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O¿s vs. Tigers preview: July 17-20

Has the All-Star Game ended yet? Seriously, I don’t think Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau was going to be called out at home plate even if Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann had planted him into the third-base dugout with his tag.

Both teams were out of available players and it was approaching 2 a.m. in New York City. Some very interesting decisions were going to have to be made if the game didn’t end on that play. Luckily for the two managers – Boston’s Terry Francona and Colorado’s Clint Hurdle – the game ended and they didn’t have to sacrifice any players.

The American League won home-field advantage for the World Series again. It’s the sixth straight year that the winner of the All-Star Game has been awarded this honor and the AL has won all six. The league is only 3-2, however, in World Series played since the rule was first instituted in 2003.

Do you think the home-field advantage is really that important?

Speaking of home-field advantage, the Orioles will begin the second half with 11 games at Camden Yards. It’s exactly what the team needs to help them break out of their recent slide. The Orioles are 25-16 at home this season, so they’ll need to use the homestand to boost their overall record (45-48).

They’ll host the Detroit Tigers in a four-game series to start the second half. The Tigers were considered one of the favorites in the AL before the season started, but they struggled early this year. They’ve clawed their way back to .500 (47-47) and are currently seven games behind the Chicago White Sox in the division. Before the break, the Tigers won the series finale against the Minnesota Twins after losing the first three games.

Probable pitching matchups

Thursday 7/17: Garrett Olson (6-4, 5.65) vs. Kenny Rogers (6-6, 4.55)

Friday 7/18: Jeremy Guthrie (5-7, 3.49) vs. Armando Galarraga (7-3, 3.27)

Saturday 7/19: Daniel Cabrera (6-5, 4.33) vs. Nate Robertson (6-8, 5.26)

Sunday 7/20: Brian Burres (7-5, 5.02) vs. Justin Verlander (7-9, 4.15)

Who you should play from the Tigers

Magglio Ordonez, RF – Ordonez has been on the disabled list since June 29 with a pulled right oblique muscle. He’s going to be activated before the series at Camden Yards, so make sure you get him back into your everyday lineup. His numbers aren’t as good as last season when he hit .363 with 28 home runs and 139 RBIs, but Ordonez is still one of Detroit’s best hitters. He’s hitting .307 this season with 12 home runs, 42 runs scored and 50 RBIs. Ordonez has a .338 batting average in 34 career games at Camden Yards, so look for him to boost your team’s offensive production this weekend.

Who you should bench from the Tigers

Carlos Guillen, 3B – Last season, Guillen pleasantly surprised fantasy owners by hitting .296 with 21 home runs and 102 RBIs as a shortstop. He started this season as the Tigers first baseman and has now shifted across the diamond to third base. Despite not playing any actual games at shortstop this year, Guillen holds a lot of value since he is still eligible for the position in most fantasy formats. However, he’s been struggling recently and it’s probably a good idea to find other players to fill his spot until he starts hitting again. Guillen is only hitting .233 with one home run and five RBIs in July.

Who you should play from the Orioles

Aubrey Huff, DH/1B – Huff is hitting .356 with four home runs, 13 RBIs and seven runs scored in July. Throughout his career, Huff has put up much better numbers in the second half. He could come close to establishing career highs in doubles (47), home runs (34), RBIs (107) and runs scored (92) if that trend continues this season. Huff likely went undrafted in your fantasy league, so his offensive production definitely comes as a surprise. In order to maximize that production, make sure he’s in your lineup everyday.

Who you should bench from the Orioles

Ramon Hernandez, C – After a brief surge in production, Hernandez is struggling again. He is 4-for-31 (.129) with one home run and three RBIs in his past 10 games. Hernandez is too inconsistent to be counted on as an everyday catcher for your fantasy team. In 45 career games against the Tigers, Hernandez is hitting .205 with no home runs and 14 RBIs. Don’t expect him to have much success against Detroit this weekend.

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