Introducing Dillon Gee, Yunesky Maya
It is not uncommon to see new names on the "probables" list in September due to roster expansion. But today's newbies are not your typical September call-ups.
Veteran Scott Feldman replaces Cliff Lee (ailing back), and Dillon Gee fills in for the injured Johan Santana (pectoral muscle). Carlos Silva and Brian Bannister are both coming off DL stints, and Washington is trying out Cuban-born righty Yunesky Maya to replace the ineffective Scott Olsen. Below we figure out which of these Daily Notes newcomers is worthy of a spot on your fantasy squad.
Starting pitcher rankings for September 7
Must start: Francisco Liriano has been streaking all season in terms of wins. He started 4-0, then went 0-3, then 2-0, then 0-4 and finally he's on a 6-0 clip (2.17 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) in his past nine starts. Ride him while he's hot. Speaking of sizzling, Barry Enright has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any of his 12 career starts. Dallas Braden has a 1.96 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in his past three starts against the Mariners.
Strong play: Freddy Garcia is second among active pitchers with a career .660 road win percentage (70-36), which includes an 8-3 mark (with a 3.61 ERA) in 14 starts at Comerica Park. Nelson Figueroa has a 1.96 ERA in four starts since moving into the Astros' rotation. Johnny Cueto is 6-2 with a 3.17 road ERA and his opponent, Jhoulys Chacin, is also a good option based on his 0.90 ERA over his past three starts.
The replacements: Yunesky Maya is certainly worth grabbing in NL-only or deeper mixed leagues. The 29-year-old right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in five minor league starts this year, and a good debut versus New York should solidify his spot in the Nats' rotation. Maya's opponent will be Dillon Gee, who will also make his major league debut. Although he set a single-season strikeout record for Triple-A Buffalo, Gee's 4.96 ERA in 28 starts in the minors this year makes him a risky fantasy start. Carlos Silva makes his first start since Aug. 1 and replaces Tom Gorzelanny (fractured finger) in the rotation. Once upon a time, Silva was 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA this season, but he has been brutal in his past nine starts, posting a 5.58 ERA and 1.54 WHIP.
Stay away: Scott Feldman's spot start is better left alone by fantasy players. He carries an ERA just under 6.00 in eight career games against Toronto, and had an ERA above 6.00 in six starts before his demotion to the bullpen in late July. Other hurlers to avoid include Kyle Lohse (11.48 ERA, 2.03 WHIP in three starts since coming off the DL), Brian Bannister (0-5, 7.71 ERA in his past five starts before his DL stint) and Doug Fister (1-10, 4.92 ERA in his past 16 starts).
Hitter matchup ratings for September 7
Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees: Although he is just 2-for-16 this September, Cano still has stellar career numbers in September (.340 BA/.364 OBP/.542 SLG). And what better way to break out of a slump than to face the Orioles? In the past two seasons against Baltimore, Cano is hitting .483 with 10 HRs and 24 RBIs in 30 games.
Jason Heyward, RF, Atlanta Braves: The rookie has been on fire his past 14 games, batting .439 with four homers, 12 RBIs and 17 runs. In six games versus Pittsburgh this season, his stat line is an impressive .476 BA/.577 OBP/.952 SLG.
Adam Lind, LF, Blue Jays: When Toronto received the news that it was facing Scott Feldman instead of Cliff Lee, it's likely nobody was happier than Lind, who is 6-for-14 with three homers and six RBIs in his career against Feldman.
Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Cubs: Ramirez has always had success against Houston pitching, especially over the past two seasons (.356 BA, 9 HRs, 28 RBIs in 22 games). He is also 6-for-16 with two homers and four RBIs in his career versus Nelson Figueroa. Just make sure he's not out of Chicago's lineup because of his sore right quad.
Brandon Inge, 3B, Detroit Tigers: With just one homer in his past 18 games, Inge is not on many fantasy rosters. But if you need to make a decision for your AL-only league on Tuesday, choose to sit the struggling Inge. He is 11-for-54 (.204 BA) with 16 strikeouts in his career versus Freddy Garcia.
Jayson Werth, RF, Phillies: You might not have better options, but for smaller leagues Werth has earned a trip to the pine based on his 1-for-17, seven-strikeout, no-walk career numbers against Chris Volstad.
Mark Reynolds, 3B, Diamondbacks: Success against Tim Lincecum is hard to come by, but Reynolds' failure is just silly. The slugger is 3-for-21 with 13 strikeouts against the two-time Cy Young Award winner in his career. Reynolds is also 6-for-40 with 20 whiffs against the Giants this season and is struggling with a bone bruise near his right thumb.
Baseball Challenge Pick of the Day
Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins: Now is the time to spend the extra money on the AL MVP. Mauer has destroyed KC pitching this year, going 27-for-51 with 13 runs and 17 RBIs in 12 games. His .310 career BA (9-for-29) against Brian Bannister, who's coming off a DL stint, also hints at this being a very favorable matchup.
Injury list: Out
Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers (bruised ribs)
Ricky Nolasco, SP, Marlins (60-day DL, torn meniscus)
Donnie Murphy, SS, Marlins (60-day DL, dislocated wrist)
Jose Lobaton, C, Rays (15-day DL, foot)
Laynce Nix, OF, Reds (15-day DL, sprained left ankle)
Craig Gentry, OF, Rangers (15-day DL, broken wrist)
Ian Stewart, 3B, Rockies (15-day DL, strained right oblique)
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, Blue Jays (15-day DL, sprained left wrist)
Kanekoa Texeira, P, Royals (15-day DL, right elbow strain)
Injury list: Day-to-day
Cliff Lee, P, Rangers (back)
Johan Santana, P, Mets (strained pectoral)
Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox (stiff lower back)
Mark Reynolds, 3B, Diamondbacks (right hand)
Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Cubs (right quad soreness)
Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers (hamstring)
Jay Bruce, OF, Reds (ribs)
Justin Upton, OF, Diamondbacks (shoulder)
Tom Gorzelanny, SP, Cubs (fractured finger)
Franklin Gutierrez, OF, Mariners (illness)
Adam Jones, OF, Orioles (shoulder)
Jason Kubel, OF, Twins (left wrist)
Nick Swisher, 1B, Yankees (knee)
Weatherproof games: Rangers at Blue Jays, Cardinals at Brewers, Giants at Diamondbacks. The East Coast games are looking good (sunny and mid-80s) and the West Coast will have sun and temperatures in the mid-60s. It appears the only strong rainout possibilities would be White Sox-Tigers and Royals-Twins.
Brian Gramling is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com.