Daily Notes: Bench Billingsley at Coors

Updated: July 27, 2007, 8:47 PM ET
By Adam Madison | Special to ESPN.com

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Fantasy Game Notes for Saturday: American League
Angel Stadium (outdoor) 3:55 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 80 degrees)
Andrew Miller, LHP (5-3, 3.78 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) versus
Joe Saunders, LHP (4-0, 2.89 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Gary Sheffield, DH (shoulder, questionable)

Game Story: Miller has been tolerable, if unimpressive, in his rookie season. He allows a ton of walks but has an above-average strikeout rate, which has resulted in inefficiency (he has advanced past the sixth inning once). The Angels have been the worst offense in baseball throughout most of July, though, so Miller can be used in all leagues. Saunders isn't so lucky. The Tigers have been the best offense against lefties for the majority of the season. Craig Monroe and Brandon Inge have been struggling immensely this month, but still have strong splits against left-handers for both the season and their careers, and using either of them has some merit.

Safeco Field (outdoor/retractable roof) 4:05 p.m. ET (mostly sunny, high of 73 degrees)
Chad Gaudin, RHP (8-5, 3.66 ERA, 1.52 WHIP) versus
Horacio Ramirez, LHP (5-3, 6.75 ERA, 1.79 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Offense in the majors has increased considerably in the past two months, but July has been the worst offensive month of the season for both the Athletics and Mariners. The two rank 28th and 27th, respectively, in OPS for the month, though there is a significant gap between the Mariners (.690) and Athletics (.676). That still may not be enough to safely start Gaudin, who has a 10.22 ERA in his past three starts, including allowing five runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Angels (an MLB-worst .651 OPS in July). Ramirez also was bombed by a mediocre offense in his last outing (8 ER in 4 2/3 innings against the Rangers), but he's facing a weaker offense and is pitching at home (2.27 ERA in Safeco), making him the choice.

Jacobs Field (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (30 percent chance of thunderstorms, high of 77 degrees)
Johan Santana, LHP (11-8, 2.94 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) versus
Jake Westbrook, RHP (1-6, 6.20 ERA, 1.61 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: The Twins are down to just three productive hitters in their lineup, so Santana means more to them than usual. While Santana has allowed nine earned runs in his last 13 innings, the outings were against the two best teams against southpaws, so his 6.23 ERA isn't that bad when you consider he faced two teams that perform like Derek Jeter against lefties. Ryan Garko is hitting over .400 this month, but otherwise the Indians are just good, not great, against lefties. It is tempting to recommend Westbrook due to the Twins' hitting problems, but he is best left alone. Considering how poor he has been this season, it's best to let him prove he can beat poor teams before assuming he can.

Camden Yards (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (40 percent chance of thunderstorms, high of 87 degrees)
Roger Clemens, RHP (3-4, 3.72 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) versus
Brian Burres, LHP (4-4, 4.33 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: The Orioles haven't been hitting too poorly without Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada -- their OPS on the month ranks them 13th -- as guys like Corey Patterson (4 HR, 8 SB, .337 average in July) and Kevin Millar (3 HR, 17 RBI) have stepped up. That's not to suggest Clemens will get roughed up, but nonetheless the Orioles are hitting better of late. Burres has an 8.38 ERA over his past four starts, and with 41 walks in 72 2/3 innings this season, it was only a matter of time before his ERA ballooned. The Yankees are a league-average offense against lefties, but right now Burres isn't even a league-average pitcher.

U.S. Cellular Field (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 76 degrees)
Roy Halladay, RHP (11-4, 4.15 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) versus
Mark Buehrle, LHP (7-6, 3.23 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: The White Sox's offense has come alive in the past month or so, although they have still received few contributions outside of the Jim Thome-Jermaine Dye-Paul Konerko triumvirate. A.J. Pierzynski has been an exception, hitting .378 since the break. Halladay has been on point in his past two starts, allowing one earned run in 16 innings, and you figure Halladay at his best is still better than the White Sox at theirs. As previously mentioned, the Blue Jays are murder against lefties. The only regulars who aren't appreciably better against southpaws are Royce Clayton and Gregg Zaun. Reed Johnson, Lyle Overbay, Frank Thomas and Aaron Hill are all fine plays for Saturday as a result. Also note that Buehrle has allowed 16 homers, including nine at home.

