StrategyJune 11, 2009

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Interleague Update: June 12-14

By R.J. White

We have another slate of interleague games this weekend, which means some NL teams will be using an extra hitter in their lineups, while some AL teams will have to make some tough decisions on whom to bench. In leagues that allow lineup adjustments daily, correctly predicting these lineup changes could be critical to your success. So let’s discuss what might happen this weekend, and I urge you to use the article discussion link found underneath this article. I’ll do my best at figuring out the goings-on of each team, but if I missed something and you notice it, let me know and I’ll check it out, updating this article as necessary.

American League Teams with No DH

Boston: Even with David Ortiz starting to emerge from a season-long funk, manager Terry Francona won’t use him in the field, correctly not wanting to take away Kevin Youkilis’ Gold Glove-caliber defense at first. So if you’ve stuck with Big Papi this season, make sure to park him on the bench this weekend, as he’s unlikely to see more than a few at-bats.

Chicago:Jim Thome is the normal DH for the White Sox, and one would think Thome would likely sit during the series with Milwaukee. He had no games at first in 2008 after logging only one game at first in 2007. Paul Konerko was hit in the hand by a pitch recently and wasn’t in the starting lineup last night, with Josh Fields replacing him. If Konerko can’t make it back for the weekend series, there’s a chance Thome is out there at first, as Fields hasn’t been very good at the plate this year.

Detroit: Since returning to the team a few days ago, Marcus Thames has racked up a majority of the DH at-bats for the Tigers. He’s hit safely in all five games since his return, so the Tigers will likely take advantage of his hot bat and stick him in LF, if he can handle it. That would send Ryan Raburn, who has been getting the most time in LF as of late, to the bench.

Minnesota: Jason Kubel spends a lot of time at DH (35 games there this season), but he’s also played a bit in the corner outfield spots. After hitting another HR last night (giving him dingers in consecutive games and four HRs in his last 21 ABs), the Twins can’t afford to keep his hot bat out of the lineup. On Friday and Saturday, I would expect to see a starting OF of Kubel in left, Carlos Gomez in center (with Span suffering from dizziness), and Michael Cuddyer in right, parking Delmon Young on the bench. Against the lefty Ted Lilly on Sunday, Kubel will likely give way to Young.

Oakland: The A’s travel across the bay to take on the Giants, meaning they’ll have to play without a DH this weekend. Jason Giambi and Jack Cust have been splitting DH duties for Oakland this year, and although neither has been all that great thus far, both are excellent at taking walks. The A’s will probably mix-and-match all weekend, but I’d expect to see both DHs start at least two of the three games in San Francisco, if not the entire weekend. The other options (Aaron Cunningham, Daric Barton, Bobby Crosby) don’t inspire a lot of confidence.

Seattle: Junior Griffey has spent most of his time at DH this season, and I’d expect him to pinch-hit for most of the Colorado series while young guns Franklin Gutierrez and Wladimir Balentien split playing time in the outfield next to Ichiro Suzuki and Endy Chavez.

National League Teams with a DH

Atlanta: The Braves will probably make Garrett Anderson the full-time DH for the weekend, placing Matt Diaz in LF or possibly Gregor Blanco in CF to play alongside Nate McLouth and Jeff Francoeur. The Braves could also be looking to put Brian McCann at DH on Saturday to get the right-handed David Ross into the lineup against lefty Rich Hill, in which case Diaz would probably start at LF while Anderson and Blanco would start the game on the bench.

Cincinnati: With all three games in Cincinnati coming against righties, I expect to see Laynce Nix and Chris Dickerson start in LF and DH, with Johnny Gomes staying on the bench to pinch-hit against lefties.

Florida: Ross Gload will probably have to man first with Jorge Cantu battling dizziness. The Marlins will likely have to make some roster moves if Cantu or John Baker can’t play in the Toronto series. As it stands now, Alejandro de Aza would be in line for extra at-bats against the Blue Jays, with Wes Helms being another option.

Los Angeles: Blake DeWitt is in line for most of the added ABs, although with Friday’s game pitting the Dodgers against lefty Derek Holland, Mark Loretta could earn the first start at DH for Los Angeles. Where’s Manny when you need him?

New York: The Subway Series recommences in the New Yankee Launching Pad on Friday. Gary Sheffield is almost certain to DH this series, leaving one corner outfield spot for Ryan Church and the other for a mixture of rookie Fernando Martinez and Jeremy Reed. Since Martinez was sped to the majors, I would expect to see him getting most of the playing time.

San Diego: Not that many of the San Diego regulars are rosterable in the first place, but they’ll add an extra bat to the lineup this weekend in Los Angeles. Could Kyle Blanks be recalled for this series? If he isn’t, Tony Gwynn and Will Venable should stick in the lineup on Friday and Sunday against righties, while Josh Wilson could get the start against lefty Joe Saunders on Saturday.

St. Louis: The four-man outfield of Rick Ankiel, Colby Rasmus, Chris Duncan, and Ryan Ludwick should all see normal playing time in the Cleveland series, although the Cardinals take on two lefties. After a couple of big games last night, it will also be hard to sit either Brendan Ryan or Tyler Greene, meaning Skip Schumaker might be fighting the four OFs for playing time as well.

Washington: The Nationals, winners of six of their 26 road games this season, travel to Tampa to take on the defending AL-champion Rays. Willie Harris could benefit from the all-righty rotation the Rays will throw at the Nationals. Ronnie Belliard could be on his way to the bench, with Anderson Hernandez at 2B, Harris in CF, and one of the regular OFs at DH.

All right, that wraps up the look at teams dealing with an unfamiliar DH situation this weekend. Please use the link below to let me know what I missed, and I’ll keep this updated as well as I can.

R.J. White (or daullaz) has been actively involved in fantasy sports for over 14 years, making him an addict at this point. He loves writing, the Atlanta Braves, music, the Buffalo Bills, theatre, the Philadelphia Eagles, his family, and the number 42, though not in that order.
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