Doubt we will see Jim Thome against Tim Wakefield...at least not in a successful fashion. Thome is 10-for-58 against the knuckleballer lifetime. The numbers are no better for Jason Kubel or Delmon Young. Joe Mauer should be ok as is Denard Span. Wakefield is taking his third shot at win number 200. Hopefully, Francona pulls him after six innings this time...
John Danks was hit hard by the Yankees, but has still allowed two or fewer runs in six of his last seven starts. That and the Orioles are far from the Yankees. Adam Jones has been on a tear, but he is only 1-for-18 against Danks. Matt Wieters is 1-for-12 while Vlad Guerrero is 4-for-24. Markakis and Hardy are fine for this one.
Only Alex Rios hits better than .300 with at least 10 at-bats against Jeremy Guthrie. Juan Pierre though is still 4-for-9 in his efforts. Omar Vizquel likely stays on the bench at 1-for-12 and Alexei Ramirez is only 1-for-16. Both Carlos Quentin and Gordon Beckham have hit .250 against Guthrie in 16 and 12 at-bats respectively.
Hey remember when everyone jumped out of their seat to add Emilio Bonifacio? Guess what? He came back to earth. In fact, he is just three for his last 28 and is only a .118 hitter in 17 at-bats against Derek Lowe. Hanley Ramirez is hitting .538 in 26 at-bats and is by far the best option available against Lowe in this one.
Matt Harrison has been up and down of late, allowing four earned runs in two of his last three outings but less than two earned in four of his last six. Ichiro has struggled, going only 4-for-21 against Harrison. Gutierrez and Figgins have the only other track records and each have four hits in 15 and 14 at-bats respectively.
Scott Baker has a 1.64 ERA over his last five starts covering 27.1 innings pitched. Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford are your best bets in this one for Boston. Both are hitting better than .400 against the Minnesota starter. Both Pedroia and Youkilis are below .200.
Wandy Rodriguez has been solid in his last two road starts, giving up just three earned runs over 14 innings. Rodriguez has been up and down this year, but the matchup here should work in his favor. Chris Young is 4-for-11, but his are the only numbers that scream to be started in this one.
I will continue to lobby for Tim Stauffer to be started until proven otherwise incorrect. He has had quality starts in nine of his last 10 outings and now has an ERA of 2.96 for the season. Stauffer continues to fly under the radar but is the spot start of the day given his trends. Yes, this means he will blow up, but it is a chance worth taking.
Matt Garza has allowed two earned runs or less and worked seven full innings in four of his last five starts. While he has just win in those outings, he is showing much more progress and has lowered his ERA by a half a run in this stretch. Cubs are on a roll and so is he. Good matchup for him against the Nationals.
Spot Starts: Stauffer, Harrison, Danks