Ben Sheets and Johan Santana have been victims of poor run support for much of the season, and there's a high chance of another hard-luck loser as the two aces face off in a game with playoff implications. Randy Johnson carries a 1.82 ERA in his past eight starts into a matchup with the Cardinals, and Cliff Lee attempts to become the first 20-game winner in the major leagues as he continues his Cy Young-quality campaign.
Matchups for Monday, Sept. 1
All times are ET.
Coco Crisp, OF, Red Sox (flu)
Ray Durham, 2B, Brewers (shoulder)
Jody Gerut, OF, Padres (finger)
Kevin Gregg, RP, Marlins (knee)
Carlos Guillen, 1B/SS/3B, Tigers (back)
Travis Hafner, DH, Indians (shoulder)
Jeff Kent, 2B, Dodgers (knee)
David Murphy, OF, Rangers (knee)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: Left-handed hitters are batting a scorching .344 against Sidney Ponson, so don't be surprised if Curtis Granderson has a big day. Also check to see if Carlos Guillen, who has missed the last four games, will return, and you can assume Marcus Thames will be benched for the left-handed Matt Joyce. ... Carlos Delgado has performed like his old self since the All-Star break (13 home runs in 150 at-bats), but you'll want to sit him against Ben Sheets: he's 2-for-12 against Ben Sheets, with six strikeouts. ... Jimmy Rollins has 13 hits in his past 25 at-bats, with four extra-base hits and six steals. Although he has largely disappointed this season, Rollins' career .832 OPS in September is 50 points higher than his career OPS in any other month. ... Aaron Rowand has little value when not facing left-handers, but with Jorge De La Rosa and the Rockies on the schedule Monday, he's worth a start. He's hitting .339 with eight home runs in 121 at-bats against southpaws this season. ... It seems David Murphy had a setback in his rehab from a knee injury and won't come off the disabled list Monday, as expected. It's a situation worth watching, but at the same time, if you need the roster space, don't hesitate to make a move.
Pitchers: Since logging eight straight starts, from June 11 to July 20, in which he allowed two runs or less, Justin Verlander has allowed five runs or more in five of his past seven starts. The Yankees offense finished in the top 10 in OPS in August, so keep Verlander reserved. ... You won't want to use Jonathan Sanchez in his return from the disabled list: the Rockies' .829 team OPS against left-handers is tops in the league, and, unsurprisingly, Sanchez has a 7.15 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in two starts at Coors Field this season. ... Since allowing four runs to the Mets in six innings on Aug. 2, Roy Oswalt has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last five starts and come away with a 1.94 ERA in that span. The Cubs will be the best offense he's faced in two months, though, and at this stage of the season, it's best to mitigate your risks.
Hitters: Clint Barmes is seemingly entrenched as the Rockies' second baseman despite a couple of unproductive months, but at least he's consistent: great in Coors (.349 average, five of his six home runs) and an offensive black hole on the road (.250 BA/.279 OBP/.335 SLG). The Rockies play their next six games at home, and 15 of their next 18, so squeeze value out of Barmes while you can. ... Shin-Soo Choo is quietly hitting .309 in August, with ten doubles, one triple and four home runs, and since the All-Star break has 21 extra-base hits in 121 at-bats. He has a five-game hitting streak, with five extra-base hits (two home runs) and two walks, and it looks like he'll have some value in the final month of the season.
Pitchers: Since returning from Tommy John surgery, Josh Johnson's peripherals are in line with the numbers he posted in his 2006 breakout season. He's especially stepped it up in his past four starts, averaging seven innings and nearly a strikeout per. A high-strikeout 24-year-old in a home park favorable for pitchers sounds like a no-brainer add, and Johnson should continue his recent success Monday when he faces the Braves. ... Matt Lindstrom, the presupposed closer of the future for the Marlins, seems to be first in line for saves while Kevin Gregg deals with a bothersome knee injury. Lindstrom did earn the win Saturday, entering a tie game in the ninth and getting two outs, so it looks like he can be picked up if you're scrounging for saves.
Two games are weatherproof: Mets-Brewers and Cardinals-Diamondbacks. Braves-Marlins has the best chance of rain, with a 40 to 50 percent chance. Giants-Rockies has a fair chance of precipitation too, with a 30 percent chance of storms.
Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com