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Fantasy Baseball Report (5/2-5/8)

Jose Iglesias promoted to Boston Red Sox
Carlos Ruiz joins the 15-Day DL club -  Lower Back Inflamation
Johnny Cueto returns to Reds rotation 
Justin Verlander throws a No-Hitter
Roy Oswalt joins the 15-Day DL - Lower Back Inflamation
Neftali Feliz returns to the Rangers bullpen
Eric Hosmer promoted to Kansas City Royals
Homer Bailey returns to the Reds rotation
Victor Martinez returns to the Tigers lineup
Orlando Hudson joins the 15-Day DL -Strained Hamstring
JC Romero returns to the Phillies bullpen
Zack Greinke returns to the Brewers rotation
Evan Longoria returns to the Rays lineup
Francisco Liriano throws a No-Hitter
David Freese joins the 15-Day DL Club - Broken Hamate

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Daily Starting Lineups
Daily Baseball Data
MLB Depth Charts

Pitching Probables
May 2
May 3
May 4
May 5
May 6
May 7
May 8

News from last week
Ryan Zimmerman joins the 15-Day DL club - Abdominal Tear Surgery
Pablo Sandoval joins the 15-Day DL club - Broken Wrist
Casey Blake joins the 15-Day DL club - Staph Inefection
Joe Blanton joins the 15-Day DL club - Medial Impingement in His Right Elbow
Delmon Young joins the 15-Day DL club - Strained Oblique
Corey Hart returns to Brewers lineup!
Jose Contreras joins the 15-Day DL club - Strained Right Elbow - Ryan Madson to close
Albert Pujols strains his hamstring, may not be available Tuesday
Evan Longoria to start rehab this week?

Get 'em While They're Hot
Brett Wallace (1B) - 11% Owned
Ryan Roberts (3B, OF) - 52% Owned
Justin Smoak (1B) - 35% Owned
Darwin Barney (2B, SS) -  34%  Owned
Juan Uribe (2B,3B,SS) - 51% Owned
Angel Sanchez (SS) - 37% Owned
Matt Joyce (OF) - 5% Owned

This Call to the Bullpen...
Fernando Salas (RP) - 9% Owned
Bartolo Colon (SP) - 23% Owned
Bud Norris (SP) - 24% Owned
Mike Leake (SP) - 11% Owned
Brandon Beachy (SP) - 31% Owned
Josh Tomlin (SP) - 38% Owned
Jason Marquis (SP) - 6% Owned

Under the Radar All Stars
C - Alex Avila - .299 avg, 10 runs, 6 2b, 1 3b, 3 hr, 19 rbi
1B - Ike Davis - .337 avg, .414 obp, 16 runs, 8 2b, 1 3b, 5 hr, 20 rbi, 13 bb,
2B - Darwin Barney - .326 avg, 15 runs, 4 2b, 2 3b, 1 hr, 14 rbi
3B - David Freese - .356 avg, 12 runs, 4 2b, 2 hr, 14 rbi
SS - Jed Lowrie - .361 avg, 14 runs, 5 2b, 1 3b, 3 hr, 12 rbi
OF - Jeff Francoeur - .308 avg, 17 runs, 9 2b, 1 3b, 6 hr, 21 rbi
P - Michael Pineda - 4-1 in 5 starts, 2.01 era, 31.1 ip, 1.09 whip, 22 hits, 9 earned runs, 30 strike outs

AAAA All Stars
C - Jared Saltalamacchia - .204 avg, 11 hits in 16 games, 3 runs, 3 2b, 0 hr, 6 rbi, 16 k's to 3 bb's
1B - Brad Hawpe - .149 avg, 10 hits in 22 games, 3 runs, 3 2b, 0 hr, 2 rbi, 23 k's to 4 bb's
2B - Mark Ellis - .191 avg, 18 hits in 26 games, 4 runs, 7 2b, 1 3b, 0 hr, 5 rbi, 20 k's to 4 bb's
3B - Mark Reynolds - .169 avg, 14 hits in 25 games, 10 runs, 6 2b, 2 hr, 14 rbi, 25 k's to 8 bb's
SS - Alexi Casilla - .167 avg, 10 hits in 20 games, 9 runs, 2 2b, 0 hr, 2 rbi, 8 k's to 4 bb's
OF - Carl Crawford - .168 avg, 17 hits in 25 games, 6 runs, 4 2b, 0 3b, 1 hr, 7 rbi, 18 k's to 5 bb's
P - Ryan Dempster - 1-3 in 6 starts, 9.58 era, 31 ip, 42 hits, 33 earned runs, 9 hr allowed, 16 bb's, 29 k's

Team with Great Matchups-
Pittsburgh Pirates - @Padres vs. Astros - The Pirates will get what should be a pretty easy week facing the Padres and Astros who are a combined 21-34 on the year.  But their week will start on the road against the Padres in San Diego.  In 2010 nobody wanted to play the Padres at Petco Park as they were 45-36 at home, and the Pirates were atrocious on the road at 17-64.  However in 2011 it's the other way around.  The Padres are really struggling at home as they are just 4-11, and the Pirates are 8-7 on the road.

