Commentary

Forecaster: Lineups, matchups, two-start pitchers

Updated: April 13, 2008, 7:15 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com

On tap: It's a full week for the American League, with all 14 teams playing all seven days in Week 3. Over in the National League, though, each of the 16 teams plays exactly six games. Among the story lines of Week 3: the returns from the DL of the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo, scheduled to pitch April 19 at Cincinnati, and the Diamondbacks' Randy Johnson, who will be activated Monday for a two-start week; a rematch of last year's ALCS, with the Red Sox and Indians battling Monday and Tuesday in Cleveland; and a forgettable week for two-start pitchers, as you'll see below.

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

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

Seven games
Angels (@TEX-2, KC-2, SEA-3)Rays (NYY-2, @MIN-2, CHW-3)
Athletics (@CHW-2, SEA-2, KC-3)Red Sox (@CLE-2, @NYY-2, TEX-3)
Blue Jays (@BAL-2, TEX-2, DET-3)Royals (@SEA-2, @LAA-2, @OAK-3)
Indians (BOS-2, DET-2, @MIN-3)Tigers (MIN-2, @CLE-2, @TOR-3)
Mariners (KC-2, @OAK-2, @LAA-3)Twins (@DET-2, TB-2, CLE-3)
Orioles (TOR-2, CHW-2, NYY-3)White Sox (OAK-2, @BAL-2, @TB-3)
Rangers (LAA-2, @TOR-2, @BOS-3)Yankees (@TB-2, BOS-2, @BAL-3)
Six games, all homeSix games, all road
Cardinals (MIL-3, SF-3)Brewers (@STL-3, @CIN-3)
Cubs (CIN-3, PIT-3)Nationals (@NYM-3, @FLA-3)
Marlins (ATL-3, WAS-3)Pirates (@LAD-3, @CHC-3)
Phillies (HOU-3, NYM-3)Rockies (@SD-3, @HOU-3)
Good weather (* -- weatherproof)Riskier weather (keep tabs)
Angels (@TEX-2, KC-2, SEA-3)Cubs (CIN-3, PIT-3)
Blue Jays (@BAL-2, TEX-2, DET-3)Mets (WAS-3, @PHI-3)
Mariners (KC-2, @OAK-2, @LAA-3)Orioles (TOR-2, CHW-2, NYY-3)
Rays * (NYY-2, @MIN-2, CHW-3)Phillies (HOU-3, NYM-3)
Royals (@SEA-2, @LAA-2, @OAK-3)Pirates (@LAD-3, @CHC-3)
Twins (@DET-2, TB-2, CLE-3)Red Sox (@CLE-2, @NYY-2, TEX-3)
Diamondbacks (@SF-3, SD-3)Reds (@CHC-3, MIL-3)
Rockies (@SD-3, @HOU-3)
Padres (COL-3, @ARI-3)

Note: Hitter-friendly ballparks are based primarily on three-year statistical data (2005-07) comparing home/road performance, much the same method as on our Park Factor page. Some personal opinion does go into making ballpark selections.

Good for hittersPoor for hitters
Blue Jays (@BAL-2, TEX-2, DET-3)Giants (ARI-3, @STL-3)
Mets (WAS-3, @PHI-3)Mariners (KC-2, @OAK-2, @LAA-3)
Phillies (HOU-3, NYM-3)Rockies (@SD-3, @HOU-3)
White Sox (OAK-2, @BAL-2, @TB-3)Tigers (MIN-2, @CLE-2, @TOR-3)
Games at hitter-friendly ballparks
Chase Field (ARI): Padres (April 18-20)
Citizens Bank Park (PHI): Astros (April 15-17); Mets (April 18-20)
Coors Field (COL): No games
Great American Ball Park (CIN): Brewers (April 18-20)
Rangers Ballpark (TEX): Angels (April 14-15)
U.S. Cellular Field (CHW): Athletics (April 14-15)
Wrigley Field (CHC): Reds (April 15-17); Pirates (April 18-20)
Lefty-heavyRighty-heavy
Athletics (3 LHP, 4 RHP)Astros (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Blue Jays (3 LHP, 3 RHP, 1 TBD)Brewers (6 RHP, 0 LHP)
Diamondbacks (3 LHP, 3 RHP)Giants (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Dodgers (3 LHP, 2 RHP, 1 TBD)Marlins (6 RHP, 0 LHP)
Indians (3 LHP, 4 RHP)Orioles (6 RHP, 1 LHP)
Mariners (3 LHP, 4 RHP)Phillies (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Mets (4 LHP, 2 RHP)Rangers (6 RHP, 1 LHP)
Nationals (3 LHP, 3 RHP)Red Sox (7 RHP, 0 LHP)
Padres (3 LHP, 3 RHP)Reds (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Rays (3 LHP, 4 RHP)Tigers (6 RHP, 1 LHP)
Royals (3 LHP, 4 RHP)Yankees (6 RHP, 1 LHP)
White Sox (3 LHP, 4 RHP)

