Daily Notes: Snell versus the Angels

Updated: June 22, 2007, 5:42 PM ET
By Adam Madison | Special to ESPN.com

Fantasy Game Notes for Interleague Games in AL Parks for: Saturday
U.S. Cellular Field (outdoor) 1:05 p.m. ET (mostly cloudy, high of 78 degrees)
Rich Hill, LHP (5-5, 3.22 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) versus
Javier Vazquez, RHP (3-5, 4.39 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Jim Thome, 1B (back, day-to-day)

Game Story: Hill shouldn't have much trouble with the White Sox, as they are the worst offense (.650 OPS) in the league against left-handers. Josh Fields was noticeably better against lefties in the minors, and has continued that trend into the majors (both of his home runs have come off southpaws), but otherwise the Sox don't have much to combat Hill. Aramis Ramirez returned to the lineup on Friday, but the Cubs' lineup still doesn't look that intimidating, as outside of Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano, most of the lineup is struggling or barely getting by.

Rogers Centre (indoor/retractable roof) 1:07 p.m. ET
Aaron Cook, RHP (4-4, 4.65 ERA, 1.37 WHIP) versus
Ty Taubenheim, RHP (season debut)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: After a poor start to June, it looked as if Matt Stairs' value would be limited to his white-hot May and nothing more. But he has rebounded nicely, and has five hits in his last three games, including three extra-base hits (one home run). But for the most part, right-handers are the Blue Jays' weakness, and Cook makes a pretty solid spot start as a result. Taubenheim is a short-term fill-in for A.J. Burnett, and you can feel free to ignore him, as he was unimpressive in the minors. The Rockies' bats have heated up, so it would take a special pitcher to be worth the risk. It's worth noting Troy Tulowitzki is hitting .423 with a home run in his last seven games.

Rangers Ballpark (outdoor) 3:55 p.m. ET (40 percent of rain, high of 89 degrees)
Roy Oswalt, RHP (7-4, 3.51 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) versus
Jamey Wright, RHP (0-1, 10.57 ERA, 2.35 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Oswalt hasn't been his usual self for parts of the season. Although a game in a hitters' venue like Rangers Ballpark always seems daunting, the Rangers' lineup is a lot less intimidating this year than it has been in recent seasons. Devoid of great players and mostly full of struggling role-players, Oswalt should have his way. The Astros have had a potent offense this month (.830 OPS in June, seventh in the majors) thanks to role-players like Luke Scott (three home runs, .957 OPS) and Mike Lamb (four homers, .396 average) going off. And with four home runs allowed in his first 7 2/3 innings, Wright should help said players keep up that pace.

Tropicana Field (indoor) 7:10 p.m. ET
Randy Wolf, LHP (8-5, 4.24 ERA, 1.36 WHIP) versus
Scott Kazmir, LHP (5-3, 4.10 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: James Loney, 1B (knee, day-to-day)

Game Story: Wolf has been touched up recently -- he has a 6.86 ERA and 1.86 WHIP on the month -- but he's had a tough schedule, facing three teams that are adept at hitting lefties. This start makes a fourth, as the D-Rays have an .836 OPS against southpaws, third in the majors. Most of the lineup, including Jonny Gomes, Brendan Harris, Akinori Iwamura, Delmon Young and Ty Wigginton, hit left-handers significantly better than righties, meaning you should keep Wolf on your bench. Kazmir should rebound from his troubles against the Dodgers, but keep in mind Luis Gonzalez (three home runs, .340 average in 53 at-bats) has demolished southpaws so far this season.

Angel Stadium (outdoor) 9:05 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 74 degrees)
Ian Snell, RHP (6-4, 2.63 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) versus
Kelvim Escobar, RHP (8-3, 2.97 ERA, 1.14 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Casey Kotchman, 1B (concussion, questionable); Chris Duffy, OF (hamstring, day-to-day)

Game Story: The Angels have been great this month, but so has Snell, and with the possibility of their hottest hitter sitting out on Saturday, Snell has to be considered a must-start. Escobar is on his way to a career year, and the Pirates don't have much of an offense, so this should be a nice pitchers' duel. At the dish, Reggie Willits is hitting .345 for the month and has yet to slow down. For the Pirates, Jose Bautista is quietly on his way to a productive month (.289 average, three home runs, two stolen bases).

