Daily Notes for Friday: King Felix, Buchholz return
We won't yet see Rich Harden's Cubs debut on Friday, but we will see the debut of another pitcher in that deal for his new team: Sean Gallagher will take the hill for the A's. But that's only one of several pitching stories: Felix Hernandez returns from his DL stint for an ankle injury to play a favorable matchup at Kansas City, Clay Buchholz inherits Justin Masterson's rotation spot after an impressive run in Triple-A, and Oliver Perez attempts to string together a third straight standout start when he takes on the Rockies.
|2:20 p.m.||Matt Cain||R||5-7||4.30||1.33|| |
|7:05 p.m.||Brian Burres||L||6-5||5.07||1.56|| |
|7:05 p.m.||James Shields||R||7-5||3.64||1.12|| |
|7:05 p.m.||Glen Perkins||L||5-2||4.27||1.48|| |
|7:05 p.m.||Doug Davis||L||3-4||3.74||1.48|| |
|7:05 p.m.||Kyle Lohse||R||10-2||3.61||1.26|| |
|7:07 p.m.||Joba Chamberlain||R||2-2||2.45||1.35|| |
|7:10 p.m.||Aaron Cook||R||11-6||3.66||1.29|| |
|7:35 p.m.||Roy Oswalt||R||7-8||4.60||1.38|| |
|8:05 p.m.||Josh Fogg||R||1-2||8.39||1.63|| |
|8:05 p.m.||Gavin Floyd||R||10-4||3.22||1.12|| |
|8:10 p.m.||Felix Hernandez||R||6-5||2.83||1.25|| |
|10:05 p.m.||Jon Garland||R||8-5||3.76||1.38|| |
|10:05 p.m.||Jo-Jo Reyes||L||3-7||4.40||1.43|| |
|10:40 p.m.||Chris Volstad||R||1-0||0.00||2.00|| |
All times are ET.
Ryan Church, OF, Mets (concussion)
Johnny Damon, OF, Yankees (shoulder)
Elijah Dukes, OF, Nationals (knee)
Bobby Jenks, RP, White Sox (shoulder)
Ryan Spilborghs, OF, Rockies (oblique)
Brett Tomko, RP, Padres (elbow)
Aaron Boone, 1B/3B, Nationals (calf)
J.D. Drew, OF, Red Sox (back)
Edgar Renteria, SS, Tigers (hamstring)
Dan Uggla, 2B, Marlins (ankle)
Justin Upton, OF, Diamondbacks (oblique)
Ramon Vazquez, 3B/SS, Rangers (shoulder)
Vernon Wells, OF, Blue Jays (leg cramps)
Pitchers: Matt Cain is 11-17 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 41 career games (40 starts) on the road, and he faces the Cubs, who have by far the game's best offense on their home field. The Cubs average 6.43 runs per game with an .894 team OPS at Wrigley Field, making this one of Cain's weakest matchups all season. Take all necessary precautions. Though James Shields' 2-4 record, 6.09 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in eight road starts this season make him a less-attractive fantasy option in Cleveland, the fact that he's facing the light-hitting Indians keeps him at least AL-only and deep-mixed worthy. He lost his only career start at Progressive Field, but it was a quality-start effort on July 1, 2007 (6 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 10 K's). By comparison, Cliff Lee, Shields' opponent, is 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in six home starts this season, and 2-1 with a 2.38 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in his past six turns overall. He's a must-ride for as long as this keeps up, even if the Rays bring a fairly formidable offensive attack. Armando Galarraga has been underwhelming against the Twins in each of three meetings this season, and it's probably because they're a lefty-heavy offense and he's a pitcher who struggles to get out left-handers. Limit him to AL-only formats, at best. Kyle Lohse has been a much-more-hittable pitcher on the road, where he has a 5.13 ERA and 1.66 WHIP in eight starts, than at home, where his ERA is 2.75 and WHIP 1.01 in 11 starts this season. The Pirates' offense is better than I've given credit in the past, so avoid this matchup if you can. Aaron Cook dominated the Mets in their May 25 meeting (9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), then they pummeled him in a June 20 rematch (7 IP, 12 H, 6 ERs). Meeting No. 3 comes at Shea Stadium this time, but Cook is 10-5 with a 3.44 ERA in his past 23 road starts, making him a worthwhile NL-only and deep-mixed option. Of course, Oliver Perez is coming off back-to-back phenomenal starts against elite offenses (a combined 14 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 14 K's against the Yankees and Phillies), so he's a slightly better pick than Cook. Roy Oswalt pitched fine against the Nationals on May 7 (7 IP, 6 H, 3 ERs), so even though he has taken a noticeable step backward in fantasy production this season, he's well worth a look here. Gavin Floyd is 6-1 with a 3.55 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in his past eight starts, but most importantly, he has 48 strikeouts compared to 13 walks during that span (3.69:1), backing up his effective pitching. An assignment at Texas' Rangers Ballpark isn't an easy one, but his hot streak is too good to ignore. You can't ask for a much softer matchup for Felix Hernandez in his first start off the disabled list than one against the Royals. He's 2-0 with a 2.11 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in three career starts against them, and remember, his DL stint was more precautionary than a serious long-term concern. Activate him for this one.
Hitters: Returning to the "play-Phillies-righties" thought, Jayson Werth is a must-start against left-handers at home. He's a .318 hitter with a 1.060 OPS against that side, and his OPS at Citizens Bank Park is .855 for the season. Chad Tracy continues to play regularly against right-handers and is a .307/.874 hitter against that side for his career. In a game at Citizens Bank Park against a righty who is merely ordinary against left-handed hitters, he's worth a spot start. The Nationals almost assuredly will slot in Aaron Boone at third base, considering he's a .391 lifetime hitter (9-for-23) with two homers and a 1.114 OPS against the Astros' Roy Oswalt. The A's have more success than you might think against the Angels' Jon Garland. Bobby Crosby is a .370 hitter (10-for-27) with a 1.037 OPS, Daric Barton a .400 hitter (4-for-10) with a home run and Carlos Gonzalez a .667 hitter (4-for-6) with two doubles in their careers against the right-hander. Kevin Kouzmanoff has been pretty productive against left-handers all season, batting .330 with a .954 OPS against that side. He's 2-for-3 with a double against the Braves' Jo-Jo Reyes. Scott Hairston is also in the midst of a hot streak, with five home runs and an OPS greater than 2.000 in the month of July. His OPS is nearly 100 points higher against left-handers than right-handers, so get him in there against Reyes.
Only two games are weatherproof: Yankees-Blue Jays and Reds-Brewers. Outside of those, though, the weather should be beautiful across the board, with the only even remote chance of rain in Los Angeles and San Diego (20 percent apiece), cities where games virtually never are rained out. In most cities, temperatures should be right around 70 degrees, though Chicago's day game (Giants-Cubs) could see the heat index around 101. Sounds like a beautiful day to catch a game!
Tristan H. Cockcroft covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.