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Thursday Lineup Card: At a Bargain Basement Price Tag, Michael Saunders

Eric Caturia

Eric Caturia

Eric is a writer/editor of MLB, NBA, and NFL content for RotoWire.

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Projected Starters - A look at Thursday's matchups (all times Eastern)

Diamondbacks (Trevor Cahill - R) at Padres (Robbie Erlin - L), 6:40
Blue Jays (Mark Buehrle - L) at Orioles (Miguel Gonzalez - R), 7:05
Rays (Alex Cobb - R) at Yankees (Ivan Nova - R), 7:05
Phillies (Tyler Cloyd - R) at Braves (David Hale - R), 7:10
Brewers (Johnny Hellweg - R) at Mets (Dillon Gee - R), 7:10
Angels (Jerome Williams - R) at Rangers (Matt Garza - R), 8:05
Royals (Jeremy Guthrie - R) at White Sox (Andre Rienzo - R), 8:10
Indians (Zach McAllister - R) at Twins (Andrew Albers - L), 8:10
Dodgers (Edinson Volquez - R) at Giants (Tim Lincecum - R), 10:15

Day Game After Night Game: ARI, SD

Injuries

Day-to-Day
Oswaldo Arcia, OF, MIN (Knee) - Underwent an MRI on Wednesday that revealed no structural damage in his knee.
Joaquin Arias, SS, SF (Hamstring) - Remained out of the lineup Wednesday for a fourth contest in a row as a result of a tweaked hamstring.
Michael Bourn, OF, CLE (Wrist) - Not in the lineup Wednesday, after suffering a mild sprain of his right wrist Tuesday; X-rays came back negative in the region.
Ronny Cedeno, SS, SD (Head) - Held out Wednesday for a second consecutive game, after getting struck in the head by a pitch Monday; however, he'll return at some point during the team's final four games.
Yoenis Cespedes, OF, OAK (Shoulder) - Went hitless in three at-bats Tuesday as the designated hitter and is slated to return to the outfield Friday.
Tony Cingrani, P, CIN (Back) - Tossed a 32-pitch bullpen session Wednesday and may be able to take the mound in relief this weekend.
Yu Darvish, P, TEX (General Soreness) - Dealt with a "physical issue" during Tuesday's start, which required 100 pitches in order to complete 5.1 innings.
Jorge De La Rosa, P, COL (Thumb) - May fit in one start before the end of the regular season, which was contingent upon Tuesday's throwing session.
Chris Dickerson, OF, BAL (Hamstring) - Had an MRI performed recently on his right hamstring, with his season more than likely over.
Kyle Drabek, P, TOR (Ankle) - Diagnosed with a bone bruise, after taking a line drive off his ankle Wednesday, but X-rays were returned negative.
Yunel Escobar, SS, TB (Ankle) - Absent from the lineup Wednesday due to an ankle injury sustained Tuesday.
Andre Ethier, OF, LAD (Ankle) - MRI and CT scans performed Wednesday intimate that his ankle has improved but has not yet reached full health.
Nate Freiman, 1B, OAK (Abdomen) - Took pain-free swings off a tee Wednesday, before partaking in batting practice, with the potential for a return before the season concludes.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, COL (Finger) - Participated in batting practice Tuesday and will continue doing so in order to test whether surgery will be required on his sprained right middle finger in the offseason.
Jose Iglesias, SS, DET (Hand) - Took swings off a tee Wednesday and will participate in Friday's batting practice.
Desmond Jennings, OF, TB (Hamstring) - Available for a pinch-hit appearance Wednesday.
Paul Konerko, 1B, CHW (Knee) - Kept out of the lineup Wednesday, after fouling a ball off his knee Tuesday.
Mike Napoli, C, BOS (Foot) - Sitting out a fourth outing in a row due to a flare-up of plantar fasciitis.
Aramis Ramirez, 3B, MIL (Jaw) - Removed from Wednesday's contest in the top of the fourth inning due to a potential season-ending knee injury suffered during a first-inning scuffle with the Braves.
Wilin Rosario, C, COL (Calf) - Out of the lineup Wednesday due to a calf concern and will likely return Friday after an off day.
Marco Scutaro, 2B, SF (Finger) - Undergoing a procedure Friday to repair an injured tendon in his left pinky finger.
Jean Segura, SS, MIL (Hamstring) - Missed his seventh consecutive game Wednesday due to a hamstring strain.
Moises Sierra, OF, TOR (Ankle) - Sustained an ankle sprain Tuesday, while fielding a flyball, but is expected to be back in the lineup Thursday.
Yorvit Torrealba, C, COL (Thumb) - Left Wednesday's outing due to a contusion in his right thumb.

