Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Week Ahead: Invader Zim

Saturday, May 11, 2013

With Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and newly acquired Dan Haren drawing the headlines, Washington's rotation gathered plenty of hype leading up to this season. A unit that last year led the National League with a 3.40 ERA had seemingly only gotten better over the offseason, with Haren joining the mix and Strasburg shedding his innings limit.

Through a month and change, the Nats starting corps has continued to excel, with a 3.42 ERA that ranks them second in the NL behind St. Louis' ridiculous group. But the star performer hasn't been Gonzalez, who has been unable to replicate last year's great results early on. It hasn't been Haren, who has been mediocre through his first seven starts. It hasn't even been Strasburg, who's looked downright human with a 1-4 record and 3.45 ERA.

Instead, it's Jordan Zimmermann leading the way. The 26-year-old is following up his quietly brilliant 2012 campaign with another spectacular effort here in 2013, as he leads the majors with six wins and has hurled two complete games in seven starts. With a 1.59 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and only two homers allowed in 51 innings, the right-hander has been sublime.

Given his track record, there's no reason to think that major regression is in his future, even if his .209 BABIP is bound to come back to Earth. Zimmermann can really pitch, and is lined up for two starts against scuffling offenses in the coming week.

A few other notes on The Week Ahead...

* Barry Zito has effectively walked a tightrope this year, holding a 3-1 record and 2.75 ERA despite some iffy performances, but I'd stay away this week. Hard to draw a tougher pair of match-ups than pitching in Toronto and Colorado.

* Travis Wood has amazingly turned in seven quality starts in seven tries this year. He goes twice at home in the coming week and is available in more than 50 percent of leagues.

* With a double-header on Monday and no off days scheduled, the Yankees are slated to play eight games -- six at home. Make sure to get any New York hitters into your lineup.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Derek Holland: @OAK (Colon), DET (Fister)
Matt Moore: BOS (Doubront), @BAL (Chen)
CC Sabathia: SEA (Hernandez), TOR (Morrow)
Jake Peavy: @MIN (Correia), @LAA (Vargas)
Anibal Sanchez: HOU (Norris), @TEX (Grimm)
Doug Fister: HOU (Harrell), @TEX (Holland)
Felix Hernandez: @NYY (Sabathia), @CLE (Masterson)

Decent Plays

Justin Grimm: @OAK (Griffin), DET (Sanchez)
A.J. Griffin: TEX (Grimm), KC (Mendoza)
Jason Vargas: KC (Guthrie), CWS (Peavy)
Bud Norris: @DET (Sanchez), @PIT (Locke)
Hector Santiago: @MIN (Hernandez), @LAA (Blanton)
Justin Masterson: NYY (Phelps), SEA (Hernandez)
John Lackey: @TB (Moore), @MIN (Hernandez)

At Your Own Risk

David Phelps: @CLE (Masterson), TOR (Buehrle)
Pedro Hernandez: CWS (Santiago), BOS (Doubront)
Joe Blanton: KC (Mendoza), CWS (Santiago)
Luis Mendoza: @LAA (Blanton), @OAK (Griffin)

National League

Strong Plays

Jordan Zimmermann: @LAD (Beckett), @SD (Cashner)
Jake Westbrook: NYM (Gee), MIL
Lance Lynn: NYM (Hefner), MIL (Lohse)
A.J. Burnett: MIL (Lohse), HOU (Lyles)
Homer Bailey: @MIA (Sanabia), @PHI (Kendrick)
Travis Wood: COL (Nicasio), NYM (Gee)
Mike Minor: @ARI (Miley), LAD (Beckett)
Wade Miley: ATL (Minor), @MIA (Sanabia)

Decent Plays

Dan Haren: @LAD (Kershaw), @SD (Cashner)
Barry Zito: @TOR (Dickey), @COL (Frncis)
Andrew Cashner: @BAL (Tillman), WAS (Haren)
Jeff Locke: MIL, HOU (Norris)
Kyle Lohse: @PIT (Burnett), @STL (Lynn)
Josh Beckett: WAS (Zimmermann), @ATL (Minor)

At Your Own Risk

Dillon Gee: @STL (Westbrook), @CHC (Wood)
Jeremy Hefner: @STL (Lynn), @CHC (Feldman)
Alex Sanabia: CIN (Bailey), ARI (Miley)
Juan Nicasio: @CHC (Wood), SF (Lincecum)
Jeff Francis: @CHC (Villanueva), SF (Zito)

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, 5/14: Chris Tillman vs. SD
Tillman has run his string of quality starts up to four. The Padres offense is not good.

Friday, 5/17: Ubaldo Jimenez vs. SEA
It's too early to reach conclusions, but Jimenez seems to be turning things around as he's looked good in consecutive starts. He'll try to keep it rolling at home against the Mariners.

National League

Tuesday, 5/14: Julio Teheran @ ARI
The young righty has shown signs of getting on track, with a 2.79 ERA over his past three starts.

Wednesday, 5/15: Mike Leake @ MIA
Leake's had some ups and downs, but he's a good bet to suppress the miserable Marlins in Miami.

Friday, 5/17: Jorge De La Rosa vs. SF
In two home starts this year, De La Rosa has allowed five hits and zero runs over 12 innings.

Total Games

American League

8: NYY

National League

5: PHI

Lefty/Righty Breakdowns

American League

BAL: 3 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
BOS: 2 vs. RHP, 4 vs. LHP
CLE: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
CWS: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
DET: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
HOU: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
KC: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
LAA: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
MIN: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
NYY: 6 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
OAK: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SEA: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
TB: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
TEX: 7 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
TOR: 3 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP

National League

ARI: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
ATL: 2 vs. RHP, 4 vs. LHP
CHC: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
CIN: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
COL: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
LAD: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
MIA: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
MIL: 3 vs. RHP, 4 vs. LHP
NYM: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
PHI: 4 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
PIT: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SD: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SF: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
STL: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
WAS: 5 vs. RHP, 2 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:

Miguel Gonzalez: Out until late May (finger)
Joel Hanrahan: Out indefinitely (arm)
Jerry Hairston Jr.: Out indefinitely (groin)
Hanley Ramirez: Out until mid-May (hamstring)
Josh Reddick: Out until late May (wrist)
Roy Halladay: Out indefinitely (shoulder)
James McDonald: Out indefinitely (shoulder)
Clayton Richard: Out indefinitely (virus)
A.J. Pierzynski: Out indefinitely (ribs)
J.A. Happ: Out until mid-June (head)

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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