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Splitsville: Gio could come up all A's

Jeff Lippman
Fantasy Writer
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Splitsville welcomes you to the final full scoring period in August with only five weeks remaining in the Fantasy Baseball season.

How is your playoff push coming? Might be better had you been checking Splitsville regularly. For those who have frequented our little town of statistics, you must be in the hunt so good luck in winning your league.

Now, on to the Week 21 splits.

Five Strikes (Positive Splits)

Gio Gonzalez, SP, Athletics
Upcoming Schedule: Aug. 24 start at Cleveland, Aug. 29 start at Texas
Gonzalez has gone at least six innings in seven consecutive starts and is 3-2 over that span with a 2.49 ERA and 38 strikeouts over 47 innings pitched. He has done well for the A's recently and that should only continue in the upcoming scoring period. Gonzalez (10-8) is pitching on the road in Week 21. While he would prefer to be in Oakland, Gonzalez shouldn't have too much trouble against the opponents he's facing, even though the Rangers have one of the more dangerous lineups in baseball. Gonzalez has gone 2-1 against Texas over six appearances and four starts with a 1.69 career ERA. He's 1-1 this season against the Rangers with a 2.65 ERA in three outings. Gonzalez loves pitching in Cleveland. Progressive Field has been a home away from home as Gonzalez has gone 2-0 there in two starts with a 1.42 ERA and 13 strikeouts spanning 12 2/3 innings. Overall against the Tribe, Gonzalez is 3-0, including 2-0 this season, with a 1.16 ERA in four starts with 19 Ks in 23 1/3 innings.

Ryan Theriot, 2B, L.A. Dodgers
Upcoming Schedule: Three games at Milwaukee, Three games at Colorado
Theriot is happy with the Dodgers. He is playing every day and has thus, entering Saturday's games, gone 22 for 76 (.289) with a homer and five RBI in 20 games since coming over from the Cubs. And the good news is that the upcoming scoring period could prove to be one of his best. That is because Theriot will be spending three games in Milwaukee's Miller Park. Already having gone 13 for 30 (.433) there this season over six games, Theriot is a career .368 hitter at Miller. Also, Theriot has stolen eight bases at Miller Park in the last three seasons alone. Many hitters perform well at Coors Field and Theriot is no different there. He is a career .327 hitter in Colorado. He's gone 0 for 2 there this season in one game, but Theriot went 8 for 18 (.444) last year at Coors.

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Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals
Upcoming Schedule: Three games vs. Chicago Cubs, Four games vs. St. Louis
Fantasy owners need to realize that Desmond might be finally coming into his own offensively for the Nationals. Entering Saturday, Desmond had gone 27 for 68 (.397) in August over 19 games with five doubles, two homers, five RBI and five stolen bases. Desmond, a former third-round draft pick and top prospect, is hotter than he's ever been right now and is facing two of his favorite teams to hit against in the upcoming Week 21 scoring period. While there isn't much history for such a young player, Desmond has definitely found success against the Cubs and Cardinals. In three games against Chicago, Desmond has gone 4 for 12 (.333) with two RBI and two stolen bases. Desmond met the Cardinals for two games earlier in the season and St. Louis simply could not get him out as he went 6 for 8 against them.

Kyle Lohse, SP, Cardinals
Upcoming Schedule: Aug. 24 start at Pittsburgh, Aug. 29 start at Washington
Lohse has only made one start since returning earlier than expected from a forearm injury that had him out since May 22. He did not fare well against the Cubs, giving up seven runs on six hits, including two homers, over three innings. Lohse could begin to turn it around in Week 21, however. First of all, he is pitching against too porous offensive teams and, secondly, he has owned those teams in the past. Lohse has gone 4-0 over six career starts against the Pirates and his career ERA of 2.14 against them is his lowest against any team in the majors by a wide margin. He has had no trouble pitching at PNC Park in the Steel City, going 1-0 there over two starts and three appearances with a 2.20 ERA and 13 strikeouts spanning 16 1/3 innings. Lohse has made one career start at Washington's Nationals Park and won that outing, allowing one run and four hits over five frames. Overall against the Nats, Lohse has gone 3-1 with a 4.65 ERA. Still, since 2008, Lohse is 3-0 against them in three starts with just two runs allowed over 18 innings for an ERA of 1.00.

