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Top 70 starters for Week 7

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Interleague play won't be the only quirk in Fantasy for the coming scoring period.

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With every team playing a seven-game schedule in Fantasy Week 7 (May 14-20), there will be no shortage of two-start pitching options. That means that some pitchers, like Hiroki Kuroda, Trevor Cahill, Bud Norris and Ted Lilly, who would often be viable in standard mixed leagues with one start, are not among the most advisable options this time around. Meanwhile, there are some new faces in this week's top 70, like Wade Miley, Anthony Bass, Jeanmar Gomez and Wei-Yin Chen, who were included due to their two-start status.

One of the tougher pitchers to place in this week's rankings was Chris Sale. In the span of two weeks, he went from being a key part of the White Sox's rotation, to being moved to the closer's role, to having an MRI on his elbow, and finally being reinserted in the rotation as if nothing ever happened. All of the drama may have affected Sale in his start against the Royals on Saturday night, but given how good he had been in his first five starts, he still merits a spot on this week's list, down at number 46.

Here's the rundown on trends for Sale and the 69 other top options for Week 7.

Starting Rotation breakdown for Fantasy Week 7
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2 Stat of note
1 Clayton Kershaw ARI (Kennedy) STL (Westbrook) 3 of 5 HRs allowed hit at Coors Field
Subtract out Kershaw's lone start at Colorado, and his season ERA is just 1.88.
2 Cliff Lee HOU (Lyles) BOS (Beckett) No walks in six out of last nine starts
Incredibly, Lee's laser-like control just keeps getting sharper.
3 Stephen Strasburg SD (Bass) BAL (Chen) Ranks third in the majors with 10.4 K/9 (entering Sat.)
Strasburg continues to live up to the hype ... and he gets the Padres this week.
4 Zack Greinke @NYM (Gee) MIN (Marquis) Allowed 2 ER or fewer in five of seven starts
Greinke can get clobbered at times, but don't let that overshadow his largely steady pattern of performances.
5 Yovani Gallardo @NYM (Batista) MIN (Pavano) Career 2.48 ERA vs. MIN
Gallardo has faced the Twins four times in interleague play, and he has handled their lineup with little stress.
6 CC Sabathia @BAL (Chen) CIN (Cueto) 53 Ks in 51 1/3 innings
If not for a lower-than-normal strand rate, Sabathia would be on pace for his lowest ERA (2.71 xFIP) in four years.
7 Ian Kennedy @LAD (Kershaw) @KC (Chen) .217 BABIP on flyballs
With a 1.28 WHIP, Kennedy is not matching last year's pristine mark, but he should give up fewer flyball hits going forward.
8 David Price @TOR (Alvarez) ATL (Hudson) 30 1/3 innings pitched over last four starts
After some early struggles with efficiency, Price has been going very deep into games.
9 Justin Verlander PIT (Morton) N/A 13.0 percent infield fly rate
Verlander's low BABIP from a season ago looked fluky, but this year's .255 rate may be more sustainable.
10 Jered Weaver @SD (Suppan) N/A Six quality starts in seven tries
Even when Weaver has been less than spectacular, he has been good enough to win in nearly every start.
11 Roy Halladay @CHC (Volstad) N/A 7.4 K/9 over last five starts (entering Sat.)
Some have lamented Halladay's relative lack of velocity, but he has been getting whiffs and Ks at near-normal levels of late.
12 Adam Wainwright @SF (Cain) N/A 4.9 K/BB (entering Sat.)
Wainwright's command has been as sharp as ever, so as long as he can avoid homers, he will be solid.
13 Cole Hamels BOS (Bard) N/A 34 percent flyball rate
Hamels has traded some grounders for liners in his early starts, but he's still stingy with flyballs and long balls (3 HRs allowed).
