Both leagues feature a full slate Tuesday, highlighted by a clash of American League division leaders. Two very successful No. 2 starters take the mound for the Angels and Rays as Ervin Santana meets James Shields in the second game of a three-game series.
Matchups for Tuesday, Aug. 19
All times are ET.
Carl Crawford, OF, Rays (hand)
Tom Glavine, SP, Braves (elbow)
Orlando Hudson, 2B, Diamondbacks (wrist)
Maicer Izturis, SS, Angels (thumb)
Adam Jones, OF, Orioles (foot)
Carlos Lee, OF, Astros (finger)
Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays (wrist)
Mike Lowell, 3B, Red Sox (oblique)
Kazuo Matsui, SS, Astros (back)
Brandon Moss, OF, Pirates (ankle)
Troy Percival, RP, Rays (knee)
Billy Wagner, RP, Mets (shoulder)
C.J. Wilson, RP, Rangers (elbow)
Milton Bradley, OF, Rangers (back)
Rickie Weeks, 2B, Brewers (thumb)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: Detroit third baseman Carlos Guillen has been in and out of the lineup for the past several days with back pain. He's expected to play Tuesday, but is just 2-for-11 since Aug. 8 and is 2-for-12 lifetime versus Rangers starter Vicente Padilla. ... Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon opened August with an 11-game hitting streak, but he's just 1-for-18 since then and is 2-for-16 versus Toronto right-hander A.J. Burnett. ... As former American League West players, Nick Swisher and Orlando Cabrera of the White Sox have seen more of Felix Hernandez than any of their teammates. Swisher is just 3-for-17 versus the Mariners ace, but Cabrera has 14 hits in 27 at-bats against King Felix. ... Most non-essential personnel find their way to the bench against aces like Milwaukee's Ben Sheets, but Astros third baseman Ty Wigginton is one fringe player mixed leaguers will want to use Tuesday. Wiggy is 26-for-55 in August, with six home runs and 16 RBIs. He's also 12-for-28 with two homers, two doubles and five walks against Sheets! ... Padres outfielder Brian Giles is in a 5-for-26 slump and is just 5-for-34 versus Arizona left-hander Doug Davis.
Pitchers: Right-hander Joe Blanton wasn't having a good year with Oakland, and he continued to struggle after joining the Phillies, allowing seven earned runs in just eight innings in his first two starts with his new club. In three August turns, however, Blanton is throwing better than he has all season. His strikeouts are up, his walks are down, and he sports a 2.37 ERA for the month. Pitching-starved owners should feel good about using the 27-year old against lowly Washington. ... Oliver Perez is still unowned in more than 10 percent of ESPN leagues. Perez has allowed just 13 earned runs in his past nine starts, striking out 63 batters while walking just 21 during that span. ... Johnny Cueto improved the last time out, but he's still sporting a 5.36 second half ERA. Cueto has allowed fewer than three runs just once in his last eight tries and hasn't pitched more than seven innings all year. The Reds rookie is not a great option against a potent Cubs lineup that's already seen him twice this season. ... Rising star Ricky Nolasco is owned in just 80 percent of ESPN leagues, but needs to be owned in more. Since June 1, the Marlins right-hander has struck out 86 batters and walked just 10! Nolasco's ERA is under 4.00 for every month since April. He's one of 2008's biggest breakouts and is an automatic start against offenses like San Francisco in even the shallowest leagues. ... Ian Snell's 2008 is a train wreck. He is still owned, remarkably, in a quarter of ESPN leagues, but he doesn't belong anywhere near a mixed-league roster. Snell hasn't posted a monthly ERA under 6.00 since April and has walked more batters than he's fanned in three August turns. The Pirates right-hander has battled elbow trouble off and on this season and is not likely to be a good risk until next year.
Hitters: With Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie -- who has been subbing for disabled shortstop Julio Lugo -- moving over to third base to fill in for the injured Mike Lowell, Alex Cora has gotten more work at shortstop. Cora is 12-for-28 versus Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera and 5-for-11 during the past five games. The red-hot Lowrie is having a monster August (21-for-54, 19 RBIs.) ... With Angels shortstop Maicer Izturis lost for the season with a thumb injury, Erick Aybar will have the position to himself. While lacking power, the athletic Aybar already makes good contact. Since July 1, he's increased his walk rate fourfold from the season's first three months, raising his on-base percentage from .292 to a second-half .353. Aybar is reaching base much more often and could soon begin to display more of the speed that was expected of him this year.
Games in Toronto, Tampa, Minnesota, Milwaukee and Arizona are always weatherproof. Showers in the Northeast could impact games at Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. The Rangers' home date with the Tigers could see some rain, as well.
Will Harris is a fantasy baseball and college football analyst for ESPN.com