Tropicana Field (indoor) 7:10 p.m. ET
Jon Lester, LHP (1-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) versus
James Shields, RHP (8-6, 4.44 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Lester was surprisingly solid in his season debut, logging a quality start by allowing two earned runs in six innings against the Indians. But allowed a home run and gave up three walks, which are the more worrisome indicators. The Devil Rays are superb against left-handers. Akinori Iwamura (3 HR, .356 average), Jonny Gomes (.339) and Brendan Harris (.330) all do a good job mashing southpaws, making Lester a poor option. Surprisingly, this will be Shields' first start against the Red Sox this season, but judging by his 7.29 ERA in his past eight starts, Shields isn't the best option. Most worrisome are the 11 home runs allowed in that time span, giving him a whopping 23 on the season.

Kauffman Stadium (outdoor) 7:10 p.m. ET (cloudy, high of 84 degrees)
Kevin Millwood, RHP (7-8, 5.56 ERA, 1.63 WHIP) versus
Odalis Perez, LHP (5-9, 5.80 ERA, 1.64 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B (back, questionable)

Game Story: Millwood failed in his most recent start, allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings against a struggling Mariners offense, but gets another favorable matchup against the Royals, who are 25th in OPS versus right-handers. Alex Gordon is back to hitting for the Royals -- .326 since the All-Star break -- and Billy Butler has continued to as well (.353 since break), but otherwise Millwood faces a decidedly below-average lineup. For the most part the same can be said of Perez, although Brad Wilkerson is one of the few Rangers who does crush lefties (.980 OPS). This is one of the few times in the past couple of months that Perez has actually had a pretty good matchup, so even if he's not worthy of a start, it's worth seeing how he does.

Fantasy Game Notes for Saturday: National League

Shea Stadium (outdoor) 12:10 p.m. ET (30 percent chance of rain, high of 78 degrees)
Tim Redding, RHP (1-2, 2.92 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) versus
Orlando Hernandez, RHP (6-4, 3.14 ERA, 1.12 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Carlos Beltran, OF (abdominal, questionable)

Game Story: Even though Redding has a sub-3.00 ERA in his first four starts, he can still safely be ignored. With just five strikeouts in those four starts and a career ERA north of 5.00, Redding's about the farthest from a valid option. Hernandez surprisingly hasn't regressed too much in the past two months, but luck still has been on his side: his .227 batting average on balls in play is the lowest in the majors. The Nats were one of the few teams able to light Hernandez up -- he allowed six runs in five innings earlier this season -- but that still shouldn't dissuade you considering how inept the Nationals' offense is, in general. Lastings Milledge has three homers since the break, and while he can't sustain it, he should be in your everyday lineups until the hot streak passes.

Busch Stadium (outdoor) 1:10 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 82 degrees)
Manny Parra, LHP (0-0, 3.86 ERA, 0.86 WHIP) versus
Brad Thompson, RHP (6-4, 4.93 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Parra is a bit too old to fully trust his minor league numbers, but he has done a great job of preventing home runs and has a career 0.45 HR/9. His walk and strikeout rates are above average but not eye-opening, but if you can prevent extra-base hits you can make a living. In his first start of the year, he has a tough test. The Cards have an .817 OPS this month, though Parra being left-handed does neutralize one of their best hitters, Chris Duncan. Juan Encarnacion is still hitting .350 in July, including .366 since the break. Thompson has allowed a whopping six home runs this month, good news for Geoff Jenkins (.274, 11 HR versus righties) and the rest of the Brewers.