14 Felix Hernandez @CLE (Jimenez) N/A At least 6 Ks in seven of eight starts
Regardless of the difficulty of the matchup, King Felix continues to come up big with strikeouts.
15 Anibal Sanchez PIT (Lincoln) @CLE (Gomez) 51 percent ground ball rate
Sanchez's 46 Ks in 40 1/3 innings have been drawing attention, but grounders have been a big part of his success, too.
16 Josh Johnson PIT (Correia) @CLE (Lowe) 3.78 pitches per plate appearance
Johnson has improved his efficiency this year, and that will come in handy against a patient Indians' lineup.
17 Drew Smyly @CHW (Danks) PIT (Burnett) 10.9 percent swinging strike rate
Smyly should add to his already-impressive strikeout total with starts against a pair of teams that whiff a lot.
18 Jake Peavy DET (Scherzer) @CHC (Maholm) 2.6 percent HR/flyball ratio
Peavy's crazy-low homer rate on flyballs is bound to regress, but it probably won't happen against a power-deprived Cubs squad, even at Wrigley Field.
19 Gio Gonzalez PIT (Bedard) N/A 2.77 xFIP
Sure, Gonzalez has been lucky to amass a 1.94 ERA, but xFIP says he has still been good enough to boast a legitimate sub-3.00 mark.
20 James Shields ATL (Hanson) N/A 8.7 K/9 in interleague games
Shields gets a tough assignment this week, but NL batters have struck out against him more frequently than their AL counterparts.
21 C.J. Wilson CHW (Sale) N/A 0.94 WHIP at home
How will Wilson respond after making starts in back-to-back games? Time will tell, but at least he gets to head back to his home park.
22 Jordan Zimmermann PIT (McDonald) N/A Quality starts recorded in first 6 GS
Zimmermann is efficient, effective and highly consistent.
23 Yu Darvish OAK (Milone) N/A .339 opponents' SLG vs. lefties
Darvish has been good at limiting extra-base hits against left-handed hitters, so he could shut down the A's lefty-heavy lineup.
24 Matt Cain STL (Wainwright) N/A 68 percent strikes thrown (entering Sat.)
Only Bartolo Colon, Bronson Arroyo and Cliff Lee have been in the zone more often, so Cain is officially a control artist.
25 Madison Bumgarner STL (Garcia) N/A 16 Ks over last 20 2/3 innings
Initially this year, Bumgarner had a hard time missing bats, but he's been a better strikeout pitcher lately.
26 Matt Garza PHI (Worley) N/A Career 0.96 ERA vs. PHI
Garza has already dominated the Phillies once this year, but he has made a habit of shutting them down over four past starts.
27 Johnny Cueto @ATL (Hudson) @NYY (Sabathia) Career 3.08 ERA vs. ATL
Cueto has never pitched at Yankee Stadium, but even if he struggles, his history suggests that he can have a good start against the Braves.
28 Brandon Beachy MIA (Nolasco) N/A 45 percent ground ball rate (entering Sat.)
Beachy hasn't been a strikeout pitcher so far, but he has remained effective by not getting hit hard.
29 Doug Fister MIN (Walters) N/A No more than one walk in 13 of last 14 starts (entering Sat.)
The Twins aren't averse to taking free passes, but Fister hasn't been issuing walks to anyone.
30 Dan Haren OAK (Ross) @SD (Stauffer) Career 1.04 WHIP vs. OAK
Haren is a bit risky coming off of a stiff back, but he has two highly favorable matchups ahead.
31 Jon Lester SEA (Vargas) @PHI (Blanton) 4.8 percent swinging strike rate, last two starts
Lester is still viable as a weekly start, but his recent low whiff rate is something to monitor.
32 Ryan Dempster @STL (Westbrook) CHW (Danks) 33 Ks in last 37 1/3 innings vs. STL
The Cardinals have been one of the tougher matchups in the NL, but Dempster has racked up Ks against them.
33 Johan Santana CIN (Leake) N/A 1.90 home ERA
Santana has had some hiccups on the road, but he has been superb in his four starts at Citi Field.
34 Shaun Marcum @HOU (Happ) N/A No earned runs in 14 innings at HOU
