Projected Starters – A look at Friday's matchups:
Phillies (Joe Blanton - R) at Cubs (Ted Lilly – L), 2:20
Astros (Brett Myers – R) at Pirates (Zach Duke – L), 7:05
Blue Jays (Ricky Romero – L) at Orioles (Brad Bergesen - R), 7:05
Tigers (Max Scherzer – R) at Indians (Jake Westbrook – R), 7:05
Rays (James Shields – R) at Yankees (CC Sabathia – L), 7:05
Rockies (Jason Hammel – R) at Reds (TBA), 7:10
Nationals (Stephen Strasburg – R) at Marlins (Ricky Nolasco – R), 7:10
Rangers (Colby Lewis – R) at Red Sox (Felix Doubront – L), 7:10
Brewers (Randy Wolf – L) at Braves (Tommy Hanson – R), 7:35
White Sox (Gavin Floyd – R) at Twins (Francisco Liriano – L), 8:10
Athletics (Gio Gonzalez - L) at Royals (Zack Greinke – R), 8:10
Dodgers (Chad Billingsley – R) at Cardinals (Jaime Garcia - L), 8:15
Diamondbacks (Dan Haren – R) at Padres (Jon Garland – R), 10:05
Mariners (Felix Hernandez – R) at Angels (Jered Weaver - R), 10:05
Mets (Jon Niese – L) at Giants (Barry Zito – L), 10:15
Day game after night game: CHC, PHI
Injuries – A brief look at players that have been missing time with minor ailments and their expected returns.
Day-to-Day (includes players expected to make their return from the DL)
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY – (Thumb) General manager Brian Cashman said A-Rod’s thumb injury is so minor that it isn’t even worth talking about.
Adrian Beltre, 3B, BOS – (Hamstring) Was not listed in Thursday’s starting lineup.
Jeff Niemann, SP, TAM – (Back) Threw a pain-free bullpen and is scheduled to start Saturday’s game against the Yankees.
Scott Baker, SP, MIN – (Elbow) Will make his next start on Monday, received a cortisone shot last Friday that has helped relieve the tendinitis in his elbow.
Mat Latos, SP, SD – (Undisclosed) Likely to start second half on DL. Padres may be looking to limit his work now so they have him if they make the playoffs.
Players on the DL
Eric O’Flaherty, RP, ATL – (Illness) Placed on the 15-Day DL.
Jordan Zimmerman, SP, WAS – (Elbow) Made a strong rehab start on Wednesday, and looks as though he’ll return in early August.
Manny Ramirez, OF, LAD – (Hamstring) Expected to come off the DL on Thursday.
Felipe Paulino, SP, HOU – (Shoulder) Completed his rehab and will be reinserted into the rotation early next week.
Antonio Bastardo, RP, PHI – (Elbow) Has pitched well in his three rehab appearances, but the Phillies still haven’t announced a timetable for his return.
Luis Castillo, 2B, NYM – (Foot) – Started a rehab assignment on Wednesday, and could return during the team’s 11-game road trip.
Gil Meche, SP, KC – (Shoulder) Transferred to the 60-Day DL.
Victor Martinez, C, BOS – (Thumb) Has an X-ray scheduled for Thursday that will help determine when he’ll be ready to return.
Maicer Izturis, SS, LAA – (Forearm) Could begin a rehab assignment next week, with a return to the majors still a couple weeks away.
Conor Jackson, OF, OAK – (Hamstring) Has not played in a rehab game yet, pushing his return back until he is able to do so.
Travis Snider, OF, TOR – (Wrist) Scheduled to play in a rehab game on Thursday, and could return as early as this weekend.
Mike Gonzalez, RP, BAL – (Shoulder) Expected to throw three rehab outings for Triple-A Norfolk before possibly returning to the majors sometime next week.
Jason Heyward, OF, ATL – (Thumb) Returned Thursday and went 0-for-4.
Transactions – Players that have been demoted, called up, traded, released, you name it. We'll cover it here.
Placed on the DL (15-Day unless otherwise noted)
Gil Meche, SP, Royals (transferred to the 60-Day DL)
Eric O’Flaherty, RP, Braves
Activated from the DL
Zach Duke, SP, Pirates
Chris Seddon, RP, Mariners
Sean White, RP, Mariners
Ronald Uviedo, RP, Blue Jays
Henry Barrera, RP, Royals
Quintin Berry, OF, Padres
Jason Jaramillo, C, Pirates
Justin Thomas, RP, Pirates
Jo-Jo Reyes, RP, Blue Jays (from Braves)
Yunel Escobar, SS, Blue Jays (from Braves)
Alex Gonzalez, SS, Braves (from Blue Jays)
Closer Watch – A closer look at intriguing ninth-inning situations (check out Dave Regan's Closer Grid with the link to the left).
