- Tristan H. Cockcroft, Fantasy
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Fantasy Forecaster updated Friday, July 19, at 10:44 a.m. ET.
On tap: Baseball's traditional "second half" kicks off with an extended, 10-day scoring period in ESPN leagues, fantasy's "Week 16" beginning with the games of Friday, July 19, and concluding with the games of Sunday, July 28. After this four-day break, it is a busy first week back: 27 of the 30 teams play at least 10 games, and of those 27, three actually play 11 games in 10 days (a result of two doubleheaders on the schedule), those three teams being the Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets and Washington Nationals.
As a result of the packed schedule, 10-day calendar and traditional five-man major league rotations, practically every scheduled starter will pitch twice and exactly twice in the given week; this means this is a rare instance in which there is no two-start advantage in leagues that have weekly transactions. In fact, only eight of the 154 pitchers scheduled to start in Week 16 will work just once: Joe Kelly, John Lannan (assuming the Philadelphia Phillies don't swap his spot with Jonathan Pettibone's), Zach McAllister, Barry Zito and the doubleheader spot starters for the Reds, Mets, San Francisco Giants (already announced as Michael Kickham) and Nationals. Quality drives pitching lineup decisions.
These first 10 days following the All-Star break represent a critical time for the New York Yankees, traditionally regarded as an automatic playoff contender and source of elite fantasy statistics, but a team that begins the second half in fourth place in its division, six games out, and three games out in the American League wild-card hunt. The Yankees play three games at Boston's Fenway Park and four at Texas' Rangers Ballpark before returning home for three against the Tampa Bay Rays, a challenging set of matchups on both sides of the ball and a treacherous schedule that could tilt the balance as to whether they'll be buyers or sellers at the upcoming July 31 trade deadline. Don't say you weren't forewarned: The coming weeks might not be pretty for these Yankees, even with Alex Rodriguez possibly set to return from the disabled list on Monday, July 22.
Speaking of players on the mend, three AL pitchers should be back within the week: The Chicago White Sox welcome back Jake Peavy (ribs) on Saturday, July 20; and the Texas Rangers should activate both Yu Darvish (neck) and Alexi Ogando (shoulder) on back-to-back days on Monday, July 22, and Tuesday, July 23.
Quick click by section, if you're seeking advice in a specific area:
ESPN lineup deadlines | Interleague impact | Projected starting pitchers
Pitching scuttlebutt | Week 16 pitcher rankings | Pitching advantages
Hitting ratings | Hitting advantages
Fantasy owners have plenty of time to set their lineups this week, as lineups for both daily and weekly formats will lock with the first game on Friday, July 19, the Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals game at 7:05 p.m. ET. In weekly leagues, those lineups will then remain locked through Sunday, July 28, encompassing a 10-day scoring period. Plan accordingly.
For those in ESPN standard leagues or any daily transaction format, be aware that there are day games on Saturday, July 20 (1:07 p.m. ET first pitch); Sunday, July 21 (1:07 p.m. ET); Wednesday, July 24 (2:10 p.m. ET); Thursday, July 25 (12:10 p.m. ET); Friday, July 26 (1:35 p.m. ET); Saturday, July 27 (1:05 p.m. ET); and Sunday, July 28 (1:05 p.m. ET). This means that there are only three days in the scoring period in which there are only night games: Besides July 19, there's also Monday, July 22, and Tuesday, July 23.
This also means that if you play in a weekly league that splits the two weeks up -- a three-day and a seven-day period -- you'll have a later transactions deadline for the July 22-28 period: The first pitch on Monday, July 22, is at 7 p.m. ET, that the New York Yankees at Texas Rangers game on ESPN's "Monday Night Baseball."
This week's interleague series:
• Atlanta Braves at Chicago White Sox (3 games, Friday, July 19-Sunday, July 21)
• Los Angeles Dodgers at Toronto Blue Jays (3 games, Monday, July 22-Wednesday, July 24)
• Philadelphia Phillies at Detroit Tigers (3 games, Friday, July 26-Sunday, July 28)
With only National League teams visiting American League venues during interleague play this week -- and it's a relatively light week for interleague play at that -- there's also no quantitative advantage created by AL teams' loss of the designated hitter. NL squads gain the advantage, though even they gain it for only three out of 9-10 games.
