Jonathan Sanchez easy top choice

Jonathan Sanchez beat the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 5, allowing only three hits and striking out nine batters in seven innings of work in a 3-0 shutout. Since that game, the Dodgers' bats have completely vanished and as a team, they are batting a mere .185 on their current road trip. A matchup like this, against a clearly defeated squad playing out the season is what you look for in September, and on a day with a very abridged schedule, Sanchez stands out as a clear fantasy favorite. The complete rankings are as follows:

For starters

Starting pitcher rankings for Sept. 16

Rk.: The author's ranking of that pitcher for that day only. T: Pitcher throws left-handed or right-handed. Opp: The pitcher's opponent for the day. Rating: The starting pitcher's matchup rating -- separate from the author's ranking -- which accounts for past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days), opponent and ballpark. Ratings range from 1-10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. W-L: Pitcher's win-loss record. ERA: Pitcher's earned run average. WHIP: Pitcher's average number of walks plus hits surrendered per inning.

Selected notes:

Ted Lilly is 3-1 for his career against the San Francisco Giants, and should keep this game close, as the Giants have scored one or fewer runs in four of their past six games.

Ervin Santana has been padding the win total lately, but is 0-6 lifetime with a 5.71 ERA against the Cleveland Indians.

Carl Pavano is 2-1 against the Chicago White Sox this season, as is Mark Buehrle facing the Minnesota Twins. The Sox are fading fast, so I lean toward Pavano in this matchup.

Jake Westbrook has a career 1.08 ERA against the San Diego Padres, while Tim Stauffer is 0-3 lifetime with a 10.13 ERA facing the St. Louis Cardinals, but it's hard to go against the surging Padres while the Cardinals plummet into obscurity.

Hitter matchup ratings for Sept. 16

Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days) as well as ballpark factors. "LHB" and "RHB" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.

Hitters' count:

Jonny Gomes, OF, Reds: Gomes has two career home runs against Rodrigo Lopez, and in 20 at-bats, has a .400 batting average versus the Diamondbacks' scheduled starter.

Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates: The young outfielder has eight hits in his past seven games and is 3-for-5 when facing Mike Pelfrey.

Michael Cuddyer, 1B, Twins: Cuddyer could be a Hall of Famer if he faced Mark Buehrle every day of the season. He's batting .337 in 92 lifetime at-bats.

Pitchers' count:

Kelly Johnson, 2B, Diamondbacks: Batting just 9-for-40 (.225) in September, Johnson is just a .111 hitter lifetime against Edinson Volquez.

Travis Hafner, DH, Indians: After a .356 August, Hafner is hitting a sad .216 this month and has managed to get only three hits versus the Angels (.188) in 2010.

Aubrey Huff, 1B, Giants: Not all .111 averages are created equal, but after 27 at-bats facing Ted Lilly, it's clear the Dodgers pitcher has the upper hand here.

Baseball Challenge Pick of the Day

Ike Davis, 1B, Mets: Davis is hitting .353 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and 43 points higher at Citi Field than on the road.


Injury list: Out

Bobby Jenks, P, White Sox (elbow, forearm)

Andres Torres, OF, Giants (appendectomy)

Scott Podsednik, OF, Dodgers (plantar fasciitis)

Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers (ribs)

Injury list: Day-to-day

Chris Getz, 2B, Royals (concussion)

Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies (hamstring)

Julio Lugo, 2B, Orioles (sinus infection)

Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles (knee)

Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals (elbow)

Nick Swisher, OF, Yankees (knee)

Weather concerns

Weatherproof games: None. Rain rears its ugly head with every game, save for the one in San Francisco, in jeopardy of being a complete washout on Thursday.

AJ Mass is a fantasy baseball, football and college basketball analyst for ESPN.com. You can follow AJ on Twitter or e-mail him here.