- Sean Allen
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The first day with a full slate of games means there are no "gimmes" when deciding on who goes in your starting lineup. A number of young pitchers with something to prove will take to the mound on Wednesday. A strong debut by the Marlins' Andrew Miller will make him a hot pickup on Thursday. However, all eyes will be on Los Angeles for the Giants-Dodgers game, as two pitchers with lofty expectations from many fantasy owners share the mound. Tim Lincecum and Chad Billingsley face each other for the first time (but certainly not the last for the division rivals).
Matchups for Wednesday, April 2
All times are ET. Statistics are from the 2007 regular season.
Tony Abreu, 2B/3B, Dodgers (groin)
Eric Chavez, 3B, A's (back)
Chad Cordero, RP, Nationals (shoulder)
Elijah Dukes, OF, Nationals (hamstring)
Jim Edmonds, OF, Padres (calf)
Jeremy Hermida, OF, Marlins (hamstring)
Kazuo Matsui, 2B, Astros (anal fissure)
Scott Rolen, 3B, Blue Jays (finger)
Scot Shields, RP, Angels (forearm)
Mike Timlin, RP, Red Sox (finger)
Milton Bradley, OF, Rangers (knee)
Alejandro De Aza, OF, Marlins (ankle)
David DeJesus, OF, Royals (ankle)
J.D. Drew, OF, Red Sox (back)
Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees (pinky)
Kelly Johnson, 2B, Braves (knee)
Victor Martinez, C/1B, Indians (hamstring)
B.J. Ryan, RP, Blue Jays (elbow)
Matt Stairs, OF, Blue Jays (hip)
Omar Vizquel, SS, Giants (knee)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: You'd have to have a pretty sweet outfielder on the bench to consider sitting Alfonso Soriano, but Jeff Suppan has had his number (7-for-33 with seven strikeouts). ... Jhonny Peralta has never managed more than a single versus Javier Vazquez and is just 3-for-17 in his career against him. Travis Hafner is also a measly .125 hitter versus Vazquez (2-for-16). ... Jorge Posada and Melky Cabrera each have just one career hit off A.J. Burnett in 23 combined at-bats (.087). ... Troy Glaus has no issues with Aaron Cook's sinkerball (5-for-9 with two home runs). ... If you have another option at second base, Ian Kinsler is just 1-for-13 against Carlos Silva.
Pitchers: The White Sox gave Fausto Carmona fits last season (6.23 ERA, 1.62 WHIP in three starts). It would be wise to leave him on the bench for this one. ... Chad Cordero is having his shoulder evaluated Wednesday and may not be available depending on the results. Have Jon Rauch active for a save opportunity. ... The Reds lineup is a combined 10-for-49 (.204) lifetime versus Dan Haren. Look for a strong start to Haren's switch to the NL.
Hitters: It may be tempting to use Brandon Inge while Curtis Granderson is on the DL, but note his 0-for-7 career hitting versus Brian Bannister. ... Mark Grudzielanek started the season well, going 3-for-4 on Monday. He is 11-for-17 lifetime versus Kenny Rogers with two home runs. ... Juan Uribe has two home runs in eight career at-bats versus Fausto Carmona. ... Geoff Jenkins should get the start with right-hander Tim Redding on the hill (whom he happens to bat .600 against in 15 career at-bats). ... He is 0-for-2 versus Tom Gorzelanny, but Matt Diaz (.356 versus LHP in 2007) should always be considered in deep leagues when a non-elite left-hander is on the mound. ... Cody Ross is 4-for-12 with a home run versus Oliver Perez and will most certainly get the nod in center for this game. ... Ben Broussard has destroyed Carlos Silva in his career (.313 with three home runs in 32 at-bats). He'll be a deep-league option at first base. ... If you need to gamble on getting a stolen base or two, Dave Roberts has no issues getting on base versus Chad Billingsley (9-for-15, .600). He was caught stealing Monday, so his knee is allowing him to run.
Pitchers: Although it's a small sample size, the current Orioles lineup is just 6-for-38 (.158/.238/1.84) combined versus Matt Garza. After the way he has looked in the spring, you might want to keep Garza around after picking him up for this game. ... No reason to expect a different outcome for Jon Lester in his second outing against the Athletics in this young season (4.0 IP, 4 ER on March 26). Leave him on the wire or on your bench. ... After Brian Bannister turned his season around in June last season, he went 2-0 in two starts versus the Tigers. ... Yes, I too am interested in seeing how Andrew Miller fares in the first few weeks of the season, but don't touch him with a 10-foot pole versus these Mets. ... Joe Saunders picked up a win in the Metrodome in his only start versus Minnesota last season and, with the largely untested Nick Blackburn opposing him on the mound, is a good bet for a cheap win here, too. ... You know the drill by now with Wandy Rodriguez: don't even consider him when Houston is on the road until he proves he can pitch away from Minute Maid Park.
Light rain may or may not be an issue in Oakland, Atlanta, Florida and San Diego. Don't fret about it, but be aware. ... Showers are forecast for Los Angeles and the Dodgers-Giants game could be affected. ... You never can tell how MLB will reschedule a rain out, but with the Jays and Yankees facing a second day of forecasted thunderstorms on Tuesday, a doubleheader could be in the cards.
Sean Allen is a fantasy baseball and hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.
5hMichael C. Wright