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Saturday, June 21, 2008
Updated: June 23, 1:56 AM ET
Fantasy Forecaster: The ace parade

By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

On tap: Interleague play concludes with a weekend full of regional rivalries, like Cubs-White Sox, Giants-Athletics, Orioles-Nationals and Yankees-Mets. In New York, we'll see another cross-town, day-night doubleheader, as the Yankees and Mets make up a game at Yankee Stadium Friday afternoon, then play their regularly scheduled game at Shea Stadium in the evening. … It's also a week chock-full of aces pitching twice, with the list including such stalwarts as Josh Beckett, Felix Hernandez, John Lackey, Jake Peavy, Johan Santana and Ben Sheets.

Quick click by section: Interleague primer | Game breakdowns | Hitters' matchups | Base stealers' matchups | Pitchers' matchups | Two-start pitchers

Interleague primer: Impact of DH loss/addition

American League teams, 6 games at NL parks
Angels (@WAS-3, @LAD-3): Garret Anderson is an interleague all-time great, so he's a slight favorite for left-field at-bats ahead of Gary Matthews Jr.
Mariners (@NYM-3, @SD-3): Unless the Mariners cut Richie Sexson as rumored, Jose Vidro will likely become a pinch hitter.
Orioles (@CHC-3, @WAS-3): They face four right-handed starters, so Aubrey Huff should get in at-bats at first and third base. Kevin Millar will likely sit most often.
Rays (@FLA-3, @PIT-3): Cliff Floyd and Jonny Gomes will have to settle for pinch-hit at-bats. Gomes might see a spot start or two in right field.
Yankees (@PIT-3, NYM-1, @NYM-3): The Yankees gave Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui two starts each in three games in Houston, so expect a similar arrangement.
American League teams, 3 games at NL parks
Rangers (@HOU-3, PHI-3): Milton Bradley's health determines his status as an outfielder: If healthy, he'll likely play with Marlon Byrd/Brandon Boggs sitting.
Red Sox (ARI-3, @HOU-3): No big loss with David Ortiz hurt. Coco Crisp, Jacoby Ellsbury and Manny Ramirez might get two starts each, though.
Twins (@SD-3, MIL-3): Jason Kubel played all three games against right-handers in Milwaukee, so expect that again here. Delmon Young sat twice in that series.
White Sox (@LAD-3, CHC-3): Jim Thome's back issues will limit him to pinch-hitting status.
National League teams, 6 games at AL parks
Cardinals (@DET-3, @KC-3): If Joe Mather gets promoted, he'd benefit most. If not, Brian Barton should pick up extra at-bats.
Giants (@CLE-3, @OAK-3): They'll finally be able to get Rich Aurilia, John Bowker, Fred Lewis, Aaron Rowand and Randy Winn into the same lineup.
Phillies (@OAK-3, @TEX-3): Jayson Werth should get to play all six games, but Greg Dobbs might play ahead of him once or twice.
Reds (@TOR-3, @CLE-3): Ken Griffey Jr. can finally rest as a DH, allowing Dusty Baker to get his favorite, Corey Patterson, into the lineup. Yuck.
Rockies (@KC-3, @DET-3): Ryan Spilborghs should get the bulk of the DH at-bats, though Scott Podsednik might start one or two of the team's four games against right-handers.

They got chili dogs over there? Game breakdowns

Note: Weather reports are based on upcoming weather forecasts (through Friday), as well as historical trends in those cities. "Poor weather" doesn't guarantee rainouts; those are merely the teams with the highest probability of one or more.

