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:

  • Ryan Howard was placed on the 15-day DL with a left quadriceps strain. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. expected the reigning home run champ to be "100 percent and ready to go" when eligible for activation. Slapping four hits with two RBIs in Howard's stead on Saturday, Greg Dobbs (0.04% owned) figures to get an abundance of at-bats over the next two weeks. The 28-year-old former Mariners farmhand hit .314 with 13 SB at Triple-A Tacoma last season. NL-only leaguers in dire need of a short-term sparkplug at CI should bid a buck or two.
  • Roll out the red carpet, "King" Felix Hernandez is set to return on Tuesday at home versus the L.A. Angels. Mike Hargrove will limit the Seattle monarch to 70 pitches in his first start with a "natural progression of 15 or so pitches" in his next couple of outings. Don't expect a royal rumble right away, but if he does stumble against the Angels, seek his services at a discount.
  • Jinxed by the wicked witch of injuries, the bandaged Toronto Blue Jays, already reeling from the loses of B.J. Ryan and Roy Halladay, may also lose third baseman Troy Glaus to the disabled list. On Friday John Gibbons commented that Glaus "felt a pop" in his troubled left foot. Pending the results of an MRI, Glaus, barring a miracle, will likely be placed on the 15-Day DL on Tuesday. The unexciting combo of Jason Smith and John McDonald will split time at third in the meantime.
  • Detroit Tigers bazooka Jeremy Bonderman will miss at least one start with a cut finger. Virgil Vasquez will be recalled from Triple-A Toledo and make his Major League debut under the lights of prime time Sunday night versus the Twinkies and Boof Bonser. The 23 year-old Vasquez is a reasonable spot start in AL-only leagues – he posted a spectacular 50:10 K:BB mark in 40.2 IP for the Mud Hens.
  • As advertised prominently in last week's "Bringin' the Noise" Jeremy Accardo nailed down an impressive two-strikeout save on Saturday and will likely be Jon Gibbons go-to-guy in the ninth. Accardo has not allowed a run this season and has 10 strikeouts in his last five appearances. Available in a staggering 95.6 percent of Yahoo! leagues, act now – he could be this year's J.J. Putz.
  • The Florida closer carousal of inflated WHIPs and endless migraines just got muddier. Marlins skipper Fredi Gonzalez backtracked from comments earlier in the week that Jorge Julio would return to the closer role. Instead, Gonzalez instituted a temporary bullpen-by-committee until his veteran gained enough confidence to take over the gig full-time. After Julio surrendered a walk-off grand slam to Ryan Zimmerman on Saturday, he will continue to give false hope to owners believing he'll generate double-digit saves. Henry Owens, out until May 25 with shoulder tendonitis, may have cemented the closer's role without lifting a finger. If you have an open injured spot and Owens is available (52.2% owend), stash him.
  • Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days): Jack Cust, OF, Oak (7-22, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 0.04% owned), Dan Johnson, 1B, Oak (12-22, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 0.32%), Luke Scott, OF, Hou (8-27, 2 HR, 7 RBI 2.1%), Chris B. Young, OF, Ari (11-23, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 10.4%), Mike Redmond, C, Min (11-21, 3 2Bs, RBI 0.48%)
  • Whiffers o' the weak (Last 7 days): Travis Hafner, DH, Cle (3-24, 9 K, 99.9% owned), Delmon Young, OF, TB (4-24, 8 K, 96.9%), Rocco Baldelli, OF, TB (1-22, 7 K, 97.7%), Morgan Ensberg, 3B, Hou (1-20, 6 K, 61.4%), Ian Kinsler, 2B, Tex (1-21, 6 K, 99.9%)
  • Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days): Reggie Willits, OF, LAA (9-27, 2 SBs, 0.49% owned),Willie Harris, Atl, OF (7-16, 2 SBs, 0.16%), Pablo Ozuna, 3B/OF, ChW (6-22, 2 SBs, 0.14%)

