Plenty of staff aces to choose from on the second day of interleague play. Tim Hudson squares off against his former team, two Santanas will toe the rubber, two upstart rookies share the mound in the desert and even Chan Ho Park gets into the action with his first start of 2008.
A double-bill in Boston means all your Brewers and Red Sox are no-brainers, especially the Sox, as Milwaukee will send two average or below-average hurlers to the mound.
If you haven't already, be sure to double-back and check out Brendan Roberts' Hit Parade from Tuesday, as he profiles the hitters who thrive and dive in interleague play.
Matchups for Saturday, May 17
Ryan Doumit, C/OF, Pirates (thumb)
Rafael Furcal, SS, Dodgers (back)
Jeff Keppinger, SS, Reds (knee)
David Riske, RP, Brewers (elbow)
Merkin Valdez, RP, Giants (elbow)
Daryle Ward, 1B, Cubs (back)
Nick Johnson, 1B, Nationals (wrist)
Vernon Wells, OF, Blue Jays (wrist)
Hideki Okajima, RP, Red Sox (wrist)
Jason Isringhausen, RP, Cardinals (hand)
John Buck, C, Royals (personal)
Santiago Casilla, RP, A's (arm)
Mark Ellis, 2B, A's (hamstring)
Milton Bradley, OF, Rangers (shoulder)
Coco Crisp, OF, Red Sox (illness)
Blake DeWitt, 3B, Dodgers (back)
Carlos Gomez, OF, Twins (illness)
Mike Jacobs, 1B, Marlins (quadriceps)
Julio Lugo, SS, Red Sox (concussion)
Jose Vidro, DH, Mariners (back)
Juan Uribe, SS/2B, White Sox (hamstring)
Kevin Mench, OF, Blue Jays (knee)
Matt Holliday, OF, Rockies (back)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: Hitters likely to take a seat as their AL club visits the NL include: Cliff Floyd, Matt Stairs, Frank Thomas, Jason Kubel, Gary Sheffield and Jim Thome. Travis Hafner is a toss up because he is ice cold at the plate and Billy Butler is likely to play first with a lefty on the mound (Scott Olsen). A.J. Burnett is good medicine for Ryan Howard. He is 2-for-6 with both hits leaving the yard. Todd Helton is a must-start versus Livan Hernandez. In 66 at-bats, Helton has 32 hits with 12 of them going for doubles. That's a .485 average and his OPS is a ridiculous 1.315. Paul Konerko (.156) and Orlando Cabrera (.074) can take a seat for this one, as they struggle against Barry Zito. Look for Carlos Beltran's recent hot streak to continue. He is 12-for-34 (.353) against Andy Pettitte. The Red Sox as a team are 43-for-125 (.344 average) with a 1.004 OPS lifetime against the Brewers' Jeff Suppan, with their most notable standouts being Julio Lugo (5-for-11, 1.136 OPS) and Jason Varitek (8-for-16 with a homer). Of course, check on Lugo's health before slotting him. It might seem like an obvious decision to sit all Yankees left-handed hitters against the Mets' Johan Santana, but don't be so hasty. Robinson Cano is 4-for-9 lifetime against Santana, while Hideki Matsui is 6-for-15 with a homer against the lefty. Johnny Damon, though, is 5-for-24 with six Ks.
Pitchers: There are plenty of pitchers on this slate that you won't consider sitting, so there is not much need to discuss Carlos Zambrano, Roy Oswalt, Adam Wainwright, Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana, Tim Hudson or Erik Bedard.
Cincinnati is only exceptionally dangerous when we are talking about left-handed pitchers. Fausto Carmona may be having issues with walks, but he has still only allowed one home run this season. That bodes well for a start at Great American Ball Park.
The Mets rank fairly well in hitting lefties (.793) and Andy Pettitte has been in a mild funk (rough starts in three of the past four). I'd avoid him. Carlos Delgado also rakes against Pettitte (21-for-60 with five home runs and a 1.087 OPS).
Rich Harden's first start after his most recent DL stint was an ugly one, but the five strikeouts were still encouraging (though he faced 22 batters to get there). With Atlanta's offense overtaking Florida as the most dangerous against right-handed pitching (.830 OPS), I'm saying leave Harden on the bench for this one.
Philadelphia is a dangerous offense and A.J. Burnett is 1-3 with a 5.63 ERA in Citizens Bank Park.
Max Scherzer is good to go from a fantasy perspective. No reason to be scared off by Detroit as their May OPS is a measly .654 (fourth lowest in majors).
