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:

  • Cubs slugger Aramis Ramirez is likely out until at least midweek, along with second baseman Mark DeRosa (back), with tendonitis in his right wrist. Drag racer Ryan Theriot (5-for-his-last-8 with 3 RBI and 2 SBs) will fill the void at third. Owned in a microscopic 0.53 percent of Y! leagues, Theriot, who's eligible at 2B/OF/3B, is waiver wire gold this week.
  • MRI results on baneful closer Octavio Dotel's strained oblique came back negative, but privately Royals insiders believe he won't return until at least mid-May. Joakim Soria (0.04 percent owned) will continue to get a bulk of the save opportunities in Dotel's absence.
  • Toronto super-prospect Adam Lind went 3-for-5 with a double batting second in place of injured outfielder Reed Johnson in his big league debut on Saturday. Available in 0.05 percent of Y! leagues Lind – utility-only eligible – is a sensational source of BA, R and RBI with Johnson out for the next couple of weeks with a herniated disc. br>
  • Toronto remains optimistic that sore-heeled hot corner Troy Glaus will return to the lineup on Tuesday. If you're in a daily league keep him benched – the Jays are scheduled to face the uber-filthy Daisuke Matsuzaka.
  • Astros hurler Jason Jennings will miss at least his next two starts due to shoulder tendonitis and will likely log DL time. Fernando Nieve (2-3, 4.67 ERA as a starter) is expected to move into the rotation.
  • Wounded Yankees pitchers Mike Mussina (hamstring) and Carl Pavano (forearm) were placed on the 15-day DL on Sunday. Prospect Chase Wright, who sported a spectacular 19:1 K:BB in 14 Double-A innings, is expected to fill one of the vacancies. The rookie southpaw is worth a flier in deep mixed and AL-only leagues as he will likely get two starts this week.
  • Former mullet connoisseur Randy Johnson was clocked at 92 MPH eight times in his 87-pitch, six-inning rehab appearance at Triple-A Tucson on Friday. Although he is undecided, Johnson will likely make one more rehab start before returning to the D-Backs rotation as early as this weekend at San Francisco. This might be your last chance on an injury buy low.
  • Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez announced on Saturday that he will officially go to a migraine-inducing closer-by-committee. Kevin Gregg, Matt Lindstrom, Randy Messenger, Henry Owens and Taylor Tankersley are all apart of the end-game group. Once Tankersley gets back to 100 percent, he has the best shot to emerge from the closer carousel given his previous experience (3 saves with Florida in '06). For this week, trust only Owens or Tankersley as a third reliever in very deep NL-only or mixed leagues.
  • Closer B.J. Ryan was placed on the 15-day DL on Sunday with a strained elbow. Jason Frasor will take over temporary duties and is worth an immediate add in all leagues.

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 Daisuke Matsuzaka at Tor NYY
14:2 K:BB ratio in first 14 IP – Dice-K's lethal
2 Justin Verlander KC ChW
13 scoreless IP to start the year
3 Josh Beckett LAA NYY
2 W, 12 IP, 2 ER, 13:4 K:BB ratio in 2 starts
4 Zack Greinke at Det Min
Nearly unhittable – 12:1 K:BB in 13 IP
5 Ervin Santana at Bos Sea
Career 3.07 ERA at home, 6.65 ERA on road
6 Jon Garland Tex at Det
3.92 ERA in 55.1 IP vs. Tex/Det in '06
7 Ramon Ortiz at Sea at KC
15 IP, 2 ER, respectable 8:2 K:BB in '07
8 Adam Loewen at TB at Tor
2 ER in first 10 IP, but 7 BBs a major concern
9 Chase Wright Cle at Bos
Shocker special – 19:1 K:BB in 14 AA IP
10 James Shields Bal Cle
Awesome 11:3 K:BB and 6 RPG of support
11 Jake Westbrook at NYY at TB
06: 6.46 road ERA, 1.53 WHIP, .284 BAA
12 Gustavo Chacin Bos at Bal
4 HR allowed in 11 IP – facing big boppers
13 Jeff Weaver Min at LAA
Not good when ERA is higher than your age
14 Robinson Tejeda at ChW Oak
Sparkled vs. Bos – 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, K
15 Chad Gaudin LAA at Tex
2.53 ERA, 9:3 K:BB in 10.2 IP – resourceful
Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League
RNK PLAYER OPP1 OPP2
1 Roy Oswalt Fla at Mil
16.2 IP, 2 ER, 0.74 WHIP in past two starts
2 John Smoltz at Was at NYM
Three straight QS to open the year
3 Brad Penny at Ari at Col/Pit
1.83 ERA, 1.14 WHIP in April '06/'07
4 Jeff Francis SF SD
Hidden gem – 18-8 record in 33 Coors starts
5 Matt Cain at Col Ari
Quality start machine – 10 K in 13 IP
6 Chris Capuano at Cin Hou
3.46 ERA, .230 BAA, 7 W in 16 April starts
7 Adam Wainwright Pit at ChC
13.2 IP, 3 ER blackened by 8:7 K:BB
8 Chuck James at Was at NYM
11 IP, ER, 10 K in '07 – WAS offense a disgrace
9 Greg Maddux at ChC at Col
3.79 ERA, 1.15 WHIP at Wrigley in '06
10 Dave Bush at Cin Hou
Ignore 5.25 ERA – 12:1 K:BB in 12 IP
11 Ian Snell at StL at LAD
Sick 14:2 K:BB and 3 ER in first 13 IP
12 Anibal Sanchez at Hou Was
5.2 IP, 4 ER, 10 H vs. WAS on April 4
13 Tom Gorzelanny at StL at LAD
.216 BAA in five '06 road starts
14 Micah Owings LAD at SF
Surprising 11:4 K:BB, 2 ER in 11 IP
15 Anthony Reyes Pit at ChC
Walks a concern, but StL has sticky gloves

