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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fantastic Thoughts: The Stream Team (Week Three)

Just as I did for much of last season, each Sunday I will provide a look ahead at favorable pitching matchups for fantasy owners who utilize the "streaming" method (pulling mediocre starters off the waiver wire in an effort to win counting categories in H2H leagues).  If the preceding parenthetical makes no sense to you, you should probably move on another post.  I use the player pool from a 12-team 5X5 mixed league at ESPN.  Since all the players in the league have previously won ESPN leagues (a qualification for entry), the competition is at least fairly stiff and the owners fairly active.  However, just because a player is available in that league, doesn't necessarily mean he'll be available in your league.  Remember, the idea of "streaming" is to win strikeouts and wins, while remaining as competitive as possible in ERA and WHIP.

Monday, April 19: Doug Fister (Mariners) v. Baltimore Orioles (Brad Bergesen)

Fister is coming off a dominant performance against the Athletics (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) and pitching in the friendly confines of Safeco against an Orioles lineup which has struggled thusfar this season.  I'm betting Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters, and Co. eventually break out of their funks, but I'm hoping it won't be until Tuesday night.

Back-Up Plan: Brandon Morrow (Blue Jays) v. Kansas City Royals (Brian Bannister)

Tuesday, April 20: Dana Eveland (Blue Jays) v. Kansas City Royals (Kyle Davies)

Eveland is one of several young Jays pitchers who have gotten off to strong starts.  He's given up just two runs in thirteen innings of work.  It doesn't hurt that he's opposing the Royals on a day that Zack Greinke not on the mound.

Back-Up Plan: Brett Myers (Astros) v. Florida Marlins (Chris Volstad)

Wednesday, April 21: Kevin Millwood (Orioles) @ Seattle Mariners (Felix Hernandez)

There's not a lot of good options on Wednesday, but Millwood is quietly off to another good start (2.89 ERA, 9.6 K/9).  Matching up with King Felix is tough, but the Mariners lineup hasn't been particularly intimidating.

Back-Up Plan: Bud Norris (Astros) v. Florida Marlins (Josh Johnson)

Thursday, April 22: Anibel Sanchez (Marlins) @ Houston Astros (Felipe Paulino)

His numbers are poor (0-1, 6.75 ERA), but his first two opponents were the Phillies and Dodgers, two of the top three team in the NL in scoring.  The Astros, on the other hand, have scored four or more runs only three times in their first dozen games.

Back-Up Plan: Joe Saunders (Angels) v. Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander)

Friday, April 23: Kenshin Kawakami (Braves) @ New York Mets (John Maine)

Kawakami has been something of hard-luck loser in his first two starts, as he faced Tim Lincecum and Ubaldo Jimenez (on the night he threw his no-hitter).  This time out he'll face a struggling, depleted Mets lineup and a struggling, demoralized Mets pitcher.

Back-Up Plan: Jaime Garcia (Cardinals) @ San Francisco Giants (Tim Lincecum)

Saturday, April 24: Wade LeBlanc (Padres) @ Cincinnati Reds (Bronson Arroyo)

LeBlanc had an exceptional spring and had a solid effort (5 IP, 1 ER, 7 K) in his first turn replacing Chris Young in the San Diego rotation.  The Reds lineup isn't exactly clicking on all five cylinders yet (losing five straight this past week), so I'll take LeBlanc rather than ride Ian Kennedy into a potentially devastating matchup with the Phillies.

Back-Up Plan: Ian Kennedy (D-Backs) v. Philadelphia Phillies (Cole Hamels)

Sunday, April 25: Gio Gonzalez (Athletics) v. Cleveland Indians (Justin Masterson)

I actually like both sides of this matchup.  Both Masterson and Gonzalez have been effective this April.  Both have the potential to pile up strikeouts and, of course, both have the benefit of the spacious ballpark in Oakland.  I could flip a coin, but I'll go with Gonzalez because he's got the ephemeral home-park advantage and the Cleveland lineup has really struggled to score runs.

Back-Up Plan: Brett Myers (Astros) v. Pittsburgh Pirates (Charlie Morton)

Week Two Results:

Doug Davis (@ Cubs): L, 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Dontrelle Willis (v. Royals): ND, 5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
Gio Gonzalez (@ Mariners): ND, 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K
Colby Lewis (@ Indians): W, 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 10 K
Jaime Garcia (v. Mets): ND, 7 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 5 K
Nick Blackburn (v. Royals): ND, 5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Ian Kennedy (@ Padres): ND, 5 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 7 K

Week One Totals: 1-1, 4.75 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 37 K, 35 2/3 IP (35 H, 19 ER, 19 BB)

Jaime Garcia and Ian Kennedy saved me from a truly abysmal week.  Along with Colby Lewis, they will continue to regulars here until somebody in my league decides to roster them full-time.  Even as I got roughed up this week, the strikeouts were flowing. 

Season Totals: 3-3, 4.15 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 72 K, 77 2/3 IP (34 H, 17 ER, 15 BB)

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