Safeco Field (outdoor/retractable roof) 10:05 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 62 degrees)
Kyle Lohse, RHP (3-9, 4.56 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) versus
Jarrod Washburn, LHP (5-6, 4.38 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: The Mariners' offense has cooled down -- they hit .287 last week, but only had a .318 OBP and a .411 SLG. Lohse, however, has been beat up a bit by the AL West in his last two starts. Raul Ibanez now has four home runs on the month and it seems his two-month slump is gone for good. Other Mariners like Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez have put together nice batting averages but little else. Still, Lohse isn't a reliable spot starter. Washburn has been bombed in June, but his schedule was rather difficult, and the Reds struggle mightily against lefties. This one is not for the faint of heart, but Washburn should be counted on for a quality start on Saturday.

Fantasy Game Notes for Interleague Games in NL Parks for: Saturday

Turner Field (outdoor) 3:55 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 95 degrees)
Justin Verlander, RHP (8-2, 2.90 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) versus
Kyle Davies, RHP (3-6, 5.65 ERA, 1.55 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Chipper Jones, 3B (groin, day-to-day); Ivan Rodriguez, C (hamstring, day-to-day)

Game Story: The Braves have been awful in June, and Chipper Jones, one of their few productive players in recent weeks, might miss Saturday's game. Matt Diaz hit .424 in May and is hitting .342 this month, but it is as empty a batting average as it gets, with just two walks and extra-base hits (none of which were home runs) attached. Asking Davies to slow down the Tigers' offense seems like an impossible task, and most of the Tigers' every day lineup, with the only exception being Sean Casey, is worth starts.

AT&T Park (outdoor) 3:55 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 59 degrees)
Chien-Ming Wang, RHP (7-4, 3.33 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) versus
Matt Morris, RHP (7-4, 3.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Wang seems like an especially bad matchup for the already poor Giants offense because he neutralizes the Giants one offensive strength: home runs. An extreme ground ball pitcher, Wang's already difficult enough to score on, and in San Francisco's own pitchers' park he should be lights out. Matt Morris usually makes a great option when he pitches at home -- he has a career 3.85 ERA there, including a 2.32 ERA this year -- but against the surging Yankees, there may not be a safe pitcher in baseball.

RFK Stadium (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 62 degrees)
Paul Byrd, RHP (6-3, 4.81 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) versus
Matt Chico, LHP (3-5, 5.35 ERA, 1.59 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Byrd has been awful this month, and he got shelled in his last outing by the struggling Braves. On the plus side, he struck out seven and didn't walk anyone or allow a home run, and he has walked just one player since April. The Nationals have been hitting a little better this month -- Cristian Guzman is hitting .375 and has a .944 OPS, but he isn't contributing much in many other fantasy categories. Still, Byrd is a solid enough pitcher that he should be able to conquer the Nationals for a quality start. Chico got hammered in his last start, his first start against an above-average team in a month; the Indians won't offer much of a rebound, as they are rather tough on lefties.

Miller Park (indoor/retractable roof) 7:05 p.m. ET
Brian Bannister, RHP (4-3, 3.21 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) versus
Dave Bush, RHP (4-6, 5.48 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: J.J. Hardy, SS (back, day-to-day)

Game Story: Bannister came from nowhere to offer value in recent weeks, but he's been a bit lucky and his strikeout rate is quite low. The Brewers have been on point in June, with Corey Hart coming surprisingly belting seven home runs; Hart has a 1.037 OPS for the month, yet is still owned in only 44 percent of ESPN leagues. Combined with the call up of Ryan Braun and the return of Rickie Weeks, the lineup is downright scary, with no easy outs. Bush has a 3.87 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in his last four starts. So even though Alex Gordon's has been a heating boon for the Royals' offense, it's still nothing to write home about. Expect Bush's run to continue.

Dolphin Stadium (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (30 percent chance of rain, high of 84 degrees)
Carlos Silva, RHP (4-8, 4.20 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) versus
Josh Johnson, RHP (0-1, 9.82 ERA, 3.55 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Mike Jacobs, 1B (thumb; may return from disabled list)

Game Story: Silva got knocked around by the Mets, who have the league's second worst offense this month, in his last start. The Marlins struggled earlier in June, but they have hit the ball well the past week. Wait for a safer matchup before considering the inconsistent Silva a possibility. Johnson looked horrible in his return from the disabled list against the White Sox -- worst offense in baseball. The Twins have been the worst offense in June (.670 OPS), so based on level of competition alone, you may be so inclined to give Johnson another chance.

