Daily Notes: Offense abounds
Kyle Kendrick, RHP (0-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) versus
Jason Stanford, LHP (1-0, 1.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Game Story: Both starting pitchers are relatively unproven and unfamiliar to the opposing lineups, and both are making their second starts after faring well in their 2007 debuts. Stanford makes a decent spot starter, as the Phillies have only hit .249 against left-handers this year. But use him only if you're desperate for wins. The Phillies are still a top offensive team and have scored 33 runs in their past five games. Start all your Cleveland hitters and all your big-name Phillies in this matchup of untested starters.
Brad Penny, RHP (8-1, 2.18 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) versus
Dustin McGowan, RHP (3-2, 4.78 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
Game Story: McGowan has made five straight quality starts, allowing fewer than one hit per inning over that span while walking just 10 and striking out 25. He's a good play in deeper leagues against the struggling Dodger lineup. Penny also should find success in his first trip to the Rogers Centre. He shut down the Jays for more than seven innings in Dodger Stadium back on June 8. Both of these teams struggle with right-handed pitching, so expect a low-scoring affair. No hitters other than the biggest names stand out as good plays, and if you've been using Matt Stairs it might be time to give him a day off. He's 1-for-10 against Penny.
Dontrelle Willis, LHP (7-6, 4.58ERA, 1.54 WHIP) versus
John Danks, LHP (3-6, 4.34 ERA, 1.55 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Willis is starting to round into form after a slow start to 2007, and that's bad news for Sox hitters, who are the worst in the major leagues against left-handers. Bench all of your Chicago hitters except Jermaine Dye and Josh Fields. Fields is heating up after hitting .200 in his first 30 at-bats, and he makes a good pickup for this matchup as well as long-term. The Marlins have had success against lefties, and while Danks hasn't been that bad in his rookie season, he hasn't been very consistent either. Start all your Marlins, including Miguel Olivo, who has 10 hits and seven RBIs in his last 20 at-bats.
Sean Marshall, LHP (3-2, 2.12 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) versus
Robinson Tejeda, RHP (5-7, 6.49 ERA, 1.62 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Marshall has been outstanding in five starts for the Cubs, but he's not recommended here against the lefty-crushing Rangers. The Rangers have been swinging the bats well lately, scoring 28 runs in their last four games. Outfielder Marlon Byrd has shown no signs of slowing down and makes a good spot start in this matchup. He's hitting .390 in 77 at-bats since his recall. The Cubs should also light up the scoreboard. They hit right-handers well and Tejeda hasn't turned in a quality start since April 22. Play your best Rangers and all of your Cubs.
Jason Jennings, RHP (0-1, 3.18 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) versus
Bartolo Colon, RHP (6-2, 5.58 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
Game Story: Bartolo Colon hasn't pitched well since mid-May, but he's starting to make some strides. Jason Jennings, on the other hand, had been pitching well but was ineffective in his last start. Now the team has admitted that Jennings is battling tendinitis in his shoulder. He will stay in the rotation for now, but keep him on your bench until he's completely healthy. Start all of your Angels against Jennings, especially the red-hot Reggie Willits and Orlando Cabrera. The Astros' Mike Lamb and Craig Biggio are also among the majors' hottest hitters over the last week. Get them in the lineup if you can. Also, Biggio is 5-for-16 versus Colon, with only one strikeout.
Homer Bailey, RHP (1-0, 5.73 ERA, 1.73 WHIP) versus
Chad Gaudin, RHP (6-1 2.85 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Eric Chavez, 3B, (ribs, day-to-day)
Game Story: Chad Gaudin finally might be slowing down. He's walked 13 batters and struck out only seven over his last three starts. He's not recommended against the Reds, who have scored 25 runs in their last four games. Bailey shouldn't be activated either until he shows some consistency. The talented rookie likely will continue to mix poor outings with quality starts for some time. He might be in trouble against an Oakland squad that has scored 39 runs in six games. Leading the recent hitting assault for the host has been catcher Jason Kendall and the now-hot-again Jack Cust. Both make good plays here, as does Mark Kotsay, who has come on strong over the last week after struggling in his first two series back from the DL.
