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The Lineup Card: Russell the Muscle

Kyle McKeown

Kyle McKeown is the Managing Editor of NBA Content for He hosts the Fantasy Basketball Podcast and writes about fantasy basketball. Kyle used to run an after school program and approaches his work as an editor with teaching in mind. He genuinely cares about helping others win their fantasy basketball leagues, which seems really dorky when it's written in the third person.

Zach Sundelius

Zach Sundelius writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Projected Starters - A look at Sunday's matchups:

Cubs (Jeff Samardzija – R) at Marlins (Andrew Miller – L), 1:10
Braves (Derek Lowe – R) at Mets (R.A. Dickey – R), 1:10
Diamondbacks (Daniel Hudson – R) at Pirates (Zach Duke – L), 1:35
Nationals (Yunesky Maya – R) at Phillies (Joe Blanton – R), 1:35
Yankees (Andy Pettitte – L) at Orioles (Chris Tillman – R), 1:35
Blue Jays (Shaun Marcum – R) at Red Sox (Jon Lester – L), 1:35
Angels (Scott Kazmir – L) at Rays (Jeff Niemann – R), 1:40
Reds (Travis Wood – L) at Astros (Brett Myers – R), 2:05
Athletics (Bobby Cramer – L) at Twins (Francisco Liriano – L), 2:10
Indians (Josh Tomlin – R) at Royals (Luke Hochevar – R), 2:10
Padres (Jon Garland – R) at Cardinals (Adam Wainwright – R), 2:15
Brewers (Chris Narveson – L) at Giants (Barry Zito – L), 4:05
Rockies (Jason Hammel – R) at Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw – L), 4:10
Rangers (Tommy Hunter – R) at Mariners (Doug Fister – R), 4:10
Tigers (Jeremy Bonderman – R) at White Sox (John Danks – L), 8:05

Day game after a night game: NYY, BAL, ARI, PIT, CLE, KC, WAS, PHI, TOR, BOS, CIN, HOU, LAA, TB, CHC, FLA, TEX, SEA, MIL, SF

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)
Luis Hernandez, SS, NYM – (Foot) Homered on Saturday despite breaking his foot earlier in the at-bat
Hanley Ramirez, SS, FLA – (Elbow) Out of the lineup again Saturday
Lastings Milledge, OF, PIT – (Abdomen) Dealing with strained right side
Garrett Jones, OF, PIT – (Shoulder) May not return until Tuesday
Takashi Saito, P, ATL – (Shoulder) Scheduled to undergo MRI on Monday
Justin Upton, OF, ARI – (Shoulder) Remains out of the lineup
Jimmy Rollins, SS, PHI – (Hamstring) Remains out of the lineup
Aaron Hill, 2B, TOR – (Wrist) Didn't start Saturday, might sit Sunday as well
Jake Arrieta, P, BAL – (Elbow) Will be shut down for the season
Denard Span, OF, MIN – (Shoulder) Still dealing with soreness
Jason Kubel, OF, MIN – (Wrist) Out of lineup for third straight day Saturday
Jose Valverde, P, DET – (Elbow) Dealing with sore pitching elbow
Josh Hamilton, OF, TX – (Ribs) Hopes to return next weekend
Mitch Talbot, P, CLE – (Shoulder) Penciled in to start Thursday
Scot Shields, P, LAA – (Elbow) Scheduled for MRI
Erick Aybar, SS, LAA – (Leg) Had MRI on Friday; results not yet available
Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, OAK – (Back) Didn't play Saturday, still day-to-day

Players on the DL
Brandon Webb, P, ARI – (Shoulder) Threw bullpen Saturday, could still return this year

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

Activated from DL
Chris Young, P, SD
Joel Pineiro, P, LAA
Andy Pettitte, P, NYY (expected on Sunday)

Called Up
Daniel Descalso, 2B, STL
Allen Craig, OF, STL
Joe Mather, OF, STL
P.J. Walters, P, STL
Mark Hamilton, 1B, STL
Justin Smoak, 1B, SEA
Dan Cortes, P, SEA
Aaron Laffey, P, CLE

Designated for Assignment
Cesar Carrillo, P, SD
Evan MacLane, P, STL

Octavio Dotel, from LAD to COL

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

DET – Phil Coke has been installed as the Tigers' temporary closer. He'll be used in the role until manager Jim Leyland decides that Jose Valverde is ready to pitch again. Leyland said, “He's not right. He's not available until I say he can pitch.” Valverde isn't believed to be injured. This might only last through the weekend, but with the season winding down, Coke is worth a grab in most leagues if you're looking for saves.

HOU – Brandon Lyon was used as the closer on Friday and recorded his 17th save of the season. He blew a save a Wednesday, but Matt Lindstrom's struggles in the extra innings of Wednesday's game removed any threat that may have been looming over Lyon's status as closer.

LAA – Fernando Rodney converted his third consecutive save without allowing a run on Friday after having allowed a run in each of his four appearances prior to his current streak of shutout appearances. He was trying really hard to lose his role as closer two weeks ago, but he seems to have ironed out some things, and his recent success should keep him in the closer role through the rest of the season.

