Fantasy game gotes for Sunday: American League
Notable injuries: none
Game story: Two underrated Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, are playing quite well right now, so make sure you get them in the midst of their hot streaks. They're undervalued in fantasy because their best qualities don't translate, but at their best they can still help. Against Guthrie, the Sox shouldn't have much trouble scoring runs. Beckett's leading the league in wins, but that is not that surprising. That he's allowed just two home runs, now that's surprising. However confident you are in his ability to continue to prevent home runs should dictate whether you sell high, but you'll have at least one more good start from Beckett; the Orioles should prove little resistance.
Rogers Centre (indoor/retractable roof) 1:07 p.m. ET
Jae Weong Seo, RHP (1-3) versus Shaun Marcum, RHP (1-2)
Notable injuries: Shawn Camp, RP (hamstring, day-to-day)
Game story: With Seo on the mound, load up on all of the Blue Jays' regulars, including Lyle Overbay and Adam Lind. The Jays should have no trouble hitting Seo, who is poor against righties and lefties, and has allowed seven home runs in 32 2/3 innings. With the Jays trotting out Marcum on the mound, though, the Devil Rays get the same benefit. Elijah Dukes (three home runs in his past seven games) may be coming around, too.
Notable injuries: Jason LaRue, C (shoulder, DL)
Game story: In De La Rosa's last start, I tiptoed around recommending him, but this time he gets the two thumbs up. The White Sox have a .582 OPS against lefties. Much of that is a small sample size -- no one can be that bad -- but as of now the matchup works in De La Rosa's favor. David DeJesus and John Buck have slowed down after quick starts, and Alex Gordon has yet to heat up, but Mark Teahen is hitting .324 in May, and Ross Gload, who returned to the lineup on Friday, is holding his own versus righties.
Notable injuries: Michael Young, SS (hamstring, day-to-day)
Game story: Santana has a 9.45 ERA in four starts in Texas, and a 6.15 ERA in seven career starts against Texas. Combine that with the fact that he's simply pitching poorly right now -- eight home runs allowed -- and you have to see it as a chance for some of the secondary Rangers players to do some damage. That includes Brad Wilkerson, Hank Blalock, Kenny Lofton and even Sammy Sosa, who has hit seven of his eight home runs against right-handers. Wood has a 5.56 ERA in 306 career innings, so you figure he won't be much better either. Gary Matthews Jr., and Reggie Willits are two of the hotter Angels right now and make safe starts.
Game story: Bradley has been activated from the disabled list, and simply gives the A's another hitter that does well against lefties. Jack Cust and Dan Johnson have led a recent revival to the team's offense, making this matchup tougher for Lee than it would have been a couple of weeks ago. The A's are now 15th in OPS against lefties (.758), so although Lee is still a solid spot start, don't expect much more than a quality start. Gaudin is facing a patient Indians team, and considering four of his starts did not make it to six innings, there are better options elsewhere.
Game story: The Mariners got rid of one problem when they put Jeff Weaver on the disabled list, but Horacio Ramirez has been just as bad, and there's not much reason to think that will change. Pettitte should be nearly assumed to get a win as a result. Jose Guillen and Jose Vidro may be the Mariners' two best hitters at this point, and they are at their best against left-handers, so get them into your lineup.
Metrodome (indoor) 8:05 p.m. ET
Virgil Vasquez, RHP (0-0) versus Boof Bonser, RHP (0-1)
Game story: Vasquez is filling in for Bonderman, who is missing Sunday's start due to a cut on his pitching hand. Vasquez isn't anything special, but the Twins are basically a three-man team, with little hitting ability outside of Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau (who may not play) and Michael Cuddyer. If you're desperate, Vasquez may be able to offer you some serviceable innings. Avoid Bonser in this start, because the Tigers offense is white hot right now, with a .963 (!) OPS in May. Ride the wave with the Tigers batters, including Curtis Granderson, Craig Monroe and Brandon Inge.
Fantasy game notes for Sunday: National League
Game story: The Mets have an astronomical .898 OPS against left-handed pitching, so there is no worse matchup in baseball for a left-hander. All of Paul Lo Duca's value is tied into how well he hits lefties, and Moises Alou destroys them as well. Capuano has mostly faced a pretty weak schedule, so this will be quite the wake-up call. The Brewers also hit lefties well (.792 OPS, 9th in majors), and they turn Kevin Mench (.359 average against lefties so far this season) into a superstar, too. Tread carefully with Perez as a result.
Notable injuries: Edgar Renteria, SS (flu, day-to-day)
Game story: The Pirates have the second-lowest OPS in the major leagues (.645), so even though you have likely never heard of Lerew, anyone facing the Pirates makes you at least think about them for a second as a spot-start candidate. The short answer is Lerew is definitely nothing special, but you don't have to be against the Pirates; still, you would be taking a chance. Ryan Doumit is now entrenched in the Pirates' everyday lineup, so get him while he's hot. Starting Snell against the Braves seems like a bit of a risky proposition, but he has been so good you really don't have a choice.
