Daily Notes: Clemens, Burnett scratched
Jesse Litsch, RHP (6-9, 4.16 ERA, 1.43 WHIP) versus
Andy Pettitte, LHP (14-8, 3.79 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: John McDonald, SS (abdominal, day-to-day); Frank Thomas, DH (knee, day-to-day); A.J. Burnett, SP (personal reasons, day-to-day); Roger Clemens, SP (hamstring, bumped back to Tuesday)
Game Story: The Yankees get a big break in facing Litsch instead of the red-hot Burnett. Litsch was lit up by the Bombers for five first-inning runs on May 30, and he's allowed 10 hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings in his two starts against the Yankees this season. Pettitte steps in so that Clemens can get an extra day's rest for his hammy. Pettitte has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 11 of his 13 starts since the All-Star break, compiling an impressive 10-2 record with a 3.23 ERA during that span. In three starts versus Toronto this season, Pettitte has a 2.25 ERA and hasn't allowed a home run in 20 innings of work. A pretty strong play in a game the Yankees need.
Gil Meche, RHP (9-12, 3.70 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) versus
Daniel Cabrera, RHP (9-17, 5.51 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Corey Patterson, OF (ankle, questionable)
Game Story: The Orioles offense hasn't been shy about collapsing, and has essentially been reduced to Aubrey Huff (.356 average) and Nick Markakis (five home runs) this month. Overall their OPS puts them 28th in the majors for the month, and Meche, who has a 2.29 ERA this month, must be licking his chops. Cabrera has been disastrous recently, with 14 earned runs in his past two starts heavily contributing to his 9.47 ERA on the month. April was Cabrera's only month with an ERA better than five, so you have to consider him unusable even against the Royals. Billy Butler (nine game hitting streak) and Alex Gordon (four September home runs) are the Royals' offense, but not much is needed against Cabrera.
Carlos Silva, RHP (12-14, 4.40 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) versus
Nate Robertson, LHP (8-12, 4.94 ERA, 1.51 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Rondell White, OF (personal, day-to-day)
Game Story: Silva has been slipping recently, with a 6.59 ERA in his past five starts, mostly pitching against the league's weaker offenses. The Tigers will actually be the second-best offense he's faced in that time, and they have been just about league average this month. At this point that is out of Silva's league. Robertson has been up and down recently, but mostly down, though one of his few productive starts did come against the Twins. That's not too surprising, considering the Twins are second-to-last in OPS since the All-Star break and against left-handers. Robertson has a 2.14 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in three total starts against the Twins, so he should be fine to do it again a fourth time.
Ervin Santana, RHP (7-13, 5.63 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) versus
Armando Galarraga, RHP (0-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.75 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Santana has redeemed himself of late, allowing just three earned runs in his last 21 1/3 innings, even striking out 10 Devil Rays in his past start. The Rangers have cooled off since a hot start to September, but it's a tremendous risk to play Santana away from home, as his ERA is worse than eight this season on the road. Last season his road ERA was nearly double his 3.02 home ERA, so if the trend follows suit the true course of action would be to play all your Rangers in preparation. This will be the first start of Galarraga's, a career minor leaguer, career. None of his minor league numbers are remotely special, so while the Angels have struggled offensively this month, Galarraga isn't a sleeper candidate for a good start.
Matt Chico, LHP (5-9, 4.74 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) versus
Mike Pelfrey, RHP (3-7, 5.24 ERA, 1.70 WHIP)
Game Story: The same pitching matchup occurred last Wednesday, and went pretty much as expected: Chico (five runs in 5 1/3 innings) was bombed by a Mets offense that feasts on southpaws, and Pelfrey (12 baserunners in five innings) was unimpressive but wasn't quite poor enough to be lit up. Not much should realistically change this time around; the only major difference is that the Mets are a much worse offense at Shea Stadium. Theoretically pitching in Shea Stadium would help Pelfrey, but he has actually been much worse pitching at home, so one can't glean anything from that, either. If anything, just play Moises Alou (batting .425 with three home runs in September) and leave it at that.
Adam Wainwright, RHP (13-11, 3.60 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) versus
Dave Bush, RHP (11-10, 5.20 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
Game Story: Wainwright continued his dominance in his last start, holding the Phillies to one run in eight innings. In his last three starts he has faced the Phillies, Cubs and Diamondbacks; the latter two have the majors' best OPS this month, while the Phillies have been the league's best offense all season long. The point is you can feel pretty safe in Wainwright's performance, and though he gets another tough matchup on Monday -- the Brewers are fourth in OPS this month -- he deserves the benefit of the doubt that any elite pitcher receives. Bush is actually coming off of a good start, especially surprising considering it was on the road and Bush's road ERA is higher than six. Against a banged up Cardinals offense, pitching at home (4.30 ERA, 1.20 WHIP), he looks like a decent option.
Chris Young, RHP (9-7, 2.83 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) versus
Barry Zito, LHP (9-13, 4.56 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Barry Bonds, OF (toe, questionable)
Game Story: Young was merely decent in his last start against the Pirates, and his ERA is actually 5.63 in his past eight starts, only once allowing fewer than three runs. But now he's facing the Giants, where you can pretty much throw out those trends. Without Bonds for much of the month, their .644 OPS is 41 points worse than the second-worst mark this month. Zito's streak of seven straight quality starts came to an end in his last outing, allowing five runs in four innings to the D-backs. Now facing the Padres, Zito may not bounce back; the Padres are a top ten offense away from home via OPS, and the righty-heavy lineup is much better against lefties; Mike Cameron and Khalil Greene have a massive platoon advantage, for example.
Gil Meche, SP, KC @ Baltimore Orioles
Aubrey Huff, 1B, BAL versus Kansas City Royals
Alex Gordon, 3B, KC @ Baltimore Orioles
Nate Robertson, SP, DET versus Minnesota Twins
Moises Alou, OF, NYM versus Washington Nationals
Adam Wainwright, SP, STL @ Milwaukee Brewers
Dave Bush, SP, MIL versus St. Louis Cardinals
Mike Cameron, OF, SD @ 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, 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.