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Fantasy Game Notes for interleague games in AL parks for Sunday
Jacobs Field (outdoor) 1:05 p.m. ET (a chance of showers or thunderstorms, high of 84)
Kyle Davies, RHP (3-5, 5.70 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) versus
Fausto Carmona, RHP (7-2, 3.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Only one of Carmona's last eleven starts has not been a quality start. He is still available in 50 percent of ESPN leagues and is one of the better spot starts for Sunday. Davies has struggled immensely in his last two starts, giving up 10 runs in 8 2/3 innings, and should not be touched with a ten-foot pole. Willie Harris has been on fire and should be in the lineup against a right-hander. He is hitting .414 in June with two stolen bases, and will get the green light as Cleveland has allowed the fifth most swipes this season. Josh Barfield is also available in 85 percent of ESPN leagues and is hitting .365 in June.
Rogers Centre (indoor/retractable roof) 1:07 p.m. ET
Micah Bowie, LHP (3-2, 3.89 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) versus
Josh Towers, RHP (2-4, 5.31 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Ryan Church, OF (leg, day-to-day)
Game Story: By this time last year, Towers had eight losses and a 9.00 ERA. There is a reason he hasn't been starting. The Blue Jays kill lefties (.809 OPS, 7th in majors) and Bowie has only struck out one more batter than he has walked since being moved into the rotation. He is not in a good situation for a spot start. Both Cristian Guzman and Dmitri Young continue to hit everything they see so far in June (.411 and .382) and are both widely available in ESPN leagues (1 percent and 17 percent owned). If you need a quick average boost, look at Jays shortstop John McDonald who has the fourth highest batting average in the majors versus left-handers (.406). Basically, feel confident with almost anybody from either team as it should be a high scoring affair.
Camden Yards (outdoor) 1:35 p.m. ET (sunny, high 90)
Brandon Webb, RHP (6-4, 3.18 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) versus
Brian Burres, LHP (3-2, 2.80 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Orlando Hudson, 2B (ankle, day-to-day)
Game Story: There is no reason to shy away from Webb in this matchup. Webb has been rounding into his Cy Young form. Burres' WHIP is out of line with his ERA and one of them will likely start trending toward the other (money is on an inflated ERA). While his biggest problem has been base runners -- which shouldn't be a problem as Arizona is tied for 27th in the majors with a .316 OBP -- he doesn't give up home runs and may help out AL-only leagues. Aubrey Huff has started his historical second-half tear with a 10-game hitting streak and a .404 batting average in June. Huff is still out there in 75 percent of ESPN leagues. Jay Payton should sit in deep or AL-only leagues as he is 2-for-15 (.133) lifetime against Webb.
Fenway Park (outdoor) 2:05 p.m. ET (scattered showers and thunderstorms, high 85)
Matt Morris, RHP (7-3, 2.56 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) versus
Tim Wakefield, RHP (6-7, 3.92 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Ryan Klesko, 1B (hip, day-to-day)
Game Story: Matt Morris is a tough call. He has been nothing short of terrific in every fantasy category except strikeouts since April, but this is Fenway and these are the Red Sox. Safe fantasy managers will leave him on the bench. J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell both hit better than .300 against Morris and should be in your lineup. Most other Sox should be in the lineup as well, including the hot-hitting Dustin Pedroia (.391 in June). It's rare that a pitcher's win-loss record can be so indicative of their performance, but Tim Wakefield's 6-7 record says it all. He has been part of the decision in every game he has pitched. When he's been on, he's on; but when he's off, he's way off. On the plus side, Barry Bonds is a career 0-for-8 and Ray Durham is right on the Mendoza Line in 35 career at-bats versus Wakefield. On the minus side, Bengie Molina hits Wakefield at a .412 clip (7-for-17) and Omar Vizquel is 19-for-53 (.358) lifetime against him. Split the difference and start him only if you really need to gun for a win. Umpire Greg Gibson has one the smaller strike zones in the league (11.5 strikeouts per game).
