Daily Notes: Sheets faces Mets
Steve Trachsel, RHP (1-3) versus Curt Schilling, RHP (4-1)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Schilling already beat the Orioles on April 25 (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) and there's little reason to believe he won't again in a home game. He's 10-1 with a 3.03 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 17 starts at Fenway since the start of last season, so expect one of the day's better pitching efforts to come from him. Ramon Hernandez (3-for-6, .500, 1 HR) and Miguel Tejada (8-for-22, .364, 1 HR) are the Baltimore's regulars with any sort of track record against Schilling. Avoid Melvin Mora, 3-for-25 (.120) with nine K's lifetime against the right-hander. With Trachsel on the mound, load up on Red Sox hitters, and that includes the red-hot Dustin Pedroia, 10-for-17 (.588) in his past six games.
Edwin Jackson, RHP (0-5) versus Dustin McGowan, RHP (0-0)
Notable Injuries: Shawn Camp, RP (hamstring, day-to-day)
Game Story: In addition to his 0-5 record, Jackson's ERA is 6.99 and his WHIP 1.87, which stacks the deck in favor of Blue Jays hitters. Lyle Overbay, 12-for-47 (.255) with four home runs in his past 12 games, is a standout start. So are Adam Lind, a .260 hitter with a .763 OPS against right-handers this year, and Aaron Hill, .286/.839 against righties. Don't take that as an endorsement of McGowan, though. His command was shaky in his first start of the season on May 3 and it has been throughout his big league career -- 5.45 BB/9 . Also note that the Devil Rays have been better on offense than expected. Carlos Pena, a .290/.824 hitter against right-handers this year, is a good spot start.
Chad Durbin, RHP (2-1) versus Sidney Ponson, RHP (2-4)
Notable Injuries: Luis Castillo, 2B (quadriceps, day-to-day)
Game Story: It's a matchup of two pitchers who continue to fight for their rotation spots. Although each hurler has been decent enough to stick around the past couple of weeks, neither is a worthwhile fantasy option here. If forced to choose in an AL-only league, take Durbin, who faces a Twins offense struggling with Joe Mauer on the sidelines, but be forewarned, Justin Morneau (3-for-4, .750, 1 HR) hits him well, and Jason Bartlett, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel should give him problems, too. Meanwhile, Curtis Granderson is a standout start, with his .320/1.057 rates against right-handers this year, and .298/.852 career numbers at the Metrodome.
Bartolo Colon, RHP (3-0) versus Kameron Loe, RHP (1-2)
Notable Injuries: Bartolo Colon, SP (biceps, scheduled to start); Michael Young, SS (hamstring, day-to-day)
Game Story: Colon's career record against the Rangers is remarkable: he's 16-5 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 24 starts. Be sure to keep in mind that most of those numbers were accrued back when the team's offense was a whole lot more potent than it is today. The right-hander has looked awfully good since his return from the DL, with three quality starts in four tries, so keep him in there with the Rangers' bats largely inconsistent. Start your usual Rangers, but beyond that, only Kenny Lofton (6-for-13, .462, 1 HR vs. Colon) stands out. As for Loe, he's shaky at home and shaky against left-handers. That puts Chone Figgins, Casey Kotchman and Gary Matthews Jr. into the must-start group.
Fausto Carmona, RHP (3-1) versus Dallas Braden, LHP (1-1)
Notable Injuries: Chris Snelling, OF (knee, day-to-day)
Game Story: Carmona's extreme ground-ball ratio (2.38:1) and his low walks-per-nine ratio (2.16) demonstrate how he's minimizing his mistakes. Against Oakland's offense, which lacks punch and counts on drawing walks, Carmona is a standout spot starter. Consider that he already has quality-starts against the Orioles, Twins and Yankees, each of whom has a better offense than the A's. Still, keep Eric Chavez, Nick Swisher and the red-hot Dan Johnson in there! Braden, meanwhile, could frustrate the Indians' left-handed bats with his screwball, so sit the lesser lefties, like Trot Nixon. It's not a bad day to go for Casey Blake, Ryan Garko and Jhonny Peralta, though.
