On tap: It's a week of potential playoff showdowns, including such appealing series as Red Sox-Tigers, Yankees-Tigers, Indians-Yankees, Phillies-Diamondbacks, Diamondbacks-Cubs and Mets-Dodgers. Diamondbacks rookie Max Scherzer will make his first career big-league start on May 5 in the Phillies-Diamondbacks battle, as the 23-year-old takes on a man nearly twice his age (Jamie Moyer, age 45).
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.
Note: Hitter-friendly ballparks are based primarily on three-year statistical data (2005-07) comparing home/road performance, much the same method as our Park Factor page. Some personal opinion does go into making ballpark selections.
Player tips: Joe Crede (CHW) is a .315/1.020 hitter with seven home runs against right-handers this season. ... Mark DeRosa (CHC) is a .436 hitter with nine RBIs and a 1.059 OPS in 13 career games at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. ... Matt Diaz (ATL) is a .447/1.079 hitter against left-handers this season, .340/.905 against them for his career. ... Stephen Drew (ARI) is a .429 hitter with three homers, seven RBIs and a 1.480 OPS in six career games at Chicago's Wrigley Field. ... Mark Ellis (OAK) is a .391 hitter with 25 RBIs and a 1.008 OPS in 42 career games at Texas' Rangers Ballpark. ... Troy Glaus (STL) is a .262 hitter with nine homers and a 1.085 OPS in 17 career games at Colorado's Coors Field and a .286/.981 lifetime hitter against left-handers. ... Jason Kubel (MIN) is a .364 hitter with six homers, 23 RBIs and a 1.168 OPS in 13 career games at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field. ... Derrek Lee (CHC) is a .337 hitter with 12 homers, 28 RBIs and a 1.157 OPS in 26 career games at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. ... Carlos Quentin (CHW) is a .328/1.093 hitter with five homers against right-handers this season. ... Delmon Young (MIN) is a .516 hitter with two homers, 10 RBIs and a 1.382 OPS in eight career games at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field.
Note: Matchups are determined by examining both an opponent's catcher and pitching staff. Obviously, teams like the Mets (Brian Schneider) and Twins (catcher: Joe Mauer) and rate as tough teams to run on, while teams like the Padres (Josh Bard) and Red Sox (Jason Varitek) rate as easy teams to run on.
Player tips: Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS) is the only Red Sox player with more than one stolen base on the road this season, and he has two in 13 games. ... Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young (MIN) each have two stolen bases in four games against the White Sox this season. ... Matt Kemp (LAD) has four steals in his past three games, but that pace should slow down facing tougher matchups this week. ... Hanley Ramirez (FLA) has already stolen four of his nine bases for the season in six games against the Nationals. ... Ivan Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield (DET) each stole a base in both of their recent three-game series against the Red Sox and Yankees. ... No Yankee player successfully stole a base in either of the team's recent series against the Indians and Tigers; they were 0-for-3 as a team.
Note: As with the hitter-friendly ballparks, pitcher-friendly ballparks are based mostly on 2005-07 data, with some personal opinion involved.
Player tips: Mark Buehrle (CHW) has more wins against the Twins (20) than any other team, and a 3.69 ERA in 33 career games (31 starts) against them. He'll battle them again on May 7. ... Aaron Cook (COL) is 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in five career starts at San Diego's Petco Park, where he'll pitch on May 9. ... Though the Twins sport the majors' worst team OPS against left-handers (.588), keep in mind John Danks (CHW) allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in a loss to them on April 9, and he's 1-3 with an 8.35 ERA and 1.91 WHIP in four career starts against them. He'll face them again on May 8. ... Eric Gagne (MIL) has a 1.47 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 27 K's in 18 1/3 innings in his career at Florida's Dolphin Stadium. ... Tom Glavine (ATL) is 3-0 with a 2.40 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in his past five starts against the Pirates, whom he'll face on May 9. ... Derek Lowe (LAD) is 2-2 with a 2.23 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in six career starts against the Astros, whom he'll start against on May 9.
Two-start notes: Either Garrett Olson or Matt Albers will remain in the Orioles' rotation this week, and I'm picking Olson. ... I've also projected the Dodgers skipping Esteban Loaiza's turn in the rotation due to the May 8 off day, allowing Hiroki Kuroda a second start. His May 6 assignment is a favorable enough matchup to chance on him even if it's his only turn of the week, though.
Tristan H. Cockcroft covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.