Rather than going through a rundown of a rather uneventful night, let's take the first section here to highlight players that could be in line to help your team right now. These may not be long-term solutions in all cases, but they certainly are hot now. That's often the best way to build a quick lead.
Examine your roster, and don't be unwilling to give up someone. I subscribe to the theory that you can't be too active. There are always players you don't want to move, but your later-round picks should be expendable in the right situation.
Workin' the Wire
- Paul Maholm (P, 52 percent owned)- Don't read much into his five earned run performance against the Brewers. Maholm has struggled against Milwaukee in the past, and that's what we witnessed. Maholm is 3-0 to start the season with an early WHIP of 1.28. There are still some control issues, as he's walked 12 and only struck out 12. Still, Maholm improved as 2008 went on. He may always struggle with wins, but he'll provide solid peripheral stats to help your team out.
- Joe Saunders (P, 50 percent owned) - Saunders isn't going to impress you with strikeouts. He's a contact pitcher, and a control pitcher. He works the corners of the plate and all parts of the strike zone. Whatever he's done, for just over a year it has worked. Saunders has certainly more value than a guy like Brad Penny does right now. He pitches well against his division, where he went 7-2 last season. He's also strong away from home.
- Glen Perkins (P, 15 percent owned) - This isn't an all-out add in mixed league formats, but certainly in AL-only leagues. Perkins has an ERA nearly a run better pitching at home, and did win 12 games last season. Another pitcher that isn't going to dazzle you with power numbers, but he's effective at what he does. Mixed league owners should use him at home, and deep leagues should add him because of this differential.
- Edwin Jackson (P, 23 percent owned) - It takes a lot of pitches for Jackson to get through an outing, but he's had four decent ones out of five to start the season. Jackson has the offense behind him to generate more wins, but hasn't received much run support. In deep leagues, you could certainly use him more often than not. His performance against the Yankees last night was impressive, other than pitch count.
- Jordan Zimmerman (P, 15 percent owned) - Zimmerman has been strong in his two starts to this point, and has life on his fastball that gives him some of the best potential in the game. The issue is he likely will struggle to get wins because of the Nationals offense, and he will need to learn to adapt during his second time around the league.
- Kyle Davies (P, 32 percent owned) - Davies performed better during the second half of last season, and started this season well until his last outing. Even with a rough outing last time out, he's struck out 22 batters in 24 innings. He's given up three home runs in his last two starts, but one of those was in Texas against a decent lineup. He's going to be up and down, but there should be more ups than downs.
- John Baker (C, 30 percent owned)- Baker could help many owners struggling to fill in the gap when it comes to injured or struggling catchers. With Ryan Doumit down, Joe Mauer not healthy, and Chris Ianetta struggling, Baker could give a boost. He's hitting second in a decent lineup, and if there is nothing long-term with Hanley Ramirez, will be in position to score runs and perform well.
- Scott Downs (RP, 42 percent owned) - With B.J. Ryan down, Downs is first in line to get the save opportunities. With injuries happening regularly in the bullpens, adding Downs could quickly help your situations.
- Asdrubal Cabrera (MI, 45 percent owned) - Cabrera has been swinging the bat well, and is hovering around .320 so far this season. The Indians lineup has the ability to score runs top-to-bottom. Hitting second in the lineup, he'll score his fair share of runs as well. He's hit safely in 10 of his last 13 games.
- Dexter Fowler (OF, 30 percent owned)- For owners looking for speed, Fowler and Nyjer Morgan are both available for the chance. Fowler, in my opinion, is more likely to continue. While his stats are skewed after the five steal night against the Padres, he still has tremendous upside for a player that wasn't expected to be on the roster.
- Mike Lowell (3B, 70 percent owned and rising)- This one should be obvious, as Lowell is in the top-echelon of the league early on in terms of RBI and average. He still struggles running the bases and there are some mobility concerns, but the early returns are positive on his returing to 2007 form.
