h2h Corner ~ Back to the Future, Next week’s h2h Preview

It’s been awhile since I jumped into the DeLorean to tackle how players will perform in the week to come. There was my five-year college reunion and then Memorial Day, which I spent in the company of great friends at a truly awesome wedding.

Until this year, I had spent the last 16 Memorial Days with my father at the NCAA Lacrosse Championships. Usually the Saturday games (the Final Four) are close. That was not the case this year as they were blow-outs with Syracuse advancing (yawn) and Cornell making a surprising run to the finals.

Since the championship game has been a letdown recently and Syracuse was heavily favored, I felt like I wouldn’t miss out. Well, the final was one of the most superb efforts on both sides. Cornell controlled pretty much the entire game – using a slow pace, good shot strategy to hinder Syracuse’s potent offense. Unfortunately, it came up a little short as Syracuse scored three goals in the last few minutes, with the tying goal coming off a broken play and ending up in the net with just four seconds left. Syracuse, after a Cornell possession, then scored the sudden death goal in overtime. It was amazing and the best final in recent memory.

So this proves, as Belushi said, “it ain’t over till it’s over.” You will put yourself in a good position to take a lead heading into the weekend by following the advice below. Still, be sure to finish off your opponent by manning the wire to pick up a Sunday starter or fluke closer that could grab a much needed W, K or SV.

You will most likely get the best returns on moves from adding starting pitchers, as they can – hopefully positively – impact wins, Ks, ERA and WHIP. If you are in a weekly league, you need to decide which two-start pitchers you are inserting into your lineup. Here’s a handy, dandy, ranked list:

  1. Johan Santana – New York Mets – home against Philadelphia & at New York Yankees
  2. Chris Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals – at Florida & at Cleveland
  3. Cliff Lee – Cleveland Indians – home against Kansas City & home against St. Louis
  4. Matt Cain – San Francisco Giants – at Arizona & home against Oakland
  5. Chad Billingsly – Los Angeles Dodgers – home against San Diego & at Texas
  6. Johnny Cueto – Cincinnati Reds – at Washington & at Kansas City
  7. Josh Beckett – Boston Red Sox – home against New York Yankees & at Philadelphia
  8. Jered Weaver – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – at Tampa Bay & home against San Diego
  9. Ted Lilly – Chicago Cubs – at Houston & home against Minnesota
  10. Jeff Niemann – Tampa Bay Rays – home against Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim & home against Washington
  11. Josh Outman – Oakland Athletics – home against Minnesota & at San Francisco
  12. Josh Johnson – Florida Marlins – home against St. Louis & at Toronto
  13. Mark Buehrle – Chicago White Sox – home against Detroit & at Milwaukee
  14. Derek Lowe – Los Angeles Dodges – home against Pittsburgh & at Baltimore
  15. Scott Baker – Minnesota Twins – at Oakland & at Chicago Cubs
  16. Zach Duke – Pittsburgh Pirates – at Atlanta & home against Detroit
  17. A.J. Burnett – New York Yankees – at Boston & home against New York Mets
  18. Scott Feldman – Texas Rangers – home against Toronto & home against Los Angeles Dodgers
  19. Andy Pettitte – New York Yankees – home against Tampa Bay & home against New York Mets
  20. Kenshin Kawakami – Atlanta Braves – home against Pittsburgh & at Baltimore

There are some borderline two-start pitchers (Brett Anderson, Jon Garland, Jason Marquis and Anthony Swarzak), but you might want to try to maximize one start from a more serviceable pitcher. Also, if you need to stream pitchers later in the week from a likely available starter, I’d look to:

  1. Jonathan Sanchez – San Francisco Giants – home against Oakland
  2. Ubaldo Jimenez – Colorado Rockies – home against Seattle
  3. Rick Porcello – Detroit Tigers – at Pittsburgh Pirates
  4. Randy Wells – Chicago Cubs – home against Minnesota Twins
  5. Rich Hill – Baltimore Orioles – home against Atlanta Braves
  6. Tommy Hanson – Atlanta Braves – at Baltimore Orioles

If you are looking to maximize your moves, while boosting your offense, look to the following teams (players).

  1. Texas Rangers (home for four games against Toronto and three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers). Players potentially available: Marlon Byrd, Elvis Andrus and Andruw Jones.
  2. Seattle Mariners (three games at Baltimore and three games at Colorado). Players potentially available: Adrian Beltre and Jose Lopez.
  3. Baltimore Orioles (home for three games against Seattle and Atlanta). Players potentially available: Melvin Mora, Nolan Reimold and Cesar Izturis.
  4. Chicago White Sox (five games at Detroit). Players potentially available: Gordon Beckham and Scott Podsednik.
  5. Detroit Tigers (home for three games against Chicago White Sox). Players potentially available: Ryan Rayburn.

The players mentioned above should be available in most 12-team leagues. This is simply an endorsement for an increase in their value for this week – do not make long-term roster plans based solely on this.

However, those are slightly slim pickings, so if you are desperate for some hitting help, try grabbing:

  • Jerry Hairston, Jr. (for Runs/SBs);
  • Aaron Rowand (for RBIs/AVE/OBP);
  • Gary Sheffield (for Runs/RBIs/AVE/OBP);
  • Casey Blake (for RBIs)
  • Michael Bourn (for Runs/SBs); and
  • Jason Kubel (for RBIs/OBP).

If you have any questions about weekly roster management, feel free to post a comment or DM me on Twitter.

What the column does:

This column will predict how awesome/bad your team can be during next week’s contest. It will prove invaluable for those of you about to set your lineups in weekly leagues.

However, it will also help daily league owners because some leagues have started with weekly move caps to cut down on the nefarious streaming pitchers strategy. This makes it important to maximize your move allotment on two-start pitchers and key hitters who will have good match-ups.

When making roster moves, it is important to focus on the categories you want to win. For 5×5 h2h leagues, you only need to win six categories a week. I focus on runs, HRs and SBs for hitters, so I lean to the rare combination of power and speed. For pitchers, I focus on saves first and foremost – there is safety in quantity. Then I let the early returns from my starters do the talking. If they start off great in ERA/WHIP, I focus on diligently tracking my ratio categories and keeping those down. If they give up a ton of runs and walk a bunch, then I throw all my pitchers into the mix and go for wins and strikeouts. By focusing on these four categories and letting your starters figure out the other two, you can get yourself a handy winning percentage near .600.

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