- Will Harris, ESPN Contributor
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The Milwaukee Brewers, looking to snap a quarter-century playoff drought, have acquired C.C. Sabathia from the Indians for top prospect Matt LaPorta and change. The Brewers are wasting no time in getting Sabathia in the rotation, as he's expected to make his Milwaukee debut Tuesday in his new home park against Mark Redman and the Rockies. The Indians, meanwhile, would replace their departed ace with newly acquired veteran Jeff Weaver.
Matchups for Tuesday, July 8
All times are ET.
Manny Acosta, RP, Braves (hamstring)
Eric Byrnes, OF, Diamondbacks (hamstring)
Matt Capps, RP, Pirates (shoulder)
Luis Castillo, 2B, Mets (quad)
Eric Chavez, 3B, A's (shoulder)
Bobby Crosby, SS, A's (hamstring)
Johnny Damon, OF, Yankees (shoulder)
Elijah Dukes, OF, Nationals (knee)
Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies (back)
Omar Infante, 2B, Braves (hamstring)
Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox (oblique)
Hideki Matsui, OF, Yankees (knee)
Kazuo Matsui, 2B, Astros (hamstring)
Mike Napoli, C, Angels (shoulder)
Trot Nixon, OF, Mets (groin)
Troy Percival, RP, Rays (hamstring)
Chris Snyder, C, Diamondbacks (groin)
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies (hand)
Lance Berkman, 1B, Astros (eye)
Milton Bradley, OF, Rangers (knee)
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, A's (hamstring)
Aaron Harang, SP, Reds (forearm)
Eric Hurley, SP, Rangers (hamstring)
Bobby Jenks, RP, White Sox (shoulder)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Rangers (groin)
Ryan Sweeney, OF, A's (ankle)
Willy Taveras, OF, Rockies (thigh)
Dan Uggla, 2B, Marlins (ankle)
Michael Young, SS, Rangers (groin)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: Shallow-leaguers can sit Toronto outfielder Vernon Wells on Tuesday. The Jays slugger is just 2-for-26 versus Orioles right-hander Daniel Cabrera. Orioles designated hitter Aubrey Huff is 9-for-24 with three home runs and eight RBIs so far in June. Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick was awful in June (.582 OPS, 0 HR, 1 SB) but he's getting back on track in July, starting the month on an 8-for-19 streak with four doubles and a steal. Jose Contreras was phenomenal in May, but he's allowed 26 runs in his past five starts. It's time to cut the White Sox veteran loose in mixed leagues. Only the desperate should look to Seattle hitters against ERA leader Justin Duchscherer. The A's right-hander has stymied the Mariners, posting a 1.59 ERA in 19 appearances during the past three years. Raul Ibanez, Jose Lopez, Adrian Beltre and Yuniesky Betancourt have managed just eight singles in a combined 44 career plate appearances versus Duchscherer. Even Ichiro has fanned 12 times without drawing a single walk against the former reliever! Expect Cardinals outfielders Chris Duncan and Skip Schumaker to be out of the lineup Tuesday against Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels. Arizona first baseman (and sometime outfielder) Conor Jackson could take a day off Tuesday. He's in a 2-for-20 slump and is 0-for-7 with three strikeouts versus Nationals left-hander Odalis Perez. Use platoon outfielder Fred Lewis against Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey on Tuesday. The Giants' speedster is batting .333 with three steals and seven runs scored during his current nine-game hitting streak. Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche is 9-for-19 with two home runs in his past six games. LaRoche is often a good play against right-handers, especially struggling ones like opposing Astros hurler Brandon Backe (11 ER in his past two starts). Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy is the hottest hitter in baseball, and he has a date with the inimitable Mark Redman on Tuesday. Hardy has 27 hits in his past 54 at-bats, including seven home runs and nine doubles. Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley (back-to-back starts with 0 ER) and opposing Braves starter Jair Jurrjens (0 ER in three of past four starts) may well put on a pitching duel at Dodger Stadium Tuesday, so keep all but the essential Dodgers and Braves hitters reserved.
Pitchers: Justin Verlander was awful early this season but he's back on track now. The Tigers' ace hasn't allowed more than three runs since his final May start. It was suggested in this space last week that Jon Lester may have turned a corner, and it certainly appears so now after his five-hit shutout of the Yankees. The Boston left-hander has allowed more than two earned runs just once in six starts since the beginning of June and sports a 27-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio during that span. Last seen issuing 10 walks against just two strikeouts in back-to-back four-inning starts (giving up 11 earned runs in the process), Ian Snell will be fresh off the disabled list for Tuesday's clash with the Astros. Given his poor pre-injury form, Snell is best benched until he proves that the time off helped. Leave Diamondbacks starter Micah Owings benched Tuesday as well. Owings struggled to an 8.22 ERA in June, then missed his first scheduled July start with a sore back.
Hitters: Denard Span is getting the bulk of the injured Michael Cuddyer's playing time in the Twins' outfield and the speedster is making the most of it. Span is 7-for-17 with five walks since his most recent call-up and will be a solid source of steals until Cuddyer returns. Two little-owned Royals spare parts can serve fill-in duty in mixed leagues Tuesday against struggling White Sox starter Jose Contreras. Speedy outfielder Joey Gathright (.500 OBP) and second baseman Mark Grudzielanek (.942 OPS) are warming up in July, and both have good track records against Contreras. With Carlos Gonzalez and Ryan Sweeney ailing, look for Emil Brown in the Oakland outfield Tuesday. Brown is 12-for-27 with six extra-base hits versus Seattle right-hander Carlos Silva. He's also 5-for-13 with two doubles in his three July starts. Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs is 8-for-13 with two homers and seven runs scored in his past three games. He should get another start Tuesday against newly acquired Brewers left-hander C.C. Sabathia, especially with fellow center fielder Willy Taveras still nursing a thigh bruise. Florida outfielder Cody Ross boasts a career .294 BA/.356 OBP/.626 SLG line versus left-handers, so he'd be a good play Tuesday against veteran southpaw Randy Wolf even under normal circumstances. Ross, however, is simply on fire. He's hit safely in 14 of his past 15 games, and has four consecutive three-hit performances! Overall, he's batting .536 and slugging .893 in 28 July at-bats.
Pitchers: Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey is worth a look against the light-hitting Giants. Pelfrey is coming off seven one-run innings at St. Louis last Thursday, and he allowed one run or fewer in three of his five June starts. The Padres' Randy Wolf is also a good home-park pickup. Wolf is sporting a 2.70 ERA in pitching-friendly Petco Park.
Games in Toronto and Milwaukee are always weatherproof. Wet weather throughout the nation threatens every outdoor game on the board Tuesday save the three West Coast contests.
Will Harris is a fantasy baseball and college football analyst for ESPN.com
5hThomas McKean, ESPN Stats & Information