The Braves benefit now that "catcher" Evan Gattis is back from the disabled list. Though he was likely to see increased at-bats during B.J. Upton's disabled-list stint, Gattis started each of the Braves' five games in AL parks (April 26-28, May 27-28) between catcher and DH, and is likely to again from July 19-21. As he is catcher-eligible and the opposing White Sox might be starting two left-handers, John Danks and Chris Sale, Gattis is well worth activating in NL-only, deep-mixed or standard two-catcher leagues. He's effectively a must-start from July 19-21 if your league separates this "week" into two.
Whether gaining the DH represents an advantage for the Los Angeles Dodgers hinges upon Matt Kemp's health; he is tentatively expected back July 21, the first day he is eligible to return from the DL. A healthy Kemp gives the Dodgers four legitimate starting outfielders, and it might be smart for them to stash him in the DH role for all three games in Toronto. Week 16, therefore, is not the week to fear starting Kemp, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier or Yasiel Puig (all health-willing).
Defensive considerations might again force Delmon Young to DH, as he has started all seven Phillies games in AL parks at the position thus far, though don't completely rule out the possibility that the team could use the DH as a way to squeeze infielder Kevin Frandsen into the lineup. Still, as the opposing Tigers sport an entirely right-handed rotation, left-handed Laynce Nix is the most likely beneficiary. A .204/.260/.312 hitter against righties this year, Nix is a desperation NL-only option.
The chart below lists each of the 30 MLB teams' schedules and projected starting pitchers, and provides a matchup rating for each day's starter. Pitchers scheduled to start at least twice this week are in gold/beige boxes.
• The Baltimore Orioles haven't yet announced the order of Nos. 4-5 starters Scott Feldman and Jason Hammel, but either way they'll both pitch twice this week facing the same opponents.
• The Boston Red Sox haven't officially announced their fifth starter, who would assume the Tuesday, July 23, slot, but Brandon Workman is the odds-on-favorite.
• Jake Peavy (ribs) is tentatively scheduled to rejoin the Chicago White Sox's rotation on Saturday, July 20, and according to the team's official website, Dylan Axelrod will be the starter bumped to make room. The projected rotation above follows the listed order on the team's site.
• Zach McAllister (finger) was scheduled for a rehabilitation assignment on July 18, and if all goes well he'll rejoin the Cleveland Indians' rotation on Tuesday, July 23.
• The Houston Astros haven't yet announced their rotation plans beyond Friday, July 19, but the projected order above follows how they finished the first half, with the exception of their fifth starter, who should be pushed back to Tuesday, July 23. Rookie Jarred Cosart would be eligible to be recalled on that day.
• The Los Angeles Angels haven't announced their plans for July 22-23, but all indications are that Joe Blanton will start that Monday, with Tommy Hanson (forearm) perhaps ready to return to action that Tuesday.
• The New York Yankees haven't yet announced the order of Nos. 4-5 starters Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova, but either way they'll both pitch twice this week facing the same opponents.
• The Oakland Athletics haven't yet announced the order of Nos. 4-5 starters Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker, but either way they'll both pitch twice this week facing the same opponents.
• The Seattle Mariners haven't yet announced the order of Nos. 4-5 starters Aaron Harang and Erasmo Ramirez, but either way they'll both pitch twice this week facing the same opponents.
• Yu Darvish (neck) and Alexi Ogando (shoulder) are expected to be activated by the Texas Rangers in time to start July 22-23. Darvish is considered the more likely of the two to remain on track; Ogando's status hinges upon a July 18 rehabilitation start for Triple-A Round Rock.
• It is unclear whether Todd Redmond will get the ball the next time the Toronto Blue Jays need a fifth starter, on Tuesday, July 23.
• The Arizona Diamondbacks are pushing Patrick Corbin back as far in the rotation as they can, to Tuesday, July 23, but they have the Monday, July 22 "fifth starter" slot left open. Tyler Skaggs would be eligible to return for that July 22 turn.
