Daily Notes: Arroyo a good spot start
Josh Fogg, RHP (3-5, 4.58 ERA, 1.53 WHIP) versus
Dustin McGowan, RHP (3-3, 5.68 ERA, 1.50 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Jeff Baker, OF (illness, day-to-day)
Game Story: McGowan took a step back in his last outing and cannot be trusted here for a spot start. The Dodgers knocked him out after just 1 2/3 innings and tagged him with eight earned runs. AL-only leagues can be a little more forgiving, as McGowan had a run of five straight quality starts before the game, but mixed leagues and H2H leagues can't afford another thrashing. Fogg is no better, and this is shaping up to be a game for the offenses. Start all your Jays and Rockies, notably Aaron Hill, who is hitting .326 at Rogers Centre this year, and Todd Helton, who is a .375 lifetime hitter in Toronto and is hitting .335 versus righties this year. Troy Tulowitzki is also red hot over the last seven days, with a .381 average, two home runs and two steals.
Hong-Chih Kuo, LHP (1-2, 6.65 ERA, 1.62 WHIP) versus
Edwin Jackson, RHP (0-8, 7.85 ERA, 1.95 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: James Loney, 1B/OF (knee, day-to-day)
Game Story: Kuo has the same numbers from his last outing as McGowan (1 2/3 innings, 8 ER) and should also be approached with caution after earning some trust in his two outings prior to Wednesday. The Rays actually hit lefties very well (.831 OPS, 3rd in majors), making Kuo that much riskier. If you can look at Jackson's numbers and still consider using him, I have good news: Fantasy Football season starts soon. Get all of your Dodgers in there, and I'll highlight Matt Kemp (5-for-13, .385) and Andre Ethier (7-for-15, .467), who have been hitting well over the last week. Akinori Iwamura is owned in only 30 percent of ESPN leagues, and he hits southpaws at a .447 clip, making him a good spot start on offense for Tampa. You may want to give Carlos Pena the night off, as he bats .207 against lefties and has just one of his home runs off a southpaw.
Sean Marshall, LHP (3-2, 2.84 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) versus
Jose Contreras, RHP (5-7, 4.81 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)
Game Story: The plague that was Michael Barrett on the Cubs can be blamed for Marshall's poor outing against Texas. His numbers have been good enough that we can give him a break and hope that Koyie Hill works his magic behind the plate. Don't forget that the White Sox can't hit lefties (.650 OPS, 30th in majors), so Marshall should dominate. Jose Contreras has been knocked around lately, and with the Sox offense likely to be anemic against Marshall, there is little reason to start him. His strikeout numbers have been uncharacteristically low, so owners should wait for a good outing before thinking about trusting him again. Josh Fields has been hitting well (.318) and showing power (2 HR) over the last week; making him a decent deep-league power source for H2H leagues looking for a Sunday boost. Mike Fontenot continues to see the ball well for the Cubs, and left-handed hitters (like him) fare well against Contreras (.302 average).
Tom Gorzelanny, LHP (7-4, 3.01 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) versus
Bartolo Colon, RHP (6-3, 6.17 ERA, 1.51 WHIP)
Game Story: Colon should be left alone here. His ERA over his last five outings is a ridiculous 9.79, and pitching coach Mike Butcher says he is consistently getting into fastball counts and opponents have known it's coming. Even when he has pitched well this year, the K numbers have been way down, so the risk versus reward just isn't there with BFBC (Big Fat Bartolo Colon). The Pirates bats have a chance to wake up here after sporting a collective .652 OPS over the last seven days (29th in majors). It's no secret that Colon's stuff hasn't been there, so starting Jose Bautista, Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez and Xavier Nady is just fine. Gorzelanny is bit risky here, only because of the Angels' strong bats. Chone Figgins, Reggie Willits and Howie Kendrick are all hitting better than .400 over the last seven days, and even Shea Hillenbrand (.353) and Orlando Cabrera (.379) are close. Taking Kotchman out of the equation would help (his 1.227 June OPS ranks 6th in AL), but there is even a chance that he could play. Mixed leagues need to play it safe, and NL-only leagues should seriously consider a benching.
Bronson Arroyo, RHP (2-8, 5.24 ERA, 1.52 WHIP) versus
Miguel Batista, RHP (7-6, 4.99 ERA, 1.64 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Arroyo has been pretty good on the road (3.88 ERA), and he has a 0.64 career ERA in two starts at Safeco. Mark Wegner is the umpire, and he calls the third most strikeouts per game (15.4). Spot start, anyone? Arroyo is available in almost 70 percent of ESPN leagues. Since Arroyo projects for a good game, start just your necessary Mariners. Batista's ERA has been dropping each month, but his WHIP has held steady. Fantasy players should heed the high WHIP and avoid him. For what it's worth, Batista's WHIP is 0.93 in four day games. If I told you two Reds had cranked four home runs over the last seven days, one of your guesses would be Adam Dunn. Your other guess might not be David Ross. Ross is available in 99 percent of ESPN leagues, and he is also batting .400 for the last week.
