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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fantastic Thoughts: The Stream Team (Week Four)

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 26: Mat Latos (Padres) @ Florida Marlins (Josh Johnson)

I know that the first time I pick Carlos Silva he is going to give up a dozen runs, so I'll back Latos, who's coming off seven innings of shutout ball against the Giants.  The Marlins are, obviously, a better opponent, but San Diego has been on fire, so ride the hot streak.

Back-Up Plan: Carlos Silva (Cubs) v. Washington Nationals (John Lannan)

Tuesday, April 27: Bud Norris (Astros) v. Cincinnati Reds (Aaron Harang)

A young strikeout artist against a struggling, strikeout-prone lineup.  His opponent, Aaron Harang, has a four-digit ERA.  If you've got room for multiple acquisitions on Tuesday, I'd also highly recommend Randy Wolf, who faces a Pirates lineup he shutout for six innings in his last start, and C. J. Wilson, who has a 1.37 ERA and proved himself by picking up quality starts against both the Yankees and Red Sox, on the road!

Back-Up Plan: C. J. Wilson (Rangers) v. Chicago White Sox (Mark Buehrle)

Wednesday, April 28: Jaime Garcia (Cardinals) v. Atlanta Braves (Kenshin Kawakami)

The Braves have five regulars hitting below the Mendoza line and Garcia has .179 Batting Average Against in his first three starts.  This kid won't be available on the waiver wire for much longer (1-1, 1.42 ERA, 1.05 WHIP).  If he hasn't been picked up in your league yet, you also need to pounce on Kevin Correia (3-1, 3.13 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 22 K/23 IP).  He pitches Wednesday against the Marlins.

Back-Up Plan: Ryan Rowland-Smith (Mariners) @ Kansas City Royals (Gil Meche)

Thursday, April 29: Ian Kennedy (D-Backs) @ Chicago Cubs (Ted Lilly)

After watching him hold the Phillies to two runs in eight innings on Saturday, I'm fully prepared to recommend Kennedy again, even against a decent lineup.  Kennedy is certainly prone to the long ball, having surrendered six homers in his first four starts, but he has pinpoint control and a wicked changeup.  He's piled up 21 strikeouts in 22 innings of work and though his ERA is still medicre (4.43) because he got shelled by the Dodgers in his second start, he has a 1.12 WHIP, a 3.00 K/BB rate, and a .214 BAA.

In other news, Justin Duchscherer hasn't allowed an earned run since his first start of the year, a span of 19 innings.

Back-Up Plan: Justin Duchscherer (Athletics) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Ricky Romero)

Friday, April 30: Doug Fister (Mariners) v. Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis)

Colby Lewis has been rostered.  Alas.  I'll settle for his opponent, Fister, who's been downright dominant in his last three starts and now has a 1.67 ERA for the season.

Back-Up Plan: Brandon Morrow (Blue Jays) v. Oakland Athletics (Brett Anderson?)

Saturday, May 1: Dana Eveland (Blue Jays) v. Oakland Athletics (Gio Gonzalez)

Eveland doesn't have overpowering stuff, but it has been good enough so far (1.93 ERA) and he's at home facing a weak lineup.

Back-Up Plan: Daisuke Matsuzaka (Red Sox) @ Baltimore Orioles (?)

Sunday, May 2: C. J. Wilson (Rangers) @ Seattle Mariners (Ian Snell)

Wilson pitched very well against the Yankees and Red Sox.  Now he faces a weak lineup in a pitchers park.  Perhaps it will be enough to allow him to last past the sixth inning, something the converted reliever has yet to accomplish.

Back-Up Plan: Ben Sheets (Athletics) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum)

Week Three Results:

Doug Fister (v. Orioles): W, 7 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 3 K
Dana Eveland (v. Royals): ND, 5 1/3 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Kevin Millwood (@ Mariners): L, 8 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
Anibal Sanchez (@ Astros): W, 6 2/3 IP, 9 H, ER, K
Kenshin Kawakami (@ Mets): L, 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 3 K
Wade LeBlanc (@ Reds): W, 6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K
Gio Gonzalez (v. Indians): W, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 K

Week Three Totals: 4-2, 2.15 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 20 K, 46 IP (40 H, 11 ER, 11 BB)

This is the kind of week that makes "streaming" great.  On the back of spectacular performances from my starters, my team went 10-0, thus providing some margin of error for weeks to come.  I can't hope to maintain a 2.15 ERA very often with the likes of Wade LeBlanc, Dana Eveland, and Anibal Sanchez, but it shows you what thoughtful matchup play makes possible.

Season Totals: 7-5, 3.41 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 92 K, 123 2/3 IP (109 H, 47 ER, 45 BB)

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