A lot of shocking news reverberated throughout the league this week when the Red Sox and Dodgers made an unlikely deal that involved nine players with several key players-notably Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett-switching teams. Then there was another PED scandal, as the A’s Bartolo Colon was busted for taking testosterone.
With September right around the corner, things will most definitely be getting more interesting as we approach the playoffs in most head-to-head leagues.
So let’s look at some hot, trendy and intriguing names to watch this week.
Adrian Gonzalez: Los Angeles Dodgers
After a brief slump in his last days as a Red Sox, Gonzalez looks rejuvenated back on the west coast as he has gone 3-9 in his first two games with the Dodgers with one home run and four RBI’s.
Gonzalez will be batting in the middle of a fantastic lineup and perhaps he can thrive now that he left behind the scandal-ridden Red Sox locker room.
This week Gonzalez and the new-look Dodgers will face off against the Rockies (Jeff Francis, Tyler Chatwood and Drew Pomeranz) on the road before heading back home to take on the Diamondbacks (Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley and Tyler Skaggs).
Josh Beckett: Los Angeles Dodgers
It could be feast or famine for Beckett this week.
Will a change of scenery do him some good too? Well, Beckett will have two starts to prove his worth this week as he’ll take on Rockies on the road before finishing the week at home vs. the Diamondbacks.
Joey Votto: Cincinnati Reds
There is a very good chance that the Reds will be getting back their MVP, as Votto is planning to play a couple of rehab games early in the week before possibly being activated for the Reds’ series against the Astros.
The Reds have done well in spite of Votto’s injury and are still six games up in the NL Central. Votto’s presence in the lineup will only bolster a fine lineup and he is the type of player fantasy owners can roll the dice on this week, even if he only plays a few games.
If Votto gets activated for the Astros’ series then he’ll be facing a very mediocre staff in going up against Fernando Abad, Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris.
Brett Anderson: Oakland A’s
Anderson was marvelous in his return to the diamond this week, as he pitched seven strong innings against the Twins while allowing only one earned run on seven hits and no walks.
This could be a week to roll with Anderson since he is in line for two starts; and the two teams he draws are not that imposing. First Anderson faces the reeling Indians on the road before ending the week with a matchup at home vs. the suddenly vulnerable Red Sox.
James Shields: Tampa Bay Rays
With the Rays immersed in a playoff dogfight and still within striking distance of the Yankees in the AL East race, Shields has upped his game of late.
Shields has won four of his last five games and has pitched a quality outing in each of those starts. Shields has also had a phenomenal 34 strikeouts to just two walks in this stretch (37.2 innings pitched).
With two starts (@Texas, @ Toronto)-even if they are on the road-Shields is a must-start pitcher to trust this week.
Mark Trumbo: Los Angeles Angels
After a tremendous first half, Trumbo has been fading in the worst way as we hit the stretch.
Many fantasy players are even considering benching the slugger in these critical weeks, as Trumbo seems to be lost at the plate. In his last ten games, Trumbo is 8-31 with just one extra base-hit (one home run).
If Trumbo can’t get it going this week while going up against the Red Sox (Clay Buchholz, Franklin Morales and Jon Lester) at home and the Mariners (Kevin Millwood, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma) on the road then he could start becoming a major liability for your squad.
Jason Heyward: Atlanta Braves
After a tumultuous sophomore campaign, Heyward is making up for lost time with terrific bounce-back season this year.
Heyward has been on a tear of late and is now 16-44 in his last 11 games with five home runs and 11 RBI’s.
Although he does have a couple of lefties on the schedule, Heyward is someone you can’t sit while he is this hot. Heyward and the Braves will finish off their west coast road trip In San Diego (Casey Kelly, Andrew Werner and Eric Stults) before heading back home to take on the Phillies (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Vance Worley).
Tyler Skaggs: Arizona Diamondbacks
After initially being called up to make a spot start, the Diamondbacks did an about face and will keep Skaggs in their rotation for the foreseeable future. And with the Diamondbacks trading Joe Saunders, Skaggs leash may be just a bit longer now.
Skaggs was bit wild (five walks) in his first start but was nonetheless effective, earning the victory while giving up only three hits in 6.2 innings pitched.
With two starts (vs. Cincinnati, @LAD), Skaggs is someone you may want to take a flier on this week. Despite the wildness issues, there is at least some strikeout potential to work with here.
Adrian Beltre: Texas Rangers
If you have a three-home run day and a cycle in the same week, you most definitely are doing something right.
Beltre likely carried many head-to-head owners to victories this week by going 13-30 with five home runs, nine RBI’s and seven runs scored.
Beltre and the Rangers will like to keep it going when the face the Rays (David Price, James Shields and Alex Cobb) at home before heading to Cleveland (Ubaldo Jimenez, Roberto Hernandez and Zach McAllister) to close the week.
Yovani Gallardo: Milwaukee Brewers
Gallardo has been on a dominant run in his last five starts, winning each contest and allowing only eight earned runs in 35.2 innings pitched. In that stretch Gallardo also has 35 strikeouts while giving up just 26 hits and 10 walks.
Although the Brewers are floundering, Gallardo is doing his part while turning around his season.
With two starts (@Chicago, vs. Pittsburgh) on the docket, Gallardo is absolutely a pitcher worth riding this week.
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