Cleveland – Kerry Wood last save opportunity came on June 29. It’s been over two weeks since the Indians have given him the chance to earn his paycheck. He came into Sunday’s game with the tie scored and allowed Jason Bartlett to hit a game-winning single.
Milwaukee – Current closer, John Axford, took the mound in top of the ninth with game tied on Sunday and allowed a run to score. However, he was spared the loss, because Corey Hart belted a two-run homer to win the game in walk-off fashion. It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on any sign that Axford is struggling, because Trevor Hoffman is waiting for his opportunity to reclaim closing duties.
St. Louis – Ryan Franklin rebounded nicely from the six-run ninth inning he allowed against the Rockies and picked up the save in a perfect ninth on Sunday. Some prognosticators have pegged Franklin as a teetering closer since the season opened, but he only has one blown save and one loss to his name against 16 converted saves.
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
Ty Wigginton v. Ricky Romero – 4-for-11 (.364), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.417 OBP)
Ryan Doumit v. Brett Myers – 3-for-9 (.333), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.400 OBP)
Ramon Santiago v. Jake Westbrook – 9-for-20 (.450), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.500 OBP)
B.J. Upton v. CC Sabathia – 6-for-17 (.353), 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2:2 BB:K (.421 OBP)
Ben Zobrist v. CC Sabathia – 6-for-16 (.375), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (.444 OBP)
Chipper Jones v. Randy Wolf – 20-for-51 (.392), 4 HR, 10 RBI, 10:5 BB:K (.500 OBP)
Matt Diaz v. Randy Wolf – 7-for-13 (.538), 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3:1 BB:K (.647 OBP)
Jason Kubel v. Gavin Floyd – 9-for-25 (.360), 3 HR, 6 RBI, 1:4 BB:K (.370 OBP)
Denard Span v. Gavin Floyd – 8-for-14 (.571), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0:1 BB:K (.571 OBP)
Paul Konerko v. Francisco Liriano – 3-for-11 (.273), 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2:2 BB:K (.385 OBP)
Randy Winn v. Chad Billingsley – 11-for-25 (.440), 0 HR, 5 RBI, 4:7 BB:K (.517 OBP)
Kurt Suzuki v. Zack Greinke – 5-for-13 (.385), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:1 BB:K (.429 OBP)
Mark Ellis v. Zack Greinke – 4-for-11 (.364), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.417 OBP)
Nick Hundley v. Dan Haren – 8-for-20 (.400), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:3 BB:K (.400 OBP)
Stephen Drew v. Jon Garland – 5-for-11 (.455), 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1:0 BB:K (.500 OBP)
Mark Reynolds v. Jon Garland – 3-for-10 (.300), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1:4 BB:K (.364 OBP)
Torii Hunter v. Felix Hernandez – 10-for-31 (.323), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 3:7 BB:K (.417 OBP)
Bobby Abreu v. Felix Hernandez – 10-for-26 (.385), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3:2 BB:K (.433 OBP)
Rod Barajas v. Barry Zito – 10-for-29 (.345), 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (.387 OBP)
Alfonso Soriano v. Joe Blanton – 5-for-14 (.357), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.400 OBP)
Franklin Gutierrez v. Jered Weaver – 4-for-11 (.364), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2:4 BB:K (.462 OBP)
Milton Bradley v. Jered Weaver – 3-for-9 (.333), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.400 OBP)
Felix Hernandez vs. Los Angeles Angels – Hernandez has limited the Angels’ current hitters to a slash line of .226/.297/.362 through 222 batters faced. His career stats against the Angels (4-6, 4.40 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, in 18 starts) are rather pedestrian compared to his typical performance. However, he came into the All-Star break on six-game streak in which he allowed two or less runs per start. Hernandez should be in your lineup for all of his starts, and owners should feel confident that he’ll perform well on Friday.