Alex Rios, OF, Chicago White Sox
Upcoming Schedule: Three games vs. Baltimore, Three games vs. N.Y. Yankees
Rios is playing like he's back in the American League East with the Blue Jays lately. Entering Saturday, Rios was batting just .234 in August with one homer and 10 RBI in 18 games. Still, he's had a great season in his new digs and the AL East could actually play to his advantage in Week 21. Facing two very familiar opponents could re-awaken his bat. Especially considering Rios has always hit well against the Yankees and Orioles. Rios, 2 for 4 against New York this year, is a career .302 hitter against the Yankees over 344 at-bats. The Yankees are the only team in the division Rios has a career average above .300 against. He's only homered against them six times, however. When it comes to HRs, he has always had Baltimore's number. A career .284 hitter against the Birds, Rios' 15 homers against them are three more than the next closest major-league opponent.

Five 7-10 Splits (Negative Splits)

Stephen Drew, SS, Diamondbacks
Upcoming Schedule: Three games at San Diego, Three games at San Francisco
Fantasy owners generally would keep Drew active through thick and thin considering he's got immense power from the shortstop position. We can't argue with that logic, but we can still suggest other options in Week 21 due to the splits screaming against his use. Drew, who isn't exactly hot at the moment with a .250 average over 20 games in August, will be playing in two of his more unfriendly confines in the upcoming scoring period. San Diego's PetCo Park and San Francisco's AT&T Park represent nightmares for J.D.'s brother. Drew is a career .206 hitter at PetCo over 33 games with only one home run. This season, Drew has gone 2 for 19 (.105) in San Diego and is a career .216 hitter against the Padres overall in 259 at-bats. Drew has gone 0 for 9 thus far this season in San Francisco. He is a career .220 hitter at AT&T Park and has just one home run there in 33 games.

Fausto Carmona, SP, Indians
Upcoming Schedule: Aug. 24 start vs. Oakland, Aug. 29 start vs. Kansas City
The Cleveland starter has dropped three straight decisions and has not looked good in doing so. He has been solid in the past and pitches twice in the Week 21 scoring period and we know that makes him an attractive option. Think about it, though. Carmona (11-11) has a 7.24 ERA against the Royals with a 2-3 record over the last three seasons, including going 1-1 with a 6.30 ERA this year. In fact, Carmona just lost to the Royals back on Wednesday in Kansas City in his last start. He allowed seven runs and didn't strike out a batter over five innings in that one. Since 2007, Carmona has gone 3-4 against the A's and his ERA is up there at 6.82. He is 1-1 against them this season, but, again, the last time he faced them, July 4, he lost. He would have to snap a whole lot of down trends to have a solid week.

Matt Joyce, OF, Rays
Upcoming Schedule: Three games at L.A. Angels, Three games vs. Boston
Joyce has been getting more regular playing with the Rays in August and has hit .296 over his last 10 games. Fantasy owners are beginning to recognize him as an option in AL-only and the deepest of mixed Fantasy leagues and rightly they should. Only, not in Week 21. Unfortunately for Joyce, he would need to record a major-league first in order to have a solid scoring period. That is because Joyce has never gotten a base hit against the Angels. Joyce has played seven games against the Angels and has seen 20 at-bats, going hitless with 12 strikeouts. The Rays might not even give him at-bats in that series because his splits are so poor against L.A. For what it is worth, Joyce also struggles against Boston with a career .207 average over 29 at-bats.

Jason Kubel, OF, Twins
Upcoming Schedule: Four games at Texas, Three games at Seattle
Kubel is riding a scorching wave right now in August. Entering Saturday, Kubel was batting .292 for the month with six home runs and 23 RBI in just 19 games. So why should you not be starting him in Week 21? Splitsville doesn't like the location he will be hitting in over his two series. Kubel has never hit well in Texas or Seattle. The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is Kubel's second least-favorite place to play in the American League. He is a career .182 hitter there over 44 at-bats and that comes with an on-base percentage of just .280. For his career, Kubel has been better at Safeco Field. He is a career .261 hitter there, except over the last two seasons has gone just 3 for 26 (.115) with Puget Sound in the background and that comes with only one RBI.

Russell Branyan, 1B, Mariners
Upcoming Schedule: Three games at Boston, Three games vs. Minnesota
Branyan homered three times in a two-game span against the Yankees last week which will gain him some popularity for Week 21. Unfortunately, the splits don't read so well for the Seattle first baseman in the upcoming scoring period. Branyan may have hit the longest home run to date in new Yankee Stadium, but Fenway Park has always kept him grounded. That's right, Branyan, who has played Major League Baseball for 12 full seasons, has never homered in only four ballparks: Long-gone Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Washington's new Nationals Park, Minnesota's new Target Field and one of the oldest ballparks in the history of the game, Fenway Park. Branyan is a career .127 hitter over 55 at-bats in Boston, his lowest average in any American League stadium. Also, Branyan has gone just 5 for 24 (.208) against the Twins this 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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