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Thursday Lineup Card: Taking the Long Road

Andrew Fiorentino

Andrew Fiorentino

A degenerate fantasy-sports player since the age of 13.

Projected Starters - A look at Thursday's matchups:

Nationals (John Lannan – L) at Braves (Derek Lowe – R), 1:05 ET
Tigers (Rick Porcello – R) at Yankees (Phil Hughes – R), 1:05 ET
Padres (Mat Latos – R) at Cubs (Carlos Zambrano – R), 2:20 ET
Rangers (Colby Lewis – R) at Orioles (Brian Matusz – L), 7:05 ET
Marlins (Sean West – L) at Pirates (Paul Maholm – L), 7:05 ET
Giants (Jonathan Sanchez – L) at Phillies (Cole Hamels – L), 7:05 ET
Angels (Ervin Santana – R) at Red Sox (Josh Beckett – R), 7:10 ET
Mets (Pat Misch – L) at Astros (Bud Norris – R), 8:05 ET
White Sox (Mark Buehrle – L) at Twins (Carl Pavano – R), 8:10 ET
Indians (Mitch Talbot – R) at Royals (Kyle Davies – R), 8:10 ET
Reds (Travis Wood – L) at Diamondbacks (Joe Saunders – L), 9:40 ET
Rays (Andy Sonnanstine – R) at Athletics (Trevor Cahill – R), 10:05 ET
Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa – L) at Dodgers (Ted Lilly – L), 10:10 ET

Day Game After Night Game: WAS, ATL, DET, NYY

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 (calf) – MRI found mild strain; will miss a few games, so not likely for Thursday
Derrek Lee, 1B, CHC (back) – May be traded to Atlanta if he approves it; leaving Chicago may be the cure for all that ails him
Martin Prado, 2B, ATL (hand) – Jammed hand Tuesday, so monitor status
Ronnie Cedeno, SS, PIT (shoulder) – Back in the lineup Wednesday
Craig Breslow, RP, OAK (forearm) – Left Tuesday’s game, but should be available for Thursday
Wil Nieves, C, WAS (personal) – Wife giving birth, so will miss a couple days
Gerald Laird, C, DET (arm) – Broke a blood vessel Tuesday and was pulled; may avoid DL
Josh Willingham, OF, WAS (knee) – Out for season, but won’t be DLed until Nyjer Morgan is ready to be activated

Players on the DL

Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI (ankle) – Expected to need rehab assignment before returning
Manny Ramirez, OF, LAD (calf) – Took BP Tuesday and should go on rehab assignment soon; also could be traded or claimed on waivers
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, BOS (ribs) – Seriously, actually broke another rib, and may be out for the season
Jeff Niemann, SP, TAM (shoulder) – Will throw simulated game Friday, then possible return to rotation next week
Wade Davis, SP, TAM (shoulder) – Same deal as Niemann; both expected back Aug. 23-25 series vs. Angels
Andrew Bailey, RP, OAK (oblique) – May have one more rehab appearance before returning to majors
Rafael Furcal, SS, LAD (back) – Felt tightness; rehab assignment delayed
Rich Harden, SP, TEX (shoulder) – Rehab start postponed; don’t count on him down the stretch
Hideki Okajima, RP, BOS (hamstring) – May begin rehab assignment Sunday
Mike Cameron, OF, BOS (abdomen) – Feeling better and set for a sit-down with Terry Francona to discuss role
Carlos Guillen, OF, DET (knee) – Placed on the DL retroactive to Tuesday
Joel Pineiro, SP, LAA (oblique) – Began playing catch Tuesday; not likely back until well into September
Brian Bannister, SP, KAN (shoulder) – Placed on DL retroactive to August 3, but likely out into September
Jason Varitek, C, BOS (foot) – Should be back sometime next week
Jason Berken, RP, BAL (shoulder) – Seeking a second opinion, but almost certainly out for the season
Alfredo Aceves, RP, NYY (back) – Threw 2.1 rehab innings Tuesday; could return by next week
Erick Threets, RP, CHW (toe) – On rehab assignment; should be back within a week

Transactions - Players that have been demoted, called up, traded, released, you name it. We'll cover it here.

