- Tristan H. Cockcroft, Fantasy
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On tap: It's a full week for the American League, with all 14 teams playing all seven days in Week 3. Over in the National League, though, each of the 16 teams plays exactly six games. Among the story lines of Week 3: the returns from the DL of the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo, scheduled to pitch April 19 at Cincinnati, and the Diamondbacks' Randy Johnson, who will be activated Monday for a two-start week; a rematch of last year's ALCS, with the Red Sox and Indians battling Monday and Tuesday in Cleveland; and a forgettable week for two-start pitchers, as you'll see below.
Note: Weather reports are based on upcoming weather forecasts (through Friday), as well as historical trends in those cities. "Riskier weather" doesn't guarantee rainouts; those are merely the teams with the highest probability of one or more.
Note: Hitter-friendly ballparks are based primarily on three-year statistical data (2005-07) comparing home/road performance, much the same method as on our Park Factor page. Some personal opinion does go into making ballpark selections.
Player tips: Geoff Jenkins (PHI) is a must-start in weeks when his Phillies are at home and scheduled to face five-plus right-handers, as they are in Week 3. He's a lifetime .288 hitter with an .882 OPS against righties. Although the Mets face a healthy dose of left-handers, Carlos Delgado's (NYM) career numbers offer some encouragement regarding his matchups. He's a .381/1.170 hitter in 29 career games at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, where he'll play April 18-20. Delgado is also a lifetime 3-for-6 against the Nationals' Matt Chico, his scheduled April 17 opponent; 4-for-9 with a homer against the Phillies' Cole Hamels, his April 18 opponent; and 30-for-68 with eight homers against Jamie Moyer, his April 19 opponent. Ken Griffey Jr. (CIN) is a .299/.888 hitter in 36 career games at Chicago's Wrigley Field, where he'll play April 15-17, and if you remember back to Week 2, if he draws a start against the Brewers' Dave Bush or Jeff Suppan, each of whom he hits well, his matchups will be extraordinary. J.D. Drew (BOS) is a lifetime .293/.927 hitter against right-handers, and his Red Sox will see seven of them in Week 3. Kevin Kouzmanoff (SD) is a .300/1.110 hitter in eight career games at Arizona's Chase Field, where he'll play April 14-16.
Note: Matchups are determined by examining an opponent's catcher and its pitching staff. Obviously, teams such as the Tigers (catcher: Ivan Rodriguez) and Mets (Brian Schneider) rate as tough teams to run on, and teams such as the Padres (Josh Bard/Michael Barrett) and Indians (Victor Martinez) rate as easy teams to run on.
Player tips: Eric Byrnes and Chris Young (ARI) ran wild against the Padres in 2007, stealing six bases apiece, but take into account the team's other two speedsters in those meetings, Stephen Drew, who swiped four bags, and Orlando Hudson, who managed three. To note, they're not on my favorable matchups list, but the Rockies get three against the Padres, April 15-17, and Matt Holliday (COL) did manage four of his 11 steals in 2007 against them. Between the majors and minors, Adam Jones (BAL) has 27 stolen bases in 279 games since the start of the 2006 season. Nick Markakis (BAL) stole three of his 18 bases in 2007 against the Yankees. Brian Bocock (SF) has been caught twice already in five attempts this season, and given that he doesn't offer much fantasy value outside this one category, this is a good week to sit him. Rajai Davis, who isn't getting regular at-bats, is another Giants speedster to avoid. Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE), who swiped 25 bases in the minors in 2007 yet hasn't attempted a steal in his big league career, seems unlikely to register his first facing the Tigers' Rodriguez and Twins' Joe Mauer.
Note: As with the hitter-friendly ballparks, pitcher-friendly ballparks are based mostly on 2005-07 data, with some personal opinion involved.
Player tips: With this one of the poorer weeks we'll see all season as it pertains to two-start pitchers, don't be too hasty to pick a pitcher scheduled to work twice over a clearly more talented pitcher starting only once. A few cases in point: I'd start Josh Beckett (BOS), scheduled to pitch at the Yankees on April 17, over anyone but the top four two-start pitchers; Brian Bannister (KC), scheduled to pitch at Oakland on April 18, over anyone but the top 14; and Wandy Rodriguez (HOU), scheduled to pitch against the Rockies on April 19, over anyone but the top 18. Carlos Silva (SEA) has a 2.70 ERA and 1.15 ERA in three career starts at Oakland's McAfee Coliseum, where he's scheduled to start on April 17. Troy Percival (TB) has 15 saves, a 0.34 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP in 25 career games at Minnesota's Metrodome, where the Rays will play April 16-17. Jon Garland (LAA) has more wins against the Royals (16) than any other opponent in his career; he has a 3.54 ERA in 201 innings against them and is scheduled to face them April 17. Joe Blanton (OAK) is 7-3 with a 3.07 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 12 career starts against the Mariners, whom he's scheduled to face on April 16. Johnny Cueto (CIN) held the Brewers to two runs on five hits while striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings on April 8, and he'll get a rematch with them April 19. This time, though, he'll be at home, so expect another solid outing.
Tristan H. Cockcroft covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.
21hBrando Simeo Starkey, The Undefeated staff writer