Commentary

Fantasy Forecaster: Full week of interleague

Updated: June 17, 2008, 4:51 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com

On tap: It's a full week of interleague play, the first of back-to-back such weeks. Among the intriguing matchups: White Sox-Cubs at Wrigley Field, Red Sox-Phillies in Philadelphia and Cardinals-Red Sox in Boston, a rematch of the 2004 World Series.

Quick click by section: Interleague primer | Game breakdowns | Hitters' matchups | Base stealers' matchups | Pitchers' matchups | Two-start pitchers

American League teams, six games at NL parks
Blue Jays (@MIL-3, @PIT-3): Matt Stairs might play some left field versus righties.
Indians (@COL-3, @LAD-3): Expect platoons at both corner outfield spots; David Dellucci/Ben Francisco in left field, Shin-Soo Choo/Franklin Gutierrez in right.
Tigers (@SF-3, @SD-3): Brent Clevlen, Jeff Larish, Ryan Raburn back to the bench.
American League teams, three games at NL parks
Angels (NYM-3, @PHI-3): Garret Anderson, Gary Matthews Jr., to split starts in left field.
Athletics (@ARI-3, FLA-3): Eric Chavez, Jack Hannahan to split starts at third base.
Mariners (FLA-3, @ATL-3): Jose Vidro to sneak in a game or two at first base?
Orioles (HOU-3, @MIL-3): Aubrey Huff might play over Kevin Millar at first base or Melvin Mora at third base; with five games versus righties, expect Millar to sit most.
Rangers (ATL-3, @WAS-3): Milton Bradley should play in right field, David Murphy shifting to left, sending the Brandon Boggs/Marlon Byrd platoon to the bench.
Red Sox (@PHI-3, STL-3): If Manny is healthy enough to play left field, Coco Crisp and Jacoby Ellsbury will probably split the center field duties.
Royals (@STL-3, SF-3): Miguel Olivo, John Buck should share catching duties.
White Sox (PIT-3, @CHC-3): Jim Thome didn't play first base at all May 15-17, so not much reason to think he will this time, either.
National League teams, six games at AL parks
Astros (@BAL-3, @TB-3): Darin Erstad/Mark Loretta platoon, and the team does face five righties; Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee usually DH to open field positions.
Marlins (@SEA-3, @OAK-3): Wes Helms might DH, but if Dallas McPherson gets promoted, he'd be a sleeper versus five righties.

Note: Weather reports are based on upcoming weather forecasts (through Friday), as well as historical trends in those cities. "Poor weather" doesn't guarantee rainouts; those are merely the teams with the highest probability of one or more.

Seven games
Braves (@COL-1, @TEX-3, SEA-3)Rockies (ATL-1, CLE-3, NYM-3)
Six games, all homeSix games, all road
Brewers (TOR-3, BAL-3)Astros (@BAL-3, @TB-3)
Phillies (BOS-3, LAA-3)Blue Jays (@MIL-3, @PIT-3)
Rays (CHC-3, HOU-3)Indians (@COL-3, @LAD-3)
Twins (WAS-3, ARI-3)Marlins (@SEA-3, @OAK-3)
Yankees (SD-3, CIN-3)Mets (@LAA-3, @COL-3)
Tigers (@SF-3, @SD-3)
Good weather (* -- weatherproof)Riskier weather
Astros (@BAL-3, @TB-3)Braves (@COL-1, @TEX-3, SEA-3)
Athletics (@ARI-3, FLA-3)Phillies (BOS-3, LAA-3)
Brewers * (TOR-3, BAL-3)Rangers (ATL-3, @WAS-3)
Diamondbacks * (OAK-3, @MIN-3)Red Sox (@PHI-3, STL-3)
Dodgers (@CIN-3, CLE-3)Yankees (SD-3, CIN-3)
Marlins (@SEA-3, @OAK-3)
Orioles (HOU-3, @MIL-3)
Rays * (CHC-3, HOU-3)
Tigers (@SF-3, @SD-3)
Twins * (WAS-3, ARI-3)
Weather note: As interleague contests are difficult to reschedule, teams tend to do everything within their power to play them, questionable weather or not. In addition, most times an interleague game is postponed, it's made up as a doubleheader during the same series, meaning it's likely any washed-out game would be replayed within Week 12.