Placed on the DL
Carlos Guillen, OF, DET
Brian Bannister, SP, KAN
Taylor Buchholz, RP, COL

Activated from the DL
Juan Gutierrez, RP, ARI

Sent Down 
Pedro Strop, RP, TEX
Rafael Rodriguez, RP, ARI

Called Up
Derek Holland, SP, TEX
Will Rhymes, 2B, DET

Signed
Alex Cora, 2B, TEX (sent to Triple-A)

Closer Watch - A closer look at intriguing ninth-inning situations (check out Dave Regan's Closer Grid with the link to the left).

Houston – Wilton Lopez earned his first career save Tuesday, as Matt Lindstrom hasn’t looked good since returning, and Brandon Lyon wasn’t available. Lyon and Lopez stand to split the save opportunities, but Lopez has a step up on him because Lyon hasn’t been very good the last two months.

Oakland – Michael Wuertz picked up his sixth save Tuesday in the absence of Andrew Bailey, but Bailey is close to returning.

Milwaukee – The Trevor Hoffman Show made an unexpected appearance Wednesday, as Hoffman was the third pitcher used in the ninth inning and the last man standing with his seventh save, No. 598 for the ol’ career. After the Cardinals opened the inning with an earned run off Randy Wolf and an unearned one off John Axford, Hoffman got the call with the bases loaded and two out, and struck out Brendan Ryan to end it. No word yet on what this means for the closer situation in Milwaukee.

Seattle – Brandon League picked up his third save Tuesday, as David Aardsma had the night off after throwing 40 pitches Monday. Aardsma has been a bit rough this year, but the job is still his for now.

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

Hot

Matt Diaz v. John Lannan – 7-for-16 (.438), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 3:1 BB:K, .526 OBP
Adam Kennedy v. Derek Lowe – 13-for-35 (.371), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 4:5 BB:K, .436 OBP
Alberto Gonzalez v. Derek Lowe – 5-for-11 (.455), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:0 BB:K, .500 OBP
Ryan Ludwick v. Carlos Zambrano – 7-for-14 (.500), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1:3 BB:K, .533 OBP
Hanley Ramirez v. Paul Maholm – 6-for-16 (.375), 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1:2 BB:K, .444 OBP
Cody Ross v. Paul Maholm – 4-for-11 (.364), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 0:1 BB:K, .364 OBP
Victor Martinez v. Ervin Santana – 6-for-13 (.462), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1:2 BB:K, .533 OBP
Howie Kendrick v. Josh Beckett – 9-for-22 (.409), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1:4 BB:K, .435 OBP
Maicer Izturis v. Josh Beckett – 10-for-29 (.345), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:4 BB:K, .355 OBP
Michael Cuddyer v. Mark Buehrle – 30-for-89 (.337), 2 HR, 9 RBI, 3:16 BB:K, .366 OBP
Denard Span v. Mark Buehrle – 12-for-28 (.429), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2:0 BB:K, .467 OBP
Delmon Young v. Mark Buehrle – 10-for-27 (.370), 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2:3 BB:K, .414 OBP
A.J. Pierzynski v. Carl Pavano – 7-for-19 (.368), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 0:1 BB:K, .368 OBP
Gordon Beckham v. Carl Pavano – 4-for-11 (.364), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:0 BB:K, .364 OBP
Kurt Suzuki v. Andy Sonnanstine – 6-for-10 (.600), 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1:0 BB:K, .636 OBP
Orlando Cabrera v. Joe Saunders – 9-for-18 (.500), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:0 BB:K, .550 OBP
Matt Kemp v. Jorge De La Rosa – 9-for-18 (.500), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1:3 BB:K, .500 OBP
James Loney v. Jorge De La Rosa – 8-for-15 (.533), 1 HR, 7 RBI, 1:3 BB:K, .563 OBP
Miguel Olivo v. Ted Lilly – 5-for-11 (.455), 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1:5 BB:K, .500 OBP

Cole Hamels v. Giants – Hamels has really done a job on these Giants hitters over his career, as they’ve managed to hit just .236/.282/.364 against him, with a BB:K of 7:33. They’ve managed to homer just once off him in 110 at-bats. In his last outing against San Fran, this April, Hamels allowed four runs over six innings, but struck out 10. But that was then. Post-break Hamels has been one of the best pitchers in the game, posting a 2.14 ERA and 0.98 WHIP with 50 punchouts over 42 innings.

