Daily Notes: Schmidt, Sonnanstine make starts
Jorge De La Rosa, LHP (4-5, 4.97 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) versus
C.C. Sabathia, LHP (8-1, 3.78 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Joakim Soria, RP, (shoulder, out until at least mid-June)
Game Story: The Indians have taken 11 of 13 at home from the Royals and are huge favorites to win this one with ace Sabathia on the mound. David DeJesus is the only Royals' regular with a history of success against Sabathia, and the Tribe lefthander has owned Mike Sweeney, John Buck and Angel Berroa. No Indians have more than 10 at-bats against De La Rosa. Victor Martinez has only two hits in nine tries. Neither team hits left-handers very well, but De La Rosa isn't in very good form currently, having surrendered 14 hits, 10 walks and 14 earned runs in his last two starts, covering 9 1/3 innings.
Andy Sonnanstine, RHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP) versus
Roy Halladay, RHP (5-2, 3.90 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Lyle Overbay, 1B, (broken wrist, DL)
Game Story: Control artist Andy Sonnanstine makes his major league debut after four stellar minor league campaigns. It'll be a tall order for the rookie, as Blue Jay ace Halladay has logged more innings against Tampa Bay than any other team in the last three years, and has very good numbers to show for it. Only Greg Norton and Ty Wigginton have had much success against him. Both of these lineups have been miserable against right-handers this year. Look to bench most Rays, and start only your big name Jays as well.
Tyler Clippard, RHP (2-1, 4.20 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) versus
Mark Buehrle, LHP (2-2, 3.66 ERA, 1.02 WHIP)
Game Story: Buehrle has remarkably never surrendered a home run to any player who will be in the Yankee lineup for this key matchup between struggling teams. In fact, Buehrle has tossed only 13 innings against the Yankees. But while he has kept the ball in the yard, those innings have not been good ones, as the Sox starter has been pasted by the Yanks to the tune of a 10.39 ERA and a .322 batting average. Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu have done well against Buehrle, while Jorge Posada, Josh Phelps and Hideki Matsui are a combined 5-for-35. The Sox haven't seen Clippard yet, but Clippard has yet to show that he's worthy of being activated in any leagues but the deepest ones. Melky Cabrera is one of the league's hottest hitters over the last week.
Nate Robertson, LHP (4-5, 4.25 ERA, 1.57 WHIP) versus
Vicente Padilla, RHP (2-8, 6.45 ERA, 1.63 WHIP)
Game Story: Rangers starter Padilla has been shelled so far this year, and if he makes the start, he may be in for more of the same. It's possible Padilla will miss the start after being hit in the hand by a ground ball in his last outing. Nate Robertson hasn't been any better of late, going 1-4 with a 7.01 ERA in his last five starts. He is, however, 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA at Ranger Ballpark. Not many Rangers have seen much of Robertson, but Mark Teixeira is 8-for-24 with a couple of homers. Detroit has not fared well against Padilla. He has a 2.70 ERA against the Tigers, his lowest ERA against any major league team, but then again, the current version of Padilla is struggling. Expect lots of scoring, so start your hitters on both sides.
Scott Baker, RHP (1-0, 5.94 ERA, 1.56 WHIP) versus
Kelvim Escobar, RHP (6-3, 3.00 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Maicer Izturis, 3B, (hamstring, eligible to return from DL Tuesday)
Game Story: Escobar has good career numbers against Minnesota, and no Twin save the injured Rondell White has enjoyed any notable success against the Angel starter. Still, the Twins have to be relieved to be facing another right-hander, as they've fared far better against them than against lefties this year. The Angels haven't seen Baker, but after a stellar debut, the Minnesota rookie has struggled in his last two outings. Orlando Cabrera has hit at a torrid pace recently and makes a good option in this affair.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP (7-3, 4.83 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) versus
Lenny DiNardo, LHP (1-2 1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Game Story: DiNardo is making only his second start of the season and has not faced Boston this year in any capacity. He's pitched well so far in 2007, but isn't recommended in this matchup. Boston has the upper hand here, as the Sox have the superior lineup, hit left-handers better than righties, and have finally gotten slugger Manny Ramirez on track after a slow start. It's difficult to recommend any Oakland hitters, as the A's have not seen Matsuzaka yet. The Red Sox stars, plus productive guys like Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell, are the plays here. Additionally, Sox second-sacker Dustin Pedroia leads the majors with a .609 batting average over the last week.
