Commentary

Daily Notes: Can Pineiro keep it up?

Updated: August 24, 2007, 5:40 PM ET
By Adam Madison | Special to ESPN.com

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Fantasy Game Notes for Saturday: American League

U.S. Cellular Field (outdoor) 3:55 p.m. ET (mostly sunny, high of 73 degrees)
Tim Wakefield, RHP (15-10, 4.35 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) versus
Mark Buehrle, LHP (9-8, 3.42 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Dustin Pedroia, 2B (elbow, day-to-day); Eric Hinske, 1B (calf, questionable); Scott Podsednik, OF (rib cage, questionable)

Game Story: Facing the Devil Rays in back-to-back starts has boosted Wakefield's numbers substantially -- his ERA shoots up to 4.91 on the season if you take out his four starts against them -- and the White Sox have been decent offensively the past couple of months. Danny Richar has three home runs in his past six games and has a 10-to-9 walk-to-strikeout rate, but getting the ball into play (.186 average) has still been a problem. The Red Sox offense has been good but not up to the usual great standard, and the Sox have performed worse against southpaws. Dustin Pedroia is hitting .365 with two home runs on the month, but otherwise Buehrle should hold his own.

Camden Yards (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (30 percent chance of thunderstorms, high of 93 degrees)
Matt Garza, RHP (2-4, 3.30 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) versus
Brian Burres, LHP (5-5, 5.24 ERA, 1.63 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Garza has pretty much lived up to expectations so far, and though the Mariners did bomb him in his last start for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings, the Mariners also have the second-best OPS on the month (.901), so it's relatively defensible. The Orioles offense briefly had a surge but has fallen back to mediocrity, although Aubrey Huff has as many home runs in August (six) as he had accumulated in four months prior. Burres has consistently been falling apart since July; he had a 3.37 ERA before July but has a 9.70 ERA since. Unfortunately, the Twins are dead last in OPS both since the All-Star break and in the month of August, so you really have to avoid both.

Comerica Park (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (mostly sunny, high of 75 degrees)
Chien-Ming Wang, RHP (14-6, 4.10 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) versus
Jeremy Bonderman, RHP (10-6, 4.65 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Gary Sheffield, OF (shoulder, out)

Game Story: Wang has a 5.74 ERA and 1.60 WHIP since the All-Star break, but with only 12 walks in 47 innings and one home run allowed, it's not much to be worried about; pitchers who allow the ball in play so often are bound to have streaks of good and bad luck. The Tigers miss Sheffield a lot; the offense has dropped to 22nd in OPS this month. Wang is in line to have a nice day on Saturday. Bonderman faced the Yankees in his last start and didn't do that well, walking as many as he struck out (five), allowing four runs (three earned) and giving up a home run. But there's probably not a righty in baseball who would be a wise start against the Yankees, given the way they've been hitting.

Kauffman Stadium (outdoor) 7:10 p.m. ET (mostly sunny, high of 81 degrees)
Aaron Laffey, LHP (1-1, 5.73 ERA, 1.36 WHIP) versus
Kyle Davies, RHP (5-10, 5.62 ERA, 1.59 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Mark Teahen, OF (elbow, out)

Game Story: The once-proud Indians offense has been downright horrible since the All-Star break; only the Twins have been worse than the Indians' .704 OPS. But it's always difficult to start a bad pitcher no matter how putrid the offense has been. Usually the best Davies offers is decent, but when the downside ends up doing more damage than two or three good starts can fix, it's best to avoid. Alex Gordon and Billy Butler are the only remnants of a quality offense on the Royals now that John Buck and David DeJesus' hot starts are well in the rearview mirror. But Laffey obviously isn't going to get run support and hasn't looked great in his two starts, so there's no reason to gamble.

Tropicana Field (indoor) 7:10 p.m. ET
Joe Blanton, RHP (11-8, 3.84 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) versus
Scott Kazmir, LHP (9-8, 3.65 ERA, 1.46 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Marco Scutaro, 3B (dizziness, questionable)

Game Story: The loss of Ty Wigginton and the slump of Carlos Pena (.225 average since the break) has crippled the Devil Rays offense (28th in OPS this month). Blanton has allowed just one run in his past two starts. And since the break, Blanton has allowed only two home runs and walked five batters, so it's more bad luck than anything that his ERA is 5.29 in that time. He will lower that against the D-Rays. Kazmir has a sub-2.00 ERA since the break, but despite being banged up (again), the A's are seventh in OPS on the month, so it won't be a walk in the park; Mark Ellis (10 HR against lefties) and Jack Cust (5 HR, .339 average in August) are the primary threats in the lineup.

