Daily Notes: Big Unit versus Red Sox
Tom Glavine, LHP (5-3, 3.36 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) versus
Andrew Miller, LHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)
Game Story: Miller will make his second career start, and again it's during interleague play. He has had issues with walks on the major league level, both as a reliever late last season and in his one start against St. Louis on May 18. Only the Tigers themselves (.882 OPS) hit lefties better than the Mets (.853 OPS), so it should not be "Miller Time" for your fantasy team. As mentioned, the Tigers hit southpaws very well, so Glavine makes a risky play. Only Jimmy Rollins has more career home runs (6) versus Glavine than Gary Sheffield (5). Curtis Granderson still hasn't figured out how to hit left-handers and may be benched in favor of Omar Infante. Green is on track to come off the DL, and it makes sense that they use him as DH, leaving Ben Johnson and Carlos Gomez in the lineup. Umpire Tim McClelland (who has the smallest strike zone in the league with just 9.9 strikeouts per game) will be behind the plate.
Shawn Chacon, RHP (2-0, 3.26 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) versus
Tyler Clippard, RHP (3-1, 3.60 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Xavier Nady, OF (hamstring, should DH)
Game Story: Chacon has trouble with left-handed hitters, so expect a good day from Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano (Bobby Abreu is 1-for-10, .100 against Chacon in his career). Chacon was a Yankee last year, and it's a safe bet that the whole lineup will know what to expect from him. Clippard has been doing just enough to get by. As a spot start, he'll damage your WHIP a little but is a good bet to get a win. Nady will pull DH duties and makes a strong play with three home runs already in June. Miguel Cairo has been getting starts and entered play Saturday hitting .333 in the last week.
Jason Hirsh, RHP (2-6, 4.92 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) versus
Erik Bedard, LHP (4-3, 3.72 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Ramon Hernandez, C (groin, questionable)
Game Story: The Rockies struggle against left-handed pitching (.690 OPS, 25th in majors), and specifically Brad Hawpe and Kazuo Matsui have a significant drop in batting average versus southpaws. Ryan Spilborghs has been raking and will definitely play thanks to the need for a DH. Jason Hirsh has shown a penchant for notching quality starts (7-of-12), but should be avoided against the hot bats of Nick Markakis, Miguel Tejada, Melvin Mora and Aubrey Huff, who have all been hitting better than .300 over the last week. Besides, Hirsh had trouble with the lowly Royals in his last interleague start. With Paul Bako catching, look for any Rockie that gets on base to run.
Wandy Rodriguez, LHP (3-5, 4.31 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) versus
Mark Buehrle, LHP (2-3, 3.99 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)
Game Story: With the injury to Pence, both Chris Burke and Luke Scott should get into the game. Both players have career batting averages that are higher against lefties (particularly Burke, who bats almost 40 points better versus southpaws). Mark Buehrle should bounce back from a rough outing against the Yankees and pitch well. The normally soft-hitting White Sox have been seeing the ball well over the last seven days. Entering Saturday, Jim Thome has two home runs, Tadahito Iguchi is hitting .407, and Paul Konerko is hitting .318. Wandy Rodriguez has gone only five innings in four of his last five starts and is of no interest here.
Mike Bacsik, LHP (1-2, 4.13 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) versus
Boof Bonser, RHP (4-2, 4.12 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Joe Mauer, C (quadriceps, DL-should play)
Game Story: As mentioned in this week's Sixty-Feet, Six-Inches, Bonser fares much better against weak offenses -- making him a solid start against the Nationals (.671 OPS, 29th in majors). Be warned though, umpire Dan Iassogna has the second-smallest strike zone in the league (10.7 strikeouts per game). Dmitri Young has been hitting everything lately, and is about the only National worth paying attention to. The bloom fell off Mike Bacsik in his last outing, so start all your Twins, including walk machines Michael Cuddyer (20 BB in last month ranks 5th in AL) and Nick Punto (15 BB in last month).
Jamie Moyer, LHP (5-4, 4.08 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) versus
Jorge De La Rosa, LHP (4-6, 4.60 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Jamie Moyer's road splits are good enough to start him here. He has a 5.58 ERA in five home starts versus a 3.14 ERA in seven starts on the road. The fact that he is facing the Royals (.665 OPS versus LHP, 28th in majors) helps, too. The Phillies aren't much better against southpaws (.718 OPS, 23rd in majors), making Jorge De La Rosa high-risk/high-reward. He has several gems sprinkled in with real stinkers this year, and he'll be available if you need a Hail Mary spot-start in H2H. Greg Dobbs figures to be playing with the available DH spot. Mike Sweeney has three career home runs against Moyer. Those who have been following him for the last few years will find it hard to trust him, but Joey Gathright really looks like he means business this time, swiping two bases in his first two games.
