of late and Robertson has faced this team a plethora of times, sporting a career 8-8 record against the Twins. Scott Baker won't be a horrible choice if you are forced to resort to him though.

Luke Hochevar KC @ Radhames Liz BAL
I don't know if allowing nearly a hit per inning really qualifies as lights out as was described on a sports site that will remain anonymous so that we don't get sued by Brandon Funston. Oops, did that give it away. Anyway, you would be best advised to avoid both of these pitchers. However in deeper leagues I'll give Hochevar the nod, he has certainly pitched better than Radhames Liz, and the O's are an even sadder team to watch than the Royals despite their hot start to the season.

Clayton Kershaw LA @ Wandy Rodriguez HOU
Clayton Kershaw still hasn't done anything notable, and Wandy's still cruising at home. There's really nothing more to say.

Jason Marquis CHC @ Matt Cain SF
Jason Marquis followed up a three game winning streak, with what can only be described as a four inning all male wicked awesome orgy, with that many balls flying around. Marquis has never been a good pitcher and he showed why in his shortest outing of the season. Matt Cain on the other hand, is on fire striking out batters at an incredible rate, finally it looks like Cain is putting forth some effort out there. With the Dodgers being a rather pathetic team this year and the Giants actually creeping up in to possible wild card contention, maybe Cain feels he has a reason to care again. For those of you that follow this column regularly, I have often accused Cain of simply not trying and caring more about staying healthy then going all out and risking injury for a pathetic team. Regardless, it's time for Matt Cain to be added in mixed leagues again, especially for this match up.

Jesse Litsch TOR @ R.A. Dickey SEA
You'll have to forgive Jessie Litsch for sucking so bad the last few starts. I suspect he may have been part of a tanking plot to get manager John Gibbons fired. Mission accomplished. Now get back to work! Litsch faces R.A. Dickey on Tuesday... no, that's not one of my witty one-liners someone actually put R.A. Dickey in their rotation.

Jeff Suppan MIL @ Randy Johnson ARI
Randy Johnson has now lost five straight in absolutely atrocious outings. He pitched well after a prolonged rest due to a DL stint, but it would appear it didn't take the Unit long to run out of gas again. Will somebody take him to a nursing home already, it's so sad to see confused geriatrics embarrassing themselves in public like this. Don't assume that all of this makes Jeff Suppan a feasible option by default. He's been just as horrendous. Avoid them both.

July 2, 2008

Chan Ho Park LA @ Runelvys Hernandez HOU
It's the return of Runelvys Hernandez. I'm sure you are all as excited as I am. I've always been a fan of the big man, but there really isn't much reason why. It certainly isn't due to his past pitching performances. Although Elvys (as I like to call him) has a no-no on his resume, he is more accurately portrayed by his career 5.40 ERA. Consider this an Elvys comeback special, because I am actually going to predict a spectacular... yeah that's right I said spectacular six inning performance from the Temperamental Tosser. Elvys has been out of the spotlight for a long time. The dude is literally crazy, but he will be driven and determined to make the best of it. The Astro's offer more offensive skills than Elvys have ever had supporting him. That appearance against the Red Sox was just a practice start, it doesn't count. Chan Ho Park hasn't done too shabby either, but the Astro's are too much beef for him.

Kason Gabbard TEX @ Dan Giese NYY
Dan Giese was every bit as good as I predicted he would be in his first MLB start, the Yankees on the other hand were not. Giese breezed through six scoreless innings before a critical Yankees throwing error in the seventh allowed three runs to score. Dan Giese was credited with the loss despite not allowing a single earned run or base on balls. That just doesn't seem fair. Overall, he pitched well allowing four hits and striking out five in 6.2 innings. Next came an ugly start against the Mets, his start wasn't as bad as the numbers would indicate. Who knew Delgado was still capable of production like that? Giese certainly deserves another chance. The Texas Rangers will prove to be more of an offensive challenge than the Reds, but Kevin Gabbard has been far from impressive in his recent outings

Seth McClung MIL @ Micah Owings ARI
Seth McClung isn't someone I thought would ever be worthy of fantasy consideration, but it would appear that he has turned a corner. Five of McClungs last six starts have been of quality caliber. He was especially impressive in his last start against Baltimore. Things started to get a little sloppy in the sixth inning, but McClung held on for the win. McClung has also been putting up some formidable strike out numbers. Micah Owings, has been allowing almost an earned run per inning during his lengthy winless streak. Owings can not be activated in any league under any circumstances until he rights his ship.

Eddie Bonine DET @ Nick Blackburn MIN
Since Eddie Bonine is not even a real pitcher, you've probably already gone ahead and added Nick Blackburn. ABORT ABORT THE MISSION!! C'Mon man, maybe Blackburn has strung together a couple of alright starts, but you know the second you think it's safe to go in, Blackburn we'll go off like a land mine destroying your pitching stats for the entire day. There's enough decent options available to ignore Blackburn.