Player tips: Geoff Jenkins (PHI) is a must-start in weeks when his Phillies are at home and scheduled to face five-plus right-handers, as they are in Week 3. He's a lifetime .288 hitter with an .882 OPS against righties. … Although the Mets face a healthy dose of left-handers, Carlos Delgado's (NYM) career numbers offer some encouragement regarding his matchups. He's a .381/1.170 hitter in 29 career games at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, where he'll play April 18-20. Delgado is also a lifetime 3-for-6 against the Nationals' Matt Chico, his scheduled April 17 opponent; 4-for-9 with a homer against the Phillies' Cole Hamels, his April 18 opponent; and 30-for-68 with eight homers against Jamie Moyer, his April 19 opponent. … Ken Griffey Jr. (CIN) is a .299/.888 hitter in 36 career games at Chicago's Wrigley Field, where he'll play April 15-17, and if you remember back to Week 2, if he draws a start against the Brewers' Dave Bush or Jeff Suppan, each of whom he hits well, his matchups will be extraordinary. … J.D. Drew (BOS) is a lifetime .293/.927 hitter against right-handers, and his Red Sox will see seven of them in Week 3. … Kevin Kouzmanoff (SD) is a .300/1.110 hitter in eight career games at Arizona's Chase Field, where he'll play April 14-16.

Note: Matchups are determined by examining an opponent's catcher and its pitching staff. Obviously, teams such as the Tigers (catcher: Ivan Rodriguez) and Mets (Brian Schneider) rate as tough teams to run on, and teams such as the Padres (Josh Bard/Michael Barrett) and Indians (Victor Martinez) rate as easy teams to run on.

Good for stolen basesPoor for stolen bases
Cardinals (MIL-3, SF-3)Blue Jays (@BAL-2, TEX-2, DET-3)
Diamondbacks (@SF-3, SD-3)Giants (ARI-3, @STL-3)
Orioles (TOR-2, CHW-2, NYY-3)Indians (BOS-2, DET-2, @MIN-3)
Rangers (LAA-2, @TOR-2, @BOS-3)Phillies (HOU-3, NYM-3)

Player tips: Eric Byrnes and Chris Young (ARI) ran wild against the Padres in 2007, stealing six bases apiece, but take into account the team's other two speedsters in those meetings, Stephen Drew, who swiped four bags, and Orlando Hudson, who managed three. … To note, they're not on my favorable matchups list, but the Rockies get three against the Padres, April 15-17, and Matt Holliday (COL) did manage four of his 11 steals in 2007 against them. … Between the majors and minors, Adam Jones (BAL) has 27 stolen bases in 279 games since the start of the 2006 season. … Nick Markakis (BAL) stole three of his 18 bases in 2007 against the Yankees. … Brian Bocock (SF) has been caught twice already in five attempts this season, and given that he doesn't offer much fantasy value outside this one category, this is a good week to sit him. Rajai Davis, who isn't getting regular at-bats, is another Giants speedster to avoid. … Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE), who swiped 25 bases in the minors in 2007 yet hasn't attempted a steal in his big league career, seems unlikely to register his first facing the Tigers' Rodriguez and Twins' Joe Mauer.

Note: As with the hitter-friendly ballparks, pitcher-friendly ballparks are based mostly on 2005-07 data, with some personal opinion involved.

Good for pitchersPoor for pitchers
Diamondbacks (@SF-3, SD-3)Astros (@PHI-3, COL-3)
Rockies (@SD-3, @HOU-3)Orioles (TOR-2, CHW-2, NYY-3)
Royals (@SEA-2, @LAA-2, @OAK-3)Rangers (LAA-2, @TOR-2, @BOS-3)
White Sox (OAK-2, @BAL-2, @TB-3)Reds (@CHC-3, MIL-3)
Games at pitcher-friendly ballparks
Busch Stadium (STL): Brewers (April 15-17); Giants (April 18-20)
Dolphin Stadium (FLA): Braves (April 15-17); Nationals (April 18-20)
McAfee Coliseum (OAK): Mariners (April 16-17); Royals (April 18-20)
Metrodome (MIN): Rays (April 16-17); Indians (April 18-20)
Petco Park (SD): Rockies (April 15-17)
Safeco Field (SEA): Royals (April 14-15)
Shea Stadium (NYM): Nationals (April 15-17)