Note: Hitter-friendly ballparks are based primarily on recent statistical data (2005 to 2008) comparing home/road performance, much the same method as our Park Factor page. Some personal opinion does go into making ballpark selections.

Good for hittersPoor for hitters
Braves (@COL-1, @TEX-3, SEA-3) Athletics (@ARI-3, FLA-3)
Nationals (@MIN-3, TEX-3) Brewers (TOR-3, BAL-3)
Rangers (ATL-3, @WAS-3) Pirates (@CHW-3, TOR-3)
Red Sox (@PHI-3, STL-3) Royals (@STL-3, SF-3)
Games at hitter-friendly ballparks
Chase Field (ARI): Athletics, June 17-19
Citizens Bank Park (PHI): Red Sox, June 16-18; Angels, June 20-22
Coors Field (COL): Braves, June 16; Indians, June 17-19; Mets, June 20-22
Great American Ball Park (CIN): Dodgers, June 17-19
Rangers Ballpark (TEX): Braves, June 17-19
U.S. Cellular Field (CHW): Pirates, June 17-19
Wrigley Field (CHC): White Sox, June 20-22
Lefty-heavyRighty-heavy
Angels (3 LHP, 3 RHP)Astros (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Athletics (3 LHP, 3 RHP)Cardinals (6 RHP, 0 LHP)
Blue Jays (3 LHP, 3 RHP)Giants (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Indians (3 LHP, 3 RHP)Marlins (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Tigers (3 LHP, 3 RHP)Mets (6 RHP, 0 LHP)
White Sox (3 LHP, 3 RHP)Nationals (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Orioles (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Pirates (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Rays (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Reds (6 RHP, 0 LHP)
Royals (6 RHP, 0 LHP)
Yankees (5 RHP, 1 LHP)

Hitter value plays
Hitter (Team)ScheduleRecent stats (since?)
Ryan Doumit (PIT)@CHW-3, TOR-3(June 6) 6 G, .435 AVG, 4 HR
Interleague 2007: 10 G, .303 AVG, .804 OPS ... 2008 versus RHP: .366 AVG, 1.073 OPS
J.D. Drew (BOS)@PHI-3, STL-3(June 1) 11 G, .500 AVG, 6 HR
Interleague 2007-08: 18 G, .297 AVG, 4 HR ... Career at Citizens Bank Park: 12 G, .333 AVG, 1.074 OPS
Ryan Garko (CLE)@COL-3, @LAD-3(June 2) 11 G, .372 AVG, .941 OPS
Interleague career: 19 G, .280 AVG, .833 OPS ... Career versus LHP: .317 AVG, .920 OPS
Jason Giambi (NYY)SD-3, CIN-3(May 8) 29 G, .354 AVG, 10 HR
Interleague 2006-08: 21 G, .271 AVG, 7 HR ... 2006-08 home: .259 AVG, .953 OPS
Eric Hinske (TB)CHC-3, HOU-3(May 19) 16 G, .226 AVG, 4 HR
Interleague career: 83 G, .297 AVG, 9 HR, .894 OPS ... 2008 versus RHP: .268 AVG, .903 OPS
Kelly Johnson (ATL)@COL-1, @TEX-3, SEA-3(May 12) 28 G, .327 AVG, .915 OPS
June 13-15, 2005 at Rangers Ballpark: 5-for-13 (.385 AVG), 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1.121 OPS
Jeff Kent (LAD)@CIN-3, CLE-3(May 26) 13 G, .294 AVG, 4 HR
Interleague career: 146 G, .307 AVG, 24 HR ... Career at Great American: 24 G, .290 AVG, 7 HR, .921 OPS
A.J. Pierzynski (CHW)PIT-3, @CHC-3(May 6) 29 G, .325 AVG, .816 OPS
Interleague 2005-08: 49 G, .287 AVG, 7 HR ... Career at Wrigley Field: 12 G, .372 AVG, 2 HR, .961 OPS
Luke Scott (BAL)HOU-3, @MIL-3(May 24) 17 G, .327 AVG, 6 HR
Career at Miller Park: 18 G, .283 AVG, 4 HR, 1.095 OPS ... Career versus RHP: .281 AVG, .909 OPS
Jason Varitek (BOS)@PHI-3, STL-3(May 14) 21 G, .260 AVG, 4 HR
Interleague 2003-08: 82 G, .308 AVG, 13 HR ... Career at Citizens Bank Park: 5 G, .368 AVG, 2 HR
All statistics above are through the games of Thursday, June 12.

