Commentary

Daily Notes for Friday: Ibanez ready to tee off on Weaver

Updated: April 11, 2008, 11:24 AM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com

It's bait-and-switch Friday, as several changes have been made to these notes since they were first posted Thursday afternoon. Rainouts and pitching changes are the order of the day, with Carlos Zambrano, Livan Hernandez and Jose Contreras now scheduled to pitch in lieu of Rich Hill (who himself was subbing in for Jason Marquis), Boof Bonser and Gavin Floyd. This ended up affecting my recommendation of Pat Burrell, who was a much better start against Hill than Big Z, but I'm not willing to call him a sit, either. All others who were mentioned as starts, sits or waiver-wire pickups facing the original pitchers haven't changed.

Matchups for Friday, April 11

Time Visitors L/R Record ERA WHIP Home L/R Record ERA WHIP
7:05 p.m. Chien-Ming Wang R 19-7 3.70 1.29
@
Clay Buchholz R 3-1 1.59 1.06
7:05 p.m. Joe Blanton R 14-10 3.95 1.22
@
C.C. Sabathia L 19-7 3.21 1.14
7:05 p.m. Carlos Zambrano R 18-13 3.95 1.33
@
Brett Myers R 5-7 4.33 1.28
7:05 p.m. Edinson Volquez R 2-1 4.50 1.44
@
Paul Maholm L 10-15 5.02 1.42
7:10 p.m. Manny Parra L 0-1 3.76 1.41
@
Nelson Figueroa R 0-0 -- --
7:10 p.m. Jeremy Guthrie R 7-5 3.70 1.21
@
James Shields R 12-8 3.85 1.11
7:35 p.m. Tim Hudson R 16-10 3.33 1.22
@
Matt Chico L 7-9 4.63 1.54
8:05 p.m. Jesse Litsch R 7-9 3.81 1.37
@
Vicente Padilla R 6-10 5.76 1.63
8:05 p.m. Ricky Nolasco R 1-2 5.48 1.64
@
Roy Oswalt R 14-7 3.18 1.33
8:10 p.m. Livan Hernandez R 11-11 4.93 1.60
@
Gil Meche R 9-13 3.67 1.30
8:11 p.m. Dontrelle Willis L 10-15 5.17 1.60
@
Jose Contreras R 10-17 5.57 1.56
9:40 p.m. Jeff Francis L 17-9 4.22 1.38
@
Brandon Webb R 18-10 3.01 1.19
10:10 p.m. Jered Weaver R 13-7 3.91 1.39
@
Felix Hernandez R 14-7 3.92 1.38
10:15 p.m. Kyle Lohse R 9-12 4.62 1.37
@
Barry Zito L 11-13 4.53 1.35
10:40 p.m. Jake Peavy R 19-6 2.54 1.06
@
Brad Penny R 16-4 3.03 1.31

All times ET. Statistics are from the 2007 regular season.

Injury report

Out
Michael Barrett, C, Padres (elbow)
Chad Cordero, RP, Nationals (Shoulder)
Cliff Floyd, OF, Rays (knee)
Tony Gwynn Jr., OF, Brewers (hamstring)
Mike Lowell, 3B, Red Sox (thumb)
Jorge Posada, C, Yankees (shoulder)
Dave Roberts, OF, Giants (knee)
Francisco Rodriguez, RP, Angels (ankle)
Rafael Soriano, RP, Braves (sore arm)
Ty Wigginton, 3B/2B, Astros (thumb)
Dmitri Young, 1B, Nationals (back)

Day-to-day
Willy Aybar, 3B, Rays (hamstring)
Luis Castillo, 2B, Mets (knee)
Chad Cordero, RP, Nationals (shoulder)
David DeJesus, OF, Royals (ankle)
Conor Jackson, 1B, Diamondbacks (wrist)
Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees (quadriceps)
Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels (thumb)
Mike Lamb, 3B, Twins (foot)
Ryan Madson, RP, Phillies (shoulder)
Jason Marquis, SP, Cubs (flu)
Kazuo Matsui, 2B, Astros (anal fissure)
Roy Oswalt, SP, Astros (biceps)
Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies (ankle)
Aaron Rowand, OF, Giants (ribs)

