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'The Nine' for Week 11
Blame the blister! The Los Angeles Angels have a lot of decisions to make regarding their rotation in the upcoming week, after Shohei Ohtani's placement on the DL. While odds are good that Andrew Heaney, fresh off his birthday shutout this past Tuesday, will see two starts in the upcoming week and that Jaime Barria is likely to return from Triple-A Salt Lake for a start in the upcoming Seattle series, there's too much uncertainty here to predict the exact day any of the team's starters will actually end up taking the mound.
Already besieged by rotation injuries, the other Los Angeles team had to scramble for an impromptu "bullpen game" when Dennis Santana, set to make his big league debut, suffered a lat injury just prior to Thursday's outing. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is uncertain as to whether or not Kenta Maeda (strained hip) can return for the short Texas series. With a pair of off days (Monday and Thursday), Dodgers hitters can likely be avoided, and it does give this team's beleaguered bullpen a chance to play catchup. A potential Triple-A option (Tyler Pill?) plus Maeda could allow Los Angeles to give each of its "healthy trio" of arms -- Walker Buehler, Alex Wood and Russ Stripling -- a full week of rest between starts. Time will tell.
Washington will get five interleague games in Week 11, all on the road. Adam Eaton's activation from the 60-day DL comes at an opportune time, as the Nationals can use him as their DH and keep both Michael Taylor and Juan Soto in the lineup as well.
Other interleague games that may impact some bats this week include a pair between the Reds and Royals in Kansas City (more at-bats for Jesse Winker). The Marlins will be at the Orioles for a pair, which could net some playing time for Cameron Maybin. While the Rangers will end up losing their DH for that two-game set against the Dodgers -- Shin-Soo Choo and Adrian Beltre managers take note -- they get the extra bat back at the end of the week with a trio of contests hosting the Rockies. Texas is expected to throw a pair of lefties in the series, so I'm not sure that Ryan McMahon will take those extra hacks in all three games.
Potential two-start options to consider include Seattle's Wade LeBlanc, who has two home starts, one against the likely "Ohtani's bat"-less Angels and one facing the Red Sox, who may or may not have Mookie Betts (abdominal) back in the lineup. Jake Odorizzi takes to the road to face the Tigers and Indians in Week 11. While I'm not sure I trust him against Cleveland, Detroit is batting just .227 this month through games of June 7. ESPN Fantasy recently discussed doubts regarding Clay Buchholz going forward, with games against the slumping Pirates (.219 BA in June) and Mets (league-worst at .140) ahead, he may be worth the risk.
San Diego takes to the road for a full seven games in Week 11, facing the Cardinals (3) and Braves (4). As a team, the Padres are batting just .228 for the season when traveling, but both Eric Hosmer (.303) and Jose Pirela (.320) have done well away from Petco. San Francisco also will be sleeping in hotels all week long. Evan Longoria is hitting .303 this season in games started by southpaws, and the Giants are due to face a trio of such hurlers. Brandon Belt, who has been on the 10-day DL as a result of an emergency appendectomy, could be back in time for the weekend series at the Dodgers.
Jon Jay could well jump-start the Arizona offense, which has been quite dismal so far in 2018 -- the only player on the team's active roster prior to the deal with a batting average over .260 was pitcher Patrick Corbin. The Diamondbacks get seven home games to try and straighten things out. Also with a seven-game home slate this week are the White Sox (Jose Abreu is .301-5 HR-19 RBI in Chicago) and the Mariners, who should get to face three left-handed starters. In those games this season, Jean Segura has hit .391.
Baltimore is also currently tabbed to face three LHP. OK, one of those is Chris Sale, but the other two are Eduardo Rodriguez and Wei-Yin Chen. Still, the Orioles have three hitters ranked in the top 50 in the league against left-handed pitching (minimum 50 at-bats) with Adam Jones (.324), Jonathan Schoop (.298) and Manny Machado (.297). Tampa Bay will also get a troika of left-handers (Jaime Garcia, J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia) and have two top-50 versus LHP bats to send to the plate: C.J. Cron (.309) and Wilson Ramos (.304).
The Cubs will be on the road for six games with three each against the Brewers and Cardinals. Ben Zobrist (.350), Jason Heyward (.309) and Albert Almora (.305) have all excelled away from the "Friendly Confines" this season. Heyward's bat, in particular, has been waking up of late, increasing his average by 41 points since May 25 and going .429 during the team's last road trip.