<
>

Fantasy Forecaster: Back to the (busy) norm

6/29/2008

On tap: We're back to normal after the completion of interleague play, with the return of rivalries such as Red Sox-Yankees, Cubs-Cardinals and Mets-Phillies. It's a busy week, too; 20 of the 30 teams play all seven days. The highlights: Joba Chamberlain will get his second career two-start week, but his first since he became a full, no-restrictions starter, and his first start against the rival Red Sox. Edinson Volquez gets a chance for redemption coming off his first bad start all year by facing two soft, pitcher-friendly matchups at home. And the Padres return to Coors Field, where they were dispatched in a one-game playoff for the NL wild card last October.

Quick click by section: Game breakdowns | Hitters' matchups | Base stealers' matchups | Pitchers' matchups | Two-start pitchers

They got chili dogs over there? Game breakdowns

Note: Weather reports are based on upcoming weather forecasts (through Friday), as well as historical trends in those cities. "Poor weather" doesn't guarantee rainouts; those are merely the teams with the highest probability of one or more.

Hit like Mays: Hitters' matchups

Note: Hitter-friendly ballparks are based primarily on recent statistical data (2005-08) comparing home/road performance, much the same method as our Park Factor page. Some personal opinion does go into making ballpark selections.

Run like Hayes: Base stealers' matchups

Note: Matchups are determined by examining both an opponent's catcher and pitching staff. Obviously, teams like the Mets (catcher: Brian Schneider) and Tigers (Ivan Rodriguez) rate as tough teams to run on, while teams like the Padres (Michael Barrett) and White Sox (A.J. Pierzynski) rate as easy teams to run on.

Give 'em the heater: Pitchers' matchups

Note: As with the hitter-friendly ballparks, pitcher-friendly ballparks are based mostly on 2005-08 data, with some personal opinion involved.

Two-start notes: This week's mixed-league cut-off point is right around No. 20, with Tim Wakefield, Justin Masterson (No. 21) and Todd Wellemeyer (22) each making a case but dealing with some tough offenses. … The Blue Jays could keep John Parrish on track and start him on Friday, or skip him due to Thursday's off day. The latter seems more probable, so I've forecasted Jesse Litsch for a two-start week. … Dodgers manager Joe Torre says he'll use a six-man rotation until the All-Star break, with Hiroki Kuroda likely due back on Wednesday. As a result, Eric Stults is the team's lone two-start pitcher. … The Mariners' rotation is currently a mess, with Erik Bedard (back) and Felix Hernandez (ankle) both battling injuries. Bedard was scheduled to pitch Sunday, June 29, but it's unclear how the team's rotation will shake out after that. R.A. Dickey is about the only certain two-start pitcher, and I'm excluding Hernandez from the rotation this week until I hear otherwise that he's healthy. … I'm assuming the Padres skip Cha Seung Baek in the rotation due to Thursday's off day, accounting for the fact that they already pushed him back by a day in Week 13. That'd give Josh Banks a second start this week. … Expect the Pirates to use Thursday's off day to keep Zach Duke and Paul Maholm, their two most reliable pitchers right now, on a regular four-day-rest schedule. Maholm would be the one who loses his second start if the team uses five starters in Week 14.


Tristan H. Cockcroft covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.