Brandon Webb gets the nod, but sit Santana

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Four of the best pitchers in baseball will be on the mound tonight and for many of you this translates into one of the most important days of the week.

It can either grant you an early cushion or a deep hole to dig out of.

Here's a look at how we think they might fare tonight in their starts:

Johan Santana (NYM) at LA Angels

It'll be interesting to see how the Mets react after Willie Randolph's unceremonious firing last night. Santana needs to come up big here to get this team back on track against a tough Angels squad. At times he's been brilliant, but I have to say I am not impressed with Santana during his stay with New York so far. Being a White Sox fan, I know what this man is capable of and I haven't seen the same pitcher that was so dominant playing in the AL Central.

Santana is 1-2 with a 5.16 ERA lifetime in Anaheim and I expect that trend will continue tonight. Too much going on right now for this team to pull it together in time to pick up a win against the Angels.

Brandon Webb (ARI) vs. Oakland Athletics

There isn't another pitcher out there that I'd want leading my fantasy baseball rotation than Brandon Webb. He leads the league in wins (11), has a minuscule WHIP of 1.00 and is an absolute workhorse. He's thrown two complete games and has lasted at least six innings 12 of his 14 starts this season.

He may fly under the radar in terms of national recognition by the media, but in the fantasy world this guy has got his own shoe, clothing and hair care line. Seriously, I'd feel confident starting this guy against any team you could dream up and he should never, EVER be out of your starting lineup. Especially against a weak A's lineup that he should absolutely manhandle.

Felix Hernandez (SEA) vs. Florida Marlins

The beauty of fantasy baseball is that the actual team a player is on doesn't have to be good in order for you to make a killing on his production. We'll use 'Prince' Felix Hernandez here (and yes, I know it's supposed to be King Felix but on the Mariners he'll never be king of anything) as an example of this.

Owners need to understand that he's not going to win as many games as he should due to the fact his team is garbage. But Hernandez compensates for this by producing above average numbers in other areas. He's in the top 15 in strikeouts (82) and has a very respectable 2.81 ERA in 14 starts this season.

I'll almost guarantee Felix loses this game against the Marlins tonight, but with a stat line that includes seven strikeouts and a couple earned runs, that's a quality start you can't afford to miss out on.

Tim Hudson (ATL) at Texas Rangers

Hudson is one of those guys that you really just don't get excited about. He kind of defines that 'ho-hum' mentality where you know he's a decent pitcher, but he doesn't do anything that makes him stand out. On a Braves team that seems to place a different pitcher on the disabled list on a daily basis, Hudson has remained relatively consistent with a 7-4 record, 2.76 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.

This Rangers offense scares the living daylights out of me right now and I'm uncomfortable starting any 'ho-hum' pitcher against them even though as a team the Rangers are 'ho-hum' themselves (35-36).

You could start him, and you probably have to, but there's a chance he could be heading for the showers a little earlier than usual with a bloated ERA and not much else to show for it. Owner beware.

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Oh, by the way, the Braves have the worst road record in MLB at 10-25...thats like failing out of college. You literally have to try to fail. That is on par with never showing up for anything, prioritising your dynasty in Madden over class...Mitch, i'm looking at you. And that's what the Braves are doing.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on June 17, 2008 1:00 PM.

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