• The Chicago Cubs have been widely rumored to be shopping Matt Garza, casting doubt upon his two pitching assignments. He'd slide right into his new team's rotation once traded, presumably still pitching twice in Week 16, but poor timing could yet cost him his second turn. As for the Cubs' rotation, Jake Arrieta, Brooks Raley and Chris Rusin are the leading candidates to assume Garza's spot if the latter is dealt.
• The Cincinnati Reds will need a spot starter for their Tuesday, July 23 doubleheader. Pedro Villarreal, currently on the 40-man roster, is one possibility.
• The Colorado Rockies haven't yet officially announced it, but Drew Pomeranz is expected to be recalled to start on Monday, July 22.
• Stephen Fife (shoulder) could be ready to rejoin the Los Angeles Dodgers' rotation by Tuesday, July 23, which is the date Chris Capuano is currently projected. Fife could also assume that spot the next time it arrives, on Sunday, July 28.
• The New York Mets will need a spot starter for their Friday, July 26 doubleheader. There is no obvious candidate and it could result in a "bullpen day."
• The Philadelphia Phillies haven't yet announced their rotation plans beyond July 19-21, with Jonathan Pettibone and John Lannan candidates to pitch July 23-24. This is important because the pitcher who works last can't start more than once this week; the Phillies could also push back Pettibone to Saturday, July 27, to cap his workload if they wish.
• The San Diego Padres haven't yet announced their rotation plans beyond July 19-21 or whether Sean O'Sullivan will even be in it to begin the second half. Andrew Cashner seems likely to pitch Monday, July 22.
• Though the Washington Nationals had hoped that Ross Detwiler (back) would be ready in time to pitch Tuesday, July 23, it now looks unlikely that he will after a rehabilitation start this week was scratched. He could be a candidate to pitch one of the two games in the Friday, July 26, doubleheader, at which point he might bump fill-in Taylor Jordan from the rotation during fantasy's Week 17.
Note: As there is no real two-start advantage this week, my rankings have been extended to 100 starting pitchers and don't include "Two-start options for AL-/NL-only leagues" or "No-thank-yous, among two-start pitchers."
1. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- 7/21-@WSH (Zimmermann), 7/26-CIN (Bailey)
2. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- 7/21-ARI (Delgado), 7/27-CHC (Garza)
3. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- 7/21-@HOU (Keuchel), 7/26-MIN (Diamond)
4. Adam Wainwright (STL) -- 7/21-SD (Stults), 7/26-@ATL (Minor)
5. Matt Harvey (NYM) -- 7/21-PHI (Lee), 7/26-@WSH, Gm. 1 (Zimmermann)
6. Max Scherzer (DET) -- 7/22-@CWS (Sale), 7/27-PHI (Lee)
7. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- 7/20-LAD (Greinke), 7/25-PIT (Burnett)
8. David Price (TB) -- 7/19-@TOR (Rogers), 7/24-@BOS (Doubront)
9. Matt Moore (TB) -- 7/22-@BOS (Dempster), 7/27-@NYY (Hughes)
10. Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- 7/21-LAD (Kershaw), 7/26-NYM, Gm. 1 (Harvey)
11. Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- 7/23-CHC (Wood), 7/28-SD (O'Sullivan)
12. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- 7/19-LAD (Nolasco), 7/24-PIT (Liriano)
