Sun Jun 30 10:41pm ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
The week before the All-Star game is always a zany week, and this year is no exception. It creates some unusual pitching matchups as managers get an opportunity to sit their young pitchers to save on their innings, skip some pitchers in the rotation, and setup their rotation for after the break. Houston has already sent Framber Valdez back to the minors, and the Cubs have announced they’ll skip Adbert Alzolay. Cleveland spot starter Adam Plutko will be skipped along with Reds starter Tyler Mahle. Padres starters Logan Allen and Chris Paddack are in jeopardy of getting skipped, also. For most of these pitchers, they won’t see a Major League mound until a fifth starter is needed after the break, so you won’t have them for two weeks!
Some other oddities that you need to be aware of are an early start on Monday this week with Kansas City playing the Blue Jays in the annual Canada day game that stat starts at 1 PM EST. Get your lineups set early.
Other quarky scheduling has the Yankees returning home from London playing across town with the Mets after a Monday off to recover from jet lag (and losing their DH, Edwin Encarnacion or Luke Voit) for two games. They then head to their spring home in Tampa for four. Their Wednesday game at Tampa features an interesting pitching matchup with Tanaka (who didn’t make it out of the first inning in London) against Rays phenom Brendan McKay (who only gave up one hit in six innings in his debut against Texas Saturday).
Teams only playing five games this coming week are Arizona, Cleveland, Houston, New York Mets and Colorado. The White Sox play six games in five days thanks to a doubleheader with the Tigers at home on Wednesday. And the Tigers play seven games in six days. Fifteen teams have six games and 10 play seven.
July 4th finds eight of the 12 games being played during the day, which is a chance for managers to rest veterans with a day game after a night game.
The Rockies play two at home against Houston (Astros lose DH) before heading to Arizona for three, so the tons of offense you’ve been getting from your Rockies players will tail off some.
Cleveland will lose their DH (Santana) at Cincinnati and Kansas City loses theirs (Soler) in Washington. The Cardinals gain one in Seattle and the Cubs gain one playing their crosstown rival White Sox. If the schedule couldn’t be any crazier, the Cubs, White Sox, Indians and Reds do not play on Friday this week, playing their two game inter-league series on Saturday and Sunday.
After the break, Houston and Texas will get a head start before everyone else, playing a four game series starting Thursday July 11th. Everyone else plays a three-game series starting Friday.
A couple waiver wire plays that could work out well this week are Lourdes Gurriel Jr, who has been tearing the cover off the ball for the Blue Jays. Texas outfielder Willie Calhoun is hitting in the two spot. And Jeimar Candelrio seems to have worked out his hitting woes at AAA and is back at the hot corner for the Tigers. A sneaky play for this week could be Washington first baseman Matt Adams with the Nationals having six right-handed pitchers scheduled to go against them.
Enjoy the crazy week ahead and All-Star break!
Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.