- Keep an eye on Jonathan Van Every. He had two hits last night, including the game-winning home run in the tenth inning. Why pay attention? J.D. Drew was out of the lineup again with a quad injury. Drew will likely have at least one major DL stint at some point this year. It's just how it works. Van Every is older, but performed very well in AAA last year. He'll get the playing time as Drew sits.
- Travis Hafner is hitting the DL with soreness in his right shoulder. Either David Delucci or Matt LaPorta is likely to get the call from AAA on Friday, since the Indians are off today. It's likely this gives you slightly more of Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach was the DH last night, and with Hafner sidelined for a couple weeks, there will be less of a log jam and some at-bats to go around.
- Christian Guzman was activated off the DL after being sidelined with a sore hamstring. Guzman was raking before the injury, and unfortunately he will have to come back down to earth at some point. Because of the limited games, that won't take much, but some games without hits are likely in his near-term future.
- Some nice performances last night, and among them was Nick Blackburn. The Twins rotation pitches very well at home, and leagues with daily transactions should take advantage of the back-end to that rotation when possible. Glen Perkins and Blackburn will remain widely available in most formats, and they can be leveraged in the dome.
- As one of my good friends on Twitter pointed out, Billy Butler showed signs of life last night. Butler had four hits, including two home runs and four RBI. When you look at how poorly Mike Jacobs hits lefties, a few good games by Butler could increase his playing time further with time at first against lefties with John Buck getting the DH nod.
- Doug Davis picked up another win yesterday, and has now posted three decent outings in his first five. In those, he's allowed two earned or less each time out. He's not someone to look at in every matchup, but certainly one where you can take advantage of teams he pitches well against.
- Detroit's pitching has imploded for one inning (basically) in two straight games against the Yankees. Worse, their offense is beyond struggling. Magglio Ordonez is hitting .077 in the last seven days, and the rest of the bats aren't doing much better. Even in bad outings, you don't win when you can't score. Most of these guys are going to turn it on.
- Edgar Renteria is now six for his last nine, and has hits in in four of his last five games. Add to that, he has multiple hits in three of his last seven. He's not going to set the world on fire, but for a time here and there, he'll provide a decent average for a team that's struggling. Just not a long-term solution.
- Jason Bartlett left yesterday's game against the Twins with a tight hamstring. He believes that he'll be ok and set to go against Boston on Thursday. Doesn't seem to be much of a concern on this one, simply that he was taken out as a precaution.
- With five hits in his last four games, Mike Aviles is starting to reward those that were patient with his slow start to the season. You can still quickly raise an average, and he's far from a .200 hitter. He should normalize out to .280 sooner rather than later, and that means a hot streak is coming.
- Results: Wins-Blackburn, Floyd; Losses-Carmona, Correia; Push-Uehara (injury) (Season: 58-41-2)
Notes for Thursday
- Real light slate of only eight games. Few afternoon tilts, so make sure to get your rosters updated and set early in the day.
- With so few games, we could see some reach plays as far as pitching. Mitchell Boggs draws Daniel Cabrera and a struggling Nationals team. Boggs doesn't have much of a track record, but Cabrera's struggles in the AL have translated to the NL. While he hasn't been aided by his defense, his walk totals are very high (12 in 18.1 innings). Add 22 hits in the time frame, and it doesn't look good. Boggs could benefit strictly because of Cabrera's problems.
- 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.
- Dallas Braden has been pitching well, but was only just cleared to pitch today after having groin issues. Braden also draws an afternoon game in Arlington. Those are tough for visitors. I'm staying away from this one, and I'd start all your Texas bats.
- One of the two division matchups takes pitchers that haven't faced any hitter on the opposing team. Sure, James McDonald has a grand total of three batters faced against the Padres, but it's not much to form from. Usually, this leads to more of a pitcher's duel, as there is no real book on either guy. I like McDonald better than Josh Geer, but not by much.
- 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.
- Max Scherzer is available in ten to 15 percent of all leagues, and he's worth a shot today going up against Jeff Suppan. It's another matchup to take simply because I don't like how the other guy is throwing the ball. Not great reasoning, but the .290 average the Diamondbacks have against Suppan at least tells me something.
- 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.
- Spot Starts: Kyle Davies. He's the only one I'm really sold on. If you're looking for others, try Mitchell Boggs or James McDonald. Davies is your best bet though.
- Keep on the Bench: No concerns over anyone you would normally start.
Notes for Friday
- Torii Hunter is just 6-for-28 against Andy Pettitte in his career. The Angels as a whole have decent numbers, but will be missing Vlad Guerrero (who has a .400 average against the lefty). Wouldn't be surprised to see another sighting of Robb Quinlan, as he's 5-for-12 against Pettitte.
- As hot as Nick Swisher has been, he's only 3-for-19 against Jered Weaver. Mark Teixeira has some rough numbers against Weaver as well. If you can avoid Swisher, do so. You likely don't have a better option for Teix. Side note, how is Weaver owned in 90 percent of leagues, but Pettitte just 85 percent? Something seems odd there.
- Adam Jones has been good so far this season, but the young player is just 1-for-11 against Halladay. Nick Markakis hits .233, but wouldn't go out of my way to bench him. Halladay is 7-0 in his last nine starts against the Orioles with a 2.69 ERA.
- With Nate McLouth still questionable with an oblique injury, Bronson Arroyo looks like a decent play on Friday against the Pirates. Likely to see Eric Hinske, who is 11-for-23 against Arroyo, but no other Pirate regular hits north of .238 against Arroyo.
- While I wouldn't play Russell Martin (.138) or Andre Ethier (.156) against Jake Peavy, there are some good options for the Dodgers against the Padres starter. Peavy has really struggled to start the season, and the offense is there to help them capitalize in this one.
- Spot Starts: Justin Masterson, Arroyo, and Jordan Zimmerman
Tomorrow, we'll have a bonus post with top-fives for the first month!
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.