Before I get into the notes for today, a quick tangent/tirade.
The idea of adding any more games to the playoffs in baseball through an additional round is ridiculous. This is not my being a purist. I have come to accept that the Wildcard works. The games though keep being played in colder and colder weather.
The idea that there are World Series games in November bothers me to no end. This will only serve to push that further out. Does baseball really want to attempt to compete with football more Sundays than it has to?
Even a best of three series is going to require more off days and more scheduling. We are dealing with a league that refuses to play back-to-back games in the playoffs at all despite the fact they do that all season.
Three more games means likely another week on to the season, pushing the World Series likely past the first week in November. You tell me how much snow you want to see in Minnesota, Colorado, Boston, New York, Detroit, etc. as the playoffs move on.
Vernon Wells and Bobby Abreu have both struggled against Jon Lester. Wells, who has pretty much struggled all season, is only 5-for-28 against the lefty while Abreu is 4-for-17. Lester is 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA and 1.38 WHIP against the Angels in his last two starts against them. Not much of a sample for the lefty, but he has been much more effective in his last two outings in April.
David Ortiz is 7-for-17 with three home runs against Dan Haren. His numbers are the best of the bunch that you will see. Dustin Pedroia is 0-for-9 while J.D. Drew is only 1-for-12. Look to avoid Kevin Youkilis as well. He left last night's game with an injury and is only 3-for-16 lifetime against Haren anyway.
The Orioles have seen plenty of CC Sabathia, but not everyone is thrilled with that fact. While Adam Jones checks in at .333 having gone 9-for-27 and Derrek Lee is 4-for-12, the rest of the lineup should be left to their own devices here. Vladimir Guerrero is 3-for-17 while Brian Roberts, though red-hot, is 9-for-39. Matt Wieters is suddenly swinging well, but he is 2-for-15 lifetime against Sabathia.
Miguel Cabrera has never had a good time at the plate against Mark Buehrle. Buehrle has allowed just one hit in 18 at-bats to Cabrera. Look to use Magglio Ordonez here. He is at .469 with two home runs in 32 at-bats.
Jhonny Peralta checks in at .281 in 71 at-bats with two home runs. Brandon Inge is the other red flag here, as he has 12 strikeouts in 57 at-bats to go with a .246 mark against Buehrle. Buehrle, for his part, is 4-0 in his last six starts against the Tigers.
Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez should remain on your bench against Justin Verlander if you have better options available. Konerko is only 4-for-38 against Verlander while Ramirez is 5-for-28. Otherwise, nothing of major to be concerned with. Start your other White Sox as you normally would. Last year, Verlander was 2-0 in his two starts against the White Sox.
Jason Kubel has raked against Fausto Carmona, hitting .361 with three home runs in 36 at-bats. Unless you have him, best to avoid your Twins. Denard Span is 4-for-24 and only Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau carck the .250 mark against the Cleveland starter.
Your regular Astros are good to go in this one against Yovani Gallardo. While Hunter Pence may only have a .273 average, that is nothing to be overly alarmed about. Carlos Lee is a .304 hitter and Michael Bourn checks in at .400 in his 20 at-bats against Gallardo.
While Livan Hernandez is 2-1 in his last four starts against the Pirates, his peripheral numbers have not been good. Hernandez is the proud holder of a 6.14 ERA and .329 BAA against them. In 22 innings of work, he has surrendered 27 hits and 10 walks while striking out just 17. The Pirates that are there have relatively limited at-bats, so no major concerns.
If you have a shot to use Ryan Ludwick in NL-only leagues, it would be worth the risk. Ludwick is 5-for-13 with two home runs against him. Jorge Cantu has three home runs in 25 at-bats to go with a .280 average. Orlando Hudson has been ugly in his at-bats, posting a .188 mark in 16 at-bats. Benching Chase Headley and his .200 average would make sense as well.
Another good matchup for David Ortiz on Saturday. He is 6-for-19 with two home runs against Ervin Santana. Carl Crawford and Marco Scutaro would be good to go here as well. Look to avoid the 0-for-14 of Jason Varitek and the 3-for-17 of J.D. Drew.
Chris Carpenter has dominated all Reds not named Joey Votto. Votto is at .350 in 20 at-bats with a home run. He is the only one with numbers worth starting. Edgar Renteria, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Jonny Gomes and Ramon Hernandez are all at .200 or below. Scott Rolen has a .250 mark, and he is the second-best option available.
Rare name to mention in terms of fantasy, but worth noting here. Asdrubal Cabrera simply owns Francisco Liriano. He is 10-for-17 against him overall. Shin-Soo Choo is just 3-for-13 while Grady Sizemore is 3-for-22. Matt LaPorta is only 1-for-10 as well.
Only two players on Seattle with numbers to note against Trevor Cahill. Ichiro is 5-for-12 and worth keeping in the lineup, but Chone Figgins is 2-for-13. Cahill is just 1-3 against the Mariners in his last five starts. His ERA in that stretch though is solid, at 2.93 in 30.2 innings of work.
John Danks has been relatively successful against the Tigers. Only the .609 mark of Magglio Ordonez stands out as a number that should be in your lineup. Not one other regular cracks .220 in players that have better than 10 at-bats.
While Prince Fielder is hitting just .242 against Wandy Rodriguez, the rest of your Milwaukee regulars seem to have figured out the Houston starter. Ryan Braun is at .360 in 25 at-bats with three home runs. Both Rickie Weeks and Casey McGehee are at better than .333 as well. Carlos Gomez has gone 0-for-9 and is the only other fringe starter to worry about.
Again both Figgins and Ichiro have the best numbers to report against Brett Anderson. Figgins is at .320 while Ichiro is at .345. Might look for a reach and grab Michael Saunders who is 3-for-10 against the lefty lifetime. Anderson is 5-3 in his last 10 starts against the Mariners with a 2.01 ERA.
Juan Uribe has pretty much struggled all season, and it is not likely to be any different against Carlos Zambrano. Uribe is just a .214 hitter in 28 at-bats against him. Andre Ethier has the best numbers at 6-for-13 and it is possible we have a Tony Gwynn sighting given his 5-for-12 mark. Otherwise, start your Dodgers as normal. Few concerns here.
Before I get into the notes for today, a quick tangent/tirade.