Player tips: With this one of the poorer weeks we'll see all season as it pertains to two-start pitchers, don't be too hasty to pick a pitcher scheduled to work twice over a clearly more talented pitcher starting only once. A few cases in point: I'd start Josh Beckett (BOS), scheduled to pitch at the Yankees on April 17, over anyone but the top four two-start pitchers; Brian Bannister (KC), scheduled to pitch at Oakland on April 18, over anyone but the top 14; and Wandy Rodriguez (HOU), scheduled to pitch against the Rockies on April 19, over anyone but the top 18. … Carlos Silva (SEA) has a 2.70 ERA and 1.15 ERA in three career starts at Oakland's McAfee Coliseum, where he's scheduled to start on April 17. … Troy Percival (TB) has 15 saves, a 0.34 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP in 25 career games at Minnesota's Metrodome, where the Rays will play April 16-17. … Jon Garland (LAA) has more wins against the Royals (16) than any other opponent in his career; he has a 3.54 ERA in 201 innings against them and is scheduled to face them April 17. … Joe Blanton (OAK) is 7-3 with a 3.07 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 12 career starts against the Mariners, whom he's scheduled to face on April 16. … Johnny Cueto (CIN) held the Brewers to two runs on five hits while striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings on April 8, and he'll get a rematch with them April 19. This time, though, he'll be at home, so expect another solid outing.

