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Splitsville: What history tells us about Week 16

Jeff Lippman
Fantasy Writer
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Fantasy owners know all about which players are second-half performers and which aren't, so Splitsville is back to concentrating on the current scoring period's splits in Week 16. The All-Star break is in the books and baseball is back in full swing with its first full week of action since the mid-summer classic.

Pennant races will start heating up and we don't just mean in the majors. Fantasy owners are now in the stretch run and Splitsville should now more than ever become required reading. And now, on to the Week 16 splits.

Five Strikes (Positive Splits)

Ted Lilly, SP, Chicago Cubs/Brett Myers, SP, Astros
Upcoming Schedule: Houston at Chicago Cubs on July 21
They have a combined record of 10-14 on the season with a combined ERA of around 4.00, but the splits say this July 21 game featuring the Astros and Cubs from Wrigley Field is going to be one heck of a pitchers' duel. Myers has gone 8-3 for his career against the Cubs and has a 2.63 ERA over 14 appearances with 75 strikeouts through 78 2/3 innings. He's even been pretty good at Wrigley, where he's gone 3-2 over his career with a 1.89 ERA and 35 strikeouts over 33 1/3 innings. Lilly has likewise dominated the Astros over his career. He has a 7-1 record against them with a 2.49 ERA with 51 Ks over 65 innings over 10 appearances. Lilly hasn't pitched against Houston this season but went 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts last year. Lilly has been a disappointment this season and Myers pitches for a terrible team, but it seems the stars could align for the hurlers to dominate in Chicago on Wednesday of Week 16.

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Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants
Upcoming Schedule: Three games at L.A. Dodgers, four games at Arizona
Sandoval has struggled this season and the career .311 hitter is batting just .264. The Giants are winning right now and would love to get Kung-Fu Panda's bat hot. The splits say Week 16 could be the beginning of a nice little hot streak as Sandoval has some favorable matchups. He's just a .255 hitter at Dodger Stadium but he has hit one of his six homers on the season there. Plus, he's a .292 hitter against the Dodgers overall. Still, his most impressive numbers come in Arizona. Sandoval hits better at Chase Field than any other stadium in the majors. His .475 batting average there is almost 50 points higher than his next closest average and it is 133 points higher than his next best with at least 10 games played. Sandoval has gone 28 for 59 in Arizona with two homers, 14 RBI and a .712 slugging percentage. The Diamondbacks afford him his highest batting average against any National League opponent overall at .417 over 108 at-bats. His next highest batting average against a team in which he's seen at least 100 at-bats is .302 against San Diego over 129 at-bats.

Ryan Spilborghs, OF, Rockies
Upcoming Schedule: Four games at Florida, three games at Philadelphia
With Brad Hawpe playing at little first base with Todd Helton out, Spilborghs could see some added at-bats in Week 16. That is great news for his Fantasy value considering Dolphin Stadium and Citizens Bank Park, the two venues he'll be playing in this week, provide him with some of his best career numbers. Batting .260 on the season with eight homers and 17 RBI over 173 at-bats, Spilborghs could be a nice play this scoring period as he's a career .375 hitter in Florida. He's been even better in Philadelphia and has an average of .406 for his career there with two homers and six RBI over 32 at-bats. Overall, Spilborghs is a career .322 hitter against the Marlins and hits .423 against the Phillies over 52 at-bats with three homers and 12 RBI.

Matt Garza/Wade Davis, SPs, Rays
Upcoming Schedule: July 20 start at Baltimore (Garza); July 19 start at Baltimore, July 25 start at Cleveland
The Rays are playing three games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Week 16 and that usually bodes well for solid performances all around. Garza is the starter you most want active against them as he's made six career starts in Baltimore and is 5-0 with a 3.00 ERA. Garza has made one start against the Orioles in Baltimore this season and allowed just one run over eight solid innings. He is 2-0 against the Orioles this season with two runs allowed over 16 innings with 14 strikeouts and is 8-1 for his career against the Birds with a 2.48 ERA in 10 starts. Garza dominates few teams like he does the Orioles but Davis pitched a gem in Baltimore last season and is 2-0 against them over two starts with a 0.56 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 16 innings. As a two-start pitcher in Week 16, Davis also defeated Cleveland in his only turn against them this season with two runs allowed over seven innings. On the offensive side, the hitter you want to start for the Rays against the O's is Jason Bartlett. Bartlett is a career .367 hitter at Camden Yards over 120 at-bats with a .983 OPS. If he can get back on track against any pitching staff, it is Baltimore's.