Start 'em, sit 'em

Raul Ibanez
Diamond Images/Getty ImagesRaul Ibanez's so-so start could be helped with a meeting against Jeff Weaver.
Hitters: Friday's "best hitter-versus-pitcher matchup" title clearly belongs to Raul Ibanez, who is 10-of-19 with two home runs lifetime against the Angels' Jered Weaver. … On the flip side, Richie Sexson is 0-of-9 with four strikeouts in his career against Weaver. … Not that you wouldn't start them, but the Red Sox's David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez have positively owned the Yankees' Chien-Ming Wang. Ortiz is 15-of-30 with two homers against the right-hander, while Ramirez is 13-of-22 with two homers of his own. … Conversely, Jason Varitek hates battling Chien-Ming; he is 1-of-16 against him. But incidentally, the one hit was a home run. … Jimmy Rollins' ankle bears watching, because if he's at risk to sit or be limited, it wouldn't be absurd to consider sitting him for a standout alternative (if you have one). The reasoning: He's 3-of-17 in his career against the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano. That said, he'd have to clearly be limited to sit in most instances. … The Pirates' Paul Maholm serves up .301-.831 career rates to right-handed hitters, so load up on your Reds righties, including Edwin Encarnacion (10-of-23 lifetime against Maholm). Unless you are loaded with star-caliber outfielders, it will be tough to sit him, but I'll note that Adam Dunn is 2-of-20 with eight strikeouts and no extra-base hits against the left-hander. … Don't bother with the ice-cold Ramon Hernandez; he's 2-of-20 in his career against the Rays' James Shields. … Now fresh off the disabled list, Jeremy Hermida is a must-start, regardless of matchup. Yes, that includes "tough-on-paper" matchups, like this one against the Astros' Roy Oswalt. To ease your mind, Hermida is 4-of-9 with a homer lifetime against the right-hander. … I like the Royals' left-handed hitting troika of Ross Gload, Alex Gordon and Mark Teahen for Friday, considering each hits right- handers well and the Twins' Livan Hernandez allows big hitting numbers to everyone. Gordon is already 2-for-3 against Hernandez in his brief career. … Jim Thome is 4-of-25 with one extra-base hit -- a double -- and 11 K's lifetime against the Tigers' Dontrelle Willis. If you've got a stronger option, don't be afraid to use him. … Brad Hawpe is one of the few players in baseball with a strong track record against the Diamondbacks' Brandon Webb; he is 14-of-40 with four homers against the sinkerballer. … Webb, though, always seems to get the best of Garrett Atkins (6-of-32, 8 K's, one extra-base hit), Yorvit Torrealba (4-of-21, 5 K's) and Troy Tulowitzki (3-of-19, one extra-base hit). … Unless Howie Kendrick gets a clean bill of health before Friday's game, there's no way I'm gambling on him, not with him 1-of-12 with three K's lifetime against the Mariners' Felix Hernandez. … Rafael Furcal always runs wild against the Padres, with 14 stolen bases against them in 21 games since the start of last season. He also is a respectable 10-of-38 with two doubles, two triples and three homers against Jake Peavy, so don't let that convince you he's got a bad matchup. … Keep Andruw Jones firmly planted on your bench, though, since he has a 1-of-18, 7-K career record against Peavy. The same goes for Andre Ethier (3-of-22, 7 K's).

