Commentary

Don't be fooled by Mike Minor

Updated: September 9, 2010, 6:34 PM ET
By AJ Mass | ESPN.com

Daily Notes

Friday is made for winners, as 21 of the 30 scheduled starters for the day have .500 records or better. But not all records are created equal. Take Mike Minor of the Atlanta Braves for example. Sure, he's a perfect 3-0 on the season, but he's never pitched more than six innings in any of his five starts, and with a 5.33 ERA, has been helped out by an unbelievable amount of run support (9.2 per game). The Braves may well be battling it out for first place, but Minor barely has scraped his way out of our rankings cellar. Here's the complete list:

For starters

Selected notes:

Top options: Roy Halladay has mastered the Mets in 2010, with three victories and a 1.88 ERA. Chris Carpenter already has a win against the aforementioned Braves this season, allowing just two earned runs in six innings.

Hiroki Kuroda may be one of the few sub-.500 pitchers going on Friday, but against the Houston Astros, he's 2-0 lifetime with a 2.55 ERA. Jered Weaver has been stellar in his career against the Seattle Mariners, 10-3, including 2-0 with an 0.84 ERA in 2010.

Neither Jonathan Sanchez nor C.J. Wilson have gotten results this season against their Friday opponents, despite decent efforts. Wilson is 0-1 with a 3.97 ERA facing the New York Yankees, while Sanchez has managed a 3.08 ERA in three losses to the San Diego Padres.

Rounding out the top 10: Carl Pavano defeated the Cleveland Indians, 7-2, last month, while Clayton Richard has topped the San Francisco Giants on three separate occasions this year. Trevor Cahill, on the other hand, has an 8.71 ERA lifetime against the Boston Red Sox, so that knocks him down a few spots.

Tidbits from the middle: Alex Sanabia takes Josh Johnson's turn in the rotation, then starts his five-game suspension. Javier Vazquez has a 6.56 ERA against the Texas Rangers, which is slightly better than Fausto Carmona's 2010 results against the Minnesota Twins -- 0-2 with a 7.43 ERA.

Stream weavers: Brett Cecil has won three out of his past four, and is also 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA against the Tampa Bay Rays this season. Even though Paul Maholm has been horrific in losing five of his past six starts, he does have two victories against the Cincinnati Reds in 2010. He faces Homer Bailey, who has never lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates; he's a lifetime 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA.

Hitters' count:

Johnny Damon, DH, Tigers: The Orioles have been good to Damon, as he's a career .317 hitter against their current staff, including 4-for-his-past-9 against Kevin Millwood.

Jonny Gomes, OF, Reds: Gomes is hitting .316 since Sept. 3 to go along with a .583 OBP when Paul Maholm is on the mound.

Tyler Colvin, OF, Cubs: Colvin is 3-for-5 with three RBIs against Dave Bush and has posted a .324 batting average against the Brewers overall in 2010.

Jay Payton, OF, Rockies: Recent call-up Payton hit .323 at Triple-A this season and has a .429 career batting average facing Joe Saunders. Looking for a Hail Mary? This might connect for you.

Mark Kotsay, DH, White Sox: With Manny Ramirez around, who knows if Kotsay will get into the lineup, but he should versus Bruce Chen, thanks to a career 7-for-16 mark against the pitcher.

Pitchers' count:

Ike Davis, 1B, Mets: The first baseman has fanned four of eight times he's seen Roy Halladay, and is hitting only .167 against the Phillies overall.

Alex Gonzalez, SS, Braves: With only three hits in 23 at-bats against Chris Carpenter (.130), Friday is not a day to be expecting production from this shortstop.

Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees: Although he is 5-for-12 since returning to the Yankees lineup, A-Rod has not managed a base hit in 12 career at-bats against C.J. Wilson.

Rajai Davis, OF, Athletics: Red Sox pitchers have had their way with Davis this season, limiting the outfielder to a .160 batting average.

Franklin Gutierrez, OF, Mariners: The Mariners outfielder has been suffering from flu-like symptoms and may not be back to full strength even after receiving a few days off.

Baseball Challenge Pick of the Day

Matt Holliday, LF, Cardinals: Holliday is batting .333 so far in September with two home runs and seven RBIs, and overall has a .415 average against the current Braves pitching staff.

Triage

Injury list: Out

Trever Miller, P, Cardinals (left forearm strain, not with team)

Aaron Cook, P, Rockies (broken fibula, likely done for season)

Ricky Nolasco, P, Marlins (60-day DL, torn meniscus)

Donnie Murphy, SS, Marlins (60-day DL, dislocated wrist)

Injury list: Day-to-day

John McDonald, 2B, Blue Jays (sore left arm)

Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies (hamstring)

Brian Fuentes, P, Twins (sore back)

Scot Shields, P, Angels (right elbow tightness)

Billy Butler, 1B, Royals (hand)

Josh Johnson, P, Marlins (back)

Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers (ribs)

Gordon Beckham, 2B, White Sox (hand)

Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers (biceps/shoulder)

Weather concerns

Weatherproof games: Rays at Blue Jays, Cubs at Brewers and Dodgers at Astros. Rain is in the forecast for most of the state of Missouri on Friday, but with both of the "Show Me" teams on the road, there's nothing to fear.

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

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