Fantasy Game Notes for Wednesday: American League
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: In two starts, Bedard has dominated the Yankees, allowing three runs in 14 innings, including a 13-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. While it can't be overstated how hot the Yanks are -- in 31 games since the break, their team OPS is still a ridiculous .953 -- their OPS drops exactly 100 points when facing a lefty. Bedard has allowed more than three runs once in the past three months, and has a vintage Randy Johnson-like 11.0 K/9. As for Hughes, any pitcher who allows six runs to the Royals makes you think twice about just throwing him out there, but he did rebound to limit the Indians to one run in six innings, and his peripheral stats already suggest a No. 2 starter. Plus, the Orioles have cooled down in August (.757 OPS, 20th).
Notable Injuries: Coco Crisp, OF (virus, day-to-day)
Game Story: Sonnanstine has a 9.35 ERA in his past four starts, and while his walk and strikeout rates are fine, he has allowed 13 home runs in 79 1/3 innings and lefties are hitting .342/.367/.544 off of him. This will be his first start against the Red Sox, but judging by recent outings, the chances Sonnanstine gets bombed are high. J.D. Drew is a good start for Wednesday, as he is left-handed, and while he's yet to net a home run since the break, he is hitting .394 on the month. Matsuzaka has stifled the D-Rays in two starts against them (1.26 ERA, 0.98 WHIP), and he should have little problem living up to that standard, especially since the D-Rays' usual best hitter against righties, Carlos Pena, is in the midst of a 2-for-25 slump.
Notable Injuries: Jason Kubel, OF (oblique, questionable)
Game Story: Baker has been flying under the radar, but has been more than decent recently, with a 3.72 ERA and 1.07 WHIP since June 20. The Mariners have found some offense recently, though, with Yuniesky Betancourt (hitting .372 with three homers in August), Richie Sexson (six-game hitting streak, two homers in past two games), Raul Ibanez (five homers in August) and Jose Guillen (three home runs, .327 average in August) all hitting well. Most of the above players are considerably more effective against lefties, though; Baker's worth a start nonetheless. The Twins have the worst offense in baseball since the break (.681 OPS). Washburn hasn't looked good lately, but the margin of error is just so significant when facing such a poor offense, so he's worth a shot anyway.
Jacobs Field (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (30 percent chance of thunderstorms, high of 80 degrees)
Jair Jurrjens, RHP (Season debut) versus
Fausto Carmona, RHP (13-7, 3.26 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Travis Hafner, DH (knee, questionable)
Game Story: Jurrjens has been pretty solid in the minors this season, with a 3.20 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Outside of his home run rate (0.56 HR/9), his other peripherals belie his ERA, so don't get too excited. But it should be enough to conquer the Indians anyway, who have a .698 OPS since the All-Star break, 28th in the majors. Ryan Garko is the only hitter who hasn't been miserable in that time frame, but in August he is slugging just .325. Carmona has a 5.54 ERA in two previous starts against the Tigers, but that was back when the Tigers had the best offense in the majors. Recently the Tigers have been about league average, although Marcus Thames' return is a boost (two homers in five games), so a quality start is probable.
Notable Injuries: Gary Matthews Jr. OF (knee, day-to-day); Troy Glaus, 3B (foot, day-to-day)
Game Story: Mosely hasn't been much as a starter since filling in for Bartolo Colon -- he allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings after Colon lasted just an inning in his most recent start -- and Moseley has since followed that up with an 11.40 ERA in three starts since. Frank Thomas is hitting .350 in August and should have a good day against Moseley. Marcum's peripherals suggest a decent pitcher, not the ace-like numbers he has accumulated to this point, and the 20 home runs allowed in 120 2/3 innings are worrisome as well. Fourteen of those home runs have occurred at home, leading to a 4.50 ERA in Rogers Centre, and since the Angels have a very good offense (.794 OPS since the break, eighth in the majors), Marcum is much riskier than his numbers suggest.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: The Rangers have stabilized as one of the worst offenses in the majors in recent weeks, exacerbated by the loss of Mark Teixeira. Michael Young has regained his stroke, as he's hitting .366 in August, but otherwise it's difficult to pick out any other above-average hitter. Meche has gradually taken a step back in performance the past six weeks, but an outing against the Rangers promises a nice rebound start and one of Wednesday's best spot starts. This will be Padilla's first start since landing on the disabled list June 22. Although it's a nice matchup for Padilla, he has shown few signs of being an effective pitcher this season, so no reason to jump the gun and start him.
Game Story: Buehrle shouldn't have any trouble against the Athletics, who, as has been the case most of the season, are dealing with a litany of injuries. Oakland's offense has been poor even when healthy; Travis Buck, if he can play, and Mark Ellis are the best bets against Buehrle, judging by their platoon splits. Blanton has a 7.11 ERA in his past seven starts, and his season ERA has raised nearly a run in the process. Under normal circumstances Blanton would be a good option to start, since the White Sox offense hasn't been particularly impressive recently, but neither have the Tigers, and Blanton allowed nine runs to them in his last start.
Fantasy Game Notes for Wednesday: National League
Notable Injuries: Chad Tracy, 3B (knee, probable)
Game Story: Davis has allowed more than three runs just once in his past nine starts. The Marlins are normally great against lefties (.805 OPS, tied for fifth), but have followed up their scorching offensive display in July with a disappointing August. Josh Willingham (.387 average with three homers in August) and Jeremy Hermida (.321 with one home run) have kept up their performances, though. Davis is much better on the road, with his ERA dropping more than a run, so you have to consider him a good option despite the Marlins' proficiency against southpaws. Mitre has had one of the weakest schedules in baseball the past two months, and, yep, the D-backs have a mediocre .729 OPS since the break. Factor in his home stats (including a 2.93 ERA), and he is a good spot start once again.
