Fantasy Game Notes for Thursday: American League
Game Story: It's official: Nature hates the Indians. At least when they play at the Jake. The weather has been terrible in Cleveland: snow, sleet, rain, hail not even the post office would deliver mail to these guys. Why am I wasting word count on bad weather jokes? This game likely doesn't get played. If it does, however, Loe is a better on the road than at home. Because of this and the possible rainout, only start your big-name Indians. Same thing goes for the Rangers against Byrd, but definitely sit Hank Blalock (1-for-19 lifetime).
Notable Injuries: Luis Castillo, 2B (quadriceps, DL)
Game Story: I'm the last person to psychoanalyze anyone, but considering the loss Greinke has just experienced and his problems from last year, you might want to sit him until he shows he can pitch well again. That also means to start all your Twins. Bonser has been a huge disappointment and I've dropped him in half of my leagues. Start your Royals except for Mark Teahen (1-for-7) and pick up Mark Grudzielanek if you can (I did).
Notable Injuries: Akinori Iwamura, 3B (ribs, DL)
Game Story: My life would be complete if Jae Seo pitched against Sammy Sosa with Geovany Soto catching and Mike Scioscia managing. Scioscia subsequently says Soto should signal Seo to sling a slider to strikeout Sosa. Someone make that happen. Until then, start all your Angels against a guy who might not be in the Devil Rays' rotation for much longer. Colon had Cy Young form in his return from the DL, but the season is young. Carlos Pena (9-for-28) and Jonny Gomes (10-for-14, 2 HRs) own Colon, but I can't promise either gets a start. Start your big-name Rays.
Game Story: Horrible Horacio hurls okay, enough with the alliteration. As expected, the A's batters hit Ramirez very well. That list includes even Todd Walker (4-for-7), who likely sees more at-bats while the team's first basemen convalesce. Eric Chavez -- who might have found his way to a waiver wire or two -- is a beast against Ramirez (8-for-9, 2 HRs). The Mariners' results against Kennedy are mixed. Definitely sit Adrian Beltre (1-for-20) and Yuniesky Betancourt (2-for-12), but start Raul Ibanez (5-for-19, 3 HRs) and Richie Sexson (7-for-17). However, if you sit Sexson, I won't take it personally as his sub-.200 batting average is killing me.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: A healthy Beckett is an unhittable one and that likely continues through this game. Only play the unbenchable Orioles, with the exception of sneaking Jay Payton back into the lineup (5-for-11 against Beckett). Loewen has survived so far with his one walk per inning performances by not giving up any home runs. Yes, he's showing a ground ball pitcher can get away with imperfection -- his 2.21 GF/FB ratio this season is the best explanation for a 3.72 ERA despite a 1.91 WHIP -- but we all know this won't work against the Red Sox. Play all your Red Sox and sit Loewen.
Yankee Stadium (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (80 percent chance of showers, low of 48 degrees)
A.J. Burnett, RHP (1-1) versus Phil Hughes, RHP (0-0)
Game Story: Before you assume this game gets rained out as well, know that the rain shouldn't start until after 2 a.m. So play ball! A.J. Burnett will make the start on an extra day's rest while the Yankees send their most promising young player to the mound to try and halt their losing skid. This will be a test for Hughes; the Blue Jays enter the game third in the majors in batting average and fourth in slugging. Adam Lind is doing almost all his damage against righties, and Lyle Overbay should be over the flu. While he's off to a slow start this season, he's historically very good against right-handed pitching. Will Alex Rodriguez go deep again? He has hit 12 of 14 homers against right-handers in 2007, and two in eight career at-bats against Burnett. Jeter will play if he's able; he's 4-for-10 lifetime against Burnett, with a home run.
Notable Injuries: Jim Thome, DH (ribs, DTD)
Game Story: While Robertson is having a great year so far, the White Sox batters hit him hard, especially Jermaine Dye (13-for-38, 7 -- yes, seven! -- HRs), Tadahito Iguchi (15-for-44, 2 HRs) and Juan Uribe (18-for-46, 2 HRs). The only White Sox to consider sitting is Joe Crede (5-for-36, 2 HRs), but he's been hot enough that I wouldn't mess with success. Despite Contreras' terrible pitching, he does matchup well against the Tigers' hitters. Not "shutout" well, but much better than Robertson does against the Sox. Use only big-name Tigers.