Players on the DL
Brandon Beachy, P, ATL (Elbow) - Shut down for the rest of the season.
Manny Machado, 3B, BAL (Knee) - Slated to receive a second opinion on his left knee Monday in order to confirm a diagnosis of a torn medial patellar ligament.
Eric O'Flaherty, P, ATL (Elbow) - Embarked upon a throwing program Tuesday, as he was able to throw from 30 feet.
Bobby Parnell, P, NYM (Neck) - Manager Terry Collins is "worried" about whether the reliever can reach 100 percent by next spring.
Jonny Venters, P, ATL (Elbow) - Started a throwing program Tuesday, when he played light catch from 30 feet.

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

Activated from the DL
Travis Hafner, DH, NYY (From 60-day DL)

Placed on the DL
Manny Machado, 3B, BAL (60-day DL)
CC Sabathia, P, NYY (60-day DL)
Danny Worth, SS, DET (60-day DL)

Called Up (from Triple-A, unless otherwise noted)
Jason Pridie, OF, BAL (Contract Selected)

Sent Down
Blake Lalli, 1B, MIL
J.D. Martin, P, TB

Closer Watch

White Sox and Indians - Rarely does a contest occur in which both closers fall apart so spectacularly, but Tuesday night's game between these two teams featured just that scenario. In the top of the ninth inning, the beleaguered Chris Perez entered with his Indians leading 3-2, but after just one batter, a long ball had knotted up the score. He seemed to find his footing on the perpetual high wire that he prefers to walk, capturing two strikeouts in a row, before stumbling yet again, when he served up an additional solo shot. A subsequent single forced Perez from the frame, but not before taking on his fifth blown save of the campaign.

Shortly thereafter, the White Sox afforded the bumbling Addison Reed a save chance, despite his relative lack of success in such circumstances during his previous nine appearances (he had surrendered runs on five occasions). The outing began innocuously enough, with a single mixed around two strikeouts, and at this point, Cleveland manager Terry Francona turned to graybeard Jason Giambi -- he of his 42 years and 437 home runs -- for a pinch-hit opportunity. Giambi did not disappoint, driving a 1-1 pitch over the right-field wall for the walkoff, 5-4 victory, thereby saving the hide of Perez, while making Reed the goat for the eighth time in 47 attempts this season.

KEY MATCHUPS: HOT

Hot Batter Matchups At-Bats AVG HR XBH RBI BB K SLG OBP OPS
Chase Headley - 3B SD vs ARI
9/26 6:40 PM
Trevor Cahill 4-13 .308 0 1 0 4 4 .385 .471 .855
Mark Kotsay - OF SD vs ARI
9/26 6:40 PM
Trevor Cahill 7-19 .368 0 3 1 2 2 .526 .429 .955
Nick Markakis - OF BAL vs TOR
9/26 7:05 PM
Mark Buehrle 13-31 .419 2 5 5 3 3 .710 .471 1.180
Desmond Jennings - OF TB @ NYY
9/26 7:05 PM
Ivan Nova 4-13 .308 0 2 0 1 3 .538 .400 .938
Sean Rodriguez - SS TB @ NYY
9/26 7:05 PM
Ivan Nova 5-12 .417 1 3 2 0 2 .833 .417 1.250
Adrian Beltre - 3B TEX vs LAA
9/26 8:05 PM
Jerome Williams 8-16 .500 1 2 4 0 2 .750 .500 1.250
Ian Kinsler - 2B TEX vs LAA
9/26 8:05 PM
Jerome Williams 5-16 .313 0 4 0 1 0 .563 .389 .951
Alejandro De Aza - OF CWS vs KC
9/26 8:10 PM
Jeremy Guthrie 4-10 .400 0 1 0 0 1 .500 .400 .900
Paul Konerko - 1B CWS vs KC
9/26 8:10 PM
Jeremy Guthrie 9-35 .257 3 5 4 2 5 .571 .289 .861
 
