News, Analysis & UpdatesSeptember 29, 2004

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Every Game Counts

By Arlo Vander

In the waning days of the season, every at bat of every game can make a difference, particularly if you’re locked in a tight roto race. An RBI or two here and a couple of runs there can be the difference between heading into the off-season with a trophy on your shelf and writing a congratulatory email to a rival.

Whether you’re battling for a title or just trying to gain a few more points in the standings, pinpointing the categories where you can make the most headway and having the players in your lineup who can get the job done is the key to late-season success. If the steals category is already locked up, don’t hesitate to drop a producer like Juan Pierre in favor of a Russ Branyan, who just might get you that home run you so desperately need. And in the counting categories, it’s always nice to have your guys play a few more games than your opponents. With this in mind, keep an eye on the schedule when making waiver wire pickups; there are two double-headers left that might be able to provide you with a few extra at bats.

Remaining Double-Headers

Thursday, September 30

Detroit at Tampa Bay
This is a big one, since many teams have Thursday off. If you’re looking for fill-ins for your Red Sox, Indians, Braves, Mets, Expos, Astros, Pirates or Diamondbacks, this is the game to find those replacements. Probable pitchers are Jeremy Bonderman and Dewon Brazelton in the opener followed by Wil Ledezma and Mark Hendrickson. None has an ERA below 4.47, so there should be some runs scored in Tampa Bay tomorrow.

If you need speed, Julio Lugo might be available, with Nook Logan also a possibility. Craig Monroe or Carlos Pena could provide a little power, and Bobby Higginson and Jose Cruz, Jr. are both viable all-round options in a pinch.

Friday, October 1

No double-headers; all teams scheduled to play.

Saturday, October 2

Boston at Baltimore
Starting pitchers are still up in the air and may change if the Red Sox shuffle their rotation in preparation for the playoffs. For now, it looks like the Orioles will face a tough challenge in Curt Schilling and Bronson Arroyo. Boston’s bats might have an easier time as Baltimore starts Daniel Cabrera and Sidney Ponson.

Third baseman-outfielder David Newhan has been slumping badly, but he’s probably the best available choice if you’re desperate for steals. Dave Roberts is faster, but is never a sure-fire bet to see much action. Finding any available power bat on these two teams won’t be easy, but Bill Mueller and even Jay Gibbons might still be on the wire. You could also try your luck with the likes of Mark Bellhorn; in Boston’s loaded lineup, everyone has the opportunity to drive in runs.

Sunday, October 3

No double-headers; all teams scheduled to play.

Good luck in the final days of the 2004 season!

Arlo Vander currently leads his league by just half a point. He’d give quite a bit for an extra home run or two.

Locked in a tight pennant race? Who are you counting on to bring home the title?

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