Rangers Ballpark (outdoor) 8:35 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 93 degrees)
Horacio Ramirez, LHP (8-4, 7.15 ERA, 1.83 WHIP) versus
Jamey Wright, RHP (3-5, 4.11 ERA, 1.63 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Since Jeff Weaver has pitched so well recently, I suppose Ramirez took his place in terms of getting lit up every single start. All moderately playable Rangers instantly are worth starting, especially Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has five home runs in his past seven games. Even with the Rangers' 30-run explosion against the Orioles, they're still only 10th in runs scored this month and 18th in OPS, so the offense still needs work. Wright has been decent enough in the past couple of weeks to lower his ERA to a respectable number, though his inflated WHIP is more indicative of his true skill. The Mariners are on fire, though; Yuniesky Betancourt, Kenji Johjima, Raul Ibanez and Jose Guillen are all in the midst of their best month of the season.

Angel Stadium (outdoor) 9:05 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 78 degrees)
Shaun Marcum, RHP (10-5, 3.65 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) versus
Joe Saunders, LHP (7-1, 3.25 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Chone Figgins, 3B (wrist, questionable); Casey Kotchman, 1B (finger and thumb, day-to-day)

Game Story: Outside of the constant that is Vladimir Guerrero, the Angels haven't really had any substantially above-average performances this month besides Chone Figgins' batting average-driven line. Figgins is hurt, though, and even when he comes back it would be unsurprising to see his play deteriorate. With the return of Howie Kendrick, Maicer Izturis returns to a utility role on the team, and he was hitting rather well. Overall, Marcum is in a position to do pretty well. Saunders, on the other hand, faces an offense that crushes lefties (.830 OPS). Aaron Hill is struggling a lot, but except for him the Jays still have Reed Johnson, Frank Thomas and Troy Glaus as players who particularly crush southpaws.

Fantasy Game Notes for Saturday: National League

Shea Stadium (outdoor) 3:55 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 91 degrees)
Eric Stults, LHP (1-1, 3.91 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) versus
Orlando Hernandez, RHP (8-4, 3.09 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Stults is replacing Mark Hendrickson in the rotation but isn't much more than a short-term stopgap; he is essentially a career minor leaguer with a career 4.87 ERA in the minors. The Mets' offense performs much better against lefties, especially Moises Alou (three home runs, .327 average), so if anything Stults' value will be providing run support for El Duque. Offensively, the Dodgers have regressed significantly from their July performance; their team OPS has dropped 133 points. Matt Kemp is now playing every day, deservedly so, and Andre Ethier has been the one pushed into a semi-regular role, essentially splitting with Luis Gonzalez. Otherwise the entire team has struggled this month, so Hernandez should be fine.

Minute Maid Park (indoor) 7:05 p.m. ET
Matt Morris, RHP (7-8, 4.51 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) versus
Troy Patton, LHP (Season debut)

Notable Injuries: Xavier Nady, OF (hamstring, day-to-day)

Game Story: Morris logged a quality start against the Rockies in his last start, his first since June 29. Heavy doses of skepticism abound as to whether Morris can repeat the feat. The Astros hit much better at home; Craig Biggio is hitting .330 there, for instance, and the return of Hunter Pence after his monthlong absence also helps. With Jason Jennings done for the season, a rotation spot has opened up for Patton. He's likely not major league ready, though; he's turned into a below-average prospect since hitting the upper minors compared to his dominating stats in the lower minors. The Pirates have an .891 OPS this month, too; if Nady is available, he's a great option versus a lefty, and Adam LaRoche is also on fire this month.

Citizens Bank Park (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 88 degrees)
Clay Hensley, RHP (2-3, 6.70 ERA, 1.83 WHIP) versus
Kyle Lohse, RHP (7-12, 4.61 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: The Phillies have fallen off the torrid pace they were setting the past couple of months, now with a middle-of-the-pack .763 OPS this month. But they got Shane Victorino back on Wednesday, and they get a soft matchup against Hensley on Saturday. Hensley has 27 walks to 24 strikeouts and has been appreciably worse away from Petco, with an 8.53 ERA and 2.16 WHIP. The Padres have hit the ball well this month, with a .794 OPS ranking 11th in the majors, and the team hits much better on the road. Mike Cameron, Khalil Greene, Milton Bradley, Brian Giles and even Morgan Ensberg have all hit well, and playing in a hitters' park, against a mediocre pitcher, should bring good results.

Great American Ball Park (outdoor) 7:10 p.m. ET (40 percent chance of rain, high of 84 degrees)
Sergio Mitre, RHP (5-6, 4.02 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) versus
Matt Belisle, RHP (6-8, 5.40 ERA, 1.47 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Mitre has just one quality start in his past six starts and has otherwise allowed five runs or more in four of those starts. There's not much defensible about allowing a combined 22 runs in four starts against the Diamondbacks and Giants, who are tied for 27th in runs scored. The Reds, finally getting back most of their everyday players, have an .848 OPS this month and are particularly dangerous against righties. Josh Hamilton (16 homers, .306 average) and Scott Hatteberg (nine homers, .312 average) gain all of their value against righties, for example. Belisle has a 5.79 ERA since the break and is averaging just 5 1/3 innings a start in that time. The Marlins have enough weapons to put some runs on the board; Jeremy Hermida is hitting .339 in August, Josh Willingham .329.

