StrategyMay 11, 2012

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Weekend Warrior: Mother’s Day and the Return of Pettitte

By R.J. White

What did you get your mother for Mother’s Day? Two years ago, Dallas Braden gift-wrapped the 19th perfect game in history for his mother, so whatever you cooked up, it’s not topping that. Perfect game candidates this Mother’s Day include Cole Hamels (vs. Padres), Ricky Romero (vs. Twins) and Wandy Rodriguez (vs. Pirates). Sunday also brings us Andy Pettitte’s first major-league start since the 2010 ALCS. What else is on tap for this weekend?

Braves at Cardinals
M.Minor vs. J.Garcia (Fri.), B.Beachy vs. A.Wainwright (Sat.), T.Hanson vs. L.Lynn (Sun.)
The Cardinals have been the unluckiest team in baseball thus far from a win/loss standpoint, which is an odd thing to say about the co-leaders of the NL. Their 5.6 runs per game is second in baseball, while their 3.2 runs allowed per game is also second in baseball. Oh, and they get Lance Berkman back this weekend. Converted reliever Lance Lynn has won all six of his starts this year.

The Braves are no slouch either; along with the Cardinals, they’re one of five teams scoring at least five runs per game this year. With that said, this looks like it could be the best rotation matchup of the weekend. Mike Minor is better than his last two starts (11.1 IP, 15 ER), but this is a tough team to try and re-find your mojo. Beachy hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his six starts.

Rays at Orioles
J.Hellickson vs. D.Eveland (Fri.), M.Moore vs. B.Matusz (Sat.), J.Shields vs. J.Arrieta (Sun.)
Meet the co-leaders of the AL East. Where are the Yankees and Red Sox? Who cares? The Orioles’ .190 ISO as a team is tied for the best in the league with the Yankees. These boys can mash, if nothing else. What’s carried the O’s so far has been a slightly lucky pitching staff with an AL-leading 3.21 ERA. Eveland makes his Orioles season debut on Friday, while two of the weaker Baltimore pitchers fill out the weekend.

Unlike the Orioles, the Rays are surprising no one with their strong start (at least, they shouldn’t be). They rattled off four straight wins after losing Evan Longoria to the disabled list, but the team is just 1-4 in their last five games. Matt Moore was shelled by the Athletics in his last start, and he’s failed to go six full innings in each of his last three games. Fantasy owners are running out of patience.

Angels at Rangers
C.Wilson vs. Y.Darvish (Fri.), J.Williams vs. M.Harrison (Sat.), J.Weaver vs. N.Feliz (Sun.)
These two teams were supposed to run away with the AL West and trade heavyweight blows for the division crown and potential home-field advantage in the playoffs. Instead, the Rangers lead the league at 21-11, while the Angels are in last place a half game back from the Mariners. Josh Hamilton hit his league-leading 15th HR of the year Thursday; he’s clearly leading the MVP race at this point.

The Angels are 7-3 in their last 10 games, but five of those wins came in their six games against the Twins, so they probably shouldn’t get full credit for all of them. Albert Pujols started slow last year, but not this slow. Prior to this season, the latest he had hit under .200 was April 20; that was over three weeks ago, yet he’s still hitting .198. Jered Weaver is the early leader for the Cy Young award.

Indians at Red Sox
U.Jimenez vs. C.Buchholz (Fri.), J.Tomlin vs. F.Doubront (Sat.), J.Masterson vs. D.Bard (Sun.)
The Indians are leading the division thanks to a 10-3 record on the road that includes Thursday’s opener against the Red Sox. Despite their first-place status, the Indians aren’t riding any star performances. The one exception may be Asdrubal Cabrera, the only Indian with an OPS over .900. His once expected regression hasn’t shown any signs of coming. Derek Lowe is the only starter with an ERA under 4.00, and he has a 13/13 K/BB ratio and 1.51 WHIP.

The Red Sox are the laughingstock of the AL East at 12-19, and they’ve lost eight of their last nine games after winning seven of their previous eight. Make up your mind! Blame the pitching for their poor start, as they’ve surrendered more runs per game than anyone in the majors. Of their three starters this weekend, Bard has the best numbers with a 4.83 ERA and 1.52 WHIP.