Two-start pitchers -- the top 25
Pitcher (Team)First start (Opponent)Second start (Opponent)
1. Dustin McGowan (TOR)April 14, @BAL (TBD)April 19, DET (Bonderman)
Last 2 GS: 0-0, 3.27 ERA, 1.55 WHIP … May 23, 2007 at Camden Yards: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 3 K's
2. Zack Greinke (KC)April 14, @SEA (Washburn)April 19, @OAK (G. Smith)
Last 2 GS: 2-0, 0.60 ERA, 1.07 WHIP … Career at McAfee Coliseum: 15 2/3 IP, 1.72 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
3. Andy Pettitte (NYY)April 15, @TB (E. Jackson)April 20, @BAL (Trachsel)
Last 2 GS: 1-1, 3.09 ERA, 1.46 WHIP … Career at Tropicana Field: 10 GS, 7-1, 3.23 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
4. Shaun Marcum (TOR)April 15, @BAL (Trachsel)April 20, DET (Robertson)
Last 2 GS: 1-0, 2.57 ERA, 0.79 WHIP … May 24, 2007 at Camden Yards: 7 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 K's
5. Hiroki Kuroda (LAD)April 14, PIT (Duke)April 20, @ATL (Jurrjens)
Last 2 GS: 1-1, 2.13 ERA, 1.11 WHIP … Spring: 7 GS, 2-1, 4.18 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
6. Jeremy Bonderman (DET)April 14, MIN (Blackburn)April 19, @TOR (McGowan)
Last 2 GS: 1-1, 3.97 ERA, 1.68 WHIP … Career at Rogers Centre: 5 G (4 GS), 3.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
7. Mark Buehrle (CHW)April 14, OAK (G. Smith)April 19, @TB (Sonnanstine)
Last 2 GS: 1-0, 8.31 ERA, 1.96 WHIP … Career at Tropicana Field: 6 G (4 GS), 5-1, 4.45 ERA
8. Jake Westbrook (CLE)April 14, BOS (Lester)April 19, @MIN (Blackburn)
Last 2 GS: 1-1, 2.76 ERA, 0.86 WHIP … Career versus BOS: 6 GS, 3-2, 4.81 ERA, 1.93 WHIP
9. Jarrod Washburn (SEA)April 14, KC (Greinke)April 19, @LAA (E. Santana)
Last 2 GS: 1-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP … Career versus KC: 14 GS, 8-4, 3.36 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
10. Randy Johnson (ARI)April 14, @SF (J. Sanchez)April 20, SD (Wolf)
Rehab (Triple-A): 2 GS, 7.20 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 10 IP, 8 K's … Career at AT&T Park: 5 GS, 2.88 ERA
11. Braden Looper (STL)April 15, MIL (Bush)April 20, SF (J. Sanchez)
Last 2 GS: 2-0, 3.09 ERA, 1.03 WHIP … 2007-08 at home: 16 GS, 8-4, 3.23 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
12. Ervin Santana (LAA)April 14, @TEX (TBD)April 19, SEA (Washburn)
Last 2 GS: 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP … Career at Rangers Ballpark: 7 GS, 1-4, 8.92 ERA
13. Ryan Dempster (CHC)April 15, CIN (Fogg)April 20, PIT (Duke)
Last 2 GS: 1-0, 0.69 ERA, 0.62 WHIP … April 9 versus PIT: Win, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 5 K's
14. Jon Lester (BOS)April 14, @CLE (Westbrook)April 19, TEX (Jennings)
Last 3 GS: 1-2, 4.50 ERA, 1.44 WHIP … July 23, 2007 at Progressive Field: Win, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 6 K's
15. Jair Jurrjens (ATL)April 15, @FLA (Olsen)April 20, LAD (Kuroda)
Last 2 GS: 1-1, 4.38 ERA, 1.54 WHIP … Career stats: 9 GS, 4-2, 4.60 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
16. Scott Baker (MIN)April 15, @DET (Robertson)April 20, CLE (P. Byrd)
Last 2 GS: 2-0, 4.63 ERA, 1.11 WHIP … Career at Comerica Park: 2 GS, 1-1, 1.80 ERA, 0.67 WHIP
17. Randy Wolf (SD)April 15, COL (U. Jimenez)April 20, @ARI (Ra. Johnson)
Last 2 GS: 0-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP … Career at Chase Field: 4 GS, 3-1, 3.46 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
18. Dana Eveland (OAK)April 15, @CHW (Danks)April 20, KC (Bale)
Last 2 GS: 1-0, 0.68 ERA, 0.97 WHIP … Spring: 5 GS, 3-0, 1.29 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
19. Edwin Jackson (TB)April 15, NYY (Pettitte)April 20, CHW (Danks)
Last 2 GS: 2-0, 0.64 ERA, 0.93 WHIP … April 5 versus NYY: Win, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 K's
20. Ubaldo Jimenez (COL)April 15, @SD (Wolf)April 20, @HOU (Chacon)
Last 2 GS: 1-1, 4.91 ERA, 2.00 WHIP … Aug. 15, 2007 at Petco Park: Win, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 9 K's
21. Scott Olsen (FLA)April 15, ATL (Jurrjens)April 20, WAS (Perez)
Last 2 GS: 1-0, 4.61 ERA, 1.24 WHIP … 2007 at home: 19 GS, 8-7, 4.89 ERA, 1.57 WHIP
22. Miguel Batista (SEA)April 15, KC (Bale)April 20, @LAA (Moseley)
Last 2 GS: 0-2, 6.00 ERA, 1.83 WHIP … 2007 at Angel Stadium: 3 GS, 2-1, 5.94 ERA, 2.10 WHIP
23. Ian Kennedy (NYY)April 14, @TB (Sonnanstine)April 19, @BAL (Burres)
2007 stats: 2 G (1 GS), 0-1, 13.50 ERA, 2.25 WHIP … Road career: 3 G (2 GS), 3.00 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
24. John Danks (CHW)April 15, OAK (Eveland)April 20, @TB (E. Jackson)
Last 2 GS: 0-1, 8.00 ERA, 1.56 WHIP … June 25, 2007 at Tropicana Field: Win, 5 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 K's
25. Nick Blackburn (MIN)April 14, @DET (Bonderman)April 19, CLE (Westbrook)
Last 2 GS: 0-1, 2.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP … Spring: 2.25 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 16 IP
The rest (in alphabetical order): John Bale (KC), April 15, @SEA (M. Batista), April 20, @OAK (Eveland); Dave Bush (MIL), April 15, @STL (Looper), April 20, SF (J. Sanchez); Paul Byrd (CLE), April 15, BOS (Wakefield), April 20, @MIN (Baker); Shawn Chacon (HOU), April 15, @PHI (K. Kendrick), April 20, COL (U. Jimenez); Zach Duke (PIT), April 14, @LAD (Kuroda), April 20, @CHC (Dempster); Josh Fogg (CIN), April 15, @CHC (Dempster), April 20, MIL (Bush); Kyle Kendrick (PHI), April 15, HOU (Chacon), April 20, NYM (Pelfrey); Kevin Millwood (TEX), April 15, LAA (Moseley), April 20, @BOS (Wakefield); Dustin Moseley (LAA), April 15, @TEX (Millwood), April 20, SEA (M. Batista); Mike Pelfrey (NYM), April 15, WAS (Perez), April 20, @PHI (K. Kendrick); Odalis Perez (WAS), April 15, @NYM (Pelfrey), April 20, @FLA (Olsen); Nate Robertson (DET), April 15, MIN (Baker), April 20, @TOR (Marcum); Jonathan Sanchez (SF), April 14, ARI (Ra. Johnson), April 20, @STL (Looper); Greg Smith (OAK), April 14, @CHW (Buehrle), April 19, KC (Greinke); Andy Sonnanstine (TB), April 14, NYY (I. Kennedy), April 19, CHW (Buehrle); Steve Trachsel (BAL), April 15, TOR (Marcum), April 20, NYY (Pettitte); Tim Wakefield (BOS), April 15, @CLE (P. Byrd), April 20, @MIN (Liriano).

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