Fantasy Game Notes for Thursday: American League
Notable Injuries: John Thomson, SP (shoulder, DL)
Game Story: Today's game has been postponed due to extreme cold. Make sure you sit all your Jays and Tigers. For you head-to-head players, the game will be made up September 10 as a one-game series.
Game Story: Scott Podsednik was benched against C.C. Sabathia on Opening Day, and while part of that was him nursing his sore groin, a lefty on the mound also had something to do with it. Podsednik hit .216 with a .562 OPS against left-handers last year. He may play for the Sox today, but he shouldn't be active for your team. Jeremy Sowers allowed a bit too many home runs last season (1.02 HR/9 in the majors) for him to repeat last year's success, and The Cell had the second-highest HR factor in the majors last season. With three lefty mashers in Chicago's lineup (Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko and Joe Crede), look elsewhere for a spot start.
Kauffman Stadium (outdoor) 2:10 p.m. ET (mostly cloudy)
Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP (0-0) versus Zack Greinke, RHP (0-0)
Game Story: Matsuzaka has the repertoire of a power pitcher, and Kansas City really has only Mark Teahen (.895 OPS in 287 at-bats versus right-handers last year) and maybe Alex Gordon (1.038 OPS in 378 minor league at-bats last year versus righties) to handle him. Greinke is becoming a lot of people's sleeper of note, but a pitcher with a home run problem even in his best days (a whopping 1.61 HR/9 in his rookie year) is not someone to trust against the Red Sox.
Yankee Stadium (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (partly cloudy)
Jae Seo, RHP (0-0) versus Andy Pettitte, LHP (0-0)
Game Story: The previous game was rained out, so we have the same pitcher matchups here. Not much has changed, as both teams will just push all of their starters back. The Yankees feast on even the best right-handed pitching. I like Seo more than most people, but he's simply no match for the better lineups in the league. Tampa Bay's lineup is heavily right-handed, so don't view this as a walk in the park for Pettitte.
Game Story: Bobby Kielty has mashed left-handers his whole career, and, in deeper leagues, assuming you have the roster flexibility, he offers good average (.299 career versus lefties) and decent pop. Eric Chavez has struggled to hit lefties most of his whole career, so expect him to be a nonfactor. Gaudin had more walks (42) than strikeouts (36) last season, and the Angels' lineup hit soft-tossing righties pretty well.
Fantasy Game Notes for Thursday: National League
Game Story: Lohse has always been a fly-ball pitcher and allowed his fair share of home runs (career 1.25 home run rate). The Metrodome was a hitter's park, yes, but so is Great American. Is it me, or does it not make sense to bring fly-ball pitchers into a place where balls fly farther than normal? Jacque Jones should have a nice time with Lohse. On the other side of the mound, Marquis is even more of a fly-ball pitcher; play your power guys and expect a show.
Game Story: James is an especially hazardous start today. While he put together a nice rookie season last year (3.78 ERA, 1.24 WHIP), he had the highest fly-ball ratio in the league and, as a result, a booming (1.51) home-run rate. The one stadium with a higher HR park factor than U.S. Cellular Field was Citizens Bank. Philadelphia also hits left-handers much better than they hit right-handers, so things could get quite ugly. Adam Eaton is also a fly-ball pitcher, a major reason why he was unsuccessful in Texas. Philadelphia isn't much better, so expect today to be a big run-scoring environment.
Notable Injuries: Carlos Quentin, OF (partially torn labrum, DL); Jeff DaVanon, OF (shoulder, DL); Randy Johnson, SP (back, DL); Cristian Guzman, SS (hamstring, DL); Nook Logan, OF (left foot strain, DL)
Game Story: Gonzalez is a 24-year-old prospect who has basically been stuck in Triple-A for most of the last four years. Usually that would be a bad thing, but he looks like a solid prospect. His strikeout rate is below average, but he has good control and doesn't give up a ton of home runs. His minor-league statistics, in a vacuum, aren't very impressive, but he was pitching in a severe hitter's environment. Smells like a spot start to me. Then again, I get the feeling most pitchers will be using Washington as a spot start.
Notable Injuries: None.
Game Story: Hensley is my spot-start special today. The right-handed hitters in San Francisco's lineup -- like most righties -- hit left-handers better than right-handers. The few left-handed hitters on San Francisco do not have much power, save for Barry Bonds, and even if they did, it's tough to do much of anything in AT&T. In three games last year versus the Giants, Hensley pitched 13 2/3 innings and had a 1.32 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP. Small sample size to be sure, but Hensley was above average at home, too, primarily because of PETCO Park. Going to another massive pitcher's park shouldn't be a big deal.
Waiver Wire Pickups
Ty Wigginton, 3B, Tampa Bay Devil Rays @ New York Yankees
Bobby Kielty, OF, Oakland Athletics @ Los Angeles Angels
Edgar Gonzalez, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks @ Washington Nationals
Clay Hensley, SP, San Diego Padres @ San Francisco Giants
Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com and TalentedMrRoto.com. He can be reached at Adam@TalentedMrRoto.com