Shea Stadium (outdoor) 7:10 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 73 degrees)
Joe Kennedy, LHP (2-4, 3.62 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) versus
Orlando Hernandez, RHP (3-3, 3.08 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: The Mets were the second best offense against left-handers, but they have played so badly in June that they have fallen to eighth. That makes this game an interesting matchup for Kennedy, a southpaw. With 35 walks to 31 strikeouts, Kennedy's got by on a fair bit of luck, but the Mets have been struggling enough to view him as a potential spot starter. I would go with Kennedy, but it is a high-variance play. Hernandez's ERA has jumped more than a run in his last two starts, and the A's seem to be a legitimate above-average offense since the rise of Jack Cust (hitting .500 with two home runs in his past six games). Mark Ellis has also been on fire this month.

Chase Field (indoor/retractable roof) 9:40 p.m. ET
Brian Burres, LHP (3-2, 2.94 ERA, 1.46 WHIP) versus
Livan Hernandez, RHP (5-5, 4.50 ERA, 1.57 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Miguel Tejada, SS (wrist, questionable)

Game Story: Both offenses have been among the majors' worst this month, and Burres limited the D-backs to three runs and struck out nine in seven innings in his last start. Hernandez had been getting by on smoke and mirrors most of the season, but it has caught up to him in June. He has allowed a whopping seven home runs and has a 7.43 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP. Even the Orioles can hit a pitcher performing that poorly; Aubrey Huff is hitting .350 on the month, and since Hernandez has been allowing so many home runs, maybe Huff can net his first homer of the month, too.

Petco Park (outdoor) 10:05 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 69 degrees)
Tim Wakefield, RHP (7-7, 4.18 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) versus
Chris Young, RHP (6-3, 2.26 ERA, 1.12 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: J.D. Drew, OF (quadriceps, day-to-day); Mike Lowell, 3B (thumb, day-to-day)

Game Story: The Padres are one of the worst offensive teams at home, compiling a .674 OPS, which is to be expected considering Petco Park is one of the majors' most severe pitchers' parks. That's enough to go with Wakefield on Saturday, who has been boom or bust in June. Of course, you should expect San Diego's starters to make up the difference when they pitch at home, and Young certainly has, with a 1.10 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in San Diego this season. Young has yet to allow a home run at Petco, and although the Red Sox have found their bats again, they may be without two regulars against a true ace.

Fantasy Game Notes for Friday: National League
Busch Stadium (outdoor) 1:10 p.m. ET (30 percent chance of rain, high of 85 degrees)
Adam Eaton, RHP (7-4, 5.33 ERA, 1.49 WHIP) versus
Adam Wainwright, RHP (5-6, 4.70 ERA, 1.55 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Eaton's on a nice three-start roll, lowering his ERA by nearly a run and even squeezing a quality start out of the Tigers -- the best offense in baseball. The Cardinals have started hitting this month, so this matchup isn't as favorable as you think; the Cards have role-players like So Taguchi (13-game hitting streak), Juan Encarnacion (four home runs, .288 average in June) and Scott Spiezio (.932 June OPS) playing well. Wainwright has a 2.89 ERA in four starts this month, though his ratios are horrible, with four home runs allowed and only 12 strikeouts in 28 innings. Both starters seem to be trending upward in recent weeks, but don't necessarily make good plays on Saturday due to poor matchups.

Waiver Wire Pick Ups

Aaron Cook, SP, COL @ Toronto Blue Jays
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, COL @ Toronto Blue Jays
Mike Lamb, 3B, HOU @ Texas Rangers
Luke Scott, OF, HOU @ Texas Rangers
Jonny Gomes, OF, TB versus Los Angeles Dodgers
Brendan Harris, SS, TB versus Los Angeles Dodgers
Jose Bautista, 3B, PIT @ Los Angeles Angels
Raul Ibanez, OF, SEA versus Cincinnati Reds
Brandon Inge, 3B, DET @ Atlanta Braves
Paul Byrd, SP, CLE @ Washington Nationals
Dave Bush, SP, MIL versus Kansas City Royals
Alex Gordon, 3B, KC @ Milwaukee Brewers
Josh Johnson, SP, FLA versus Minnesota Twins
Joe Kennedy, SP, OAK @ New York Mets
Mark Ellis, 2B, OAK @ New York Mets
Jack Cust, DH, OAK @ New York Mets
Brian Burres, SP, BAL @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Tim Wakefield, SP, BOS @ San Diego Padres
Juan Encarnacion, OF, STL versus Philadelphias Phillies

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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