Thursday's slate features six games from each league as well as an interleague makeup game between the Yankees and Pirates. All-Stars Dan Haren of Arizona and Roy Halladay of Toronto take the mound against the Nationals and Orioles, respectively. Two snubbed American League starters are also in action as the Angels' John Lackey heads to Texas and veteran Mike Mussina leads the Yankees into Pittsburgh.
Matchups for Thursday, July 10
All times are ET.
Manny Acosta, RP, Braves (hamstring)
Eric Byrnes, OF, Diamondbacks (hamstring)
Matt Capps, RP, Pirates (shoulder)
Luis Castillo, 2B, Mets (quad)
Eric Chavez, 3B, A's (shoulder)
Ryan Church, OF, Mets (head)
Bobby Crosby, SS, A's (hamstring)
Johnny Damon, OF, Yankees (shoulder)
Elijah Dukes, OF, Nationals (knee)
Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies (back)
Bobby Jenks, RP, White Sox (shoulder)
Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox (oblique)
Kazuo Matsui, 2B, Astros (hamstring)
Mike Napoli, C, Angels (shoulder)
Troy Percival, RP, Rays (hamstring)
Chris Snyder, C, Diamondbacks (groin)
Ryan Spilborghs, OF, Rockies (oblique)
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies (hand)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: Orioles designated hitter Aubrey Huff is one of the only Baltimore hitters who can be used Thursday against Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay. Huff was outstanding in June, posting a 1.006 OPS, and he's continued his hot hitting thus far in July. Huff is 10-for-27 this month, and has smacked four home runs in his past six games. Teammate Kevin Millar has also gained some notice in mixed leagues thanks to his own hot start to July. Millar, however, should sit Thursday due to an awful 7-for-47 track record versus Halladay.
An outstanding June campaign has made Royals outfielder David DeJesus a mixed-league mainstay, but his 7-for-39 history against White Sox starter Mark Buehrle means he should be reserved Thursday.
Diamondbacks youngster Justin Upton was on the verge of being sent to the minors after an 8-for-65 June performance. However, Upton is finally heating up, beginning July with a six-game hitting streak that's included two home runs.
Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick earned an All-Star berth with a huge first half, but don't expect much against Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer, against whom Ludwick is 1-for-10 with six strikeouts. Teammate Troy Glaus, on the other hand, has battered Moyer at an 18-for-51 clip, including five home runs and 15 RBIs.
Those with a viable option can leave Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips on the bench Thursday. He's 0-for-13 lifetime against Cubs left-hander Ted Lilly.
Pitchers: Aaron Laffey was outstanding in May thanks to superlative control, allowing just three earned runs in five starts en route to an ERA of 0.79. The Indians rookie has struggled with his command since then, however, walking and striking out the same number of batters in his past seven starts. He's still owned in more than one-fifth of ESPN leagues, but should not be used in mixed formats right now. Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie is a fringe starter at best in mixed leagues, but he's allowed more than four runs just once since his first start of the year and can be used Thursday against a Toronto squad he dominated back on June 7. Mark Buehrle posted a 1.60 June ERA and is 16-6 with a 3.40 ERA in his career against the Royals. The current Kansas City lineup is hitting just .241 BA/.277 OBP/.344 SLG off the White Sox left-hander. Yankees veteran Mike Mussina didn't make the All-Star team, and he was getting hit hard by the Pirates when rain forced the postponement of the game that will be made up Thursday. Still, Moose is coming off a six-inning shutout of the Red Sox and has allowed more than four earned runs just once all year. It's surprising that he's not yet owned in all ESPN leagues; he should be used in every start until he hits a rough patch. Cardinals right-hander Braden Looper is owned in nearly 15 percent of ESPN leagues, but in mixed leagues he's really only viable against the weakest offenses. Bench him for Thursday's date with the Phillies.
Hitters: Garret Anderson is starting to find his stroke. The Angels veteran is 9-for-21 with two home runs and eight RBIs so far in July. He'll get to see Scott Feldman in hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark Thursday. Outfielder Mark Teahen is one of the few Kansas City hitters who has been productive against Mark Buehrle; he's 13-for-30 with four doubles versus the White Sox left-hander. Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche is on a 14-for-25 tear, with three home runs during that span. He can be used against nearly all right-handers, including opposing Thursday starter Mike Mussina. Giants outfielder Aaron Rowand is 0-for-12 lifetime against Mets starter John Maine. Andre Ethier has begun July as well as any hitter in the majors. The Dodgers outfielder is 13-for-32 so far this month, with 3 home runs, 10 runs scored and 7 RBIs.
Pitchers: Kevin Slowey has displayed elite control this season, as reflected in his stellar 1.04 WHIP. The Twins right-hander has now walked just 11 batters in more than 78 innings this year. He's not a bad option Thursday in Detroit. Oakland rookie Greg Smith is taking his lumps against better offenses in his second tour of the league. The left-hander hasn't faced Seattle, however, and should come out on top in Thursday's faceoff with R.A. Dickey and the light-hitting Mariners. The Tampa Bay Rays are the biggest story of the first half, and right-hander Andy Sonnanstine has played a big role in that success. Sonnanstine hasn't allowed more than three runs -- or a home run -- since May, and the Rays have won his past seven starts. He hasn't faced Thursday opponent Cleveland yet this season. Milwaukee's Dave Bush can be used at home Thursday against the banged-up Rockies; he's sporting a 2.87 ERA in eight starts in Miller Park. Bush is also in top form of late, coming off his best start of the year last weekend and allowing just one run in three of his past four outings.
Games in Toronto and Milwaukee are always weatherproof. Thursday is expected to feature dry weather throughout all but the southern third of the nation. The Rangers' home date with the Angels is the only game that should be threatened.
Will Harris is a fantasy baseball and college football analyst for ESPN.com.