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:

  • Oh, Sheets. On Saturday, Milwaukee ace Ben Sheets suffered a sprained middle finger on his pitching hand. After the game, Sheets sounded cautiously optimistic that the injury would not sideline him for an extended period and was hopeful he could make his next start July 19 versus Arizona. X-rays were negative, but if the pain persists into Monday an MRI will be performed. Yovani Gallardo (23.3 percent owned), aka El Chupacabra, pitched 4.2 brilliant innings (0 ER, 1 H, 4:0 K:BB) in relief of Sheets. If Sheets were to miss a start, Gallardo would fill the void. The 21-year-old Mexican marvel has dazzled this season with a 2.83 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 8.6 K/9 in 28.2 IP. Shockingly still available in over three-fourths of Yahoo! leagues, Gallardo, a superior source of ERA, WHIP and K numbers in long relief, must be owned in all 12-team formats even if Sheets isn't forced out of action.

  • The odds of St. Louis repeating as World Series champs just got longer. On Friday, Cards ace Chris Carpenter suffered a significant setback in his recovery from elbow surgery after he experienced renewed stiffness and swelling after a 39-pitch rehab appearance for High-A Palm Beach. Carpenter was slated to return to the St. Louis rotation in late July, but, obviously, his return date is now shrouded in uncertainty. Team doctors have expressed concerns about Carpenter's arthritic condition in his elbow, which could potentially sideline him for the remainder of the season. For those optimistic Carp owners who have him stashed on the DL, the forecast sounds gloomy. Cut ties with him and scour the wire for Yankees super prospect Phil Hughes (9.1 percent owned), who is expected back July 23 versus Kansas City, as a DL slot replacement.

  • With Moises Alou, Endy Chavez and Carlos Gomez disabled, top Mets prospect Lastings Milledge (0.34 percent owned), promoted from Double-A Binghamton on Friday, will play everyday in left for the next couple of weeks. In his first three games, the scrappy 22 year-old has collected three hits, a homer and two RBI. Equipped with a lightning-quick bat, above-average speed and plus-power, the free-swinging Milledge, in statistical speak, is an unpolished version of Vernon Wells. Although he's slapped a .303 career average in the minors, Milledge is a reckless swinger who's tallied a 22.7 K% in 181 big league at-bats. Owners in NL-only and deeper mixed leagues (14-team and greater) in search of a short-term outfield sparkplug should give the youngster an audition.

  • Since the Rangers are an insurmountable 17 games back in the AL West, rumors have begun to swirl that along with Kenny Lofton and Mark Teixeira, slammin' Sammy Sosa is being shopped, possibly to the Yankees or Twins. Although he's hit a paltry .241, the 38-year-old Sosa has blasted 14 homers and driven in 63 RBI this season. The Twins inadequate throng of designated hitters – Mike Redmond, Jason Kubel, Jason Tyner, Garrett Jones and Jeff Cirillo – has yielded three homers and 38 RBI in 81 games, which would make Sosa an excellent fit. Likely sandwiched in between Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter, Sosa's chances of reaching 30-plus homers would improve dramatically. Meanwhile, in Texas, Sosa's potential departure would finally open the door for Jason Botts to receive regular at-bats. The switch-hitting 6-foot-5, 250-pound Botts has monstrous power and has improved his patience at the plate this season (16.2 BB% at Triple-A). In 334 at-bats at Oklahoma City, Botts has tallied a .320 BA with 13 homers and 71 RBI. Botts (0.02 percent owned) is an older prospect (27) with big league experience (77 career at-bats), who's one to watch in the second-half for those looking for an outfield power boost.

  • Fragile Oakland stopper Huston Street, out since May 13 with ulnar nerve irritation, is scheduled to throw to hitters on Monday and plans to begin a rehab assignment later this week. If his assignment goes smoothly, he could return to end-game duty on July 20. Street, a top-flight injury buy low candidate, has commanded Chad Billingsley, Kenny Rogers and J.J. Hardy in recent Plus league solo trades. Barring a setback, he should be good for 11-14 saves over the remainder of the season.

Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days): Pat Burrell, Phi, OF (4-9, HR, 6 RBI, 48.9%), Jose Guillen, Sea, OF (7-15, HR, 2 RBI, 18.2%), Andre Ethier, LAD, OF (7-12, HR, 6 RBI, 3.8%), Billy Butler, KC, OF/DH (6-11, 2 RBI, 0.53% owned), Kevin Kouzmanoff, SD, 3B (5-11, HR, 2 RBI, 0.79%)

Whiffers o' the weak (Last 7 days): Jack Cust, Oak, OF (1-12, 7 K, 27.0% owned), Garrett Atkins, Col, 3B (1-12, 5 K, 97.4%), Casey Blake, Cle, 1B/3B/OF (1-14, 5 K, 87.0%), Magglio Ordonez, Det, OF (1-11, 5 K, 100%), Raul Ibanez, Sea, OF (2-17, 4 K, 73.2%)

Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days): Julio Lugo, Bos, 2B/3B/SS (9-15, 3 SB, 72.2% owned), Edwin Encarnacion, Cin, 3B (0-9, 2 SB, 7.6%), Jerry Owens, ChW, OF (4-15, 2 SB, 0.04%), Esteban German, KC, 2B/3B/OF (3-8, 2 SB, 0.79%)

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 NYY

Sea

Trust him despite 6.98 ERA in last four

2

Roger Clemens

Tor

TB

2.22 ERA, 0.85 WHIP at home

3

Andy Pettitte

Tor

TB

Post-ASB career – 3.51 ERA, 1.29 WHIP

4

Tim Wakefield

KC

ChW

Won 5 of last 6 with a 4.97 ERA

5

James Shields

LAA

at NYY

ERA rising, but 9.9 K/9 in last 4 starts

6

Jon Garland

at Cle

at Bos

Last 3 road starts – 3 W, 1.28 ERA

7

Paul Byrd

ChW

at Tex

Byrd flyin' high again – 3 QS in L4

8

Matt Garza

Det

LAA

6 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 ER in first '07 start

9

Cliff Lee

ChW

at Tex

3 ER or fewer in 5 of last 6

10

Nate Robertson

at Min

KC

Respectable 4.44 ERA in L3; tons of RS

11

Ervin Santana

at TB

at Min

Evil Ervin – 8.59 ERA, 1.83 WHIP away

12

Brian Bannister

at Bos

at Det

Quietly won last 5 of 7 with a 3.12 ERA

13

Brian Burres

at Sea

at Oak

Last three starts – 4.73 ERA, 1.31 WHIP

14

John Danks

at Cle

at Bos

4.38 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 2 W in 9 road starts

15

Kei Igawa

Tor

TB

Are you desperate? 7.24 ERA at home

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League

RNK

PLAYER

OPP1

OPP2

1

Jake Peavy

NYM

Phi

Ignore sore biceps; 5 W, 3.04 ERA at home

2

Brad Penny

Phi

NYM

Only 15 ER since May 23; 2.13 home ERA

3

Orlando Hernandez

at SD

at LAD

3.88 ERA, .213 BAA on road

4

Dave Bush

Ari

SF

Bush burning – 4 W, 2.56 ERA L5

5

Rich Hill

SF

Ari

1 QS in L4; 4.35 ERA, 1.27 WHIP at home

6

Tim Lincecum

at ChC

at Mil

Toxic Tim – 2 W, 1.35 ERA, 25:7 K:BB L3

7

Sean Marshall

SF

Ari

Cubs surging – 4 W in last 7 starts

8

David Wells

NYM

Phi

Boomin' at home – 2.91 ERA, 1.19 WHIP

9

Bronson Arroyo

at Atl

at Fla

Ks down, but has four straight QS

10

Byung-Hyun Kim

StL

Cin

Shocker special – 3 ER, 10 K in last 12.2 IP

11

Jamie Moyer

at LAD

at SD

Old Man River – 6.27 ERA, 1.62 WHIP L3

12

Micah Owings

at Mil

at ChC

Tattooed for 13 ER in last 8.2 road IP

13

Barry Zito

at ChC

at Mil

Boo Barry – 25 ER in last 26.1 IP

14

Mark Hendrickson

Phi

NYM

Last two starts – 3.60 ERA, 1.20 WHIP

15

Claudio Vargas

Ari

SF

Since June 20 – 7.31 ERA, 1.50 WHIP

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – American League

RNK

PLAYER

OPP1

OPP2

1

Roy Halladay

at NYY

Sea

Trust him despite 6.98 ERA in last four

2

Roger Clemens

Tor

TB

2.22 ERA, 0.85 WHIP at home

3

Andy Pettitte

Tor

TB

Post-ASB career – 3.51 ERA, 1.29 WHIP

4

Tim Wakefield

KC

ChW

Won 5 of last 6 with a 4.97 ERA

5

James Shields

LAA

at NYY

ERA rising, but 9.9 K/9 in last 4 starts

6

Jon Garland

at Cle

at Bos

Last 3 road starts – 3 W, 1.28 ERA

7

Paul Byrd

ChW

at Tex

Byrd flyin' high again – 3 QS in L4

8

Matt Garza

Det

LAA

6 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 ER in first '07 start

9

Cliff Lee

ChW

at Tex

3 ER or fewer in 5 of last 6

10

Nate Robertson

at Min

KC

Respectable 4.44 ERA in L3; tons of RS

11

Ervin Santana

at TB

at Min

Evil Ervin – 8.59 ERA, 1.83 WHIP away

12

Brian Bannister

at Bos

at Det

Quietly won last 5 of 7 with a 3.12 ERA

13

Brian Burres

at Sea

at Oak

Last three starts – 4.73 ERA, 1.31 WHIP

14

John Danks

at Cle

at Bos

4.38 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 2 W in 9 road starts

15

Kei Igawa

Tor

TB

Are you desperate? 7.24 ERA at home

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League

RNK

PLAYER

OPP1

OPP2

1

Jake Peavy

NYM

Phi

Ignore sore biceps; 5 W, 3.04 ERA at home

2

Brad Penny

Phi

NYM

Only 15 ER since May 23; 2.13 home ERA

3

Orlando Hernandez

at SD

at LAD

3.88 ERA, .213 BAA on road

4

Dave Bush

Ari

SF

Bush burning – 4 W, 2.56 ERA L5

