By Andy Behrens
May 16, 2007
Roto Arcade This Week : May 14
| May 15
We'd been planning a very special leather-bound commemorative double-issue of Roto Arcade to preview the first round of interleague play. It was really going to be spectacular. Advertisers were lined up, there was a glossy full-color Boof Bonser centerfold … it was really breathtaking.
Then we looked at the schedule, and realized that all the advice you need can be put neatly into two sentences: If you have Frank Thomas or Jason Giambi in a UTIL spot, you'll need to find an alternative this weekend. If you're in a head-to-head league, make sure to replace your DH with a player who can help in a category that's tight.
That's pretty much it.
A few other pre-interleague notes: Jim Thome remains on the DL; Mike Sweeney, who's only owned in 0.5 percent of Yahoo! leagues, will likely split time at first with Alex Gordon, who's only owned in 15.1 percent of Yahoo! leagues; Expect to see Sammy Sosa in right field for Texas; Even with a DH, you still can't predict who Jerry Narron will decide to bench; Giambi might start a game at first base, but bone spurs in his heel have limited his production, and the Yankees will face a pair of left-handers on Friday and Saturday.
OK, that's really all there is to say. Onto the blurbs …
Toronto's Jesse Litsch was terrific Tuesday. He was only facing the Orioles, though, so don't do anything crazy. Litsch, a 22-year-old right-hander who looks exactly like a 1985 My Buddy doll, began the game by walking Brian Roberts, then allowed a single to Nick Markakis. And then the ground balls began. Roberts scored on a double-play, but that was the only run the O's managed.
Litsch only struck out one batter, but he coaxed an incredible 21 outs via ground ball. He throws a cutter, sinker, curve, slider and change. Before the call-up, Litsch was 5-1 at Double-A New Hampshire with a 0.96 ERA, a 0.77 WHIP, and 28 Ks in 37.2 innings pitched. No, he's not yet in the Yahoo! player pool, but it won't be long. With Roy Halladay (appendicitis) sidelined for at least another month, Litsch is worth a flier in AL-only leagues. The Jays won't actually need a fifth starter until the Minnesota series, May 25-27, so it's possible he won't start for the next ten days.
With Huston Street (ulnar nerve irritation … uh-oh) on the DL, Justin Duchscherer will close for Oakland. That is, when his arthritic hip allows him to. It could be an ugly scrum for A's saves over the next few weeks, with Kiko Calero, Alan Embree and Jay Witasick likely to be plans B, C and D.
Boston's J.D. Drew left Tuesday's loss to the Tigers after the seventh inning. He injured his back pursuing a Brandon Inge home run in the third. We should've all learned by now that an injured Drew brother is not someone to rely on in fantasy leagues. Wily Mo Pena, the greatest batting practice hitter of all time, should get some at bats in the days ahead.
Yeah, Glenallen Hill was a pretty great BP hitter, too. Wily Mo and Glenallen are probably one-two.
You're better off just not watching Jason Bergmann pitch. He doesn't seem to have overpowering stuff, but the box scores tell a different story. In eight starts, National League hitters are batting only .162 against him. Bergmann's fastball is consistently in the 88 to 90 mph range, but he's located it flawlessly, and his slider seems to be indistinguishable from the heater. Bergmann took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Braves on Monday, struck out ten hitters, and finally won for the first time this year. By now, Bergmann (2.4 percent owned) should be on someone's roster in NL-only formats, and he's a streamable pitcher in mixed leagues, too.
There's a decent chance we'll see a few HBPs in today's Cubs-Mets game. In the sixth inning of the Cubs 10-1 win on Tuesday, Aramis Ramirez hit a towering grand slam down the left field line. He took a few slow steps toward first, but mostly he just watched the flight of the ball … and watched … and watched. Then he took about nine minutes to circle the bases. In the bottom of the sixth, Carlos Zambrano plunked Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado on the hand.
Are you not men, Mets?
We'll see how Jorge Sosa responds today.
Speaking of the Cubs, Alfonso Soriano hit third Tuesday, since Derrek Lee is out with neck spasms. Hmmm … If Lou Piniella successfully convinces Soriano that he belongs further down in the order, you can pretty much give him the National League Manager of the Year award right now. It's a little insane that the Cubs are allowing a player with a .326 career on-base percentage to leadoff, especially when the guy also has a .510 career slugging percentage. But wooing Soriano to Chicago apparently involved a promise to let him leadoff. Soriano should, of course, be in a better position to drive in runs. He'll steal bases no matter where he hits. The Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer reports that Soriano is likely to move to second in the batting order when Lee returns. If the Cubs can just drop him one lineup spot per month, by August he'll be hitting where he belongs.
Thursday's more streamable starters include Chuck James (49.1 percent owned) at Washington, Tim Lincecum (49.7) at Houston, Matt DeSalvo (1.0) at the White Sox, Dallas Braden (0.1) versus Kansas City, and ground-ball specialist Fausto Carmona (9.1) against the Twins.
Andy Behrens has written for ESPN.com, the Chicago Sports Review, NBA.com, the Chicago Reader and various other publications. In all likelihood, Andy owns more Artis Gilmore memorabilia than you. Follow him on Twitter. Send Andy a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 4:14 pm, EDT
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