Rodrigo Lopez has struggled this season. (Maryland Sports Blog)
This column originally appeared on CreativeSports.com.
Tony Care, the normal writer of this fine column, is away again at yet another wedding. Could “wedding” be some kind of euphemism for rehab? Just kidding, Tony. He’ll be back next week, but for now, you’re stuck with RotoRob to shed light on the upcoming week as we take A Look Ahead.
We’ve decided to create our own format for this, starting with all the two-start pitchers for the week, and then lists of players for the week that we like and ones we wouldn’t let onto our worst enemy’s Fantasy team. We start with the AL and then shift to the senior circuit.
American League two-start pitchers: Rodrigo Lopez, BAL (@TOR, @BOS); Jon Lester, BOS (@KC, vs. BAL); Chien-Ming Wang, NYY (@CWS, vs. LAA); Tim Corcoran, TB (@SEA, @OAK); Ted Lilly, TOR (vs. BAL, @MIN); Dustin McGowan, TOR (vs. BAL, @MIN); Mark Buehrle, CWS (vs. NYY, vs. DET); Jeremy Sowers, CLE (vs. LAA, vs. KC); Jake Westbrook, CLE (vs. LAA, vs. KC); Zach Miner, DET (vs. MIN, @CWS); Luke Hudson, KC (vs. BOS, @CLE); Francisco Liriano, MIN (@DET, vs. TOR); Brad Radke, MIN (@DET, vs. TOR); Kelvim Escobar, LAA (@CLE, @NYY); Esteban Loaiza, OAK (vs. TEX, vs. TB); Jamie Moyer, SEA (vs. TB, @TEX); Felix Hernandez, SEA (vs. TB, @TEX); Vicente Padilla, TEX (@OAK, vs. SEA); and Kevin Millwood, TEX (@OAK, vs. SEA).
You want ’em:
- Looking for a sleeper reliever down the stretch? Check out Jason Davis of Cleveland. He was unhittable at Triple-A Buffalo (0.54 with four saves in 11 games and 16 2/3 IP with 15 Ks), and has looked pretty dazzling as a long reliever in Cleveland recently. In the past week and change, he shut down two pretty darn good teams, tossing three shutout frames at the Tigers and then making the BoSox look silly, striking out four in 2 2/3 shutout innings. This kid can bring it, and if Fausto Carmona is not up for the task, the Indians’ closer job could be an open audition down the stretch. [Okay… sometimes we freak ourselves out. We wrote the paragraph above on Wednesday afternoon, and Carmona blew another save that night. Then on Thursday, the Tribe sure enough did turn to Davis, who threw a perfect inning for the save.]
- Kelvim Escobar has looked very good in his past three starts and has a winning record at both Jacobs Field and Yankee Stadium over the past three years. Be aware, however, that he’s pitching with a tender elbow.
- Joe Nelson is starting to make believers out of us. We’re talking about a 31-year-old rookie reliever pitching for the Royals. Doesn’t sound very sexy, does it? Well, AL-only owners are grabbing Nelson like he’s the second coming of Dan Quisenberry or something.
- While we’re looking at relievers who can help you this week, Rudy Seanez hasn’t given up a run in close to a month and he’s starting to garner some attention in deeper AL leagues as a result. Need a reliever? Have a look at old Rudy.
You want ’em like you want an STD:
- Mark Buehrle finally pitched well in his last start, but before you get excited, it was against the Royals. So we’ll need to see more to believe he’s out of his slump. Apparently, the problems have resulted because he’s been tipping his pitches. We wouldn’t want to risk it against a hungry Yankee squad and showing-no-signs-of-cracking Detroit team this week. That’s a tall order for Buehrle even if he were on his game, which he clearly hasn’t been in the last month (0-5, 11.48 in July).
- Chances are if you own Ramon Hernandez, you don’t have a better catching option on your bench. But given that the Orioles are on a road trip this week, you ought to know that Hernandez is batting under .200 with just a 576 OPS away from Camden. At home, however, he’s a scorching .319 with a fantastic 951 OPS. Govern yourself accordingly.
- Wilfredo Ledezma got tattooed in back-to-back outings a couple of weeks ago, and he’s barely pitched since. There is no reason to own him right now.