Brian Burres, LHP (3-2, 3.08 ERA, 1.53 WHIP) versus
Cha Seung Baek, RHP (3-2, 4.93 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Adrian Beltre, 3B, (thumb, questionable for Baltimore series)
Game Story: This is another matchup of pitchers who haven't faced many of the opposing hitters yet. Burres has been a pleasant surprise for the Orioles. In five starts since being moved into the rotation, Burres has allowed more than two earned runs just once, in his first outing. He's gotten stronger each time out, and may be a good play here. Don't believe in Seattle's reputation for hitting left-handers much better than right-handers. The Mariners are only batting nine points higher against lefties this year, and over their last 10 games have hit right-handers much better. At home in Safeco Field, the M's have hit more than 50 points higher against right-handers. The Orioles are really struggling offensively right now, especially against righties. Baek has been serviceable this year, and has pitched much better in Safeco than on the road thus far. Those in somewhat deeper leagues can try grabbing either starting pitcher, while starting only the obvious hitters. This one has the makings of a low-scoring affair.
Sergio Mitre, RHP (2-2, 1.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) versus
John Smoltz, RHP (7-2, 2.82 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Sergio Mitre, SP, (hamstring, probable for Tuesday start at Atlanta); John Smoltz, SP (finger, probable for Tuesday start vs. Florida)
Game Story: Both starters are ailing but expected to go. Smoltz is an obvious fantasy start, and Mitre has been pitching so well that he should be activated, too, despite the hamstring trouble. The Marlins' young lineup hasn't seen much of Smoltz, but two Fish hitters have fared pretty well against the Braves' ace. Dan Uggla is 6-for-13 and Alfredo Amezaga is 6-for-14. Mitre is a stranger to most of the Braves, but Kelly Johnson has been red-hot over the last week and makes a good option here.
Shawn Chacon, RHP (1-0, 2.84 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) versus
Mike Bacsik, LHP (1-1, 2.29 ERA, 1.07 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Both starting pitchers are below-average talents with temporarily enticing statistics. Expect both to begin to struggle soon, and hitters on both clubs make good plays Tuesday despite the venue. The Nationals are swinging the bat well as a team lately, especially Cristian Guzman and Dmitri Young. Young has also fared well against Chacon in his career. None of the Pirates have faced Bacsik, but Xavier Nady will be glad to see him on the mound anyway, as Nady owns left-handed pitching. Expect to see some more scoring in this one than you might expect from two generally poor offensive teams.
Jamie Moyer, LHP (5-4, 4.23 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) versus
Tom Glavine, LHP (5-3, 3.44 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
Game Story: Forty-something lefties square off in this NL East matchup. The Mets are by far the superior-hitting club versus left-handers, and Moyer could be in for a long day. Carlos Delgado has been especially unkind to Moyer, going 26-for-60 with seven home runs against the Phillie starter. Start all your Mets. Glavine has seen a lot of the Phillies as well, and he hasn't enjoyed facing Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell or Wes Helms, all of whom have hit the Met starter well in their careers. Even Abraham Nunez is 10-for-26 against Glavine. Ryan Howard, on the other hand, is only 3-for-15 against Glavine in his young career, although two of the hits have been home runs. Chase Utley is a woeful 2-for-18 for Glavine. Those in extremely shallow leagues may want to consider giving Howard and Utley the night off if there are quality options available.
Florida Marlins @ Atlanta Braves
Rick Vanden Hurk, RHP (0-1, 12.75 ERA, 2.42 WHIP) versus
Buddy Carlyle, RHP (0-1, 9.00 ERA, 1.80 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Unheralded pitchers collide as journeyman Buddy Carlyle takes on Dutch rookie Rick Vanden Hurk in the nightcap of this day-night doubleheader. Carlyle had excellent numbers in Triple-A this year, but struggled in his first start for Atlanta. Vanden Hurk is back for a second 2007 stint with the Marlins. He fared poorly in April, and his last start was a one-inning bombing at the hands of the Braves. There's not much reason to think that either of these pitchers will toss a gem in this game, so play all hitters from both sides, especially the Braves, who have the benefit of having seen (and torched) Vanden Hurk once already.
Ted Lilly, LHP (4-3, 3.52 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) versus
Claudio Vargas, RHP (3-1, 3.90 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)
Game Story: The Cubbies are in disarray, so you should probably be looking for reasons not to start all but the best players on their roster. However, in one start and a relief appearance versus Chicago this year, Brewers starter Vargas has been rocked twice. Aramis Ramirez is 5-for-11 with two home runs off Vargas in his career. Lilly, for his part, hasn't faced many Brewers hitters since he has spent most of his career in the American League. Tony Graffanino, however, is a stellar 8-for-19 against the Cub lefty. Additionally, the Brewers have really heated up lately against left-handers, batting .289 over their last 10 games and .310 at home on the year.
