Daily Notes: Johan Versus the Sox

Updated: May 4, 2007, 10:24 PM ET
By Adam Madison | Special to ESPN.com

Fantasy Game Notes for Saturday: American League
Angel Stadium (outdoor) 3:55 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 71 degrees)
Jon Garland, RHP (0-2) versus John Lackey, RHP (4-2)

Notable Injuries: Garret Anderson, OF (hip, day-to-day)

Game Story: All four of Garland's allowed home runs have occurred at U.S. Cellular Field; otherwise, he has been near perfect. That doesn't bode well for the Angels, especially when you consider Garland (seven innings, five hits, three earned runs) just did a good job of limiting them this past Saturday. The White Sox will have similar problems scoring off Lackey, though; without Jim Thome, the balance of their lineup is thrown appreciably out of whack. That will make it even more difficult for Garland to notch his first win of the season, but he should still put up stats making him worthy of a spot start.

Yankee Stadium (outdoor) 3:55 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 70 degrees)
Jeff Weaver, RHP (0-4) versus Chien-Ming Wang, RHP (0-2)

Notable Injuries: Jason Giambi, 1B (leg, day-to-day)

Game Story: It goes without saying to start every Yankees hitter; batters are hitting nearly .500 off Weaver. At the very least, that comes as close to guaranteeing a win for Wang as possible, since Seattle has lost every game Weaver has started by an average of 7.5 runs. After a slow start, Jose Guillen has gradually begun to heat up and is worth keeping an eye on.

Camden Yards (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 73 degrees)
Jeremy Sowers, LHP (0-1) versus Daniel Cabrera, RHP (1-3)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: If you take out Sowers' horrible start against the Yankees -- which anyone could have seen coming -- he has a 2.76 ERA, lasting at least six innings in each one. There is no reason Sowers should not pitch well against the Orioles again. Just a week ago he went six innings against them, allowing only two earned runs. Cabrera has issued 11 walks in his last 11 2/3 innings, and has even allowed his first two home runs of the season in his last two starts. The Indians have the third-best OPS against right-handers, and Cabrera is especially vulnerable to left-handers. Trot Nixon and David Dellucci make good bets for Saturday's game.

Metrodome (indoor) 7:10 p.m. ET
Julian Tavarez, RHP (1-2) versus Johan Santana, LHP (3-2)

Notable Injuries: Michael Cuddyer, OF (back, day-to-day); Juan Rincon, RP (elbow, day-to-day)

Game Story: Tavarez has averaged less than five innings per start, and has not been particularly good in the process, as his 7.58 ERA can attest to. The Twins do not have many under-the-radar bats to take advantage of Tavarez with, but Jason Kubel's name sticks out as a player who could have a big day. Santana has been far from perfect by his standards -- he has allowed six home runs, including two in his last start -- but you won't catch me recommending any lesser-known Red Sox for this game.

Kauffman Stadium (outdoor) 7:10 p.m. ET (cloudy, high of 84 degrees)
Mike Maroth, LHP (2-0) versus Odalis Perez, LHP (2-3)

Notable Injuries: Mark Grudzielanek, 2B (back, day-to-day); Reggie Sanders, OF (hamstring, DL)

Game Story: With Sanders out for an appreciable amount of time, Billy Butler will see a lot more playing time. Butler is a 21-year-old who may be the best pure hitting prospect in baseball, and he was hitting .326 with a .998 OPS in the minors. Maroth intimidates no one on the mound, and John Buck and Butler, right-handed hitters who hit lefties well, should benefit. The Tigers hit lefties well, particularly Brandon Inge, Placido Polanco and Craig Monroe, so expect Perez's two-game quality start streak to end.

Tropicana Field (indoor) 7:10 p.m. ET
Joe Kennedy, LHP (0-2) versus Scott Kazmir, LHP (2-1)

Notable Injuries: Travis Buck, OF (wrist, day-to-day); Mike Piazza, DH (shoulder, DL); Nick Swisher, 1B/OF (hamstring, day-to-day)

Game Story: The Devil Rays rake left-handers -- their .851 OPS against them is third in the major leagues -- so most of their lineup, including Ty Wigginton, Elijah Dukes and the hot-hitting Brendan Harris, are favorable starts. As you can see from the notable injuries list, Oakland's offense is already limited by injuries, so Kazmir should have one of the best starts of the day.

Ranger Ballpark (outdoor) 8:05 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 82 degrees)
Roy Halladay, RHP (4-0) versus Vicente Padilla, RHP (0-4)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: With six more walks than strikeouts, and a whopping eight home runs allowed in six starts, it should be open season on Padilla. Believe it or not, Padilla has been quite hit-lucky -- his batting average on balls in play is .236, while the average in the AL is .292. We could be looking at a vintage Jeff Weaver outing if Padilla's luck starts to change. Lyle Overbay and Adam Lind are two cheap hitting options who should take advantage of Padilla.

Fantasy Game Notes for Saturday: National League

Wrigley Field (outdoor) 1:05 p.m. ET (40 percent chance of rain, high of 65 degrees)
John Patterson, RHP (1-4) versus Rich Hill, LHP (3-1)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Patterson shut down a poor offense in a severe pitcher's park in his last start against San Diego. Assuming this game is not rained out, he faces a much tougher test; the Cubs are slugging .437 against right-handers, third in the majors. The Nationals are a horrible offensive team by any statistical measure, so even though Hill isn't quite this good, he's more than good enough for the Nats.