Seven games
Mets (SEA-3, @NYY-1, NYY-3)Yankees (@PIT-3, NYM-1, @NYM-3)
Six games, all homeSix games, all road
Astros (TEX-3, BOS-3)Angels (@WAS-3, @LAD-3)
Athletics (PHI-3, SF-3)Brewers (@ATL-3, @MIN-3)
Blue Jays (CIN-3, ATL-3)Cardinals (@DET-3, @KC-3)
Dodgers (CHW-3, LAA-3)Diamondbacks (@BOS-3, @FLA-3)
Indians (SF-3, CIN-3)Giants (@CLE-3, @OAK-3)
Marlins (TB-3, ARI-3)Mariners (@NYM-3, @SD-3)
Nationals (LAA-3, BAL-3)Orioles (@CHC-3, @WAS-3)
Padres (MIN-3, SEA-3)Phillies (@OAK-3, @TEX-3)
Pirates (NYY-3, TB-3)Rays (@FLA-3, @PIT-3)
Royals (COL-3, STL-3)Reds (@TOR-3, @CLE-3)
Tigers (STL-3, COL-3)Rockies (@KC-3, @DET-3)
Good weather (* -- weatherproof)Riskier weather
Astros * (TEX-3, BOS-3)Cardinals (@DET-3, @KC-3)
Athletics (PHI-3, SF-3)Cubs (BAL-3, @CHW-3)
Blue Jays * (CIN-3, ATL-3)Mets (SEA-3, @NYY-1, NYY-3)
Dodgers (CHW-3, LAA-3)Nationals (LAA-3, BAL-3)
Padres (MIN-3, SEA-3)Orioles (@CHC-3, @WAS-3)
Phillies (@OAK-3, @TEX-3)Pirates (NYY-3, TB-3)
Rangers (@HOU-3, PHI-3)Rockies (@KC-3, @DET-3)
Twins (@SD-3, MIL-3)Royals (COL-3, STL-3)
Weather note: As interleague contests are difficult to reschedule, teams tend to do everything within their power to play them, questionable weather or not. In addition, most times an interleague game is postponed, it's made up as a doubleheader during the same series, meaning it's likely any washed-out game would be replayed within Week 12.

Hit like Mays: Hitters' matchups

Note: Hitter-friendly ballparks are based primarily on recent statistical data (2005-2008) comparing home/road performance -- much the same method as in our Park Factor page. Some personal opinion does go into making ballpark selections.

Good for hittersPoor for hitters
Brewers (@ATL-3, @MIN-3) Athletics (PHI-3, SF-3)
Phillies (@OAK-3, @TEX-3) Diamondbacks (@BOS-3, @FLA-3)
Rangers (@HOU-3, PHI-3) Dodgers (CHW-3, LAA-3)
Rays (@FLA-3, @PIT-3) Twins (@SD-3, MIL-3)
Games at hitter-friendly ballparks
Chase Field (ARI): No games
Citizens Bank Park (PHI): No games
Coors Field (COL): No games
Great American Ball Park (CIN): No games
Rangers Ballpark (TEX): Phillies, June 27-29
U.S. Cellular Field (CHW): Cubs, June 27-29
Wrigley Field (CHC): Orioles, June 24-26
Lefty-heavyRighty-heavy
Dodgers (3 LHP, 3 RHP)Angels (6 RHP, 0 LHP)
Giants (4 LHP, 2 RHP)Astros (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Mariners (3 LHP, 3 RHP)Blue Jays (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Rays (4 LHP, 2 RHP)Braves (6 RHP, 0 LHP)
Red Sox (3 LHP, 3 RHP)Brewers (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
White Sox (4 LHP, 2 RHP)Cardinals (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Yankees (5 LHP, 2 RHP)Marlins (6 RHP, 0 LHP)
Nationals (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Pirates (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Tigers (5 RHP, 1 LHP)
Twins (5 RHP, 1 LHP)

