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Weekly Rundown

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:

  • Mr. Redlegs is about to blow a stitch. Whispers around the Queen City indicate Cincinnati top pitching prospect Homer Bailey could make his Major League debut next Saturday against intra-state rival Cleveland. According to Reds manager Jerry Narron, Bailey's potential debut "might be bigger than bobblehead night." The 21-year-old fireballer was the Reds top pick in the 2004 draft. He's equipped with a filthy repertoire, which includes a mid-90s fastball, knee-buckling 12-to-6 bender and a plus change. In nine Louisville starts this year, the flame-throwing Texan has tallied a microscopic 1.89 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and has punched out 43 batters in 52.2 IP. Owned in a tiny 1.25 percent of Y! leagues, pick him up in all 12-team formats. But tread cautiously. Bailey has had command issues at times (3.6 BB/9 at Triple-A) and will be inconsistent. If he sticks, I would anticipate numbers comparable to what Boof Bonser did last year (4.22 ERA 1.28 WHIP, 100.1 IP, 84 K).
  • Four-letter network poster-child Roger Clemens had his Monday start scratched due to fatigue in his right groin. Yankees GM Brian Cashman believes the 45-year-old dinosaur will make his highly anticipated first start of '07 on either Friday or Saturday versus Pittsburgh. Broken down Daihatsu Kei Igawa is expected to start in Clemens' stead on Monday in Chicago. Igawa (14.1 percent owned) gave up four earned, whiffed six and walked one in his last Triple-A start on May 29. Command issues have bedeviled Igawa, but with a solid outing versus the White Sox he could force rookie Tyler Clippard back to the minors. Take another look in 14-team or greater mixed and AL only leagues. Given the massive run support the Pinstripe offense can provide, he could be a reasonable source of wins.
  • Dinged Dodger Jason Schmidt (73.1 percent owned) is expected to return to the rotation on Tuesday versus Chris Young and the Padres. In his last bullpen session, Schmidt reportedly registered several fastballs in the low-90s, a stark improvement from his pedestrian low-80s speeds from earlier this year. If his shoulder can hold up, he could be in store for a banner run of quality starts. Pitch an offer now before his value skyrockets.
  • Pittsburgh bullpen linebacker Matt Capps (9.5 percent owned) pitched a perfect ninth against the Dodgers on Saturday to convert his first save of '07. In an unexpected move, manager Jim Tracy removed Salomon Torres from the closer's role on Friday. Capps, projected to supplant Torres "no later than July 1" by yours truly in the May 2 edition of "Bringin' the Noise," will be an elite stopper in NL-only leagues and must be owned in all 12-team formats. His 95-mph gas and bulldog demeanor ranks him in a similar class as Al Reyes and Brian Fuentes.
  • Minnesota's Joe Mauer ran the bases before Saturday's game and reported no soreness in his tender left quad. He is expected to play in a handful of extended spring training games this week and should return to the starting lineup on Friday. Mike Redmond will continue to don the mask in Mauer's place. If you have a surplus of starting pitching, now is a great time to buy low on Mauer. In Y! Plus leagues this week, he was dealt straight up for Rich Hill, Ben Sheets and Brad Penny.

Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days)
Jose Guillen, OF, Sea (7-24, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 8.2% owned), Greg Dobbs, 1B/3B, Phi (4-15, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 0.20%), Brendan Harris, 2B, TB (6-20, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2.5%), Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Bos (14-22, HR, 4 RBI, 1.8%), Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, Cin (9-26, HR, 4 RBI, 5.9%)

Whiffers o' the weak (Last 7 days)
Jeremy Hermida, OF, Fla (5-27, 11 K, 8.8% owned), Jim Thome, DH, ChW (3-24, 10 K, 99.6%), Sammy Sosa, OF, Tex (3-27, 9 K, 90.9%), Howie Kendrick, 2B, LAA (3-25, 8 K, 79.6%), Alex Gordon, 3B, KC (1-18, 7 K, 12.8%)

Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days)
Corey Hart, OF, Mil (10-22, 2 SBs, 0.94% owned), Nick Punto, 2B/SS/3B, Min (6-25, 4 SBs, 3.9%), Reggie Abercrombie, OF, Fla (3-15, 3 SBs, 0.08%), Tadahito Iguchi, 2B, ChW (7-23, 2 SB, 51.8%)