Aaron Harang, RHP (6-2, 4.22 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) versus
Todd Wellemeyer, RHP (1-1, 7.57 ERA, 1.90 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Josh Hamilton, OF, (gastroenteritis, could return from DL Tuesday); Adam Dunn, OF (illness, day-to-day); Alex Gonzalez, SS, (hamstring, questionable for St. Louis series); Chris Duncan, OF (knee, day-to-day)
Game Story: Wellemeyer has never been able to throw the ball over the plate, so all Reds' hitters are good starts. The Cardinals' bats are starting to heat up, and the team has won five of their last six, but Harang is 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA in Busch Stadium. David Eckstein is 10-for-27 versus Harang, while Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds have only five hits apiece against him in 28 and 29 at-bats, respectively. Neither team hits right-handers particularly well, but it's still safe to play all of your big names from both sides. Eckstein and the hot Reds' hitters Norris Hopper and Edwin Encarnacion make good plays in this matchup.
Wandy Rodriguez, LHP (2-5, 4.53 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) versus
Jason Hirsh, RHP (2-5, 5.10 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Troy Tulowitzki, SS, (groin, day-to-day)
Game Story: Hirsh hasn't been too bad this year until his last outing, and he's surely motivated to pitch against the team that traded him, but it's impossible to recommend either starter in this Coors Field affair, especially as Astros starter Rodriguez sports a 5.68 ERA in three career outings against Colorado. The Astros have been terrible against right-handers, and Hirsh admits to having a "chip on his shoulder" about being traded, so give Colorado the upper hand here, but not enough to pick up Hirsh at home. Todd Helton has the most at-bats against Rodriguez of any Rockies hitter, as he's 5-for-8 against the Astros lefty. Start all Rockies, especially Helton and the hot-hitting Kazuo Matsui, who's been on fire since returning from a five-week stint on the disabled list.
Matt Cain, RHP (2-5, 3.42 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) versus
Randy Johnson, LHP (3-2, 3.89 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Cain has owned the Diamondbacks in his brief career, having held Arizona to a .227 BAA in six starts, and this year he's only gotten better. He's thrown 15 innings in two turns against the D-Backs, surrendering just four hits and two runs. Orlando Hudson is 0-for-17 against Cain, while Eric Byrnes (2-for-17) and Carlos Quentin (0-for-8) haven't enjoyed facing him either. Johnson missed a late May start with forearm tightness, but bounced back last week to allow only one baserunner in six shutout innings against the Phillies. Surprisingly, several Giants have had some success against Johnson over the years. Barry Bonds, Rich Aurilia, Ray Durham, Randy Winn and Bengie Molina have all hit better than .300 off the tall left-hander. Johnson performed well in his lone 2007 start against the Giants, however. Expect a low-scoring game, and only start your star hitters from both sides.
Jason Schmidt, RHP (1-2, 7.36 ERA, 2.00 WHIP) versus
Chris Young, RHP (6-3, 2.42 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Mike Cameron, OF, (hamstring, day-to-day);
Game Story: Schmidt was pounded by the Padres in his last start, but that was way back on April 14. Now he's returning from the disabled list with revenge on his mind to face a club against which he's fared poorly over the years. Marcus Giles, Adrian Gonzalez, Geoff Blum and Khalil Greene have all hit Schmidt hard in their careers. Mike Cameron, however, is 3-for-24. While Schmidt has struggled with the Padres, Young has pitched very well against the Dodgers. Rafael Furcal, Jeff Kent and Nomar Garciaparra have five hits in a combined 41 at-bats against Young. Andre Ethier has been Young's biggest nemesis on the Dodgers. He's 4-for-9, and makes one of the few good plays on the Dodgers team in this matchup.
Ryan Garko, 1B, CLE versus Kansas City Royals
Andy Sonnanstine, SP, TB @ Toronto Blue Jays
Melky Cabrera, OF, NYY @ Chicago White Sox
Marcus Thames, OF, DET @ Texas Rangers
Orlando Cabrera, SS, LAA versus Minnesota Twins
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS @ Oakland A's
Brian Burres, SP, BAL @ Seattle Mariners
Cha Seung Baek, SP, SEA versus Baltimore Orioles
Alfredo Amezaga, OF, FLA @ Atlanta Braves
Kelly Johnson, 2B, ATL versus Florida Marlins
Cristian Guzman, SS, WAS versus Pittsburgh Pirates
Dmitri Young, 1B, WAS versus Pittsburgh Pirates
Xavier Nady, OF, PIT @ Washington Nationals
Wes Helms, 3B, PHI @ New York Mets
Tony Graffanino, 3B, MIL versus Chicago Cubs
David Eckstein, SS, STL versus Cincinnati Reds
Kazuo Matsui, 2B, COL versus Houston Astros
Andre Ethier, OF, LA @ 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.
Will Harris is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com and TalentedMrRoto.com. He can be reached at willharris@TalentedMrRoto.com
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