Raul Ibanez v. Ted Lilly – 3-for-14 (.214), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1:5 BB:K (.267 OBP)
Ryan Church v. Brett Myers – 3-for-19 (.158), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1:10 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Pedro Feliz v. Zach Duke – 1-for-11 (.091), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.167 OBP)
Gerald Laird v. Jake Westbrook – 1-for-9 (.111), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Mark Teixeira v. James Shields – 4-for-23 (.174), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:11 BB:K (.208 OBP)
Curtis Granderson v. James Shields – 2-for-20 (.100), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.143 OBP)
Jorge Posada v. James Shields – 4-for-19 (.211), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.250 OBP)
Nick Swisher v. James Shields – 2-for-14 (.143), 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1:6 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Carlos Pena v. CC Sabathia – 4-for-29 (.138), 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3:14 BB:K (.219 OBP)
Adam Dunn v. Ricky Nolasco – 3-for-17 (.176), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2:6 BB:K (.263 OBP)
Martin Prado v. Randy Wolf – 2-for-9 (.222), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:1 BB:K (.222 OBP)
David Ross v. Randy Wolf – 1-for-9 (.111), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:7 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Michael Cuddyer v. Gavin Floyd – 4-for-20 (.200), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1:5 BB:K (.238 OBP)
Delmon Young v. Gavin Floyd – 3-for-14 (.214), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.267 OBP)
Nick Punto v. Gavin Floyd – 1-for-11 (.091), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3:2 BB:K (.286 OBP)
Felipe Lopez v. Chad Billingsley – 3-for-12 (.250), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.308 OBP)
Coco Crisp v. Zack Greinke – 5-for-25 (.200), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:4 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Jack Cust v. Zack Greinke – 1-for-13 (.077), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:7 BB:K (.143 OBP)
Ryan Sweeney v. Zack Greinke – 2-for-13 (.154), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.214 OBP)
Chase Headley v. Dan Haren – 6-for-24 (.250), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 0:8 BB:K (.250 OBP)
Tony Gwynn v. Dan Haren – 2-for-11 (.182), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:1 BB:K (.308 OBP)
Matt Stairs v. Dan Haren – 1-for-10 (.100), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2:4 BB:K (.250 OBP)
Kelly Johnson v. Jon Garland – 1-for-10 (.100), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.182 OBP)
Chris Young v. Jon Garland – 1-for-9 (.111), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1:5 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Erick Aybar v. Felix Hernandez – 4-for-23 (.174), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2:2 BB:K (.240 OBP)
Howie Kendrick v. Felix Hernandez – 3-for-23 (.130), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0:4 BB:K (.130 OBP)
Hideki Matsui v. Felix Hernandez – 4-for-19 (.211), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (.286 OBP)
Juan Rivera v. Felix Hernandez – 2-for-16 (.125), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3:2 BB:K (.250 OBP)
Reggie Willits v. Felix Hernandez – 1-for-13 (.077), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Jose Reyes v. Barry Zito – 1-for-11 (.091), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:0 BB:K (.167 OBP)
Jake Westbrook vs. Detroit Tigers – Westbrook owns a disappointing slash line of .303/.382/.476 against the Tigers’ current roster through 185 batters faced. He’s performed well against the Tigers in two starts against them this season, but his career stats against the team suggest his luck should be running out. In 19 career starts against the Tigers, Westbrook has a 5-8 record with a 5.69 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and .299 BAA in 123.1 innings. If you’re playing your starters based on matchups, this situation is a coin flip. Either you think Westbrook has the Tigers’ number this season (1-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) or you think history will come true and Westbrook will struggle Friday.
Randy Wolf vs. Atlanta Braves – Wolf owns a disappointing slash line of .314/.427/.534 against the Braves’ current roster through 145 batters faced. In 25 career starts against the Braves, Wolf has a 4-12 record with a 5.31 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, and .279 BAA. Owners might be better off leaving Wolf on the bench for Friday’s dual with Tommy Hanson.
Jered Weaver vs. Seattle Mariners – Weaver owns a disappointing slash line of .303/.321/.477 against the Mariners’ current roster through 115 batters faced. In 16 career starts against the Mariners, Weaver has a 9-3 record with a 3.94 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. His matchup statistics and the fact that he’s struggled through his last two starts before the All-Star break (allowed nine earned runs over 12.1 innings), makes us give the edge to Felix Hernandez in this dual. Start Weaver, but don’t be surprised if he struggles and takes the loss.
Edinson Volquez, SP, CIN – Volquez is expected to return to the Reds sometime in the next week after spending the first two and a half months of the season on the disabled list. He’s available in a lot of leagues right now, and you aren’t likely to find the kind of value he can give you as a starting pitcher off the free agent wire the rest of the season. In his last rehab start, Volquez threw seven shutout innings of one-hit ball and struck out nine batters. Grab him if he’s available.
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