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Interleague play has arrived. What does it mean for fantasy baseball? Well, it depends, of course. This time of the year gives batters the chance to face pitchers they have never seen and this creates favorable match-ups for both sides. New ballparks are traveled to and pitchers have to hit (although their batting stats won’t count for you. One day people, one day). Some familiar names heated up last week and some surprises showed up as well. Without further delay, here we go.
Grady Sizemore (CF), Cleveland Indians: Once considered a top 10 fantasy player, Sizemore cooled off a bit last year but has picked things up again this season. Hopefully, last week was a sign of things to come. Grady tallied 5 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R, and one stolen base. He already has 17 HR this season and needs just 8 more to surpass his total (24) from the entire 2007 season.
Ryan Doumit (C,RF), Pittsburgh Pirates: Fresh off the DL, Doumit absolutely annihilated pitchers by going 10-25 (.400) with 4 HR and 7 RBI. Before you start trading your whole team to get him, just know that those four home runs account for almost half of his season total (9) and this years total already ties his mark from last season.
Willy Taveras (CF), Colorado Rockies: How does a player hitting .239 with no power get a mention here? Speed, speed, speed. Taveras swiped nine bags last week, including five in one game against the White Sox. To add a little more sizzle to his incredibly fast week, Taveras also launched a home run last week (!!). This brings his HR total up to…ONE!
Carlos Beltran (CF), New York Mets: Once one of the game’s premiere players, Beltran has shown signs of slowing down, especially in the home run total. In week 11, Beltran had 10 hits and two home runs. He also drove in eight, stole a base, and walked an impressive five times.
Jacoby Ellsbury (LF,CF,RF), Boston Red Sox: Our baby boy had a good hitting week (9 for 28) which included home run No. 5. He also swiped five bases to bring the season total to 33. His speedy week included breaking the Red Sox rookie record for stolen bases of 31 set by former Sox OF Amby O’Connell.
C.C. Sabathia (SP), Cleveland Indians: He is a fat, fat man. But boy can he pitch. In his first four starts, Sabathia was 0-3 with an ERA of 13.50. Since then, he has lowered his ERA to 4.26 and his outings last week helped. In week 11, Sabathia made two starts and got two wins by throwing 17 innings and striking out 15 while yielding only three runs.
Ricky Nolasco (SP), Florida Marlins: Nolasco also made two starts last week and also picked up two victories. His most recent start included a near complete game (8.2 innings) and an amazing 12 strikeouts. I know there is a rush to pick up Nolasco solely because of the 12 K’s, but don’t be fooled. Nolasco is a not a strikeout pitcher so do not expect him to replicate that performance anytime soon.
Ted Lilly (SP), Chicago Cubs: The man I love to write about. Lilly helped the Cubs (and my team) by striking out 14 batters in 12.2 innings en route to wins number six and seven. In his last three starts, Lilly has an ERA of 2.25 and 22 K’s.
Gil Meche (SP), Kansas City Royals: Is he paid too much? Absolutely. But that is another debate for another time. Meche made two starts and got one victory while fanning 14 batters. In his start against Arizona, he struck out 10 batters. Just like Nolasco, a huge strikeout total in one game like that is not likely to happen again soon for Meche.
Felix Hernandez (SP), Seattle Mariners: What’s bad about being on the Mariners? You could be Felix Hernandez and have an ERA of 2.81 and only five victories to show for it. In his only start last week, Hernandez pitched eight strong innings and struck out eight batters. Hernandez hasn’t allowed a run in his last three starts and earned wins in each game. I guess he won’t be able to give up a run for the rest of the season if he wants to win in Seattle.
Why Should I Give A Crap About These Guys?
Mike Aviles (SS), Kansas City Royals: Tony Pena Jr. wasn’t quite cutting it as an everyday SS as evident by his .154 AVG and zero home runs. Aviles was called up from Triple-A and has made an immediate impact in 11 games by busting out 14 hits and scoring 11 runs. Eight of his hits are for extra bases and include two home runs.
Kelly Shoppach (C), Cleveland Indians: The former Red Sox great (OK, we won’t go that far) has taken over catching duties with Victor Martinez on the DL. In week 11, Shoppach had three home runs and seven RBI. He may not be flashy, but at least he already has more home runs than Martinez did (which was zero).
Marcus Thames (1B,LF), Detroit Tigers: Thames is currently on a white hot streak which includes four home runs in his last five games. As I am writing this, he already has two home runs in tonight’s game against the Giants. Pick up now, ride hot streak!
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