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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:

  • On Friday, Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau suffered a bruised lung after he train-wrecked with 6-foot, 220-pound backstop Miguel Olivo in a bang-bang play at the plate. Luckily, tests revealed no broken bones, but Morneau coughed up blood after the collision, which has hospitalized the reigning AL MVP for three days. Unless additional X-Rays reveal significant damage, he could return later this week, but a DL stint cannot be ruled out. Jeff Cirillo (0.12 percent owned) has gone 4-for-10 with two RBI filling in for Morneau and is a serviceable one-week BA play in AL-only leagues. The 37-year-old utility infielder has slapped a .333 BA in 45 June at-bats.
  • Cubs closer Ryan Dempster will likely be sidelined until at least Wednesday with a strained oblique. The undervalued Dempster has only blown two saves this season and is currently the 13th-best stopper in Yahoo! leagues. Owners in dire straits for saves should peruse the wire for interim closer Bob Howry (2.5 percent owned). The 33 year-old workhorse throws a darting 92-94 mph fastball and has saved 59 games in his career. Over the weekend, Howry slammed the door against his former employer, the Chicago White Sox, for back-to-back saves. Interestingly, Lou Piniella has recently hinted that Carlos Marmol would be a potential long-term solution if Dempster were befallen by a significant injury. However, with Sean Marshall's emergence as the Cubs fifth starter, thoughts of moving Dempster into the rotation have been squashed.
  • Floundering Southside outfielder Jermaine "Live and Let" Dye will likely head to the 15-Day DL with a nagging right quadriceps injury. Dye, who has homered only once in his past 84 at-bats, first suffered the strain on June 18 and complained on Saturday that his leg "hurt real bad." Even if the soon-to-be free agent dons different team threads soon, those in search of a power bat for a second half run may want to pitch a lowball offer for his services. Over the weekend, he was swapped straight up for Brad Penny, Mike Lowell and Delmon Young in Y! Plus leagues. With Dye and Darin Erstad on the shelf, Andy Gonzalez, Rob Mackowiak and Luis Terrero will split time in center and right. None of them are worthy of ownership in mixed leagues at this time.
  • On Sunday, Blue Jays mutton chops wearer Dustin McGowan (1 percent owned) lost a no-hitter in the ninth against Colorado after Jeff Baker laced a screaming liner into center. Impressively, the youngster kept his composure and finished off the Rockies for his first career complete game shutout. Before owners anoint the 25 year-old top prospect man-crush material understand that his command has vanished at times this season (3.5 BB/9) and extraordinary performances like this are a rarity. However, he's developed into a desirable back-of-the-rotation starter in 12-team mixed leagues. If you take away his six earned run implosion versus the Dodgers on June 19, McGowan has notched a sparkling 2.55 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and a respectable 6.8 K/9 since May 23. With a lively mid-90s fastball and a tight-spinning mid-80s slider, he has favorable odds to notch an ERA around 3.50 over the second half. Concerned Curt Schilling owners looking for a replacement should scour the wire for his services.
  • Oakland's Rich Harden (94.2 percent owned) was activated from the DL on Friday and will throw out of the bullpen. A's manager Bob Geren said he will build up his shoulder strength with several short-inning stints until he feels comfortable Harden "can go four or five innings." As of now, the 25 year-old will likely return to the rotation shortly after the All-Star Break. Because Alan Embree has been masterful in the ninth (8-for-9 in save opportunities), it appears Harden will not see any end-game duty. Geren wants to get Harden regular work this week and may have him pitch multiple two-inning sessions if in-game circumstances allow. Be sure to activate him in all formats as hell be a terrific source of ERA, WHIP and Ks working in middle-relief.
  • Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days): Aaron Miles, StL, 2B (13-25, 4 R, 0.21% owned), Alex Gordon, KC, 3B (11-26, 2 RBI, SB, 13.9%), Jonny Gomes, TB, OF (10-25, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2.6%), Matt Stairs, Tor, 1B/OF (10-19, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2.7%), Troy Tulowitzki, Col, SS (9-20, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 9.8%)
Whiffers o the weak (Last 7 days): Adam LaRoche, Pit, 1B (3-25, 9 Ks, 46.3%), Kelly Johnson, Atl, 2B/OF (3-21, 7 K, 97.4%), Aubrey Huff, 1B/3B/OF, Bal (3-18, 6 K, 34.2%), Hideki Matsui, NYY, OF (4-24, 5 Ks, 99.6%), Dave Roberts, SF, OF (4-27, 4 Ks, 25.1%)
Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days): Corey Hart, Mil, OF ( 4 HR, 9 RBI, 3 SB, 39.1%), Alfredo Amezaga, Fla, 2B/SS/OF (8-24, 2 SB, 0.33%), Jason Tyner, Min, OF (3-10, 2 SB, 0.17%)