- Last Night: Wins-Nolasco, Saunders, Rodriguez; Loss-Bush (Season: 56-39-1)
Notes for Wednesday
- Felipe Lopez is just 4-for-23 against Ryan Dempster, and is the only Diamondbacks player that has any sort of record against the Cubs pitcher. Dempster is giving up a fair amount of fly balls, and has been hit with at least three earned in his last three starts. His best performance was his last outing, but walks have been an issue prior to that. Given that Arizona struggles getting on base, this is another favorable matchup for him to get on track.
- I don't find to be the Rays one of the more patient teams in baseball. As a result, they tend to jump at pitches earlier in a count. Nick Blackburn's control hasn't been great, but that may not be exposed here. He's good at home, and his last outing showed progress. As a spot start, today his numbers are good to go.
- Jeremy Hermida is a surprising 4-for-10 against Johan Santana. Unfortunately, he's the only Marlin I'd want in my lineup. Dan Uggla is struggling, and his 1-for-17 numbers against Santana won't help. Ramirez (2-for-15), Jorge Cantu (5-for-23), Emilio Bonifacio (0-for-8), and Cody Ross (3-for-13) all struggle.
- Josh Johnson has simply dominated the Mets. If you have options for all other Mets regulars, I'd use them. The best option is a .231 average from Jose Reyes. Just not the right matchup for them in this one.
- Aaron Cook is hardly owned by anyone, and for good reason. His numbers against the Padres are awful. While Jody Gerut should be held back, I'd start all other Padres in this one. Scott Hairston could be a sneaky play tonight. All their other starters, including Kevin Kouzmanoff, should be started.
- Need a couple hits tonight? While Zack Greinke has been nearly unhittable, Alex Rios and Lyle Overbay are solid options tonight. Overbay is 5-for-10, while Rios checks in at .385 in 13 at-bats. Both represent a decent play in this one, despite the success of the Royals ace.
- Gavin Floyd has been up and down in his three starts. He's had a good outing followed by a bad outing early on. He's in line for a good outing, but he's also 1-2 against the Mariners in three starts and five appearances since 2006. Not many innings, but they have hit .340 against him.
- Nothing alarming out of the Brewers-Pirates matchup. Keep active the players you normally would. No red flags or enough data to put up any concerns here.
- Ryan Zimmerman is 11-for-30 against Brett Myers, and the rest of the Nationals have all put up good numbers against the Phillies starter. Unless you were looking to use Willie Harris or Jesus Flores, most Nationals are good plays. Nick Johnson would be the only question among regulars, as he's 4-for-21.
- Spot Starts: Blackburn, Koji Uehara, and Kevin Correia
- Keep on the Bench: Fausto Carmona, Gavin Floyd
Notes for Thursday
- Look for options outside of Carlos Pena (.150), Dioner Navarro (.136), and Pat Burrell (.158) against Josh Beckett. Jason Bartlett should stay in the lineup with his .316 average, and Akinori Iwamura has good numbers as well.
- Outside of the 7-for-16 numbers of Jacoby Ellsbury, the Boston bats have been rather pedestrian against Matt Garza. No other player with more than ten at-bats is hitting above .214 against the Rays starter.
- Even at home, Jeff Suppan is struggling recently. Given that the Diamondbacks hit .290 against him as a team, I'm willing to leave him on the bench. Tony Clark could get a start in this one, and is worth a reach if you need a power boost.
- Chris Volstad continues to impress, and is slightly increasing his strikeout rate without hurting his ERA or key ratios. He's a groundball pitcher that is still getting nearly two grounders for every fly ball out. Against the Cubs, it's another decent matchup. The lineup is banged up, and he should benefit.
- Bobby Abreu has hit A.J. Burnett well in the past, posting a .328 average in 58 at-bats. His teammates have struggled, and Torii Hunter is among them. Hunter is just 2-for-17 against Burnett. For his part, Burnett may just be 1-2 against the Angels, but the team has hit just .250 against him in those starts since the beginning of 2006.
- Spot Starts: James McDonald, Kyle Davies, and Mitchell Boggs (if you need to reach)
Collin Hager writes The Elmhurst Pub fantasy blog. You can get your questions answered by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. He's also on Twitter @TheRoundtable.