Chase Field (indoor/retractable roof) 3:55 p.m. ET
John Smoltz, RHP (10-5, 2.78 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) versus
Doug Davis, LHP (7-10, 4.13 ERA, 1.67 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Chipper Jones, 3B (groin, questionable)

Game Story: The Diamondbacks have actually started hitting a little bit better in the past week with a .786 OPS. Not quite imposing, but it did move them up to 24th in OPS for the month. Conor Jackson has a .278/.366/.556 line with two home runs since the break, hopefully a sign his bat is back. Smoltz has quietly been one of the league's best and most consistent starters, though, so the D-backs' surge may be just temporary. Davis has a streak of four straight quality starts despite allowing a home run in each of those starts and a total of 35 baserunners. That is more fluke than skill, so expect the Braves to do well, including Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Matt Diaz, who are both proficient against lefties.

Minute Maid Park (indoor) 3:55 p.m. ET
Greg Maddux, RHP (7-7, 4.11 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) versus
Roy Oswalt, RHP (9-6, 3.80 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Both teams have offenses among the worst in the majors against right-handers, with the Astros 24th (.723) and the Padres 29th (.674). Despite a lineup that leans heavily to the right and a home stadium that plays to that, the Astros aren't much better at home, either, though the Padres benefit significantly when they move out of Petco. Milton Bradley (.340 in July) and Luke Scott (.318 with 2 HR since the break) are currently hitting pretty well, but for the most part this should be a low-scoring game, because two pretty good pitchers take the mound.

Citizens Bank Park (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (40 percent chance of rain, high of 81 degrees)
Shane Youman, LHP (2-2, 3.24 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) versus
J.D. Durbin, RHP (0-0, 5.76 ERA, 1.72 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Adam LaRoche, 1B (illness, questionable); Chase Utley, 2B (broken hand, DL)

Game Story: Youman has held his own in his first four starts and has only allowed one home run against some solid offenses. His strikeout and walk rates are quite weak, though, and the same has been true for him in the minors. The Phillies struggled against lefties as recently as early July, but they have crept up to seventh in OPS against lefties, thanks largely to Pat Burrell (.434 average in July), and should be too much for Youman to overcome. Durbin has allowed just one run in his past two starts and faces a mediocre offense, and although he is playing over his head, the Pirates aren't the optimal club to bring him back to reality.

Great American Ball Park (outdoor) 7:10 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 80 degrees)
Sean Marshall, LHP (4-4, 3.25 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) versus
Aaron Harang, RHP (10-2, 3.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Mark DeRosa, 2B (hamstring, questionable); David Ross, C (finger, questionable); Alex Gonzalez, SS (bereavement list, questionable)

Game Story: The Reds have had trouble with southpaws all season long, a byproduct of their two best hitters being lefties -- but now they are downright putrid against them as their .693 OPS puts them 28th in the majors. Brandon Phillips is about the only regular who maintains some semblance of value against lefties, so Marshall is quite the strong spot start. Marshall has been picking on inferior offenses recently, facing the D-backs, Giants and Nats in his past three starts, but to his credit he has not squandered the soft schedule. Harang has been a stud since June with a 2.56 ERA, and his mediocrity versus the Cubs this season (4.03 ERA) is inflated by one poor outing against them all the way back in April.

Shea Stadium (outdoor) 7:10 p.m. ET (40 percent chance of thunderstorms, high of 77 degrees)
Billy Traber, LHP (2-1, 4.09 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) versus
Mike Pelfrey, RHP (0-7, 6.12 ERA, 1.69 WHIP)

Notable Injuries:Carlos Beltran, OF (abdominal, questionable)

Game Story: Traber has started just one game all season, which makes his numbers look that much worse. In that one start, he lasted four innings and allowed one run against the Rockies, a respectable, if all too short, outing. Traber has had much more success as a reliever than a starter in his career, so one shouldn't expect much from him on Saturday. Pelfrey has been bad in every sense of the word, poor enough where even the Nats should hit him. Pelfrey allowed 10 baserunners in 5 2/3 innings against the Nationals earlier in the season, bad news for his chances this time around.

