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Wednesday Lineup Card: Strength vs. Strength

Zach Sundelius

Zach Sundelius writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

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

Angels (Dan Haren - R) at Rays (Jeremy Hellickson - R), 1:10 PM
Pirates (Kevin Correia - R) at Cardinals (Chris Carpenter - R), 1:45 PM
Mariners (Felix Hernandez - R) at Rangers (C.J. Wilson - L), 2:05 PM
White Sox (Mark Buehrle - L) at Royals (Jeff Francis - L), 2:10 PM
Diamondbacks (Armando Galarraga - R) at Cubs (Ryan Dempster - R), 2:20 PM
Dodgers (Chad Billingsley - R) at Rockies (Jason Hammel - R), 3:10 PM
Giants (Tim Lincecum - R) at Padres (Tim Stauffer - R), 6:35 PM
Tigers (Justin Verlander - R) at Orioles (Bradley Bergesen - R), 7:05 PM
Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka - R) at Indians (Mitch Talbot - R), 7:05 PM
Twins (Carl Pavano - R) at Yankees (Freddy Garcia - R), 7:05 PM
Mets (Mike Pelfrey - R) at Phillies (Joe Blanton - R), 7:05 PM
Athletics (Dallas Braden - L) at Blue Jays (Jesse Litsch - R), 7:07 PM
Astros (Nelson Figueroa - R) at Reds (Edinson Volquez - R), 7:10 PM
Nationals (Livan Hernandez - R) at Marlins (Chris Volstad - R), 7:10 PM
Braves (Mike Minor - L) at Brewers (TBD), 8:10 PM

Day game after a night game: LAA, TB, PIT, STL, SEA, TEX, LAD, COL

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

Day-to-Day (includes players expected to make their return from the DL)
Bradley Bergesen, P, BAL (Forearm) Will start Wednesday in place of Jeremy Guthrie
Luke Scott, DH, BAL (Groin) Wasn't in Monday's lineup
Jose Valverde, P, DET (Illness) Battling a stomach flu
Jose Bautista, 3B, TOR (Personal) Expected to miss entire series against A's
Jeremy Guthrie, P, BAL (Pneumonia) Won't pitch Wednesday, but could start Sunday
Erick Aybar, SS, LAA (Oblique) Unlikely to play before Friday
Carlos Zambrano, P, CHC (Hand) Expected to start Friday
Edward Mujica, P, FLA (Hamstring) Day-to-day
Jorge De La Rosa, P, COL (Finger) Will make next start
Stephen Drew, SS, ARI (Abdomen) Missed another game Tuesday
Melvin Mora, 3B, ARI (Illness) Missed another game Tuesday
Carlos Pena, 1B, CHC (Thumb) Was not in Tuesday's lineup, wants to play Wednesday
Andrew Cashner, P, CHC (Shoulder) Left Tuesday's start early
Michael Stanton, OF, FLA (Hamstring) May be able to pinch-hit, but won't play the field until this weekend at the earliest
Brian Wilson, P, SF (Oblique) Could be activated Wednesday
Ubaldo Jimenez, P, COL (Thumb) Still scheduled to start Friday
Casey Blake, 3B, LAD (Back) Expected to be activated Wednesday
Matt Holliday, OF, STL (Appendectomy) Will likely avoid the DL
Brandon Phillips, 2B, CIN (Undisclosed) Left Tuesday's game in the fifth inning

Players on the DL
Brandon Webb, P, TEX (Shoulder) Threw 70 pitches in BP session Monday
Scott Feldman, P, TEX (Knee) Hopes to start rehab assignment in early May
Joel Zumaya, P, DET (Elbow) Visiting Dr. James Andrews for clearance to begin throwing
Brandon Morrow, P, TOR (Elbow) Will need to make two rehab starts before returning
Franklin Gutierrez, OF, SEA (Illness) Could play in minor league game by the end of the week
Octavio Dotel, P, TOR (Hamstring) Will join the team on upcoming road trip (April 8-18)
Andrew Bailey, P, OAK (Forearm) Long toss session Tuesday went well
Rich Harden, P, OAK (Shoulder) Threw bullpen session Tuesday
Jonathan Lucroy, C, MIL (Finger) Beginning rehab assignment at Double-A
Cody Ross, OF, SF (Calf) Taking batting practice, but still can't jog
Mat Latos, P, SD (Shoulder) Scheduled to make season debut early next week
Johnny Cueto, P, CIN (Shoulder) Will pitch in minor league game this weekend
Homer Bailey, P, CIN (Shoulder) Will throw in minor league game April 14
Jason Bay, OF, NYM (Ribs) Unlikely to be activated when eligible Saturday
Chase Utley, 2B, PHI (Knee) Making slow progress, still not close to jogging
Jon Garland, P, LAD (Oblique) Scheduled to pitch in minor league game April 10
Vicente Padilla, P, LAD (Elbow) Felt sore after throwing 60 pitches Tuesday
Alberto Arias, P, HOU (Shoulder) Threw 60 pitches off a mound Tuesday

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

Assigned to the Minors
Jon Link, P, LAD
John Lindsey, 1B, LAD
Taylor Tankersley, P, NYM
Raul Chavez, C, NYM

Closer Watch A closer look at intriguing ninth-inning situations (also check out our Closer Grid)

Pittsburgh Joel Hanrahan recorded a four-out save Monday against the Cardinals and has looked superb in going 3-for-3 on save opportunities this season.