Metrodome (indoor) 2:10 p.m. ET
Jeff Suppan, RHP (7-7, 4.04 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) versus
Kevin Slowey, RHP (2-0, 3.71 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: As advertised, Kevin Slowey isn't walking anybody, but he's not striking them out either. With four home runs surrendered in three starts and a hot Brew Crew, now is not the time to see if Slowey is coming around. Even in AL-only leagues. Tim Hallion will help a little as the umpire for this game; he calls the fourth most strikeouts per game in the majors (15.2). Jeff Suppan has walked more batters than he has struck out since the start of May. You also might notice that's when his ERA began ballooning out to his career levels. He's a desperation NL-only start, at best. The Brewers bats are pretty hot in June, no-hitter aside. Ryan Braun, Tony Graffanino and Johnny Estrada are hitting better than .300 for the month; while Prince Fielder and Corey Hart have five and four home runs in June, respectively. Start any Brewer you can get your hands on. For the Twins, Luis Castillo has a .381 batting average against right-handers.
Kauffman Stadium (outdoor) 2:10 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high near 88. Wind SSW between 9-22 mph))
Scott Olsen, LHP (5-5, 4.81 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) versus
Brian Bannister, RHP (3-3, 2.91 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Mike Sweeney, DH (back, day-to-day)
Game Story: Emil Brown is one of the best plug-and-play outfielders on Sunday. Owned in zero percent of ESPN leagues, Brown is hitting .361 in June and has 11 RBIs for the month. He also bats 100 points better against southpaws (.302 versus LHP, .194 versus righties). Alex Gordon often sits against lefties because of his .184 batting average against them; same goes for Ryan Shealy (.111). Olsen is coming off a good start against the tough Cleveland Indians and makes a decent NL-only play here as, Brown aside, Kansas City is a collective 25th in the majors with a .698 versus southpaws. Brian Bannister also makes a very good spot start option for AL-only, maybe even deep mixed formats. You know the party line -- "No one strikes out more than the Marlins" -- and Bannister is coming off three great starts. That wind, by the way, is blowing out to center field and could cause some fly balls to carry.
McAfee Coliseum (outdoor) 4:05 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 71)
Brad Thompson, RHP (4-2, 5.46 ERA, 1.58 WHIP) versus
Joe Kennedy, LHP (2-4, 3.50 ERA, 1.37 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Shannon Stewart, OF (foot, day-to-day)
Game Story: The Cardinals bats have woken up a bit, with an .803 OPS in June compared to .705 for the season. Leading the way is Albert Pujols with seven home runs this month, but right behind him is Juan Encarnacion. Encarnacion has four home runs and is batting .333 for June. He's available in virtually all ESPN leagues. Aaron Miles is getting consistent starts in place of the injured David Eckstein and can be used against lefties (.341 batting average versus LHP). Maybe Jason Kendall just needs some competition Since Kurt Suzuki was recalled, Kendall has been on a tear and is batting .326 for June. He is available in over 90 percent of ESPN leagues. Kennedy has walked more hitters that he's whiffed, and that is never a good thing; avoid him against the relatively hot Cards. Thompson doesn't do anything special and that WHIP can be very damaging. In short, both pitchers should be left alone even in the deepest of leagues.
Yankee Stadium (outdoor) 8:05 p.m. ET (isolated thunderstorms, high 89)
Orlando Hernandez, RHP (3-2, 2.38 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) versus
Chien-Ming Wang, RHP (6-4, 3.49 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Johnny Damon, OF (abdomen, day-to-day)
Game Story: The Mets don't know Wang, having never faced him (only David Newhan has any at-bats), and could struggle against his groundball pitching. The Mets have cold bats as well, ranking 26th in the majors for OPS (.656) so far in June. Wang has been very solid lately and makes a good start here. Hernandez has kept Alex Rodriguez (7-for-28), Hideki Matsui (0-for-5) and Jorge Posada (2-for-8) in check over his career, and the only Yankee that has hit him well (Damon, 16-for-41) will likely be limited or out of the lineup. Feel free to start El Duque as well. This game belongs to the pitchers, so stick to you usual hitters in this game and don't stray for your Miguel Cairo or Carlos Gomez.
