The trade deadline was three days ago. By now fantasy experts like Trojan Croftbell and Cocky Karazola have picked over these deals until the bones were showing, and gone over the “slashes” these guys compiled while “toeing the rubber” and talked you, and themselves really, in-and-out of pickups until they were dizzy. There’s no other way to analyze this. Unless you take some of the moving parts to Week 19 of the Two-Startapalooza party!

What happens to the headlining acts is obvious. Jon Lester is a must-start almost every week. In the post-season, he becomes Orel Hershiser ’88, or at least Billy Beane and any long-time A’s fan that shudders at the thought of Orel Hershiser ’88 hopes. David Price scratches the surface of the Must-Start layer some weeks, but more often than not he’ll break the barrier thanks to some interesting non-sabermetrical splits. This year, Price had way better numbers away from the Trop (6-2, 2.74 ERA) than inside of it (5-6, 3.41). Which also means he had the same numbers on grass than on turf, and of course the Tigers play on the green stuff in Detroit (as opposed to the Rockies, who play on the green stuff in Denver, but that’s different).

Then there’s the other guys. It might not seem like what happened to John Lackey and bed crapper Justin Masterson matters as much, but as Twitter pal Ralph Lifshitz pointed out to me on my feed (@NiceRazzball), the Cardinals can turn anyone into a solid starter (see: Jake Westbrook and Joel Pineiro, Lifshitz said, and to that I say point taken). That being said, and I feel like I’m going to be saying that a lot this week – getting something out of Lackey is one thing, but getting the Masterbaterson to get right on a consistent basis is something else. Can you imagine rolling that guy out in the playoffs? Yipes!

Drew Smyly, who got the shaft in the Price deal and goes from a nice park on a winning team to a mediocre team in a crappy stadium, falls down at least one tier per week. He becomes a stat-piler guy for those in search of Two-Starters. Jesse Chavez falls off the radar completely, as he ends up in the A’s bullpen. I’ll miss seeing his oops-I-crapped-my-pants mug every week.

A few of these guys get a double dip this week. For some more Two-Starters, keep on reading…

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Two weeks ago we looked at the speedsters from 2013 and there were more than a few names on the list that were available on the waiver wire at some point. For deeper leagues and daily fantasy players that need to maximize each and every matchup, even the smallest advantages can mean the difference between a win and a loss. That’s why we focused a lot on matchups this past year, and we’ll do it again in 2014. Even the best base stealers get caught once in a while, so it’s good to know as much as we can about who might be doing the catching before deploying our fantasy lineups. There’s a lot that goes into a stolen base, of course, and the battery of pitcher and catcher is a large piece of the puzzle. Pitchers who are good at holding baserunners can be avoided while pitchers who have a tendency to cough up a lot of steals can be exploited. Here’s how some starters fared in 2013 and over the last three years against the stolen base.

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Sean Connery enjoyed the landing of B-Weezy.

So it’s official. Just in time for your playoffs or late-season run for a title, Matt Cain has joined Jason Heyward and Rafael Betancourt, all recent casualties, on the DL. Even though the X-ray’s came back negative after Cain got hit by a line-drive on Thursday, Bruce Bochy said it was too soon to say whether or not he would make his next start. A mere seven hours later, which I guess was not too soon anymore, it was decided that Cain would not only miss his next start, but at least three. You’d figure with such a big head, Bochy would have a better grasp of time. And, you know, bullpen usage. Granted, this season wasn’t shaping up to be Cain’s finest and was pretty up-and-down (more down) in general. But his second-half ERA of 2.84 and improved walk rate were representing an expected regression. So the timing couldn’t be worse, especially since the Giants are not postseason bound and really have no reason to rush a recovery. Relevant. Here’s what else I noticed yesterday…

