Projected Starters - A look at Saturday’s matchups:
Twins (Carl Pavano - R) at Mets (Johan Santana - L), 1:10
Cardinals (Undecided, but likely Blake Hawksworth - R) at Royals (Kyle Davies - R), 2:10
Astros (Josh Banks - R) at Rangers (C.J. Wilson - L), 3:05
Tigers (Max Scherzer - R) at Braves (Kenshin Kawakami - R), 4:00
Nationals (Livan Hernandez - R) at Orioles (Bradley Bergesen - R), 4:05
Phillies (Cole Hamels - L) at Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum - R), 4:05
Diamondbacks (Ian Kennedy - R) at Rays (David Price - L), 4:05
Mariners (Doug Fister - R) at Brewers (Randy Wolf - L), 4:10
Cubs (Carlos Silva - R) at White Sox (Freddy Garcia - R), 7:10
Indians (Justin Masterson - R) at Reds (Sam LeCure - R), 7:10
Yankees (A.J. Burnett - R) at Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda - R), 7:10
Red Sox (Clay Buchholz - R) at Giants (Joseph Martinez - R), 7:10
Padres (Jon Garland - R) at Marlins (Josh Johnson - R), 7:10
Rockies (Aaron Cook - R) at Angels (Joe Saunders - L), 10:05
Pirates (Undecided, but likely Daniel McCutchen - R) at Athletics (Trevor Cahill - R), 10:05
Day game after night game: MIN, NYM, STL, KC, HOU, TEX, DET, ATL, WAS, BAL, PHI, TOR, ARI, TB, SEA, MIL
Injuries - A brief look at players who have been missing time due to injury and their expected returns
Day-to-Day (includes players expected to make their return from the DL)
Carlos Silva, P, CHC – (Hamstring) Scratched from Thursday’s start, but will start Saturday
Ryan Ludwick, OF, STL – (Calf) Battling sore calf that kept him out Wednesday and Thursday
Andres Torres, OF, SF – (Calf) Minor calf injury; could play Saturday
Angel Pagan, OF, NYM – (Upper Body) Didn’t start Friday; still day-to-day
Rod Barajas, C, NYM – (Back) Didn’t start Friday; still day-to-day
Koji Uehara, P, BAL – (Elbow) Likely to be activated Saturday
Erick Aybar, SS, LAA – (Knee) Likely available this weekend
J.D. Drew, OF, BOS – (Hamstring) Expected to return to the lineup Saturday
Carl Crawford, OF, TB – (Shoulder) Didn’t start Friday; might miss Saturday as well
Players on the DL
Chad Billingsley, P, LAD – (Groin) Threw off the mound Thursday; on track to return Monday
J.A. Happ, P, PHI – (Forearm) Another rehab start Tuesday; could make one more after that
Antonio Bastardo, P, PHI – (Elbow) Won’t begin throwing for 3-4 days
Brad Penny, P, STL – (Back) Expected to throw off a mound Monday
Kyle Lohse, P, STL – (Forearm) Could begin throwing program next week, although he’s not guaranteed to return this season
Doug Davis, P, MIL – (Chest) Close to being ready to return
Felix Pie, OF, BAL – (Shoulder) About a week away from returning
Mike Gonzalez, P, BAL – (Shoulder) Expected to return July 2; could resume closing duties soon after
Transactions - Players that have been demoted, called up, traded, released, you name it. We’ll cover it here.
Closer Watch - A closer look at intriguing ninth-inning situations (check out Dave Regan’s Closer Grid with the link to the left).
Boston – For the second time in as many days, Jonathan Papelbon blew a save Thursday in Colorado. Is it time to replace him with Daniel Bard? Probably not. Despite the recent struggles, Papelbon is still throwing hard and pitching better than his 3.64 ERA indicates. We doubt Boston is close to making a change, but if this rough series starts to become a trend for him, the Red Sox may have to consider handing the reigns to Bard later this season.
Chicago (AL) – Bobby Jenks tossed a perfect ninth Thursday against Atlanta to earn his 17th save and preserved Chicago’s ninth straight victory. In 12 appearances this month, Jenks has 10 saves, a 14:1 K:BB ratio and just one earned run allowed. He’s squashed talks of removing him from the job.
Colorado – Huston Street coughed up a two-run homer to Dustin Pedroia in the top of the 10th inning Thursday. Colorado had hoped to ease Street back into high-pressure situations, but after burning through five other relievers Thursday they didn’t have much of a choice. We still expect Street to be back in the closer’s role before long.
