After the wacky and wild week of baseball we just had, what can we expect for an encore?
Between Phil Humber throwing a perfect game and the Yanks coming from behind 9-0 against the Red Sox on Saturday, the game of baseball never ceases to amaze us.
With April winding down and the chill in the air about to dissipate, the game is about to get a whole lot more exciting.
So, let’s look at some players to watch this week.
Matt Kemp: Los Angeles Dodgers
There is just no stopping Kemp right now.
Kemp is playing at a higher level than most of his counterparts. With a .450 batting average to go with nine home runs and 22 RBI’s, there is no disputing that sentiment.
With a schedule that includes all six games at home, Kemp will look to feast on the tail end of the Braves rotation and a steady Nats’ staff. The week will be highlighted when Kemp will face off against one of the hottest pitchers in the game in Stephen Strasburg on Friday.
Josh Hamilton: Texas Rangers
If there is a player who can challenge Kemp for fantasy supremacy it is Hamilton.
Hamilton is blistering hot and now sports a .418 batting average with seven home runs and 17 RBI’s. Hamilton and the 13-3 Rangers (who are arguably the best team in the game) will take on two of the AL East’s better teams in the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hamilton will have to face off against the likes of C.C. Sabathia and the Ray’s James Shields and David Price, making him a prime player to watch this week.
Matt Cain: San Francisco Giants
Cain has been flat out filthy this year.
Cain, who is 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA and sterling 0.50 WHIP, will be pitching twice this week as he takes on a weak Padres’ team at home before taking on a so-so Reds’ team on the road.
It should be another banner week for Cain.
Phil Humber: Chicago White Sox
We should all applaud for what Humber accomplished on Sunday by pitching a perfect game- on 97 pitches no less-and becoming the 21st player to do so. So far this season, Humber is 1-0 with a dazzling 0.63 ERA and identical 0.63 WHIP.
However, in two starts, Humber faced the Orioles and the Mariners – hardly heavyweight lineups. Humber will take on the Red Sox at home in his next start. Although the Red Sox are reeling, it’s not because of their offense. So, if Humber can mow down the Red Sox lineup, then his value will drastically go up.
Bartolo Colon: Oakland A’s
Do my eyes deceive me or is Bartolo Colon channeling his former Cy Young self? He may have to lose 30 pounds to found that part of himself.
Colon has been nothing short of amazing this year. Colon is 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA and has 19 strikeouts to only two walks. His command has been impeccable and Colon is coming off an outing in which he threw an astonishing 38 straight strikes in one stretch of the game.
So, yeah, it’s time to trust him again and if he is available in your leagues, what are you waiting for? Colon will pitch twice this week with his first start on Monday at home against the White Sox before finishing the week with a start in Baltimore.
Curtis Granderson: New York Yankees
Granderson’s bat has come alive in the past week-as have so many other Yankee bats-and looks primed to continue his assault on opposing pitchers. Granderson is now batting .279 with six home runs, 10 RBI’s and 14 runs scored.
Granderson is coming off a week in which he hit three home runs in a game vs. the Twins. The schedule gets tougher this week as the Yanks will be on the road for an important series with the red-hot Rangers (squaring off against Derek Holland, Yu Darvish, and Scott Feldman) before playing at home against an equally imposing Tigers staff (vs. Justin Verlander, Drew Smyly and Max Scherzer).
Francisco Cordero: Toronto Blue Jays
Cordero will be a hot name off the waiver wire this week and all it took was an injury to Sergio Santos to thrust him back into the closer’s role for the Blue Jays.
Cordero signed in the off-season with the intention of setting up Santos, but with Santos going down with shoulder inflammation Cordero will now be the one who gets the ball in the ninth.
Cordero, who has already recorded a save in Sunday’s win over the Royals, has been decent so far, but with the increased role he’ll be a name to monitor this week.
Brandon Phillips: Cincinnati Reds
As one of the pre-eminent slugging second basemen in the league, a lot more was expected out of Brandon Phillips, however all Phillips has done is cause a lot of grief for his owners.
Phillips is only batting .237 with one home run and three RBI’s. It’s his nagging hamstring injury where he plays one day, misses the next day which has been the most maddening. The Reds say the injury is not likely to land him on the DL.
This will be a critical week to see if Phillips can stay healthy. If Phillips plays this week he’ll take on the back end of the Giants’ staff (Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong) and a tough matchup in Matt Cain while also taking on the mediocre Astros’ staff including Kyle Weiland, Lucas Harrell and Wandy Rodriguez (who is not so mediocre).
Daniel Bard: Boston Red Sox
After being dismantled by the Yanks this weekend, and being done in by their bullpen, the Red Sox are skipping Bard’s turn in the rotation (due to Sunday’s postponement). That means he won’t start until Friday against the White Sox and thus may come out of the bullpen in their series against the Twins.
This is a situation that bears close watching as the Red Sox have an atrocious bullpen. Considering how good he was in relief the last couple of years, Bard may eventually be moved back into the bullpen.
With the injury to Andrew Bailey and the ineffectiveness of Alfredo Aceves and Mark Melancon, Bard could be the closer in no time.
Freddie Freeman: Atlanta Braves
After an abysmal start, Freeman has come back to life in the last week.
Freeman went on a tear and hit 11-23 for the week while also hitting three home runs and driving in 14 runs.
Freeman is now batting a healthy .283 and will take on the back end of the Dodgers staff (Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Ted Lilly) before facing a weak Pirates staff (A.J. Burnett, Erik Bedard, and Brad Lincoln).
Now would be a good time to restore your faith in Freeman.
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