- Jorge Posada hasn’t exactly been hitting the cover off the ball lately (just .260 in July), but this week he faces some pitchers he’s never fared well against, including Buehrle (3-for-16), Freddy Garcia (3-for-13), Jon Garland (2-for-9), Ervin Santana (1-for-6), Joe Saunders (never faced him; advantage Saunders) and Escobar (4-for-32).
National League two-start pitchers: Horacio Ramirez, ATL (vs. PHA, vs. MIL); Ricky Nolasco, FLA (@WAS, @ARZ); Steve Trachsel, NYM (vs. SD, @WAS); Brett Myers, PHA (@ATL, vs. CIN); Livan Hernandez, WAS (vs. FLA, vs. NYM); Carlos Marmol, CHC (@MIL, @COL); Elizardo Ramirez, CIN (vs. STL, @PHA); Eric Milton, CIN (vs. STL, @PHA); David Bush, MIL (vs. CHC, @ATL); Paul Maholm, PIT (@HOU, vs. STL); Jeff Weaver, STL (@CIN, @PIT); Jason Marquis, STL (@CIN, @PIT); Enrique Gonzalez, ARZ (vs. SF, vs. FLA); Josh Fogg, COL (@LAD, vs. CHC); Byung-Hung Kim, COL (@LAD, vs. CHC); Derek Lowe, LAD (vs. FLA, @SF); Woody Williams, SD (@NYM, @HOU); and Matt Cain, SF (@ARZ, @LAD).
You want ’em:
- Watch for Greg Aquino to start earning some hold chances soon. He’s on a five-inning shutout streak and should be a good bet this week, given his better pitching at home and fine career record vs. the Giants and Marlins.
- All it took was a couple of new shortstops arriving in L.A. for Rafael Furcal to pick it up. Heading into action Friday, he’s put together a 10-game hitting streak in which he’s gone 18-for-41 to raise his average 16 points.
- Cesar Izturis, run out of town by Furcal, has taken over at shortstop for the Cubs and become a popular pick in NL-only leagues. Izturis may still be available, so check and pounce if he is. In his last full season, he had almost 200 hits and swiped 25 bases. Izturis could provide a nice boost to your team down the stretch.
- After a sluggish start to his rookie campaign (.192 in April and .264 in May), Mike Jacobs has been on fire, batting .361 in June and .337 in July. He is probably available in your mixed league, unless it’s pretty darn deep.
- Byung-Hung Kim. What’s that? Recommending a Colorado pitcher who makes one of his starts at home this week? We know it sounds insane, but Kim deserves it, winning back-to-back starts at home in convincing fashion (15 2/3 IP, 12 H, two runs, one earned run, zero homers, three walks, 12 Ks). For the season, he’s now 5-3, 2.75 at Coors Field.
- Darren Oliver is seeing very sporadic work, but (notwithstanding his first loss of the year Friday) he’s been lights out when he does pitch, as evidenced by a 0.69 July. This recent run has gotten him attention in mid-sized NL leagues and even some very deep mixed leagues.
You want ’em like you want an STD:
- Brandon Claussen was scheduled to pitch Saturday, but he still isn’t ready to come off the DL. But even so, did you really want that 6.19 ERA and .301 BAA in your lineup? Steer clear.
- Eric Munson hit almost .400 in May and looked like a decent back-up catcher in deep NL leagues, but he’s 11-for-70 since and serves no Fantasy purpose whatsoever. You must be able to find a better option.
- Adam LaRoche has been on a tear of late, but he pulled up lame with a hammy last week. Even though he’s back now, he’s a sub par hitter (under .250) at home, so keep him on the bench with the Braves at home this week.
- >Derrick Turnbow is sure looking like a one-year wonder, isn’t he? The addition of Francisco Cordero has sealed Turnbow’s fate. His last appearance? Mop-up duty in an 8-2 loss. Sounds like an important gig, eh? Turnbow is slowly starting to show up on the waiver wires of shallow NL and mixed leagues.
- Woody Williams is coming off a couple of horrible starts in which he was rocked. This week he has road starts against the best team in the National League (New York) and in one of the toughest pitcher’s parks in the majors (Minute Maid Park in Houston). Do yourself a favour and start someone else. Anyone else.
NEXT: RotoRob’s regular column, Spikes Up, appears Monday. Basketball fans should check out Three in the Key, next appearing Thursday.