Daily Notes: Garko, Buck still overlooked

Updated: May 27, 2007, 9:25 PM ET
By Adam Madison | Special to ESPN.com

Fantasy Game Notes for Monday: American League
Metrodome (indoor) 2:10 p.m. ET
Jose Contreras, RHP (4-4, 3.71 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) versus
Johan Santana, LHP (5-4, 3.05 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Contreras has a 1.93 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in May, and that's no fluke. He's pitched well against solid competition, including a shutout of the Twins. Johan -- he's good enough to be on a first-name basis -- is Johan. Despite one of the toughest schedules in baseball -- Johan has faced the Rangers and Red Sox, and the Tigers and Indians twice in his last six starts -- he's on pace for another Cy Young. His schedule also helps explain the ten home runs allowed in 65 innings. The White Sox are dead last in OPS versus left-handers, 78 points worse than the second-worst team, so expect a pitching duel.

Fenway Park (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 73 degrees)
Cliff Lee, LHP (2-1, 5.93 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) versus
Curt Schilling, RHP (4-2, 3.94 ERA, 1.39 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Both offenses are among the league's best -- these are two of only three teams, the other being the Tigers, with a team OPS higher than .800 -- so the question is which hitters to play. For the Red Sox, that constitutes everyone, as they destroy left-handers. Lee has allowed five home runs in 30 1/3 innings and his strikeout rate is down from last season. For the Indians, Ryan Garko is hitting .388 in May yet is inexplicably owned in just 16.8 percent of ESPN leagues.

Rogers Centre (indoor/retractable roof) 7:07 p.m. ET
Matt DeSalvo, RHP (1-1, 5.29 ERA, 1.76 WHIP) versus
Dustin McGowan, RHP (0-2, 7.17 ERA, 1.69 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Johnny Damon, OF (calf, day-to-day)

Game Story: With 12 walks and just four strikeouts in 17 innings, DeSalvo isn't pretty, and against the Blue Jays he is liable to get lit up. Consider all Jays regulars as options, especially Lyle Overbay, who is hitting .294 with five home runs in May. McGowan is better than his statistics suggest -- his strikeout rate is strong and he has allowed just two home runs despite his ERA -- but the schedule isn't doing him any favors, as the Yankees hit righties hard.

Kauffman Stadium (outdoor) 7:10 p.m. ET (30 percent chance of thunderstorms, high of 76 degrees)
Steve Trachsel, RHP (3-3, 3.77 ERA, 1.36 WHIP) versus
Scott Elarton, RHP (1-0, 6.00 ERA, 1.87 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Emil Brown, OF (back, day-to-day)

Game Story: Trachsel is getting it done with smoke and mirrors -- you can't get much worse than 0.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio -- so he should be considered a ticking time bomb. The Royals aren't loaded with hitting but have enough solid players -- Ryan Shealy and John Buck are underrated and playing well enough to note -- to make Trachsel an unwise gamble. Elarton has an insane five home runs allowed in 15 innings. The Orioles offense is the definition of mediocre -- a roster full of players who aren't horrible but aren't worth owning, either -- so the best bet is just to avoid both sides of the equation.

Tropicana Field (indoor) 7:10 p.m. ET
Chad Durbin, RHP (4-1, 4.74 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) versus
Casey Fossum, LHP (3-4, 7.15 ERA, 1.63 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Placido Polanco, 2B (oblique, day-to-day)

Game Story: If you just skim Durbin's game log, he hasn't been horrible -- he hasn't allowed more than three earned runs since April 25th -- but the whopping eight home runs he has allowed in 49 1/3 innings, his low strikeout rate and his moderately high walk rate are all huge red flags. The Devil Rays don't hit right-handers particularly well, but you should still consider Durbin quite the risk and play most of the D-Rays' bats. There is no such second-guessing with Fossum, as he has simply been horrible, and the Tigers should knock him out quickly. Craig Monroe and Brandon Inge love left-handers and should be in for big days.

Angel Stadium (outdoor) 9:05 p.m. ET (party cloudy, high of 64 degrees)
Miguel Batista, RHP (4-4, 5.61 ERA, 1.62 WHIP) versus
Bartolo Colon, RHP (5-1, 4.57 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Batista has been boom-or-bust so far this season, as 21 of his 32 earned runs have come in just three starts. Unfortunately, the Angels constitute one of the teams he was horrible against, and Reggie Willits, Gary Matthews Jr. and Casey Kotchman should all be considered above-average plays. The Mariners have hit pretty well this month -- eighth in OPS -- with Raul Ibanez, Jose Vidro and Jose Guillen all hitting consistently. It is also worth noting that Colon has allowed four home runs in his past three starts.

McAfee Coliseum (outdoor) 10:05 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 69 degrees)
Robinson Tejeda, RHP (4-4, 5.18 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) versus
Chad Gaudin, RHP (4-1, 2.58 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: These two offenses struggled immensely in April -- Texas was 22nd in team OPS and Oakland 29th -- but both have improved in May, ranking 5th and 6th, respectively, in OPS on the month. That doesn't bode well for Monday's two starting pitchers. Tejeda has some potential but also has a lot of work to do. Travis Buck, Bobby Crosby, Dan Johnson and Jack Cust make up the litany of underrated A's hitting well right now. Gaudin has performed well, but this will be a good test, and one should remain skeptical. Kenny Lofton is a great option, as almost all of his contributions come against right-handers, and Jason Kendall is poor at throwing runners out.

