Commentary

Daily Notes for the Weekend: Just another fishing trip for Moyer

Updated: April 24, 2009, 4:11 PM ET
By AJ Mass | ESPN.com

What does this weekend have to offer? Sheesh, you name it. The Yankees and Red Sox square off in Fenway, with the ever-present potential for fireworks. Also, we have a bit of a wedding theme going on: something old (Jamie Moyer), something new (Jordan Zimmermann), along with something both borrowed and blue (Brian Burres called up from Triple-A to fill in for Ricky Romero in Toronto). Get ready to throw your rice as we take a look at the rankings below:

For starters

Selected notes for Saturday: Derek Lowe grabs the top spot Saturday thanks to his career numbers (3-1, 2.86 ERA, 0.72 WHIP) versus the Reds. … His mound foe, Bronson Arroyo, drops down to No. 13 despite a 3-0 record because the Braves have a .323 batting average against him over his career. … Mark Buehrle is 3-0 against the Blue Jays at home in his career, and the White Sox are 6-0 in his home starts versus Toronto. … A.J. Burnett is 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA versus the Red Sox in his career, explaining his high ranking, although we do expect Josh Beckett to keep things close. … Kyle Davies has pitched well enough this season for us to downplay his career 1-4 mark (4.44 ERA) against Detroit, but Mark Hendrickson's 1-3 record and 8.50 ERA versus Texas is a bit too much for us to ignore. … Dallas Braden's 2-7 career mark at home lessens the impact of his good start to the season, even as he faces the Rays, who are struggling along at 10th in the AL in hitting. … The bottom-of-the-barrel options pretty much speak for themselves. In fact, for the most part, the pitchers facing those poor options Saturday got a slight bump in rank above as a result.

Selected notes for Sunday: We'll continue to ride the Roy Halladay train, especially against Jose Contreras, who has an 0-3 record and an ERA more than double that of our No. 1 pick for Sunday. … Jake Peavy will get his act together against a Pirates team against which he has a 5-1 record and 1.85 ERA for his career. … Jarrod Washburn hasn't lost yet in 2009, and facing Jered Weaver and his career 5.22 ERA versus the Mariners leads us to believe a 4-0 start is very much in the offing. … Jamie Moyer doesn't just have a good record against the Marlins, he has an unconscious record: 11-1 with a 2.95 ERA. … Jason Marquis has always pitched well in Coors Field. He's 4-0 with a 2.52 ERA, urging us to give him the nod over Clayton Kershaw, who has a 6.00 ERA in two starts there. … Russ Ortiz is an enigma. Although he has a 4.66 ERA at Minute Maid Park, he has never lost there in five decisions. Still, we don't see the Astros providing him with enough run support to overcome the mistakes he's bound to make against the Brewers. … As for Sidney Ponson, when your current ERA is higher than your 6.62 lifetime mark against the team you're facing, let's just say the writing is on the wall, and it's in permanent marker, no less.

Now batting (Saturday)

Hitters' count:

Bobby Abreu, OF, Angels: Can Abreu keep up his torrid hitting? We wouldn't bet against him Saturday when he goes up against Carlos Silva, against whom he has a career .588 batting average.
Vernon Wells, OF, Blue Jays: Some fantasy owners are actually starting to lose faith in Wells and his .257 average, but a solid day against Mark Hendrickson should quell their fears. Wells is 17-for-32 in his career against the Orioles starter.
Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves: Chipper's average has been on a steady decline but still sits over .300 for the season. Expect an upward trend to start Saturday against Bronson Arroyo and the Reds. Chipper has two home runs and a .450 lifetime mark against him.
Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees: Cano's hot start to 2009 shows no sign of waning, at least not against Josh Beckett. Cano is 10-for-30 against Beckett with an OPS of .945.
Lance Berkman, 1B, Astros: It's time for Berkman to turn it on against Jeff Suppan, if history is to be our guide. Berkman has been a .438 hitter with three home runs and 11 RBIs against Suppan over the years.
Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers: Of course, Miggy's career line versus Kyle Davies is a step down from his ridiculous .431 average through Thursday's games, but a day along the lines of his .333 average with two home runs in 18 at-bats against Davies would be just fine by us.
Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers: Kemp gets another crack at Ubaldo Jimenez, against whom he doubled last week to improve his matchup slugging percentage to .917.

