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The Lineup Card: Dice-K To the Rescue

Zach Sundelius

Zach Sundelius writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Projected Starters - A look at Saturday's matchups:

Mariners (Jason Vargas - L) at Yankees (Javier Vazquez - R), 1:05
Rangers (Cliff Lee - L) at Orioles (Bradley Bergesen - R), 4:10
Angels (Trevor Bell - R) at Twins (Kevin Slowey - R), 4:10
Braves (Tommy Hanson - R) at Cubs (Tom Gorzelanny - L), 4:10
Indians (Josh Tomlin - R) at Tigers (Max Scherzer - R), 7:05
Nationals (Stephen Strasburg - R) at Phillies (Kyle Kendrick - R), 7:05
Mets (Jonathon Niese - L) at Pirates (James McDonald - R), 7:05
Blue Jays (Ricky Romero - L) at Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka - R), 7:10
White Sox (Freddy Garcia - R) at Royals (Bryan Bullington - R), 7:10
Padres (Kevin Correia - R) at Brewers (Chris Narveson - L), 7:10
Astros (Wandy Rodriguez - L) at Marlins (Chris Volstad - R), 7:10
Giants (Tim Lincecum - R) at Cardinals (Chris Carpenter - R), 7:15
Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez - R) at Diamondbacks (Barry Enright - R), 8:10
Rays (David Price - L) at Athletics (Brett Anderson - L), 9:05
Reds (Johnny Cueto - R) at Dodgers (Chad Billingsley - R), 10:10

Day game after a night game: SEA, NYY, TEX, BAL, LAA, MIN

Injuries - A brief look at players who have been missing time with injuries and their expected returns

Day-to-Day (includes players expected to make their return from the DL)
Colby Rasmus, OF, STL - (Calf) Hasn't started since last Saturday, but has been pinch-hitting
Wil Nieves, C, WAS - (Personal) Expected to rejoin team Saturday
Juan Uribe, 3B, SF - (Foot) Could miss another day or two
Jerry Hairston Jr., SS, SD - (Illness) Day-to-day; could play Saturday
Carlos Gomez, OF, MIL - (Head) Expected to return Saturday, but might have lost his starting job
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, COL - (Knee) Still in a lot of pain Friday, probably out another couple of days
Michael Saunders, OF, SEA - (Shoulder) Hasn't started since Monday
Chad Qualls, P, TB - (Personal) Expected to return Saturday
Mitchell Maier, OF, KC - (Neck) Wasn't in Friday's lineup after leaving Thursday's game
Michael Brantley, OF, CLE - (Ankle) Could miss a few games
J.J. Putz, P, CHW - (Knee) Day-to-day for the weekend
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, TOR - (Wrist) Scratched from Friday's lineup

Players on the DL
Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI - (Ankle) Expected to return Sunday or Monday
Jason Bay, OF, NYM - (Concussion) May not return this season
Aaron Laffey, P, CLE - (Shoulder) Making at least one more rehab appearance
Gil Meche, P, KC - (Shoulder) Will make three rehab appearances with an eye on returning September 1
Ian Kinsler, 2B, TEX - (Groin) Could be cleared to resume full baseball activities Monday
Matt Treanor, C, TEX - (Knee) Getting closer, but may not be activated until September 1
Rich Harden, P, TEX - (Shoulder) Will come off DL and start Monday

Transactions - Players who 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)

Called Up
Brad Davis, C, FLA
Alfredo Figaro, P, DET
Jon Herrera, 2B, COL
Matt Tolbert, 2B, MIN
Jeff Larish, 1B, OAK
Michael Kirkman, P, TEX
Yamaico Navarro, SS, BOS
Anderson Hernandez, SS, HOU

Sent Down
Brandon Hicks, 3B, ATL
Robbie Weinhardt, P, DET
Mike Dunn, P, ATL
Nick Stavinoha, RF, ATL
J.P. Arencibia, C, TOR
Derek Holland, P, TEX
Randy Flores, P, COL (designated for assignment)

Activated from DL
John Buck, C, TOR
Eric O'Flaherty, P, ATL

Placed on DL
Nick Punto, 3B, MIN
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS
Jeff Keppinger, 2B, HOU
Vicente Padilla, P, LAD
Conor Jackson, OF, OAK

Ronny Paulino, C, FLA (50 games for substance abuse; placed on restricted list)

CHC - Despite loading the bases with some erratic pitching, Carlos Marmol was just one strike away from closing out a victory over the Braves on Friday afternoon. Instead, he allowed Rick Ankiel to rip a triple down the right-field line, scoring three runs and costing the Cubs a win. He's not in danger of losing the job, but this one is tough to swallow for Marmol owners.

