Daily Notes: Big Bats in Texas

Fantasy Game Notes for Thursday: American League

Jacobs Field (Outdoor) 12:05 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 87 degrees)
Odalis Perez, LHP (3-5, 5.74 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) versus
Fausto Carmona, RHP (6-1, 3.29 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Perez has been a disappointment for the Royals thus far, but the team keeps sending him out every fifth day. Fortunately for Kansas City, not many Cleveland hitters have had many looks at Perez, as he's spent his seven previous seasons in the National League before being traded to the Royals in July 2006. Jason Michaels is the Indian who has seen the most of Perez, and he's 6-for-16 against the Royals left-hander. The Tribe counters with Fausto Carmona, who has been very effective all season but finally has cooled off some in his last few starts. Even so, none of the visitors are recommended for this matchup.

Rogers Centre (Indoor/Retractable Roof) 12:37 p.m. ET
Edwin Jackson, RHP (0-7, 7.77 ERA, 1.96 WHIP) versus
A.J. Burnett, RHP (5-5, 4.02 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Lyle Overbay, 1B, (broken wrist, DL)

Game Story: Jackson had his best outing of the year at the Rogers Centre on May 12, but he's yet to demonstrate any consistent effectiveness, so he's not recommended. None of the Rays besides Carl Crawford have had much luck against Burnett, but first baseman Carlos Pena is certainly a good play right now, as he leads the majors in batting average over the last 30 days. Another good option in this matchup might be Blue Jays rookie Adam Lind, whose bat is finally coming around after a slow start to the season.

McAfee Coliseum (Outdoor) 3:35 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, high of 68 degrees)
Curt Schilling, RHP (5-2, 3.91 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) versus
Joe Blanton, RHP (5-3, 3.81 ERA, 1.12 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Many of the Oakland hitters have seen Curt Schilling many times, and some -- like Eric Chavez (1-for-17) and Bobby Crosby (3-for-15) -- haven't enjoyed it very much. Jason Kendall (21-for-68, three home runs) and Mark Ellis (5-for-14) have had good success against Schilling. On the Boston side, Julio Lugo is 5-for-14 versus Blanton, with only one strikeout. Lugo and the red-hot Dustin Pedroia also make good choices in this matchup. However, Blanton himself might be the best option of all. He's been great all year and threw a three-hit shutout in his last start.

U.S. Cellular Field (Outdoor) 8:11 p.m. ET (60 percent chance of thunderstorms, low of 65 degrees)
Mike Mussina, RHP (2-3, 6.25 ERA, 1.51 WHIP) versus
Jose Contreras, RHP (4-5, 4.29 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Jason Giambi, DH, (foot, DL); Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B (wrist, DL); Darin Erstad, OF, (ankle, DL)

Game Story: No Sox hitter is happier to see the struggling Mike Mussina visit the South Side than A.J. Pierzynski. The White Sox catcher is batting a robust .400 versus the Moose (12-for-30) and figures to help Chicago take advantage of the Yankees starter's woes. It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing in 2007 for Contreras, either. The 35-year old Cuban has been knocked around a bit in each of his last three outings, and has only pitched past the seventh inning once all year. He shouldn't have trouble with Johnny Damon, however. The Yankees leadoff man is only 4-for-18 against Contreras with seven strikeouts. While Damon should be on your bench if you have another decent option, most of your other hitters should be active. This game could feature quite a bit more scoring than the reputations of the starters would suggest.

