Daily Notes: Cy Young candidates face off

Fantasy Game Notes for Thursday: American League

Comerica Park (outdoor) 1:05 p.m. ET (30 percent chance of thunderstorms, high of 84 degrees)
C.C. Sabathia, LHP (12-2, 3.20 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) versus
Justin Verlander, RHP (9-3, 3.18 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: American League Cy Young hopefuls face off in a matchup of Central Division leaders. Detroit has the advantage of its major league-leading .306 BA and .870 OPS against left-handers, but the starting pitchers are so formidable that you should play only your big-name hitters from both sides. One hitter who should definitely find his way to your bench is Detroit third baseman Brandon Inge, who is 4-for-38 with no extra-base hits in his career versus Sabathia.

Yankee Stadium (outdoor) 1:05 p.m. ET (70 percent chance of heavy rain, high of 83 degrees)
Kevin Slowey, RHP (3-0, 5.13 ERA, 1.56 WHIP) versus
Kei Igawa, LHP (2-2, 6.91 ERA, 1.56 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Neither starter has been effective this year, but double check the weather report before you load up your lineup with Twins and Yankees. Using a roster spot on a player who won't accumulate any stats due to a rainout is certainly unhelpful, so you may want to sit your hitters in this one if you have decent alternatives and it looks like the game may not be played. If the weather clears, consider picking up New York outfielder Melky Cabrera, who is hitting .360 during the past week.

Fenway Park (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (50 percent chance of thunderstorms, low of 67 degrees)
J.P. Howell, LHP (1-2, 5.19 ERA, 1.62 WHIP) versus
Josh Beckett, RHP (11-2, 3.38 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: This one looks like a mismatch on paper, with Beckett clearly the superior hurler to Howell. The Red Sox hit lefties well, and Howell has notched only two quality starts in six tries. Beckett is also the beneficiary of good timing, as he gets a Devil Rays squad that has dropped nine straight and has scored more than two runs only once in the past six games. Bench all but the essential Devil Rays against Boston's Cy Young candidate, but make sure you leave Ty Wigginton in the lineup. He's 6-for-16 with three homers and two doubles versus Beckett. Play all of your Red Sox, and pick up the red-hot J.D. Drew.

U.S. Cellular Field (outdoor) 8:11 p.m. ET (mostly clear, low of 65 degrees)
Brian Burres, LHP (4-2, 3.38 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) versus
John Danks, LHP (4-6, 4.43 ERA, 1.50 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Scott Podsednik, OF, (rib, DL); Melvin Mora, 3B, (foot, day-to-day); Scott Williamson, RP, (foot, day-to-day)

Game Story: Neither of these two starters has been anything but underwhelming so far, but either could serve as a pickup in deep leagues or for those desperate for starting pitching. Both Danks and Burres were effective in their previous starts, and neither offense is hitting the ball that well lately. The Sox are the worst-hitting team in baseball versus left-handers, while they and the Orioles are last and next-to-last in the American League in runs scored. Other than the big names, only one hitter stands out in this matchup. Kevin Millar is sure to start against the lefty Danks, and he's been tearing it up to the tune of a .500/.565/.800 line in the past week.

Rangers Ballpark (outdoor) 8:35 p.m. ET (60 percent chance of heavy rain, low of 73 degrees)
Kelvim Escobar, RHP (9-3, 3.32 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) versus
Robinson Tejeda, RHP (5-7 6.69 ERA, 1.75 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Erick Aybar, 2B, (hand, DL); Mike Napoli, C, (foot, DL); Ian Kinsler, 2B, (foot, DL); Akinori Otsuka, RP, (forearm, day-to-day); Jerry Hairston, Jr., OF, (knee, day-to-day)

Game Story: This matchup is another situation where it makes sense to keep a close eye on the weather. You definitely don't want to be caught with a roster full of players who didn't play due to a rainout. If the game does happen, you'll want to sit all but the best Texas hitters against Escobar, while loading up with Angels against the woeful Tejeda; the Rangers right-hander has surrendered at least four runs in eight consecutive starts. Get those Angels in the lineup, and be sure to include Howie Kendrick, who has been swinging the bat very well lately.

McAfee Coliseum (outdoor) 10:05 p.m. ET (mostly clear, low of 57 degrees)
Miguel Batista, RHP (8-6 4.63 ERA, 1.60 WHIP) versus
Chad Gaudin, RHP (7-3, 2.92 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Kenji Johjima, C, (wrist, day-to-day); Richie Sexson, 1B, (thumb, day-to-day)

Game Story: Johjima and Sexson are actually more "doubtful" than "questionable" for this one, so Gaudin may have the advantage of facing a depleted Mariners lineup. He was solid in his last start and should be safe to use here. Batista has been a paragon of mediocrity and isn't recommended against an Oakland offense that's scored 28 runs in four games. Jack Cust, Dan Johnson, Shannon Stewart and Eric Chavez are among the hot hitters who have spearheaded the recent Oakland offensive explosion. All are good pickups, as is Seattle outfielder Jose Guillen, who is hitting .391/.462/.522 during the past week.

Fantasy Game Notes for Thursday: National League

PNC Park (outdoor) 12:35 p.m. ET (40 percent chance of thunderstorms, high of 81 degrees)
Ben Sheets, RHP (10-3, 3.19 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) versus
Tom Gorzelanny, LHP (8-4, 3.05 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Xavier Nady, OF, (foot, day-to-day); J.J. Hardy, SS, (illness, day-to-day)

Game Story: Ben Sheets has been incredible lately. Use only Jason Bay (8-for-20 lifetime versus Sheets) in this matchup. Tom Gorzelanny has been excellent as well. He's allowed more than three runs only three times all year, and never more than five. The Brewers hit lefties well, but Gorzelanny should still be safe to use. This one shapes up to be a pitching duel. Play only the major Brewers hitters, including the hot-hitting Bill Hall and Ryan Braun.