Notable injuries: Ryan Howard, 1B (quadriceps, DL)
Game story: Lilly has been absolutely superb -- he has six-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio and has allowed just two home runs -- but on paper this looks like a poor matchup for him. Lilly is a fly-ball pitcher, and Citizens Bank Park punishes fly-ball pitchers. The Phillies also hit lefties well, and have enough pop in their lineup to do some damage. That is not necessarily saying Lilly is going to get bombed, but he may have his worst outing of the season. Lieber's lack of strikeouts and homer-prone habits will catch up to him soon, and the Cubs make a good candidate to make it happen. Expect Cliff Floyd to be in the lineup, and he is swinging well enough to start in any league.
RFK Stadium (outdoor) 1:35 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 70 degrees)
Wes Obermueller, RHP (1-1) versus Jason Simontacchia, RHP (0-1)
Game story: Even the Nationals should be able to be better than average against Obermueller. One would hope, anyway, but on an individual basis, there's not much to recommend outside of Ryan Church and maybe Austin Kearns and Ryan Zimmerman. Church is especially appealing; he has a .923 OPS against right-handers and has legitimate 25-homer power. Simontacchia is your standard well-below-average journeyman, so look elsewhere for your spot-start needs.
Game story: Rodriguez has pitched a lot better than his 4.66 ERA would indicate, but his peripherals (8.71 K/9, 2.35 BB/9 this year) are much better than his career norms (6.38 K/9, 3.74 BB/9). If he can keep that up, he'll be quite successful against the Diamondbacks on Sunday. Davis is the opposite, with a 2.36 ERA despite a 1.62 WHIP. The Astros excel against left-handers, with almost their entire lineup performing better against them. That means Morgan Ensberg, Hunter Pence and Craig Biggio are all solid options, especially since they are also at Minute Maid Park, which is a haven for right-handers.
Game story: In four of Cain's starts he failed to strike out more hitters than he has walked. That is definitely worrisome; right now, Cain is mostly getting by with his .226 batting average on balls in play, the seventh lowest in the majors. Fortunately, Cain resides in the NL West, where, at this point, every offense in the division is well below average. The Rockies are in a team-wide slump, and really can't offer much of a resistance. Outside of the obvious, there's not much to choose from, although Brad Hawpe is hitting .302 versus righties. The Giants' offense is nothing special, but it should hit Buchholz moderately well, making Bengie Molina and Pedro Feliz viable options.
Notable injuries: none
Game story: Reyes has gone six innings in four straight starts, nabbing quality starts in his past two. His last start was especially nice -- six innings, three hits, two earned runs, five strikeouts and no walks -- and Reyes finally seems to be performing like pundits expected. Against a struggling Padres offense, he's one of the best spot-start options of the day. Germano has performed well in the minors for the past three years, yet hasn't received many shots on the major league level. That makes his initial start (six innings, three hits, one run) intriguing, and against an atrocious Cardinals offense, Germano could do it again.
Game story: Livingston was chosen over Homer Bailey to come up from the minors to start for Milton. Livingston could get by with a couple of serviceable starts when he faces weaker offenses. This will test that theory, as the Dodgers certainly meet the "weaker offenses" requirement, as their .685 OPS is 26th in the majors. Hendrickson is pitching pretty well in terms of how he usually pitches, but he's also had favorable luck with balls in play, with the third-lowest BABIP in the majors. The Reds cannot hit lefties (.707 OPS, 22nd) at all, so count on Hendrickson to keep the ball rolling.
Waiver Wire Pick Ups
Lyle Overbay, 1B, TOR versus Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Elijah Dukes, OF, TB @ Toronto Blue Jays
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS versus Baltimore Orioles
Jorge De La Rosa, SP, KC @ Chicago White Sox
Mark Teahen, OF, KC @ Chicago White Sox
Hank Blalock, 3B, TEX versus Los Angeles Angels
Jack Cust, DH, OAK versus Cleveland Indians
Jose Guillen, OF, SEA versus New York Yankees
Jose Vidro, 2B, SEA versus New York Yankees
Curtis Granderson, OF, DET @ Minnesota Twins
Moises Alou, OF, NYM versus Milwaukee Brewers
Kevin Mench, OF, MIL @ New York Mets
Craig Biggio, 2B, HOU versus Arizona Diamondbacks
Anthony Reyes, SP, STL @ San Diego Padres
Justin Germano, SP, SD versus St. Louis Cardinals
Mark Hendrickson, SP, LAD versus Cincinnati Reds
Note: that the notable injuries are not meant to be a comprehensive report of each team's disabled list. For brevity, we include only day-to-day injuries or new DL additions for players you might otherwise consider using in these games. Long-term DL or day-to-day injuries to starting pitchers who were not scheduled to appear are omitted.
Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com and TalentedMrRoto.com. He can be reached at Adam@TalentedMrRoto.com