Note: Matchups are determined by examining both an opponent's catcher and pitching staff. Obviously, teams like the Mets (catcher: Brian Schneider) and Tigers (Ivan Rodriguez) rate as tough teams to run on, while teams like the Padres (Michael Barrett) and Orioles (Ramon Hernandez) rate as easy teams to run on.

Good for stolen basesTop speedsters
Brewers (TOR-3, BAL-3)Corey Hart (10 SB), Ryan Braun (6)
Pirates (@CHW-3, TOR-3)Nate McLouth (7), Jason Bay (5)
Rangers (ATL-3, @WAS-3)Ian Kinsler (17), David Murphy (5)
Tigers (@SF-3, @SD-3)Carlos Guillen (6), Ivan Rodriguez (4)
Poor for stolen basesTop speedsters
Giants (DET-3, @KC-3)Fred Lewis (12), Randy Winn (10)
Marlins (@SEA-3, @OAK-3)Hanley Ramirez (16), Cody Ross (4)
Rays (CHC-3, HOU-3)B.J. Upton (20), Carl Crawford (19), Jason Bartlett (14)
Rockies (ATL-1, CLE-3, NYM-3)Willy Taveras (24), Scott Podsednik (8)

Note: As with the hitter-friendly ballparks, pitcher-friendly ballparks are based mostly on 2005-08 data, with some personal opinion involved.

Good for pitchersPoor for pitchers
Blue Jays (@MIL-3, @PIT-3) Angels (NYM-3, @PHI-3)
Diamondbacks (OAK-3, @MIN-3) Athletics (@ARI-3, FLA-3)
Marlins (@SEA-3, @OAK-3) Braves (@COL-1, @TEX-3, SEA-3)
Tigers (@SF-3, @SD-3) Mets (@LAA-3, @COL-3)
Games at pitcher-friendly ballparks
Busch Stadium (STL): Royals, June 17-19
Dolphin Stadium (FLA): No games
McAfee Coliseum (OAK): Marlins, June 20-22
Metrodome (MIN): Nationals, June 17-19; Diamondbacks, June 20-22
Petco Park (SD): Tigers, June 20-22
Safeco Field (SEA): Marlins, June 16-18
Shea Stadium (NYM): No games

Two-start notes: I'll draw a hard line after No. 16, Nick Blackburn, in mixed leagues, seeing a notable drop-off in matchups potential immediately afterward. ... I'm also forecasting the Red Sox skipping Tim Wakefield in their rotation due to Thursday's off day and Daisuke Matsuzaka's scheduled return on Saturday. It's possible the team will keep Wakefield on turn on Friday, though, pushing Josh Beckett back to on Sunday and keeping any Red Sox starter from making two starts in Week 12.

