- Sean Allen
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Is there any point in starting opposing hitters against Jake Peavy when he is at home? Even though he is only 5-4 at home, check out these numbers for Peavy in Petco Park: 1.54 ERA, .192 opponents' average, two home runs allowed and a 0.91 WHIP. The Rockies have scored just five runs in San Diego covering 28 innings over this season and last and haven't homered against him in Petco since April 9, 2006. I wouldn't bench Matt Holliday or Willy Taveras (.346 on-base percentage against Peavy), but I don't think I'd feel bad benching anyone else here.
Matchups for Saturday, Aug. 30
All times are ET.
Brian Barton, OF, Cardinals (oblique)
Ramon Castro, C, Mets (quadriceps)
J.D. Drew, OF, Red Sox (back)
Scott Hairston, OF, Padres (thumb)
Austin Kearns, OF, Nationals (foot)
Renyel Pinto, RP, Marlins (hamstring)
Rick Ankiel, OF, Cardinals (abdominal)
Daniel Cabrera, SP, Orioles (forearm)
Sean Casey, 1B, Red Sox (neck)
Ray Durham, 2B, Brewers (shoulder)
Mark Ellis, 2B, A's (shoulder)
Brian Fuentes, RP, Rockies (bereavement)
Carlos Guillen, 1B/3B/SS, Tigers (back)
Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels (hamstring)
Casey Kotchman, 1B, Braves (bereavement)
Dioner Navarro, C, Rays (hamstring)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: David Ortiz (.356 BA) and Jason Varitek (.400 BA) have handled Mark Buehrle in their career. ... Carlos Pena is 6-for-16 with three home runs in his career versus Daniel Cabrera. ... Load up on Royals hitters as Kenny Rogers carries a 1-3 record with a 6.55 ERA versus Kansas City in four games this season. Jose Guillen has three home runs in 22 at-bats and Billy Butler hits .400 against Rogers. ... Albert Pujols has three home runs in 12 at-bats against the Astros' Brian Moehler. ... Prince Fielder is just 1-for-12 against Paul Maholm. Mike Cameron, on the other hand, is 9-for-12 (.750 BA) with two home runs. ... Brian McCann has three home runs and two doubles in just 17 at-bats against the Nationals' Jason Bergmann, but both Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson are hitting below .100 in their careers against him.
Pitchers: Aside from the mentioned David Ortiz and Jason Varitek (and the soon-to-be-mentioned Coco Crisp), Buehrle is winning most of the career matchups with other Red Sox. In his other start versus Boston this season, Buehrle allowed one run on seven innings and struck out a season-high eight. ... Brett Myers' recent roll trumps the fact that the Cubs are dangerous hitters. Myers is 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA since coming off a trip to the minors, and he is carrying a 16-inning scoreless streak into this game. ... Paul Maholm has fared just fine against the Brewers this season. He came away with a no-decision in his last outing against Milwaukee, but that is considered a win when your counterpart is CC Sabathia. Maholm had a one-run eight-inning performance in Miller Park on July 5. ... As tempting as it may be to start a guy coming off two straight complete games, I have to argue against Mike Pelfrey here. The Marlins have pounded him all season, as evidenced by his 0-3 record with a 10.66 ERA against the Fish this year. He is also much better at home, and this is a road start. ... Pelfrey is also in tough against the resilient Ricky Nolasco, who returns from two starts out west where he struck out 21 batters and walked just two in 16 1/3 innings against the Giants and Diamondbacks. ... The Diamondbacks are a thorn in Chad Billingsley's side, but some of the damage by Arizona was done when Billingsley was struggling at the start of the season. He is 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA against the Diamondbacks this season, but has been solid lately, tossing four straight quality starts. ... I seem to point this out every week as managers continue to exploit the A's lineup, but Oakland is still dead last in the majors for both OPS against left-handers (.656) and in the month of August (.637). Francisco Liriano should be just fine. ... Jered Weaver is 2-1 with a 2.26 ERA in his career against the division-rival Rangers. He is coming off an eight-strikeout hard-luck loss to the A's in his most recent outing.
