Nick Kappel's Fantasy Focus: Advancing to Your League Championship Game
Original Articles: Baseball Reflections
For most fantasy baseball leagues, today marks the beginning of the semifinal playoff round.
If you've made it this far, it's important to know that this is the most critical time of the year. Everything that's happened up until this point is irrelevant; because in a one week matchup, anything can happen.
Forget about the fact that you nabbed Ben Zobrist off of waivers in May, or that you successfully avoided Josh Hamilton's injury-plagued season.
The shocking truth is that Casey McGehee is currently more valuable than David Wright, so listen up.
Every game, every at-bat, and even every pitch at this point in the season is crucial. It's important to play the matchups and ride the hot hand. Here are a few pointers for the upcoming week.
Ross Ohlendorf has turned in seven quality starts in his last nine outings. During that streak, the 27-year-old has posted a 2.94 ERA in 58 innings and boasts a respectable 42:20 K:BB ratio.
His next scheduled start is Friday in Pittsburgh against the Padres. In 92 innings at home this season, Ohlendorf is 8-2 with a 2.74 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. In his only start against San Diego this season, he pitched seven strong innings, allowing just three runs on five hits while picking up the win. He's an excellent spot-start this week.
In just 95 at-bats with the Rangers, Julio Borbon is batting .347 with 19 runs, four dingers, 15 RBI and 14 steals. The 23-year-old is batting leadoff in the potent Texas lineup, further strengthening his value.
The Rangers play six games in Arlington this week, where Borbon is batting .500 in 48 at-bats. The left-handed batter is likely to face only one southpaw this week, so fantasy owners can count on him being in the lineup.
Frustrated with Alex Rios' recent lack of production? There's no time to wait. Borbon would be a great replacement this week.
David DeJesus is putting together an impressive hitting streak. The Kansas City outfielder has a hit in 14 straight games, and has a hit in 31 of his last 34 games. During that 34-game span, DeJesus is batting .341 with 24 runs, four home runs and 14 RBI.
I could mention his home/road or lefty/righty splits, but it probably wouldn't matter. The 29-year-old is hitting everything in sight, and would serve as a nice fill-in this week for any of your sluggish batters.
Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard will continue to produce, but playing hot hands such as Borbon and DeJesus (among others) will help separate you from your opponent. Check your matchups each day this week, and make spot-starts when it's appropriate. The extra effort will go a long way in ensuring your championship game berth. Good luck!
Nick Kappel is a fantasy baseball writer for BaseballReflections.com. In addition to this, he covers fantasy football, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Chicago Cubs for BleacherReport.com. Starting on Oct. 1, his work will also be featured on FanHuddle.com.
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