Scott Elarton, RHP (0-0) versus Mark Buehrle, LHP (2-1)
Game Story: Incredibly, Elarton had a respectable 3.44 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in three starts against the White Sox in 2006, but with him making only his first start of the year coming off shoulder surgery, don't play those odds. These White Sox can hit him, particularly Tadahito Iguchi (4-for-14, .286 AVG, 2 HR) and A.J. Pierzynski (9-for-20, .450, 1 HR). It doesn't help, either, that he's facing Buehrle, who is 4-0 with a 2.77 ERA in six starts against the Royals since the start of last season (and remember how bad he was in 2006?). He's a great fantasy option, and only two Royals truly hit him: Emil Brown (12-for-29, .414, 2 HR) and Sweeney (20-for-61, .328, 5 HR).
Matt DeSalvo, RHP (0-0) versus Miguel Batista, RHP (3-2)
Game Story: DeSalvo threw seven innings of three-hit, one-run baseball against the Mariners on Monday, earning this second start, but be forewarned it could all be a mirage. In Monday's start, He didn't strike out a single batter while walking three, and throwing only 55 of 89 pitches for strikes (61.8 percent). Sure, DeSalvo's facing a below-average offense in a pitchers' park, but you're taking your chances with him, even in AL-only formats. At the very least, keep all of your lefty-hitting Mariners active. Meanwhile, check out Yankees who own Batista: Johnny Damon (13-for-26, .500, 2 HR), Hideki Matsui (8-for-15, .533, 1 HR) and Jorge Posada (5-for-11, .455), to name three. Another stat to consider: Robinson Cano is a .347/.896 career hitter in road games.
Ben Sheets, RHP (2-2) versus Mike Pelfrey, RHP (0-4)
Game Story: Those red-hot Brewers matchup awfully well in this game, with their "ace," Sheets, on the mound. He has three quality-starts and a 2.42 ERA in his last four turns, and remember, Shea is a pitching-friendly ballpark. Expect the Mets' bats to give him a little trouble, though, especially Moises Alou (13-for-36, .361, 2 HR) and Paul Lo Duca (7-for-23, .304, 1 HR), but it should be a good day for Milwaukee. That's also due in part to Pelfrey's struggles, as his 6.39 ERA and 1.66 WHIP suggest you should load your lineup with Brewers. In particular, Johnny Estrada (.291/.761 career vs. RHP) and Geoff Jenkins (.389/1.137 vs. RHP in 2007) are worth using.
Angel Guzman, RHP (0-0) versus Freddy Garcia, RHP (1-2)
Notable Injuries: Ryan Howard, 1B (quadriceps, day-to-day)
Game Story: Garcia hasn't looked like his usual self so far this year, but it's hard to ignore his sheer dominance of the Cubs in those Chicago interleague series. He's 4-0 with a 0.60 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs, and he has handled Cubs hitters like Michael Barrett, Jacque Jones, Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano over the years. I'm not expecting a standout effort, but a serviceable one for NL-only play, is possible. Cliff Floyd, 2-for-4 with two homers against Garcia, though, isn't a bad option. Guzman is coming off a solid start this past Sunday, though that was against the Nationals. Pitching against the lefty-heavy Phillies in Citizens Bank is a poor matchup, which stacks things in favor of guys like Aaron Rowand and Shane Victorino.
Livan Hernandez, RHP (3-1) versus Roy Oswalt, RHP (5-2)
Game Story: The Diamondbacks have never beaten Oswalt in his career, as he's 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in six starts against them, and their younger, less-experienced roster this season isn't any more likely to snap that streak. Don't look at Chad Tracy's left-handed bat: he's 3-for-16 (.188) lifetime against Oswalt. I'd avoid most Arizona hitters, except perhaps Orlando Hudson. Hernandez, meanwhile, has a strong track record at Minute Maid -- 5-1 with a 2.86 ERA in six career starts -- but don't be fooled. He's not the pitcher he was a few short years ago, and current Astros hit .330 (60-for-182) against him. The red-hot Luke Scott makes a useful spot start.
Ricky Nolasco, RHP (1-1) versus Matt Chico, LHP (2-4)
Game Story: The Marlins have already knocked Chico out of his previous two starts against them before the completion of the fifth inning, and their right-handed-heavy lineup should give him fits yet again. Among the Marlins who hit him: Jacobs (2-for-2, 1.000, 1 HR), Hanley Ramirez (3-for-5, .600, 1 HR) and Dan Uggla (2-for-4, .500). Stack the deck with Marlins, and that includes the starter, Nolasco. Sure, good offenses can hit him, but do you call the Nationals a good offense? Key Nats like Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Ryan Zimmerman are a combined 4-for-20 (.200) with one homer lifetime against him. Limit your Nationals choices, and consider Nolasco in NL-only formats.