Fantasy Game Notes for Thursday: National League
Game Story: This game is close enough to Cleveland that it is in danger of being rained out. While Rodriguez has been serviceable, he'd probably prefer the rain. The Pirates batters club him like, well, you fill in that one. Start all your Pirates, but lower their priority over players from other games that are played in sunnier locales. Armas has been awful, but his stats against current Astros' batters are decent. Sit Craig Biggio (1-for-16), Chris Burke (0-for-8) and Ensberg (0-for-12), who might be out anyway. However, don't start Armas under any circumstance if you value your ratios.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: The trick to Lohse's season has been that although he's been hittable, he hasn't been issuing walks. Whether he continues this remains to be seen, but trust me, as the weather heats up, Lohse's fly balls will leave the park. So yes, when Lohse kills your ERA, you might commiserate with Al Gore. Start your Cards, and in particular Adam Kennedy (9-for-22) and Scott Spiezio (5-for-16, 1 HR) and sit David Eckstein (1-for-10). The Reds have been bottom-of-the-league awful against lefties, which makes Keisler a nice stealth spot starter. The only Reds worth considering are Jeff Conine and Alex Gonzalez.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: I want this to be the year Shawn "The Other" Hill turns some heads, but unfortunately in this game the heads might be turning to track the balls hit to the outfield and beyond. Philadelphia murders right-handed pitching. Start your Phillies all the way back to Richie Ashburn. Quick, who's first in the NL in strikeouts? At the time of this writing it's Hamels, who should keep that up all year as long as he stays healthy (that's not a given). Just sit your Nationals unless you need a warm body at a position.
Notable Injuries: Conor Jackson, 1B (hamstring, DTD)
Game Story: If "Chico and the Maine" made me laugh, think what Chris R. Young pitching to Chris B. Young does for me. The Diamondbacks don't have much exposure to Young the pitcher, except Eric Byrnes, who hasn't been able to hit him (3-for-16). Also keep in mind last year his ERA was more than two runs lower away from Petco Park! Yeah, I don't understand it either. Only start bigger named D-Backs. As for Hernandez, he is owned by Jose Cruz Jr. (9-for-19, 1 HR), a guy who will go hitless the rest of the year the second I pick him up, and Mike Cameron (10-for-34, 5 HRs!). Sit Khalil Greene (1-for-12).
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Last week the Diamondbacks paid Ortiz $7.1 million to beat them. Crazy world, isn't it? Ortiz is a guy that even Rafael Furcal can hit, and his chances against Penny and the Dodgers aren't good. Start your Dodgers, including the red-hot Wilson Valdez (4-for-7 against Ortiz). As for the Giants, it's simple: If they continue to play Ryan Klesko (12-for-32 against Penny) over Pedro Feliz (6-for-38), they might be in this game. Start Randy Winn (9-for-28, 4 HRs!) and Dave Roberts (10-for-27).
Waiver Wire Pick Ups
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B, KC @ Minnesota Twins
Jonny Gomes, DH, TB @ Los Angeles Angels
Lyle Overbay, 1B, TOR @ New York Yankees
Jermaine Dye, OF, CWS versus Detroit
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B, CWS versus Detroit
Juan Uribe, SS, CWS versus Detroit
Randy Keisler, SP, STL versus Cincinnati
Adam Kennedy, 2B, STL versus Cincinnati
Scott Spiezio, OF, STL versus Cincinnati
Jose Cruz Jr., OF, SD @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Mike Cameron, OF, SD @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Randy Winn, OF, SF @ Los Angeles Dodgers
Please Note that the notable injuries are not meant to be a comprehensive report of each team's disabled list. For brevity, we include only day-to-day injuries or new DL additions for players you might otherwise consider using in these games. Long-term DL or day-to-day injuries to starting pitchers who were not scheduled to appear are omitted.
David Young is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com and TalentedMrRoto.com. He can be reached at MrSnappy@TalentedMrRoto.com