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Avoid Blue Jays and Orioles hitters

Brian Roberts will face some tough starting rotations in the AL East.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If I told you that your hitter would play 150 games this season, but 75 of them would be against All-Star quality pitchers, would you still want to have him on your roster?

Well that's what you have in store for you if you draft, or purchase, a player from either the Toronto Blue Jays or the Baltimore Orioles.

And that's too bad, because there are some pretty good hitters on those two teams. Consider that the Orioles lineup includes: 2B Brian Roberts, OF Nick Markakis, DH Aubrey Huff, a rejuvenated 3B Melvin Mora and youngsters Luke Scott and Adam Jones.

Meanwhile the Blue Jays have fantasy favorites Alex Rios and Vernon Wells.

But consider what is in store for these guys.

When they play Boston (18 times) they will face a starting rotation of: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Brad Penny and Clay Buchholz, not to mention knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and John Smoltz.

Moving further south to New York they face a starting five of: C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte.

As if those two powerhouse pitching staffs weren't enough, they also have to play the Tampa Bay Rays and their young staff of flamethrowers 19 times too. That staff includes: Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine and David Price.

Throw in one All-Star in around half of the other 35 series in which the team plays (more in the case of Baltimore who will have to face Roy Halladay as well) and you have 75 games against top-notch, All-Star quality competition.

So no matter how much you like any Blue Jays and Orioles, perhaps you should steer clear of them in 2009.

Expected Boston, New York and Tampa Bay starting fives.

Pitcher Team W/L IN H K ERA WHIP
Josh Beckett BOS 12-10 174.1 173 172 4.03 1.19
Jon Lester BOS 16-6 210.1 202 152 3.21 1.27
Daisuke Matsuzaka BOS 18-3 167.2 128 154 2.90 1.32
Brad Penny BOS 6-9 94.2 112 51 6.27 1.63
Clay Buchholz BOS 2-9 76.0 93 72 6.75 1.76
C.C. Sabathia NYY 17-10 253.0 223 251 2.70 1.11
A.J. Burnett NYY 18-10 221.1 211 231 4.07 1.34
Chien-Ming Wang NYY 8-2 95.0 90 54 4.07 1.32
Joba Chamberlain NYY 4-3 100.1 87 118 2.60 1.26
Andy Pettitte NYY NYY 14-14 204.0 233 158 4.54 1.41
Scott Kazmir TB 12-8 152.1 123 166 3.49 1.27
James Shields TB 14-8 215.0 208 160 3.56 1.15
Matt Garza TB 11-9 184.2 170 128 3.70 1.24
Andy Sonnanstine TB 13-9 193.1 212 124 4.38 1.29
David Price TB 0-0 14.0 9 12 1.93 0.93


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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