Don't listen to Bronson, cornrows are never OK.
Usually when I sit down to write this column, there may be one or two things that have happened over the course of the week which make me reexamine how I view particular match-ups. But unfortunately, this week saw three of the best hitters in baseball go on the DL within a 24-hour period. And for fans of the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Reds (and their fantasy owners alike), it sucks. At least as of right now, it looks like David Ortiz and Jose Bautista will miss around the minimum 15 days and Joey Votto will miss 3-4 weeks, so it's not like any of them will be out for the season. As far as we know.
What does this mean for these team's match-ups in the near future? The Red Sox were on the verge of becoming a DEFCON 1 level match-up with Crawford, Ellsbury and Pedroia all returning (not to mention A-Gon starting to hit like his usual self), but alas they will remain where they were until Papi returns. The Blue Jays and Reds each will get upgraded a notch for as long as their studs are out, although they still remain average match-ups on the road and below-average ones at their respective home parks.
And with that, let's get right into it. After the jump, of course..Mike Leake (@HOU, SD, PIT, @CHC, NYM, CHC)
At first glance, you see a starting pitcher with 3 wins, a 4.25 ERA and 72 K on the season and you're thinking "OK, not much to see here." But hidden in there is the story of two different pitchers. When Leake left the mound on May 11th, he had a 7.11 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 4.6 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 1.8 HR/9 through six starts. In the 12 starts since then, he's has a 3.10 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 and 0.9 HR/9 -- and that's including his rough start against Arizona yesterday (the first in which he's given up more than 3 ER since June 7th). Plus, with the Reds 12 games over .500, that win total looks pretty fluky as well.
Josh Collmenter (HOU, NYM, @LAD, @PIT, WSH)
One of the big non-injury stories of this week was the demotion of uber prospect Trevor Bauer to Triple-A -- and Collmenter will be the guy to take his place (at least initially). As with Leake, Collmenter is a story of two pitchers. At first glance, you'd think, "hey, this guy hasn't been that bad this year!" Then you see he has a 6.03 ERA as a starter and a 1.05 ERA as a reliever. On the bright side, his strikeout rate has been higher as a starter and this schedule will make him more useful than he would be otherwise. If he's unowned in your NL-only league, he's worth a pickup. Anything shallower than 16-team mixed, let him prove it to you first.
Ricky Romero (OAK, @SEA, @OAK, NYY, CHW)
There's no way around it, Romero's been terrible lately -- as exemplified crudely by his 7.33 June ERA and 6.38 July ERA. If there was ever a stretch for him to turn it around, it's over these next three games. Shallow leaguers may have already cut him, but deeper league players don't have that luxury. All you can do is hope he strings it together against the duldrums of the AL West and then find someone crazy enough to take him off your hands before the schedule turns again.
Ben Sheets (@WSH, @MIA, MIA, HOU, @NYM, SD)
This is now the second week in a row for a Ben Sheets write up. I know everyone's lost their minds a little over him after one start against 75% of the Mets regular lineup, but check your expectations at the door. If you picked him up, this stretch could create a great opportunity for you to sell him for something of real value at the trading deadline. He's not going to magically transform into the guy he was back in 2006.
Everett Teaford (MIN, @SEA, CLE, @CHW, @BAL, CHW)
This one's for AL-only leaguers. Teaford is not a good pitcher, in fact he may be more well known for the now infamous picture of him and Tim Collins both fitting into Jonathan Broxton's pants as a spring training prank (of course I'm attaching a link) than he is for his work on the mound. But this is a very attractive stretch for a left-handed starter. If you're into taking risks, this might just be for you.
Other Potential Outperformers:
Wade Miley (HOU, NYM, @LAD, @PIT, WSH)
Tommy Hanson (@WSH, @MIA, MIA, HOU, @NYM, SD)
C.J. Wilson (KC, TB, @CHW, @OAK, CLE)
Nate Eovaldi (@NYM, @SF, ARZ, COL, @PIT)
Josh Johnson (ATL, SD, @WSH, @NYM, PHI)
Scott Diamond (@KC, CLE, CHW, @CLE, TB, @SEA)
Johan Santana (LAD, WSH, @SF, @SD, ATL)
Ivan Nova (@OAK, @SEA, BAL, @DET)
Kevin Correia (MIA, CHC, @CHC, @CIN, SD, LAD, @SD)
Jeff Karstens (MIA, @HOU, @CHC, ARZ, SD)
Clayton Richard (@SF, @MIA, NYM, CHC)
Adam Wainwright (LAD, @CHC, MLW, SF)
Joe Kelly (LAD, @CHC, MLW, SF)
THE POTENTIAL UNDERPERFORMERS
All Rangers SP (@LAA, BOS, CHW, LAA, @KC, @BOS, DET, @NYY, @TOR)
The next month has the potential to be bad news for Rangers starters, and I mean all of them. Outside of a 3-gamer in Kansas City sandwiched in the middle of this brutal nine series stretch, these are all poor match-ups. On the bright side, as you may have been able to guess by all these tough opponents crammed into four weeks, the schedule lightens up significantly as August starts to wain down. But we'll get to that later.
Rick Porcello (CHW, @TOR, @BOS, NYY, @TEX)
If you were thinking about trading for Rick Porcello, picking him up off the wire or even thinking about using him, don't. Seriously, step away from the computer. It's going to be OK.
Jered Weaver (TEX, KC, @TEX, @CHW)
I know you're not sitting Weaver in any match-ups, but there is regression coming. Don't be surprised if it's during his next few starts. And it will likely be followed with a really over-the-top Jered Weaver hissy fit.
Other Potential Underperformers:
As you may know, I post a streamer of the day owned in less than 10% of leagues on a daily basis at @tfw_bret on Twitter. And as a staple of this column, I'm going to review my picks as the season goes on. Here are the final numbers for the past seven days of #streameroftheday picks:
3 wins, 2.84 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 30 K's in 44 1/3 innings.
And the details:
|16-Jul||JA Happ||SD||6 1/3||0||4||1||4||-||0.79||W|
Probably my best week of the season thus far, coming off the heels of a great short week. The three start stretch from Sheets to Detwiler was the first time all season I've gone had three in a row with no earned runs. Unfortunately, I followed it up Kevin Millwood. Oh well, they're not all going to be winners. Now I just have to sustain this great momentum through the coming week.
Follow me on Twitter at @tfw_bret.