Hitter value plays
Hitter (Team)ScheduleRecent stats (since?)
Willy Aybar (TB)@FLA-3, @PIT-3(May 29) 15 G, .250 AVG, 1 HR
Career versus LHP: 135 PAs, .331 AVG, .893 OPS ... 2008 road: 12 G, .263 AVG, .864 OPS
Adrian Beltre (SEA)@NYM-3, @SD-3(June 13) 6 G, 9-for-24, 1 HR
2005-08 interleague: 52 G, .301 AVG (63-for-209) , 6 HR ... 2008 versus LHP: .358 AVG, 1.026 OPS
Russell Branyan (MIL)@ATL-3, @MIN-3(May 29) 17 G, .314 AVG, 10 HR
2008 versus RHP: 64 PAs, .365 AVG, 10 HR, 17 RBIs, 11 BB, 1.488 OPS
Ryan Doumit (PIT)NYY-3, TB-3(June 10) 7 G, .435 AVG, 4 HR
2008 home: 20 G, .384 AVG, 5 HR, 1.137 OPS ... 2008 versus RHP: 112 PAs, .337 AVG, 1.007 OPS
Mike Jacobs (FLA)TB-3, ARI-3(June 1) 18 G, .219 AVG, 6 HR
2008 versus RHP: .252 AVG, 12 HR, .859 OPS ... Career versus ARI: 20 G, .321 AVG, 6 HR, .980 OPS
Matt Kemp (LAD)CHW-3, LAA-3(June 1) 15 G, .270 AVG, 3 HR
Career home: 108 G, .301 AVG, 18 HR, .847 OPS ... Career versus LHP: .335 AVG, .891 OPS
Alexei Ramirez (CHW)@LAD-3, CHC-3(May 26) 22 G, .373 AVG, .932 OPS
2008 road: 20 G, .308 AVG, 2 HR, .784 OPS ... 2008 versus LHP: 49 PAs, .277 AVG, .710 OPS
Skip Schumaker (STL)@DET-3, @KC-3(May 31) 17 G, .379 AVG, 1.040 OPS
2008 road: 33 G, .339 AVG, .862 OPS ... Career versus RHP: 434 PAs, .319 AVG, .825 OPS
Marcus Thames (DET)STL-3, COL-3(May 21) 21 G, .274 AVG, 11 HR
2008 home: 22 G, .273 AVG, .991 OPS ... 2008 versus RHP: 77 PAs, .292 AVG, 8 HR, 1.004 OPS
Randy Winn (SF)@CLE-3, @OAK-3(May 29) 20 G, .324 AVG, .921 OPS
2008 road: 32 G, .309 AVG, 3 HR, .826 OPS ... 2008 versus LHP: 84 PAs, .307 AVG, .895 OPS
All statistics above are through the games of Thursday, June 19.

Run like Hayes: Base stealers' matchups

Note: Matchups are determined by examining both an opponent's catcher and pitching staff. Obviously, teams like the Mets (catcher: Brian Schneider) and Tigers (Ivan Rodriguez) rate as tough teams to run on, while teams like the Padres (Michael Barrett) and Orioles (Ramon Hernandez) rate as easy teams to run on.

Good for stolen basesTop speedsters
Angels (@WAS-3, @LAD-3)Chone Figgins (12 SB), Torii Hunter (9)
Astros (TEX-3, BOS-3)Michael Bourn (28), Kazuo Matsui (15)
Cubs (BAL-3, @CHW-3)Ryan Theriot (13), Kosuke Fukudome (6)
Twins (@SD-3, MIL-3)Carlos Gomez (18), Delmon Young (9)
Poor for stolen basesTop speedsters
Cardinals (@DET-3, @KC-3)Cesar Izturis (6), Skip Schumaker (5), Brendan Ryan (5)
Red Sox (ARI-3, @HOU-3)Jacoby Ellsbury (34), Coco Crisp (12)
Rockies (@KC-3, @DET-3)Willy Taveras (34), Matt Holliday (8)
Yankees (@PIT-3, NYM-1, @NYM-3)Johnny Damon (13), Alex Rodriguez (9)

Give 'em the heater: Pitchers' matchups

Note: As with the hitter-friendly ballparks, pitcher-friendly ballparks are based mostly on 2005-2008 data, with some personal opinion involved.

