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This Week In Streaming Strategy

"When I want more...RBIs

When I don't want...my WHIP too high

Whenever I want points, all I want have to do,

Is strea-ea-ea-ea-eam....stream, stream, stream"

Okay, the search for a new column theme song will have to wait.  In the meantime, let's just stick to this week's best and worst streaming options.

* Hiroki Kuroda.  It's safe to say that Kuroda hasn't lived up to expectations in New York, as he has a 4.50 ERA (5.28 FIP, 4.21 xFIP) through eight starts as a Yankee and is on pace to put up career worsts in ERA, K/BB rate, HR/9 and basically every statistical category you can name.  And yet, despite all this, I'm endorsing Kuroda as a good two-start candidate for the upcoming week. Kuroda's problems have largely taken place away from Yankee Stadium --- he has a 3.08 ERA in four home starts, as opposed to a ghastly 6.23 ERA in four road outings. Being back home against a middle-of-the-pack Royals lineup should help Kuroda, though he lasted just 4 1/3 innings in a start in Kansas City on May 5. Kuroda's second start this week is a road outing, but it's in pitcher-friendly Oakland against the woeful A's lineup.  If Kuroda can't get through the A's next weekend, I'd suggest confining him to Yankee Stadium starts unless he gets on track.  Still, the potential is there for Kuroda to have a bounce-back week, so if another frustrated manager dropped the righty after his rough outing in Toronto on Wednesday, Kuroda is worth a pickup.

* Bud Norris. Essentially, what Tom Warman said. Norris has been lights-out over his last four starts (a 4-0 record, a 1.40 ERA, a 4.00 K/BB rate and 28 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings) and this week has a home start against the Cubs and a road start in Los Angeles against the Matt Kemp-less Dodgers.  Norris is only owned in 52% of Yahoo leagues, which I can only chalk up to the semi-anonymity of pitching for a bad Astros team.

* Matt Adams. The ongoing Cardinals/Dodgers series matches two of the most injury-plagued teams in baseball, and it may have claimed another DL patron when Lance Berkman had to be helped off the field on Saturday with a knee injury. Berkman's status is up in the air, but if he does indeed have to go on the disabled list again, the Cardinals may forego their usual platoons and instead just call up Adams.  The 23-year-old was taken in the 23rd round of the 2009 draft and has done nothing but slug ever since, posting a career .318/.366/.557 line during his rise through every level of the minors.  Adams currently has a .970 OPS this season for Triple-A Memphis. If Adams does get the call, he would be in position to contribute immediately since he's a left-handed batter and St. Louis faces righties in five of seven games this week. Keep a close watch on Berkman's situation and jump on Adams if the Cards are compelled to make a move.

* Dan Uggla. You might think it crazy to sit a middle-infield power threat like Uggla, especially when he's set for four games at the launch pad known as the Great American Ballpark, where he has a career 1.010 OPS in 85 plate appearances. However, I'm exercising some caution with Uggla this week, given that the Braves are scheduled to face right-handed starters in five of seven games.  Uggla has been a reverse-splits guy throughout his career (an .835 OPS vs. righties, .786 vs. lefties) but this season has more normal numbers for a right-handed hitter -- Uggla has torched southpaws to the tune of a .974 OPS and managed just a .686 OPS against righties. Am I overreacting to this small sample size?  Very possibly, but I'd recommend starting another second baseman ahead of Uggla during at least a couple of those games against right-handers.  And now, just after I tell you to watch out for Uggla against righties, I'll tell you to start him against, of all people, Stephen Strasburg on the weekend, as Uggla has shown some early mastery of the Nationals ace (5-for-6 with a walk in seven PAs). The "sit Uggla" item is the official Mark's Public Apology choice of the week, as if Uggla has a big series in Cincinnati, I promise to rebuke my bad advice in next week's column. Stay tuned!

* Russell Martin. Catcher is such a thin position that you hate to outright give up on a backstop since the pickings are very slim on the waiver wire. That said, Martin's early-season struggles are becoming too hard to ignore. The Canadian entered Saturday's action hitting just .167/.322/.292 for the season. These ugly numbers include a .511 OPS against right-handed pitching, and with the Yankees scheduled to face righties in five of six games this week, this is a good time to put Martin on the bench and start using your backup or start exploring trade options.

* Colby Rasmus, Eric Thames. With John Farrell wanting to get Rajai Davis some more playing time, even against right-handed pitching, Rasmus and Thames' status as borderline fantasy roster candidates drops even further. The two left-handed bats weren't putting up good numbers but at least were plays against righty starters; if Davis is now encroaching on that time, Rasmus and Thames can't be counted on for much of anything fantasy-wise. You'll notice that I'm not adding a "pick up Davis" tidbit since, while he's a cheap source of steals and has been hot lately, Davis hasn't shown consistent hitting form since 2009. Given Davis' career OPS of .666 (talk about a bad omen) against righties, I'd guess Farrell's experiment might not last long and Davis will return to his usual role of spelling Rasmus or Thames when the Blue Jays face a southpaw. 

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