Nationals at Reds
G.Gonzalez vs. M.Leake (Fri.), J.Zimmermann vs. M.Latos (Sat.), E.Jackson vs. B.Arroyo (Sun.)
The Nationals have given up just three runs per game this year, which is the best run prevention mark in the majors. The Reds don’t have to face the incomparable Stephen Strasburg, but a Gonzalez-Zimmermann-Jackson schedule isn’t much for consolation. Of the three, Jackson has the worst ERA and WHIP, but those are 3.49 and 1.01, respectively. Now if only the team could settle on a lineup spot for Bryce Harper.

After all the Milwaukee injuries, the Reds are the clear second best team in the NL Central. Seven of their ten series this year have been against division rivals, but they play 17 games in the next 17 days against non-NL Central teams. Jay Bruce is leading the team in average, HRs, RBI and runs. Even though Joey Votto hasn’t had much power yet, he leads the league with 27 walks and 15 doubles. Buy semi-low, if possible.

Mariners at Yankees
F.Hernandez vs. H.Kuroda (Fri.), H.Noesi vs. P.Hughes (Sat.), B.Beaven vs. A.Pettitte (Sun.)
Weekend Q: Will David Robertson, who was unavailable Thursday and watched Rafael Soriano pick up his first save, keep the closer role?

Padres at Phillies
C.Richard vs. V.Worley (Fri.), E.Volquez vs. R.Halladay (Sat.), J.Suppan vs. C.Hamels (Sun.)
Weekend Q: Can Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels throw back-to-back shutouts against the Padres, a team whose 12 HRs this year place them dead last by six bombs?

Rockies at Dodgers
J.Moyer vs. C.Capuano (Fri.), J.Nicasio vs. A.Harang (Sat.), D.Pomeranz vs. T.Lilly (Sun.)
Weekend Q: Has Matt Kemp, who’s homerless in his last eight games, been saving his power stroke for a Moyer-Nicasio-Pomeranz feast?

Mets at Marlins
J.Santana vs. M.Buehrle (Fri.), R.Dickey vs. R.Nolasco (Sat.), J.Niese vs. C.Zambrano (Sun.)
Weekend Q: Will the Mets, the league’s luckiest team with an 18-13 record but a 14-17 expected record based on runs scored and allowed, find their luck disappearing?

Royals at White Sox
F.Paulino vs. G.Floyd (Fri.), L.Hochevar vs. E.Stults (Sat.), D.Duffy vs. P.Humber (Sun)
Weekend Q: Will the White Sox figure out what to do with Chris Sale, and what did his Thursday MRI reveal?

Cubs at Brewers
M.Garza vs. R.Wolf (Fri.), C.Volstad vs. S.Marcum (Sat.), J.Samardzija vs. M.Estrada (Sun.)
Weekend Q: Will Bryan LaHair and his .510 BABIP continue to defy logic, or is he really an MVP candidate?

Giants at Diamondbacks
M.Bumgarner vs. P.Corbin (Fri.), M.Cain vs. T.Cahill (Sat.), B.Zito vs. J.Saunders (Sun.)
Weekend Q: Will Madison Bumgarner manage to find his missing strikeouts and push himself from great to fantasy ace?

Blue Jays at Twins
K.Drabek vs. N.Blackburn (Fri.), D.Hutchison vs. P.Walters (Sat.), R.Romero vs. S.Diamond (Sun.)
Weekend Q: Should the 8-23 Twins take a hitter or a pitcher with the No. 1 pick of the 2013 draft?

Tigers at Athletics
R.Porcello vs. T.Milone (Fri.), D.Fister vs. B.McCarthy (Sat.), J.Verlander vs. J.Parker (Sun.)
Weekend Q: Will Andy Dirks be the catalyst that drives this offense to its expected greatness this season?

Astros at Pirates
B.Norris vs. J.McDonald (Fri.), J.Happ vs. C.Morton (Sat.), W.Rodriguez vs. A.Burnett (Sun.)
Weekend Q: Can the league’s worst offense finally get something going against the mediocre Bud Norris and J.A. Happ?

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and has previously written for FanHouse and Razzball. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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