Good for pitchersPoor for pitchers
Angels (@WAS-3, @LAD-3) Astros (TEX-3, BOS-3)
Giants (@CLE-3, @OAK-3) Diamondbacks (@BOS-3, @FLA-3)
Padres (MIN-3, SEA-3) Indians (SF-3, CIN-3)
White Sox (@LAD-3, CHC-3) Orioles (@CHC-3, @WAS-3)
Games at pitcher-friendly ballparks
Busch Stadium (STL): No games
Dolphin Stadium (FLA): Rays, June 24-26; Diamondbacks, June 27-29
McAfee Coliseum (OAK): Phillies, June 24-26; Giants, June 27-29
Metrodome (MIN): Brewers, June 27-29
Petco Park (SD): Twins, June 24-26; Mariners, June 27-29
Safeco Field (SEA): No games
Shea Stadium (NYM): Mariners, June 23-25; Yankees, June 27-29

Two-start notes: Jamie Moyer, No. 17, is the perfect example of a mixed-league cut-off point. He's a talented pitcher with a strong road record, but one of the games comes at Texas' Rangers Ballpark. With one great matchup and one poor, start getting hesitant around there. … The Mets can squeeze five starters into their seven-game, six-day week thanks to Thursday's off day, and I'm banking on them doing so. That gives Oliver Perez a second start, not that he's a prime choice. … I'm operating under the assumption the Nationals will skip the fifth starter's spot thanks to Thursday's off day, in which case Shawn Hill will join Jason Bergmann as two-start pitchers. Neither is an especially attractive choice. … The Yankees could pitch Darrell Rasner and Joba Chamberlain on three days' rest and avoid the need for a sixth starter, but considering they've only now gotten Chamberlain up to a full starter's workload, there's little chance they'll do so. Rasner should be the team's lone two-start pitcher.