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All the time in Los Angeles I’ll see older women who have had way too much plastic surgery. Trying to hold on to their youth. It’s sad. It’s a never-ending cycle too. One older woman gets her face done, then her friends are pressured to do the same. But never, and I mean never, have I seen someone get plastic surgery then try to rearrange someone else’s face. Yesterday, was the first time I’ve seen it as past nose job recipient (Niese) tried to fix up Jason Heyward‘s schnoz. Jon Niese is a danger to himself and others. What if your proboscis is walking along the street and you run into Niese? If he doesn’t feel it’s worthy of his new nasal perfection, he will punch you in the face. God forbid he ever runs into Barbara Streisand. Heyward ducked at the last second and took the brunt of the pitch off the ear flap and jaw, but he’s still gonna be out for the better part of the season, maybe returning for the last week to tune up for the playoffs. Not your H2H playoffs, the Braves playoffs. In his stead, B.J. Upton, Jordan Schafer and Evan Gattis. Because they’ll all be sharing time, it’s hard to say there’s one guy that gets a boost in value. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Jose Veras was traded to the Tigers, which is bad news for Veras and potentially Joaquin Benoit. It’ll likely only be bad news for Veras’s owners. My guess is Benoit will hold the job with Veras setting him up, but I would hold Veras until the Tigers confirm that through usage. It’s also potentially bad news for anyone who picks up the Lastros potential replacement, Jose Cisnero. Too bad Jose “Set The Table For The Opposing Team” Mesa retired, it sounds like there’s a Jose revival. “I can get someone to cover for me selling scratch-off tickets.” That was Jose Mesa, holding a presser at his local 7-11. Since the newest name to get some fantasy value is Cisnero, let’s be like a cyclops with a monocle and take a closer look. He’s been awful. You’d be hard-pressed like overpriced juice to find someone who has been as bad recently that could be getting saves. Since June 26th (last ten appearances), he’s given up eight runs in 8 2/3 IP. In that time, he’s allowed nine walks, nine hits and one homer. Only thing he’s not allowed is a legitimate reason to be the closer other than he’s young and the Asstros might like to try him out for next year. Another option for saves in Houston is the guys the Astros just called up, Josh Zeid and Chia-Jen Lo. Both of which sound like background extras in the cantina scene in Star Wars. Both are unproven, so likely headed for the middle innings or to see Boba Fett. Finally, there’s Wesley Wright, who sounds like the third Wright brother — the one that was scared of heights. “We’re gonna need you to put your seat in the upright position.” “You know what? You and Wilbur have at it.” That was Wesley getting off the plane right before that maiden flight. Wright is more of a lefty specialist, so he might only see a handful of saves. Then again, this is the Lastros, and there may only be a handful of saves for anyone. All in all, or whatever clunky intro you want on this sentence, I’m glad someone else beat me to the punch grabbing Cisnero. I sense a Mitchell Boggs reprise in the works, which isn’t the same as The Mitchell Boggs Reprisal that the Geneva Convention commissioned after Boggs attacked fantasy owners ratios earlier this year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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How many times have you completely written off Francisco Liriano? Seriously. Probably four or five times, right? I know I’ve uttered the phrase “f**k that guy, I’m never using him again” at least once a year for the last five years. That’s the way it is with him — the K-potential has always made him an interesting option for fantasy streaming, but until this year, I don’t think he’s ever helped my team. Not once. Which is what makes Liriano’s 2013 production so absurd, and it’s definitely no fluke at this point. Through roughly 90 IP he’s posted a 2.23 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP while whiffing more than a batter per inning. And given his sub-3 FIP, the peripheral numbers bode well, too. I’m sure I’ll have to write him off again at some point, but it’s amazing to consider the path the 29-year-old Liriano has taken to transition from never-using-him-again streamer status, to one of the best arms in the league. He goes twice this week, making his debut in the must start tier. The rest of the week 18 two-starters are below.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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Chad Gaudin shut down the Diamondbacks last night, pitching seven innings, surrendering no runs while giving up just three hits, walking none and striking out eight for his fourth win. Throwing just 92 pitches, he could have easily come out for the eighth but Manager Bruce Bochy opted to go with four relievers instead, because, well that’s the most Bruce Bochy thing ever. Anyway, hello there, Gaudin. Have we met? You say you shook my hand while I was unconscious? Strange, but I’ll allow it. Poor Chad seems like an easy target ever since the news broke that he was arrested for lewdness in Vegas after groping an unconscious woman on a stretcher. That doesn’t sound that…bad….right? Errr. I don’t know the whole story, but perhaps he was trying to resuscitate her? Besides, we all get a case of “the honks” every now and again, amiright, fellas? Despite his inability to keep his hands to his sides, Chad Gaudin has been able to pitch incredibly effectively since stepping into the rotation. Since June 2, Chad has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his seven starts, with a 2.16 ERA and 35/9 K/BB ratio in that span. Gaudin is still under 20% owned in RCL leagues and he gets a good test versus the Reds next week at home. With a 0.55 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 33.0 innings at AT&T Park, Chad Gaudin is definitely worth a pick up in all leagues where you need help with starting pitching, at least until he gets suspended for groping Pablo Sandoval in the locker room.That’s sexual harassment, Panda!