Dave Bush, RHP (3-6, 5.67 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) versus
Vicente Padilla, RHP (2-8, 6.45 ERA, 1.63 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Vicente Padilla, SP (triceps, scheduled starter)
Game Story: Bush and Texas may be synonymous, and Ranger Ballpark may not be the hitters' haven of years past this season, but it's still Arlington in 90 degree weather: not where you want to try and see if Bush starts to turn things around. Somewhere in an attic there is a picture of Padilla pitching well, and this might be his last shot at staying the rotation. Milwaukee is built like an AL team, with strong options at DH, and with a right-hander on the hill for Texas, it will likely be Gabe Gross who gets the at-bats. Kenny Lofton is a must play against Bush (5-for-12, .417), while you may want to lay off Sammy Sosa against him (0-for-6).
Andy Sonnanstine, RHP (0-0, 7.71 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) versus
Rick Vanden Hurk, RHP (1-1, 8.50 ERA, 1.78 WHIP)
Game Story: Vanden Hurk steps in for the injured Mitre and deserves at least some attention. He's tall, he's Dutch, and he throws hard. His last outing against Atlanta was six innings of one-hit ball. Vanden Hurk's atrocious ERA stems from a lousy debut with the team in four April games. If you don't want to use him as a spot-start here, watch the results and keep him in mind for the future. Tampa Bay's 341:131 K:BB ratio versus right-handers is also the best ratio for opposing righties in the majors. Sonnanstine's first career start wasn't nearly as bad as the numbers show. He made one bad pitch that Adam Lind turned into three runs. Other good news for this control artist? Nobody strikes out more than Florida. This game is shaping up to be an unexpected pitchers' duel, especially with lenient umpire Mark Wegner (14.4 strikeouts per game) behind the plate. Brendan Harris is hot over the last seven days entering Saturday (11-for-28, .393, 2 HRs) and makes a nice play at shortstop. Elijah Dukes will play center field only if B.J. Upton is unable to play.
C.C. Sabathia, LHP (9-1, 3.40 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) versus
Aaron Harang, RHP (6-2, 4.24 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)
Notable Injuries:Alex Gonzalez, SS (hamstring, (probable)
Game Story: The hitter-friendly confines of Great American shouldn't be a problem for Sabathia. Count on Norris Hopper (13-for-34, .500 versus LHP) and Brandon Phillips (30-for-85, .353 versus LHP) to generate some offense against the Indians ace. Aaron Harang has not been very reliable this year and should probably be benched against the powerful Indians lineup. When Harang faced the Indians on May 20th everyone except David Dellucci had at least a hit, and Jhonny Peralta took him deep. Ryan Garko probably sits for Travis Hafner without the DH spot.
Jered Weaver, RHP (5-3, 3.88 ERA, 1.49 WHIP) versus
Todd Wellemeyer, RHP (1-1, 7.26 ERA, 1.94 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Weaver is a safe start. Remember that opposing teams were baffled by his windup last season the first time they saw him, and no one on the Cardinals has faced him before. You would have to be crazy to start Wellemeyer based on his last start, when he lasted three and two-thirds while walking six (that goes for you too, Tony La Russa). Start all your Angels. After seeing his average dip from .321 to .236, Howie Kendrick is back up to .267 after getting hot this week. Those who have been trying to patch a hole left by Rickie Weeks should check to see if Kendrick is there. He is still available in almost 30 percent of ESPN leagues.
Lenny DiNardo, LHP (2-2, 1.45 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) versus
Matt Cain, RHP (2-5, 3.54 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
Game Story: One look at his ERA and you may think about starting Lenny DiNardo. Think again. He has started only two games and won't be allowed to throw more than 90 pitches. More importantly, that two-hitter against Boston included zero strikeouts and six walks! Matt Cain looks like a good start. He already has a quality start with nine strikeouts against Oakland on May 18. Expect a few runs though, as his home ERA (4.83) is a full two runs higher than his road ERA (2.62). Still, the potential for half-a-dozen or more K's make him worthwhile. Cain has good history against Eric Chavez (0-for-7) and Bobby Crosby (1-for-9), so if you have another option for them, consider it.
