Daily Notes: Lilly over Dontrelle
A.J. Burnett, RHP (9-7, 3.40 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) versus
Brian Burres, LHP (6-6, 5.27 ERA, 1.63 WHIP)
Game Story: Brian Burres has made two starts since returning to the rotation, and both have been solid. In the two outings, Burres has allowed only two runs and three walks, while striking out 11 in 14.1 innings. One of the starts was at Toronto, where he pitched seven shutout innings, so Burres can be claimed for this matchup as well. Burnett was scheduled to start Monday, but was replaced by Jesse Litsch. If he does indeed pitch today, only Brian Roberts has any kind of success against the righty. Sit your Orioles.
Chad Gaudin, RHP (11-12, 4.52 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) versus
Curt Schilling, RHP (8-8, 3.97 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
Game Story: Gaudin's miserable second half has shown no signs of abating; he's to be avoided in the final week, even against a depleted Red Sox lineup. Jack Cust has been heating up again, hitting three homers this week, He's a fine option if you need power. Boston's Julio Lugo and J.D. Drew have each hit two long balls during that same span. If it's speed you're seeking, pick up Sox rookie Jacoby Ellsbury. He's hitting .375 during the past week with three steals.
Matt Garza, RHP (4-6, 3.72 ERA, 1.51 WHIP) versus
Yorman Bazardo, RHP (1-1, 3.24 ERA, 0.90 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Pat Neshek, RP, (shoulder, out)
Game Story: Bazardo made his first career start against these same Twins last week. He was reasonably effective, allowing two runs and six baserunners in 4.2 innings. He should be allowed to throw more pitches this time around, which makes him an option in deeper leagues. Garza was very sharp in his most recent outing and can also be used in this matchup. Jason Kubel is a solid option as well. He's hitting .400/.429/.800 this week, with a pair of home runs and a stolen base to boot.
Roger Clemens, RHP (6-6, 4.18 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) versus
Jason Hammel, RHP (2-5, 5.88 ERA, 1.61 WHIP)
Game Story: Hammel has been outstanding recently, allowing only six runs in four September starts. He's an option for risk takers only against a potent Yankees offense that is at its best against right-handed pitching. Clemens' ownership is down below 70 percent. He can be used as well. There usually aren't many Yankees hitters available in most leagues, but Doug Mientkiewicz is probably one of them. He's on fire right now, with hits in nine of his past 18 at-bats, including a home run. The Rays' Delmon Young is also a good option.
Kelvim Escobar, RHP (17-7, 3.46 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) versus
Jamey Wright, RHP (3-5, 3.82 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Escobar is easing back into the rotation after missing a start with shoulder inflammation. He might not be allowed to go very deep into this one, but his owners should use him anyway. Wright is filling in for Brandon McCarthy and is not recommended. Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick and Rangers outfielder Marlon Byrd are the two most interesting hitters in this matchup. Both are hitting better than .300 this month, with Byrd adding three home runs.
Brian Bannister, RHP (12-9, 3.61 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) versus
Jose Contreras, RHP (10-16, 5.51 ERA, 1.57 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Where did this come from? Contreras tossed a five-hit shutout against the Royals in their last matchup after struggling since his return to the rotation in mid-August. It's impossible not to recommend him against the Royals again. Bannister was terrific in August, but has alternated very good and very bad starts so far in September. This is his last start of the season, and he can be used in deeper leagues. Start only the hitters whom you normally would from both sides.
Aaron Laffey, LHP (3-2, 5.35 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) versus
Felix Hernandez, RHP (13-7, 4.07 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Laffey has been consistently average in seven starts this year, but hasn't had any really strong showings. Because risk takers should seek out more upside, Laffey isn't recommended. Play all Mariners hitters against the Indians' lefty, including Raul Ibanez, who's hitting .315/.384/.523 during the past month. Start only the premier Indians hitters against Seattle ace Hernandez, however.
Chuck James, LHP (11-10, 4.11 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) versus
Jamie Moyer, LHP (13-11, 5.01 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)
Game Story: James shut out the Marlins for seven innings in his last start, but is recommended in this matchup only for those chasing wins and strikeouts at the expense of considerable risk to ratio stats. Moyer was solid last time around as well, but he's an even poorer bet in this game. Jayson Werth is the pickup of choice in this matchup. He's hitting .350/.458/.480 during the past 30 days. Play all of your Braves hitters.
Doug Davis, LHP (13-12, 4.27 ERA, 1.60 WHIP) versus
Ian Snell, RHP (9-12, 3.83 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: Jack Wilson, 1B, (hamstring, day-to-day)
Game Story: Snell is sporting a 1.67 ERA in four September starts. He should be claimed for the final week. Davis hasn't even managed to complete five innings in any of his past three starts. He belongs on the bench. Play only the top Diamondbacks hitters here, but grab all the Pirates you can, including Xavier Nady, who is heating up again with a .292/320/.542 line during the past week. Those needing steals should nab outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who has swiped five bases this week.