Coors Field (outdoor) 8:05 p.m. ET (50 percent chance of rain, high of 70 degrees)
Chad Billingsley, RHP (7-0, 3.38 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) versus
Jeff Francis, LHP (10-5, 4.22 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: The Rockies have cooled off in recent weeks, but still have done enough this month to rank 10th in OPS, assuredly presenting more of a challenge to Billingsley than the light-hitting Astros did. The Rockies hit much better against righties and are one of the best-hitting teams at home, too. It may seem odd to bench a pitcher a start after he logs a complete game, but that is the case with Billingsley. Francis has been knocked around a lot recently, and unfortunately faces a Dodgers offense that has both come alive in July and fares much better against southpaws. Francis has also been considerably worse at home (4.73 ERA, 1.48 WHIP). Matt Kemp has been getting consistent starts against lefties and is mashing them, so consider him a strong option for Saturday.

Busch Stadium (outdoor) 8:10 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 82 degrees)
Chris Capuano, LHP (5-6, 4.64 ERA, 1.43 WHIP) versus
Anthony Reyes, RHP (0-10, 6.40 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Capuano may be usable again after two strong starts against the D-backs and Reds, though keep in mind he did what a pitcher is supposed to do: beat poor offenses. Still, even considering the poor level of competition, Capuano deserves some credit. The Cardinals, as previously mentioned, have a much stronger offense right now than their season totals would imply, though Capuano once again has an advantage due to being left-handed. Turning Chris Duncan from an All-Star to a Triple-A bat simply by being a lefty is a big advantage, enough of one to be cautiously optimistic about Capuano's chances. This will be Reyes' first start in a month, and to his credit he did dominate the minors while being sent down; a good performance against the Brewers and one can truly grasp onto some hope.

AT&T Park (outdoor) 9:05 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 64 degrees)
Dontrelle Willis, LHP (7-10, 5.15 ERA, 1.65 WHIP) versus
Matt Cain, RHP (3-12, 4.02 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Hanley Ramirez, SS (shoulder, questionable)

Game Story: Despite his obviously poor numbers, Willis is owned in 71.9 percent of ESPN leagues. Now there's definitely proof of the value of name, and name alone. Willis faced the worst offense in the game against lefties, the Diamondbacks, and still couldn't log a quality start. He gets another shot, facing the second-worst offense against lefties, though the difference in parks -- the D-backs are much better at home thanks to their park, while the Giants are the opposite -- should make up for it. Willis gets a recommendation off sheer matchups. The Marlins have been superb in July, amassing a .835 OPS; both Jeremy Hermida and Mike Jacobs have been quite productive. Combine that with Cain's recent struggles and owners must exercise more patience with the young pitcher.

Waiver Wire Pickups

Andrew Miller, SP, DET @ Los Angeles Angels
Brandon Inge, 3B, DET @ Los Angeles Angels
Horacio Ramirez, SP, SEA versus Oakland Athletics
Ryan Garko, 1B, CLE versus Minnesota Twins
Corey Patterson, OF, BAL versus New York Yankees
A.J. Pierzynski, C, CHW versus Toronto Blue Jays
Aaron Hill, 2B, TOR @ Chicago White Sox
Reed Johnson, OF, TOR @ Chicago White Sox
Jonny Gomes, OF, TB versus Boston Red Sox
Brendan Harris, SS, TB versus Boston Red Sox
Alex Gordon, 3B, KC versus Texas Rangers
Billy Butler, 1B, KC versus Texas Rangers
Kevin Millwood, SP, TEX @ Kansas City Royals
Lastings Milledge, OF, NYM versus Washington Nationals
Geoff Jenkins, OF, MIL @ St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Diaz, OF, ATL @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Greg Maddux, SP, SD @ Houston Astros
Pat Burrell, OF, PHI versus Pittsburgh Pirates
Sean Marshall, SP, CHC @ Cincinnati Reds
Matt Kemp, OF, LAD @ Colorado Rockies
Chris Capuano, SP, MIL @ St. Louis Cardinals
Jeremy Hermida, OF, FLA @ San Francisco Giants
Mike Jacobs, 1B, FLA @ 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.

Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com and TalentedMrRoto.com. He can be reached at Adam@TalentedMrRoto.com