Petco Park (outdoor) 3:35 p.m. ET (patchy fog, high of 77 degrees)
Byung-Hyun Kim, RHP (3-4, 5.37 ERA, 1.60 WHIP) versus
Jake Peavy, RHP (9-2, 2.09 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Milton Bradley, OF, (oblique, DL); Terrmel Sledge, OF, (thumb, day-to-day)

Game Story: Padres ace and Cy Young favorite Jake Peavy is sure to hold up his end in this matchup, but don't overlook Kim. The Korean right-hander has pitched decently, if inconsistently, since joining the Marlins and could fare well in Petco against a Padres team that hasn't been swinging the bats well of late. Kim makes for a decent spot start for those in deep leagues. Needless to say, bench all but the best Marlins hitters against Peavy. This usually means only Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez, but Josh Willingham is worth a look here, as well. Start all the Padres hitters whom you normally would, and include Brian Giles, who's been having a big week at the plate.

RFK Stadium (outdoor) 7:05 p.m. ET (50 percent chance of thunderstorms, low of 72 degrees)
Sean Marshall, LHP (4-3, 3.50 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) versus
Jason Bergmann, RHP (1-5, 3.47 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Overachieving starters collide in this matchup of National League clubs headed in opposite directions. The Cubs have won nine of 10, scoring 59 runs in the past eight games. Use Bergmann only in the deepest of leagues, and play all of your Cubs, including Mark DeRosa, who is on a tear this week. The Nationals, meanwhile, have dropped eight of ten and haven't scored more than three runs during that span. Sean Marshall may not be able to keep his pace all year, but he should get the green light in this one. Play only the Nationals hitters whom you must. This is another game that could get rained out, so double check the weather before setting your lineup.

Great American Ball Park (outdoor) 7:10 p.m. ET (20 percent chance of thunderstorms, low of 63 degrees)
Matt Morris, RHP (7-4, 3.25 ERA, 1.37 WHIP) versus
Bronson Arroyo, RHP (2-9, 4.89 ERA, 1.49 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Vinnie Chulk, RP, (bereavement, out)

Game Story: Both starters have been surprising this year, Morris for his excellent comeback season and Arroyo for his shocking ineffectiveness. Neither is recommended here. Ryan Klesko has had the hot hand for the Giants lately and makes for a good pickup. No Reds hitters stand out other than Ken Griffey Jr., who has owned Morris in his career. However, Adam Dunn is hitting .179 with 15 strikeouts in 39 at-bats against Morris, so he may be a candidate for a day off if you have another option.

Busch Stadium (outdoor) 7:15 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, low of 70 degrees)
Doug Davis, LHP (5-9, 4.29 ERA, 1.75 WHIP) versus
Adam Wainwright, RHP (6-7, 4.81 ERA, 1.56 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: Scott Spiezio, RP, (finger, out)

Game Story: Wainwright is improving, but he's not yet recommended. Davis, meanwhile, is almost never recommended. There could be some runs scored in this one. Both teams have hit the ball well recently. The D-backs hit right-handers much better than lefties, and both teams' top hitters, like Albert Pujols and Eric Byrnes, have had the hot hand. Also hitting well lately is Orlando Hudson.

Minute Maid Park (indoor/retractable roof) 8:05 p.m. ET
John Maine, RHP (9-4, 2.74 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) versus
Jason Jennings, RHP (1-3, 3.69 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Maine has been incredible this year, and no Astros hitters have more than seven at-bats against him. The Mets, in contrast, are very familiar with Jennings, and many of them have had success against the Houston right-hander. Paul Lo Duca (10-for-25, 2 HR, 2 2B versus Jennings) is an especially good option. While the Mets would seem to have the advantage in the pitching matchup, it's the Astros who have been swinging the bats better of late. Leading the way are Craig Biggio, Mark Loretta and Mike Lamb. All are good spot starts here, even against Maine.

Dodger Stadium (outdoor) 10:10 p.m. ET (clear, low of 66 degrees)
Tim Hudson, RHP (8-5, 3.18 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) versus
Brad Penny, RHP (10-1, 2.00 ERA, 1.12 WHIP)

Notable Injuries: none

Game Story: Hudson has rebounded from his slump with back-to-back one-run outings. That could mean that this one will be low-scoring, as Penny leads the majors in ERA. The only hitters on either side who have had any success against these starters are the superstars like Andruw Jones, so put only your studs in the lineup for this Dodger Stadium pitchers' duel.

Waiver Wire Pickups

Melky Cabrera, OF, NYY versus Minnesota Twins
J. D. Drew, OF, BOS versus Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Kevin Millar, 1B, BAL @ Chicago White Sox
Howie Kendrick, 2B, LAA @ Texas Rangers
Shannon Stewart, OF, OAK versus Seattle Mariners
Jack Cust, DH, OAK versus Seattle Mariners
Dan Johnson, 1B, OAK versus Seattle Mariners
Eric Chavez, 3B, OAK versus Seattle Mariners
Jose Guillen, OF, SEA @ Oakland Athletics
Brian Giles, OF, SD versus Florida Marlins
Josh Willingham, OF, FLA @ San Diego Padres
Mark DeRosa, 2B, CHC @ Washington Nationals
Sean Marshall, SP, CHC @ Washington Nationals
Ryan Klesko, 1B, SF @ Cincinnati Reds
Orlando Hudson, 2B, ARI @ St. Louis Cardinals
Mike Lamb, 1B, HOU versus New York Mets
Craig Biggio, OF, HOU versus New York Mets
Mark Loretta, SS, HOU versus New York Mets
Paul Lo Duca, C, NYM @ Houston Astros

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