Two-start pitchers -- Tristan's rankings
Pitcher (Team)First start (Opponent)Second start (Opponent)
1. Justin Verlander (DET)June 16, @SF (Lincecum)June 22, @SD (Wolf)
Past 5 GS: 2-2, 2.50 ERA, 1.03 WHIP ... Interleague career: 7 GS, 7-0, 1.99 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
2. Brandon Webb (ARI)June 17, OAK (Duchscherer)June 22, @MIN (Blackburn)
Past 5 GS: 2-2, 3.06 ERA, 1.02 WHIP ... Career interleague: 17 GS, 5-9, 3.22 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
3. Cole Hamels (PHI)June 16, BOS (Colon)June 22, LAA (Weaver)
Past 5 GS: 1-1, 4.01 ERA, 0.98 WHIP ... Career home: 30 GS, 17-8, 3.31 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
4. Tim Lincecum (SF)June 16, DET (Verlander)June 22, @KC (Davies)
Past 5 GS: 3-0, 2.10 ERA, 1.17 WHIP ... Career interleague: 2 GS, 0-1, 11.25 ERA, 2.50 WHIP
5. James Shields (TB)June 17, CHC (Dempster)June 22, HOU (Backe)
Past 5 GS: 0-2, 5.58 ERA, 1.27 WHIP ... Career home: 34 GS, 14-7, 3.23 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
6. Javier Vazquez (CHW)June 17, PIT (Snell)June 22, @CHC (Dempster)
Past 5 GS: 2-2, 4.60 ERA, 1.50 WHIP ... 2006-07 interleague: 7 GS, 1-1, 6.14 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
7. Dustin McGowan (TOR)June 17, @MIL (Parra)June 22, @PIT (Snell)
Past 5 GS: 3-1, 3.21 ERA, 1.25 WHIP ... 2007-08 road: 22 GS, 5-10, 5.29 ERA, 1.43 WHIP
8. Ryan Dempster (CHC)June 17, @TB (J. Shields)June 22, CHW (J. Vazquez)
Past 5 GS: 3-1, 3.62 ERA, 1.11 WHIP ... Career at Tropicana Field: 5 GS, 2-3, 3.66 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
9. Justin Duchscherer (OAK)June 17, @ARI (Webb)June 22, FLA (A. Miller)
Past 5 GS: 3-2, 2.20 ERA, 0.95 WHIP ... Interleague career: 19 G, 1 GS, 5.34 ERA, 1.57 WHIP
10. Tim Hudson (ATL)June 17, @TEX (Padilla)June 22, SEA (Silva)
Past 5 GS: 1-1, 2.23 ERA, 1.27 WHIP ... 2005-08 interleague: 11 GS, 0-9, 7.46 ERA, 1.92 WHIP
11. Chad Billingsley (LAD)June 17, @CIN (Cueto)June 22, CLE (P. Byrd)
Past 5 GS: 1-2, 2.81 ERA, 1.19 WHIP ... Aug. 8, 2007 at Great American: Loss, 5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 K's
12. Jered Weaver (LAA)June 16, NYM (Pelfrey)June 22, @PHI (Hamels)
Past 5 GS: 4-1, 3.73 ERA, 1.24 WHIP ... Interleague career: 4 GS, 3-0, 3.10 ERA, 1.43 WHIP
13. Manny Parra (MIL)June 17, TOR (McGowan)June 22, BAL (Olson)
Past 5 GS: 4-0, 4.13 ERA, 1.38 WHIP ... 2008 home: 7 GS, 3-0, 2.90 ERA, 1.34 WHIP
14. Randy Wolf (SD)June 17, @NYY (Rasner)June 22, DET (Verlander)
Past 5 GS: 3-0, 1.91 ERA, 0.94 WHIP ... 2003-08 interleague: 7 GS, 2-3, 3.89 ERA, 1.58 WHIP
15. Johnny Cueto (CIN)June 17, LAD (Billingsley)June 22, @NYY (Rasner)
Past 5 GS: 3-2, 4.82 ERA, 1.82 WHIP ... May 21, 2008 versus LAD: Loss, 5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 K's
16. Nick Blackburn (MIN)June 17, WAS (Lannan)June 22, ARI (Webb)
Past 5 GS: 1-2, 4.08 ERA, 1.50 WHIP ... 2008 home: 6 GS, 3-2, 2.37 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
17. Ian Snell (PIT)June 17, @CHW (J. Vazquez)June 22, TOR (McGowan)
Past 5 GS: 1-4, 5.88 ERA, 1.96 WHIP ... Career interleague: 7 GS, 2-4, 4.54 ERA, 1.58 WHIP
18. Jair Jurrjens (ATL)June 16, @COL (U. Jimenez)June 21, SEA (Washburn)
Past 5 GS: 2-0, 5.00 ERA, 2.07 WHIP ... April 8, 2008 at Coors Field: Loss, 7 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 K's
19. John Lannan (WAS)June 17, @MIN (Blackburn)June 22, TEX (Padilla)
Past 5 GS: 1-3, 2.97 ERA, 1.09 WHIP ... Career: 19 GS, 6-9, 3.66 ERA, 1.42 WHIP
20. Darrell Rasner (NYY)June 17, SD (Wolf)June 22, CIN (Cueto)
Past 5 GS: 1-4, 3.90 ERA, 1.37 WHIP ... Career home: 14 G, 9 GS, 5-4, 3.11 ERA, 1.09 WHIP
21. Andrew Miller (FLA)June 16, @SEA (Silva)June 22, @OAK (Duchscherer)
Past 5 GS, 1-2, 3.67 ERA, 1.33 WHIP ... July 12, 2007 at Safeco Field: Loss, 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 K's
22. Braden Looper (STL)June 17, KC (Davies)June 22, @BOS (Colon)
Past 5 GS: 3-2, 4.50 ERA, 1.47 WHIP ... 2007-08 interleague: 4 GS, 0-4, 10.18 ERA, 2.31 WHIP
23. Bartolo Colon (BOS)June 16, @PHI (Hamels)June 22, STL (Looper)
Past 5 GS: 4-1, 3.41 ERA, 1.31 WHIP ... 2003-07 interleague: 17 GS, 3-9, 5.77 ERA, 1.51 WHIP
No thank you (in alphabetical order): Brandon Backe (HOU), June 17, @BAL (Olson); June 22, @TB (J. Shields); Paul Byrd (CLE), June 17, @COL (G. Reynolds), June 22, @LAD (Billingsley); Kyle Davies (KC), June 17, @STL (Looper), June 22, SF (Lincecum); Ubaldo Jimenez (COL), June 16, ATL (Jurrjens), June 21, NYM (Maine); Garrett Olson (BAL), June 17, HOU (Backe), June 22, @MIL (Parra); Vicente Padilla (TEX), June 17, ATL (T. Hudson), June 22, @WAS (Lannan); Mike Pelfrey (NYM), June 16, @LAA (Weaver), June 22, @COL (G. Reynolds); Greg Reynolds (COL), June 17, CLE (P. Byrd), June 22, NYM (Pelfrey); Carlos Silva (SEA), June 16, FLA (A. Miller), June 22, @ATL (T. Hudson).

