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Splitsville: Harsh times for Haren

Jeff Lippman
Fantasy Writer
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It is almost hard to believe that Splitsville is about to waive goodbye to July. The summer is almost over, and although the leaves have yet to turn, the trading deadline is near and teams are beginning their drive for the pennant. Fantasy owners, too, are beginning to strengthen their rosters for a playoff push and now, more than ever, should be paying attention to the suggestions laid out below.

The stretch run is like tax season in Splitsville. We are working overtime to make sure you don't overlook anything as you try to win your league. With that, on to the Week 17 splits.

Five Strikes (Positive Splits)

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Randy Wolf, SP, Brewers
Upcoming Schedule: July 26 start vs. Cincinnati, Aug. 1 start at Houston
Fresh off one of the worst performances of his career, Wolf is a good Fantasy play in Week 17 you ask? Splitsville certainly believes so. Wolf allowed 12 earned runs, 13 hits and two home runs in a loss at Pittsburgh in his last start and took the loss to fall to 7-9 on the season. Still, he'd been pitching better than that of late and simply got beat up by a team on a hot streak. His performance will have owners shying away from his two-start week but they should reconsider. Wolf is facing the Reds at home to begin the two-start week and has gone 9-2 against them with a 3.11 ERA over 16 career starts. He's actually 8-1 against Cincinnati when pitching at home. Wolf is 5-5 over 14 career starts against Houston with a 3.63 ERA but the one-time Astro has really enjoyed Minute Maid Park through the years with a 6-2 record and a 3.23 ERA over 10 career starts while pitching on the Houston mound.

Scott Podsednik, OF, Royals
Upcoming Schedule: Three games vs. Minnesota, Four games vs. Baltimore
Podsednik is as hot as it gets at the moment with a 10-game hitting streak (through Friday) and a .346 batting average with 10 RBI and eight stolen bases in his last 25 games. With a seven-game schedule coming up in Week 17, Fantasy owners, especially in Rotisserie formats, should really consider getting him active across the board. Pods is a career .281 hitter against the Twins over 256 at-bats. He has been better against Baltimore over 94 at-bats with a .319 average. While that isn't bad, base hits aren't what stands out about his Week 17 splits. Rather, Podsednik has absolutely run wild against these two teams over his career. Cleveland is the only American League team he's stolen more bases against than the Twins with 19 in 70 appearances. That said, his numbers against Baltimore are mind boggling. He has stolen 17 bases against the O's -- two fewer than against Minnesota -- over 174 fewer plate appearances. His 24 games played against Baltimore are his lowest against any team in the majors against which he's stolen at least 10 bases.

Jerry Hairston, OF/IF, Padres
Upcoming Schedule: Three games vs. L.A. Dodgers, Three games vs. Florida
With David Eckstein on the DL, Hairston has become the full-time leadoff hitter and shortstop for the Padres. He's not exactly on fire with the bat but the fact that he's seeing regular playing time has definitely raised his value. Hairston could have an excellent scoring period in Week 17 when you consider his monster numbers against one of the two teams in which he playing against. Hairston has seen 103 at-bats for his career against the Florida Marlins. Thus far this season, Hairston has gone just 3 for 17 (.176) against the Fish and he still has managed to keep a .340 career average against them, his highest against any major league team. If the splits remain true to form, Hairston should be on track for a monster three-game series against Florida in order to even up his season numbers. Hairston has been pretty good against the Dodgers during his career, too, with a .306 career average over 62 at-bats. He's gone 3 for 10 against them this season.

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians
Upcoming Schedule: Four games vs. N.Y. Yankees, Three games at Toronto
Cabrera just returned from a DL stint that had him out since May and after going 1 for 8 in his first two games back, he went 3 for 4 with a double on Friday. He will continue to start almost every day and bat leadoff for the Tribe so Fantasy owners should already consider getting him active in more than the 18 percent of leagues he is currently. Cabrera has interesting splits for Week 17 and they definitely suggest he's in for a solid upcoming performance. Cabrera has always hit well against the Yankees with a career .310 average over 42 at-bats with a homer and five RBI, all coming last season. The interesting part of his numbers come against Toronto, however. He's a career .259 hitter against the Blue Jays -- he is 0 for 3 against them this season -- but his figures look completely different when he's playing at Toronto's Rogers Centre. While playing in Canada, Cabrera has gone 11 for 31 (.355) and is slugging .452 over seven career games.