James McDonald takes the hill to open the series and he's 1-2 on the year with a 7.66 era.  He got his first win after pitching 6 shut out innings against the Giants only allowing 4 hits.  He really has not pitched as bad as his era shows.  In the 3 starts before his shutout win against the Giants, McDonald was hurt by the long ball bad.  He allowed 5 home runs in those 3 games but 1 was a grand slam, 2 were 3-run homers and 2 were solo shots.  McDonald went up against the Rockies, Marlins and Reds in those games, some powerhouse teams in the NL.  It showed he can bounce back in that start against the Giants.  But now he gets to face the Padres who are last in runs scored in the MLB, and should be able to pitch well.  Jeff Karstens (2-1, 3.57 era) and Kevin Correia (4-2, 2.90 era) the Pirates two best pitchers so far will pitch games 2 and 3.  The Pirates will have to face some tough pitching as Aaron Harang is 4-2 but has struggled lately, Mat Latos is 0-4 after starting the year on the DL and has got no run support in his last two starts as the Padres were shut out in both, and Clayton Richard (1-2, 3.82 era) has only gotten 6 runs of support in 4 of his starts that the Padres have lost.  So if Andrew McCutchen can get the offense started and the power bats of Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones come alive then all the Pirates pitchers need to do, is not do the weak Padres offense any favors like walking or hitting any batter and the Pirates should get out of San Diego with at least two wins, because when your 25 games in to the season and only two guys have double digit rbi's (Ludwick and Hundley with 12) there is nothing scary about your team.

Well this series went exactly how I expected.
  • Game 1: Pirates 4 Padres 3 - The Pirates used their power bats in the 1st and hit two 2-run homers to jump out to an early 4-0 lead, a lead that they never lost.  McDonald pitched very well, just giving up 2 runs over 6 innings, which came off a home run from Jorge Cantu.  Long ball has killed McDonald. 
  • Game 2: Padres 6 Pirates 5 - In the 7th inning Andrew McCutchen hit a go ahead 2-run single but as we've all seen before, the Pirates bullpen immediately gave it up, capped off by a game winning home run by Rob Johnson in the bottom of the 8th.
  • Game 3: Pirates 7 Padres 4 - The Pirates jumped out to a huge 7 run lead after a 6 run 2nd inning, which is a lead way too big for the Padres to recover from as they don't have a strong offense. Kevin Correia pitched well going 6 inning giving up 2 earned runs for the win.  Once again the bullpen made it interesting as Jose Veras gave up 2 solo home runs in the 9th to cut the lead to 7-4, which was the final.

The Pirates will be back in Pittsburgh after the series with the Padres to play host to the Astros, another struggling team.  Paul Maholm (1-4) gets the ball in the first game against Wandy Rodriguez (1-3) in a battle of two lefties who probably should each have an extra win or two if it wasn't for lack of run support or poor bullpen.  In game two it will be the Pirates Charlie Morton (2-1) vs. the Astros Bud Norris (2-1) in the battle of two guys I personally believe are over achieving so far in 2011.  However if Charlie Morton can locate his pitches and keep his walks to a minimum the Pirates have the advantage in this one.  Then it's back to James McDonald vs. J.A. Happ (1-4) in the battle of two pitchers who have been killed by the long ball.  Should be an interesting matchup as neither team provides a lot of power offensively.

Neil Walker has really been the catalyst of this offense thus far in 2011, but everyone is waiting for the youth to come alive in guys like all-star worthy Andrew McCutchen, speedy Jose Tabata, and powerful Pedro Alvarez.  They are all struggling, but once they start clicking on all cylinders this Pirates offense will be rolling and will surprise a lot of teams.  Hopefully it can happen this week against two teams who don't score, as an offensive explosion can lead to a possible 5-1 or even a 6-0 week.

