Fantasy Baseball: Friday News and Notes

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Fantasy Baseball: Friday News and Notes
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Like many of you, I understand and respect when injuries happen. They just have to be accepted, in general, as something you can't control for. At some point this season, at least one player on your team will hit the disabled list. The answer to dealing with it is in preparation. 
Sometimes that's done through the draft, making sure you cover the waiver wire, or early season trades. Still, it can catch owners by surprise. 
This week has been rough. Teams have lost three upper-tier starters in Brandon Webb, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Chris Carpenter. Then, last night, the Cardinals confirmed that Carpenter actually has an oblique tear, and that the injury could take longer than expected. 
On top of that, Alex Gordon is likely sidelined for nine weeks with a hip injury similar to that of Alex Rodriguez. Then, we find out Vlad Guerrero could miss some time as well. Other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln? 
Let's get to the notes before someone else gets hurt. 

Thursday Rewind
  • The news on Alex Gordon isn't particularly positive. Gordon will likely be sidelined at least nine weeks following surgery on his hip. The Royals have options, and likely will move Mark Teahan back to third with the recall of Mitch Maier. Third base options on waivers aren't solid, but look at Mike Lowell and, in deeper leagues, Josh Fields.
  • Joe Saunders looked solid again last night. He went seven innings, allowing just one run. Sure, I'm nervous that he is such a contact pitcher and doesn't strike many out, but I think that overall he still will perform well. He's available in 50 percent of leagues, and that's just too many. Given guys that are on rosters, Saunders should be more widely owned.
  • Right after we find that Lastings Milledge only has a chance to start in AAA, Elijah Dukes steps in for him and hits his second home run of the season. Dukes getting playing time will certainly help him gain comfort at the plate. Certainly an adequate fantasy replacement for Milledge.
  • I don't care how people talk about the Red Sox, Yankees, or any one else. The best pitching staff in baseball, fantasy or otherwise, resides in Florida. The Marlins pitching is young and good. Anibal Sanchez didn't dominate yesterday, but he put together a nice outing and got the win in six innings of work. Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson, Chris Volstad, and Sanchez all have the ability to merit being on rosters in nearly any and all formats.
  • I'm nowhere near as nervous about Jimmy Rollins as I am about other slow starters. The Phillies haven't played really good baseball yet, and it starts at the top of the order. I'm convinced he'll catch on, and when he does he can carry a team for weeks at a time.
  • Aramis Ramirez was back in the lineup for the Cubs yesterday against Adam Wainwright. Ramirez's back will likely be a lingering issue that owners will have to deal with. Monitor lineups daily until it seems like the habit is back. Wouldn't surprise me to see him miss a game this weekend as a precaution.
  • I'd like to think that Tony La Russa started this whole four-man outfield rotation hoping that the men's softball extra fielder would catch on. Sadly, it hasn't. Worse, no one player is making a benching decision easy. Chris Duncan hit another home run yesterday and went 3-for-4 on the day, putting him near the .350 mark for the season. Three out of four days he'll be in the lineup, and he's producing for the time being.
  • Vlad Guerrero will likely not play this weekend, as he has been sent back to Los Angeles for more tests on what is being called a strained pectoral muscle. The Angels have indicated that he's having trouble throwing, thus the time at DH. Don't fret about him seeing Dr. Lewis Yokum, that's the team physician for the Angels. Nothing out of the ordinary. Monitor closely, especially if this is called worse than a strain.
  • Chris Carpenter is likely going to miss two months. The concern is that the injury isn't just the strain that is being described, but is an oblique tear, as some websites are currently reporting. A tear will take much longer to heal and get over. Carpenter already struggles staying healthy, let's hope the news isn't worse.
  • The rumors of Cliff Lee's death have been greatly exaggerated. Good for him, and owners shouldn't be quite ready to jump ship. I have no issues with benching him yesterday, especially where we can now know that he hasn't forgotten how to pitch.
  • Yesterday's Results: Wins-Sanchez, Saunders, Wainwright; Losses-Lee, Kawakami (Season: 28-19-1). For the record, loved the way Kawakami pitched, even in the loss. Wainwright got a win, but four earned over five innings doesn't have me all warm and fuzzy.

 

