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This Week In Streaming Strategy

To start or not to start, that is the question.  Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the Inges and Morrows of outrageous fortune, or to take (two-start) arms against a sea of starts at Fenway Park, and by opposing end them. To sleep, perchance to stream!

Most Shakespeare quotes aren't very useful when applied to fantasy baseball -- he just keeps pushing you to start Daniel Bard.  Let's put the Swan of Avon aside and focus on the comedy of errors known as my weekly streaming tips.

* American League DHs. Another round of interleague play begins on Friday, with the Indians, Royals, Tigers, Rays, Blue Jays, Rangers, Angels and Athletics all heading to NL parks and losing their designated hitters for three games. This means that, for instance, the Royals will lose one of Billy Butler or Eric Hosmer (my guess is that Butler starts at least two of the Royals' three games in Pittsburgh) and the Rangers will have to employ their usual creativity with Michael Young's spot in the lineup. As I noted a few weeks ago, be prepared to make some quick pre-game changes to your lineup if some of your regular big bats are riding the bench this weekend.

* National League bench players. The Astros, Cubs, Phillies, Nationals, Mets and Dodgers are all playing in AL parks this weekend, thus opening up some playing time for DH candidates. Bobby Abreu, for example, should be moved to DH duty when the Dodgers are in Seattle, opening the door for Tony Gwynn Jr. and intriguing rookies Alex Castellano and Scott Van Slyke for playing time in the outfield. 

* Tony Campana.  I want to highlight the Cubs outfielder even though he may not be as helped as you might think by the Cubs' trip to an AL stadium this coming weekend.  After stealing two more bases on Saturday, Campana now has 18 steals (from 21 attempts) this season, ranking him second in all of baseball despite receiving limited playing time.  Campana has little pop but his average (.305) and on-base percentage (.353) are certainly worth a few more starts in center field, especially now that Joe Mather may be playing more at third base in place of the struggling Ian Stewart.  Campana is a left-handed bat and the Cubs are slated to face at least four righty starters this week, though when they do reach their interleague dates in Minnesota, Campana will face at least one southpaw (Scott Diamond) and maybe a second in Francisco Liriano depending on how the Twins shuffle their rotation.  Still, I'd stream Campana this week since even if he gets just four starts against right-handers, that could easily translate to at least four steals.

* Derek Holland. As a Holland owner myself, I felt the pain first-hand as Holland inexplicably blew up against the Mariners (the Mariners!) last week. Holland lasted just 1 2/3 innings and allowed eight runs as the Seahawks beat the Cowboys by a 21-8 score. After a start like that, naturally, I'm ... recommending him as a two-start option for the upcoming week? It seems as if the young southpaw's inconsistency this season can be tied to Rangers Ballpark; Holland has a 6.69 ERA in seven games (six starts) at home this season, as opposed to a 2.84 ERA in four starts on the road.  Arlington is a tough place to pitch even if you're not facing the Texas lineup, but this week Holland gets two road outings in two very pitcher-friendly stadiums. He starts on Tuesday against the A's in Oakland and then is scheduled for a Sunday interleague matchup at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Holland has definite bounce-back potential with those two opponents and, in the wake of the Mariners' start, may very well be available on your waiver wire.

* Jason Hammel. The Orioles right-hander is the inverse of Holland; Hammel has a 1.73 ERA in four starts at home and a 4.04 ERA in six road outings.  With a nod to those splits, I'd recommend benching Hammel for his start at Fenway against the Red Sox on Tuesday, but he's a good play to start at Camden Yards on Sunday against the lackluster Phillies offense. I'd keep a wary eye on Hammel in general since he's coming back to earth after a stellar beginning to the 2012 season. Hammel had a 2.09 ERA through his first six outings this season but a 4.70 ERA in his last four starts.

* Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis. These left-handed Mets hitters will get plenty of opportunity to produce since the Amazins are scheduled to face six consecutive right-handed starters before a possible date with Andy Pettitte on Sunday at Yankee Stadium. If you've hung in there with Davis all season, this may be his last stand; if he can't get his ice-cold bat going against all these favorable matchups, I'd recommend cutting him from your fantasy roster.

* Scott Hairston. Conversely, all those right-handed opponents could portend a tough week for a right-handed bat like Hairston. The veteran has been one of several unheralded players who have come up big for the surprising Mets this season, but Hairston has standard splits for a right-handed hitter (career .832 OPS against lefties, .695 OPS against righties) and isn't likely to provide much from Monday to Saturday. It's not a good long-term prospect to have Hairston on your fantasy team, of course, but he's provided good streaming value this season, hitting .274/.317/.558 with six homers in 101 plate appearances.


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