Busch Stadium (outdoor) 7:15 p.m. ET (mostly sunny, high of 83 degrees)
Tim Hudson, RHP (15-5, 3.07 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) versus
Joel Pineiro, RHP (4-2, 4.34 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: With 10 quality starts in his last 11 opportunities, Hudson has been one of the best pitchers in baseball, so there's nothing to question about him. For most of the season the Cardinals, offensively, have been a two-man team in Albert Pujols and Chris Duncan, but Duncan is hitting just .152 in August. Jim Edmonds has stepped in with his first decent month of the season, though, hitting .354; other than that the Cards' bats are quiet. Pineiro allowed two home runs against the Cubs in his latest start but still did enough to get a win. The Braves will be the toughest offense he has faced since joining the NL, and though he's been successful in his first four starts, there's no need to play with fire here.

Coors Field (outdoor) 8:05 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 82 degrees)
Tim Redding, RHP (3-3, 2.53 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) versus
Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP (2-2, 4.54 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Despite striking out less than five batters per nine innings, Redding has kept this performance up for nine starts now. The Rockies will be a good test, although the last time he faced them he shut them out for 6 2/3 innings. Ryan Spilborghs seems to be playing every day now; he has started the last four games and more importantly is hitting .301 with five home runs in 93 at-bats since the break. Troy Tulowitzki is also on fire (.359 in August). Jimenez now has two great starts in a row, but unfortunately this is the one month the Nats are hitting well. Wily Mo Pena has two home runs in six games, Ryan Church is hitting well, and Austin Kearns is hitting .305 with four home runs this month.

AT&T Park (outdoor) 9:05 p.m. ET (sunny, high of 64 degrees)
Yovani Gallardo, RHP (5-3, 4.41 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) versus
Kevin Correia, RHP (1-6, 3.90 ERA, 1.47 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Corey Hart, OF (elbow, day-to-day)

Game Story: Gallardo gets another great shot to make up some lost ground against one of the league's worst offenses. At home the Giants are even worse; only San Diego has a worse OPS than the Giants' .697. In Correia's only start this season, he lasted 4 1/3 innings against the Braves and didn't allow a run. But otherwise there's not much impressive in Correia's résumé. The Brewers actually have the worst OBP in the majors this month (.308), but their team slugging is so high that their OPS ranks 10th. That's actually a good sign for Correia, since the game takes place in AT&T Park. That's not to say he's worth starting, but the Brewers shouldn't explode for a huge day, either.

Chase Field (indoor/retractable roof) 9:40 p.m. ET
Ted Lilly, LHP (13-6, 3.88 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) versus
Yusmeiro Petit, RHP (2-4, 5.14 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: The D-backs have a .701 OPS against lefties, 29th in the majors, so most lefties are automatically worth starting against them. Lilly has allowed 11 earned runs in his past 11 innings against the Cardinals and Reds, two teams that are also extremely poor against southpaws. Nine home runs allowed since the All-Star break is worrying, but overall Lilly is a solid pitcher, and a solid pitcher with a great matchup is an opportunity always worth taking. The Cubs are a much worse offense without any of their primary hitters, and without Alfonso Soriano they have netted a .734 OPS this month (21st). Still, Petit is quite hittable, and 16 earned runs allowed in his past 13 2/3 innings isn't going to make you very confident when you throw him out there.

Waiver Wire Pickups

Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS @ Chicago White Sox
Matt Garza, SP, MIN @ Baltimore Orioles
Aubrey Huff, 1B, BAL versus Minnesota Twins
Billy Butler, 1B, KC versus Cleveland Indians
Alex Gordon, 3B, KC versus Cleveland Indians
Mark Ellis, 2B, OAK @ Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Jack Cust, DH, OAK @ Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, TEX versus Seattle Mariners
Jose Guillen, OF, SEA @ Texas Rangers
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS, SEA @ Texas Rangers
Reed Johnson, OF, TOR versus Los Angeles Angels
Frank Thomas, DH, TOR versus Los Angeles Angels
Moises Alou, OF, NYM versus Los Angeles Dodgers
Matt Kemp, OF, LAD @ New York Mets
Xavier Nady, OF, PIT @ Houston Astros
Adam LaRoche, 1B, PIT @ Houston Astros
Milton Bradley, OF, SD @ Philadelphia Phillies
Josh Hamilton, OF, CIN versus Florida Marlins
Jeremy Hermida, OF, FLA @ Cincinnati Reds
Josh Willingham, OF, FLA @ Cincinnati Reds
Jim Edmonds, OF, STL versus Atlanta Braves
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, COL versus Washington Nationals
Ryan Spilborghs, OF, COL versus Washington Nationals
Austin Kearns, OF, WAS @ Colorado Rockies
Yovani Gallardo, SP, MIL @ 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 stints 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.