Key Matchups - Spotlight on hitters and pitchers with favorable matchups against their opponent on a particular day (generally, individual matchups with fewer than 10 at-bats are not included). *Check status
Jim Thome v. Johan Santana – 6-for-31 (.194), 4 HR, 7 RBI, 5:12 BB:K (.324 OBP). Not a lot of hits, but four of them are homers.
Skip Schumaker v. Kyle Davies – 4-for-11 (.364), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.364 OBP)
Yunel Escobar v. Max Scherzer – 5-for-11 (.455), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:4 BB:K (.500 OBP)
Miguel Tejada v. Livan Hernandez – 7-for-19 (.368), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.400 OBP)
Ty Wigginton v. Livan Hernandez – 7-for-21 (.333), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.364 OBP)
Julio Lugo v. Livan Hernandez – 8-for-20 (.400), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:5 BB:K (.455 OBP)
Corey Patterson v. Livan Hernandez – 11-for-27 (.407), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:5 BB:K (.429 OBP)
Paul Konerko v. Carlos Silva – 15-for-47 (.319), 1 HR, 9 RBI, 3:5 BB:K (.360 OBP)
Garret Anderson v. A.J. Burnett – 5-for-14 (.357), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.357 OBP)
Rafael Furcal v. A.J. Burnett – 9-for-29 (.310), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 3:4 BB:K (.394 OBP)
Jorge Cantu v. Jon Garland – 6-for-13 (.462), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:4 BB:K (.462 OBP)
Melvin Mora v. Joe Saunders – 8-for-18 (.444), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2:1 BB:K (.524 OBP)
Jon Garland v. Marlins – Ignore his unsteady play this month; his 6.38 ERA is partially the result of some questionable calls that have extended innings and turned arguably unearned runs into earned runs. He has a 2.14 ERA in five career starts against Florida, and the Marlins’ current crop of hitters is batting just .220 with 16 strikeouts in 88 plate appearances against Garland.
Nick Markakis v. Livan Hernandez – 1-for-10 (.100), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:4 BB:K (.182 OBP)
Garrett Atkins v. Livan Hernandez – 4-for-21 (.190), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 4:3 BB:K (.308 OBP)
Carlos Pena v. Ian Kennedy – 0-for-10 (.000), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.091 OBP)
Milton Bradley v. Randy Wolf – 1-for-11 (.091), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.167 OBP)
Jack Wilson v. Randy Wolf – 2-for-13 (.154), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.154 OBP)
Alexis Rios v. Carlos Silva – 4-for-22 (.182), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0:4 BB:K (.217 OBP)
Mark Kotsay v. Carlos Silva – 4-for-24 (.167), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0:1 BB:K (.167 OBP)
Orlando Cabrera v. Justin Masterson – 1-for-10 (.100), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:4 BB:K (.182 OBP)
Jamey Carroll v. A.J. Burnett – 3-for-13 (.231), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:5 BB:K (.286 OBP)
Chris Coghlan v. Jon Garland – 2-for-10 (.200), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Dan Uggla v. Jon Garland – 2-for-10 (.200), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.273 OBP)
Livan Hernandez v. Orioles – The lowly Orioles rank next-to-last in runs, so I’m not ultra-confident about this pick, but with a lack of sample size-worthy matchups to choose from, this is the best bet. Baltimore hitters sport a .312 career average against Hernandez in 169 plate appearances, and you’ll notice four different Orioles in the Hot section above. After exceeding all expectations with his strong start, Hernandez has far exceeded expectations this season, but he’s starting to show some cracks in the armor, including an eight-run pounding at Detroit two starts ago.
Manny Parra, P, MIL – Parra delivered nothing but agitation to his fantasy owners last season, posting a 6.36 ERA and an ugly 1.829 WHIP. After beginning 2010 in the bullpen, he got a second chance at the rotation this month and actually seems to be handling it gracefully. He has a 3.53 ERA in four starts this month, but I’m most intrigued by his 29 strikeouts in 23 innings. The strikeout potential is real – his career K/9 stands at 8.0, and he was striking out hitters even during his struggles last season. Deeper mixed or NL-only leaguers should take a look.
Other recent recommendations: Carlos Quentin, Daniel Nava, Hisanori Takahashi, Huston Street