Felix Hernandez, RHP (3-3, 4.40 ERA, 1.49 WHIP) versus
Chris Young, RHP (6-3, 2.19 ERA, 1.14 WHIP)
Game Story: Hernandez has been smacked around since coming back from his DL trip; his last performance (11 hits over five and two-thirds innings) being the worst yet. Consider benching him in H2H unless you need a few K's. Besides, Hernandez is unlikely to get a win against the red-hot Young, who's coming off back-to-back seven-inning, no-earned-runs outings and a May ERA of 1.13. Ichiro has strong numbers against Young (7-for-17, .412), but a lot of those at-bats are from Young's days in Texas when he was a different pitcher. Consider benching any Mariner not from Japan. Jose Vidro is the odd man out with no DH. Terrmel Sledge will start against the right-hander, Hernandez, and has already nabbed a bag against him this season.
Roy Halladay, RHP (5-2, 4.63 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) versus
Jason Schmidt, RHP (1-2, 4.76 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)
Game Story: Halladay has admitted to problems with mechanics in his delivery. A speculative benching might be wise by fantasy owners, as Halladay has had some real WHIP-killing games when he is off. Schmidt should be a fine start, as Toronto's OPS versus right-handers (.732) is almost 100 points lower than versus lefties (.823). Troy Glaus has eight career strikeouts in just 14 at-bats versus Schmidt. Matt Stairs is hitting .297 against righties and has been on a power-binge since mid-May. Friday's hero Olmedo Saenz is 5-for-12 (.417) lifetime versus Halladay and may earn some playing time. Of course, Frank Thomas sits with no DH. Larry Young will be behind the plate, and he is pretty generous with the strike zone (14.9 strikeouts per game).
Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP (7-4, 4.63 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) versus
Randy Johnson, LHP (3-2, 3.78 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Chad Tracy, 3B (ribs, DL/could play)
Game Story: With Johnson on the mound and no DH, David Ortiz will almost surely sit this game out. Big Papi is 4-for-25 (.160) lifetime against the Big Unit. Kevin Youkilis owners can rejoice with the knowledge that he will likely play at first base should Ortiz sit. Dustin Pedroia has been batting second when the team faces a southpaw lately and is hitting .316 from that spot. He is still unowned in 85 percent of ESPN leagues. Overall though, Johnson has had his stuff this year and should keep the mighty Red Sox at bay. Matsuzaka has stronger numbers away from Fenway (5.62 ERA at home versus 3.55 away) and shouldn't have too much trouble with a middle-of-the-road team like Arizona. Tracy could be activated off the DL, and owners of Mark Reynolds need to start making other plans.
Ted Lilly, LHP (4-4, 3.99 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) versus
Buddy Carlyle, RHP (1-1, 4.50 ERA, 1.08 WHIP)
Game Story: McCann is still getting over ankle problems and may sit, regardless, as backup Jarrod Saltalamacchia has hit lefties well (8-for-25, .320). If you need an average boost, one of the hottest hitters has been Yunel Escobar. He has been batting second and is 11-for-32 (.344) since being brought up on June 2. Matt Diaz also tunes lefties (.326) and is a good play anytime a southpaw is up. In fact, a lot of other Braves hit lefties better than .300 (Edgar Renteria, Kelly Johnson, Jeff Francoeur), so you may want to leave Lilly on the bench here. Felix Pie has been a different player since a stint in Triple-A. Since his recall earlier this month he has hit 11-for-28 (.393) with a home run and two stolen bases.
Shawn Green, OF, NYM @ Detroit Tigers
Miguel Cairo, 2B, NYY versus Pittsburgh Pirates
Ryan Spilborghs, OF, COL @ Baltimore Orioles
Chris Burke, OF, HOU @ Chicago White Sox
Dmitri Young, 1B, WAS @ Minnesota Twins
Jamie Moyer, SP, PHI @ Kansas City Royals
Rick Vanden Hurk, SP, FLA versus Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Andy Sonnanstine, SP, TB @ Florida Marlins
Norris Hopper, OF CIN versus Cleveland Indians
Terrmel Sledge, OF, SD versus Seattle Mariners
Matt Stairs, 1B, TOR @ Los Angeles Dodgers
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, ATL versus Chicago Cubs
Yunel Escobar, SS, ATL versus Chicago Cubs
Felix Pie, OF, CHC @ Atlanta Braves
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.
Sean Allen is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com and TalentedMrRoto.com. He can be reached at alla_rino@TalentedMrRoto.com