Two-start pitchers -- Tristan's rankings
Pitcher (Team)First start (Opponent)Second start (Opponent)
1. John Lackey (LAA)June 23, @WAS (Bergmann)June 29, @LAD (Lowe)
Past 5 GS: 3-1, 1.89 ERA, 0.82 WHIP ... 2005-08 interleague: 11 GS, 5-1, 2.39 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
2. Johan Santana (NYM)June 23, SEA (F. Fernandez)June 28, NYY (Pettitte)
Past 5 GS: 2-2, 2.41 ERA, 1.28 WHIP ... Career versus NYY: 9 G, 6 GS, 4-0, 2.98 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
3. Jake Peavy (SD)June 24, MIN (Slowey)June 29, SEA (F. Hernandez)
Past 5 GS: 2-3, 4.21 ERA, 1.40 WHIP ... Career versus SEA: 5 GS, 4-0, 1.56 ERA, 0.78 WHIP
4. Josh Beckett (BOS)June 23, ARI (Haren)June 29, @HOU (Moehler)
Past 5 GS: 2-1, 2.53 ERA, 1.19 WHIP ... 2007-08 interleague: 6 GS, 5-1, 3.51 ERA, 1.07 WHIP
5. Felix Hernandez (SEA)June 23, @NYM (Jo. Santana)June 29, @SD (Peavy)
Past 5 GS: 4-1, 2.00 ERA, 0.97 WHIP ... 2007-08 interleague: 6 GS, 2-2, 3.29 ERA, 1.41 WHIP
6. Ben Sheets (MIL)June 23, @ATL (Jo-Jo Reyes)June 29, @MIN (Slowey)
Past 5 GS: 3-0, 2.41 ERA, 1.16 WHIP ... Career at Turner Field: 6 GS, 4-2, 5.27 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
7. Dan Haren (ARI)June 23, @BOS (Beckett)June 29, @FLA (Olsen)
Past 5 GS: 2-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP ... Career at Fenway Park: 3 GS, 0-3, 4.60 ERA, 1.66 WHIP
8. Derek Lowe (LAD)June 24, CHW (Buehrle)June 29, LAA (Lackey)
Past 5 GS: 3-1, 1.83 ERA, 0.96 WHIP ... 2008 home: 7 GS, 4-2, 3.11 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
9. Scott Olsen (FLA)June 24, TB (Sonnanstine)June 29, ARI (Haren)
Past 5 GS: 0-2, 3.81 ERA, 1.34 WHIP ... 2008 home: 9 GS, 3-3, 2.89 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
10. Jonathan Sanchez (SF)June 24, @CLE (Laffey)June 29, @OAK (Blanton)
Past 5 GS: 4-1, 3.94 ERA, 1.41 WHIP ... Interleague career: 14 G, 2 GS, 1-2, 2.60 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
11. Aaron Laffey (CLE)June 24, SF (J. Sanchez)June 29, CIN (Arroyo)
Past 5 GS: 2-1, 4.55 ERA, 1.58 WHIP ... Career: 19 GS, 8-6, 3.67 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
12. Mark Buehrle (CHW)June 24, @LAD (Lowe)June 29, CHC (Marshall)
Past 5 GS: 2-1, 3.34 ERA, 1.17 WHIP ... 2007-08 interleague: 6 GS, 4-1, 2.03 ERA, 1.02 WHIP
13. Jeff Francis (COL)June 23, @KC (Bannister)June 29, @DET (Rogers)
Past 5 GS: 2-1, 3.30 ERA, 1.23 WHIP ... 2006-08 interleague: 10 GS, 5-2, 3.00 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
14. Kevin Slowey (MIN)June 24, @SD (Peavy)June 29, MIL (Sheets)
Past 5 GS: 3-2, 4.50 ERA, 1.19 WHIP ... Interleague career: 5 GS, 3-1, 3.48 ERA, 1.32 WHIP
15. Jeremy Guthrie (BAL)June 24, @CHC (Marshall)June 29, @WAS (S. Hill)
Past 5 GS: 1-2, 3.27 ERA, 1.12 WHIP ... 2007-08 interleague: 6 GS, 1-1, 1.40 ERA, 0.76 WHIP
16. Jamie Moyer (OAK)June 24, @OAK (Blanton)June 29, @TEX (Hurley)
Past 5 GS: 3-1, 3.62 ERA, 1.05 WHIP ... 2008 road: 7 GS, 4-1, 2.76 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
17. A.J. Burnett (TOR)June 24, CIN (Arroyo)June 29, ATL (Jo-Jo Reyes)
Past 5 GS: 1-3, 7.07 ERA, 1.75 WHIP ... 2006-08 home: 28 G, 27 GS, 14-8, 4.27 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
18. Bronson Arroyo (CIN)June 24, @TOR (A. Burnett)June 29, @CLE (Laffey)
Past 5 GS: 1-2, 5.27 ERA, 1.43 WHIP ... 2006-07 interleague: 5 GS, 0-3, 4.78 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
19. Andy Sonnanstine (TB)June 24, @FLA (Olsen)June 29, @PIT (Gorzelanny)
Past 5 GS: 2-1, 4.50 ERA, 1.65 WHIP ... June 10, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium: Win, 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 10 K's
20. Oliver Perez (NYM)June 24, SEA (Dickey)June 29, NYY (Rasner)
Past 5 GS: 1-1, 6.20 ERA, 1.58 WHIP ... 2007-08 interleague: 7 GS, 4-2, 3.52 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
21. Jo-Jo Reyes (ATL)June 23, MIL (Sheets)June 29, @TOR (A. Burnett)
Past 5 GS: 1-2, 2.80 ERA, 1.02 WHIP ... 2008 interleague: 3 GS, 2-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
22. Joe Blanton (OAK)June 24, PHI (Moyer)June 29, SF (J. Sanchez)
Past 5 GS: 1-4, 7.22 ERA, 1.64 WHIP ... Interleague career: 13 GS, 6-4, 3.76 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
23. Brian Bannister (KC)June 23, COL (Francis)June 29, STL (Looper)
Past 5 GS: 2-0, 4.55 ERA, 1.35 WHIP ... 2008 home: 8 GS, 4-2, 2.80 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
24. Kenny Rogers (DET)June 24, STL (Looper)June 29, COL (Francis)
Past 5 GS: 1-0, 1.00 ERA, 0.94 WHIP ... 2003-08 interleague: 16 GS, 10-0, 3.24 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
25. Braden Looper (STL)June 24, @DET (Rogers)June 29, @KC (Bannister)
Past 5 GS: 2-2, 3.66 ERA, 1.22 WHIP ... 2008 road: 6 GS, 4-2, 3.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
26. Darrell Rasner (NYY)June 24, @PIT (Gorzelanny)June 29, @NYM (Ol. Perez)
Past 5 GS: 1-4, 4.82 ERA, 1.54 WHIP ... 2008 road: 4 GS, 1-3, 5.57 ERA, 1.48 WHIP
No thank you (in alphabetical order): Jason Bergmann (WAS), June 23, LAA (Lackey), June 28, BAL (Olson); Tom Gorzelanny (PIT), June 24, NYY (Rasner), June 29, TB (Sonnanstine); Shawn Hill (WAS), June 24, LAA (Garland), June 29, BAL (Guthrie); Eric Hurley (TEX), June 24, @HOU (Moehler), June 29, PHI (Moyer); Sean Marshall (CHC), June 24, BAL (Guthrie), June 29, @CHW (Buehrle); Brian Moehler (HOU), June 24, TEX (Hurley), June 29, BOS (Beckett).

