It happens to us all. We end up in a tie in HR at the end of the week and look back and see that one HR that was left on our bench. How can you avoid it? First of all check your roster each day before the games start to make sure they are all playing. If someone isn’t in the lineup get them out of there. Try to keep your utility spots open until the last games for maximum flexibility.

Look at the matchups each day to determine who to start. If your using Yahoo simply click your player’s name and look under “Next Game: 4/8…” For Pujols it says Career vs. J. Sanchez 5 AB 4 H .800 AVG. Obviously this is a good matchup. Much better than Prince Fielder: Career vs. T. Hanson 11 AB 3 H .273 AVG. But always start your studs no matter how bad the numbers are. When your platooning positions this is the best way to go. But don’t forget about hot streaks. If a guy is on a tear like BJ Upton is right now, don’t bench him because he’s hitless against Edwin Jackson. Always start guys on hot streaks no matter what the matchup is like.

If your using my two start pitching strategy and are trying to determine which guys to pick up, split reading is very important. On Yahoo click your players name. Next choose “Split Stats.” Instead of just 2011 #’s click “Career.” Then scroll down to the vs. team names. Take a look at the two teams each guy is facing next week. If the numbers are above mediocre against both then they could be a good add. Again factor in hot streaks. You can also click “2011” and check and see how that pitcher is doing against that team this season for reassurance. If your still looking for another tie breaker between two pitchers click “Split Stats”, and look at “Away” and “Home”. If a player is at home and does very well there then you should be reassured. You can also click “Career” and scroll to the bottom to see how that pitcher pitches at each individual stadium.

Look at game logs and count up the number of recent quality starts a pitcher has. A quality start is 6 IP or more and 3 ER or less. If a pitcher has about 3/5 recent quality starts they could be a good add. So even a guy like Ross Ohlendorf who went 1-11 last year could have had streaks where he had 3/5 quality starts and was on a decent streak. The ideal two starter to pick up would be a guy who has thrown 3/5 recent quality starts, faces two teams he has a 4 era or less against, and is decent in the park he visits. Grabbing this guy and having him pitch twice for you next week could give you two quality starts, more k’s, and the chance for at least 1 win. These are all bonus stats that you acquire by cutting a guy who only would have gone once that week. These are little things you can do to help give your team the advantage each week.

You always want to have the pitching advantage. On Sunday count up the number of two start pitchers you and your opponent has for the next week, and count up the total number of starts you both have. If you are down 1 or 2 starts then make a move or 2 for 2 start pitchers. This will take you from being down 2 starts to having the same number. Now you have the chance to compete in wins and k’s for sure. Giving yourself the advantage every single week can give you the chance to beat better pitching staffs. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good a staff is, it matters who has the most starters to put up numbers.

Good Pickups:

Jordan Walden – LAA Closer. He should have been picked up by now, but if he hasn’t been yet then pick him up right now. I said back in my closers blog that Walden was an allstar closer waiting to get the job. He is a flame throwing closer who tops 101 MPH and just took over the job for Fernando Rodney. He should make an immediate impact and will be an elite closer.

Carlos Quentin – CWS OF. Quentin has always had a high ceiling so at any point he can break out. He is off to a great start this year. Quentin is still young and has a whole lot of power potential. He was a former 6th round fantasy pick just 2 years ago after a nice breakout season. He had a bad year last year, but looks like he may bounce back. He’s worth a chance.

Logan Morrison – FLA OF. Morrison has started pretty good. He should be a nice .300 hitter. His power is still developing and is unknown. He’s a guy that can get you hits and RBI’s each day and can help improve your AVG each night while supplying some power.

Willie Bloomquist – ARI SS???? Not completely sold on Bloomquist. But then again I was never sold on Jose Bautista last year. Sometimes guys like this breakout unexplainably. Bloomquist is leading off and already has 5 SB. When Stephen Drew returns he will still be in the lineup and will gain eligibility at other positions. If your league doesn’t have a move limit and you need steals take a chance. Ride him while he’s hot and cut him if he begins to come back to earth.

Kyle McClellan – STL SP. Dave Duncan makes everyone a good pitcher. McClellan had a great first outing getting a quality start and 7 K’s. He is worth owning.

Possible 2 Start pickups for next week:
Aaron Harang- SD. Anyone can pitch in Petco. He already has a 1.50 ERA there this year. He returns to Petco to face his old team next week for redemption. Plus he faces Houston who he has a winning record against.

Jeff Francis – KC.- He’s already thrown 2 quality starts, is at MIN next, who he has a 2.84 ERA against, and then goes home to face SEA and their bad offense.

Daisuke Matsuzaka – Bos. I have a feeling BOS offense will crush the ball the next time through the rotation. He struggles a bit vs. TB, but their offense is weaker. He faces TOR at the end of the week next week, who he owns.

Esmil Rogers – COL. A little more risky. Rogers had a nice spring and should be a decent pitcher. Watch how he does tonight. If he does decent then he could be an okay risk for next week against the Mets and Cubs.