Week three features some intriguing starts with the Phillies aces pitching in Petco Park and the Cleveland Indians' rejuvenated rotation facing the Royals and Twins. So far the Phillies aces have been as good as we thought they’d be and according to ESPN’s Tristan H. Cockcroft, “If your opponent in a head-to-head league this week owns any of them, you should cringe in fear.” Well, maybe not cringe in fear, but you might want to take the proper action to counter act any of the greatness Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels or Roy Oswalt will unleash in San Diego over the weekend.
Some of that action may require you picking up an Indians breakout or an Athletics fill-in.
Thursday, April 21
Josh Tomlin- Tomlin and the Indians face the Royals and here’s a reason why you shouldn’t be scared: Tomlin pitches to contact and has trouble with home runs, but the Royals don’t feature any hitters who are dangerous power hitters. His 2.75 ERA and .92 WHIP are more than serviceable at a time when other popular young starters like Francisco Liriano and Clay Buchholz are not living up to expectations. His 11 K’s in 19.2 innings prove he won’t miss many bats, but he keeps runs off the board and has gotten wins in all three game she has started. He’s very similar to fellow Indians hurlers, Carlos Carrasco and Justin Masterson, in that he won’t dominate many teams, but he’ll pitch well enough to serve as a fourth starter in anyone’s fantasy lineup.
Friday, April 22
Tyson Ross fills in for the recently injured Dallas Braden. Ross, a former first round pick, will be starting against the Seattle Mariners for his first start of the 2011 season after failing to make the rotation out of Spring Training. He has pitched 5 innings out of the bullpen for Oakland and struck out 6 in the process. His live arm allows him to dial his fastball up the the mid-90’s but his control has consistently been a problem for him. If he can cut the walks down and find confidence in his fastball he’ll make easy work out of the weak mariners lineup.
Saturday, April 23
Freddy Garcia will make his second start of the year against the Baltimore Orioles. With Phil Hughes and his dead arm on the DL Garcia will have to step up. Last week he pitched 6 scoreless innings against Texas in his first and only start of the year and earned a win, but on Saturday he’ll face a strange Orioles team. The orioles have potential to break out offensively at any moment and since Garcia doesn’t strike many batters out, power threats like Mark Reynolds and Vladimir Guerrero could do some damage. Start Garcia with caution.
Kevin Correia starts against the Washington Nationals. Coming off a complete game against Cincinnati in his previous start, Correia sports a 2.48 ERA and .97 WHIP through 28 innings of work. His 12 K’s in those innings shows he has almost no potential to rack up the punch-outs, but he doesn’t walk many and he’s pitching against an inconsistent offense without its best hitter (Ryan Zimmerman). This might be his last favorable matchup before he reverts back to mediocrity so go out and get him before it is too late.
Pay close attention to the situation in San Francisco because Barry Zito just landed himself on the DL for the first time in his career and the Giants are now going with a four man rotation. This could cause some strain on the young arms already established in the rotation and might force them to call up a spot starter now and again. The Giants have a good reputation with young arms and anyone they call up will be worth a look in deeper leagues.
To get caught up on what is happening around the league check out Ray Tannock's column highlighting some of the league's recent action