Fantasy Game Notes for interleague games in NL parks for Sunday
Great American Ball Park (outdoor) 1:15 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 95)
Kevin Millwood, RHP (2-6, 7.82 ERA, 1.94 WHIP) versus
Bronson Arroyo, RHP (2-7, 4.98 ERA, 1.51 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Arroyo has coughed up two home runs in each of his last two starts and has a record of 0-5 over his last seven. Sammy Sosa may just get number 600 in this game. Arroyo's home ERA is 6.82 and his WHIP at Great American is 1.77; avoid him. Millwood is trending no better, giving up at least four earned runs in his last seven starts. Stay away from both pitchers; which usually -- especially in this case -- means: start the hitters. It's too bad Ken Griffey Jr. couldn't have 20 more home runs over his career, putting him even with Sammy for this contest. Marlon Byrd is hitting .420 in June for the patched up Rangers.
PNC Park (outdoor) 1:35 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, 30 percent chance of isolated thunderstorm, high 88)
Javier Vazquez, RHP (3-5, 4.15 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) versus
Zach Duke, LHP (3-6, 5.54 ERA, 1.68 WHIP)
Game Story: The only White Sox regular that is hitting better than .250 versus lefties is Paul Konerko. The White Sox are also dead last in OPS versus lefties in the majors (.622). You might be able to do better than Duke for a spot start, but you could also do a lot worse. Jose Bautista (.316) and Ryan Doumit (.310) have been hot in June for the Pirates, while Tadahito Iguchi has been seeing the ball this month for Chicago (.320). Vazquez owners should know by now that you only start him when you need strikeouts. Jim Thome likely gets another game off without the DH.
Citizens Bank Park (outdoor) 1:35 p.m. ET (cloudy, 30 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms, high 91)
Justin Verlander, RHP (7-2, 2.79 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) versus
Adam Eaton, RHP (7-4, 5.42 ERA, 1.51 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Only the Tigers and Yankees have a better OPS versus right-handers than Philadelphia (.801), and the Phillies sport the seventh-best OPS for June in the majors (.799). Verlander isn't likely going to get his back-to-back no-hitters. He is, however, likely to throw a quality start and rack up a few K's. Eaton, on the other hand, will be eaten alive by this offense. Detroit has a .936 OPS in June and an .838 OPS on the year. It's hard to throw an elite starter in front of these Tigers, let alone Eaton. Brandon Inge may be hitting .412 in June, but he still holds a .211 season average versus righties, so his hot streak could go cool for a day. Gary Sheffield has two home runs in 14 career at-bats versus Eaton. Sean Casey is hitting exactly .364 in the month of June and has hit exactly .364 in his career versus Eaton (4-for-11), and he's available in just about every ESPN league (99 percent). Craig Monroe has been sitting without a DH.
Minute Maid Park (indoor/retractable roof) 2:05 p.m. ET
Jarrod Washburn, LHP (5-5, 3.87 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) versus
Roy Oswalt, RHP (6-4, 3.44 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Adrian Beltre, 3B (thumb, doubtful)
Game Story: Oswalt has been walking hitters at an alarming rate. He is three walks shy of his entire total for 2006 (38), but he won't be hitting that threshold against Seattle. They have drawn only 155 walks this season, dead last in the majors. So consider Oswalt very safe. Washburn has been slightly better than average and should get the nod in AL-only leagues. Brad Ausmus matches up well here with his .393 batting average in June and .353 average versus left-handers.
