Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Start Your Engines

Friday, July 15, 2011

The All-Star break is over and focus now turns to the stretch run. At this point, contending major-league clubs and fantasy owners alike are directing their attention toward the postseason and the battle for positioning that will take place over the next couple months.

Below you'll find your first second-half helping of two-start pitchers, streamers and team-by-team match-ups. Note that the Twins play eight games, and they're all scheduled against righties (good news for Jim Thome, if he can get into the lineup, and Joe Mauer). In the NL, the Braves draw seven righties, which will hopefully help Jason Heyward get on track.

Please check back throughout the weekend for updated two-start pitcher listings, as the rotation retooling that takes place at the break can cause things to shift around.

Going Twice...

American League

Strong Plays
Alexi Ogando: @LAA (Chatwood), TOR (Cecil)
Michael Pineda: @TOR (Cecil), @BOS (Wakefield)
Scott Baker: CLE (Masterson), DET (Penny)
Justin Masterson: @MIN (Baker), CWS (Jackson)
Mark Buehrle: @KC (Duffy), @CLE (Carmona)

Decent Plays
Brett Cecil: SEA (Pineda), @TEX (Ogando)
Jeff Niemann: NYY (Burnett), @KC (Paulino)
Bartolo Colon: @TB, OAK (Moscoso)
Guillermo Moscoso: @DET (Porcello), @NYY (Colon)
Francisco Liriano: CLE (Tomlin), DET (Porcello)
A.J. Burnett: @TB (Niemann), OAK (Gonzalez)
Tyler Chatwood: TEX (Ogando), @BAL
Rick Porcello: OAK (Moscoso), @MIN (Baker)
Tim Wakefield: @BAL, SEA (Pineda)

At Your Own Risk
Danny Duffy: CWS (Buehrle), TB
Fausto Carmona: @MIN (Swarzak), CWS (Duffy)

National League

Strong Plays
Tom Gorzelanny: @HOU (Lyles), @LAD (Billingsley)
Ryan Vogelsong: LAD (Billingsley), MIL (Gallardo)
Cliff Lee: @CHC (Lopez), SD (Stauffer)
Yovani Gallardo: @ARI (Collmenter), @SF (Vogelsong)
Chad Billingsley: @SF (Vogelsong), WAS (Gorzelanny)
Randy Wolf: @ARI, @SF (Cain)
Anibal Sanchez: SD (Stauffer), NYM (Gee)
Ubaldo Jimenez: ATL (Beachy), @ARI (Collmenter)
Brandon Beachy: @COL (Jimenez), @CIN (Bailey)

Decent Plays
Kyle McClellan: @NYM (Gee), @PIT (McDonald)
Tim Stauffer: @FLA (Sanchez), @PHI (Lee)
James McDonald: CIN (Bailey), STL (McClellan)
Dillon Gee: STL (McClellan), @FLA (Sanchez)
Chris Capuano: FLA (Hand), @FLA (Hand)
Brad Hand: @NYM (Capuano), NYM (Capuano)
Jason Hammel: ATL (Lowe), @ARI
Derek Lowe: @COL (Hammel), @CIN (Leake)
Josh Collmenter: MIL (Gallardo), COL (Jimenez)

At Your Own Risk
Jordan Lyles: WAS (Gorzelanny), @CHC (Lopez)
Homer Bailey: @PIT (McDonald), ATL (Beachy)
Rodrigo Lopez: PHI (Lee), HOU (Lyles)

Streamer City

The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:

American League

Wednesday, 7/20: Carl Pavano vs. CLE
The veteran right-hander has completed seven or more innings in six of his seven starts since the beginning of June and owns a 2.68 ERA over that span.

Wednesday, 7/20: Bruce Chen vs. CWS
Chen owns a 3.56 ERA this year and should be able to handle Chicago's struggling lineup at home.

Friday, 7/22: John Lackey vs. SEA
Lackey has been a huge disappointment overall but he's a capable option in the right match-ups and this one qualifies.

National League

Tuesday, 7/19: Rubby de la Rosa @ SF
The rookie has mostly looked sharp in big-league action thus far, striking out 44 hitters in 45 2/3 innings with a 3.74 ERA.

Friday, 7/22: Carlos Zambrano vs. HOU
Big Z hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his past four starts.

Thursday, 7/7: Homer Bailey @ MIL
Bailey had pitched very well prior to a two-month injury layoff. See if he can get it going again in Milwaukee.

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Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to Rotoworld's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter @NickNelsonMN.
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