- Will Harris, ESPN Contributor
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Fantasy Game Notes for Thursday: American League
Notable Injuries: Mike Sweeney, DH, (groin, day-to-day)
Game Story: Greinke has pitched pretty well in five starts since returning to the rotation, but he's averaged just over four innings in those outings, so he's not ready to help you. Garland is sporting a 1.23 ERA in three September starts after posting an 8.49 ERA in August. His momentum can be ridden in deeper leagues. David DeJesus is playing well, batting .318 and slugging .636 this week. He's a viable option, as is Sox speedster Jerry Owens.
Game Story: Zambrano hasn't started a game since May and McCarthy is working his way back from a stress fracture in his shoulder. Both hurlers will be on a tight leash and a low pitch count, so neither is a good option. I recommended rookie Texas outfielder David Murphy on Tuesday, and he still has the hot hand. Grab Murphy and the Orioles' Aubrey Huff, who's batting .480/.567/.680 during the past week.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: The Mariners tired of Horacio Ramirez's ineffectiveness, so they've turned to Ryan Feierabend. Unfortunately, he's likely to be even worse. Avoid him. Weaver, however, is an excellent option in this matchup. He's allowed two runs or fewer in four of his past five starts and is surprisingly available in over 30 percent of ESPN leagues. Play only the better Mariners against Weaver, but grab the red-hot Angels outfielder Garret Anderson. I've been recommending Anderson for weeks and his ownership percentage has steadily climbed during his .324/.382/.571 second half, but he's still available in a quarter of leagues.
Fantasy Game Notes for Thursday: National League
Game Story: Sinkerballers like Lowe have been more effective than many pitchers in Coors Field, but no hurlers are recommended here unless you're truly desperate. Ignore the starters and continue riding the hot bats of James Loney and Troy Tulowitzki. Both hitters are still batting over .350 for the week, and Loney is slugging .769 to boot.
Notable Injuries: Milton Bradley, OF, (oblique, out)
Game Story: Tomko was outstanding in his latest return to a major league rotation last week, blanking the Giants for six innings on four hits and no walks while striking out five. There's a good chance his latest hot streak will last more than the one start, so grab him for this matchup. Morris is almost never recommended, but he's been especially bad lately, getting hammered in all three of his September starts. Play only the better Pirates hitters against Tomko, but load the lineup with Padres against Morris. Grab Kevin Kouzmanoff for this one. He's raking to the tune of .462/.500/.692 this week.
Notable Injuries: Dmitri Young, 1B, (head, day-to-day)
Game Story: Lohse has been very consistent lately, mixing some good starts with some mediocre ones but avoiding disaster. He hasn't allowed more than four earned runs in an outing since July 15. Feel free to use him here in RFK Stadium. Bergmann's been pretty good himself recently, but he's recommended only in deeper leagues against the streaking Phillies. Jayson Werth has been a huge catalyst in the Phillies' second-half resurgence. He's been contributing a little of everything, so snatch him up if you need an outfielder.
Notable Injuries: Carlos Delgado, 1B, (hip, day-to-day)
Game Story: Willis is coming off a Coors Field outing in which he collected just his second win since May. He's been so poor overall lately that he can't be recommended here against a Mets team that needs a win to fend off the resurgent Phillies. To that end, the club turns to veteran Tom Glavine Thursday. Glavine has been hammered for six earned runs or more this year in five of his 31 starts, but has allowed three or fewer runs in the other 26. The 41-year-old left-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in his past four starts and eight of his past nine, yet he is owned in fewer than half of ESPN leagues. Go get him, and be judicious in selecting Marlins hitters. Moises Alou is still a fine pickup from the Mets' side. He's swinging the bat well and has a solid track record against lefties.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Suppan has allowed more than three earned runs only twice in the second half. Like Lohse, he's consistently serviceable. Use him against the Braves in deeper leagues, but avoid Cormier in all formats. He was blasted by the Nationals in his most recent outing. Play all the hitters you normally would on both sides, and pick up Corey Hart. He's hitting a solid .318/.375/.545 this week and could provide short-term help in any category.
Busch Stadium (outdoor) 8:10 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, low of 68 degrees)
Game Story: Rodriguez has been lousy on the road all year, is in poor recent form and is still battling a thumb injury that pushed his start back a day. Avoid. Looper, however, has been very strong, allowing more than two runs only once in his past seven turns. He's a solid choice in this matchup if you're looking for a spot starter. Houston outfielder Josh Anderson has been making the most of his opportunities. He's collected 12 hits in his past 22 at-bats. Anderson should be claimed, along with Ty Wigginton, who's also heating up for the Astros, slugging .870 during the past week. Use all available Cardinals hitters against the slumping Rodriguez.
Game Story: I've been telling Cain owners not to give up on him all year, and he responded by salvaging his numbers with a brilliant August. Apart from an early September shelling at Coors Field, Cain hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start since July 23. Grab Cain for this game, and play only the top Reds hitters. Bailey is making his first start since July, and is not a good gamble here. Play all your Giants and pick up Dave Roberts if you're seeking speed. The center fielder has posted a monster .353/.450/.647 line during the past week, and he's stolen two bases in that same span.
Waiver Wire Pickups
Jerry Owens, OF, CHW @ Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, OF, KC versus Chicago White Sox
Aubrey Huff, OF/1B, BAL @ Texas Rangers
David Murphy, OF, TEX versus Baltimore Orioles
Garret Anderson, OF, LAA versus Seattle Mariners
Jered Weaver, SP, LAA versus Seattle Mariners
James Loney, 1B, LAD @ Colorado Rockies
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, COL versus Los Angeles Dodgers
Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, SD versus Pittsburgh Pirates
Brett Tomko, SP, SD versus Pittsburgh Pirates
Jayson Werth, OF, PHI @ St. Louis Cardinals
Corey Hart, OF, MIL @ Atlanta Braves
Ty Wigginton, 3B, HOU @ St. Louis Cardinals
Josh Anderson, OF, HOU @ St. Louis Cardinals
Braden Looper, SP, STL versus Houston Astros
Dave Roberts, OF, SF versus Cincinnati Reds
Matt Cain, SP, SF versus Cincinnati Reds
Moises Alou, OF, NYM @ Washington Nationals
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.
Will Harris is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com. He can be reached at willharris@TalentedMrRoto.com
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