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
1 Dan Haren Bos at SF
"The Baron" - 2 ER or less in 8 straight
2 Roy Halladay TB at LAD
Off the DL - 7 IP, 6 H, 7:0 K:BB vs. ChW
3 James Shields KC at Fla
2.66 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 28:6 K:BB in May
4 C.C. Sabathia KC at Cin
Combined 3.34 ERA in 180.1 IP vs KC/Cin
5 Daisuke Matsuzaka at Oak at Ari
3.77 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .226 BAA in 5 road G
6 Erik Bedard at Sea Col
10.6 K/9, 2.25 ERA since April 28
7 Felix Hernandez Bal at SD
Thorned crown - 14 ER in last 20 IP
8 Jered Weaver Min at StL
9.2 IP, 8 ER, 8:6 K:BB in last two starts
9 Mark Buehrle NYY Hou
Zero wins since Apr 23; 3.80 RS/9
10 Boof Bonser at LAA Was
No S-Boof - 4 W, 29:9 K:BB since May 13
11 Jon Garland NYY Hou
5 QS in past 7; 4.17 home ERA
12 Gil Meche at TB Phi
What a Meche - 13 ER in past 16.2 IP
13 Nate Robertson at Tex NYM
Clawless May - 6.12 ERA, 2.04 WHIP
14 Andy Sonnanstine at Tor at Fla
AAA - 71 IP, 66:13 K:BB, 2.71 ERA
15 Kei Igawa at ChW Pit
Last Triple-A start: 6 IP, 4 ER, 6:1 K:BB
Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League
1 Chris Young LAD Sea
Petco Prince - 1.13 ERA, 0.93 WHIP
2 Tim Hudson Fla ChC
2.74 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 3 W in 6 home starts
3 Aaron Harang at StL Cle
Last 2 starts - 17 IP, 4 ER, 12:2 K:BB
4 Sergio Mitre at Atl TB
SP/RP eligible; 22:1 K:BB, 1.37 ERA L4
5 Jason Schmidt at Pit Tor
Lone rehab start - six shutout innings
6 Derek Lowe at Pit Tor
The down Lowe - 1.71 ERA in last 3
7 Matt Cain at Ari Oak
Gone 6-plus in 10 of 11 starts
8 Barry Zito at Phi Oak
No longer icognito - 1 ER in past 14 IP
9 Randy Johnson SF Bos
Insane 41:2 K:BB in 30.2 May IP
10 Ted Lilly at Mil at Atl
10 ER, 5 BB, in past 11.1 IP; 4.01 rd. ERA
11 Tom Glavine Phi at Det
4.03 ERA, 1.37 WHIP in May
12 Dave Bush ChC at Tex
7 IP, 1 ER vs. Atl on May 30 - rebound near
13 Jamie Moyer at NYM at KC
Road T-Rex - 3.24 ERA, 1.08 WHIP in 6 G
14 Jason Marquis at Mil at Atl
Only 1 QS in L3 - showing true colors
15 Jon Lieber SF at KC
Stellar 15:3 K:BB, but 12 ER in past 18.2 IP

Remaining AL Two-Start Pitchers: Jorge De La Rosa (at Cle, Phi), Tyler Clippard (at ChW, Pit), Vicente Padilla (Det, Mil), Julian Tavarez (at Oak, at Ari), Lenny DiNardo (Bos, at SF)

Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Kyle Davies (Fla, ChC), Wandy Rodriguez (at Col, at ChW), Jason Hirsh (Hou, at Bal), Paul Maholm (LAD, at NYY), Brad Thompson (Cin, LAA), Wes Obermueller (at Atl, TB), Mike Bacsik (Pit, at Min)

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 1:

BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)
Josh Bard, SD - (LA Dodgers, Seattle) 5 42 0.119
Jason Phillips, Tor - (Tampa Bay, at LA Dodgers) 4 31 0.129
Mike Napoli, LAA - (Minnesota, at St. Louis) 6 34 0.176
Jorge Posada, NYY - (at Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh) 9 49 0.183
Johnny Estrada, Mil - (Chicago Cubs, at Texas) 7 33 0.212
TOP 5 (Best) CS ATT CS%
David Ross, Cin - (at St. Louis, Cleveland) 23 23 0.478
Ronny Paulino, Pit - (at Washington, at NY Yankees) 16 36 0.444
Mike Redmond, Min - (at LA Angels, Washington) 7 16 0.437
Kenji Johjima, Sea - (Baltimore, at San Diego) 10 24 0.416
Paul Lo Duca, NYM - (Philadelphia, at Detroit) 11 28 0.392

AL Steals Shopping: Akinori Iwamura, TB, 3B (34.8% owned), Elijah Dukes, TB, OF (4.1 % owned), Nick Punto, Min, 2B/SS/3B (3.9% owned), Jerry Owens, ChW, OF (0.01% owned)

NL Steals Shopping: Chris Duffy, Pit, OF (34.6% owned), Ryan Theriot, ChC, 2B/SS (26.7% owned), Angel Pagan, ChC, OF (0.51% 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 Dan Johnson is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through June 2.

Tampa Bay 5.54 at Tor at Fla
Texas 5.27 Det Mil
Seattle 4.79 Bal at SD
Oakland 3.37 Bos at SF
LA Angels 3.77 Min at StL
Boston 3.85 at Oak at Ari
Philadelphia 4.69 at NYM at KC
Cincinnati 4.65 at StL Cle
St. Louis 4.62 Cin LAA
San Diego 2.94 LAD Sea
New York Mets 3.34 Phi at Det
LA Dodgers 3.61 at SD at Tor
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