Jason Bergmann (WAS), June 23, LAA (Lackey), June 28, BAL (Olson); Tom Gorzelanny (PIT), June 24, NYY (Rasner), June 29, TB (Sonnanstine); Shawn Hill (WAS), June 24, LAA (Garland), June 29, BAL (Guthrie); Eric Hurley (TEX), June 24, @HOU (Moehler), June 29, PHI (Moyer); Brian Moehler (HOU), June 24, TEX (Hurley), June 29, BOS (Beckett).

One-start pitchers -- value plays (owned in under 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues)
Pitcher (Team)Start (Opponent)
Scott Baker (MIN)June 26, @SD (Baek)
Past 5 GS: 1-2, 2.33 ERA, 1.22 WHIP ... 2007-08 road: 16 G, 15 GS, 6-6, 4.64 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
Josh Banks (SD)June 25, MIN (Perkins)
Past 4 GS: 1-1, 2.13 ERA, 0.83 WHIP ... 2008 Triple-A: 11 G, 6 GS, 6.80 ERA, 1.51 WHIP
Nick Blackburn (MIN)June 27, MIL (McClung)
Past 5 GS: 1-2, 4.08 ERA, 1.50 WHIP ... 2008 home: 3-2, 2.37 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
Daniel Cabrera (BAL)June 27, @WAS (Redding)
Past 5 GS: 0-1, 6.67 ERA, 1.79 WHIP ... 2008 road: 9 GS, 3-2, 3.98 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
Matt Garza (TB)June 26, @FLA (Hendrickson)
Past 5 GS: 2-3, 4.15 ERA, 1.12 WHIP ... June 14, 2008 versus FLA: Win. 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 K's
Luke Hochevar (KC)June 25, COL (Cook)
Past 5 GS: 1-1, 5.34 ERA, 1.64 WHIP ... 2008 home: 5 GS, 2-2, 4.34 ERA, 1.55 WHIP
Greg Maddux (SD)June 27, SEA (Washburn)
Past 5 GS: 0-1, 2.08 ERA, 1.12 WHIP ... 2008 home: 7 GS, 1-0, 1.70 ERA, 0.94 WHIP
Ricky Nolasco (FLA)June 27, ARI (Owings)
Past 5 GS: 4-1, 3.94 ERA, 1.38 WHIP ... Career versus ARI: 2 GS, 2-0, 2.51 ERA, 0.84 WHIP
Manny Parra (MIL)June 28, @MIN (L. Hernandez)
Past 5 GS: 4-0, 3.94 ERA, 1.42 WHIP ... 2008 road: 6 GS, 2-2, 7.24 ERA, 2.01 WHIP
Wandy Rodriguez (HOU)June 27, BOS (Matsuzaka)
Past 5 GS: 1-3, 3.08 ERA, 1.44 WHIP ... 2007-08 home: 20 GS, 7-5, 2.74 ERA, 1.09 WHIP

Tristan H. Cockcroft covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.