Last Night Rewind
The news keeps getting better for the Red Sox. Sources with the team indicate that Jason Varitek will be placed on the DL with a broken foot. There is limited indication as to how the injury happened, but it is expected that he will miss four to six weeks.
To stem the tide, the team acquired veteran Kevin Cash to assume the responsibilities behind the plate. Personally, I am still clamoring for them to call up Mark Wagner from Triple-A to get some at-bats.
You would not be surprised to hear that Ubaldo Jimenez has the most starts this season with seven or more scoreless innings with five.
You might be slightly intrigued to know that Jered Weaver is now tied for second with Mat Latos and Roy Halladay with four. Weaver threw a gem last night against the Rangers, picking up the win.
Chase Utley had to have surgery on his injured hand, and it will cost him at least eight weeks. The procedure was done on Thursday and it has been said that he will be in a splint for a full five weeks before he can begin any rehab work.
The Phillies did get good news in the fact that Placido Polanco will not need surgery and should only miss three or four weeks.
Jose Reyes missed the opener against Washington last night with a torso injury. The Shortstop missed some of the series in Puerto Rico against the Marlins, and the team does not expect him back in the lineup until Saturday. This is not considered serious, but it will hinder him likely through the weekend to some degree. Look at other options.
Some things can astound and amaze. The fact that Delmon Young is still available in 20 percent of leagues is one of them. Young is now hitting .296 on the season with nine home runs and 53 RBI. Young is hitting .325 at home, and that makes him worth a look if only in those circumstances.
The numbers for the Blue Jays are not bad against A.J. Burnett—with only a couple exceptions.
Look to leave the 1-for-20 of Lyle Overbay on your bench along with the 3-for-14 of John Buck. Otherwise, keep your normal starters in the lineup. With how Burnett has pitched lately, this is probably still a matchup to avoid.
You could say that Tim Wakefield has struggled at home this season. So far, Wakefield is 0-4 with a 6.51 ERA in seven starts and nine games overall.
You may want to avoid the 4-for-23 of Nick Markakis or the 3-for-18 of Ty Wiggington, but Miguel Tejada and Cesar Izturis both have good numbers against the knuckler.
Numbers never cease to surprise and amaze. Bronson Arroyo has owned most of the Cubs lineup.
Alfonso Soriano is at .190 in 42 at-bats, Aramis Ramirez is a .222 hitter in 36, and Derrek Lee is just at .250 in 32. Kosuke Fukudome is the worst offender at 0-for-12 lifetime against Arroyo.
With the exception of Jamie Moyer's one inning disaster against the Red Sox, he has pitched very well going back to the end of May. Moyer has allowed two or fewer runs in five of his six starts in that span.
Look to use Lastings Milledge, as he is a .304 hitter against Moyer, but that is about the best the Pirates have to offer.
There is not a lot of history for the Braves against Josh Johnson. Still, Brian McCann has enough to know he does not like facing the big righty.
McCann is just 6-for-27 against him lifetime. Martin Prado and Yunel Escobar both have numbers below .220 lifetime as well. Johnson has been lights-out the bulk of the season, allowing two or fewer earned runs in each of his last nine starts.
Tim Lincecum has not been the dominant force he was last weekend, but he has pitched well this season on the road. He is 3-0 with a 2.54 ERA and has held batters to a .220 mark. Clint Barnes is just 1-for-14 and Ian Stewart is 4-for-22. Todd Helton is 10-for-22 and Seth Smith hits better than .300 as well.
Mark Reynolds is just 2-for-19 against Hiroki Kuroda, and many of his teammates struggle as well. Justin Upton is 2-for-11 and Chris Young is 4-for-19. Both Young and Reynolds have added nine strikouts as well. Only Stephen Drew is hitting better than .300 against Kuroda.
Scott Rolen has carried the Reds offense for the bulk of the year, but he hits below .200 against Ryan Dempster. Brandon Phillips is only 2-for-18 and Joey Votto checks in at 3-for-13. Look to use Orlando Cabrera as he has hit .368 in 38 at-bats against the Chicago starter. Dempster has been good at home, holding batters to a .214 average.
Roy Oswalt's road numbers have been solid this season. He is 4-2 away from home with a .209 BAA and 2.88 ERA. He has allowed 32 hits and eight walks to go with 41 strikeouts in 40.2 innings away from Minute Maid Park. Mat Latos has been solid as well, so look for a pitcher's duel here.
Spot Starts: Moyer, Cecil, Gonzalez
Jose Bautista, John McDonald, and Vernon Wells all have strong numbers against Andy Pettitte. Look to keep them in the lineup as they all hit better than .300 against the lefty. Lyle Overbay and Aaron Hill are 3-for-27 and 4-for-27 respectively. Adam Lind is no better, checking in at just 3-for-19.
No luck for Nick Markakis against Jon Lester. Markakis is hitting just .195 against the lefty in 41 at-bats. Ty Wiggington is 6-for-17, and that gives him the best numbers of the bunch. Both Miguel Tejada and Matt Wieters are worth playing in this one too. Lester has been very strong of late, allowing more than two earned runs only once in his last eight starts.
Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler both have numbers above .300 against Barry Zito, but the entire team has combined to hit just .205 against Zito in 210 at-bats. Outside of these two, leave all your Rockies on the bench if you have better options available as no others hit better than .245.
Chris Carpenter is dealing with a tender forearm, but he is likely to make his scheduled start on Saturday against the Brewers. Carpenter was roughed up by the Brewers in his only outing against them this season, allowing five runs on seven hits in five innings. Still, he is solid at home. He is 6-1 with a 2.67 ERA inside of St. Louis.
The only Cubs player that you may want to avoid against Johnny Cueto is Fukudome. The outfielder is only 5-for-21. Lee, Ryan Theriot, Soriano, Geovany Soto, and Ramirez are all good plays in this one. Soriano in particular is 8-for-18 with three home runs and all the players mentioned are hitting better than .310 in at least 10 at-bats.
The best number that the Brewers have to throw at Adam Wainwright is the 6-for-20 of Craig Counsell. Otherwise, look the other way. Prince Fielder has hit .194 in 31 at-bats and Ryan Braun is at .200 in 35. Casey McGehee is 1-for-12 and Rickie Weeks just 4-for-22.
Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Rafael Furcal, and Reed Johnson are among the Dodgers that have really struggled against Dan Haren. The good news for the Dodgers, though, is that there are equally as many that have pounded the Arizona pitcher. Casey Blake, Andre Ethier, and Garrett Anderson should all be in the lineup and all hit better than .340 against Haren while James Loney checks in at .324.
The Braves rake against Ricky Nolasco, and owners should start as many as they can. Chipper Jones has hit .464 with four home runs in 28 at-bats and Yunel Escobar is at .414. Recently activated Matt Diaz is 7-for-15 against Nolasco as well. Even Troy Glaus checks in at 4-for-8 in limited at-bats and Brian McCann is better than .300 as well.
There are only so many ways to tell people to give this Joel Pineiro guy a shot. Pineiro had his worst outing in a month and he still managed to work six innings while allowing just three earned runs in his last outing. Pineiro is 5-2 with a 2.47 at home and batters hit just .229 against him there.
Spot Starts: Pineiro, Mazzaro, Maholm, Dickey, Wells