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Weekly Rundown

Brad Evans
Yahoo Sports

The Sacagawea of fantasy primers, the Weekly Rundown guides owners through a forest of obscure stats and exploitable matchups to help the indecisive resolve lineup conundrums. While reading, keep in mind matchups are subject to change due to managerial moves, unforeseen injuries and Mother Nature's influences.

Leading Off
As we head into this week's schedule of games, here's the nitty-gritty on a handful of notable names:

  • Future fantasy superstar Hunter Pence was recalled by the Astros from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday and has officially taken over center field duties from Chris Burke. The 24-year-old Pence raked a .304 career BA in the minors and was hitting a robust .341 with three homers, 19 RBI and two steals in 85 Round Rock at-bats. He's worth a top waiver priority in all leagues given his .310 BA, 20 HR, 15 SB upside.
  • Seattle royal Felix Hernandez said he felt good after a 35-pitch bullpen session on Friday and is hopeful he'll return either May 4th or 5th at New York. King Felix has a 6.94 ERA versus the Yankees in two career starts.
  • South Side slugger Jim Thome was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained rib cage on Saturday. Alex Cintron, Pablo Ozuna, Brian Anderson and possibly top prospect Ryan Sweeney could get additional at-bats in Thome's absence. Sweeney, recalled on Sunday from Triple-A, tallied a .296 BA with 13 HR and 70 RBI in 449 at-bats in Charlotte last year.
  • On Friday, Yankees starter Mike Mussina threw a 60-pitch side session comfortably. He's expected to return to the New York rotation maelstrom on Thursday at Texas. Moose has a 4.09 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and five wins in 11 career starts at Ameriquest Field.
  • After a bullpen session on Saturday, Brewers manager Ned Yost said Ben Sheets "feels fine" and if his re-evaluation on Sunday proves positive, the Milwaukee ace will likely return for his scheduled start Tuesday versus St. Louis. In his last start against the Cardinals on April 15, Sheets was torched for 7 ER in 5 IP. With Sheets expected to log two starts this week, owners in weekly transaction leagues need to start him with confidence.
  • Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 Days): Mike Lowell, 3B, Bos (10-26, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 16.1% owned), Pedro Feliz, 3B, SF (6-18, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 23.5%), Kelly Johnson, 2B/OF, Atl (11-19, 3 HR, 8 RBI , 35.4%), Sammy Sosa, OF, Tex (3 HR, 8 RBI, 28.8%), Khalil Greene, SS, SD (8-21, HR, 9 RBI, 28.1%)
  • Whiffers o' the weak: Bobby Abreu, OF, NYY (1-22, 8 K, 99.9% owned), Adam Dunn, OF, Cin (2-18, 7 K, 99.9%), Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, SD (2-18, 6 K, 0.64%), Brandon Inge, 3B, Det (3-22, 9 K, 41.8%), Mike Cameron, OF, SD (4-22, 8 K, 70.0%)
  • Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days): Kenny Lofton, OF, Tex (5 SBs, 23.2% owned), Chris Duffy, OF, Pit (3 SBs, 44.9%), Elijah Dukes, OF, TB (2 SBs, 4.8%)

This Week's Two-Start Pitchers
For those steadfast, stream conscious owners who want to push the innings-pitched envelope this is the list for you. Run support, ballpark factors, historical and recent trends, opposing offenses, opposing SPs, managerial tendencies and weather influences are painstakingly taken into account to give you the top double dippers of each week.