LA Angels Manager Mike Scioscia announced Tuesday afternoon that Jordan Walden will get the Angels' save chances for now, unseating Fernando Rodney. Walden is young and largely untested, but he has plenty of potential, and our eyes get wide when we see his 28 strikeouts in 17.2 big league innings. He's certainly worth adding in most formats.

Key Matchups

Dan Haren v. TB The Rays have a collective .317/.396/.540 line against Haren in 144 plate appearances. Manny Ramirez has been Haren's biggest nightmare, scorching the right-hander to the tune of 19-for-38 (.500), three homers and seven RBI, so perhaps this is the matchup Manny needs to bust out of his early-season slump. B.J. Upton has also fared well (7-for-20, 2 HR, 2 RBI), while Ben Zobrist has managed just one hit in 14 at-bats.

Jeremy Hellickson v. LAA Angels hitters have just six career plate appearances against the 23-year-old Hellickson, so there's not much to go on here. Hellickson, who dealt with a hamstring issue this spring, will be making his season debut.

Kevin Correia v. STL Correia picked up his first win as a Pirate in his season debut last week, but he'll be hard-pressed to repeat that success against a Cardinals team that has hit .326/.436/.500 off him in 111 plate appearances. Four different Cards with at least 10 appearances against him have hit above .300: Lance Berkman (.333), Ryan Theriot (.556), Skip Schumaker (.400) and Albert Pujols (.333).

Chris Carpenter v. PIT As expected, Carpenter as stymied the Pirates in their previous meetings, holding current Pittsburgh batters to a .245/.283/.468 line. Ryan Doumit (1.139 OPS) and Lyle Overbay (1.128 OPS) are the only players who have found much success.

Felix Hernandez v. TEX Hernandez and the Rangers are plenty familiar with one another (365 plate appearances), but for all their exposure, the Texas hitters have not been able to damage King Felix. He's made some of their biggest threats look lost, holding Ian Kinsler (8-for-46) and Josh Hamilton (6-for-31) under .200. Nelson Cruz (.306, 3 HRs) has been the lone exception. With the way the Rangers have been swinging their bats early this year, this is a classic case of unstoppable force meets immovable object.

C.J. Wilson v. SEA Wilson's first start of the year was a bit of an adventure, and he'll likely need to be sharper Wednesday if he hopes to defeat Felix Hernandez. Only two Mariners have more than 10 plate appearances against him: Chone Figgins (.308 average in 26 at-bats) and Ichiro Suzuki (.267 average with nine strikeouts in 30 at-bats).

Mark Buehrle v. KC The Royals have smoked Buehrle to the tune of .340/.371/.527 in 159 plate appearances, with everyone from Melky Cabrera, (8-for-14, 1 HR, 5 RBI) to Billy Butler (14-for-45, 2 HR, 9 RBI) doing damage.

Jeff Francis v. CHW This is Francis' first season in the AL, so he doesn't have a lot of experience against most of Chicago's hitters. The player who has faced him the most, Juan Pierre, has roughed him up with a .467 average in 30 at-bats.

Armando Galarraga v. CHC No Cubs batter has more than nine career at-bats against Galarraga, so there's little history to go off here as the right-hander makes his Diamondbacks regular season debut.

Ryan Dempster v. ARI Xavier Nady is 5-for-13 with two homers against Dempster, but not much else stands out here, as no other Diamondback has more than 12 career at-bats against him. Due to the general unfamiliarity, Dempster is a safe bet to post some good strikeout numbers.

Chad Billingsley v. COL It's not a very large sample size, but Billingsley has quieted the Rockies in their previous meetings, holding them to a combined .204/.286/.355 line in 105 plate appearances. Todd Helton has hit .350 with a homer, but no other Rockie has hit better than .261 against Billingsley.

Jason Hammel v. LAD Hammel's start was pushed back a day due to Sunday's postponement. He's held the Dodgers to a .243/.291/.408 line in 110 plate appearances, shutting down James Loney (4-for-17), Matt Kemp (3-for-13) and Juan Uribe (2-for-15).

Tim Lincecum v. SD Despite getting tagged with the loss, Linecum pitched very well in his season debut and has another good matchup Wednesday in expansive Petco Park. Padres hitters have struck out 44 times in 126 plate appearances against Lincecum, and only Orlando Hudson (7-for-16) has numbers that really stick out.

Tim Stauffer v. SF Giants hitters have hit just .190 off Stauffer, though that number is a bit misleading, as no player has more than nine at-bats against him. Stauffer was able to keep the Cardinals at bay in his first start, however, and if he can keep the ball on the ground, he could find success again.

