As we watch Stephen Strasburg and Ricky Nolasco shut down for the year with surgery likely looming in their futures, and Cody Ross and Rod Barajas given away to other teams, we think how strange the last six weeks of the baseball season are.

Though their injuries are serious, Strasburg and Nolasco remind us that young pitchers with the slightest of injuries can be shut down for the season in fear of making a small problem worse by exposing them to more wear and tear on their arms. The Nationals and Marlins will look closer at the injuries this week, but either way, these young players are done for 2010. Cut bait and find a useful arm.

Ross was awarded to San Francisco after the Giants claimed him off waivers this week. They are already too full in their outfield with Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen, Aaron Rowand, and Andres Torres looking for at bats, but now they add the left handed Ross to the mix. At least they didn’t let him slip to a possible contender.

The Dodgers were in need of a catcher and were awarded Barajas from the Mets. With Russell Martin out for the rest of the season, Barajas will provide the Dodgers with some pop from behind the dish.
All of these situations were unforeseen just a few days ago, but they all help shape the fantasy landscape.

The winners will be the starters in Washington and Florida who pick up starts, Barajas who finds himself with full time at bats again and anyone who picks up Cameron Maybin, Ross’ replacement in Florida’s center field. All the Giant outfielders will lose at-bats, not to mention Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis will find themselves with few at-bats down the stretch.

This week Detroit, Minnesota, Texas, Toronto, Houston, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Washington are all on the docket for seven games. All other teams are scheduled to play six games this week.

Now, the projected two-start pitchers for this week. For those of you in leagues who require you to set your lineup at the beginning of the week, these are guys you should strongly consider—

American League
BAL Jeremy Guthrie
BOS John Lackey
CWS Gavin Floyd
CLE Fausto Carmona
DET Jeremy Bonderman, Rick Porcello
KC Bruce Chen
LAA Scott Kazmir
MIN Nick Blackburn, Francisco Liriano
NYY Ivan Nova
OAK Gio Gonzalez
SEA David Pauley
TB James Shields
TEX Rich Harden, Colby Lewis
TOR Brandon Morrow, Marc Rzepczynski
National League
ARI Rodrigo Lopez
ATL Tim Hudson
CHC Casey Coleman
CIN Edinson Volquez
COL Jason Hammel
FLA Josh Johnson
HOU Brett Myers, Bud Norris
LAD Hiroki Kuroda
MIL Dave Bush
NYM R.A. Dickey
PHI Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels
PIT Ross Ohlendorf
SD Clayton Richard
SF Matt Cain
STL Kyle Lohse, Adam Wainwright
WAS Livan Hernandez, John Lannan

Rick’s Picks

Five best bets for double-start pitchers this week

1. Adam Wainwright. If you don’t know why, you haven’t been paying attention. He also gets two patsies (at PIT, at WAS).

2. Matt Cain seems to be back in the saddle after a rough patch following the All-Star Game. He gets two games at home (where he is a much better pitcher than on the road) against two teams (vs CIN, vs ARZ) that can hit or be shut down on any given night. Cain should handle these two outings well and is likely to reward you this week.

3. Tim Hudson gets two challenging games (at COL, vs FLA) this week. The first at Colorado is dangerous for the obvious offensive reasons at cavernous Coors Field, but many pitchers tend to struggle in the game after they visit Denver as they try to recover from the high altitude and the stresses it puts on the body. Huddy is having a great season, but these are two potential landmines.

4. Two road games aren’t a good indicator of success on the week, but Josh Johnson isn’t an average pitcher. He goes to New York and Atlanta for a couple of divisional matchups in two stadiums that seem to favor pitchers. Look for his strikeouts and ratios this week and maybe a win or two.

5. Colby Lewis has very quietly had a very good season. His 9-10 record doesn’t tell the whole story quite as much as his 3.37 ERA and 1.17 WHIP do. His ERA is below 3.00 at home, where he gets Minnesota and Oakland this week. His offense might not score a lot for him, but the ratios should be good as always. Play him confidently.

Rick Milleman is the head fantasy baseball contributor at Check his annual player projections included in the Cheatsheet Compiler & Draft Buddy to help draft your championship team.

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