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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Stream (Week Seven)

[Each Sunday Hippeaux provides suggestions for spot starters for the coming week. The suggestions are based on players available for 2 Legit 2 Not Acquit, in a 10-team, H2H 5 X 5 mixed league hosted by ESPN. If these players are available there, there's a decent chance they're available in your league as well. Keep in mind that the strategy of "streaming," introducing a waiver wire starter every day of the week, is designed to help you in categories like Wins and Strikeouts, but can be disastrous for your ERA and WHIP. It is best used in H2H leagues, where a few bad choices won't haunt you all year long, and should be abandoned in weeks when your top starters make enough appearances to carry the counting categories.]

All the rainouts this past week could effect the projected rotations in the days to come, but here's how I'm forecasting:

MON: Randy Wolf (LAD) v. New York Mets (Tim Redding)

One of the Nats top prospects, Ross Detwiler, is coming up to make a spot start against the lowly Pirates, but I've definitely got more faith in Randy Wolf, even though he faces a pretty hot offense. Wolf hasn't allowed more than one earned run in each of his last four starts and he's got a 2.60 ERA at Dodger Stadium this season. Plus, while Detwiler faces somebody who's been pitching well so far this season (though I don't trust him), Ross Ohlendorf, Wolf squares off with Tim Redding in his first start coming off injury. Unless he's had a total arm transfusion, I don't think we can expect very much from Redding.

TUE: Barry Zito (SFG) @ San Diego Padres (Chris Young)

I may live to regret this, but I'm going to jump back on the bandwagon now that Zito has made five straight quality starts. It helps that San Diego's home OPS is 683, easily the worst in the NL, so even if Young outpitches Zito, I doubt he'll disastrously effect my WHIP and ERA. Shairon Martis pitches at home against Pittsburgh. That would be my #2 option.

WED: Paul Maholm (PIT) @ Washington Nationals (John Lannan)

There are several good pitchers on Wednesday, but not a lot of good matchups. Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Cecil, and Matt Harrison are all pitching well, but Way-Rod is matched up with Yovani Gallardo, Harrison gets super-hot Justin Verlander in Detroit, and Cecil is a rookie lefthander pitching at Fenway for the first time. Therefore, I'm going with Mr. Maholm against the Nats. I should point out that the Nats have a pretty good offense, comparable to the Brewers, Cubs, Rockies, and Cardinals thusfar, and John Lannan has a respectable 4.00 ERA, so this is not exactly a slam dunk pick. (If he is available in your league, you might note that Chris Carpenter is coming off the D.L. against Ryan Dempster and the Cubs. It's risky, obviously, because he might be rusty and the Cubs are very hot right now, but worth noting.)

THU: Bartolo Colon (CWS) v. Minnesota Twins (Nick Blackburn)

Big Fat Bartolo Colon is having himself a respectable season so far, especially in Chicago. He's 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA at Cellular Field. He blanked the Twins for six innings the first time he faced them, though their offense has improved since then with the return of Joe Mauer and hot streaks from Kubel, Cuddyer, and Crede.

FRI: Rich Hill (BAL) @ Washington Nationals (Jordan Zimmerman)

In intraleague matchups it's usually preferable to have the AL player pitching in NL park. Although I don't know that this qualifies, since Rich Hill has made exactly one start in the AL. He looked pretty good in it, beating Kansas City, so I'm willing to take a flyer on him. (Neither is available in my league [partly because I own one of them full-time], but Rick Porcello faces off with Ubaldo Jimenez tonight. Both are young studs in the midst of hot streaks. Porcello has allowed only two earned runs in his last three starts, while Ubaldo has allowed only six earned over his last four starts. These guys are still available in many shallow leagues.)

SAT: Kyle Lohse (STL) v. Kansas City Royals (Luke Hochevar)

This is another tough one. Armando Galarraga is at home against the Rockies, but although he started the year very well, he's pitched in four straight disasters and may be in danger of losing he spot in the rotation when Jeremy Bonderman returns. I'm moderately fond of both Koji Uehara and Shairon Martis, but they match up against each other, which probably favors Uehara, but only slightly. Instead, I'm going to roll the dice on Kyle Lohse, who's had two straight disasters against strong offenses on the road, but is a solid 3-1, with a 3.20 ERA at home.

SUN: Wandy Rodriguez (HOU) v. Texas Rangers (Brandon McCarthy)

I'm tempted to go with Joel Pineiro, who, like Lohse, has been very good at home (2.46 ERA). There are arguments for both Randy Wolf, agains, and Matt Palmer (4-0, 3.38), who square off against each other in L.A., as well as for Dave Bush (2-0, 3.83) in Minnesota. But I'm going to gamble again on Wandy Rodriguez (4-2, 1.90), who probably shouldn't even be available (and may not be by Sunday). I'm hoping that his 0.67 ERA at home outweighs the fact that he will be facing one of the league's hottest teams. However, if I have a relatively safe lead on Saturday night, I don't make this start.

Swimming Upstream [How did last week's choice's fare?]

MON: Bronson Arroyo (7 IP, W, 6.43/1.43, 5 K)
TUE: Manny Parra (6 IP, W, 4.50/1.33, 8 K)
WED: Brian Bannister (5.2 IP, L, 3.18/1.06, 3 K)
THU: Wandy Rodriguez (7 IP, W, 2.57/0.71, 11 K)
FRI: Brett Cecil (6 IP, W, 4.50/1.33, 3 K)
SAT: Brett Myers (7 IP, W, 2.57/0.71, 8 K)
SUN: Koji Uehara (5 IP, ND, 7.20/1.60, 3 K)

Week 6 Totals: 5-1, 43 2/3 IP, 4.33 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 41 K

This is about as good as you get via streaming. If you were in a good position and refrained from using Uehara on Sunday, it's even better. Something tells me that Way-Rod, Cecil, Parra, and Myers may not be a part of the free agent player pool for a whole lot longer.

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