Scott Olsen is 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in five home starts this season, and 3-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in seven career interleague starts. I'd call those good enough numbers to ride.
Daisuke Matsuzaka was 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in four interleague starts in 2007, and these Brewers are noticeably weaker against right-handed pitchers than they are against left-handers. Expect another stellar outing for Dice-K, who is off to a fabulous start.
Hitters: Bonus at-bats for NL players heading to an AL park include: Gabe Kapler (because of his numbers against Tim Wakefield), Aaron Boone, Ty Wigginton and you can use all four of the Dodgers outfielders (Juan Pierre, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Andruw Jones) knowing they should all start. With Nick Johnson hitting the DL, Dmitri Young is being activated to take his spot at first base. He's a good speculative pickup, especially if he can find his form from 2007. With Jose Vidro aching, Jeff Clement is a likely start for the Mariners. He has two multi-hit games in his past three starts. Jay Payton has a solid history against Odalis Perez and wouldn't be a bad outfield sub. He is 10-for-27 (.370) with a home run against the hard-luck Nationals lefty. Pedro Feliz can't touch A.J. Burnett for his career. He is a lowly 2-for-12 (.167) and as profiled in Brenden Roberts interleague column this week, doesn't thrive in interleague play at all.
Pitchers: Zach Duke has been rocking with his ground-ball outs lately, with three quality starts in three tries this month. Even with the potent Cubbies offense, he is my deep-league recommendation for the day. He has found good grooves and stayed in them before (full disclosure: I'm a big Zach Duke fan and this flies in the face of the Cubs' lineup combined average against him; .324).
Matt Garza is quickly turning into the stud pitcher he was pegged as by many. He's coming off three straight quality starts with his most recent outing as the best of them. Keep rolling with him. It's criminal he is owned in fewer than two percent of ESPN leagues.
I'm not comfortable with the idea of gambling with Chan Ho Park against an offense like the Angels. If Hong-Chih Kuo had been anointed the starter, I would have been interested because of his strikeout numbers this season. With Park though, I think a wait and see approach should be employed.
A Dave Bush matchup with the Red Sox only means you should have any healthy Boston player in your lineup and be excited about the outcome. In his career, Bush has allowed 16 runs in 16 innings versus the Red Sox.
If you look at Tim Wakefield's numbers on grass (as opposed to turf), he has a 2.91 ERA and a .207 batting-average against. He makes a good start back home on the grass of Fenway Park against a team that doesn't have to deal with knuckleballs that often.
I'm probably playing with fire here, but I have warmed to Vicente Padilla's pitching this season. He's been heavy on the fastball this season, mixing in some curves and not relying on his hittable slider. The Astros aren't as threatening against right-handers and I could see a quality start out of Padilla.
The Marlins mash righties (.821 OPS), so this isn't one of the good matchups to roll a low-strikeout pitcher like Brian Bannister.
San Francisco's offense is actually rolling quite well in May (.787 OPS, seventh in majors), so Mark Buehrle isn't as good a bet for a solid game as one might think.
Seattle may have an atrocious .627 OPS for the month of May, but left-handed pitching is their bread and butter (.794 OPS, ninth in majors). That makes Randy Wolf a risky bet for this matchup.
Odalis Perez has pitched well enough to have more than the one win he has this season, and Baltimore's May OPS of .637 (third worst in majors) makes for a good matchup.
I wouldn't be starting Rockies rookie Greg Reynolds in this matchup with the Twins, but I'll be watching closely. He has the potential as a spot-start candidate if he can stick with the rotation.
In his most recent outing against the tough Boston offense, Armando Galarraga allowed five earned runs in 5.1 innings surrendering two home runs while striking out six and walking one. I expect a similar outcome against the strong offense in Arizona.
Here's something I didn't think I'd be saying: Start Barry Zito. He had a no-decision in his last outing (good after seven straight losses) and the White Sox combined lineup is a career 34-for-183 (.186) against him. Zito is primed for a solid outing. (I can't believe I'm saying these words either.)
The Subway series has the most troublesome forecast for Saturday's slate, but even it isn't inclement. There is a 40 percent chance of showers with isolated thunderstorms possible through the afternoon for the Mets-Yankees contest. Boston, Philadelphia and Cincinnati have a slight chance of rain that could affect the Brewers-Red Sox, Indians-Reds and Blue Jays-Phillies contests. It's going to be scorching in Miami with near record highs for this time of the year in the mid-90's. Weather-proof games will be played between the Tigers and Diamondbacks in Arizona and the Padres and Mariners in Seattle.
Sean Allen is a fantasy baseball and hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.