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

Russell Branyan v. Javier Vazquez: 3-for-9 (.333), 3 HR, 4 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (.500 OBP)
Franklin Gutierrez v. Javier Vazquez: 5-for-15 (.333), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2:5 BB:K (.444 OBP)
Brian Roberts v. Cliff Lee: 4-for-12 (.333), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2:1 BB:K (.429 OBP)
Howie Kendrick v. Kevin Slowey: 5-for-10 (.500), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 0:0 BB:K (.500 OBP)
Torii Hunter v. Kevin Slowey: 3-for-10 (.300), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.364 OBP)
Alberto Callaspo v. Kevin Slowey: 5-for-14 (.357), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.357 OBP)
Bobby Abreu v. Kevin Slowey: 5-for-13 (.385), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1:0 BB:K (.429 OBP)
Willie Harris v. Kyle Kendrick: 5-for-13 (.385), 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1:0 BB:K (.429 OBP)
Ryan Zimmerman v. Kyle Kendrick: 7-for-13 (.538), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (.625 OBP)
Victor Martinez v. Ricky Romero: 5-for-14 (.357), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.400 OBP)
David Ortiz v. Ricky Romero: 8-for-16 (.500), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1:4 BB:K (.529 OBP)
J.D. Drew v. Ricky Romero: 6-for-15 (.400), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3:4 BB:K (.500 OBP)
Jason Kendall v. Freddy Garcia: 5-for-12 (.417), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.462 OBP)
Willie Bloomquist v. Freddy Garcia: 7-for-18 (.389), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.421 OBP)
Rickie Weeks v. Kevin Correia: 4-for-11 (.364), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.417 OBP)
Hanley Ramirez v. Wandy Rodriguez: 5-for-11 (.455), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.500 OBP)
Albert Pujols v. Tim Lincecum: 4-for-11 (.364), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:4 BB:K (.417 OBP)
Yadier Molina v. Tim Lincecum: 4-for-12 (.333), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:0 BB:K (.333 OBP)
Skip Schumaker v. Tim Lincecum: 6-for-16 (.375), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1:4 BB:K (.412 OBP)
Pat Burrell v. Chris Carpenter: 5-for-18 (.278), 4 HR, 8 RBI, 2:5 BB:K (.381 OBP)
Gerardo Parra v. Ubaldo Jimenez: 5-for-15 (.333), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.333 OBP)
Adam LaRoche v. Ubaldo Jimenez: 5-for-15 (.333), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 3:5 BB:K (.444 OBP)
Ryan Theriot v. Johnny Cueto: 10-for-26 (.385), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.429 OBP)
Joey Votto v. Chad Billingsley: 6-for-13 (.462), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.500 OBP)

Daisuke Matsuzaka v. Blue Jays - Some of the usual suspects (Cliff Lee, Ubaldo Jimenez) also have the numbers against their respective opponents to warrant a spot here, but neither has dominated the opposition as thoroughly as Dice-K, who has held current Toronto hitters to a .181/.228/.383 line in 159 plate appearances. Of the nine Blue Jays with more than five career plate appearances against Matsuzaka, six of them are floundering below the Mendoza line.

Chone Figgins v. Javier Vazquez: 2-for-13 (154), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.154 OBP)
Jose Lopez v. Javier Vazquez: 4-for-19 (.211), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.238 OBP)
Jake Fox v. Cliff Lee: 2-for-11 (.182), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:0 BB:K (.182 OBP)
Ty Wigginton v. Cliff Lee: 2-for-13 (.154), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:4 BB:K (.214 OBP)
Julio Lugo v. Cliff Lee: 6-for-30 (.200), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:4 BB:K (.194 OBP)
Brian McCann v. Tom Gorzelanny: 0-for-10 (.000), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.091 OBP)
John McDonald v. Daisuke Matsuzaka: 1-for-12 (.083), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:4 BB:K (.154 OBP)
Adam Lind v. Daisuke Matsuzaka: 3-for-23 (.130), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1:8 BB:K (.167 OBP)
Vernon Wells v. Daisuke Matsuzaka: 5-for-26 (.192), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.222 OBP)
Yuniesky Betancourt v. Freddy Garcia: 1-for-12 (.083), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.154 OBP)
Felipe Lopez v. Tim Lincecum: 1-for-10 (.100), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.100 OBP)
Augie Ojeda v. Ubaldo Jimenez: 2-for-10 (.200), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.273 OBP)
Justin Upton v. Ubaldo Jimenez: 0-for-15 (.000), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:7 BB:K (.167 OBP)
Chris Young v. Ubaldo Jimenez: 5-for-29 (.172), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:11 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Mark Reynolds v. Ubaldo Jimenez: 6-for-30 (.200), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2:13 BB:K (.273 OBP)
Jim Edmonds v. Chad Billingsley: 1-for-14 (.071), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:5 BB:K (.188 OBP)
Brandon Phillips v. Chad Billingsley: 3-for-16 (.188), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1:6 BB:K (.235 OBP)

Ricky Romero v. Red Sox - If Matsuzaka pitches well against Toronto as expected, Romero will need to be at his sharpest, and the numbers say he'll be about as sharp as a wet napkin. Boston hitters have hammered him for a .420/.475/.670 line in 100 plate appearances. In two matchups this season (July 9 and August 10), the Red Sox have rattled off 14 runs (10 earned) in 8.1 innings.

Recommended Pickup

Jed Lowrie, SS/2B, BOS - After missing the first three-plus months of the season with mononucleosis, Lowrie has hit well despite somewhat erratic playing opportunities, posting a .304/.418/.536 line in 56 at-bats. Now that Dustin Pedroia is back on the disabled list, Lowrie could be close to an everyday player for Boston, and it should be fairly easy to grab a guy who is owned in fewer than five percent of leagues.

Other recent recommendations: Pat Burrell, Ian Desmond, Hisanori Takahashi, Eric Young Jr