Game Story: Maine has been bombed in his past two starts by the Cubs and Braves, allowing six runs in each start, but at least it was somewhat defensible, as both teams have good offenses against righties. The Pirates are hitting well so far this month, and Maine has a 6.46 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break. It wouldn't be surprising to see Maine do well against the Pirates anyway -- he went seven innings and allowed two runs in a start against against them earlier this year -- but recent history demands a bench. Morris should get bombed again by the Mets, who have an .848 OPS in August. Lastings Milledge is hitting .429 this month, and while his 18-to-3 strikeout-to-walk numbers suggest it's just a hot streak, it's one worth riding against Morris.
Notable Injuries: Dmitri Young, 1B (hamstring, questionable)
Game Story: Kendrick has gone seven innings in each of his past three starts, accumulating a 2.14 ERA in the process. Kendrick is striking out only 3.38 batters per nine innings, though, making one think his success should be fleeting. Usually a matchup with the Nationals would alleviate all worries, but surprisingly they have an .829 OPS this month, with Felipe Lopez (.325 average, three home runs and three stolen bases) leading the way. Ryan Church and Ryan Zimmerman are hitting well too, so there's no shame in sitting Kendrick. Redding allowed four runs in seven innings against the lowly Giants, and with a 22-17 K-BB rate, his future success is dubious, especially against an offense as good as the Phillies.
Notable Injuries: Dave Roberts, OF (knee, questionable)
Game Story: It's been three years since Ortiz has been a productive starter, and his 5.18 ERA is probably the best he can achieve. The Braves should have no problem putting runs on the board. Yunel Escobar and Willie Harris are good options in terms of batting average, since both are hitting well better than .300, but that is about the extent of their value. This should be a one-sided game, as Hudson is one of the league's best pitchers facing one of the league's worst offenses. Hudson has been especially wicked recently, with a 1.48 ERA and 0.98 WHIP since the All-Star break. Every Giant not named Barry Bonds can be safely ignored.
Game Story: Both the Cubs and Reds are horrendous against southpaws. The Cubs have a .706 OPS against them, the Reds a .705 mark, which ranks them 27th and 28th, respectively. They're also two normally good offenses that have struggled a lot recently, primarily due to injuries. Dumatrait is obviously must riskier, and you can't really put much stock in his last start against the Dodgers, a team that has a .572 OPS this month. Lilly should be superb, though, and in two previous starts against the Reds, he has a 1.38 ERA, 0.54 WHIP, and 19 strikeouts in 13 innings.
Notable Injuries: Juan Encarnacion, OF (knee, day-to-day)
Game Story: Pineiro shut out the Padres for seven innings in his last start, but this is the same Pineiro who had a 5.03 ERA as a reliever for the Red Sox. The Brewers are hitting with a lot of power this month (.491 SLG), with Geoff Jenkins (.355 average, two home runs) and J.J. Hardy (.292, two homers) regaining their power stroke. The Cardinals offense has regressed in August (.742 OPS, 21st) after a resurgent July (.811 OPS, fifth). Gallardo fared poorly in his July start against them, allowing four runs in five innings, but a more favorable result should occur this time, especially since the game is in Miller Park, where Gallardo (1.47 ERA at home) and most of the Brewers have favorable splits.
Notable Injuries: Milton Bradley, OF (hamstring, questionable)
Game Story: Jimenez has a 5.61 ERA in 181 1/3 career innings in Triple-A, so it's not surprising to see him struggle in the majors. Jimenez has allowed 11 earned runs in his past two starts, lasting just a combined 6 2/3 innings. Facing the Padres at Petco is one of the most favorable matchups a pitcher can ask for, but it would be a leap of faith to count on Jimenez even for that. Young looked poor in his return from the disabled list, allowing four runs and walking five batters in six innings against the Cardinals. The Rockies are an elite offense -- their .801 OPS since the break ranks sixth in the majors -- and many a pitcher struggles initially after coming off the disabled list, so you may want to play it safe with Young.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: A clash of two extremes: Jennings has a 9.97 ERA since the beginning of July, a span lasting seven starts and 32 2/3 innings, and the Dodgers have a .572 OPS in August, a span of 12 games. Andre Ethier is hitting .313 with one home run on the month, which represents the Dodgers' most productive player this month. Penny has strung together six quality starts in a row since the Braves lit him up for six runs in four innings on July 5. While you would expect more than a 110-50 K-BB rate for a pitcher who has a 2.54 ERA through 156 innings, Penny gets to face another poor offense in the Astros, and it's easier to beat the odds against poor offenses.
Waiver Wire Pick Ups
Phil Hughes, SP, NYY versus Baltimore Orioles
J.D. Drew, OF, BOS versus Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Scott Baker, SP, MIN @ Seattle Mariners
Jair Jurrjens, SP, DET @ Cleveland Indians
Frank Thomas, DH, TOR versus Los Angeles Angels
Gil Meche, SP, KC @ Texas Rangers
Billy Butler, DH, KC @ Texas Rangers
Mark Ellis, 2B, OAK versus Chicago White Sox
Josh Willingham, OF, FLA versus Arizona Diamondbacks
Jeremy Hermida, OF, FLA versus Arizona Diamondbacks
Sergio Mitre, SP, FLA versus Arizona Diamondbacks
Lastings Milledge, OF, NYM @ Pittsburgh Pirates
Felipe Lopez, SS, WAS versus Philadelphia Phillies
Geoff Jenkins, OF, MIL versus St. Louis Cardinals
Andre Ethier, OF, LAD versus Houston Astros
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