Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Go Get 'Em, Tiger

Friday, September 9, 2011

With the season winding down, plenty of debate is swirling around the American League MVP race, with a handful of legitimate candidates and no clear-cut favorite leading the pack.

The Cy Young race, meanwhile, is stirring much less dust. Justin Verlander leads the league in wins, innings, ERA, strikeouts and WHIP, which amounts to a pretty airtight case for honors as the AL's top hurler. With 22 victories under his belt already and three weeks left on the schedule, Verlander has a shot to become the first pitcher since 1990 to reach 25 wins.

In order to do so, he'll need to take advantage of the opportunity in front of him next week, when he'll draw a pair of starts as he looks to help the Tigers clinch a No. 2 seed for the postseason. Verlander's starts both come on the road, but that shouldn't be a problem as he's been almost equally good away from home and the lineups he'll be facing (White Sox and Athletics) both rank among the worst in the Junior Circuit.

Verlander joins an intriguing slate of two-start pitchers, along with streamer recommendations and more, below.

Going Twice...

American League

Strong Plays
Matt Harrison: CLE (Masterson), @SEA (Hernandez)
David Price: @BAL (Simon), @BOS (Lester)
Felix Hernandez: NYY (Hughes), TEX (Harrison)
Gio Gonzalez: LAA (Pineiro), DET (Porcello)
Justin Verlander: @CWS (Danks), @OAK (Moscoso)

Decent Plays
Jeff Niemann: @BAL (Britton), @BOS (Weiland)
Guillermo Moscoso: LAA (Jerome Williams), DET (Verlander)
Joel Pineiro: @OAK (Gonzalez), @BAL (Britton)
Bruce Chen: MIN (Diamond), CWS (Peavy)
Rick Porcello: @CWS (Peavy), @OAK (Gonzalez)
Jake Peavy: DET (Porcello), @KC (Chen)
Justin Masterson: @TEX (Harrison), @MIN (Swarzak)

At Your Own Risk
Tim Wakefield: TOR (Morrow), TB (Price)
Zach Britton: TB (Niemann), LAA (Pineiro)

National League

Strong Plays
Matt Cain: SD (Luebke), @COL (Cook)
Aaron Harang: @SF (Surkamp), ARI (Saunders)
Roy Oswalt: @HOU (Myers), STL (Westbrook)
Cole Hamels: @HOU (Happ), STL (Lohse)
R.A. Dickey: WAS, @ATL (Hudson)
Johnny Cueto: CHC (Dempster), MIL (Gallardo)
Brandon Beachy: FLA (Volstad), NYM (Gee)

Decent Plays
Chien-Ming Wang: @NYM (Gee), FLA (Hand)
Kyle Lohse: @PIT (Lincoln), @PHI (Hamels)
Eric Surkamp: SD (Harang), @COL (White)
Brad Lincoln: STL (Lohse), @LAD (Lilly)
Dillon Gee: WAS (Wang), @ATL (Beachy)
Brett Myers: PHI (Oswalt), @CHC (Dempster)
Chris Volstad: @ATL (Beachy), @WAS (Strasburg)
Rodrigo Lopez: @CIN (Leake), HOU (Sosa)
Ryan Dempster: @CIN (Cueto), MIL (Gallardo)
Joe Saunders: @LAD (Lilly), @SD (Harang)

At Your Own Risk
Brian Burres: STL (Carpenter), @LAD
Dana Eveland: ARI (Kennedy), PIT (Burres)
Brad Hand: @ATL (Minor), @WAS (Wang)

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, 9/14: Luke Hochevar vs. MIN
The Twins have been held to one or zero runs in 12 of their last 20 games.

Wednesday, 9/14: Wade Davis @ BAL
Davis has notched three quality starts in his last four turns and should be able to dispatch the O's in Baltimore.

Friday, 9/16: Philip Humber @ KC
A favorable match-up for Humber, who owns a 9-8 record and 3.45 ERA on the season.

National League

Tuesday, 9/13: Mike Minor vs. LAD
The talented lefty has notched five or more strikeouts in each of his past six starts.

Wednesday, 9/14: Homer Bailey vs. CHC
In his past two starts at home, Bailey has allowed just four runs in 15 innings with a 16-to-1 K/BB ratio.

Thursday, 9/15: Kevin Millwood vs. SF
Millwood continues to get the job done in Colorado, with a 3.79 ERA through six starts.


Total Games

American League


National League

5: MIL

Lefty/Righty Breakdown

American League

BAL: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
BOS: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
CWS: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
CLE: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
DET: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
KC: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
LAA: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
MIN: 4 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
NYY: 2 vs. RHP, 4 vs. LHP
OAK: 7 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
SEA: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
TB: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
TEX: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
TOR: 3 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP

National League

ARI: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
ATL: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
CHC: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
CIN: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
COL: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
FLA: 6 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
HOU: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
LAD: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
MIL: 4 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
NYM: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
PHI: 7 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
PIT: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
SD: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
SF: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
STL: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
WAS: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
The Infirmary
You can get a full listing of injured players at Rotoworld's Injury Page, but here's the latest on a few prominent players who have been out of action:

Brennan Boesch: Out for the season
Daric Barton: Out for the season
Franklin Gutierrez: Out for the season

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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