Busch Stadium (outdoor) 1:10 p.m. ET (cloudy, high of 85 degrees)
Woody Williams, RHP (0-4) versus Kip Wells, RHP (1-5)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Williams, now out of Petco Park, has been bombed so far. That is not exactly surprising; Williams had a 5.27 ERA in 27 road starts the past two years away from Petco. His current ERA is 5.66, not a major difference. Chris Duncan is a great bat to start as a result; he has a ton of power and hits right-handers hard. Wells has been bombed recently, but at least it was by solid offenses. Expect a rebound against the Astros.

AT&T Park (outdoor) 3:55 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 64 degrees )
Jon Lieber, RHP (1-0) versus Noah Lowry, LHP (3-2)

Notable Injuries: Tom Gordon, RP (shoulder, DL); Armando Benitez, RP (knee, day-to-day)

Game Story: In the span of about a week, the Giants have gone from the majors' worst offense to about average. They still have a major platoon split as a team, though; they have a team OPS of .689 against right-handers, compared to .807 versus lefties. That gives Lieber another good shot at a quality start. Lowry is not so lucky, since the Phillies have an .841 OPS against left-handers. Lowry has allowed just one home run, but has 16 strikeouts and 16 walks. He is due for a poor start.

Turner Field (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (50 percent chance of rain, high of 79 degrees)
Derek Lowe, RHP (2-3) versus Tim Hudson, RHP (3-0)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Lowe has allowed 25 hits and eight walks in his last 18 innings. Even if you don't give up any home runs, but allow almost two baserunners an inning, you're going to get touched up a bit. The Braves have the bats to make him pay, and with Hudson on the mound, a win seems like a long shot. Look elsewhere for reinforcements.

Miller Park (indoor/retractable roof) 7:05 p.m. ET
Zach Duke, LHP (1-2) versus Jeff Suppan, RHP (4-2)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Take away the two starts in which Duke went a combined six innings and allowed 14 earned runs, and you have yourself quite a pitcher. He gets a rematch with the Brewers, who lit him up for 11 hits and seven earned runs in four innings. Duke is a legitimately good pitcher, though, and as hot as the Brewers were then is as cold as they are now. I would take the risk. Suppan is still owned in less than 38 percent of ESPN leagues. Suppan has been the beneficiary of a soft schedule, but then again, this scheduled matchup against the Pirates is soft, too.

Dolphin Stadium (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 81 degrees)
David Wells, LP (1-1) versus Sergio Mitre, RHP (0-2)

Notable Injuries: Mike Jacobs, 1B (thumb, day-to-day); Sergio Mitre, SP (finger, scheduled to come off the DL)

Game Story: It is tempting to recommend Wells as a spot start, especially with Jacobs questionable for the game, but the Marlins' core is just hitting too well. Josh Willingham has been especially hot recently, and although so far this season he has not hit lefties, he had a 1.030 OPS against them last year in a much larger sample size. Terrmel Sledge raised his OPS 141 points via three at-bats over the course of two games, a testament to the fact that we are still dealing with small sample sizes, but Jose Cruz Jr. is still the starting left fielder as long as he continues to hit .343.

Colorado Rockies @ Cincinanti Reds
Great American Ball Park (outdoor) 7:10 p.m. ET (60 percent chance of rain, high of 72 degrees)
Aaron Cook, RHP (0-1) versus Aaron Harang, RHP (4-0)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Small sample size, but Cook has been great in three road starts (22 innings, 1.64 ERA, 1.05 WHIP). Getting out of Colorado is always good news, even though Great American Ball Park isn't a pitchers' haven either. Harang is pitching better than his ERA and WHIP suggest -- his strikeout, home run and walk rates are all great -- and the Rockies cannot hit away from Coors, so expect big things from Harang.

Chase Field (indoor/retractable roof) 9:40 p.m. ET
Jorge Sosa, RHP (0-1) versus Brandon Webb, RHP (2-1)

Notable Injuries: Moises Alou, OF (knee, day-to-day); Chad Tracy, 3B (back, day-to-day)

Game Story: Sosa makes his return to the major leagues as the Mets continue to try to find a solution for their rotation. Orlando Hudson is the only D-Backs regular with double-digit at-bats against Sosa who isn't hurt -- and he's had moderate success. You're not sitting him. Tony Clark should get the spot start here (7-for-8 against Sosa), so he's worth a pickup. Moises Alou and David Wright hit Webb well, but he's Brandon Webb. He should be strong.

Waiver Wire Pickups

Jon Garland, SP, CHW @ Los Angeles Angels
David Dellucci, OF, CLE @ Baltimore Orioles
Trot Nixon, OF, CLE @ Baltimore Orioles
Jeremy Sowers, SP, CLE @ Baltimore Orioles
Billy Butler, OF, KC versus Detroit Tigers
Craig Monroe, OF, DET @ Kansas City
Brendan Harris, SS, TB versus Oakland Athletics
Adam Lind, OF, TOR @ Texas Rangers
Chris Duncan, OF, STL versus Houston Astros
Jon Lieber, SP, PHI @ San Francisco Giants
Jeff Suppan, SP, MIL versus Pittsburgh Pirates
Josh Willingham, OF, FLA versus San Diego Padres

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.

Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com and TalentedMrRoto.com. He can be reached at Adam@TalentedMrRoto.com

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