John Danks, SP, Chicago White Sox
Upcoming Schedule: July 26 start vs. Seattle, July 31 start vs. Oakland
Danks has won three straight starts, two of which were shutout efforts, with a 2.38 ERA over that span and 20 strikeouts over 22 2/3 innings. Fantasy owners have been sticking with Danks all season and Week 17 is definitely not the time to stop now. Danks could have his best cumulative scoring period of the entire year when he faces the Mariners and A's. Danks has gone just 3-4 with a 3.83 ERA against the Mariners over his career but is already 2-0 against them this season with a 1.15 ERA, having shut them out over 7 2/3 on July 20 with just two hits allowed. That said, his best numbers come against the Athletics. Danks has gone 4-0 against Oakland over five career starts with a 1.62 ERA, good enough for his best earned run average against any opponent he's seen more than one start against. Danks is only starting in 79 percent of CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues and that is simply too small a number for the type of week his splits say he's destined to have.

Five 7-10 Splits (Negative Splits)

Jeff Francis, SP, Rockies
Upcoming Schedule: July 30 start vs. Chicago Cubs
Going 0-1 with an 8.03 ERA over five starts from June 19 until July 11, Francis was pitching on very thin ice in the thin air of Colorado. He rebounded nicely and defeated the Marlins in Florida with seven shutout three-hit innings with seven strikeouts in his next start. Unfortunately for Francis, the splits don't suggest he'll be able to keep it going in Week 17. With one start coming against the Cubs, Francis has been incredibly dismal against the North Siders over the course of his career. Francis has somehow avoided taking a losing decision against them, but his 8.77 ERA over five career outings speaks for itself. He's given up 25 earned runs over 25 2/3 innings against the Cubs with 18 strikeouts, 10 walks and an amazingly high 1.948 WHIP. As long as he keeps pitching that way against the Cubs, his first loss could be right around the corner.

Bobby Abreu, OF, L.A. Angels
Upcoming Schedule: Three games vs. Boston, Three games vs. Texas
Abreu hasn't been awful this season, but his .253 batting average (through Friday) leaves a lot to be desired from the one-time Fantasy stud. Owners have held steady for most of the season, starting him in at least 81 percent of leagues in every scoring period. Owners might change their minds for Week 17, however, considering his putrid splits for the scoring period. He's been so good during his career that his .282 carer average against the Red Sox is actually among his worst. Plus, he's gone just 2 for 13 (.154) against them this season with one extra-base hit and no RBI. Still, the team he's really struggled against over the course of his career is the Rangers. Abreu is a career .222 hitter against Texas -- he's 4 for 26 (.154) this season -- his worst average against any team in the majors in which he's seen at least 25 plate appearances against. Over 153 at-bats versus the Rangers, Abreu has just two homers and 16 RBI and slugs .314.

Matt Garza, SP, Rays
Upcoming Schedule: July 26 start vs. Detroit, July 31 start vs. N.Y. Yankees
Garza has 10 wins but he did something very alarming in his last start. He gave up seven earned runs to the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, something he'd never before done during his career. Garza generally dominates the Orioles anywhere he pitches against them. In an attempt to right the ship, Garza will begin his two-start Week 17 against the Tigers. The splits dictate Garza should struggle against Detroit as the Tigers provide him with his worst numbers against any other American League team. Garza has gone 0-4 with a 5.85 ERA over six career starts against the Tigers. He last faced them last season and allowed six runs over five innings in defeat. Garza will end the week against the powerful Yankees and is just 1-3 against them for his career over eight starts with a 3.26 ERA.

Adam Jones, OF, Orioles
Upcoming Schedule: Three games at Toronto, Four games at Kansas City
Jones has finally learned how to lay off the ball in the dirt -- somewhat, at least -- and it has done wonders for his Fantasy value. Jones has greatly increased his batting average back up to respectability and his power numbers have been great since the beginning of May. Jones, however, is going to be hitting in two ballparks he absolutely hates playing in during Week 17. The Orioles young center fielder has only played four career games at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium but it is nevertheless his least favorite American League ballpark in which to hit with a .154 batting average and one RBI over 13 at-bats. His splits don't get much better in Toronto. The Rogers Centre has provided Jones a career .188 average over a far greater span of 80 at-bats. Jones gets on base less frequently in Toronto than at any other American League ballpark and at any other ballpark overall with at least five games played.

Dan Haren, SP, Diamondbacks
Upcoming Schedule: July 27 start at Philadelphia, Aug. 1 start at N.Y. Mets
Haren doesn't have much going for him in Week 17. He's gone 0-4 over his last seven starts with a 4.57 ERA and the Diamondbacks have only won one of those seven starts. He's struggling at the moment as trade rumors swirl around him and his splits indicate it will be more of the same in the upcoming scoring period. He is 1-0 for his career against the Mets over five starts but, despite a win, he allowed five earned runs over seven innings in his only career start at Citi Field. His poorest numbers come against the Phillies. Haren has gone winless (0-3) against Philadelphia over four career starts with a 6.14 ERA. He has allowed seven homers against them over 22 innings with a 1.409 WHIP. In his only start at Philly's Citizens Bank Park, Haren coughed up six earned runs and lasted just five innings -- with three homers allowed -- in a loss last season.

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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