Fantasy Game Notes for Thursday: American League
Notable Injuries: Casey Blake, 3B (hand, DTD)
Game Story: Verlander has been the model of consistency lately by giving up two runs in each of his last five starts. The current Cleveland batters either hit him hard, or not at all. Start Jhonny Peralta, Grady Sizemore and Jason Michaels and consider sitting the rest of your Indians. Sabathia pitches well against the current Tigers batters. Play only the big-name Tigers, and make sure to sit Brandon Inge and Omar Infante.
Notable Injuries: Royce Clayton, SS (foot, DTD)
Game Story: In general the Blue Jays love lefties, and specifically they love Halladay. Start all of your Blue Jays, except Matt Stairs. Halladay is back from his appendectomy, but for any of us that have been through the procedure, this seems a bit soon, doesn't it? Don't expect another 10-inning outing or 100 percent health. Don't be afraid to start your White Sox (except Joe Crede), and in particular start Darin Erstad (9-for-19).
Notable Injuries: Bartolo Colon, SP (triceps, DTD/DL)
Game Story: I want to write Burres off, but his numbers say I can't. Two of his last three outings were against teams that hit lefties very well (Boston and Toronto) and he only gave up two earned runs to each. The walks are a bit worrisome, but if he can find the plate, he can find a win. However, the Angels rarely strike out against lefties. Start only the big-name Angels. As for Escobar, Baltimore's outfielders hit him better than their infielders. Start Corey Patterson, Jay Payton and Aubrey Huff (hey, he's outfield-eligible in a lot of leagues) and sit the rest.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: The Rangers' rotation is historically bad with an ERA over 6.00. The Mariners hit Padilla very well, and you should start all of them, including Jose Vidro (10-for-27). The Rangers are terrible hitting righties for average, but if they do make contact, they hit them hard with a .433 slugging against. While Texas' at-bats against Baek have been limited, the only two batters that seem to have had success against him are Nelson Cruz and Sammy Sosa. Start both in addition to only the big-name Rangers.
Fantasy Game Notes for Thursday: National League
Notable Injuries: Dmitri Young, 1B (back, DTD)
Game Story: Washington has trouble with lefties. Heck, Washington has trouble with anyone that can throw a baseball. However, the Nats do not have trouble with Hendrickson and you should start your Nationals, especially Cristian Guzman, Ronnie Belliard and, if you hear that he'll play, Dmitri Young. The Dodgers are middle-of-the-pack against lefties, and Bowie pitched well in his last start (only his second of the year), but that was against the Cardinals, and he still gave up two home runs. Start your Dodgers.
Notable Injuries: Freddy Sanchez, 2B (shoulder, DTD)
Game Story: Of course, Maddux against the lowly Pirates likely means a win for him, but keep in mind there are three Bucs that pound him: Jack Wilson, Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez. Start all three, but keep in mind Sanchez may be a game-time decision. I don't fault the Pirates for starting Chacon because in many ways he's their best option at this slot in the rotation. However, that doesn't make him a better pitcher. He looked good against the Marlins, but they have trouble with righties. Start your Padres, even (gulp) Khalil Greene.
Notable Injuries: Ray Durham, 2B (abdomen, DTD)
Game Story: Somehow I seem to cover all of Cain's starts. The big Alabaman has already lost to the Mets this season, and likely will do so again. Start all your Mets, with the possible exception of Carlos Delgado (0-for-10). However, Delgado appears to be on a mission to make up for his horrible April, and he could easily homer off any reliever in the Giants' bullpen. Hernandez is older than I am (and that's old), but can still bring it. His numbers against the Giants are good, so only play your big-name Giants.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Milwaukee last won a game in spring training, but they're still in first (yes, that was hyperbole). With the Brewers being second in the NL in slugging against righties, Obermueller may just be what they need to find their winning ways again. Start all of your Brewers. Vargas looked like he was going to be the next Mike Maddux success story, but then gravity and reality set in. The Marlins have good numbers against him, and you should start all of them.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Finally Arroyo is pitching like the guy I said he'd be two years ago. I'm not sure if that just means I saw too much into the future (it's a curse) or if the league took time to catch up. Either way, he's becoming a liability. He did win his last start at Minute Maid Field, but the current Astros bat almost .300 against him. Start your Astros, especially Mark Loretta (7-for-15). Williams appears to have stayed at the party a little too long and Cincinnati hits him hard. Start your Reds, especially those with power.
Game Story: Thompson's ground-ball pitching will help at Coors Field. However, his team is crumbling down around him, hurting his defense. Start all your Rockies as Thompson likely doesn't get past the fifth inning. What are the odds Cook follows up his 23-ground ball outing with another masterpiece? They're not good. Start your Cardinals, but sit the nicked-up Eckstein, Duncan and Spiezio, who are a collective 0-for-13 against Cook. Also, this is my last Game Notes for ESPN. Thanks to all who read and all who responded to thank or curse me. Good luck this season and beyond.
Waiver Wire Pickups
Darin Erstad, OF, CWS @ Toronto Blue Jays
Corey Patterson, OF, BAL @ Los Angeles Angels
Jose Vidro, DH, SEA versus Texas Rangers
Nelson Cruz, OF TEX @ Seattle Mariners
Cristian Guzman, SS, WAS versus Los Angeles Dodgers
Jack Wilson, SS, PIT versus San Diego Padres
Mark Loretta, 2B, HOU versus Cincinnati Reds
Please Note that the notable injuries are not meant to be a comprehensive report of each team's disabled list. For brevity, we include only day-to-day injuries or new DL additions for players you might otherwise consider using in these games. Long-term DL or day-to-day injuries to starting pitchers who were not scheduled to appear are omitted.
David Young is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com and TalentedMrRoto.com. He can be reached at MrSnappy@TalentedMrRoto.com