Hot Pitcher Matchups At-Bats Opp
AVG
HR
Allow
XBH
Allow
RBI
Allow
BB K Opp
SLG
Opp
OBP
Opp
OPS
Ivan Nova NYY vs TB
9/26 7:05 PM
Rays Batters 25-127 .197 4 10 7 10 29 .337 .270 .607
Jeremy Guthrie KC @ CWS
9/26 8:10 PM
White Sox Batters 24-125 .192 5 10 11 9 25 .344 .265 .609
Edinson Volquez LAD @ SF
9/26 10:15 PM
Giants Batters 12-60 .200 1 3 4 5 23 .282 .271 .553

 

KEY MATCHUPS: COLD

Cold Batter Matchups At-Bats AVG HR XBH RBI BB K SLG OBP OPS
J.J. Hardy - SS BAL vs TOR
9/26 7:05 PM
Mark Buehrle 2-14 .143 0 1 2 0 3 .214 .143 .357
Mike Morse - OF BAL vs TOR
9/26 7:05 PM
Mark Buehrle 2-15 .133 0 0 2 0 3 .133 .133 .267
Yunel Escobar - SS TB @ NYY
9/26 7:05 PM
Ivan Nova 2-13 .154 0 1 0 1 2 .231 .313 .543
Matt Joyce - OF TB @ NYY
9/26 7:05 PM
Ivan Nova 2-16 .125 0 1 1 3 5 .188 .263 .451
Evan Longoria - 3B TB @ NYY
9/26 7:05 PM
Ivan Nova 3-15 .200 1 1 2 1 1 .400 .250 .650
Jose Molina - C TB @ NYY
9/26 7:05 PM
Ivan Nova 2-15 .133 1 1 1 0 4 .333 .133 .467
Ben Zobrist - 2B TB @ NYY
9/26 7:05 PM
Ivan Nova 2-18 .111 0 0 0 3 4 .111 .238 .349
Josh Hamilton - OF LAA @ TEX
9/26 8:05 PM
Matt Garza 2-15 .133 0 0 0 2 6 .133 .235 .369
Elvis Andrus - SS TEX vs LAA
9/26 8:05 PM
Jerome Williams 2-14 .143 0 0 1 2 0 .143 .250 .393
Mitch Moreland - 1B TEX vs LAA
9/26 8:05 PM
Jerome Williams 2-14 .143 1 2 4 0 2 .429 .133 .562
Adam Dunn - 1B CWS vs KC
9/26 8:10 PM
Jeremy Guthrie 2-16 .125 0 0 2 3 8 .125 .300 .425
Alexei Ramirez - SS CWS vs KC
9/26 8:10 PM
Jeremy Guthrie 3-28 .107 0 1 0 4 4 .143 .219 .362
Adrian Gonzalez - 1B LAD @ SF
9/26 10:15 PM
Tim Lincecum 8-42 .190 0 0 1 3 16 .190 .244 .435
Dee Gordon - SS LAD @ SF
9/26 10:15 PM
Tim Lincecum 1-13 .077 0 0 0 1 3 .077 .143 .220
Hunter Pence - OF SF vs LAD
9/26 10:15 PM
Edinson Volquez 3-24 .125 1 2 1 4 12 .292 .250 .542
 
Cold Pitcher Matchups At-Bats Opp
AVG
HR
Allow
XBH
Allow
RBI
Allow
BB K Opp
SLG
Opp
OBP
Opp
OPS
Mark Buehrle TOR @ Bal
9/26 7:05 PM
Orioles Batters 51-182 .280 4 14 18 12 25 .403 .321 .724
Jerome Williams LAA @ Tex
9/26 8:05 PM
Rangers Batters 28-98 .286 2 10 11 6 11 .436 .336 .772
 
Recommended Pickup

Michael Saunders, OF, SEA - Manager Eric Wedge has done everything in his power to get Saunders' scorching bat into the lineup of late, shuttling him throughout the outfield as he's belted eight extra-base hits in his last 30 at-bats since Sept. 17. Saunders has started all but one of nine games during that stretch, which has included a .367 average (11-for-30), two home runs, six RBI, six runs scored, and one stolen base. With just three outings remaining versus the Athletics on the Mariners' schedule, the outfielder is unlikely to swing a rotisserie league so late in the year, but daily formats are a different story entirely. Indeed, Oakland is sending out a trio of right-handed starters this weekend, and the majority of Saunders' damage has occurred when facing that particular pitcher. On the season, his slash line resides at a modest .258/.345/.418 against righties, while 8-of-11 long balls and 12-of-13 stolen bases have been tallied with one on the mound. Consequently, he is trending as an imperative chess piece with a rather cheap price tag.

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