Tom Gorzelanny, LHP (6-4, 3.04 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) versus
Miguel Batista, RHP (7-5, 5.10 ERA, 1.62 WHIP)
Game Story: Seattle has cooled off considerably after winning 16 out of 21 games. However, even though the Mariners are slumping, Pirates starter Gorzelanny can't be recommended here. The young left-hander has been laboring in June after two stellar months, and although he hasn't had a disastrous start yet his peripheral stats are trending downward. Plus the Mariners still hit lefties hard, and despite the team's recent slump, their offensive catalyst Ichiro continues to swing the hottest bat in the American League. No Mariners hitters other than the ones you normally would start are recommended in this matchup, but beware of a poor outing from Gorzelanny. The Pirates also should have some success on offense against the consistently mediocre Batista. Adam LaRoche is 4-for-6 against Batista and already has as many extra-base hits in June as he did in all of May. Xavier Nady has been hitting well for a month, and Jose Bautista is hitting .458 with nine RBIs over the last week. All three are recommended in this matchup
Chad Durbin, RHP (5-3, 4.60 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) versus
Jason Simontacchi, RHP (5-4, 4.84 ERA, 1.47 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Detroit is the top offensive team in the majors, and all Tigers hitters are recommended against mediocre Nationals starter Simontacchi. Remarkably, Sean Casey hasn't belted a home run all year, but he's hitting .349 over the last month and makes a good pickup in this matchup. Washington's Austin Kearns is wielding a hot bat as well. Play Kearns along with the star Nationals hitters against Durbin, who is starting to struggle lately.
Johan Santana, LHP (6-6, 3.19 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) versus
Jorge Sosa, RHP (6-2, 3.42 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)
Game Story: The Mets destroy left-handers, but Twins ace Santana is a tough assignment. Play only the big-name Mets, but make sure you include the struggling Carlos Delgado in that group. He's 4-for-10 with four doubles against Santana. Sosa started well for New York, but was hit hard by the Dodgers in his last start. The Twins have hit much better against right-handed pitching, and Sosa's not recommended in this matchup.
Josh Beckett, RHP (9-1, 3.39 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) versus
Tim Hudson, RHP (6-4, 3.25 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Hudson tossed a gem of a game against the Twins last week, but prior to that he'd surrendered at least five runs in four of his last five starts. Hudson has been easy pickings for Red Sox hitters over the years (20 earned runs in his last 20 innings pitched) and especially for catcher Jason Varitek, who has owned Hudson with a .409 average in 22 at-bats. Start Varitek and the rest of your Red Sox hitters. As for the Braves, play only the biggest names. Beckett pitched very well against Atlanta in his career with the Marlins, especially at Turner Field. It might be a good day to bench Edgar Renteria if you have an alternative, since he's 1-for-10 against Beckett.
Scott Elarton, RHP (2-2, 8.54 ERA, 1.84 WHIP) versus
Brad Thompson, RHP (4-2, 5.28 ERA, 1.58 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: David Eckstein, SS, (back, DL)
Game Story: There could be a lot of offense in this one, as both starting pitchers really have struggled and both lineups are full of hot bats. The Cardinals have scored 25 runs in their last two games and 43 runs in their last five. Albert Pujols has hit very well lately, and Scott Rolen has gotten his bat on track, hitting .333 over the last month. Aaron Miles makes a good spot pickup here. The utilityman will play every day while Eckstein is out, and so far he's making the most of his opportunity, hitting .381 over the last week. The Royals have been hammering the ball as well, scoring 64 runs over their last seven games. Alex Gordon finally has figured it out. After struggling all year, the third baseman is hitting .440/.462/.720 over the last week. Also recommended is the red-hot Mark Teahen, who's batting .365/.444/.667 over that same span. Those in deep leagues also should look at Royals shortstop Tony Pena, who has hit well all month, and St. Louis outfielder So Taguchi, also on fire of late.
Mike Mussina, RHP (3-3, 5.17 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) versus
Josh Fogg, RHP (2-5, 4.95 ERA, 1.62 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Jeff Baker, 3B (illness, day-to-day)
Game Story: Mussina has allowed only three runs and 10 baserunners over his last two starts, so he might be turning it around. Still, he's not recommended in this mile-high affair. Additionally, owners carrying Yankees relievers should bench them for this series, with the exception Mariano Rivera. Bad pitching and thin air make for lots of runs, so play all of your hitters from both sides.