Team with Tough Matchups-
Atlanta Braves - vs. Brewers @Phillies - The Braves have a tough week ahead of them facing arguably two of the best teams in the NL.  They open up at home with a 4 game series, facing the Brewers, a 13-14 team but they are playing better than the record shows.  In game 1 the Braves have their best shot as they'll have Jair Jurrjens (2-0, 1.23 era) whose been outstanding since coming off the DL, against Marco Estrada, who in his last 15 innings (2 starts, 2 relief appearances) has only allowed 7 hits, and 3 runs as they came off 2 home runs.  He might sound tough but in games 2, 3 and 4 the Braves will face Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke whose making his first start of the year, and Shaun Marcum who is 2-1 with a 2.21 era.  That's nearly as good as the Phils big 4 in Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels, who the Braves actually run into after this series.  The Braves will struggle here because this team has not found any rhythm on offense, hitting a combined .229 with nobody hitting .300.  Dan Uggla's name has been quiet all year and that's because he's hitting .196.  Rookie Freddie Freeman is hitting .217, Alex Gonzalez is at .231 and Jason Heyward, Martin Prado and Nate McLouth, the guys at the top of their lineup are all hitting .252.  The Brewers are tearing the cover off the ball this year as a team, hitting .275, and their main guys are stepping up as Ryan Bruan is hitting .356 with 24 runs scored, 10 home runs and 23 rbi, Prince Fielder is at .330 with 6 home runs and 26 rbi and lead off man Rickie Weeks is hitting 3292 with 6 home runs and 10 rbi with 21 runs scored.  The Brewers also recently got Corey Hart off the DL who will provide some offense and depth to the lineup.  So between the pitching the Braves will have to face and the Brewers offense so deep and powerful, it might be a long 4 games for the struggling Braves.

  • Game 1: Braves 6 Brewers 2 - Jurrjens was brilliant once again as he went 7.2 innings giving up 2 runs and improving to 3-0 on the year.  Gallardo for the Brewers was sailing through the Braves lineup until the 6th inning where he gave up 3 hits and 2 walks to start the inning, leading to 3 runs and the end of his night, as he lasted just 5 innings 9 hits 5 runs 4 walks 7 strike outs, as his struggles continue this year.  Alex Gonzalez's two run double in the 6th off Gallardo really sparked the club, leading to a successful series for the Braves.
  • Game 2: Braves 8 Brewers 3 - This was game 1 of a day/night double header.  Martin Prado and Nate McLouth combined to go 6 for 8 with 4 runs and 3 rbi, as the Braves beat up on Marco Estrada who lasted 5.1 innings giving up 7 runs.  Tommy Hanson only allowed 3 hits through 6 innings giving him his 4th win of the season.  Chipper and McCann contributed with 2 rbi's a piece.
  • Game 3: Braves 8 Brewers 0 - Tim Hudson was the story here.  Hudson went a complete game only allowing 1 hit and walking 1 while striking out 6, and completely fooling the Brewers lineup.  Dan Uggla got the Braves on the board early with an rbi single in the 1st, and it was nice to see Uggla get going as he went 3-4 with 2 runs and an rbi, raising his season average above .200.  Nate McLouth went 2-2 with 2 walks with a home run 2 runs scored and 2 rbi, making him a perfect 5-5 with 3 walks, 4 runs scored and 2 rbi in the double header, something any team will take from their number 8 hitter.  Zach Greinke made his debut with the Brewers and it wasn't good, going 4 innings giving up 5 hits and 5 runs but did have 6 strike outs.

Well it wont get any easier on the Braves after a 4 game set with the Brewers, as they'll head to Philly to face the Phillies, and they'll run into the big 3 of Halladay, Lee and Oswalt, in that order.  No need to explain what those guys bring to the table, as their all capable of going the distance and completely dominating any offense.  Then just like the Brewers, not only do you have to worry about the opposing pitching but with guys like Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard, you have to worry about keeping them off the scoreboard.  If the Braves don't get their hitting going and their pitching struggles at any point in this series, they could be facing a sweep in Philadelphia and a possibly 2-5, 1-6 or 0-7 record for the week, really burying them in the basement of the NL East.

LiLbRo's Fantasy Lineup
C - Matt Wieters - @ White Sox, @ Royals, vs. Rays - .166, 1 2b, 3 rbi, 4 k's, 3 bb's
1B - Mark Teixeira - @ Tigers, @ Rangers - .269, 5 runs, 2 2b, 2 hr, 4 rbi, 3 k's, 3 bb's
2B - Darwin Barney - @ Dodgers, vs. Reds - .238, 2 runs, 1 k
3B - Michael Young - @ Athletics, @ Mariners, vs. Yankees - .333, 2 runs, 1 2b, 1 hr, 6 rbi, 5 k's, 5 bb's
SS - Troy Tulowitzki - @ Diamondbacks, @ Giants - .043, 1 run, 1 hr, 1 rbi, 3 bb's
OF - Jose Bautista - @ Rays, vs. Tigers - 1/4, 1 run, 1 hr, 2 rbi, 1 k - Out with sore neck most of the week
P - Roy Oswalt - vs. Nationals, vs. Braves - DID NOT PLAY - Visiting family affected by the tornadoes/DL