13. Matt Garza (CHC) -- 7/22-@ARI (Skaggs), 7/27-@SF (Bumgarner)
14. Jose Fernandez (MIA) -- 7/23-@COL (Chacin), 7/28-PIT (Cole)
15. Cliff Lee (PHI) -- 7/21-@NYM (Harvey), 7/27-@DET (Scherzer)
16. Yu Darvish (TEX) -- 7/22-NYY (Hughes), 7/27-@CLE (Masterson)
17. Justin Verlander (DET) -- 7/20-@KC (Guthrie), 7/25-@CWS (Peavy)
18. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- 7/19-OAK (Griffin), 7/24-MIN (Pelfrey)
19. Jarrod Parker (OAK) -- 7/22-@HOU (Bedard), 7/27-LAA (Blanton)
20. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- 7/20-@WSH (Gonzalez), 7/25-CIN (Latos)
21. Homer Bailey (CIN) -- 7/21-PIT (Locke), 7/26-@LAD (Kershaw)
22. Chris Sale (CWS) -- 7/22-DET (Scherzer), 7/27-KC (Davis)
23. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- 7/19-@CIN (Leake), 7/24-@WSH (Strasburg)
24. John Lackey (BOS) -- 7/20-NYY (Kuroda), 7/25-TB (Hellickson)
25. Mike Minor (ATL) -- 7/21-@CWS (Quintana), 7/26-STL (Wainwright)
26. Mat Latos (CIN) -- 7/20-PIT (Burnett), 7/25-@LAD (Greinke)
27. C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- 7/20-OAK (Straily), 7/25-@OAK (Straily)
28. Cole Hamels (PHI) -- 7/20-@NYM (Wheeler), 7/26-@DET (Fister)
29. Kyle Lohse (MIL) -- 7/19-MIA (Turner), 7/24-SD (Marquis)
30. Travis Wood (CHC) -- 7/23-@ARI (Corbin), 7/28-@SF (Lincecum)
31. A.J. Burnett (PIT) -- 7/20-@CIN (Latos), 7/25-@WSH (Gonzalez)
32. Derek Holland (TEX) -- 7/19-BAL (Chen), 7/24-NYY (Pettitte)
33. CC Sabathia (NYY) -- 7/21-@BOS (Lester), 7/26-TB (Archer)
34. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- 7/19-@KC (Santana), 7/24-@CWS (Danks)
35. Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) -- 7/20-@BOS (Lackey), 7/25-@TEX (Perez)
36. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- 7/20-@HOU (Lyles), 7/25-MIN (Correia)
37. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- 7/21-TB (Archer), 7/26-HOU (Keuchel)
38. James Shields (KC) -- 7/21-DET (Fister), 7/26-@CWS (Quintana)
39. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- 7/22-@NYM (Gee), 7/27-STL (Kelly)
40. Jeremy Hefner (NYM) -- 7/19-PHI (Kendrick), 7/24-ATL (Hudson)
41. Matt Cain (SF) -- 7/20-ARI (Miley), 7/26-CHC (Jackson)
42. Tim Lincecum (SF) -- 7/22-CIN (Arroyo), 7/28-CHC (Wood)
43. Shelby Miller (STL) -- 7/23-PHI (Pettibone), 7/28-@ATL (Medlen)
44. Lance Lynn (STL) -- 7/20-SD (Volquez), 7/25-PHI (Kendrick)
45. Doug Fister (DET) -- 7/21-@KC (Shields), 7/26-PHI (Hamels)
46. A.J. Griffin (OAK) -- 7/19-@LAA (Weaver), 7/24-@HOU (Norris)
47. Chris Archer (TB) -- 7/21-@TOR (Dickey), 7/26-@NYY (Sabathia)
48. Jeremy Hellickson (TB) -- 7/20-@TOR (Buehrle), 7/25-@BOS (Lackey)
49. Josh Johnson (TOR) -- 7/22-LAD (Ryu), 7/27-HOU (Bedard)
50. Jeff Locke (PIT) -- 7/21-@CIN (Bailey), 7/26-@MIA (Alvarez)
51. Jhoulys Chacin (COL) -- 7/23-MIA (Fernandez), 7/28-MIL (Hand)
52. Bartolo Colon (OAK) -- 7/21-@LAA (Williams), 7/26-LAA (Williams)
53. Mike Leake (CIN) -- 7/19-PIT (Liriano), 7/24-@SF (Gaudin)
54. Tony Cingrani (CIN) -- 7/23-@SF, Gm. 1 (Zito), 7/28-@LAD (Capuano)
55. Justin Masterson (CLE) -- 7/21-@MIN (Diamond), 7/27-TEX (Darvish)
56. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) -- 7/22-@TOR (Johnson), 7/27-CIN (Arroyo)
57. Felix Doubront (BOS) -- 7/19-NYY (Pettitte), 7/24-TB (Price)
58. Tim Hudson (ATL) -- 7/19-@CWS (Danks), 7/24-@NYM (Hefner)