Pitchers' count:

Carlos Lee, OF, Astros: Not all Astros hitters are happy to face Jeff Suppan. Lee has had plenty of opportunities to figure him out over the years but is hitting only .234 in 64 career at-bats versus the right-hander.
Kevin Youkilis, 1B, Red Sox: Youkilis is knocking the cover off the ball this season, with a slugging percentage of .750 entering play Friday, but expect a lull Saturday against A.J. Burnett. He has yet to get an extra-base hit off Burnett in 20 at-bats and is hitting only .200 against him.
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals: Through Thursday's games, Zimmerman had hit safely in 13 of 14 games this season, including 12 in a row. The streak may end against Mike Pelfrey, against whom Zimmerman bats only .208.
Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers: Ethier, who has been flirting with the .300 mark over the past week, might get a slap in the face Saturday. He's only 3-for-16 in his career against Ubaldo Jimenez.
Ryan Ludwick, OF, Cardinals: His owners are screaming for him to get more playing time, but perhaps they should quiet themselves for his matchup against Sean Marshall. Although Ludwick does have a home run against him, he's a .182 career hitter against the scheduled Cubs starter.
Alex Rios, OF, Blue Jays: Rios is hot, raising his average by 42 points over his past four games, but we expect him to give a little bit back, based on his .100 batting average against Mark Buehrle.

If you're hardcore

Alex Gonzalez, SS, Reds: His .125 average makes it understandable that he's owned in only 1.6 percent of ESPN standard leagues. However, he's worth a look against Derek Lowe, against whom he's 6-for-11 and has three RBIs in his career.
Geoff Blum, 3B, Astros: He's by no means an everyday player, but he might be if he faced Jeff Suppan every day. If his lifetime 13-for-24 mark with two home runs and nine RBIs appeals to you, then Blum belongs among your Saturday starters.
Alex Cora, 2B, Mets: Cora started a game against the Cardinals, and perhaps he deserves another one against Daniel Cabrera and the Nationals. Cora has hit .433 against Cabrera in 30 at-bats.
Austin Kearns, OF, Nationals: He has 10 RBIs and is playing pretty much every day for Washington, but hardly anybody owns Kearns. With Mike Pelfrey on the mound for the Mets, Kearns is a solid play, hitting .313 with a home run and four RBIs.
David Eckstein, 2B, Padres: The plucky Eckstein is hitting .321 through Thursday yet is owned in only 5 percent of ESPN leagues. But with a career .444 OBP against Zach Duke, he's bound to make that 5 percent happy.
Kelly Shoppach, C, Indians: Shoppach's playing time has been spotty over the past few series, but if he does get the call against Kevin Slowey, give him the call as well. He has two home runs in only seven at-bats against the Twins starter.

Now batting (Sunday)

Hitters' count:

Magglio Ordonez, OF, Tigers: Ordonez is still looking for his first home run of 2009, and he has yet to hit one in 34 at-bats against Sidney Ponson. However, he does have eight RBIs and a .500 batting average, so he's still worth the start.
Miguel Tejada, SS, Astros: Another hitter looking for his first round-tripper, Tejada goes up against Manny Parra, who might oblige. Tejada is a lifetime .600 slugger against Parra.
Jason Varitek, C, Red Sox: So far he has only nine hits, but three have cleared the outfield wall. He's a career .340 hitter against Andy Pettitte with two home runs and seven RBIs, so perhaps he'll add to his 2009 home run collection.
Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins: Returning home after a lengthy road trip should help Ramirez come around. So, too, should facing Jamie Moyer. Hanley has four home runs and an .806 slugging percentage against the veteran.
Josh Willingham, OF, Nationals: Willingham has three career home runs against Oliver Perez, making him quite likely to get the call from manager Manny Acta on Sunday.
Conor Jackson, OF, Diamondbacks: The rats are leaving this sinking ship in droves, but those still waiting for the next round of lifeboats might be rewarded with a solid Sunday against Matt Cain, of all people. Jackson is a career .385 hitter against Cain.
Jim Thome, DH, White Sox: Toronto rarely celebrates when Roy Halladay sees Jim Thome at the plate. Thome has owned Halladay to the tune of a .435 batting average.
Aubrey Huff, 3B, Orioles: Brandon McCarthy plays the role of the littlest pig Sunday, as Aubrey huffs and puffs and blows his house down. Huff has two homers and a .500 average against McCarthy in 12 at-bats.