Justin Verlander v. BAL The surprising Orioles are in first place at 4-0, though they'll have their work cut out for them against Verlander, who has suffocated Baltimore hitters to a .233/.268/.379 line in 123 plate appearances. J.J. Hardy (2-for-13), Brian Roberts (3-for-19) and Nick Markakis (5-for-23) have had the most trouble.

Bradley Bergesen v. DET Bergesen has limited experience against the Tigers (no player has more than nine at-bats), so it's not wise to draw many conclusions, but he has held them to a collective .250/.311/.393 line.

Daisuke Matsuzaka v. IND Matsuzaka has dominated the Indians, holding them to a .208 average with 24 strikeouts and just seven walks, but before you get too excited, realize that those numbers have come in 84 plate appearances, so the sample size is small. Still, it seems to be a decent matchup for his first start of the year.

Mitch Talbot v. BOS Talbot, who is also making his 2011 debut, has very limited experience against the Red Sox (just 30 plate appearances).

Carl Pavano v. NYY The man Yankees fans love to hate for his failed stint in the Bronx could make them even angrier if he continues to stymie the Yankees as he has in the past. New York hitters have managed a meager .221/.255/.351 line off him in 141 plate appearances, with only Curtis Granderson (8-for-24) having significant success. Jorge Posada (2-for-10), Robinson Cano (1-for-11) and Nick Swisher (2-for-11) have all had trouble against Pavano.

Freddy Garcia v. MIN The Twins' lack of success against New York is well-documented, but Minnesota hitters have fared well against new Yankee Freddy Garcia, posting a .294/.401/.529 mark in 182 plate appearances. Jason Kubel is 7-for-11 with a homer, Joe Mauer is 13-for-31 with two homers, and both Justin Morneau and Jim Thome have homered as well.

Mike Pelfrey v. PHI Pelfrey and the Phillies have squared off plenty of times, and the results have been mixed. Ryan Howard is 11-for-30 (.367) with a home run, while Placido Polanco is just 1-for-11 (.091) with a strikeout. Overall, Phillies hitters are batting .260/.317/.359.

Joe Blanton v. NYM This is a pretty good matchup for Blanton in his first start of the year. Only a few Mets have faced him more than 10 times, but those who have have struggled, including Carlos Beltran (2-for-14) and Jose Reyes (2-for-18).

Dallas Braden v. TOR Braden had a rough spring and then asked that his first start get pushed back a day so he could make some mechanical tweaks, so it'll be interested to see how he fares in his debut. He doesn't have a lot of history against the Blue Jays, though most of the players who have faced him semi-frequently have hit him well: Adam Lind (4-10, 1 HR, 3 RBI) and Aaron Hill (5-for-12, 3 doubles, 3 RBI).

Jesse Litsch v. OAK Yet another player making his season debut, Litsch has a very short history against the A's, facing only one hitter (David DeJesus) more than nine times.

Nelson Figueroa v. CIN Again, due to a lack of plate appearances, there's not much to be found here, although the two players who have faced him more than 10 times (Edgar Renteria and Scott Rolen) have both hit .360 or better against him.

Edinson Volquez v. HOU This one comes with the standard "small sample size" warning (just 78 plate appearances), but Volquez has held Astros hitters to a pathetic .162/.240/.221 line. Carlos Lee is a woeful 0-for-10, and Hunter Pence isn't much better at just 3-for-14 with five strikeouts (though he does have a home run).

Livan Hernandez v. FLA He obviously doesn't have a lot of upside at his age, but Hernandez, fresh off a surprising 2010 campaign, allowed just two runs with no walks and three strikeouts in 6.1 innings on Opening Day. Given the relative youth of the Marlins roster, there's not a lot of history here, though Hanley Ramirez has been a thorn in Hernandez's side (9-for-26, 3 HR, 5 RBI).

Chris Volstad v. WAS Volstad got hit in the leg by a line drive in his final start of the spring, but he'll be ready to roll Wednesday. Unfortunately, he sports a 5.70 career ERA against Washington, and Nats hitters sport a .347/.364/.495 line against him. One of the few exceptions is Jayson Werth, who is just 1-for-20 with seven strikeouts against Volstad.

Mike Minor v. MIL Minor, making just his ninth career major league start, has never faced the Brewers.

TBD v. ATL The Brewers have not yet announced who will start in place of the injured Zack Grienke, though it will likely be either Sergio Mitre or Marco Estrada.

Recommended Pickup

Jordan Walden, P, LAA Manager Mike Scioscia named him the closer Tuesday, and Walden certainly has the arm to handle the role. His plus slider and high 90s (occasionally 100) mph fastball make him a natural fit for the job, and he has 28 strikeouts in just 17.2 major league innings. He cruised through his first save opportunity Tuesday, throwing a perfect ninth inning against the Rays, and will be the hottest name on the waiver wire come Wednesday morning.

Other recent recommendations: Sean Burnett, R.A. Dickey, Zach Britton, J.P. Arencibia, Ryan Ludwick