Marcum can be homer-prone, but at hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park, he has a spotless record.
35 Lance Lynn @LAD (Lilly) N/A Fewer hits allowed than innings in each start
Lynn has had some BABIP help, but frequent Ks and grounders have also been key to his 0.85 WHIP.
36 Mat Latos @NYM (Dickey) N/A 24 Ks over last 25 innings (entering Sat.)
His season stats are still dragged down by his first two starts, but make no mistake, Latos is still a strikeout machine.
37 Ricky Romero NYM (Niese) N/A Career 1.88 ERA in interleague games
Romero has been outstanding in nine starts against NL teams, and five of those have been against the Phillies (three) and the Cardinals (two).
38 Jason Hammel NYY (Nova) @WAS (Detwiler) Two runs or fewer in every start
Hammel has already faced the Yankees and Red Sox once and the Blue Jays twice, so it's not as if he is sprucing up his stats against weak teams.
39 Brandon Morrow TB (Niemann) NYM (Batista) Opponents' .201 Avg
Morrow has stymied most of his foes so far, but then again, only two of his seven starts have been against AL East competition.
40 Jeff Niemann @TOR (Morrow) ATL (Delgado) 16.6 percent line drive rate since 2010
It's no accident that Niemann posts better-than-average WHIPs; he is consistently good at avoiding hard contact on balls in play.
41 Tim Hudson CIN (Cueto) @TB (Price) 67 percent ground ball rate
Hudson was not quite as masterful at inducing grounders last year, but his sinker is working wonders again.
42 Tommy Hanson @TB (Shields) N/A 9.0 percent swinging strike rate
Hanson's velocity is down substantially, but he is getting whiffs at roughly the same rate he did two years ago.
43 Vance Worley @CHC (Garza) N/A Pitched six innings or more in 13 straight starts
Worley rarely blows up, and he has been especially reliable since late last season.
44 Gavin Floyd @LAA (Williams) N/A 7.7 percent fastball whiff rate
Floyd is getting much more movement on his heater this season, and it's helped to increase his strikeout rate.
45 Ervin Santana OAK (Colon) @SD (Bass) Career 3.93 ERA in interleague games
Santana is plagued by the gopher ball yet again, but with a start at PETCO Park on the schedule, it should be safe to start him this week.
46 Chris Sale @LAA (Wilson) N/A Career 1.76 road ERA (entering Sat.)
After the tumult of the last two weeks, it's hard to know how Sale's return to starting will go, but he clearly thrives away from U.S. Cellular Field.
47 Josh Beckett SEA (Beavan) @PHI (Lee) Four quality starts in six tries
Amidst all of the controversy, what has been lost is that Beckett has been good in most of his starts this year. The state of his lat is the biggest concern.
48 Justin Masterson MIA (Zambrano) N/A 1.95 GB/FB ratio, last three starts
Masterson has been wild lately, but strong ground ball tendencies have helped him to a 3.05 ERA over his last three turns in the rotation.
49 Bartolo Colon @LAA (Santana) @SF (Lincecum) No earned runs allowed over last 15 innings at LAA
Colon can't be trusted with certain matchups, but in these two pitcher-friendly venues, he's a safe play.
50 Wandy Rodriguez TEX (Feliz) N/A Pitched at least 7.0 innings in four of last five starts
Rodriguez's K-rate has been lagging, but he is continuing his trend of pitching deep into games.
51 Colby Lewis KC (Mendoza) @HOU (Lyles) Career 1.42 ERA at HOU
As he showed in his last start, Lewis is always a threat to give up multiple homers, but the Royals and Astros are relatively safe matchups for him.
52 Ryan Vogelsong COL (Friedrich) OAK (Ross) 2.13 home ERA since 2011
Worsening control has made Vogelsong a liability in some weeks, but he's worth using with a pair of starts at AT&T Park.
53 Henderson Alvarez TB (Price) NYM (Gee) Eight double play balls (tied for 2nd in majors)