59. Jacob Turner (MIA) -- 7/19-@MIL (Lohse), 7/24-@COL (De La Rosa)
60. Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- 7/19-CHC (Samardzija), 7/24-MIA (Turner)
61. Dan Straily (OAK) -- 7/20-@LAA (Wilson), 7/25-LAA (Wilson)
62. Wade Miley (ARI) -- 7/20-@SF (Cain), 7/25-CHC (Villanueva)
63. Ivan Nova (NYY) -- 7/23-@TEX (Ogando), 7/28-TB (Hernandez)
64. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- 7/23-@WSH (Jordan), 7/28-@MIA (Fernandez)
65. Ricky Nolasco (LAD) -- 7/19-@WSH (Strasburg), 7/24-@TOR (Rogers)
66. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- 7/20-@MIN (Correia), 7/26-TEX (Wolf)
67. Miguel Gonzalez (BAL) -- 7/20-@TEX (Perez), 7/25-@KC (Guthrie)
68. Eric Stults (SD) -- 7/21-@STL (Wainwright), 7/26-@ARI (Delgado)
69. Zack Wheeler (NYM) -- 7/20-PHI (Hamels), 7/25-ATL (Maholm)
70. Ervin Santana (KC) -- 7/19-DET (Sanchez), 7/24-BAL (Chen)
71. Jake Peavy (CWS) -- 7/20-ATL (Maholm), 7/25-DET (Verlander)
72. Wily Peralta (MIL) -- 7/21-MIA (Alvarez), 7/26-@COL (Chatwood)
73. Scott Kazmir (CLE) -- 7/19-@MIN (Pelfrey), 7/24-@SEA (Saunders)
74. Tyler Skaggs (ARI) -- 7/22-CHC (Garza), 7/27-SD (Cashner)
75. Kyle Kendrick (PHI) -- 7/19-@NYM (Hefner), 7/25-@STL (Lynn)
76. Yovani Gallardo (MIL) -- 7/20-MIA (Eovaldi), 7/25-SD (Volquez)
77. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- 7/21-ATL (Minor), 7/26-KC (Shields)
78. Kris Medlen (ATL) -- 7/23-@NYM (Torres), 7/28-STL (Miller)
79. Jon Lester (BOS) -- 7/21-NYY (Sabathia), 7/26-@BAL (Tillman)
80. Bud Norris (HOU) -- 7/19-SEA (Saunders), 7/24-OAK (Griffin)
81. Martin Perez (TEX) -- 7/20-BAL (Gonzalez), 7/25-NYY (Kuroda)
82. Bronson Arroyo (CIN) -- 7/22-@SF (Lincecum), 7/27-@LAD (Ryu)
83. Tom Gorzelanny (MIL) -- 7/22-SD (Cashner), 7/27-@COL (Pomeranz)
84. Paul Maholm (ATL) -- 7/20-@CWS (Peavy), 7/25-@NYM (Wheeler)
85. Chad Gaudin (SF) -- 7/19-ARI (Kennedy), 7/24-CIN (Leake)
86. Nate Eovaldi (MIA) -- 7/20-@MIL (Gallardo), 7/25-@COL (Nicasio)
87. Edwin Jackson (CHC) -- 7/21-@COL (Chatwood), 7/26-@SF (Cain)
88. Scott Feldman (BAL) -- 7/23-@KC (Chen), 7/28-BOS (Workman)
89. Dillon Gee (NYM) -- 7/22-ATL (Teheran), 7/27-@WSH (Haren)
90. Jeff Samardzija (CHC) -- 7/19-@COL (De La Rosa), 7/24-@ARI (Kennedy)
91. Hector Santiago (CWS) -- 7/23-DET (Porcello), 7/28-KC (Chen)
92. Erasmo Ramirez (SEA) -- 7/23-CLE (McAllister), 7/28-MIN (Deduno)
93. John Danks (CWS) -- 7/19-ATL (Hudson), 7/24-DET (Sanchez)
94. Rick Porcello (DET) -- 7/23-@CWS (Santiago), 7/28-PHI (Pettibone)
95. Phil Hughes (NYY) -- 7/22-@TEX (Darvish), 7/27-TB (Moore)
96. Chris Tillman (BAL) -- 7/21-@TEX (Wolf), 7/26-BOS (Lester)
97. Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- 7/19-@TEX (Holland), 7/24-@KC (Santana)
98. Tyler Chatwood (COL) -- 7/21-CHC (Jackson), 7/26-MIL (Peralta)
99. Carlos Villanueva (CHC) -- 7/20-@COL (Nicasio), 7/25-@ARI (Miley)
100. Alexi Ogando (TEX) -- 7/23-NYY (Nova), 7/28-@CLE (Jimenez)
• Six prominent fantasy names face the Detroit Tigers' loaded offense this week: Ervin Santana (Friday, July 19), James Shields (Sunday, July 21), Chris Sale (Monday, July 22), Jake Peavy (Thursday, July 25), Cole Hamels (Friday, July 26) and Cliff Lee (Saturday, July 27). Be aware that major league starters have a 46.8 quality start percentage, 5.03 ERA and 1.49 WHIP against the Tigers this season, so if you own any of these six, your pitchers will be challenged this week.