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

Omar Infante v. R.A. Dickey – 6-for-11 (.545), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0:1 BB:K (.545 OBP)
Mark Reynolds v. Zach Duke – 8-for-13 (.615), 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.667 OBP)
Willie Harris v. Joe Blanton – 4-for-10 (.400), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3:0 BB:K (.538 OBP)
Mike Lowell v. Shaun Marcum – 7-for-17 (.412), 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.444 OBP)
Lyle Overbay v. Jon Lester – 6-for-19 (.316), 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3:5 BB:K (.409 OBP)
Howie Kendrick v. Jeff Niemann – 4-for-7 (.571), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3:1 BB:K (.700 OBP)
Mike Napoli v. Jeff Niemann – 5-for-10 (.500), 1 HR, 6 RBI, 0:1 BB:K (.500 OBP)
Rajai Davis v. Francisco Liriano – 5-for-11 (.455), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:0 BB:K (.500 OBP)
Mark Ellis v. Francisco Liriano – 5-for-10 (.500), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2:4 BB:K (.583 OBP)
Scott Rolen v. Brett Myers – 8-for-19 (.421), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 0:4 BB:K (.450 OBP)
Corey Hart v. Barry Zito – 5-for-12 (.417), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2:0 BB:K (.533 OBP)
Shin-Soo Choo v. Luke Hochevar – 6-for-11 (.545), 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (.615 OBP)
Chone Figgins v. Tommy Hunter – 4-for-8 (.500), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:1 BB:K (.600 OBP)
Mark Teahen v. Jeremy Bonderman – 11-for-30 (.367), 4 HR, 8 RBI, 2:5 BB:K (.406 OBP)
Omar Vizquel v. Jeremy Bonderman – 8-for-25 (.320), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5:4 BB:K (.433 OBP)

R.A. Dickey v. Atlanta Braves - .213/.272/.360 (through 81 batters faced)
Jon Lester v. Toronto Blue Jays - .226/.319/.384 (through 186 batters faced)
Clayton Kershaw v. Colorado Rockies - .196/.308/.296 (through 209 batters faced)
Luke Hochevar v. Cleveland Indians - .222/.300/.389 (through 80 batters faced)
John Danks v. Detroit Tigers - .225/.311/.325 (through 135 batters faced)

Carlos Beltran v. Derek Lowe – 5-for-32 (.156), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 4:5 BB:K (.243 OBP)
Eric Hinske v. R.A. Dickey – 2-for-16 (.125), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:2 BB:K (.222 OBP)
Troy Glaus v. R.A. Dickey – 1-for-10 (.100), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:4 BB:K (.100 OBP)
Ty Wigginton v. Andy Pettitte – 2-for-24 (.083), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:6 BB:K (.115 OBP)
Luke Scott v. Andy Pettitte – 2-for-12 (.167), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:5 BB:K (.167 OBP)
Nolan Reimold v. Andy Pettitte – 0-for-9 (.000), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (.182 OBP)
Marco Scutaro v. Shaun Marcum – 2-for-14 (.143), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:0 BB:K (.143 OBP)
Aaron Hill v. Jon Lester – 2-for-24 (.083), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3:9 BB:K (.185 OBP)
Adam Lind v. Jon Lester – 2-for-14 (.143), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:8 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Jason Bartlett v. Scott Kazmir – 4-for-10 (.400), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 3:2 BB:K (.571 OBP)
Bobby Abreu v. Jeff Niemann – 1-for-10 (.100), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (.231 OBP)
Alberto Callaspo v. Jeff Niemann – 2-for-11 (.182), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.250 OBP)
Hideki Matsui v. Jeff Niemann – 2-for-11 (.182), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.308 OBP)
Kurt Suzuki v. Francisco Liriano – 2-for-12 (.167), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:0 BB:K (.286 OBP)
Orlando Cabrera v. Brett Myers – 4-for-19 (.211), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:1 BB:K (.211 OBP)
Randy Winn v. Jon Garland – 4-for-26 (.154), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1:5 BB:K (.179 OBP)
David Eckstein v. Adam Wainwright – 2-for-12 (.167), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:0 BB:K (.167 OBP)
Travis Hafner v. Luke Hochevar – 2-for-11 (.182), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.250 OBP)
Franklin Gutierrez v. Tommy Hunter – 4-for-18 (.222), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.211 OBP)
Jose Lopez v. Tommy Hunter – 3-for-18 (.167), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.211 OBP)
Juan Pierre v. Jeremy Bonderman – 1-for-10 (.100), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:0 BB:K (.100 OBP)

Zach Duke v. Arizona Diamondbacks - .382/.427/.742 (through 96 batters faced)
Joe Blanton v. Washington Nationals - .322/.377/.568 (through 164 batters faced)

Recommended Pickup

Russell Branyan, 1B, SEA - In roto leagues at this point in the season, you likely have a pretty good idea of what categories you can potentially move up in and what categories you can safely ignore. If power is what you're after, consider Russell Branyan this week. Eighteen of his 25 homers have come on the road, and the Mariners are about to embark on a nine-game road trip: at Toronto, at Tampa Bay, at Texas. All three ballparks rank in the top 16 in home runs this season, with two of them (Rogers Centre and the Ballpark in Arlington) in the top eight.

Other recent recommendations: Jhoulys Chacin, Carlos Beltran, Ike Davis, Kyle Drabek, Brayan Pena