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Weekly Rundown

Brad Evans
Yahoo Sports

Known as the Sacagawea of fantasy primers, the Weekly Rundown guides head-to-head owners through a forest of obscure stats and exploitable matchups in an attempt to help solve 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 action, here's the nitty-gritty on a handful of notable names:

Reigning NL MVP Jimmy Rollins will not return to the Philadelphia lineup as planned on April 20. J-Ro stated that he's only operating at about 75 percent and plans to "stay off it (ankle) as much as I can" over the next few days. The Phillies have since taken things a step further, placing Rollins on the DL on Sunday. Bench him in all leagues for the upcoming scoring period. The Yahoo! coverboy curse strikes yet again.
Disgruntled future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas was released by Toronto on Sunday. The 68 percent owned "Big Hurt" was shown the door after expressing disgust over his lack of playing time earlier in the week. The 39-year-old Thomas sill has plenty of pop and will surely land with another AL team soon. However, until he finds a new address, dump him in all mixed leagues. Meanwhile, Matt Stairs, available in 98 percent of Y! leagues, should stand to benefit from Thomas' departure. The Canadian Gimli is a reputable source of power for deep-thinking owners. The 40-year-old hook blasted 21 homers in 357 at-bats last season.
As detailed in Saturday's "Closing Time," Royals premiere pitching prospect Luke Hochevar is scheduled to make his second career start April 20 at Oakland. Similar in style and substance as the Mets Mike Pelfrey, the 24-year-old former No. 1 overall pick has an expansive arsenal that includes a 92-95 mph fastball, hard-biting slider and plummeting sinker. Hochevar compiled a 63.4 GB% with the Royals in 12.2 September innings last year. If he can eradicate the inconsistencies in his delivery, he has enough polish and weapons to be an effective addition in AL-only leagues leagues. Available in over 99.9 percent of Y! leagues, he's one to keep an eye on this week.
Twinkies outfielder Michael Cuddyer (dislocated finger) is scheduled to appear in a minor league game on April 21 and hopes to return to the Minnesota lineup on Friday. Cuddyer is still experiencing some minor finger swelling, but is confident he can swing the bat. Denard Span and Craig Monroe will head back to the pine when Cuddyer is activated.
Shortstop scrapper Erick Aybar has skyrocketed his average from .176 to .333 in his past 10 games. Over that span, the 24-year-old has recorded five multi-hit games, eight runs, three RBIs and two steals. With Howie Kendrick on the DL, Aybar and Maceir Izturis will continue to see a steady flow of at-bats. Available in over 99.5 percent of Y! leagues, Aybar's a sensational source of BA, runs and steals in 12-team mixed leagues this week.
Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days): Joey Votto, Cin, 1B/OF (6-18, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 30.8%), Emil Brown, Oak, OF (9-24, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 0.06%), Clint Barmes, Col, 2B/SS (10-29, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 0.04%), Casey Kotchman, LAA, 1B (7-23, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 27.9%), Skip Schumaker, StL, OF (10-21, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 0.21%)
Whiffers o' the weak(Last 7 days): Ryan Howard, Phi, 1B (3-22, 9 K, 99.9%), Paul Konerko, ChW, 1B (4-27, 8 K, 99.9%), Jhonny Peralta, Cle, SS (3-22, 7 K, 98.4%), Aramis Ramirez, ChC, 3B (4-20, 7 K, 100%), Adrian Gonzalez, SD, 1B (3-19, 6 K, 99.9%)
Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days): Skip Schumaker, StL, OF (10-21, 3 SB, 0.21%), Melky Cabrera, NYY, OF (8-24, 3 SB, 58.8%), Adam Kennedy, StL, 2B (9-18, 2 SB, 0.15%), Franklin Gutierrez, Cle, OF (6-25, 2 SB, 0.94%), Jayson Werth, Phi, OF (4-21, 2 SB, 0.94%)

This Week's Two-Start Pitchers
For 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 meteorological 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 Felix Hernandez Bal Oak
Hail to the king - 24:9 K:BB, 1.47 ERA in 4 GS
2 Josh Beckett LAA at TB
Perfect 3-0 with 2.16 ERA vs. LAA/TB in '07
3 Shaun Marcum Det at KC
MarKum - 8.71 K/9, 2.18 BB/9 in 20.2 IP
4 James Shields Tor Bos
K/9 (6.3) down, BB/9 (2.4) up, explains WHIP
5 Chien-Ming Wang at ChW at Cle
Plump road Wang - 10 W, 2.75 ERA (07)
6 Justin Verlander Tex LAA
Ver-plunk - drop in velocity, 4.44 BB/9 worrisome
7 C.C. Sabathia at KC NYY
Captain Creampuff - 1-7, 7.13 ERA vs. NYY
8 Livan Hernandez at Oak at Tex
Buger crusher 3-0, 50.0 GB%, 1.33 BB/9 (4GS)
9 Joe Blanton Min at Sea
Versus Sea Apr. 16 - 8 IP, 12 H, 2:0 K:BB, 2 K
10 Jered Weaver at Bos at Det
Bedeviled by Bos/Det in career - 17.1 IP, 19 ER
11 Kason Gabbard at Bos Min
Three straight QS to open year, 65.6 GB%
12 Clay Buchholz Tex at TB
Clay molded by NYY in last start, 7 ER in 3.2 IP
13 Vincente Padilla at Det Min
Surpsing 3 QS in first four, all on the road
14 Gil Meche Cle Tor
Hasn't Meche-d well with road, 5.60 ERA, 3 GS
15 Jose Contreras NYY Bal
Tejada age news means Contreras is really 60
Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League
RNK PLAYER OPP1 OPP2
1 Jake Peavy at Hou Ari
Peav-ed enemies thus far - 1.20 ERA, 3 W
2 Brandon Webb SF at SD
San Fran-sucky Giants averaging 2.9 R/9
3 John Smoltz Was at NYM
Will eclipse 3,000 Ks in first two IP vs. Was
4 Carlos Zambrano NYM at Was
Red Bull addict 2.50 ERA, 3 W - NYM/Was (07)
5 Tim Hudson Was at NYM
21.0 IP vs. Was/NYM this year - 2.14 ERA
6 Adam Wainwright at Mil Hou
Innings eater - 7+ IP in three straight, 2.78 ERA
7 Micah Owings SF at SD
Owings' K/9 soaring - '07: 6.25, '08: 8.69
8 Brett Myers at Col at Pit
BB/9 much improved but 5.04 road ERA in '07
9 Edinson Volquez LAD at SF
Electric Edinson - 9.39 K/9 in 15.1 IP
10 Roy Oswalt SD at StL
Bewildered StL in '07 - 0.60 ERA in 30.0 IP
11 John Maine at ChC Atl
Maine man in past two - 12.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 K, W
12 Brad Penny at Cin Col
Tarnished Penny - 21.7 LD% yielded in 4 GS
13 Jeff Francis Phi at LAD
Back on track - 7 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K in SD epic
14 Nelson Figueroa at ChC Atl
Stream o' the Week - 99% available, 3.60 ERA
15 Ted Lilly NYM at Was
Velocity concerns abound - K/9 way down