Adam Eaton PHI @ Jorge Campillo ATL
I hope you all took my advice and started Jorge Campillo last week, but now it's time to bench him again. Campillo can still be quite hittable and Adam Eaton hasn't been anything but hittable. Add two off the most explosive line ups in the National League, and it all sums up to a nightmare for anyone with either of these pitchers in their active rotation. When it's all said and done, the final score my make you wonder if pre-season football has started already.

July 3, 2008

John Lannan WAS @ Johnny Cueto CIN
Johnny Cueto has lost his last three starts but the last two have been of quality caliber as Cueto was simply failed by his teammates lack of run support. As I write this Cueto has not yet faced the Indians and Paul Byrd but I am still confident that he will finally pick up the win in that match up. Continue to start him as he faces the worst team in the National League and John Lannan who has also pitched well but to no avail. Forget about starting Lannan despite his decent pitching stats of late, in all but the deepest of leagues.

Brett Myers PHI @ Jair Jurrjens ATL
Perhaps the Phillies should attempt using Brad Lidge as a starter and move Brett Myers back to the closer position. I'm doubtful that even that move would help jump start Brett Myers and the awful season he is having. Thus far Myers has posted far worse numbers than Dontrelle Willis did last season. Fantasy owners wasted no time cutting Willis, yet they continue to not only hold on to Myers but actually start him. I can't for the life of me understand why. Myers has shown no signs that he is about to turn his season around, cut him loose already. Even Jair Jurrjens is owned in less leagues than Myers. Jurrjens had some issues in late May, but apart from that has been doing an admirable job for the Braves and anyone who was smart enough to pick him up. If he is available in your league for whatever reason he is a must start in this match up.

Kyle Davies KC @ Garrett Olson BAL
I think I'm just about ready to admit that perhaps Garrett Olson isn't quite as promising of a prospect as I have been suggesting. By no means should he be considered as a spot start in anything but the deepest of leagues at this time. Kyle Davies, who is one of the biggest pitcher prospect busts of all time, was actually on quite a streak going 3-0 in his last four starts with an ERA of 1.46, only to face a slaughter at the hands of the Giants and get the hook early in the second inning. I'm going to recommend Davies based on his starts that preceded the last one, in what should be one of the easiest match ups he will face this season. However there are far safer choices for a spot start than Davies.

Andrew Miller FLA @ Jeff Francis COL
Jeff Francis had posted a 2.88 ERA in his last four starts, but received a wake up call at the hands of the Royals who were an immediate handful for Francis from the first inning. So much for my recommending him last week, I was almost ready to believe he was prepared to start pitching like the Ace of the Rockies rotation from here on out. To say that Francis has been a disappointment after his breakout 2007 season is like saying Jeffrey Dahmer had an eating disorder. Assuming you haven't already cut him out of frustration, keep him benched until he can string together a couple of respectable starts again. Andrew Miller has failed to surpass five innings in four of his last six starts, and for the most part his strike out numbers have been lacking. Miller is also not worth risking as a spot start.

July 4, 2008

John Parrish TOR @ Jered Weaver ANA
John Parrish has been having a phenomenal season for the AAA Skycheifs, and has now been called up to fill in for the injured Shaun Marcum. He managed a respectable effort in his first major league start allowing only one earned run through six innings. Parrish has a nasty slider and showed no intimidation while working at the major league level. With the Blue jays new found motivation and the fact that Jered Weaver is mired in his worst season to date. Parrish makes an interesting option as a spot start.

Vicente Padilla TEX @ Jeremy Guthrie BAL
Vicente Padilla has now won four of his last five starts going at least six innings in all of them. It would appear that a team who seemed to have one of the worst pitching staffs in the AL has found an Ace after all. Jeremy Guthire has been providing much of the same for Baltimore, but it is unlikely that the O's will be able to match the Rangers hitter for hitter. Padilla is the safer spot start in this match up.

Derek Lowe LA @ Jonathan O. Sanchez SF
Both Derek Lowe and Johnny O have been pitching extremely well for their ball clubs, and both clubs seem to be enjoying improved performances from their line ups as of late too. I don't see how you could go wrong with either option. Sanchez is more likely to post better strike out numbers, but feel comfortable using either option. The game winner itself is a toss up.

Brian Bannister KC @ Edwin Jackson TB
Brian Bannister is now on a two game winning streak, and will start in another day game against the Tampa Bay Rays. We have discussed Bannister's nasty day/night splits in previous editions of Field Of Streams, and the Royals are playing some great baseball right now, so this is as good a time as any to start him. What's with walking nearly a batter per inning in that last start though? Let's not see anymore of that Brian. Edwin Jackson has won only a single game in his last five starts and will now skip a start due to a suspension. Now he'll be in a slump and rusty. Stay away this week.