Ted Lilly, LHP (15-7, 3.78 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) versus
Dontrelle Willis, LHP (9-15, 5.32 ERA, 1.62 WHIP)
Game Story: These two left-handers were equally valuable last year, but this year Lilly has turned in his best season while Willis has struggled. The Marlins' ace did have a fine outing last time out against the Mets, but isn't recommended here. Play all your Cubs in this matchup, including the red-hot Mark DeRosa, hitting .522/.593/.696 during the past week. Play only the essential Marlins against the streaking Lilly.
Juan Gutierrez, RHP (1-1, 4.96 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) versus
Homer Bailey, RHP (3-2, 6.09 ERA, 1.59 WHIP)
Game Story: Both of these rookies will make a second start since rejoining their teams' rotations, and both were very effective in their first. Bailey tossed five innings against the Giants, allowing one run on three hits and a walk. Meanwhile, Gutierrez pitched six innings of two-run ball against the Brewers. Either hurler can be used here, but both are risky in the Reds' Great American Ball Park. Grab Edwin Encarnacion, hitting .407/.448/.704 for the Reds this week. Ty Wigginton is getting it done for Houston, with a .321/.368/.531 line during the past 30 days. Norris Hopper is a good source of speed in the final week. He's collected nine hits and two steals in his past 26 at-bats.
Jason Bergmann, RHP (5-5, 4.30 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) versus
Tom Glavine, LHP (13-6, 3.97 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Tom Glavine continues his solid 2007. He's allowed more than two runs in only four second-half starts. Bergmann is also having a fine season. Both of these pitchers can be picked up for this matchup. The Mets are trying to hold off the Phillies for the National League East title, and the experienced Glavine is the better bet against the weak Nationals offense. Play only the best hitters from both teams, and be sure to get Mets slugger Carlos Delgado back in your lineup.
Braden Looper, RHP (12-11, 4.67 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) versus
Jeff Suppan, RHP (10-12, 4.72 ERA, 1.49 WHIP)
Game Story: Consistent mediocrity is the mainstay for these two hurlers, both far more valuable to their major league clubs than they are to fantasy owners. Neither is worth a pickup unless you are ready to throw caution to the wind in the race for wins. Comb the lineups for hitting pickups, and be sure to grab the Brewers' Rickie Weeks and the Cardinals' Ryan Ludwick. Weeks has three home runs and four stolen bases in his past seven games, while Ludwick has posted a .474/.545/.737 line this week.
Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP (4-4, 4.14 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) versus
Brad Penny, RHP (16-4, 2.93 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
Game Story: Jimenez has allowed three runs or fewer in his past eight starts, and could turn this Dodger Stadium affair into a pitching duel against Dodgers ace Brad Penny. Jimenez is a solid choice for a spot starter. Don't expect much offensive production, and play only the top hitters from both sides in this one.
Brett Tomko, RHP (4-11, 5.36 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) versus
Matt Cain, RHP (7-16, 3.68 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)
Game Story: Here's another game that could turn into a pitching duel. I've been recommending Cain for months now, and his ownership is finally nearing 70 percent. With the exception of one bad outing in Coors Field, Cain has been outstanding for the past two months. He should be grabbed in the leagues in which he is still available. Tomko is a good choice as well. In two starts since joining the Padres, he's allowed three runs on nine hits and no walks, going 2-0 with 11 strikeouts! Play only the top hitters from both sides here as well.
Brian Burres, SP, BAL versus Toronto Blue Jays
Jack Cust, DH, OAK @ Boston Red Sox
Julio Lugo, SS, BOS versus Oakland Athletics
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, BOS versus Oakland Athletics
J.D. Drew, OF, BOS versus Oakland Athletics
Jason Kubel, OF, MIN @ Detroit Tigers
Doug Mientkiewicz, NYY @ Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Delmon Young, OF, TB versus New York Yankees
Howie Kendrick, 2B, LAA @ Texas Rangers
Marlon Byrd, OF, TEX versus Los Angeles Angels
Jose Contreras, SP, CHW versus Kansas City Royals
Raul Ibanez, OF, SEA versus Cleveland Indians
Jayson Werth, OF, PHI versus Atlanta Braves
Xavier Nady, OF, PIT versus Arizona Diamondbacks
Ian Snell, SP, PIT versus Arizona Diamondbacks
Nyjer Morgan, OF, PIT versus Arizona Diamondbacks
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, CIN versus Houston Astros
Norris Hopper, OF, CIN versus Houston Astros
Ty Wigginton, 3B, HOU @ Cincinnati Reds
Tom Glavine, SP, NYM versus Washington Nationals
Rickie Weeks, 2B, MIL versus St. Louis Cardinals
Ryan Ludwick, OF, STL @ Milwaukee Brewers
Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, COL @ Los Angeles Dodgers
Matt Cain, SP, SF versus San Diego Padres
Brett Tomko, SP, 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 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