5

Rich Hill

SF

Ari

1 QS in L4; 4.35 ERA, 1.27 WHIP at home

6

Tim Lincecum

at ChC

at Mil

Toxic Tim – 2 W, 1.35 ERA, 25:7 K:BB L3

7

Sean Marshall

SF

Ari

Cubs surging – 4 W in last 7 starts

8

David Wells

NYM

Phi

Boomin' at home – 2.91 ERA, 1.19 WHIP

9

Bronson Arroyo

at Atl

at Fla

Ks down, but has four straight QS

10

Byung-Hyun Kim

StL

Cin

Shocker special – 3 ER, 10 K in last 12.2 IP

11

Jamie Moyer

at LAD

at SD

Old Man River – 6.27 ERA, 1.62 WHIP L3

12

Micah Owings

at Mil

at ChC

Tattooed for 13 ER in last 8.2 road IP

13

Barry Zito

at ChC

at Mil

Boo Barry – 25 ER in last 26.1 IP

14

Mark Hendrickson

Phi

NYM

Last two starts – 3.60 ERA, 1.20 WHIP

15

Claudio Vargas

Ari

SF

Since June 20 – 7.31 ERA, 1.50 WHIP

Remaining AL Two-Start Pitchers: Shane Komine (Tex, Bal), Kason Gabbard (KC, ChW), Josh Towers (at NYY, Sea), Horacio Ramirez (Bal, at Tor), Jamey Wright (at Oak, Cle)

Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Braden Looper (at Fla, at Atl), Woody Williams (at Was, at Pit), Jorge Sosa (at SD, at LAD), Kyle Davies (Cin, StL), Brad Thompson (at Fla, at Atl), Yusmeiro Petit (at Mil, at ChC), Taylor Buchholz (at Pit, at Was), John Van Benschoten (Col, Hou), Mike Bacsik (Hou, Col), J.D. Durbin (at LAD, at SD), Tim Redding (Hou, Col)

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 July 13:

BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)

BOTTOM 5 (Worst)

CS

ATT

CS%

Jason Phillips, Tor – (at New York Yankees, Seattle)

4

47

0.085

Michael Barrett, SD – (New York Mets, Philadelphia)

11

61

0.180

Jason Kendall, Oak – (Texas, Baltimore)

14

72

0.194

Brian McCann, Atl – (Cincinnati, St. Louis)

9

45

0.200

Jason Varitek, Bos – (Kansas City, Chicago White Sox)

8

37

0.216

TOP 5 (Best)

CS

ATT

CS%

Joe Mauer, Min – (Detroit, L.A. Angels)

13

24

0.541

Yadier Molina, StL – (at Florida, at Atlanta)

11

22

0.500

David Ross, Cin – (at Atlanta, at Florida)

18

41

0.439

Ronny Paulino, Pit – (Colorado, Houston)

22

57

0.385

Yorvit Torrealba, Col – (at Pittsburgh, at Washington)

10

28

0.357


AL Steals Shopping:Corey Patterson, Bal, OF (50.0% owned), Joey Gathright, KC, OF (0.25%), Jerry Owens, ChW, OF (0.04%)

NL Steals Shopping: Edwin Encarnacion, Cin, 3B (7.6% owned), Lastings Milledge, OF, NYM (0.31%), Michael Bourn, Phi, OF (0.24%)

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 Adam LaRoche is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through July 14.

BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – AL

BOTTOM 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

Tampa Bay

5.79

LAA

at NYY

Texas

5.07

at Oak

Cle

Chi. White Sox

4.61

at Cle

at Bos

TOP 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

Oakland

3.70

Tex

Bal

Boston

3.79

KC

ChW

LA Angels

4.05

at TB

at Min

BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – NL

BOTTOM 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

Philadelphia

4.88

at LAD

at SD

St. Louis

4.81

at Fla

at Atl

Washington

4.76

Hou

Col

TOP 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

San Diego

3.16

NYM

Phi

LA Dodgers

3.80

Phi

NYM

NY Mets

3.87

at SD

at LAD

BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – AL

BOTTOM 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

Tampa Bay

5.79

LAA

at NYY

Texas

5.07

at Oak

Cle

Chi. White Sox

4.61

at Cle

at Bos

TOP 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

Oakland

3.70

Tex

Bal

Boston

3.79

KC

ChW

LA Angels

4.05

at TB

at Min

BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – NL

BOTTOM 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

Philadelphia

4.88

at LAD

at SD

St. Louis

4.81

at Fla

at Atl

Washington

4.76

Hou

Col

TOP 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

San Diego

3.16

NYM

Phi

LA Dodgers

3.80

Phi

NYM

NY Mets

3.87

at SD

at LAD

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