Even without many strikeouts, Alvarez is averaging 15.7 Fantasy points per start, and double plays are just part of his formula for success.
54 Ross Detwiler SD (Stauffer) BAL (Hammel) Seven line drives on 102 hit balls
Detwiler's line drive rate and 1.02 WHIP are sure to rise, but it shows just how difficult it has been for hitters to square up on him.
55 Jaime Garcia @SF (Bumgarner) N/A .355 BABIP
Many of Garcia's indicators, such as swinging strike rate, walk rate and line drive rate, look good, so his high rate of hits on balls in play looks unlucky.
56 R.A. Dickey CIN (Latos) N/A 1.71 home ERA
Dickey's two worst starts have come on the road, but he continues to build on a pattern of being tough at Citi Field.
57 Jeremy Hellickson BOS (Buchholz) N/A 24 Ks over last 29 innings
It's too early to say for sure, but maybe Hellickson is becoming a strikeout pitcher again after all.
58 Joe Blanton HOU (Harrell) BOS (Lester) 69 percent strikes thrown, last three starts
Blanton is generally a pretty reliable strike-thrower, but he is taking his control up a notch.
59 Kyle Lohse CHC (Maholm) @LAD (Billingsley) 2.55 ERA vs. CHC in 2011
Lohse's newfound command was in evidence in three starts against Chicago last year, as he struck out 16 batters while walking just two.
60 Chris Capuano @SD (Richard) N/A Five straight quality starts
Only 49 percent of Capuano's career starts have been of the quality variety, but he is avoiding homers and staying out of trouble.
61 Tim Lincecum COL (Guthrie) OAK (Colon) 14 percent line drive rate, last three starts
Lincecum is still having command issues, but fewer hard-hit balls could be a sign of progress.
62 Max Scherzer @CHW (Peavy) PIT (Correia) 66 percent strikes thrown, last two starts
Scherzer has come out of his funk, but a pair of good starts doesn't mean he can't be erratic going forward.
63 Brandon McCarthy @TEX (Harrison) N/A 3.54 P/PA (entering Sat.)
McCarthy is coming off a sore shoulder and a long layoff, plus he has a tough matchup. Still, he continues to be one of the most efficient pitchers in the game.
64 Wade Miley @LAD (Billingsley) @KC (Mendoza) Opponents' .331 SLG
Miley's proclivity for ground balls is helping him to minimize damage, even though he's a below-average strikeout pitcher.
65 Anthony Bass @WAS (Strasburg) LAA (Santana) 10.8 percent swinging strike rate
Bass got batters to whiff in the minors, but low called strike percentages kept his K-rates somewhat modest. Just maybe he can keep this up.
66 Ivan Nova @BAL (Hammel) CIN (Bailey) Career 3.72 ERA at BAL
Nova has been a much better pitcher away from Yankee Stadium, and that includes the launching pad that is Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
67 Jonathon Niese @TOR (Romero) N/A Allowed 3 ER or fewer in five of six starts
Niese has been in a relative slump, but aside from one start against Houston, he has been reliable.
68 Jeanmar Gomez @MIN (Pavano) MIA (Sanchez) 2 BBs or fewer in eight out of last nine starts
Gomez's control wasn't especially notable as a prospect, but it's becoming his hallmark as a major leaguer.
69 Tim Stauffer @WAS (Detwiler) LAA (Haren) Career 3.11 ERA in interleague games
Making his first starts of the year, Stauffer is a wild card, but owners can take comfort in knowing that AL teams haven't been a threat to him.
70 Wei-Yin Chen NYY (Sabathia) @WAS (Strasburg) 10.6 percent swinging strike rate
Chen has the misfortune of dueling with a pair of aces, but his strikeout rate has been higher than expected.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Astros RP Luke Gregerson earns save Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:53 am ET) Astros pitcher Luke Gregerson picked up his third save of the season during Monday's 7-5 win over the Mariners.