Chien-Ming Wang
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesChien-Ming Wang has a .313 BAA with 20 walks and just 11 strikeouts in six career starts at Fenway.
Pitchers: Roy Oswalt will start despite a biceps injury, and he is 5-2 with a 1.88 ERA in nine career starts against the Marlins. There's no reason to sit him; don't worry about his health. … I'd rarely ever sit him, but if Chien-Ming Wang were on my roster, there's no way he would be in my lineup for a game at Boston's Fenway Park. He's 2-3 with a 6.17 ERA and 1.86 WHIP in six career starts there, dreadful numbers. If Chien-Ming were a strikeout artist, maybe I'd feel differently, but he's not, so I call this one of his rare must-sit matchups. … Don't sit Brad Penny simply because you're concerned he might not beat Jake Peavy. It's a bad idea to set your lineup speculating merely on wins, and besides, there's another good reason to keep Penny in there: These two squared off June 30, 2007, each went seven innings and allowed one run on five hits, and neither got the ever-elusive W. … The Angels might have handed Felix Hernandez an 0-2 record and 7.30 ERA in four meetings in 2007, but two things allay any fears I have about him: One, he's holding opposing hitters to a .192 batting average in two starts to date this season; and two, he has a stellar 3.31 ERA in 39 career home starts. … Others I'd give a big thumbs-up, obvious guys (read: Jake Peavy) aside: Brett Myers, James Shields and Jered Weaver. … Others I'd give a thumbs-down: Joe Blanton and Dontrelle Willis.

Waiver-wire pickups

Hitters: Matt Diaz is hitting .358 against left-handers since the start of last season, and he'll battle the Nationals' Matt Chico, a fly-ball, home-run prone southpaw. … Geoff Jenkins will almost always be in my lineup in a home game against a right-hander. That even includes the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano; Jenkins is 13-for-47 with two homers in his career against him. … Cliff Floyd's DL status has paved the way for Jonny Gomes to sneak in fairly regular at-bats for the Rays, and I bet he starts Friday, despite it being a righty-on-righty matchup. He's 2-of-4 with a homer, a double and two walks lifetime against the Orioles' Jeremy Guthrie, so scoop him up. … Ryan Doumit has started three of the Pirates' first four games against right-handers, so expect him to get the nod against Edinson Volquez. He's at least No. 2-catcher worthy, including in mixed formats. … Brian Barton has started three of the Cardinals' four games against lefties thus far, and he should start most of the time against left-handers. He's 4-of-9 with a double and a triple against that side, so take a look at him, those of you in deeper leagues. … Yadier Molina is 5-of-11 against left-handers this season and generally has hit that side better throughout his career. With the Giants' Barry Zito struggling, load up on right-handed Cardinals. Molina is 2-of-3 lifetime against the lefty.

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Pitchers: There aren't many pitchers I wouldn't start against the Giants, and Kyle Lohse, with 12 shutout innings in his first two starts of 2008, certainly gets my approval. Entering Thursday's action, the Giants had the worst team OPS in baseball (.588). … With Francisco Rodriguez likely to still be on the shelf, Scot Shields is the favorite for the save chances in L.A., with Justin Speier a worthy AL-only ERA and WHIP helper with vulture-save potential. Shields' career ERA at Seattle's Safeco Field is 2.10 in 18 outings. … Peter Moylan should close for the Braves while Rafael Soriano heals. He's well worth adding in all formats and can be activated immediately in all but shallow mixed leagues. … Edinson Volquez flashed his strikeout potential in his 2008 debut, whiffing eight in 5 1/3 innings, and is a standout spot-start candidate against the Pirates. He has a 4.12 ERA and 37 K's in 39 1/3 innings in seven big league starts between this and last season, so keep riding the hot streak. … Although he struggled this past Sunday in Minnesota, Gil Meche is worth a whirl in the rematch with the Twins on his home field. Remember, he completed the 2007 season with five consecutive quality starts at Kauffman Stadium, including a 6 2/3-inning, two-run, seven-strikeout outing against the Twins on Sept. 12.

Weather concerns

Four Friday games are weatherproof: Orioles at Rays, Marlins at Astros, Rockies at Diamondbacks and Angels at Mariners. … Four other games -- Blue Jays at Rangers, Twins at Royals, Cardinals at Giants and Padres at Dodgers -- don't face the threat of rain, although Twins at Royals could be cold (low of 35 degrees) and windy (20-plus mph). … Rain is expected all day in the Great Lakes region, threatening the A's at Indians, Reds at Pirates and Tigers at White Sox contests. Then it will head east to tangle with the four East Coast games, perhaps kicking in about 9 p.m. ET. That's late enough that the East Coast games shouldn't be in doubt, particularly Yankees at Red Sox, but rain delays could be a factor.

Tristan H. Cockcroft covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.

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