Daily Notes: Hensley gets the Nationals

Updated: May 1, 2007, 11:30 PM ET
By Tristan Cockcroft | ESPN.com

Fantasy Game Notes for Wednesday: American League

Comerica Park (outdoor) 1:05 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 61 degrees)
Steve Trachsel, RHP (1-2) versus Nate Robertson, LHP (2-1)

Notable Injuries: Carlos Guillen, SS (shoulder, available)

Game Story: Trachsel's 4.13 ERA and 1.27 WHIP to date aren't bad, especially accounting for the fact that they include starts against the Yankees, Blue Jays and Indians, but I'm still not ready to recommend him. Most Tigers hit him, particularly the red-hot Gary Sheffield, 10-for-26 (.385 average) in his last seven games; Sheffield is a lifetime .373 hitter (19-for-51) with four homers against Trachsel. Keep Guillen active, as he continues to play through a shoulder problem. Robertson is well worth using, as he has held left-handers to a .231 batting average and .605 OPS for his career, and the Orioles, with their lefty-heavy lineup, don't hit lefties well. I'd use Jay Payton (2 HRs, 15 at-bats versus Robertson), though.

Safeco Field (outdoor/retractable roof) 3:35 p.m. ET (high of 56 degrees)
John Danks, LHP (0-3) versus Miguel Batista, RHP (2-2)

Notable Injuries: None

Game Story: Danks hasn't pitched poorly, but then with only one quality start in four tries, it's not like he has excelled, either. This isn't a bad AL-only matchup for him, in a pitchers' park against a below-average offense, but Seattle's righty lumber -- Adrian Beltre, Jose Guillen, Richie Sexson, etc. -- is worth keeping in your lineup as well. Batista, meanwhile, faces a thinned-out White Sox offense, but it's still not a great matchup for him. Darin Erstad is 6-for-7 with one homer against him, so get him in your lineup, and Rob Mackowiak (3-for-5 career versus Batista) isn't a bad AL-only option, either.

Fenway Park (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, low of 39 degrees)
Chad Gaudin, RHP (1-1) versus Josh Beckett, RHP (5-0)

Notable Injuries: Bobby Kielty, OF (calf, DL-bound); Nick Swisher, OF/1B (hamstring, day-to-day)

Game Story: Beckett is only the third pitcher in Red Sox history to finish April with a 5-0 record, and considering Pedro Martinez (2000) and Babe Ruth (1917) are the others, he's in pretty exclusive company. Oakland's offense could again be without Swisher, and if that's the case, there's little in the way of home-run threats, which is a great thing since home runs were Beckett's primary failing in 2006. In other words, this is a great matchup for Beckett, and not one for your A's, except maybe for Travis Buck and Dan Johnson in AL-only formats. Start all your Red Sox, except for ice-cold Dustin Pedroia.

Jacobs Field (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, low of 43 degrees)
Victor Zambrano, RHP (0-1) versus Jake Westbrook, RHP (1-2)

Notable Injuries: Vernon Wells, OF (flu, day-to-day)

Game Story: It's Zambrano's first start since May 6 of last year, and through seven years of his career, I have yet to understand what ever has been that exciting about him. After all, he has a 1.50 career WHIP -- 1.50! -- and that 5.07 walks-per-nine rate for his career is not at all a safe number. The Indians' offense should be able to handle him, making guys like Shin-Soo Choo, David Dellucci, Ryan Garko and Trot Nixon deserving of your attention, at least outside of those ultra-shallow mixed formats. Of course, one of them has to sit, so check that early lineup. Westbrook, meanwhile, is a dangerous start outside of AL-only formats. These Blue Jays can hit -- use Aaron Hill, Adam Lind and your usuals -- and Westbrook already has been shelled by the White Sox and Yankees this year.

Tropicana Field (indoor) 7:10 p.m. ET
Boof Bonser, RHP (0-1) versus Jae Seo, RHP (1-2)

Notable Injuries: Luis Castillo, 2B (quadriceps, day-to-day); Jeff Cirillo, 3B (knee, DL)

Game Story: A year ago, Bonser at Tampa Bay would be a slam-dunk matchup. Sure, he's coming off his best start to date, but he did walk seven Royals in five innings, and these Devil Rays are a top-10 offense so far. Matchups aren't won on paper, so expect a useful, but un-extraordinary, outing for the right-hander, if only because his one failing -- walks -- is a weakness for the Devil Rays. Seo, meanwhile, has been terrible in his Devil Rays career, with a 5.94 ERA and 1.79 WHIP, so load your lineup with Twins. Jason Bartlett (5-for-8) handles him, and Jason Kubel and Nick Punto should be used, too.