That said, who is the only pitcher in baseball to boast a perfect 2-for-2 quality start percentage against the Tigers in 2013? It's Shields, who in fact is 7-for-11 in quality starts with a 3.53 ERA in his career against them. (Corey Kluber is 2-for-3 in quality starts against the Tigers, incidentally, the only other pitcher with as many as two against them.) Sale is also a perfect 1-for-1 in quality starts (Win, 6 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 8 K's, on July 11), but the other four pitchers will be facing the Tigers for the first time this year. Shields' and Sale's success, however, illustrates that skills trump matchup, so while you should temper expectations, don't necessarily sit any.
• Tim Lincecum will make his first start since his July 13 no-hitter, getting a Monday, July 22, assignment versus the Cincinnati Reds. Though his 148 pitches thrown in that no-no were the most thrown by any pitcher since Edwin Jackson's 149 in his June 25, 2010, no-hitter, Lincecum's workload worry is eased somewhat by his eight days' rest between starts. Nine pitchers managed a no-hitter with 130 or more pitches thrown since 2010; those nine were a combined 6-3 with six quality starts, a 3.15 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in their subsequent starts, those averaging 6.3 days' rest between outings. Bud Smith is the last pitcher to receive at least a week's rest following his no-hitter; he tossed seven shutout innings for a win in his subsequent start, on Sept. 17, 2001.
Does this mean Lincecum will similarly succeed? Perhaps, and the rest coupled with his back-to-back quality starts with 32 K's in 21 1/3 innings in his past three outings, as well as both of his Week 16 starts coming at home, makes him a "ride the streak" play. He has a 4.12 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and five quality starts in his nine games pitched at AT&T Park this season.
• The Los Angeles Angels announced their rotation alignment for their July 19-21 series against the Oakland Athletics, and here's why that's key: It means that Jered Weaver (Friday, July 19), C.J. Wilson (Saturday, July 20) and Jerome Williams (Sunday, July 21) will also each face the Athletics again at O.co Coliseum from July 25 to 27. Using numbers since the beginning of 2012, Wilson has three wins, a 3.47 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and 8.42 K's per nine ratio in six starts versus the Athletics, while Weaver is 4-for-4 in quality starts with a 0.29 ERA against them.
The Athletics, too, had the American League's worst team wOBA (.290) in their final three weeks entering the All-Star break. That makes Williams, who has a 3.66 ERA in six games (two starts) against the Athletics, a potential AL-only sleeper.
• Here are this week's expanded -- there are eight due to the long week -- Streamer's Delight picks (players need to be available in at least 75 percent of ESPN leagues as of our publishing time on Thursday):
1. Miguel Gonzalez (@KC, Thursday, July 25): He has a 2.91 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in his road career, and threw a masterpiece against these Kansas City Royals on Aug. 10, 2012.