Carl Pavano v. White Sox – When four of the opposing hitters appear in the “cold” list below, you know you’re doing something right. Pavano has shut these White Sox hitters down to the tune of .228/.259/.353 against him over 184 at-bats – no small sample. He’s allowed just three homers to them while racking up a 28:8 K:BB rate. In his last outing against Chicago, the rejuvenated starter allowed two runs in a complete-game win.

Cold

Martin Prado* vs. John Lannan – 3-for-15 (.200), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:2 BB:K, .250 OBP
Adam Dunn v. Derek Lowe – 6-for-31 (.194), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:8 BB:K
Magglio Ordonez v. Phil Hughes – 2-for-11 (.182), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0:2 BB:K, .182 OBP
David Eckstein v. Carlos Zambrano – 3-for-19 (.158), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:1 BB:K, .238 OBP
Jimmy Rollins v. Jonathan Sanchez – 1-for-12 (.083), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:3 BB:K, .083 OBP
Eugenio Velez v. Cole Hamels – 2-for-12 (.167), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:4 BB:K, .167 OBP
Adrian Beltre v. Ervin Santana – 8-for-43 (.186), 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1:8 BB:K, .205 OBP
Marco Scutaro v. Ervin Santana – 5-for-22 (.227), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:2 BB:K, .292 OBP
J.D. Drew v. Ervin Santana – 3-for-14 (.214), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:4 BB:K, .313 OBP
Bobby Abreu v. Josh Beckett – 14-for-72 (.194), 2 HR, 7 RBI, 19:24 BB:K, .363 OBP
Juan Rivera v. Josh Beckett – 2-for-18 (.111), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:2 BB:K, .200 OBP
Alberto Callaspo v. Josh Beckett – 2-for-15 (.133), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:4 BB:K, .133 OBP
Jim Thome v. Mark Buehrle – 4-for-20 (.200), 2 HR, 9 RBI, 2:10 BB:K, .273 OBP
Andruw Jones v. Carl Pavano – 2-for-20 (.100), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3:3 BB:K, .208 OBP
Mark Teahen v. Carl Pavano – 5-for-22 (.227), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2:2 BB:K, .292 OBP
Alexei Ramirez v. Carl Pavano – 2-for-16 (.125), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0:1 BB:K, .125 OBP
Omar Vizquel v. Carl Pavano – 2-for-12 (.167), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:2 BB:K, .231 OBP
Jack Cust v. Andy Sonnanstine – 2-for-12 (.167), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2:4 BB:K, .286 OBP
Russell Martin v. Jorge De La Rosa – 2-for-12 (.167), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 3:3 BB:K, .333 OBP
Andre Ethier v. Jorge De La Rosa – 1-for-11 (.091), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:5 BB:K, .091 OBP
Melvin Mora v. Ted Lilly – 3-for-28 (.107), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 12:8 BB:K, .375 OBP
Jason Giambi v. Ted Lilly – 2-for-13 (.154), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0:8 BB:K, .154 OBP

Paul Maholm v. Marlins – These Marlins have homered off Maholm six times in just 74 at-bats. That’s one homer every 12 at-bats. For comparison’s sake, Albert Pujols is averaging a homer ever 14 at-bats this year. So that’s pretty good. Oh, yeah, they’re also hitting .351 off him. Maholm’s not exactly a luminary as it is, but if you were considering spot starting him against Florida, think again.

Recommended Pickup

Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals – Over the last month, Desmond is hitting .303 with three homers, six steals, 13 RBI and 13 runs. He has seven multi-hit games in August. Think your middle infield can find a use for those numbers? Desmond is owned in just 26% of Yahoo leagues and 21% of ESPN leagues. Yeah, he plays for the Nats, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore him. There’s legitimate power-speed potential here, especially for a shallow position like shortstop.

Other recent recommendations: Hisanori Takahashi, Eric Young, Jhoulys Chacin, Hong-Chih Kuo,