Ranger Ballpark (Outdoor) 8:35 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, low of 76 degrees)
Mike Maroth, LHP (3-2, 5.28 ERA, 1.60 WHIP) versus
Kameron Loe, RHP (1-5, 6.37 ERA, 1.58 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: More offense is expected in Game 3 of this series, as two good offensive teams get ready to tee off on two mediocre starters. Loe hasn't been very effective since joining the Texas rotation, and Maroth is rumored to be on the trade block in Detroit. Jerry Hairston Jr., might get a spot start in this one, as he's one of the few Rangers who have seen much of Maroth -- and he's been successful, going 5-for-14 against the Tigers left-hander. Maroth hasn't really liked facing Texas at all. He's only made four appearances against the Rangers in the last three years, but has put up a nasty 9.77 ERA and 3.82 BAA. Loe will have to have an unusually fine outing to hold down the potent Tiger offense, but at least he's a unfamiliar to them -- no Tigers' hitter has more than one at-bat against him -- and that usually works to the pitcher's advantage. He'll have to be especially careful of the streaking Marcus Thames and Ivan Rodriguez, two of baseball's hottest bats over the last week.

Fantasy Game Notes for Thursday: National League

RFK Stadium (Outdoor) 1:05 p.m. ET (mostly sunny, high of 85 degrees)
Ian Snell, RHP (5-4, 2.94 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) versus
Matt Chico, LHP (3-4, 5.13 ERA, 1.61 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Ian Snell has been solid all year, was stellar in his last outing, is unfamiliar to most of the Nationals' hitters and gets to pitch in friendly RFK Stadium. Make sure you have him active for this one. None of the Washington hitters are recommended. Do start all of your Pittsburgh regulars, as Matt Chico hasn't been very effective thus far and the Pirates hit left-handers better than right-handers. No Pirates have faced Chico before, but Xavier Nady and Freddy Sanchez have been heating up nicely over the last few weeks.

Coors Field (Outdoor) 3:05 p.m. ET (windy, high of 64 degrees)
Roy Oswalt, RHP (6-4, 3.20 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) versus
Taylor Buchholz, RHP (2-3, 5.55 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Roy Oswalt isn't afraid of Coors Field. He threw seven shutout innings in his last start there. Both Kazuo Matsui and Brad Hawpe have hit Oswalt well, but only in limited action against the Astros' ace. Buchholz hasn't been effective at all this year, struggling both at Coors and on the road. Start only the big-name players from both sides, since Oswalt is one of the league's best and Houston really has struggled against right-handers. Oh, and with a .417 average and 17 RBIs over the last 30 days, the Astros' Hunter Pence is starting to qualify as a "big name."

Shea Stadium (Outdoor) 7:10 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, low of 63 degrees)
Cole Hamels, LHP (8-2, 3.55 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) versus
John Maine, RHP (6-3, 2.81 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: The Mets are notoriously tough on left-handers, but Cole Hamels has been outstanding. His last outing was a complete-game victory in which he threw 78 of his 97 pitches for strikes! Hamels has done well against Mets' hitters and has lasted six innings or more in every start but one this year. Maine has been among the league leaders in many pitching categories as well, and this one shapes up to be low-scoring. Start only your big names on both sides, but it might be a good time to give Jimmy Rollins a day off if you have another option at shortstop. He's only 1-for-11 against Maine.

Turner Field (Outdoor) 7:35 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, low of 69 degrees)
Rich Hill, LHP (4-4, 2.89 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) versus
Chuck James, LHP (5-4, 3.78 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: This one could be a pitching duel as well. Neither of these clubs have hit left-handers very well this year, neither is currently in good offensive form, and both starters have something going for them. Rich Hill has been excellent this year, and he'll look to build on his success against the strikeout-prone Braves. James, meanwhile, hasn't been very consistent, but has put together two of his more effective outings in his last two starts. Both starters have been fairly successful in limited action against the opposing hitters. Play only the obvious hitters for both sides, especially Atlanta's.

Busch Stadium (Outdoor) 8:10 p.m. ET (50 percent chance of thunderstorms, low of 74 degrees)
Kyle Lohse, RHP (2-7, 4.58 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) versus
Adam Wainwright, RHP (4-4, 5.12 ERA, 1.72 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Gary Bennett, (neck, day-to-day)

Game Story: Two struggling teams send struggling starters to the mound in the third game of this NL Central affair. Veteran Kyle Lohse hasn't seen much of the Cardinals, but he's seen too much of fellow former American-Leaguer Adam Kennedy, who is 10-for-23 lifetime against Lohse. There might be hope for Lohse. After getting torched in his three previous outings, his last two starts have been a shutout against the Pirates and a quality start in Coors Field. Wainwright is also rounding into form, allowing only three runs and 12 hits in his last 14 innings after a sluggish start to the season. No Reds player has more than one hit against the young Cardinals starter, so play only the best Cincinnati hitters. For those in deeper leagues, Scott Spiezio also might make a good start, as he's 6-for-19 with four extra-base hits and one strikeout against Lohse.