Paul Byrd CLE @ Livan Hernandez MIN
How ironic that the two pitchers I compared as being equal as two of the worst starting pitchers in the Major leagues, will now go toe to toe against each other in an epic battle to see with one is truly the worst. Try not to get involved. Watch this one from the sidelines.

July 5, 2008
Aaron Laffey CLE @ Kevin Slowey MIN
Aaron Laffey has been a decent stand in for the Indians, and far from a horrible addition to deeper leagues this season. However, he strikes out very few batters and rarely picks up the win despite consistently provided an average of six solid innings per start. For leagues of twelve teams or less, Laffey simply leaves you unsatisfied and wanting more. Kevin Slowey on the other hand, has won two of his last three starts, picking up a no decision it what was arguably the strongest outing of the three, and provides far more strike outs. Come on and take a slow ride.

Greg Smith OAK @ Gavin Floyd CHW
Greg Smith is very similar to Aaron Laffey this season with the exception that he doesn't pitch as deep in to games. He is not worthy of ownership outside of AL only leagues. Gavin Floyd has been on all season long, and even when things get sloppy for him, the Black and White Bombers seem to provide him with a little extra cushion. Floyd won't always be lights out, but he is always a decent spot start option in what has been a huge break out season for him.

Tim Redding WAS @ Aaron Harang CIN
I should probably discuss Aaron Harang at more length, but I've simply stopped caring. Scroll up and read the last segment on him again. Tim Redding, (AKA: Mr. No Decision), has now gone seven straight starts without factoring in to the decision. He isn't quite as favorable an option as he was early in the season as he has without a doubt cooled off. I do not believe he will lose the match up, and instead could be looking to make it eight undecided in a row. Use Redding if your desperate, I don't think he'll do any serious damage to your stats.

Oliver Perez NYM @ Jamie Moyer PHI
Jamie Moyer has dropped three straight, but he hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of those starts and even struck out nine batters in 6.2 innings against Oakland. Moyer is doing his job, and this trend of poor run support when he is on the mound has to be short lived with the NL East leading Phillies. Continue to use Moyer as a spot start, and continue to avoid Oli Perez despite his decent start against the Yankees. Oli has never pitched poorly against them posting a career 2.61 ERA and 5-1 record in six starts against the Evil Empire. Oli is getting spanked regularly on the mound this season.

July 6, 2008

Collin Balester WAS @ Edinson Volquez CIN
Collin Balester has gained plenty of experience in the minor leagues pitching well over 500 innings at various levels. Only once has he ever recorded a losing season. Balester is an above average strike out pitcher who should have no problem locking down a rotation spot for the desperate Washington Nationals. However, I'm not convinced that the Nats are good enough to make him worthy of a spot start. Edinson Volquez had his first poor outing of the season, he's gonna bounce right back at the Nats will be swinging at big air.

Rich Harden OAK @ John Danks CWS
It's getting in hot in here. Rich Harden has posted an ERA of 0.46 in his last three starts. John Danks has posted a 0.50 ERA during that same period. If Rich Harden is available in your league than you should quit joining 4 team leagues. If John Danks is available, go get him. You shouldn't need me to tell you to start him.

Jason Marquis CHC @ Todd Wellemeyer STL
Jason Marquis hasn't picked up a loss since May 13th despite some rather disgusting outings. His bloated ERA and WHIP combined with his lack of strike out power make him a poor fantasy pitcher in any league. Todd Wellemeyer was ripping it up before some minor elbow problems. He was a little rusty in his return against Pittsburgh but showed definite improvement pitching five scoreless innings on a pitch count against the Tigers. Look for Wellemeyer to continue to improve and be given a longer leash this time around.

Tim Wakefield BOS @ Joba Chamberlain NYY
Joba Chamberlain has really gotten that fastball working and is finally striking out batters like we always knew he was capable of. Tim Wakefield also has his knuckleball working better than it has all season. Both would appear to be great starts, but here's the deal breaker. The Yankees pound Wakefield just about every time they meet leaving him with a 9-16 record and ERA over 5.00 in his combined starts against them. Joba looked fantastic the last time he faced the Red Sox. Let him go again and try and leave Wakefield out of your rotation for this start.

Wandy Rodriguez HOU @ Charlie Morton ATL
This one is simple. You just can't start Wandy on the road. Now is a much better opportunity to give Charlie Morton his second chance.

Highlight Of The Week

Chris Davis, 1B/3B Texas Rangers
Chris Davis is now the first recorded player in Rangers history to homer in his first two consecutive major league starts. Davis was given the call when the Rangers finally decided that Chris Shelton had nothing to offer their ball club. However Davis is obviously not content to sit on the bench, he's looking to put either Ramon Vazquez or Hank Blalock out of a job. Davis is comfortable at 1st base or 3rd and has posted phenomenal minor league power numbers and batting average. Chris Davis has an incredible future in the MLB and it starts now.

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