Gregerson entered in the ninth inning with a two-run lead and only allowed one base runner before recording the save. In addition to walking one batter, Gregerson also struck out a batter.

Gregerson has yet to surrender a run in seven innings of work this season and is a perfect 3 for 3 in save opportunities.


Astros 3B Luis Valbuena hits two home runs Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:48 am ET) Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena connected on two home runs to help lead the Astros to a 7-5 win over the Mariners on Monday.

Valbuena hit his fourth home run of the season when he connected on a solo home run off Hisashi Iwakuma during the first inning. During the eighth inning, Valbuena hit another solo shot off Danny Farquhar for his fifth homer of the season. He is now batting .244 on the season.


Mariners OF Nelson Cruz collects two hits Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:47 am ET) Mariners outfielder Nelson Cruz continued his hot start when he drove in two runs during Monday's 7-5 loss to the Astros.

Cruz was 2 of 5 during the game, including a double in the fifth inning, which drove in Robinson Cano. He also struck out once. Cruz is not batting .358 on the season.


Astros SP Asher Wojciechowski fails to go five innings Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:45 am ET) Astros pitcher Asher Wojciechowski was only able to pitch four innings during Monday's win over the Mariners.

Wojciechowski surrendered four runs on eight hits over four innings of work Monday. He also struck out six batters, while walking two in his second start of the season. Wojciechowski also failed to go past the fourth inning in his first start of the season. His ERA now stands at 6.00.

His next start is expected to be Saturday at Oakland.


Mariners SP Hisashi Iwakuma gives up four runs Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:44 am ET) Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma failed to get past the fifth inning of Monday's loss to the Astros and received a no-decision as a result.

Iwakuma surrendered four runs on five hits over 5 1/2 innings. He struck out three and walked three on 71 pitches. He has given up four runs in each of his three starts this season.

Iwakuma's troubles began in the first inning when he gave up a solo home run to Luis Valbuena. He also surrendered a solo shot to Colby Rasmus in the fifth inning and his ERA is now 6.61. Felix Hernandez remains the only Mariners starter with a win this season.

Iwakuma's next expected start will be Sunday against the Twins.


Athletics P Tyler Clippard earns first save of season Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:24 am ET) After going the first 13 games without a save opportunity, Athletics pitcher Tyler Clippard converted his first save chance of the season during the A's 6-3 win over the Angels on Monday.

Clippard entered the game with a three-run lead in the ninth inning, but walked two batters before recording the final out. He also struck out one batter. 


Athletics C Stephen Vogt hits three-run home run Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:19 am ET) Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt connected on a three-run home run to help lead the Athletics to a 6-3 win over the Angels on Monday.

Vogt hit the home run off starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker in the third inning of the game. The home run was his only hit for the game. He finished the game 1 for 3 with one walk.


Athletics SP Kendall Graveman only throws 3 innings Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:15 am ET) Athletics pitcher Kendall Graveman started Monday's game against the Angels, but only pitched the first three innings.

Graveman started the fourth inning, but was pulled after walking the first two batters of the inning. Over three innings of work, Graveman surrendered four hits and two earned runs, while walking three batters and striking out two.

Despite only throwing three innings, Graveman was able to lower his ERA from 7.27 to 6.94, but he received a no-decision for his effort.

His next start is expected to be Saturday against the Astros.


Angels SP Matt Shoemaker struggles during Monday's loss
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker started to struggle during the first inning of Monday's loss to the Athletics and he never improved.

After giving up a run in the first, Shoemaker pitched a scoreless second, but ran into trouble in the third and fourth innings. Shoemaker gave up a three-run home run to Stephen Vogt in the third and failed to get out of the fourth inning after being replaced following a solo home run to Marcus Semien.

Shoemaker (2-1) surrendered five runs on seven hits over three innings. He struck out two and walked three, while taking the loss. It was the first time in his three starts this season that he failed to pitch at least six innings. His ERA rose from 4.38 to 6.46.

His next expected to start will be Saturday against the Rangers. 


Rockies' Nolan Arenado doesn't think wrist injury is serious
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:46 am ET) Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado thinks he'll be able to return to the diamond for Tuesday night's game against the Padres. 

According to The Denver Post, Arenado said he started feeling soreness in his wrist just before his final at-bat against the Dodgers on Sunday. That carried over to Monday, which is why he was a late scratch in the lineup. 

“This is nothing chronic, just some soreness,” he said. “I’ve never had this before. I think I’ll be fine.”

Arenado is hitting .311 with three home runs and 10 BRI. 


 
 
 
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