Drew Stubbs, OF, Reds
Upcoming Schedule: Four games vs. Washington, three games at Houston
Stubbs is trying to get his season going as his batting average remains under .250 at this point. He has been a solid Rotisserie option as he's in the top 10 in the National League in stolen bases and his 11 homers and 43 RBI are also solid numbers. His numbers should get a little more solid in Week 16 thanks to facing two of his favorite opponents. Stubbs has a higher batting average against the Nationals than any other team in the National League at .364, and he's been even better against the Astros this season. Stubbs is a career .295 hitter versus Houston but is 8 for 18 (.444) on the season with three stolen bases, a double, triple, homer and three RBI over six games. Stubbs has gone 4 for 9 (.444) at Minute Maid Park this year and it's the location of all three steals.

Five 7-10 Splits (Negative Splits)

Alex Gonzalez, SS, Braves
Upcoming Schedule: Three games vs. San Diego, three games at Florida
The recently-traded Gonzalez has gone 2 for 6 with a double thus far with his new team and has been one of the best Fantasy shortstops all year with 17 homers and 50 RBI. Still, as he is in the middle of a transition to a new league, he could have a tendency to struggle against pitchers he hasn't seen very often. In Week 16 Gonzalez has the misfortune of facing the two National League clubs that he's historically struggled against more than any others. Over 14 at-bats against the Fish, Gonzalez is a .143 hitter with just two base hits == one double == and two strikeouts for a .357 OPS. He's seen far more at-bats against the Padres, 199 to be exact, and is just a .176 hitter with a .296 slugging percentage and a .233 on-base percentage. The guy he was traded for, Yunel Escobar, faces the Tigers and Royals in Week 16 on the road. Those two teams just happen to provide his lowest batting averages against all other teams in the majors expect for Toronto, for which he now plays.

Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers
Upcoming Schedule: Three games at Detroit, four games vs. L.A. Angels
Cruz has started the second half of the season off with a bang as he went 5 for 9 with four RBI in his first two games back. Week 16 brings two teams that have always given him fits, however. Cruz has historically struggled against the Angels and is just a career .228 hitter against them over 167 at-bats. His division rivals have held him in check this season as he's yet to homer and has just four RBI against them over 20 plate appearances. Cruz has also struggled over his career at Detroit's Comerica Park. He's a .222 hitter in Detroit over 36 at-bats and that comes with an on-base percentage of just .243 with an OPS of .688. In fact, the Angels and Tigers are both among Cruz's four lowest OPS against opponents.

Jeff Karstens, SP, Pirates
Upcoming Schedule: July 19 start vs. Milwaukee, July 24 start vs. San Diego
With a 2-4 record and a 4.87 ERA on the year over 11 starts, we're here to tell you that his two-start Week 16 is probably not the best time to give Karstens a start in mixed Fantasy leagues. He might be pitching twice, but he's never beaten either of the two opponents he'll face during the scoring period. Karstens has never started against the Padres but has faced them twice in his career. Over 2 1/3 innings, he's allowed five earned runs and has a 19.29 ERA and an 0-1 record. Karstens has faced the Brewers eight times and has made five starts against them. He's 0-2 and has a 4.01 ERA. Karstens has made two starts against the Brewers this season and has allowed six earned runs on 11 hits and 10 walks over 12 1/3 innings. He's also given up three long balls against them in 2010.

Nick Markakis, OF, Orioles
Upcoming Schedule: Three games vs. Tampa Bay, four games vs. Minnesota
Markakis has been one of the few bright spots for the Orioles this season as he's among the major-league leaders in doubles with 28 and a .305 batting average. Markakis has been a .300 hitter since birth it seems but is facing two of the teams he's struggled most against over the course of his career and especially this season. Markakis is a career .282 and .283 hitter against the Rays and Twins, respectively. But despite his batting average over .300, Markakis is hitting just .238 on the year against Tampa Bay with only two extra-base hits and zero RBI over 26 plate appearances. The Rays have really had his number this season and the same can be said about Minnesota. Markakis is batting just 3 for 15 (.200) against the Twins this year with zero extra-base hits and three RBI. Markakis is hitting worse against the Twins than any other major-league team in which he's seen at least 15 at-bats against and the Rays are third on that list.

Jorge Cantu, 3B, Marlins
Upcoming Schedule: Four games vs. Colorado, three games vs. Atlanta
Cantu has had a solid season thus far but hasn't exactly been clicking at the plate of late for the Fish. Unfortunatley for his Fantasy owners, Week 16 doesn't seem to be a week in which he'll turn anything around. Cantu has been horrendous this season against his two Week 16 opponents. The Rockies and Braves have afforded Cantu next to nothing this season and are both among his four lowest batting averages against any National League team. Cantu has gone 2 for 12 (.167) against the Rockies with two RBI and a .250 slugging percentage. He's gone 4 for 22 against the Braves in six games with zero extra-base hits and a slugging percentage of .182, his lowest against any team in whcih he's seen at least 20 at-bats.

You can e-mail our staff your questions at DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Splitsville in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. We'll get to as many as we can.

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