Hitters: With J.D. Drew hitting the DL, Coco Crisp's playing time in Boston is assured for the near future. Crisp is 13-for-34 with two home runs versus the White Sox's Mark Buehrle. ... Austin Kearns' injury happened just in time for Elijah Dukes to return from the DL and take his place in the Nationals' outfield. Dukes has an impressive six home runs and 10 stolen bases in just 186 at-bats. Go a little deeper overall for your Nationals as Jo-Jo Reyes catches them. He had arguably his worst outing of the season against Washington on July 20, when he allowed six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. ... Mets catcher Brian Schneider gets the start against right-handers, and actually has a respectable .276 average and .752 OPS versus righties this season. ... Start your Indians, as they have an impressive .833 team OPS since Aug. 1. Lefty/righty doesn't make too much difference to most of the hitters like Ben Francisco, Franklin Gutierrez or Shin-Soo Choo, so they'll be fine against Jarrod Washburn. ... Adam LaRoche is 8-for-18 (.444) against the Brewers' Jeff Suppan, with two home runs to boot. ... Bill Hall annihilates Paul Maholm. In 20 at-bats, Hall has 13 hits, three doubles, two home runs and a .650 average against the lefty. ... Hank Blalock might enjoy the meeting with Jered Weaver. He is 5-for-14 (.357) with a home run versus Weaver.
Pitchers: Braden Looper is a key spot start of the day. He is on such a roll, it's hard to argue with using him. He's pitched seven innings in six straight outings, all quality starts. He also has a 2.92 career ERA as a starter in Minute Maid Park. Despite 186 at-bats between all the Astros' hitters, only Miguel Tejada and Geoff Blum each have a single home run against Looper. ... Go ahead and march out Kevin Correia. He has a 3.92 ERA for the month of August and goes up against a Reds team that has the second-worst OPS in the league since Aug. 1 (.651). ... He's not striking guys out -- in fact he's walking quite a few of them -- but Anthony Reyes is pitching well enough to win games for the Tribe. This is a good start against the Mariners and should be his fourth quality start in five tries since coming to Cleveland. ... Daniel Cabrera's status for this start is uncertain, but he has been erratic enough lately that it shouldn't matter to any fantasy team in contention. ... David Pauley has a future in the Boston rotation, but it won't be as a top-of-the-line starter. The White Sox are still leading the majors in OPS since Aug. 1 (.865) and are a tall matchup for the rookie making his fifth career start. ... The Orioles aren't far behind the White Sox in OPS during August (.853), making Andy Sonnanstine a questionable start. He has a 5.34 ERA in Tropicana Field in 22 career starts and a 5.70 ERA in four starts against Baltimore. ... Ramon Ramirez gets the start in place of the injured Johnny Cueto for Cincinnati. Ramirez is 4-5 with a 3.08 ERA in Triple-A Louisville this season, with 93 strikeouts in 99 1/3 innings. He doesn't look like an option right out of the gate, especially considering how poorly his Reds have been hitting of late. ... Ubaldo Jimenez isn't pitching nearly as well as he did in July, when he compiled a 5-1 record with a 1.74 ERA. In August, Jimenez is 2-2 with a 4.66 ERA, so at least he has still been respectable. Still, this matchup in San Diego's pitcher-friendly Petco Park should help rejuvenate his numbers. He is 0-2 with a 3.97 ERA in Petco this season, so something has to give.
Watch your Mets and Marlins as their contest in Miami could be affected by a 60 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. ... A slight warning for games in Boston (White Sox-Red Sox), New York (Blue Jays-Yankees) and Washington (Braves-Nationals), although the showers in New York are forecast for after the game. ... Weatherproof contests to be played in Tampa Bay (Orioles-Rays), Houston (Cardinals-Astros) and Arizona (Dodgers-Diamondbacks).
Sean Allen is a fantasy baseball and hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.
11hMichael C. Wright