Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Big Week for the City of Aces

Friday, August 26, 2011

The City of Angels might not send a team to the playoffs this year, although the Halos -- two games out in the AL West -- certainly have a fighting chance. Even if there's no postseason baseball in Southern Cali, Los Angeles does have a shot at producing two Cy Young winners.

In the American League, Jered Weaver is entangled in a two-way race with Detroit's Justin Verlander. The Angels' ace is sitting with a 15-6 record and 2.03 ERA through 27 starts. A dud in Toronto two weeks ago (in which he allowed eight runs over 4 2/3 innings) is the only thing keeping Weaver's ERA over 2; he's hurled four complete games and two shut-outs while averaging less than one base runner per inning. Verlander has the edge in wins, WHIP, innings and strikeouts, so it would take a lot of good breaks over the final month of the season for Weaver to prevail. His match-ups in the upcoming week against the Mariners and Twins should help.

Note: The Angels have announced that they will start Weaver Sunday on short rest, so he will start only once next week.

In the National League, Roy Halladay is getting plenty of publicity as the leader of Philadelphia's all-world rotation, but Clayton Kershaw has in fact been slightly better from a statistical standpoint. In the same number of innings (189 2/3), the Dodgers' southpaw has accrued a superior ERA and WHIP while notching one more win and 25 more strikeouts. This is a tight race that could go either way, and Halladay may have an inherent edge from playing on a more relevant team in a tougher division, but Kershaw will look to build his case with starts against the Padres and Braves next week.

Kershaw joins an appealing list of two-start pitchers below.

Going Twice...

American League

Strong Plays
Ricky Romero: TB (Davis), @NYY (Colon)
Jeremy Hellickson: @TEX (Harrison), BAL (Guthrie)
Felix Hernandez: LAA, @OAK (Harden)
CC Sabathia: @BAL (Guthrie), TOR (Cecil)
Ervin Santana: @SEA (Beavan), MIN (Duensing)
Doug Fister: KC (Francis), CWS (Buehrle)
Max Scherzer: KC (Hochevar), CWS (Floyd)
Mark Buehrle: MIN (Slowey), @DET (Fister)
Justin Masterson: OAK (Cahill), @KC (Hochevar)

Decent Plays
Brett Cecil: @BAL (Reyes), @NYY (Sabathia)
Matt Harrison: TB (Hellickson), @BOS (Bedard)
Wade Davis: @TOR (Romero), BAL (Simon)
Blake Beavan: LAA (Santana), @OAK (Cahill)
Rich Harden: @CLE, SEA (Hernandez)
Trevor Cahill: @CLE (Masterson), SEA (Beavan)
Luke Hochevar: @DET (Scherzer), CLE (Masterson)

At Your Own Risk
Kevin Slowey: @CWS (Buehrle), @LAA
Jeff Francis: @DET (Fister), CLE
Jeremy Guthrie: NYY (Sabathia), @TB (Hellickson)

National League

Strong Plays
Mat Latos: @LAD (Kershaw), COL (White)
Tim Lincecum: CHC (Wells), ARI (Hudson)
Vance Worley: @CIN (Bailey), @FLA (Vazquez)
Cole Hamels: @CIN (Arroyo), @FLA
Shaun Marcum: STL (Garcia), @HOU (Rodriguez)
Hiroki Kuroda: SD (Stauffer), @ATL (Lowe)
Clayton Kershaw: SD (Latos), @ATL (Hanson)
Wandy Rodriguez: PIT (Lincoln), MIL (Marcum)

Decent Plays
Jaime Garcia: @MIL (Marcum), CIN
Charle Morton: @HOU (Sosa), @CHC (Wells)
Mike Pelfrey: FLA (Volstad), @WAS (Hernandez)
Javier Vazquez: @NYM, PHI (Hamels)
Homer Bailey: PHI (Worley), @STL (Garcia)
Bronson Arroyo: PHI (Hamels), @STL (Lohse)
Derek Lowe: WAS (Hernandez), LAD (Kuroda)
Daniel Hudson: COL (White), @SF (Lincecum)

At Your Own Risk
Livan Hernandez: @ATL (Lowe), NYM (Pelfrey)
Brad Lincoln: @HOU (Rodriguez), @CHC (Coleman)
Chris Volstad: @NYM (Pelfrey), PHI (Worley)
Alex White: @ARI (Hudson), @SD (Latos)
Randy Wells: @SF (Lincecum), PIT (Morton)

Streamer City

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

American League

Tuesday, 8/30: Zach Stewart vs. MIN
Stewart should be able to make easy work of the tanking Twins, who scored four runs in four games against the Orioles this past week.

Thursday, 9/1: David Huff vs. OAK
Huff has generally been very effective for the Indians and should be able to handle the A's at home.

Thursday, 9/1: Luis Perez @ BAL
The latest addition to the Toronto rotation owns a 3.76 ERA and 41/17 K/BB ratio in 49 innings this year.

National League

Wednesday, 8/31: James McDonald @ HOU
McDonald has allowed more than three runs in a start only twice since the beginning of July.

Friday, 9/2: Joe Saunders @ SF
Saunders has struggled a bit lately, but the Giants are hitting .238 against left-handers this season.

Friday, 9/2: Kevin Millwood @ SD
The veteran righty has been solid in his time with the Rockies, posting a 4.50 ERA and while allowing only three walks in 20 innings.

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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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