Chris Sampson, RHP (6-5, 3.70 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) versus
Robinson Tejeda, RHP (5-7, 6.29 ERA, 1.66 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Here's the thing with Sampson: He's had two games where he has just stunk up the joint, and given up 14 hits and at least six earned runs. But if you take those games out of his numbers, he has a 2.60 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP over 11 starts. One of those bad games was his last outing against the hard-hitting Angels, and other one was April 23 at Philadelphia. After that game in Philly, Sampson bounced back with a gem against the hot Brewers. The Rangers have been piecing together their lineup lately, and I like Sampson to throw a quality start with a win and half a dozen K's. Tejeda on the other hand, might accidentally walk you if you pass him in the hallway. Even in his last start where he surrendered only two earned runs in five innings, his WHIP was 2.20. Avoid him. Mike Lamb and Mark Loretta have been absolutely smoking for the Astros, hitting .478 and .545 respectively over the last seven days. Both are widely available in ESPN leagues (9 percent and 1 percent ownership, respectively).
Johan Santana, LHP (7-6, 2.91 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) versus
Byung-Hyun Kim, RHP (3-3, 5.22 ERA, 1.64 WHIP)
Game Story: The Marlins have struck out a total of 617 times; that's almost 50 more whiffs than any other team in the majors. Would anybody be shocked to see Santana walk away with 20 K's? Seriously, Larry Young is the umpire, and he calls the 8th most strikeouts per game (14.3). Limit your Fish selection to Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera in mixed leagues (they hit .417 and .414 against lefties) and Miguel Olivo and Jeremy Hermida in NL-only (.412 and .324 versus southpaws). Most Twins have had a cold bat lately, but Kim is as hittable as anyone, so don't hold back your Twinkies. Kim is far too inconsistent to use as a spot start, especially facing Santana.
Joe Kennedy, LHP (2-4, 3.62 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) versus
John Maine, RHP (7-4, 2.90 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: The 35 free passes issued by Kennedy versus his 31 strikeouts indicate trouble. Because of a low pitch count, those walks usually translate to a damaging WHIP, as Kennedy can't go too far into a game. Forget Carlos Delgado against him, though, as Kennedy has his number (5-for-36 lifetime). Although his K's have been down in recent outings, Maine looks to be clearing a hump in his numbers. Feel free to use him against the A's, who are league average as far as hitting is concerned. Eric Chavez was 3-for-4 on Friday in his return from a one-game hiatus because of his ribs; he has really started heating up, with six home runs in June and seven over the last 30 days. Chavez is surprisingly available in 54 percent of ESPN leagues.
Jake Westbrook, RHP (1-2, 7.90 ERA, 1.68 WHIP) versus
Jason Simontacchi, RHP (4-5, 6.31 ERA, 1.62 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Jake Westbrook, SP (abdomen, DL/scheduled starter); Robert Fick, C/1B (bereavement, out)
Game Story: Westbrook is coming off a strained abdomen he suffered on May 2. Mixed-league owners will want to stay back and watch this game. Westbrook was actually starting to round into form before the injury, so he at least bears some attention. Simontacchi tied a Nationals franchise record when he coughed up 10 earned runs in just three innings in his last outing. Yeah, you want no part of that. Dmitri Young and Ryan Zimmerman are about the only two Nationals you want to worry about, and you can stretch the boundaries a little when starting your Indians against Simontacchi. Franklin Gutierrez, for example, is hot, with five hits in his last 11 at-bats.
Odalis Perez, LHP (4-7, 6.06 ERA, 1.65 WHIP) versus
Yovani Gallardo, RHP (1-0, 4.26 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: J.J. Hardy, SS (back, day-to-day)
Game Story: Gallardo won't find Kansas City as easy as the Giants (the Royals top the Giants in both total and June OPS), but he should fare well against them. This outing will go a long way to determining whether his owners can cash in on the hype or hold him for decent stats. If Gallardo absolutely dominates the Royals, the buzz that has been following him may help fuel a trade that nets a fantasy owner a much more reliable arm for the rest of the season. His availability still hovers around 60 percent, so it may not be too late for you to nab him and try to cash in. The only Royal with a really hot bat is Alex Gordon (.423 in the last week and .342 in June), and he is still available in 75 percent of ESPN leagues. He has arrived, people! Perez was basically schooled in back-to-back outings against the 22nd ranked offense (in OPS) of the Cardinals for a combined nine earned runs in nine innings with five walks and one strikeout. The Brewers are not the team to test his luck against; especially with Corey Hart hitting the ball like he can see the light that's right before his eyes. That may be a lame 80s music reference, but it doesn't change the fact that Hart has ten RBIs over the last seven days. It's time to get on the Hart train; he's available in 51 percent of ESPN leagues, and this hot streak is legitimate. Ryan Braun has hit lefties at an impressive .522 clip and should be able to knock Perez around. Heck, start all your Brewers for this one.