Pitchers' count:

Jermaine Dye, OF, White Sox: Dye might want to take the day off against Toronto; he's a career .192 hitter against Roy Halladay. But that's still better than …
Alexi Casilla, SS, Twins: He has not managed to get on base at all against Cleveland's Aaron Laffey in 10 career at-bats.
Orlando Hudson, 2B, Dodgers: It's hard to bench a guy this hot, but that's what the numbers suggest we do. Hudson is only 1-for-12 against Jason Marquis, though to be fair, that one hit was a home run.
Randy Winn, OF, Giants: Winn's average has dropped every day since April 11, when he was hitting .400, and now sits at .204. The slump could continue versus Jon Garland, who has an 81 percent success rate of retiring Winn.
Jack Cust, OF, Athletics: One hit and four career strikeouts in 11 at-bats against Andy Sonnanstine? Sounds like vintage Jack Cust to me.
Dan Uggla, 2B, Marlins: Uggla has been ugly, going 0-for-21 in his past five games. His career numbers against Jamie Moyer (5-for-29) are better than nothing, but there's still little reason for optimism.
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox: Do you know of any MVP who can't hit Andy Pettitte? You mean apart from you, Dustin? Slugging .269 against him just isn't going to cut it.
Chone Figgins, 3B, Angels: His line against Jarrod Washburn stands at 3-for-29 with eight strikeouts.

If you're hardcore

Deep inside the matchups

Get inside scouting knowledge from ESPN Insider. Is Zach Duke, off to a hot start, worth sticking with for his start at Petco? And what of the struggling Manny Parra's start against the Astros? Click here to find out. Insider

Jeff Baker, 2B, Rockies: Baker is a frequent butcher, with five whiffs in 18 at-bats this season. However, he has done well against Clayton Kershaw, with a home run and four hits in six at-bats.
Jerry Owens, OF, White Sox: True, he's pretty much being used as a pinch runner, but Sunday starts for role players aren't out of the question in the majors. Besides, he's hit .500 with a home run in his limited action against Roy Halladay.
Kevin Millar, 1B, Blue Jays: Still no love for Millar, but if you look at the .429 average, two home runs and five RBIs against Jose Contreras, perhaps a hug will be in order?
Craig Counsell, 3B, Brewers: Russ Ortiz on the mound for Houston could mean Craig Counsell in the lineup for Milwaukee. In 21 career at-bats, Counsell sports a .586 OBP against Ortiz.
Brandon Inge, 3B, Tigers: Inge's ownership has surged by almost 10 percent over the past week, as his batting average has risen to .333. It could climb even higher Sunday; Inge is a lifetime .357 batter against Sidney Ponson.

Triage

Injury list: Out

B.J. Ryan, P, Blue Jays (15-day disabled list, trapezius)
Ryan Doumit, C, Pirates (15-day disabled list, wrist): Out until at least late June.
• Ricky Romero, P, Blue Jays (15-day disabled list, oblique)
Darren Oliver, P, Angels (15-day disabled list, strained triceps)
Willie Eyre, P, Rangers (15-day disabled list, groin)

Injury list: Day-to-day

Mike Sweeney, DH, Mariners (back spasms)
Jose Valverde, P, Astros (ankle/calf): After resting for a few days, he should be ready to return to the closer role this weekend.
Joel Zumaya, P, Tigers (shoulder): Zumaya is expected to be activated from the disabled list Friday but might not yet be called on in consecutive days.
Kyle Lohse, P, Cardinals (knee): Lohse heard a "pop" during what should have been a routine 3-1 groundout Thursday. An MRI is scheduled.

Weather concerns

• The weekend's weatherproof games: Brewers-Astros, Giants-Diamondbacks.
• Ohio looks to be a windy place this Saturday, with winds in the range of 20 to 30 mph expected in both Cincinnati and Cleveland, though the temperature for the Reds' game against the Braves might approach 90 degrees.
• Similar strong winds are forecasted for the Saturday games in St. Louis and Miami, with a slight chance of rain for the Phillies-Marlins affair.
• Thunderstorms could wash out some, if not all, of the weekend schedule for Chicago, Kansas City and Denver. All three cities have wet forecasts, though the storm system is expected to move away from the Colorado skies in time for Sunday's contest. However, the other two cities might still see threatening clouds Sunday.

AJ Mass is a fantasy baseball, football and college basketball analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.

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