Rangers Ballpark (outdoor) 8:05 p.m. ET (40 percent chance of rain, low of 66 degrees, wind up to 20 mph)
Andy Pettitte, LHP (1-1) versus Robinson Tejeda, RHP (3-1)

Notable Injuries: Johnny Damon, OF (back, day-to-day); Frank Catalanotto, OF (shoulder, day-to-day)

Game Story: Pettitte might be rooting for rain in this one, but don't count on it, Andy. He's 2-3 with a 9.22 ERA in five career starts at Rangers Ballpark, and Rangers right-handed sluggers like Sammy Sosa (2-for-7), Mark Teixeira (7-for-14) and Michael Young (5-for-14) do hit him well. Jerry Hairston Jr. (7-for-19 lifetime against Pettitte) warrants AL-only attention if you see him in that leadoff spot in the early lineup. Keep Pettitte in there, but this is no automatic win for the Yankees, not with Tejeda off to a decent start. The Yankees' lefties should touch up Tejeda, including Hideki Matsui (2-for-2, 1 HR versus him), so expect a moderately high-scoring affair here.

Kauffman Stadium (outdoor) 8:10 p.m. ET (40 percent chance of rain, low of 55 degrees)
Ervin Santana, RHP (2-3) versus Jorge De La Rosa, LHP (2-2)

Notable Injuries: Garret Anderson, OF (hip, day-to-day); Maicer Izturis, 2B/3B (hamstring, day-to-day); Ryan Shealy, 1B (hamstring, day-to-day)

Game Story: Ervin, show me something in a road start and I'll endorse you once more. In his last 10 road starts, he's 1-7 with an 8.04 ERA, compared to 6-1 with a 2.94 ERA in nine home starts during that same span. Sure, an assignment at Kansas City seems like an automatic, but I won't declare it as such; if you're the gambling type, go Santana in AL-only formats, but not mixed. David DeJesus, Mike Sweeney and Mark Teahen should get to him, and I'd call Ross Gload worth AL-only attention, too. De La Rosa actually isn't a terrible AL-only option himself, with wins in three of his last four home starts for the Royals. Shea Hillenbrand and Robb Quinlan are your best spot-start Angels.

Fantasy Game Notes for Wednesday: National League

PNC Park (outdoor) 12:35 p.m. ET (cloudy, high of 68 degrees)
Jason Marquis, RHP (3-1) versus Ian Snell, RHP (2-1)

Notable Injuries: Xavier Nady, OF (hamstring, available to pinch hit)

Game Story: With Nady unavailable to start, right field is open, and while Ryan Doumit might pick up the start against the right-handed Marquis, manager Jim Tracy should consider Brad Eldred's track record. He homered twice the only time he faced Marquis, in a September 2005 game, so check the early lineup for Eldred as an NL-only spot start. Beyond that, though, Marquis isn't a bad spot-start option, based on his hot start and 3.28 career ERA at PNC Park. Pittsburgh's offense is a bottom-five unit, so look to the Cubs as your more-intriguing fantasy options. Ryan Theriot should pick up another start at shortstop, and he should for you as well.

Miller Park (indoor/retractable roof) 1:05 p.m. ET
Anthony Reyes, RHP (0-4) versus Chris Capuano, LHP (4-0)

Notable Injuries: Rickie Weeks, 2B (finger, day-to-day)

Game Story: Reyes has ace-starter upside in the long term, but let's stress the word long. He has fallen short of a quality-start effort in each of his four starts, though just short each time. The Brewers' Geoff Jenkins (4-for-9, 3 HRs) positively owns him, and is a must-start. So are Bill Hall and J.J. Hardy, as Reyes has struggled against right-handers (.283/.886 rates). Capuano, meanwhile, should capitalize on a home start; he's 10-4 with a 3.63 ERA in his last 19 turns at Miller Park. Plus, he'll be facing the struggling Cardinals, who might still be distracted and should be without Chris Duncan against a left-hander. Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen should be about it for fantasy.

Shea Stadium (outdoor) 1:10 p.m. ET (cloudy, high of 62 degrees)
Anibal Sanchez, RHP (2-0) versus Oliver Perez, LHP (2-2)

Notable Injuries: Moises Alou, OF (shoulder, day-to-day)

Game Story: The Marlins, despite their 2-5 record against left-handers, are well suited to hit a pitcher of Perez's caliber, as Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla should be able to handle him. Cody Ross (2-for-6, 1 HR) and Josh Willingham (4-for-8, 2 HRs) each have good track records against Perez, too, and should be started. The Mets, meanwhile, have failed to get to Sanchez in his two career starts against them (2-0, 2.57 ERA), so don't be afraid to use him. Alou could earn a day off, making Endy Chavez (2-for-3 career versus Sanchez) an interesting NL-only spot start. For the most part, use your usual Mets, but don't get creative, especially at second base.

