This week will be chock full of games as every team in the major will all be playing seven games with the week culminating with our first look at interleague games.
So, let’s look at some hot, compelling and trendy names to watch this week.
And no, I’m not Josh-ing you, as three players name Josh highlight this week’s players to watch.
Josh Hamilton: Texas Rangers
Hamilton has had himself quite a week, as he walloped an astonishing nine home runs, three doubles while driving in a whopping 18 runs.
The man simply can’t be stopped.
Hamilton should have an easy time facing off against the staffs of Kansas City (Bruce Chen, TBD), Oakland (Tommy Milone, Brandon McCarthy) and Houston (Wandy Rodriguez, Lucas Harrell and TBD).
Matt Kemp: Los Angeles Dodgers
That collective gasp you just heard was from fantasy owners of Matt Kemp, who are on pins and needles to see to how Kemp’s latest hamstring injury (suffered in Sunday’s game) will affect them this week and perhaps in the weeks to come.
An MRI was taken and the results should be known before you submit your lineups on Monday, although initial reports indicate he’ll at minimum miss a couple of games. If he plays, Kemp and the Dodgers will take on Arizona (Ian Kennedy, Wade Miley), San Diego (Clayton Richard, Edinson Volquez) and St. Louis (Lance Lynn, Jake Westbrook and Kyle Lohse).
Lance Berkman: St. Louis Cardinals
After sitting out for a few weeks, Berkman finally returned to the Cardinals lineup on Sunday, going 1-5.
Berkman was off to another fine start (batting .348), so it would be wise to get him active as he looks to be back to full strength.
This week Berkman will take on Chicago (Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm), San Francisco (Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain) and Los Angeles (Ted Lilly, Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley). Those are some tough matchups, but Berkman is too good to sit.
Allen Craig: St. Louis Cardinals
One of the most surging names off the waiver wire, Craig has made up for lost time and then some.
Ever since he came off the DL on May 1, Craig has gone buck wild, going 14-39 with five home runs and 16 RBI’s.
Craig will obviously have the same matchups as Berkman and nobody would blame you if you sat him as he gets set to face some legitimate aces. However, when you’re hot, sometimes you just have to ride the streak until it ends
Josh Reddick: Oakland A’s
Another player making a name for himself on the waiver wire has been the A’s Josh Reddick. Reddick has been scorching hot and is 12-26 in his last eight games with four home runs, nine RBI’s, 10 runs scored and a stolen base.
It should be interesting to see if Reddick can keep it up, as he has the natural tools to succeed. This week, Reddick and the A’s will square off the Angels (Dan Haren, who has back issues and is iffy for Monday, and Ervin Santana), Rangers (Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison) and the Giants (Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum).
Wei-Yin Chen: Baltimore Orioles
Right now, the Orioles are shockingly on top of the AL East standings and one of the major reasons why has been the production Chen has been giving the team.
Chen is 3-0 with a sterling 2.68 ERA and has 28 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched. This week Chen will look to keep it going with two starts against the Yankees (at home) before heading up the Beltway to take on the Nationals, which should make for must-watch baseball. Yeah, I just said that.
Josh Johnson: Florida Marlins
Johnson, supposedly the ace of the Marlins’ staff, has got to get it going, as he has been nothing short of a disappointment so far. Johnson has yet to register a win and owns a gaudy 5.87 ERA and 1.70 WHIP.
However, Johnson was solid in his last start in Houston (7 IP, 2 runs and 6 strikeouts) and he’ll look to keep up that mojo as he’s set for two winnable starts this week. First up is a matchup with the Pirates at home before going on the road to take on the Indians
Jason Hammel: Baltimore Orioles
Another Oriole pitcher is featured here as they have been receiving stellar pitching this year with the crown jewel having to be Hammel.
Hammel is 4-1 with a dazzling 2.09 ERA and microscopic 0.98 WHIP and he has 38 strikeouts to just 11 walks.
Hammel also has two starts with one against the Yankees and another with the Nationals.
Josh Beckett: Boston Red Sox
Aside from his latest implosion after Golf-gate (2.1 IP, 7 runs), Beckett previously had tossed four consecutive quality starts.
So, we’ll get to see if this meltdown is a lingering concern or just a blip on the radar. If all is well with the grumpy Beckett, then he’ll have two starts this week with the first at home against the Mariners before facing off against Cliff Lee and the Phillies on the road.
Tim Lincecum: San Francisco Giants
It tough to say that Lincecum, who has been nothing short of an all-word ace thus far in his career, is facing a critical week, but if he does not start pulling his weight sooner than later, than there is more than enough reason to push the panic button.
Lincecum’s velocity has been down and many are left wondering if he is finally breaking down.
If Lincecum can’t get through two outings at home against two mediocre teams in the Rockies and the A’s, than it may be time to start sitting him.
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