- Will Harris, Betting
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A full slate of games is on the docket for Tuesday, including road matchups for AL Central division contenders Chicago and Minnesota; John Danks will throw for the White Sox and Glen Perkins is on the hill for the Twins. The National League action is highlighted by Game 2 of the Mets' series against the streaking Brewers. Top pitching prospect Jon Niese makes his major league debut for New York in place of the injured John Maine.
Matchups for Tuesday, Sept. 2
All times are ET.
Carl Crawford, OF, Rays (hand)
J.D. Drew, OF, Red Sox (back)
Alex Gordon, 3B, Royals (quad)
Orlando Hudson, 2B, Diamondbacks (wrist)
Maicer Izturis, SS, Angels (thumb)
Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels (hamstring)
Jeff Kent, 2B, Dodgers (knee)
Carlos Lee, OF, Astros (finger)
Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays (wrist)
Mike Lowell, 3B, Red Sox (oblique)
Troy Percival, RP, Rays (knee)
George Sherrill, RP, Orioles (shoulder)
Billy Wagner, RP, Mets (shoulder)
C.J. Wilson, RP, Rangers (elbow)
Mike Aviles, SS, Royals (finger)
Erick Aybar, SS, Angels (hamstring)
Mark Ellis, 2B, A's (shoulder)
Kevin Gregg, RP, Marlins (knee)
Casey Kotchman, 1B, Braves (bereavement)
Melvin Mora, 3B, Orioles (hamstring)
Jack Wilson, SS, Pirates (finger)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: Luke Scott rebounded from a poor July to hit .326, with a .414 OBP and .523 slugging percentage in August. However, the Orioles outfielder has cooled off lately, going 10-for-40 during his current 12-game home run drought. He's also batting just .230/.323/.414 versus left-handers, including an 0-for-5 mark versus Boston starter Jon Lester. Owners in shallow leagues with quality outfield depth can consider benching Grady Sizemore on Tuesday. The Indians star is just 1-for-15 in his career versus Chicago lefty John Danks, and he's batting a pedestrian .246 against all left-handers this season. Tigers shortstop Edgar Renteria posted his best month of the season in August, batting .294/.351/.494. Plus, he's hitting a sporty .324/.420/.480 on the year versus lefties, such as struggling Angels starter Joe Saunders. Twins designated hitter Jason Kubel ramped up his ownership in mixed leagues with a .326/.379/.523 August, but he'll likely be on the bench in favor of platoon mate Randy Ruiz on Tuesday against Blue Jays left-hander David Purcey. Unlike Kubel, Blue Jays lefty slugger Adam Lind plays every day, but he's not mixed-league material against left-handers yet and should be benched against Minnesota's Perkins. Rays outfielder Eric Hinske hasn't put up mixed-league-worthy numbers since June, and he has managed just four singles (and 12 strikeouts) in 31 career at-bats against Yankees veteran Mike Mussina. Nationals outfielder Lastings Milledge put up a monster .336/.410/.570 line in August, but he and all of his teammates belong on the bench in mixed leagues versus Phillies ace Cole Hamels. Kelly Johnson 's OPS has declined for four straight months, culminating in an ugly .578 August mark. Surprisingly, the left-handed Braves second baseman is hitting more than 100 points lower against right-handers, such as opposing Florida starter Anibal Sanchez, than left-handers. Astros third baseman Ty Wigginton has blasted five home runs in his past five games. He's currently a must-play even against quality opposing starters. Aaron Rowand's ownership has dropped thanks to a .257 second-half batting average. Rowand and the Giants, however, are headed to Coors Field on Tuesday. But check out these favorables for Tuesday: Rowand's batting average is 30 points higher and his OPS 75 points higher on the road this season, he is 6-for-10 with three extra-base hits versus Colorado starter Livan Hernandez, and he had four home runs and a .430 slugging percentage in August. Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake was dropped in many mixed leagues thanks to a rough mid-August slump that prompted Los Angeles to recall Blake DeWitt from Triple-A. Blake is heating up again, though, going 8-for-21 with two home runs last week. His playing time is now assured since DeWitt will shift to second base in the wake of Jeff Kent's injury. Blake is also the only Dodgers hitter who has faced Tuesday's opposing starter, Cha Baek, posting an .882 OPS in 17 at-bats versus the Padres right-hander.
Pitchers: Indians starter Fausto Carmona simply isn't worthy of his 85 percent ownership in ESPN leagues. He has made seven starts since returning from a hip injury that shelved him for all of June and most of July, and the results are not good. Carmona has allowed 33 runs in 38 innings since coming off the disabled list. His problem in the first half was poor control, and with 22 walks (against 20 strikeouts), it obviously hasn't improved. It's a lost season for the Indians right-hander; mixed leaguers should cut him loose if they haven't already. Joe Saunders is another American League starter owned in far too many mixed leagues right now. The Angels left-hander is still rostered in 96 percent of ESPN leagues despite a 6.93 August ERA that includes a whopping 12 earned runs allowed in his past two starts. Saunders is lost right now, and the fact that he's striking out barely four batters per nine innings this year while walking more than 2.5 per nine means that he might not be worth owning even when he stops getting trucked every time out. Royals right-hander Zack Greinke was roughed up regularly in June and July, but he has recaptured his form lately, allowing just one earned run in his past three starts combined. Greinke is a must-start against a low-octane Oakland lineup he dominated on July 28.
Hitters: Rangers outfielder Marlon Byrd is still unowned in more than 40 percent of ESPN leagues despite tearing the cover off the ball (.393/.468/.607) in August. With a .938 OPS against left-handers this year, Byrd is a solid play against struggling Mariners southpaw Ryan Feierabend. Cincinnati catcher Javier Valentin is a rarely used commodity in mixed-league circles, but he's worth a look Tuesday. Valentin is sure to be in the lineup thanks to his domination of Pirates starter Ian Snell. Not only is Valentin a scorching 10-for-19 with three home runs and five walks versus Snell, but he quietly has posted a .288/.362/.538 line in the second half. Mets outfielder Fernando Tatis should start Tuesday versus Milwaukee left-hander Manny Parra, but whether he's a viable pickup might depend on what category he's being called on to bolster. Tatis is hitting .325 against lefties, but 10 of his 11 home runs have come against right-handers.
Pitchers: Reds right-hander Aaron Harang was hammered in his first two starts back from a month-long absence due to a forearm injury, surrendering eight earned runs in each turn. Since then he has pitched twice, his first outing a six-inning shutout in Coors Field and his second a dominant nine-strikeout, no-walk performance versus the Astros. Harang appears to finally be rounding into form, and Tuesday could be the last chance to grab him in many leagues. The aforementioned Parra is starting to find his groove. He has struck out 25 batters while walking just five in his last four starts, allowing two or fewer earned runs in three of those outings. Diamondbacks right-hander Yusmeiro Petit hasn't caught the attention of many mixed leaguers yet, but the 23-year old has allowed just 10 combined runs in his six starts for the team this year. He has fanned 18 batters in 23 innings while issuing just two walks since replacing Micah Owings in the rotation. Petit should hold up his end of an expected pitching duel with Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals on Tuesday.
Games in Tampa, Toronto, Milwaukee and Arizona are always weatherproof. Rain is not expected to threaten any of Tuesday's outdoor games.
Will Harris is a fantasy baseball and college football analyst for ESPN.com
Will Harris looks at Tuesday's games for fantasy matchups to exploit and avoid.