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Fantasy managers have a chance to take a little more time to consider lineup moves this coming week as the first pitch on Monday July 22 doesn't come until 7 p.m. ET, courtesy of the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays on ESPN. There's a seven-game day slate on Wednesday, beginning with those same two teams at 12:10 p.m. ET. A trio of afternoon affairs kick off Thursday's limited slate, starting with the San Diego Padres and New York Mets at 12:10 p.m. ET. Friday's action is only slightly earlier than usual with a 6:40 p.m. ET game between the Colorado Rockies at the Cincinnati Reds.
A full 13 teams play all seven days of Week 16, including the Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. That opens up two-start weeks for Chris Sale (coming off a 12-K win over Toronto) and Eduardo Rodriguez (3-0, 1.96 ERA over his last three starts). I would certainly rather go with either of those Boston pitchers than Minnesota's Kyle Gibson and Martin Perez or Pittsburgh's Chris Archer and Dario Agrazal. That said, Archer has thrown back-to-back quality starts on the road, so perhaps his fortunes are headed in the right direction.
Only three teams have two scheduled days off, with interleague play causing the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers all getting both Monday and Thursday off. Of course, a few extra days off might be a very good thing for Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, who has been struggling with a bruised right ankle. Maybe a light week will allow him to get back to full health.
It's a week without travel for the Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox. Hopefully, Howie Kendrick will be able to get into the Nationals lineup for most of the week as his home batting average of .392 is best on the team (as well as far greater than his .268 road split). Running with pitchers who face the Mariners might be a winning strategy as well. As a team, Seattle is hitting just. 236 at home with 9.94 strikeouts per game.
The Rockies spend the entire week away from Coors Field. Among the other road warriors for Week 16 are the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians. Tony Wolters (.299) is the only Colorado hitter with a batting average over .265 away from Denver and, as a team, the lineup has managed to hit just .221. Yikes! Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez are the three Yankees with double-digit home runs on the road. Roberto Perez leads the Indians with nine road round-trippers.
With a pair of early-week games in Detroit, the Phillies add the DH. Jay Bruce (oblique) is on the IL, while Jean Segura and Maikel Franco have been ailing. Expect one of those latter two to avoid taking the field with the extra bat. The Miami Marlins get three chances to add a bat to the lineup, with a three-game set at the White Sox. Martin Prado (hamstring), just back with the team after his own IL stint will likely get at least one game as DH.
American League squads which lose the DH for a time early in the week are the Baltimore Orioles (three games in Arizona), the Kansas City Royals (a pair in Atlanta), the Los Angeles Angels (a pair at the Dodgers). Over the weekend, Houston travels to St. Louis for a trio of games. Be wary of using Renato Nunez, Bubba Starling, Shohei Ohtani and Yordan Alvarez, especially if your league has weekly lineup locks.
Tampa Bay is currently scheduled to face four left-handed pitchers. That's good news for Yandy Diaz (.336 in games where a LHP starts), but not so much for Nate Lowe, who is hitting just .200 in such contests.
It's a very RHP-heavy week for bats in Cincinnati, Oakland and St. Louis. The Reds' best option is Jose Iglesias (.293). Oakland duo Matt Chapman (.283, 14 HR) and Ramon Laureano (.280, 15 HR) sport the best vs. RHP numbers on their squad. Meanwhile, there's not much to be excited about from the Cardinals, ranked 20th in the league in batting average and 28th in slugging percentage against righties.