Fantasy Game Notes for Monday: National League

Great American Ball Park (outdoor) 1:15 p.m. ET (30 percent chance of thunderstorms, high of 78 degrees)
Ian Snell, RHP (4-3, 3.06 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) versus
Kyle Lohse, RHP (1-6, 5.31 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Snell hasn't pitched well his past two outings, allowing a combined eight earned runs in his last 11 2/3 innings against below-average offenses. It is probably a bit of regression to the mean, as Snell should be a pretty solid pitcher, but he's not this good. The Reds are hitting well -- note Edwin Encarnacion's performance since his call-up, albeit in just five games -- so one may proceed with caution with Snell. Lohse has been absolutely bombed -- by the Nationals and Dodgers to boot -- so he definitely can't be advocated. Xavier Nady, Ryan Doumit and Adam LaRoche should all be productive.

Miller Park (indoor/retractable roof) 2:05 p.m. ET
Chuck James, LHP (4-4, 4.13 ERA, 1.55 WHIP) versus
Ben Sheets, RHP (4-3, 3.75 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Chipper Jones, 3B (thumbs, day-to-day)

Game Story: James puts walks too many batters and serves up a lot of home runs, a poor combination. Worse, he's pitched six full innings just twice this year, so he's worthy of consideration only in the softest of matchups. The Brewers are average against left-handed pitching, so outside of Kevin Mench, expect your ordinary performances from the Brew Crew. For all the talk of Sheets' declining strikeout rate, he does have 23 strikeouts in his past 26 1/3 innings (four starts). The real concern is his home run rate, including five allowed in his past five starts. Chipper may be out, helping Sheets' chances, although Matt Diaz (.447 in May) is picking up the slack.

Wrigley Field (outdoor) 2:20 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 75 degrees)
Byung-Hyun Kim, RHP (2-2, 7.02 ERA, 1.85 WHIP) versus
Sean Marshall, LHP (0-1, 2.57 ERA, 0.86 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Kim hasn't been anything resembling a solid starter in quite a while, and with little endurance, control and a propensity for giving up long balls, he doesn't look to become one any time soon. Play all your Cubs with reckless abandon and profit. Marshall was lights out in his season debut against the Padres, impressive considering the Padres hit lefties well. He gets another tough test in the Marlins, who hit left-handers (.838 OPS, fourth in the majors) even better than San Diego.

Coors Field (outdoor) 3:05 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 77 degrees)
Kip Wells, RHP (2-8, 6.10 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) versus
Jeff Francis, LHP (3-4, 4.11 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: David Eckstein, SS (back, day-to-day)

Game Story: Wells' hot start is ancient history now, and although 45 strikeouts in 59 innings isn't bad, the eight home runs allowed is worrisome. Now we're left with the difficult proposition of predicting how a mediocre pitcher will do against a mediocre offense. With the Cardinals offense in the dumps -- Francis being a left-hander neutralizes Chris Duncan, their second-best hitter -- the chances for a win are rather small. That, combined with the chance of a blow up, makes me more inclined to err on the side of caution. Francis is on a roll -- seven-plus innings in five straight starts -- so consider him one of the day's best spot starters.

Citizens Bank Park (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 82 degrees)
Doug Davis, LHP (2-6, 3.57 ERA, 1.72 WHIP) versus
Freddy Garcia, RHP (1-3, 4.81 ERA, 1.49 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Abraham Nunez, 3B (concussion, day-to-day)

Game Story: Davis has been extremely unlucky on batting average on balls in play (.351, 53 points above average), so his WHIP shouldn't be that bad, though it will never be pretty. He's worth a spot start, nonetheless, because the Phillies aren't hitting left-handers (.727 OPS, 20th). Davis is keeping the ball down despite his bad luck, and he has allowed just three home runs. Pat Burrell is hitting just .170 against lefties this season, which is odd considering he usually destroys them. Garcia is a poor option whenever he's at home -- he has a 5.14 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP, along with five of his seven home runs allowed -- so bench him despite the poor offense he's facing.

Waiver Wire Pick Ups

Jose Contreras, SP, CHW @ Minnesota Twins
Ryan Garko, 1B, CLE @ Boston Red Sox
Lyle Overbay, 1B, TOR versus New York Yankees
John Buck, C, KC versus Baltimore Orioles
Craig Monroe, OF, DET @ Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Brandon Inge, 3B, DET @ Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Casey Kotchman, 1B, LAA versus Seattle Mariners
Travis Buck, OF, OAK versus Texas Rangers
Dan Johnson, 1B, OAK versus Texas Rangers
Xavier Nady, OF, PIT @ Cincinnati Reds
Kevin Mench, OF, MIL versus Atlanta Braves
Jeff Francis, SP, COL versus St. Louis Cardinals
Doug Davis, SP, ARI @ Philadelphia Phillies

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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