- Sean Allen
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Interleague play continues on Saturday, so double-check which players might miss some at-bats with a lack of DH, and examine the depth charts on teams that gain the extra hitter.
Veterans Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez both toe the rubber against much younger opponents, but Martinez definitely has the tougher assignment with the red-hot Texas Rangers. Several spot-start options exist in Zach Duke, Matt Garza and especially the very underappreciated Wandy Rodriguez.
Matchups for Saturday, June 14
Moises Alou, OF, Mets (calf)
Garret Anderson, OF, Angels (knee)
Aaron Boone, 1B, Nationals (neck)
Cliff Floyd, OF, Rays (knee)
Chone Figgins, 3B, Angels (hamstring)
J.J. Hardy, SS, Brewers (shoulder)
Kevin Millar, 1B, Orioles (knee)
Troy Percival, RP, Rays (hamstring)
J.J. Putz, RP, Mariners (elbow)
Ryan Spilborghs, OF, Rockies (back)
Rafael Soriano, RP, Braves (elbow)
Jason Varitek, C, Red Sox (illness)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: With the loss of the designated hitter for the A's, Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox, Royals and Twins, look for lost at-bats for Travis Buck (.171 versus righties), Melky Cabrera (.200 versus lefties), David Murphy (Milton Bradley will play the field), Coco Crisp, John Buck and Jason Kubel. Obviously not a fan of the slider, Jose Guillen has struck out seven times in 10 at-bats against Randy Johnson. In fact, I wouldn't start too many Royals, including Alex Gordon and his horrific numbers against lefties (.183). Get your Cardinals into your lineup. Adam Eaton has a 6.82 ERA against St. Louis. Chris Duncan specifically has two home runs in five at-bats against Eaton. Rich Harden has been terrific and healthy, the combination he's been searching for in recent years. I'd consider benching any Giants you can except for Aaron Rowand (4-for-9 versus Harden). The Brewers get to tee off on a weak lefty in Glen Perkins. Make sure you have everyone in your lineup, including Bill Hall and his .368 average versus lefties. Jason Varitek is dealing with strep throat, but this is an easy decision to bench him as Kevin Cash catches for Tim Wakefield.
Pitchers: Not many Cubs have even had an at-bat against Roy Halladay, so I'd expect the veteran to hold his own. It might not be his best game, though, as the Cubs are among the best against righties (.792 OPS). If I tried to warn you off of Edinson Volquez against the powerful Boston lineup, you wouldn't listen anyway. Let's not waste anyone's time. Cliff Lee will go to 11-1 after dominating the hapless Padres. San Diego ranks near the cellar for OPS versus left-handers. Pedro Martinez catches the toughest opponent in the majors against righties, and without his old fastball in his repertoire, I'm not on board with starting him in matchups like this. Speaking of veteran pitchers, Randy Johnson has a much nicer matchup than Pedro does. Look for the Big Unit to clean up against the Royals. Ervin Santana still splits out better in home starts (2.27 ERA versus 3.50 on the road), and he is coming off three straight quality starts. The Braves might be third in OPS versus righties (.806), but Santana gets the benefit of the doubt. Brad Penny has pitched much better of late, with two straight quality starts. It's not like the Tigers are setting the world on fire, and Penny should be able to get a win as his Dodgers punish rookie Eddie Bonine. Todd Wellemeyer should rejoin the rotation after skipping a start with elbow inflammation. Noting the Phillies' combined 3-for-17 hitting against him, I'm on board for starting the surprising hurler. John Danks doesn't go deep into games, but he gets the job done well from a fantasy perspective. The Rockies aren't great against lefties, so feel free to use him in deeper leagues. Look for Erik Bedard to get back on the quality-start wagon after a couple of weaker outings. The Nationals should be easy pickings. Have Brandon Morrow active until we see J.J. Putz back in the lineup and note that Troy Percival should be closing games again for the Rays, leaving Dan Wheeler as an above-average middle man but nothing more.
Hitters: Tony Clark should pick up some at-bats with the Padres being granted a DH. He is 2-for-6 with a home run against Cliff Lee. The speedy Josh Anderson might get a DH opportunity for Atlanta, and could swipe a bag or two if he can get on against Ervin Santana. Geoff Jenkins is 2-for-2 with a home run off Todd Wellemeyer, and is a great outfield option off the wire. Willy Aybar is my recommended spot-start for the Rays. He's managed a .458 average and 1.292 OPS against left-handers. Ryan Spilborghs was back in the lineup Thursday, and will be there again Saturday versus a lefty (John Danks). His 1.121 OPS versus lefties make him a great platoon. Kelly Shoppach is an option in deeper leagues now that Victor Martinez is out for an extended period. Look at Eric Patterson very seriously. The Cubs still aren't willing to start Reed Johnson versus righties, leaving Patterson to lead off in Alfonso Soriano's absence. He has plus-speed and if he can figure out a way on base, he'll be solid.
Pitchers: The Marlins are susceptible to strikeout-heavy pitchers, so look for Matt Garza to bounce back from a couple rough outings and be worthy of a spot start. Wandy Rodriguez gets another start at home. That makes him a must-start regardless of matchup. Thankfully, the Yankees aren't great against lefties anyway. Rodriguez is available in 58 percent of ESPN leagues. Mark Hendrickson should have familiarity in his corner against his former team in Tampa Bay. He might not beat Matt Garza, but look for some decent strikeout numbers and possibly a quality start. Jeff Suppan is an ace when pitching at home. He's 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in five starts at Miller Park, and the Twins make easy pickings for even league-average pitchers like Suppan. I'm not feeling great about Mike Mussina in Minute Maid Park. First off, Rodriguez is likely to dominate the Yankees and limit Mussina's shot at a win. Second, Miguel Tejada rocks him (20-for-51, .392 with four home runs). Moose has been helpful lately, but give him a night off. Zach Duke has been the Pirates' ace in the absence of anyone else filling the role. He's been keeping the ball on the ground, has won his past two starts and has three straight quality starts. The Orioles are nothing to fear and I'm recommending Duke for a win and decent ratios. Digging really deep, the Mariners rank dead last in OPS versus righties (.663) and Triple-A call-up Tyler Clippard could surprise for Washington.
The chance of rain is greater than 50 percent in St. Louis and Chicago, possibly affecting the Phillies-Cardinals and Rockies-White Sox games with scattered strong storms. There is a lesser chance of lighter rain in Cincinnati, Detroit and Cleveland. Lots of weatherproof contests: Cubs-Jays, Marlins-Rays, Twins-Brewers, Yankees-Astros, Royals-Diamondbacks and Nationals-Mariners.
Sean Allen is a fantasy baseball and hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.