Here’s what else happened last night in fantasy baseball:

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This post comes to you by the power of Greyskull! I have the power! The power of Greyskull dropped Justin Masterson earlier in the year after one bad start. I have a power outage! Then the power of Greyskull watched as the power of Rudyskull picked him up and has been reaping the rewards ever since, but the power of Rudyskull benched Masterson yesterday, so the power of Greyskull let out a small, fleeting smile. Yesterday, Masterson threw a complete game shutout. He’s been great all year with a 9+ K-rate. Yadda, yadda eff me. Just above him on the K-rate chart is a who’s who of the pitchers you want: F-Her, Sale, Samardzija, Miller, Harvey, Yu, Scherzer, etc. etc. etc. He also has one of the worst walk rates in that group (not bad overall, just in that group), which will hold Masterson out of the top tier of pitchers this year, but will make him ownable in all leagues and why the power of Greyskull failed me. I wonder if Skeletor is hiring. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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The way you hit it. I can’t believe it. I ain’t never seen an Astro like dat…the way you swing it, you make my fantasy team go…DUH DOING DOING DOING! I had to look up the lyrics to that song so I could figure out how to spell ‘DOING’, by the way, and it still feels wrong. What are you doing? Doing’ing? Must be like Polish and polish. Did you read those two right? You read the last one like what you do to all of your fantasy baseball trophies and the first one is the one you hear in all your grandpa’s racist ‘screw in a lightbulb’ jokes. It’s all in the capital letter to pronounce it differently. Maybe all caps makes doing refer to pitching a tent. This is a fantasy baseball blog, why are you talking about camping?!? It’s summer, you should go camping at least once readers, really. Enjoy the sunshine while you can. Don’t live in a cave writing about fantasy sports all day like we do. Hrm, I don’t know how to transition back to the point of this conversation now so I’ll just awkward segue to it. Matt Dominguez is home for five games and I want him on my team for that amount of time. Wanna know why? Well read in the next paragraph as I explain it for week 13 of the 2013 fantasy baseball season…

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If you found us from Google due to this title, you might want National Geographic or an African safari forum where discussion quickly turns into a story about how ‘your old lady doesn’t let you watch scary movies.’ Here, when we say our ‘old lady,’ we’re not using a euphemism for a wife. It’s for my fiancee. Gio Gonzalez had a throwback to the days of wine and roses. The wine being anything but Boone’s. The roses being McGowan. He went seven innings and didn’t give up a hit past the first inning with only 4 baserunners and 11 Ks vs. the Phils and Kyle Kendrick (7 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 3 baserunners, 6 Ks). This was a battle between two teams you think are good offensively, but are not. The Bryceless Nats couldn’t score for Gonzalez and needed an Ian Desmond grand slam in the eleventh to win. This no decision was Gio’s 7th in his last 8 starts — c’mon, Gio, make up your mind. Or console yourself with a QS, Gio! This was a nice start after I had reservations about his falling K-rate and rising walk rate. Again, it was the Phils, so I wouldn’t just accept he’s back to last year’s tricks. It’s an illusion! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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