2. Corey Kluber (@MIN, Saturday, July 20): He ranks 17th of 92 ERA qualifiers with a 23.9 percent K rate, and the Minnesota Twins are the seventh-most K-prone team (21.0 percent).
3. Felix Doubront (NYY, Friday, July 19): He has a 2.32 ERA and 9.29 K's per nine ratio in his past five starts against the New York Yankees, an overrated offense this year.
4. Wily Peralta (MIA, Sunday, July 21): He finished the first half with three consecutive quality starts and 6 in his final 9, including one against the Miami Marlins on June 11.
5. Jake Westbrook (SD, Friday, July 19): He has a 3.14 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 19 home games from 2012-13, and the San Diego Padres rank bottom-10 in wOBA (23rd, .300).
6. Charlie Morton (@MIA, Saturday, July 27): His strengths are command (2.90 BB/9) and a high ground-ball rate (62.9 percent); those are ideal qualities to use facing weak offenses.
7. Rick Porcello (@CWS, Tuesday, July 23): He has a 3.20 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in his past three starts at U.S. Cellular Field. Of course, now that I've picked him, I've jinxed him.
8. Martin Perez (NYY, Thursday, July 25): One way in which the Yankees especially struggle is against lefties; they have the majors' fourth-worst wOBA (.287) against them.
The chart below lists each of the 30 teams' total number of scheduled games, home games and games versus right- and left-handed pitchers, and provides a matchup rating for the week's games in terms of overall offense, offense for left- and right-handed hitters and base stealing. Matchup ratings for each individual game are listed under the corresponding date.
• Here are this week's "volume plays" -- defined as the teams that play the most home games, or games against left- or right-handed starters:
Home games: Washington Nationals 11, Chicago White Sox 10, Toronto Blue Jays 10, Colorado Rockies 10, San Francisco Giants 10
Versus LH: Cincinnati Reds 7, Detroit Tigers 5, New York Yankees 5, Toronto Blue Jays 5, Chicago Cubs 5
Versus RH: Los Angeles Angels 9, Colorado Rockies 9, Milwaukee Brewers 9, Philadelphia Phillies 9, Pittsburgh Pirates 9
• Three Cincinnati Reds benefit from a week so heavy in opposing left-handed starting pitching: Todd Frazier, who has .282/.339/.502 lifetime triple-slash rates against southpaws, has started all 31 of their games against lefties in 2013.
Among their possible fantasy free agents, however, are catcher Devin Mesoraco, who is a lifetime .309/.374/.443 hitter against left-handers and has been getting regular playing time while Ryan Hanigan is on the DL. Chris Heisey, a .276/.319/.496 hitter against lefties since the beginning of last season, also could help out an NL-only squad. He has started all three of the Reds' games against a lefty starter since being activated from the DL on June 25.
• The Seattle Mariners completed the first half on quite a high note -- as a team they have batted .289/.355/.499 and have the majors' best wOBA (.364) so far in July -- and now they get a week in which the best opposing starters they'll face are arguably Bud Norris (Friday, July 19) and Samuel Deduno (Sunday, July 28).
Justin Smoak is a .386/.460/.659 hitter in 12 games thus far in July, and he has the added motivation of attempting to lock down the first-base role with Kendrys Morales on the trade block. Michael Saunders has also picked up the pace of late, batting .297/.341/.595 in his first 11 games in July.
• Ten games at Coors Field is always a plus for Colorado Rockies hitters, and remember, this lineup is back at full strength now that Dexter Fowler and Troy Tulowitzki have returned from the disabled list. Tulowitzki in particular has an outstanding second-half history, in case you had any doubt about his skills (and you shouldn't): He's a .321/.389/.555 career hitter after the All-Star break.
One of their lesser names who might be available in your league: Todd Helton batted .276 with a .386 on-base percentage in 20 games over the final 30 days leading into the All-Star break, and he has started each of the team's past nine games against a right-handed starter.
8hBy Ian O'Connor