One-start pitchers -- value plays (owned in under 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues)
Pitcher (Team)Start (Opponent)
Bronson Arroyo (CIN)June 18, LAD (Kuroda)
Past 5 GS: 2-1, 3.95 ERA, 1.43 WHIP ... 2006-08 home: 40 GS, 13-10, 3.61 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
Scott Baker (MIN)June 21, ARI (Owings)
Past 5 GS: 0-1, 3.08 ERA, 1.18 WHIP ... 2007-08 home: 17 GS, 5-5, 3.61 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
Jason Bergmann (WAS)June 18, @MIN (L. Hernandez)
Past 5 GS: 0-3, 4.13 ERA, 1.45 WHIP ... 2008 road: 4 GS, 1-2, 4.68 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
Doug Davis (ARI)June 19, OAK (G. Smith)
Past 5 GS: 1-2, 4.08 ERA, 1.67 WHIP ... 2007-08 home: 20 GS, 9-4, 4.63 ERA, 1.62 WHIP
Dana Eveland (OAK)June 21, FLA (Nolasco)
Past 5 GS: 1-2, 4.60 ERA, 1.57 WHIP ... 2008 home: 7 GS, 3-2, 3.12 ERA, 1.34 WHIP
Armando Galarraga (DET)June 18, @SF (Zito)
Past 5 GS: 3-1, 3.60 ERA, 1.07 WHIP ... 2008 road: 6 G, 5 GS, 4-1, 2.80 ERA, 0.91 WHIP
Jeremy Guthrie (BAL)June 18, HOU (Moehler)
Past 5 GS: 1-3, 3.41 ERA, 1.26 WHIP ... 2007-08 interleague: 5 GS, 1-1, 1.46 ERA, 0.81 WHIP
Luke Hochevar (KC)June 20, SF (Cain)
Past 5 GS: 0-3, 5.90 ERA, 1.62 WHIP ... 2008 home: 4 GS, 2-2, 3.70 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
Jesse Litsch (TOR)June 21, @PIT (Maholm)
Past 5 GS: 3-1, 2.18 ERA, 1.30 WHIP ... Career road: 18 G, 17 GS, 8-7, 3.67 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
Justin Masterson (BOS)June 18, @PHI (K. Kendrick)
Past 5 GS: 3-1, 2.90 ERA, 1.06 WHIP ... 2008 minors: 9 GS, 2-3, 3.86 ERA, 1.31 WHIP

Tristan H. Cockcroft covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.