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 to the next post. I use the player pool from a 12-team 5X5 mixed league at ESPN. Since all the owners in the league have previously won ESPN leagues (a qualification for entry), the competition is at least fairly stiff and the teams 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, 6/7: Daisuke Matsuzaka (Red Sox) @ Cleveland Indians (Fausto Carmona)
Dice-K has been extraordinarily erratic since his activation, especially in terms of his control, but he faces a one of the worst offenses in the American League. Dice-K has always been a better pitcher away from Fenway park and in his one previous start in Cleveland he did no allow a run.
Back-Up Plan: Scott Kazmir (Angels) @ Oakland Athletics (Ben Sheets)
Tuesday, 6/8: Edwin Jackson (D-Backs) v. Atlanta Braves (Kris Medlen)
It's Strasburg Day, so all eyes turn to Washington, but in all likelihood the young phenom is already owned in your league, so you may want to check out Edwin Jackson, who has 51 K in his last 45 innings and is coming off a three-hit shutout against one of the National League's best offenses. The Braves, of course, have been massively hot, so this is a dangerous game, but Jackson is a streak pitcher and I aim to ride him while he's hot.
Back-Up Plan: Colby Lewis (Rangers) v. Seattle Mariners (Felix Hernandez)
Wednesday, 6/9: Joe Saunders (Angels) @ Oakland Athletics (Dallas Braden)
Usually the picture of competency, Joe Saunders hasn't been quite himself this season, but he has posted quality starts in five out of his last six outings, so it may be time to get him back in your lineup, especially facing the meager A's offense in the spacious Coliseum. On his career, Saunders has a 4-1 record and a 2.87 ERA in Oakland.
Back-Up Plan: C. J. Wilson (Rangers) v. Seattle Mariners (Ian Snell)
Thursday, 6/10: Jhoulys Chacin (Rockies) v. Houston Astros (Roy Oswalt)
Chacin hasn't exactly been Mike Leake since his promotion, but he's got very respectable numbers for a rookie (3.77 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 9.4 K/9). The Astros remain the worst offense in the National League. You should also, however, note that Tommy Hunter through a complete-game shutout in his return to the Rangers. Hunter was actually the most promising of a very highly-regarded class of young Texas starters before an injury delayed the start of his sophomore season, so I don't think you can treat that outing as a pure fluke.
Back-Up Plan: Tommy Hunter (Rangers) v. Seattle Mariners (Doug Fister)
Friday, 6/11: Bronson Arroyo (Reds) v. Kansas City Royals (Luke Hochevar)
Somehow, Arroyo is still available in more than half of ESPN standard leagues, despite the fact that he's won five of his last six decisions and is a leader on one of the hottest teams in baseball. As interleague play returns, he'll face a weak lineup playing without one of its best hitters (Jose Guillen).
Back-Up Plan: Kevin Correia (Padres) v. Seattle Mariners (Jason Vargas)
Saturday, 6/12: Jeremy Bonderman (Tigers) v. Pittsburgh Pirates (Dana Eveland)
As I write this, Bonderman is attempting to run his streak of quality starts to six straight (facing K.C.). Pittsburgh won't provide a particularly intimidating impediment to extending that streak.
Back-Up Plan: Brian Matusz (Orioles) v. New York Mets (Hisanori Takahashi)
Sunday, 6/13: Armando Galarraga (Tigers) v. Pittsburgh Pirates (Jeff Karstens)
Galarraga has proven himself capable of handling mediocre offenses since his promotion. And, in fact, that was his strength during his strong rookie performances in 2008.
Back-Up Plan: Edwin Jackson (D-Backs) v. St. Louis Cardinals (P. J. Walters)
Week Nine Results:
Ervin Santana (@ Royals): W, 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Jeremy Bonderman (v. Indians): L, 8 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
John Lannan (@ Astros): L, 6 1/3 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Tim Wakefield (v. Athletics): L, 6 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Max Scherzer (@ Royals): L, 5 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Ervin Santana (@ Mariners): W, 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
Bronson Arroyo (@ Nationals): ND, 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Week Nine Totals: 2-4, 3.88 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 23 K, 46 1/3 IP (54 H, 20 ER, 10 BB)
Ervin Santana got my only victories on his way toward 90% ownership. He has won each of his last five starts and is beginning to look a lot like the pitcher who finished fifth in the Cy Young vote in 2008. Bonderman, Arroyo, and Lannan all had some tough luck, as their teams didn't support their quality starts. Scherzer was excellent in the first game following his promotion, not so much this time around.
2010 Totals: 25-17, 3.40 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 287 K, 389 IP (354 H, 147 ER, 144 BB)