- Sean Allen
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It's not a great day to look for quality starts out of the scheduled pitchers, so you should lean heavily on your big hitters. With questionable starters come interesting possibilities for spot starts, though. The list of pitchers to gamble on is a long one, so make sure you take a look at all the outliers before expecting a repeat from guys like Hiroki Kuroda or Zack Greinke.
Matchups for Wednesday, April 9
All times are ET. Statistics are from the 2007 regular season.
David DeJesus, OF, Royals (ankle)
Justin Duchscherer, SP, A's (biceps)
Cliff Floyd, OF, Rays (knee)
Jason Giambi, 1B, Yankees (groin)
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B, Royals (hand)
Tony Gwynn, OF, Brewers (hamstring)
Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees (leg)
Victor Martinez, C, Indians (hamstring)
Placido Polanco, 2B, Tigers (back)
Randy Winn, OF, Giants (ankle)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: Aramis Ramirez (7-for-21, .333), Derrek Lee (8-for-20, .400) and Alfonso Soriano (5-for-11, .455) mash against Zach Duke, but Ryan Theriot, as he does with most lefties, struggles mightily against him (2-for-12, .167). Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis are a combined 0-for-18 against Jeremy Bonderman (nine at-bats each). You should consider other options in place of Torii Hunter in your lineup. Usually an everyday start, he is only 7-for-47 (.149) versus Paul Byrd, with 10 strikeouts. Let Dan Uggla ride the pine, if you have other options. He is 1-for-13 (.077) against Jason Bergmann with six strikeouts.
Pitchers: I'd shy away from unleashing Zack Greinke on the Yankees. His three-year ERA versus New York is 10.06. Micah Owings has a career 3.81 ERA in more than 87 innings at Chase Field, and he has a 3.87 career ERA versus the Dodgers. Besides, his first start of the season (in Coors Field, mind you) was way too impressive to ignore. Jeremy Bonderman is 3-0 with a 3.28 ERA in five starts versus Boston in the previous three seasons. Bonderman hasn't been setting the world afire in some time, but the Red Sox have had a sluggish start to the season.
Hitters: Xavier Nady is still widely available in ESPN leagues, and has four hits (two of them home runs) in eight at-bats against Ryan Dempster. Available in more than 95 percent of ESPN leagues, Paul Lo Duca has hit .400 against Scott Olsen in 20 career at-bats. Akinori Iwamura batted .323 versus lefties last season, and soft-tosser Jarrod Washburn is on the hill against him. Aubrey Huff is having a strong start to his season (as far as RBIs go, anyway), and should continue it against lefty Kason Gabbard. Huff batted .305 against left-handed pitching last season. Look for a surefire start for J.R. Towles on Wednesday. He is 3-for-3 against Braden Looper, while backup Brad Ausmus is 1-for-16. Try Ryan Spilborghs for a waiver-wire home run. He is 3-for-5 against Chuck James, and two of those hits were home runs.
Pitchers: I've been a fan of Chad Gaudin as a spot start over the years as long as the calendar hasn't flipped to June. His April (2.61) and May (2.81) ERAs over the previous three seasons have been mighty good. His ERA balloons quickly after that point. The Jays have been slugging out of the gate, but Gaudin is my Hail Mary spot start for the day. The slugging Indians haven't seen a whole lot of Dustin Moseley, but you can argue against him as a spot-start candidate based solely on Grady Sizemore's numbers versus him (.571 in seven career at-bats with an OPS of 1.911). Hiroki Kuroda is also on my "bench 'em" list for Wednesday. His first career start at San Diego was impressive and encouraging, but the Diamondbacks are a little more threatening with the bats, and Chase Field is much friendlier to hitters than Petco Park. The Tigers may have had a slow start, but after they finished fourth in the majors in OPS versus left-handers (.828) and added lefty-killer Miguel Cabrera, Jon Lester doesn't look like a friendly start here. The current Reds team hits a combined .378 (119 at-bats) versus Dave Bush. Stay far, far away.
Rain and snow are considered likely in the Denver area on Wednesday. Don't bank on the Rockies/Braves game going down. You daily-transaction owners must watch the weather close to game time, though, because you want your sluggers in the lineup at Coors Field if they are going to play. Pittsburgh calls for showers and thunderstorms extending into the evening. There is a wicked thunderstorm forecast for Arlington on Wednesday night, so the Rangers/Orioles game is no guarantee either.
Sean Allen is a fantasy baseball and hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.
Sean Allen breaks down the games for Wednesday, April 9.