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – American League
RNK PLAYER OPP1 OPP2
1 Roy Halladay Tex at Tex
5 QS to open the season with 25:7 K:BB
2 John Lackey at KC ChW
18.2 IP, 3.38 ERA, 17:5 K:BB last 3 starts
3 Jeremy Bonderman Bal at KC
Insane 18:1 K:BB, 2.86 ERA in past 22 IP
4 C.C. Sabathia Tor at Bal
26:5 K:BB, 3.43 ERA, 1.14 WHIP last 3
5 Bartolo Colon at KC ChW
Velocity up to 94 mph, 11 K in 7 IP vs TB
6 Curt Schilling Oak at Min
2 W, 2.45 ERA, 0.95 WHIP last 3 starts
7 A.J. Burnett at Cle at Tex
Hideous 12:10 K:BB, but 2.79 ERA last 3
8 Joe Blanton at Bos at TB
4 straight QS, yet 29% owned
9 Daniel Cabrera at Det Cle
4.91 ERA in past 3, but superb 8.4 K/9
10 Zack Greinke LAA Det
6+ IP only once in past 3 starts
11 Phil Hughes at Tex Sea
Shaky debut – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 5:1 K:BB
12 Jarrod Washburn ChW at NYY
Coming off 3rd career SO vs. Oak on 4-26
13 Vincente Padilla at Tor Tor
Yet to register a win; despicable 10:16 K:BB
14 Edwin Jackson Min Oak
Respectable 6 ER, 9 K in past 12 IP
15 Sidney Ponson at TB Bos
Walrus fat 8.44 ERA, 2.06 WHIP in 4 starts
Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League
RNK PLAYER OPP1 OPP2
1 Jake Peavy Was at Fla
24 Ks in past 12.1 IP - Nats O pathetic
2 Rich Hill at Pit Was
Slipped in last start, but a 1.57 ERA on year
3 Tim Hudson Phi LAD
In top form – 2 W, 1.57 ERA, 19 K L3
4 Cole Hamels at Atl at SF
Best on the road in short career – 3.77 ERA
5 Brandon Webb at LAD NYM
'Zona Spidey L2 - 16 IP, 3 ER, 19:3 K:BB
6 Orlando Hernandez Fla at Ari
14 IP, 15:4 K:BB, 1 ER in past 2
7 Bronson Arroyo at Hou Col
Ks down, but 2.18 ERA in L3 starts
8 Ben Sheets StL Pit
Good BP session on Sat.; should go Tues.
9 Scott Olsen at NYM SD
Solved mechanical flaw – 8 IP, 10 K on 4-25
10 Randy Wolf Ari at Atl
Ridiculous 23:3 K:BB, 2 W in past 18 IP
11 Jeff Suppan StL Pit
Unnoticed 3 QS in first 4
12 Kip Wells at Mil Hou
11 ER in past 10.2 IP – Wells of old
13 Noah Lowry Col Phi
11 BBI in past 19.2 IP – must improve
14 Jon Lieber at Atl at SF
First 2 starts – 11.2 IP, 2 ER, 10:1 K:BB
15 Mike Pelfrey Fla at Ari
Rough 10 ER in last 8 IP, but talent is there

Remaining AL Two-Start Pitchers: Odalis Perez (LAA, Det), Kameron Loe (NYY, Tor)

Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Livan Hernandez (at LAD, NYM), Zach Duke (ChC, at Mil), John Patterson (at SD, at ChC), Russ Ortiz (Col, Phi), Josh Fogg (at SF, at Cin), Matt Albers (Cin, at StL), Tony Armas (ChC, at Mil)


To Catch a Thief
Unrelated to the "Dateline NBC" predator stories, the "Rundown" investigates the best and worst base burglar matchups for the upcoming week. Stats reflect numbers through April 28:

BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)
BOTTOM 5 (Worst) CS ATT CS%
Josh Bard, SD – (Washington, at Florida) 0 11 0.000
Brian Schneider, Was – (at San Diego, at Chicago Cubs) 1 14 0.071
Mike Napoli, LAA – (at Kansas City, Chicago White Sox) 2 16 0.125
Jorge Posada, NYY – (at Texas, Seattle) 3 23 0.130
Dioner Navarro, TB – (Minnesota, Oakland) 3 16 0.187
TOP 5 (Best) CS ATT CS%
Yadier Molina, StL – (at Milwaukee, Houston) 5 9 0.555
Joe Mauer, Min – (at Tampa Bay, Boston) 5 9 0.555
Ronny Paulino, Pit – (Chicago Cubs, at Milwaukee) 8 16 0.500
Bengie Molina, SF – (Colorado, Philadelphia) 3 7 0.428
Russell Martin, LAD – (Arizona, at Atlanta) 7 18 0.389

AL Steals Shopping: Kenny Lofton, Tex, OF (23.1% owned), Pablo Ozuna, ChW, 3B/OF (0.14% owned),

NL Steals Shopping: Ryan Theriot, ChC, 2B (14.1% owned), Felix Pie, ChC, OF (2.1% owned), Jose Cruz Jr., SD, OF (1.5% owned)


Feast or Famine?
Torn between two stat-similar corner infielders this week? Use the pitching staff sorter below to help you decide whether or not fiery first basemen Dimitri Young is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through April 28.

BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – AL
BOTTOM 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
Tampa Bay 6.14 Min Oak
Texas 5.27 NYY Tor
Seattle 5.07 ChW at NYY
TOP 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
Oakland 3.08 at Bos at TB
Boston 3.25 Oak at Min
L.A. Angels 3.83 at KC ChW
BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – NL
BOTTOM 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
Florida 5.11 at NYM SD
Washington 4.85 at SD at ChC
Philadelphia 4.59 at Atl at SF
TOP 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
New York Mets 2.87 Fla at Ari
L.A. Dodgers 3.30 Ari at Atl
San Francisco 3.35 Col Phi