Remaining AL Two-Start Pitchers: Chad Gaudin (at LAA, at Tex), Steve Trachsel (at TB, Tor)

Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Barry Zito (at Col, Ari), John Maine (at Phi, Atl), Oliver Perez (at Phi, Atl), Jason Hirsh (SF, SD), Clay Hensley (at ChC, at Col), Matt Belisle (Mil, Phi), Brett Tomko (at Ari, Pit), Sergio Mitre (at Hou, Was), Jamie Moyer (NYM, at Cin), Wandy Rodriguez (Fla, at Mil), Jason Marquis (SD, StL), Jerome Williams (Atl, at Fla), Edgar Gonzalez (LAD, at SF), Wade Miller (SD, StL), Eric Milton (Mil, Phi), Matt Chico (Atl, at Fla)


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 2006 end-season totals:

BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)
BOTTOM 5 (Worst) CS ATT CS%
Bengie Molina, SF – (at Colorado, Arizona) 15 83 0.180
Michael Barrett, ChC – (San Diego, St. Louis) 21 110 0.190
A.J. Pierzynski, ChW – (Texas, at Detroit) 25 90 0.217
Brad Ausmus, Hou – (Florida, at Milwaukee) 17 60 0.221
Jason Kendall, Oak – (LA Angels, Texas) 31 102 0.304
TOP 5 (Best) CS ATT CS%
Ivan Rodriguez, Det – (Kansas City, Chicago White Sox) 26 51 0.510
Gerald Laird, Tex – (at Chicago White Sox, Oakland) 21 46 0.457
Yadier Molina ,StL – (Pittsburgh, at Chicago Cubs) 29 66 0.439
Miguel Olivo, Fla – (at Houston, Washington) 30 78 0.385
Joe Mauer, Min – (at Seattle, at Kansas City) 22 58 0.379

AL Steals Shopping: Kenny Lofton, Tex, OF (18.0% owned); Macier Izturis, LAA, 3B/SS (11.0% owned)

NL Steals Shopping: Alejandro De Aza, Fla, OF (1.2% owned); Adam Kennedy, StL, 2B (2.4% owned); Alberto Callaspo, Ari, 2B/OF (0.05% owned); Craig Counsell, Mil, 3B/SS (0.36% 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 14.

BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – AL
BOTTOM 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
Tampa Bay 6.41 Bal Cle
Seattle 4.79 Min at LAA
Kansas City 4.39 at Det Min
TOP 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
Boston 2.79 at Tor NYY
Oakland 2.95 LAA at Tex
LA Angels 3.63 at Oak Sea
BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – NL
BOTTOM 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
Philadelphia 5.14 NYM at Cin
Washingotn 5.06 Atl at Fla
San Francisco 4.40 at Col Ari
TOP 3 ERA OPP1 OPP2
New York Mets 2.69 at Phi Atl
San Diego 2.76 at ChC at Col
St. Louis 3.03 Pit at ChC