Mike Mussina, RHP (3-4, 5.10 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) versus
Noah Lowry, LHP (6-6, 3.74 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Johnny Damon, OF (abdominal, doubtful)
Game Story: Mussina has continued his string of quality starts with Wil Nieves as his personal catcher. Set him loose on the Giants with confidence or pick him up for the start if you are in one of the 67 percent of ESPN leagues where he is a free agent. With Nieves catching, Derek Jeter will be the only Yankee that hits better than .300 against lefties; but Lowry's walks have been troubling, and the Yankees take the fifth most free passes in the majors (272). I'd only use Lowry in deep NL-only leagues against the Yankees, and only because of his sparkling home ERA of 2.74.
Josh Beckett, RHP (10-1, 3.14 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) versus
Jake Peavy, RHP (9-1, 1.98 ERA, 1.02 WHIP)
Game Story: Crooked numbers will be rare indeed in a duel between two pitchers that might meet again on July 10 in San Francisco (All-Star Game). The game is in the most pitcher-friendly park in the majors between two of the best pitchers in the majors, so shy away from just about everyone on offense except for the must starts like Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. The exception here is the scorching Coco Crisp who is batting .619 (13-for-21) over the last seven days with an uncharacteristic three home runs. Only that kind of hotness can get to Peavy. For the Padres, feel free to start the hot Mike Cameron (9-for-19, 2 HRs in last week) and those in dire straights might try Russell Branyan, who is 4-for-8 lifetime with two homers versus Beckett.
Steve Trachsel, RHP (5-5, 4.24 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) versus
Doug Davis, LHP (4-8, 4.26 ERA, 1.71 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Miguel Tejada, SS (wrist, DL)
Game Story: What's with the Orioles' shortstop position? Tejada ended a streak of 1,152 consecutive games played on Friday. The O's don't have anyone to step in and take over that has much fantasy value, as a platoon of Freddie Bynum and Chris Gomez might only help in the deepest of fantasy leagues. Davis could have a rough outing here, as Jay Payton, Aubrey Huff and Ramon Hernandez all hit lefties better than .300. It's not like Davis is on many fantasy owners radars though, as he hasn't lasted past the fifth in his last three outings while surrendering at least four runs in each. Trachsel has 41 walks compared to his 28 strikeouts, which means it doesn't matter what his matchup is like, you want no part of it. Conor Jackson may be hitting .301 over the last month, but his average is .143 for the past week, and he is 1-for-6 lifetime versus Trachsel. Chad Tracy, on the other hand, is 5-for-9 versus Trachsel in his career. Tracy, by the way, is available in almost 85 percent of ESPN leagues and has three home runs in 11 games since coming off the DL (he had one home run in 31 games prior to getting hurt).
Andrew Miller, LHP (2-1, 3.63 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) versus
Chuck James, LHP (6-6, 4.11 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)
Game Story: James is in trouble here versus Detroit's league-leading .890 OPS versus southpaws, though, Ordonez' possible absence plays strongly in his favor. Still, there is no real advantage to rolling the loaded dice on James, so why bother? Miller certainly had a door opened for him with the Mike Maroth trade, but he still needs to bring down his walks to stay in the rotation when Nate Robertson returns. He could have issues against the Braves, who can get to lefties with Matt Diaz, Edgar Renteria and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (they all hit better than .300 versus southpaws). In the end, the fact that Miller is a virtual lock for a win and half a dozen K's makes me want to say "play him." Marcus Thames is 4-for-13 over the last week with two homers and would be in the lineup if Ordonez can't play.
Cole Hamels, LHP (9-3, 3.82 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) versus
Kip Wells, RHP (3-11, 6.75 ERA, 1.63 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: It's hard to blame anyone for having a rough outing against the Indians, so Hamels gets the all clear for this game. St. Louis sports a .694 OPS against lefties (28th in majors). Personally, I think it's impressive to have 11 losses before July 1, but Wells probably has a different word for it. However, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins are a combined 2-for-28 lifetime versus Wells (with both hits belonging to Utley). All the same, 11 losses and a 6.75 ERA speak for themselves. As far as cheap hitters go, try So Taguchi, Scott Spiezio, Aaron Miles or Chris Duncan, who are all hitting .375 or better in the last week.
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, COL @ Toronto Blue Jays
Akinori Iwamura, 3B, TB versus Los Angeles Dodgers
Josh Fields, 3B, CHW versus Chicago Cubs
Bronson Arroyo, SP, CIN @ Seattle Mariners
David Ross, C, CIN @ Seattle Mariners
Chris Sampson, SP, HOU @ Texas Rangers
Eric Chavez, 3B, OAK @ New York Mets
Yovani Gallardo, SP MIL versus Kansas City Royals
Cory Hart, OF, MIL versus Kansas City Royals
Mike Mussina, SP, NYY @ San Francisco Giants
Coco Crisp, OF, BOS @ San Diego Padres
Chad Tracy, 1B/3B, ARI versus Baltimore Orioles
Marcus Thames, OF, DET @ 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 is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com and TalentedMrRoto.com. He can be reached at alla_rino@TalentedMrRoto.com