J.P. Howell, LHP (1-1, 3.60 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) versus
Doug Davis, LHP (4-8, 3.70 ERA, 1.67 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Jason Smith, 3B, (appendectomy, DL)
Game Story: The Devil Rays are a dangerous offense against left-handers, so the struggling Davis can't be recommended here. The Diamondbacks, however, are among the worst-hitting teams in baseball against lefties. Howell has pitched well through three starts this year, but is a risky play here, even with the home team's inability to hit left-handers. Arizona enters this series off a sweep of Baltimore, during which the team averaged seven runs per game. Orlando Hudson and Conor Jackson have both been hitting well of late and make good pickups against Howell. Ty Wigginton and Carlos Pena continue to rake for the Rays and make good pickups on the other side.
Steve Trachsel, RHP (5-4, 3.94 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) versus
Jake Peavy, RHP (8-1, 1.82 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Game Story: Padres ace Peavy is a tall order for struggling Baltimore, especially at home in pitcher-friendly Petco Park. The Orioles are in disarray, having just fired manager Sam Perlozzo, so start their hitters only if you must. Corey Patterson has been terrible this year, but he is 4-for-8 with a home run and no strikeouts against Peavy, so he'll likely get the start in this game. Veteran Trachsel has been a pleasant surprise for Baltimore this season, allowing more than three runs in only three starts all year. However, two of those occasions came in his last three outings, so he's a risky play, even in Petco. Use him only if you normally would. The red-hot Mike Cameron owns Trachsel, as does Jose Cruz, Jr., so make sure you get them in the lineup.
Tim Lincecum, RHP (2-1, 5.06 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) versus
Ben Sheets, RHP (7-3, 3.31 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Lincecum has tossed some gems since his recall from Triple-A, but he's been ineffective in each of his last three starts. Lincecum belongs on your bench until he shows a little more consistency. Sheets, meanwhile, has been fantastic all season and sports a 2.32 earned run average over the last month. Barry Bonds is 3-for-6 against Sheets, with two doubles, a home run, four walks and no strikeouts, but otherwise the Brewers ace has kept Giants hitters under control. Start only Bonds from the Giants, but start most of your Brewers against Lincecum, including the hot-hitting Bill Hall, Johnny Estrada and Geoff Jenkins.
Dustin McGowan, SP, TOR versus Los Angeles Dodgers
Miguel Olivo, C, FLA @ Chicago White Sox
Marlon Byrd, OF, TEX versus Chicago Cubs
Orlando Cabrera, SS, LAA versus Houston Astros
Reggie Willits, OF, LAA versus Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B, HOU @ Los Angeles Angels
Mike Lamb, 1B, HOU @ Los Angeles Angels
Mark Kotsay, OF, OAK versus Cincinnati Reds
Jason Kendall, C, OAK versus Cincinnati Reds
Jack Cust, DH, OAK versus Cincinnati Reds
Adam LaRoche, 1B, PIT @ Seattle Mariners
Xavier Nady, OF, PIT @ Seattle Mariners
Jose Bautista, 3B, PIT @ Seattle Mariners
Sean Casey, 1B, DET @ Washington Nationals
Austin Kearns, OF, WAS versus Detroit Tigers
Jason Varitek, C, BOS @ Atlanta Braves
Aaron Miles, SS, STL versus Kansas City Royals
Alex Gordon, SS, KC @ St. Louis Cardinals
Mark Teahen, OF, KC @ St. Louis Cardinals
Ty Wigginton, 3B, TB @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Carlos Pena, 1B, TB @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Orlando Hudson, 2B, ARI versus Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Conor Jackson, 1B, ARI versus Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Mike Cameron, OF, SD versus Baltimore Orioles
Jose Cruz, Jr., OF, SD versus Baltimore Orioles
Bill Hall, OF, MIL versus San Francisco Giants
Johnny Estrada, C, MIL versus San Francisco Giants
Geoff Jenkins, OF, MIL versus San Francisco Giants
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