Coors Field (outdoor) 3:05 p.m. ET (sunshine, near record high of 92)
Scott Kazmir, LHP (4-3, 4.07 ERA, 1.51 WHIP) versus
Aaron Cook, RHP (4-3, 4.37 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Scott Kazmir, SP (finger, scheduled starter)
Game Story: Colorado and Tampa Bay have both been top-10 teams this month for offense (.827 and .790 OPS, respectively) and the pitchers should be approached with caution considering the heat in Denver. Kazmir is nursing a strained finger muscle and is using a different grip on the ball. The results were actually positive in his last start, but betting that wasn't a fluke is not the safest route; and betting that wasn't a fluke in Coors is downright risky. Cook has an expected poor home/road split and should not be used, even in NL-only formats. Carlos Pena is still owned in just better than 70 percent of ESPN leagues, while he continues to swing a hot bat. Remember that in his Detroit days he did all his damage in August and September and for his career has ridiculous power spikes in those two months. Ty Wigginton is also available in almost 30 percent of leagues and is hitting .373 on the month. For Colorado, Kazuo Matsui is hitting .375 in June a home run and three swipes. He's available in 50 percent of leagues.
Dodger Stadium (outdoor) 4:10 p.m. ET (sunny, high 73)
Kelvim Escobar, RHP (7-3, 2.89 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) versus
Randy Wolf, LHP (8-4, 4.06 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: It's all about patience in this game of fantasy baseball. Chone Figgins is hitting .444 for the month of June with nine stolen bases. Possibly available bats you can use include: Mike Napoli (available in 75 percent of ESPN leagues) who is hitting .321 this month, Reggie Willits (available in 80 percent of ESPN leagues) who hits .388 against southpaws and Orlando Cabrera (still available in 30 percent of ESPN leagues) who is hitting .417 in June with 11 RBIs. Wolf's stats have started drawing back towards his career numbers this month, and is not a safe play in mixed-leagues against this Angels lineup; NL-only leagues need his strikeouts though. Escobar is every bit as good as advertised when healthy. He should have no trouble mowing down the Dodgers, who rank 24th in the majors for total OPS (.710), 25th for OPS in June (.694) and 26th for OPS versus right-handers (.695). Gary Matthews Jr. might sit out without the DH because of his .230 batting average against southpaws, while Garret Anderson (in his limited at-bats) is hitting .323 versus LHP.
Fantasy Game Notes for Sunday: National League
Wrigley Field (outdoor) 2:20 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high 92)
Greg Maddux, RHP (5-3, 3.86 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) versus
Rich Hill, LHP (5-4, 2.81 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)
Game Story: Mark DeRosa (.340) and Mike Fontenot (.400) are certainly helping to pace the offense this month without Aramis Ramirez, and both make decent starts against Maddux; who has been knocked around while outside of the friendly confines of Petco. The Cubs rank 8th in the majors for June OPS (.797), which is just one more reason to avoid Maddux. Mike Cameron (.306) and Josh Bard (.364) could both give Hill a hard time with their solid batting averages against southpaws. Hill also gave up four home runs (Cameron had two) against the Padres on May 22, the last time he was really touched up. It's hard to bench a WHIP close to 1.00, but mixed-leagues should play it safe if they have the luxury. NL-only leagues likely need the strikeouts and possible win.
Waiver Wire Pickups
Fausto Carmona, SP, CLE versus Atlanta Braves
Josh Barfield, 2B, CLE versus Atlanta Braves
Willie Harris, OF, ATL @ Cleveland Indians
Cristian Guzman, SS, WAS @ Toronto Blue Jays
Dmitri Young, 1B, WAS @ Toronto Blue Jays
Aubrey Huff, 1B, BAL versus Arizona Diamondbacks
Emil Brown, OF, KC versus Florida Marlins
Brian Bannister, SP, KC versus Florida Marlins
Juan Encarnacion, OF, STL @ Oakland Athletics
Zach Duke, SP, PIT versus Chicago White Sox
Sean Casey, 1B, DET @ Philadelphia Phillies
Brad Ausmus, C, HOU versus Seattle Mariners
Kaz Matsui, 2B, COL versus Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Reggie Willits, OF, LAA @ Los Angeles Dodgers
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
59mMichael C. Wright