Remaining AL Two-Start Pitchers: Jesse Litsch (at TB, at KC), Adam Loewen (at Sea, at ChW)

Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Kyle Lohse (at Mil, Hou), Mark Hendrickson (at Pit, at Mil), Barry Zito (at Ari, Cin), Kyle Kendrick (at Col, at Pit), Manny Parra (StL, Fla), Carlos Villanueva (StL, Fla), Justin Germano (at Hou, Ari), Hong-Chih Kuo (at Cin, Col), John Lannan (at Atl, ChC), Brandon Backe (SD, at StL), Matt Belisle (LAD, at SF), Paul Maholm (Fla, Phi), Kevin Correia (at Ari, Cin), Matt Morris (Fla, Phi), Ricky Nolasco (at Pit, at Mil), Matt Chico (at Atl, ChC)


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 11:

BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)
BOTTOM 5 (Worst) CS ATT CS%
John Buck, KC - (Cleveland, Toronto) 1 8 0.125
Josh Bard, SD - (at Houston, Arizona) 4 23 0.173
Mike Napoli, LAA - (at Boston, at Detroit) 2 11 0.181
Bengie Molina, SF - (at Arizona, Cincinnati) 2 11 0.181
Brian McCann, Atl - (Washington, at N.Y. Mets) 3 14 0.214
TOP 5 (Best) CS ATT CS%
Joe Mauer, Min - (at Oakland, at Texas) 6 11 0.545
Paul Bako, Cin - (L.A. Dodgers, at San Francisco) 5 10 0.500
Gerald Laird, Tex - (at Detroit, Minnesota) 7 16 0.437
Kurt Suzuki, Oak - (Minnesota, at Seattle) 5 12 0.417
Matt Treanor, Fla - (at Pittsburgh, at Milwaukee) 5 13 0.384

AL Steals Shopping: Franklin Gutierrez, Cle, OF (0.94% owned), Marco Scutaro, Tor, 2B/3B/SS/OF (0.38%), Clete Thomas, Det, OF (0.10%)

NL Steals Shopping: Luis Castillo, NYM, 2B (37.1% owned)), Ryan Freel, Cin, 3B/OF (5.9%), Angel Pagan, NYM, OF (0.17%), Norris Hopper, Cin, OF (0.28%)


Feast or Famine?
Torn between two stat-similar corner infielders this week? Use the pitching and hitting staff sorters below to help you decide whether or not Adam LaRoche or Scott Olsen is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through April 12.

BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – AL
BOTTOM 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
Detroit 5.70 Tex LAA
N.Y. Yankees 4.80 at ChW at Cle
Boston 4.74 LAA at TB
TOP 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
Oakland 3.49 Min at Sea
Chi White Sox 3.65 NYY Bal
Toronto 3.80 at TB at KC
BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – NL
BOTTOM 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
Pittsburgh 5.26 Fla Phi
Florida 5.09 at Pit at Mil
Washington 4.69 at Atl ChC
TOP 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
Arizona 2.80 SF at SD
St. Louis 3.07 at Mil Hou
N.Y. Mets 3.17 at ChC Atl

BEST/WORST OFFENSES – AL
BOTTOM 3 R/9 OPP1 OPP2
Kansas City 3.4 Cle Tor
Minnesota 3.8 at Oak at Tex
Detroit 4.1 Tex LAA
TOP 3 R/9 OPP1 OPP2
Boston 5.2 LAA at TB
Tampa Bay 5.1 Tor Bos
L.A. Angels 5.0 at Bos at Det
BEST/WORST OFFENSES – NL
BOTTOM 3 R/9 OPP1 OPP2
San Francisco 2.9 at Ari Cin
San Diego 2.9 at Hou Ari
Washington 3.7 at Atl ChC
TOP 3 R/9 OPP1 OPP2
Arizona 6.5 SF at SD
Chi Cubs 5.3 NYM at Was
Atlanta 5.2 Was at NYM