Chuck James, LHP (3-3) versus Tony Armas Jr., RHP (0-2)
Notable Injuries: Edgar Renteria, SS (flu, day-to-day)
Game Story: The Braves are the game's most potent road offense, averaging 6.00 runs per game, and among those who have excelled are Kelly Johnson (.346/1.123 rates), Chipper Jones (.328/1.090), Brian McCann (.306/.915) and Edgar Renteria (.379/1.020). Each of the aforementioned players warrant a start against Armas, who has a 7.94 ERA and 2.07 WHIP. I'd also use Jeff Francoeur, even though he's better against left-handers. Even Willie Harris, .417/.991 to date, warrants an NL-only look because he continues to start in the outfield against righties. As for James, he's a fine play against the Pirates' 28th-ranked offense (3.45 R/G). Limit your Pirates choices to Jason Bay and Xavier Nady.
Barry Zito, LHP (3-3) versus Jeff Francis, LHP (1-4)
Game Story: The Giants have already beaten up on Francis once at Coors this season, and their career histories against the left-hander and at the Rockies' ballpark shouldn't be overlooked. Among the best: Rich Aurilia (7-for-21, .333, 2 HR vs. Francis; .300/.895 at Coors), Barry Bonds (5-for-13, .385, 2 HR vs. Francis; .343/1.175 at Coors) and Ray Durham (12-for-26, .462, 2 HR vs. Francis; .310/.868 at Coors). Use Bengie Molina, (.377/.933) against lefties this year, as well. Don't fear Zito in a Coors start. He has a 0.69 ERA in two career outings there, and current Rockies hit only .189 (14-for-74) against him. Sit Brad Hawpe, and only use your usual Rockies.
Braden Looper, RHP (4-2) versus Chris Young, RHP (4-2)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Now this is a better mound matchup for the pitching-friendly confines of Petco, as both Looper and Young have performed well enough to warrant a fantasy start. Young gets my higher recommendation, and yes, it's because it's a home game for him -- he's 2-0 with 15 scoreless innings in his two starts at Petco. He has also been positively lights-out against right-handed hitters this year (.185/.554), meaning only Chris Duncan, Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols are worth using on St. Louis' side. Lefties do get to Looper, even if he hasn't shown it yet, so on San Diego's side, use Brian Giles, Adrian Gonzalez and Terrmel Sledge, plus the red-hot Mike Cameron.
Kyle Lohse, RHP (1-3) versus Brad Penny, RHP (4-0)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Penny loves to pitch at Dodger Stadium; he's 18-9 with a 3.32 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 42 career games (41 starts) there. He has historically owned Adam Dunn (1-for-19, 12 K's), though both Ryan Freel (6-for-14, .429) and Ken Griffey Jr. (9-for-24, .375, 3 HR) seem to get the best of him. It's a good matchup for Penny overall, so expect this game to lean heavily towards the Dodgers' side. That's also due to the fact that Los Angeles is facing Lohse, whose magic has to wear off sometime. Rafael Furcal (4-for-5, .800) and Nomar Garciaparra (5-for-11, .455, 1 HR) hit him, and it's also worth using Andre Ethier, Luis Gonzalez and Russell Martin.
Mark Buehrle, SP, CHW versus Kansas City Royals
Fausto Carmona, SP, CLE @ Oakland Athletics
Ryan Freel, 3B/OF, CIN @ Los Angeles Dodgers
Freddy Garcia, SP, PHI versus Chicago Cubs
Curtis Granderson, OF, DET @ Minnesota Twins
Geoff Jenkins, OF, MIL @ New York Mets
Bengie Molina, C, SF @ Colorado Rockies
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS versus Baltimore Orioles
Carlos Pena, 1B, TB @ Toronto Blue Jays
Luke Scott, OF, HOU versus Arizona Diamondbacks
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.
FANTASY TOP HEADLINES
- Karabell: Week 16 flex rankings
- Berry: Punishing fantasy 'losers'
- Fantasy Football Week 16 quarterback rankings
- Kaiser: Will Ibaka's numbers improve?