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 Erik Bedard at Tor at Was
25 strikeouts, 6 ER in last 19 IP
2 Dan Haren KC SF
Since Apr 18: 1.84 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 31 Ks
3 Daisuke Matsuzaka Det Atl
7 IP, 8K, ER at Tor; may down right routine
4 James Shields Tex Fla
Has gone 7+ with 35:5 K:BB in last 4
5 Felix Hernandez LAA SD
Will be babied vs LAA; 3.24 ERA in Safeco
6 Justin Verlander at Bos StL
Career 2.34 ERA in three interleague starts
7 Kelvim Escobar at Sea LAD
Masterful 1.16 ERA, 16:3 K:BB in L3
8 Jered Weaver at Tex LAD
3.06 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 18:5 K:BB on road
9 Tim Wakefield Det Atl
AL ERA leader; 14 straight scorless IP
10 Mike Mussina at ChW at NYM
Two wins, 3 ER in 11 IP since activation
11 Joe Kennedy KC SF
Shocker special, 4 straight QS; 1% owned
12 Gil Meche at Oak at Col
Superb 1.42 ERA, 18 K, 2 W L3
13 Paul Byrd Min Cin
Soaring 2.75 ERA, 9:1 K:BB L3; 3% owned
14 Nate Robertson at Bos StL
Hideous 7.33 ERA vs. Bos in 4 starts
15 Ramon Ortiz at Cle at Mil
0-2, 6.19 ERA, 6:7 K:BB L3
Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League
1 Tim Hudson at Was at Bos
Gone at least 7 IP in six of seven starts
2 Dontrelle Willis at Pit at TB
3-0, 3.72 ERA, 15:3 K:BB on road
3 John Maine ChC NYY
Four wins, five QS in L5, but awful 4.7 BB/9
4 John Smoltz at Was at Bos
Consistency king; 7 QS in first 8 starts
5 Tom Gorzelanny FLA Ari
Last 14 IP, 3 ER, 1.07 WHIP; crafty Pirate
6 Aaron Harang at SD at Cle
BABIP way up, but K/9 and BB/9 improved
7 Tom Glavine ChC NYY
4 W, 3.71 ERA in Subway Series
8 Carlos Zambrano at NYM ChW
Piniella found a delivery flaw; turnaround?
9 Dave Bush at Phi Min
Only 8 BB in 44 IP, but a gawdy .343 BABIP
10 Claudio Vargas at Pit Min
Despite 10 BB, only 1 ER in last 17 IP
11 Jason Marquis at NYM ChW
In top 3 or leading NL in W, ERA, WHIP
12 Jamie Moyer Mil Tor
Modern Phil Neikro; 7 QS to open '07
13 Greg Maddux Cin at Sea
2.95 ERA in L3; both Co's pitcher friendly
14 Matt Morris at Hou at Oak
7+ IP in four straight; Mo' waiver wire money
15 Matt Belisle at SD at Cle
In two road starts: 2 W ,15 IP, 2 ER, 8 K

Remaining AL Two-Start Pitchers: Kevin Millwood (LAA, at Hou), Robinson Tejeda (at TB, at Hou), John Danks (NYY, at ChC), Tomo Ohka (Bal, at Phi), Luke Hudson (at Oak, at Col)

Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Jason Hirsh (Ari, KC), Micah Owings (at Col, at Pit), Jason Bergmann (Atl, Bal), Sergio Mitre (at Pit, at TB), Paul Maholm (Fla, Ari), Adam Eaton (Mil, Tor), Brett Tomko (StL, at LAA), Woody Williams (SF, Tex), Brad Thompson (at LAD, at Det), Matt Chico (Atl, Bal)

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 May 12:

BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)
Josh Bard, SD – (Cincinnati, at Seattle) 0 23 0.000
Jorge Posada, NYY – (at Chicago White Sox, at N.Y. Mets) 4 30 0.133
Jason Phillips, Tor – (Baltimore, at Philadelphia) 3 19 0.157
Ivan Rodriguez, Det – (at Boston, St. Louis) 3 18 0.167
Mike Napoli, LAA – (Detroit, Atlanta) 4 22 0.181
TOP 5 (Best) CS ATT CS%
Paul Lo Duca, NYM – (Chicago Cubs, N.Y. Yankees) 10 16 0.625
Yadier Molina, StL – (at L.A. Dodgers, at Detroit) 6 11 0.545
David Ross, Cin – (at San Diego, at Cleveland) 7 13 0.538
Ronny Paulino, Pit – (Florida, Arizona) 12 23 0.521
Mike Redmond, Min – (at Cleveland, at Milwaukee) 6 12 0.500

AL Steals Shopping:Coco Crisp, Bos, OF (50.3% owned), Darin Erstad, ChW, OF (6.8% owned), Pablo Ozuna, ChW, 3B/OF (0.16% owned), Yuniesky Betancourt, Sea, SS (1.6% owned)

NL Steals Shopping: Shane Victorino, Phi, OF (47.9% owned), Willie Harris, Atl, OF (0.2% owned), Endy Chavez, OF, NYM (0.7% 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 May 12.

Tampa Bay 5.60 Tex Fla
Seattle 5.03 LAA SD
Texas 5.01 at TB at Hou
Oakland 3.10 KC SF
Boston 3.25 Det Atl
L.A. Angels 3.52 at Sea LAD
Colorado 4.84 Ari KC
Florida 4.66 at Pit at TB
Philadelphia 4.60 Mil Tor
L.A. Dodgers 3.17 StL at LAA
N.Y. Mets 3.19 ChC NYY
San Diego 3.36 Cin at Sea