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This Week In Streaming Strategy, Sept. 3-9

Here are some fantasy streaming recommendations so you're not "laboring" to make roster decisions over the holiday weekend.  Ha ha ha, timely humor!  And what's the deal with airplane food?!

* Trevor Plouffe.  The former Twins first-rounder exploded onto the scene earlier this season after a ridiculous stretch of 10 homers in 14 games. We all knew this power wasn't sustainable and yet even some modest pop combined with Plouffe's versatility (he qualifies as a 2B/3B/SS/OF in Yahoo's system) made him a fantasy darling. It's safe to say the bloom has come off the rose, as Plouffe's numbers go poof against right-handed pitching. Plouffe carried a .228/.285/.399 line against righties into Saturday's play, as compared to an OPS of 1.005 against southpaws. The Twins are scheduled to face right-handed starters in five of their six games this week, so no matter where you have Plouffe in your lineup, insert a better option instead.

* Justin Ruggiano. Consider this my weekly case of throwing shade on a good fantasy story (And while we're at it, why is "throwing shade" a negative term?  This summer's brutal heat has made shade a valued commodity, so bring it on). Ruggiano has been one of the few bright spots for the Marlins this season, hitting .329/.389/.597 in 241 plate appearances. While his .818 OPS against right-handed pitching is nothing to sneeze at, that's still close to 500 points below his 1.290 OPS against lefties, so it's clear that Ruggiano adheres to normal splits for a righty bat. As good as Ruggiano has been, he isn't nearly proven enough to be a lineup fixture, so you might use one of your other fantasy outfielders during this week when Miami faces right-handed opponents in six of their seven games.  As usual, I am prepared to eat my words during next week's column should Ruggiano keep up his hot hitting. Prove me wrong, Justin!  Prove me wrong!

* Ross Detwiler. Shutting down Stephen Strasburg will certainly be a blow to the Nationals' pitching staff and World Series hopes, but beyond just Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Edwin Jackson picking up the slack, you also have the oft-forgotten fifth man in the Washington rotation.  Detwiler has been a thoroughly solid and steady fifth man for the Nats, eating innings and relying more on grounders (a 52% groundball rate) than power pitching (5.62 K/9).  Detwiler's 3.32 ERA looks less impressive through the lens of advanced metrics (3.66 FIP, 4.21 xFIP, 4.19 SIERA) and while I wouldn't recommend picking him up for the rest of the season, he has two good matchup this week.  The Cubs and their 29th-in-baseball .625 team OPS against left-handers are up on Monday, followed by the Marlins and their .679 team OPS against lefties (ranked 24th in the majors) on the weekend.  Both starts are also at home, where Detwiler has a 2.74 ERA in 14 games (11 of them starts) this season.  The only way this week could shape up any better for Detwiler would be if he starts punctuating each strikeout by yelling "The Det has been paid!" and then rubbing his fingers together like he's holding money.

* Scott Rolen. Weep for the Reds and their embarrassment of riches as Joey Votto returns from the DL and Cincinnati suddenly has more potent bats than spots in the lineup.  #firstplaceproblems  As Jonah Keri outlines, Votto's return will push NL Rookie of the Year favorite Todd Frazier into a possible super-sub role, subbing Votto at first, Rolen at third and Ryan Ludwick and/or Drew Stubbs in the outfield.  For those wondering why Dusty Baker doesn't just install his hot rookie at third base and stick old man Rolen on the bench...well, Rolen has a .966 OPS over his last 126 plate appearances.  The Reds are careful to give Rolen regular rest, so in this next week, I would guess Rolen starts no more than four of Cincy's six games, with one of those sits coming on Sunday when the Reds are (tentatively) set to face Astros lefty Fernando Abad.  If you have Frazier and are bemoaning his loss of playing time, it might be a smart move to pick up Rolen --- owned in just three percent of Yahoo! leagues -- as a handcuff and then keep an eye on the daily lineups to see who's starting.  Rolen is a very solid 3B bench bat to have, especially since he's hitting like the Rolen of old.

* Tom Milone. Just as many rookies come back to earth at some point during their first full season, Milone had four rough starts in a row from July 26 through August 17, somewhat normalizing his ridiculous home/away splits.  Don't get me wrong, they're still ridiculous (Milone has a 2.34 ERA in 12 starts in Oakland as opposed to a 5.30 ERA in 13 road starts) but they're not quite as lopsided as earlier in the season. Over Milone's last two outings, he has allowed just one run in 14 innings, so I think we can safely say that the A's southpaw is back on track.  He's at home against the Angels on Monday and then heads to Seattle's Safeco Field on the weekend, leaving fantasy owners with a dilemma. Milone isn't very good on the road ... but this is Safeco, where perfect games grow on trees and hard-hit line drives just die on the vine.  Milone has a 2.77 ERA (four ER in 13 IP) over two starts at Safeco already this season so I'm comfortable in picking him up as a two-start option and pitching him in both games. Also, forget my campaign to anoint Milone with the "Mayday" nickname; given those splits, shouldn't we just call him Home Milone?

* Ezequiel Carrera. No team is happier to see August end than the Indians, who went a putrid 5-24 in the month and had a collective team OPS of .644 in the first 28 of those games.  Virtually the only Clevelander who did anything at the plate in August was Carrera, who hit .306/.346/.486 in August and has more or less taken over the everyday left field job.  Carrera's playing time could be altered once the rosters expand but he should be the first choice starter for the coming week, when the Tribe faces right-handed starters in five of six games. 

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