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 at Min at Sea
Doc operating - 3 W, 2.44 ERA in L3
2 John Lackey KC at Bal
Won 6 of his last 8 starts with a 2.66 ERA
3 Jeremy Bonderman Tex Min
Shaken not stirred - 8 straight wins
4 C.C. Sabathia Oak TB
3.18 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in 10 home starts
5 Dan Haren at Cle at NYY
Heavenly Haren fewer than 3 ER in 13 starts
6 Andy Pettitte at Bal Oak
7 quality starts in his past 10
7 James Shields ChW at Cle
Rough 11 ER in last 11 IP, but WHIP savior
8 Shaun Marcum at Min at Sea
On the Marc - 1.87 ERA, 15 K last 19.2 IP
9 Jon Garland at TB at KC
Three QS in his past four games w/2.56 ERA
10 Jeremy Guthrie NYY LAA
Thrown at least 7 IP in 8 straight; QS hero
11 Chad Gaudin at Cle at NYY
2.76 ERA, 1.32 WHIP in 7 road starts
12 Julian Tavarez at Sea Tex
2 ER, 0.85 WHIP, 21 runs of support L2
13 Nate Robertson Tex Min
First starts since May 5 - arm fatigue
14 John Danks at TB at KC
Has not made it to the sixth since May 22
15 Kevin Slowey Tor at Det
4.43 ERA, 1.61 WHIP 10:6 K:BB in 4 starts
Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League
RNK PLAYER OPP1 OPP2
1 Brad Penny at Ari SD
Shiny 2 W, 1.25 ERA, 19:1 K:BB L3
2 Tim Hudson Was at Fla
Huddy 14 IP, 1 ER, 11:2 K:BB vs Was
3 Ben Sheets Hou at ChC
Holy Sheets - 3 W, 1.63 ERA in June
4 Jeff Francis at ChC at Hou
Noise twin 8 QS in his past 10
5 Tom Glavine StL at Phi
Tagged for 17 ER in his past 3; 1 W in L6
6 Justin Germano at SF at LAD
At least 6 IP in 7 of 8, 2.63 ERA
7 Barry Zito SD Ari
4.04 ERA, 1.32 WHIP in seven home starts
8 Homer Bailey at Phi StL
Doh! 7:11 K:BB in first three starts, but 2 W
9 Micah Owings LAD at SF
Fair 4.58 ERA, 11 K in last three starts
10 Dontrelle Willis Pit Atl
Derailed, 10 ER in past 15 IP
11 Jason Jennings at Mil Col
Since activation - 4.30 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
12 Jason Marquis Col Mil
Zero wins since May 9; 5.19 ERA in June
13 Wandy Rodriguez at Mil Col
Magic Wandy 3.38 ERA, 1.08 WHIP in June
14 Jason Bergmann at Atl at Pit
1.29 ERA in seven rehab innings; 4% owned
15 Mike Maroth at NYM at Cin
3.82 career ERA vs. NL opponents

Remaining AL Two-Start Pitchers: Jeff Weaver (Bos, Tor), J.P. Howell (ChW, at Cle), Vicente Padilla (at Det, at Bos), Kameron Loe (at Det, at Bos), Scott Baker (Tor, at Det), John Thomson (at LAA, ChW)

Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Rodrigo Lopez (at ChC, at Hou), Chad Billingsley (at Ari, SD), Kyle Kendrick (Cin, NYM), Paul Maholm (at Fla, Was), Edgar Gonzalez (LAD, at SF), Todd Wellemeyer (at NYM, at Cin)


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 June 22:

BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)
BOTTOM 5 (Worst) CS ATT CS%
Gary Bennett, StL - (at New York Mets, at Cincinnati) 1 19 0.052
Jason Phillips, Tor - (at Minnesota, at Seattle) 4 44 0.090
Jason Varitek, Bos - (at Seattle, Texas) 3 24 0.125
John Buck, KC - (at LA Angels, Chicago White Sox) 4 23 0.173
Jorge Posada, NYY - (at Baltimore, Oakland) 13 68 0.191
TOP 5 (Best) CS ATT CS%
Joe Mauer, Min - (Toronto, at Detroit) 9 17 0.529
David Ross, Cin - (at Philadelphia, St. Louis) 15 31 0.483
Kenji Johjima, Sea - (Boston, Toronto) 14 35 0.400
Chris Snyder, Ari - (LA Dodgers, at San Francisco) 12 30 0.400
Ronny Paulino, Pit - (at Florida, Washington) 19 48 0.395

AL Steals Shopping: Yuniesky Betancourt, Sea, SS (8.4% owned), Kenny Lofton, Tex, OF (49.3%), Reggie Willits, LAA, OF (32.9%), Mark Ellis, Oak, 2B (3.7%), Shannon Stewart, Oak, OF (0.49%)

NL Steals Shopping: Norris Hopper, Cin, OF (0.10% 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 Sasquatch Richie Sexson is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through June 23.

BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – AL
BOTTOM 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
Tampa Bay 5.65 ChW at Cle
Texas 5.32 at Det at Bos
Seattle 4.78 Bos Tor
TOP 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
Oakland 3.33 at Cle at NYY
Boston 3.72 at Sea Tex
LA Angels 3.85 KC at Bal
BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – NL
BOTTOM 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
St. Louis 4.99 at NYM at Cin
Philadelphia 4.89 Cin NYM
Cincinnati 4.73 at Phi StL
TOP 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
San Diego 3.01 at SF at LAD
LA Dodgers 3.76 at Ari SD
NY Mets 3.78 StL at Phi