Dodger Stadium (outdoor) 3:10 p.m. ET (cloudy, high of 68 degrees)
Doug Davis, LHP (2-2) versus Mark Hendrickson, LHP (1-0)

Notable Injuries: Conor Jackson, 1B (hand, day-to-day)

Game Story: Davis is one of those odd left-handers whom left-handed hitters hit well, with .286/.802 rates in his career, compared to .264/.749 numbers from the right. So, not surprisingly, Juan Pierre (8-for-19; .421) hits him well, and that's good news for Andre Ethier and Luis Gonzalez owners, since they're safe to keep in your lineup. This should be a bit more of a pitching-friendly matchup, though, so consider both Davis and Hendrickson in larger leagues (NL-only especially). I'd use Carlos Quentin, 1-for-3 against Hendrickson with the one hit a home run, and the improving Chris B. Young.

Turner Field (outdoor) 7:35 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, low of 58 degrees)
Freddy Garcia, RHP (1-1) versus Chuck James, LHP (3-2)

Notable Injuries: Aaron Rowand, OF (back, day-to-day)

Game Story: Rowand at one point had a 16-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 17 of his past 18 games, batting .424 (28-for-66) with five home runs during that span. His owners have to be hoping he plays, as he's 2-for-5 with a homer lifetime against James. Beyond that, though, James has the advantage against a lefty-heavy lineup in a home start. Don't sit your usual Phillies, not by any means, but their 2-6 record against lefties plays to James' favor. Garcia, meanwhile, should be one step closer to full health, and the Braves' unfamiliarity with him plays to his favor. He's well worth the start here, though keep guys like Kelly Johnson and Matt Diaz active regardless.

Minute Maid Park (indoor/retractable roof) 8:05 p.m. ET
Kyle Lohse, RHP (1-1) versus Roy Oswalt, RHP (3-2)

Notable Injuries: Ken Griffey Jr., OF (pleurisy, day-to-day)

Game Story: For how much longer can Lohse keep up his hot start? I'm not counting on it being for much longer, or at least not for long enough that he'll be much more than an NL-only matchups-type this season. But this one actually isn't as bad as it might seem; the Astros aren't a great offense, so only your usuals should get starts. Oswalt, though, easily could deny Lohse the win, especially taking into account that the right-hander is 17-1 in his career against the Reds. He should limit your Reds options to Adam Dunn, Ryan Freel, Josh Hamilton and perhaps Brandon Phillips.

Petco Park (outdoor) 10:05 p.m. ET (cloudy, low of 57 degrees)
Matt Chico, LHP (2-2) versus Clay Hensley, RHP (1-3)

Notable Injuries: Russell Branyan, 3B (bereavement, day-to-day); Marcus Giles, 2B (ribs, day-to-day)

Game Story: The true test of the Nationals' offense is whether the team can hit a pitcher whose ERA to date is 7.86, and WHIP is 2.09. I'm thinking the Nats can't, and Hensley is a good play in all but shallow mixed leagues, especially with him coming off back-to-back quality starts, one of which was against the comparably poor Rockies. Ryan Church and Dmitri Young warrant NL-only attention against right-handers, but I'd steer clear of Washington players whenever possible. The Padres, meanwhile, face a great matchup against Chico. Jose Cruz Jr., a .300/.915 hitter against left-handers since 2003, is a particularly interesting one-day fill-in, even in mixed formats.

AT&T Park (outdoor) 10:15 p.m. ET (30 percent chance of rain, low of 49 degrees)
Jeff Francis, LHP (1-3) versus Barry Zito, LHP (2-3)

Notable Injuries: Dave Roberts, OF (elbow, day-to-day)

Game Story: AT&T Park must feel like Coors to Francis, as he's 1-3 with an 8.89 ERA in five career starts there, which calls for a cozy spot on your bench for this one. Rich Aurilia (.368 AVG, 2 HRs, 19 AB) and Ray Durham (.458 AVG, 2 HRs, 24 AB) own him, Bengie Molina took him deep on April 16, and Omar Vizquel had four hits in that game. Zito, meanwhile, shut the Rockies out for six innings to win that same game, and at home he should be in even better shape than he was in that Coors assignment. Use your usual Rockies only, but keep tabs on right field in the early lineup. If Jeff Baker draws the start, as he should, his .294/.926 career rates against lefties make him worth using.

Waiver Wire Pickups

Rich Aurilia, 1B, SF versus Colorado Rockies
Jose Cruz Jr., OF, SD versus Washington Nationals
Jorge De La Rosa, SP, KC versus Los Angeles Angels
Darin Erstad, OF, CHW @ Seattle Mariners
Clay Hensley, SP, SD versus Washington Nationals
Geoff Jenkins, OF, MIL versus St. Louis Cardinals

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.

Tristan H. Cockcroft covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.

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