Chase Field (Indoor/Retractable Roof) 9:40 p.m. ET
Noah Lowry, LHP (5-5, 3.28 ERA, 1.37 WHIP) versus
Livan Hernandez, RHP (5-3, 3.65 ERA, 1.48 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Barry Bonds, OF, (shin, day-to-day)

Game Story: Lowry has posted solid numbers this year, but his poor command might be starting to catch up with him. He's shown chinks in his armor in his last two outings, and can't be counted on to continue his current pace. However, Lowry has been excellent in seven career starts against the Diamondbacks. He's especially had Eric Byrnes' number (1-for-10). Plus, Arizona doesn't hit left-handers very well, so the host might not plate many runs in this one despite facing an overrated starter. Veteran workhorse Hernandez has seen plenty of the Giants, and his unlikely nemesis has been backup first baseman Mark Sweeney (8-for-22). Hernandez has been very effective in four straight starts, and all things considered this game looks to be rather low scoring, despite the presence of two starting pitchers without flashy skill sets. Deep leaguers might want to spot-start Sweeney, but otherwise play only the big-name hitters on both sides.

Petco Park (Outdoor) 10:05 p.m. ET (cloudy, low of 61 degrees)
Hong-Chih Kuo, LHP (0-1, 7.71 ERA, 2.00 WHIP) versus
Jake Peavy, RHP (7-1, 1.68 ERA, 0.98 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Takashi Saito, RP, (hamstring, out); Khalil Greene, (arm, day-to-day)

Game Story: Jake Peavy has been sensational this year, and has been absolutely fantastic against the Dodgers in his career. Luis Gonzalez (16-for-42), Rafael Furcal (7-for-22) and Jeff Kent (6-for-20) are the only Los Angeles hitters with any history of success against Peavy. Bench the rest of your Dodgers, even Russell Martin (1-for-8) and Juan Pierre (2-for-18), if you have decent options. While there's every reason to believe that Peavy will deliver another solid start, there's no telling what his counterpart might do. The Korean left-hander has immense talent and the ability to dominate, but lacks control and has been extremely inconsistent in his short career. Kuo is making only his second start of the season, and doesn't have much history with the Padres hitters. Those who need to take a gamble can start him here in Petco and hope he's Mr. Hyde this time around. With Saito out, Jonathan Broxton will be called on to save the game if the Dodgers get a late lead.

Waiver Wire Pickups

Jason Michaels, OF, CLE versus Kansas City Royals
Adam Lind, OF, TOR versus Tampa Bay Devil Rays
A.J. Pierzynski, C, CHW versus New York Yankees
Marcus Thames, OF, DET @ Texas Rangers
Joe Blanton, SP, OAK versus Boston Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS @ Oakland A's
Mark Ellis, 2B, OAK versus Boston Red Sox
Jason Kendall, C, OAK versus Boston Red Sox
Freddy Sanchez, 2B, PIT @ Washington Nationals
Xavier Nady, OF, PIT @ Washington Nationals
Adam Kennedy, 2B, STL versus Cincinnati Reds
Scott Spiezio, OF, STL versus Cincinnati Reds
Kazuo Matsui, 2B, COL versus Houston Astros
Luis Gonzalez, OF, LA @ San Diego Padres
Hong-Chih Kuo, SP, LA @ San Diego Padres
Jonathan Broxton, RP, LA @ San Diego Padres

Please 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.

Will Harris is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com and TalentedMrRoto.com. He can be reached at willharris@TalentedMrRoto.com