Notes for Friday

  • Paul Maholm loves pitching at home, and he gets to do that against the Braves tonight. Maholm went 7-2 last season at PNC Park, and should be able to find some of that magic again tonight. No real track records for Atlanta. You can grab Maholm in 75 percent of ESPN leagues. Again, that's way too many.
  • I'm always on the lookout for a guy or two that could provide some cheap offense. Tonight, that goes to Fred Lewis. Lewis is 6-for-14 against Dan Haren, and should be starting tonight with that record. Keep most other Giants reserved, including Randy Winn and Aaron Rowand, neither of whom have had success against the Arizona ace.
  • Conor Jackson is 9-for-12 against Jonathan Sanchez, and the Diamondbacks as a team are hitting .412 against the Giants pitcher. Sanchez was 1-2 in four starts last season against Arizona, and posted an ERA over 8.00 in that time.
  • Odds are, you could do better than starting Adrian Beltre tonight. Beltre is 4-for-21 against Justin Verlander. Your other Mariners should be fine, and I'd add Franklin Gutierrez to that mix tonight as well. He could be a sneaky start in Seattle.
  • The Rangers have decent numbers against Gil Meche, and there is no reason not to start your regulars here. Meche will put up some strikeouts, and his command has been solid. Still, it's a hitter's park, and the Rangers have the bats to do some damage.
  • Keep Dustin Pedroia in your lineup against Jeremy Guthrie, but the Red Sox haven't hit against the Baltimore pitcher well. No regular beyond Pedroia and David Ortiz is better than 3-for-11 against him, and that number belongs to Jason Varitek.
  • Mike Cameron is a tough one tonight against Livan Hernandez. He has just ten hits in 43 at-bats against him, but four of those hits are home runs. Feast or famine, but the power is certainly there and Cameron is hitting the ball well. Even in NL-only leagues, sit Hernandez tonight. The Brewers are over .300 against him as a team.
  • Don't blame me like the guys at www.crookedpitch.com will if this doesn't hold true, but Roy Oswalt hasn't ever lost to the Reds, and he gets them at home tonight. Was that a jinx? You bet it was, in all likelihood.
  • Really like Nick Blackburn at home against almost anyone. He pitches very well in the dome and gets a struggling lineup with Vlad gone and only Torii Hunter a real consistent threat.
  • Spot Starts: Blackburn, David Purcey, and Maholm
  • Leave on the Bench: Cole Hamels (injury concern)

 

Weekend Notes

  • Josh Beckett is in the process of appealing the suspension he received after his last start. Expect him to go against the Orioles. Not much individual success against Baltimore, and I'd reach for Ty Wiggington and Luke Scott, both of whom have been solid in average and power against the righty.
  • You can't logically start Chien-Ming Wang until you see something worth starting. He hasn't seen much of the Indians, but even still, the numbers this season don't make him worth the gamble.
  • Surprising to see how well the Tampa regulars hit Mark Buehrle. No concerns on keeping any of them in the lineup against the lefty...unless you were planning to start Jason Bartlett. That's probably a bigger problem though. Buehrle hasn't had success at The Trop, and is someone to consider sitting in this instance. For the White Sox, Jim Thome is 0-for-13 against Scott Kazmir.
  • Edwin Jackson is actually a decent reach play against Seattle. Jackson is 2-0 in Safeco, and has the chance to put up some decent numbers against a questionable lineup. A quality start here isn't out of the question.
  • Wandy Rodriguez is widely available, and is another Houston pitcher with good stats against the Reds. At 4-for-11, Joey Votto is the only regular to crack .250 that has more than ten at-bats against Rodriguez.
  • The Cardinals have HAMMERED Ryan Dempster. As a team, they're hitting .319 against him. Get all Cardinals you have into your lineup for this one, as the matchup is good for them. Dempster was 2-0 against them last season, but the numbers are tough.
  • Bengie Molina, Randy Winn, and Rich Aurilia are all solid against Doug Davis. Again, I wouldn't start Davis against nearly anyone, and the numbers here are just plain bad. Most Giants are good plays.
  • Expect an unmitigated disaster when Carl Pavano takes the hill against the Yankees on Sunday. This one could get ugly quickly. I'd be tempted to hold out Mark DeRosa against A.J. Burnett, but your normal Indians will otherwise be set to go.
  • Do not start Jeff Suppan on the road. Do not start Jeff Suppan on the Road. Do not start Jeff Suppan on the road. I think that covers everything you need to know about how good a play your Mets are.
  • Big fan of Ted Lilly and his numbers against the Cardinals. Keep most that you can down, as even with the .321 number of Albert Pujols, the Cards are under .200 against Lilly all-time. That includes guys like Ryan Ludwick and others that would normally start.
  • While the Braves have good numbers against Zach Duke, Duke has been on a complete tear. If you're looking for a win on the final day of the week, you could do worse than looking to this matchup. I'm not benching my Braves, but Duke is hot.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez was all over the place during his last outing, but has seemed to enjoy pitching at home. The Dodgers are ok in limited at-bats against him, but this is a good rebound situation for the Rockies starter. Start him in this one.
  • Spot Starts: Rodriguez, Jackson, Trevor Cahill, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kyle Davies, Glen Perkins
  • Leave on the Bench: Buehrle, Wang, Todd Wellemeyer,

I'll be off the grid on Monday, only on Twitter. Taking in the Patriot's Day tradition in Boston of 11 AM baseball at Fenway.

Collin Hager writes The Elmhurst Pub fantasy blog. You can get your fantasy questions answered by sending an email to elmhurstpubroundtable@yahoo.com. He's also on Twitter @TheRoundtable.

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