Fantasy Game Notes for Tuesday: American League
Game Story: Aces collide at Fenway in this American League East matchup. The Jays are clinging to playoff contention while the Sox are trying to hold off the Yankees, so expect injured sluggers Ramirez and Glaus to play if at all possible. Neither Beckett nor Halladay is in top form right now, but both are formidable enough to warrant benching all but the star hitters from both sides.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Bonderman has been getting shelled with regularity since late July, but seems to finally be coming out of his slump with a one-run outing against the Royals last time out. It's time to reactivate him if you have him. Garland has been abysmal for two months. He pitched better in his most recent start, but he still belongs on the bench. Play all Tigers hitters here, but use only the better White Sox hitters against Bonderman. Sox outfielder Jerry Owens is still a solid addition for those seeking stolen bases.
Notable Injuries: Andy Phillips, 1B, (wrist, day-to-day)
Game Story: The Yankees are not fans of left-handed pitching, but Ramirez hasn't pitched well enough to be a threat to any lineup. Get all your Yankees activated, including Melky Cabrera, who is hitting .391 during the past seven games. Wang has been very sharp in his past two outings, so play only the better Mariners in this matchup.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: This game reprises last week's pitching matchup at Camden Yards. Kazmir didn't fare too well in that one, allowing five runs and 10 baserunners in five innings. However, given his 50 strikeouts and 13 walks in six August starts he should be active Tuesday. Guthrie was hit hard in the August 30 matchup as well, and he's been up-and-down lately. He still ranks 11th in the American League in ERA and seventh in WHIP, but his 6.23 August ERA means that you should avoid him right now. Play only the necessary Orioles here, but play all of your Devil Rays hitters. Delmon Young is a quality pickup here, as the young outfielder is hitting .433/.471/.567 this week.
Notable Injuries: Frank Catalanotto, OF, (groin, day-to-day)
Game Story: Royals prospect Billy Buckner (no relation to the former Red Sox first baseman) enters the rotation this week in place of Leo Nunez. He has some promise, but isn't recommended against a Rangers squad that's hit very well in the past two weeks. Millwood is coming off his strongest month and has really turned his season around with a respectable second half. He's recommended here against the Royals, whom he beat with seven innings of one-run ball back on August 14. Play the Royals hitters whom you normally would, and pick up the Rangers' Ian Kinsler. The second baseman has been practically AWOL since April, but is starting to heat up again. Also keep an eye on the weather report, as heavy rain is possible. If the skies aren't clearing by your transaction deadline, you may want to replace your active Rangers and Royals rather than risk empty lineup slots.
Notable Injuries: Joe Mauer, C, (hamstring, day-to-day)
Game Story: Slowey hasn't looked that good in seven starts this year, but he's dominated Triple-A all season, so he's back for another shot at major league hitters. Neither he nor Laffey are recommended here. Play all of your hitters from both sides. Twins catcher Mike Redmond has been hitting well during Joe Mauer's latest absence and is an option in deeper leagues if it looks like Mauer can't go Tuesday. Kenny Lofton is a solid choice from the Cleveland side, especially for those chasing runs and steals.
Notable Injuries: Chone Figgins, 3B, (wrist, day-to-day)
Game Story: DiNardo had a great start to the year, and his overall numbers still look decent. However, he's been fading badly as the season has progressed. In 10 second-half starts, DiNardo has barely averaged five innings per outing and has struck out only 17 batters while walking 18. He and his 4.78 August ERA are to be avoided. Weaver, on the other hand, has been brilliant in his past two turns, tossing a combined 14 innings while serving up only one earned run. Grab Weaver and a few of his offensive teammates in this mismatch. Garret Anderson has stayed hot since his big 10-RBI day 11 games ago. He's hitting .391/.448/.870 with three home runs during the past week. Howie Kendrick and Kendry Morales have also been hot, sparking an Angels' offense that's scored 44 runs in six games. Grab those two as well, and keep your Oakland hitters on the bench against Weaver.
Fantasy Game Notes for Tuesday: National League
Notable Injuries: Josh Willingham, OF, (back, day-to-day)
Game Story: Willis hasn't been effective all year and isn't recommended right now, even against the Nationals. Hill returned from the disabled list in August looking like a man on a mission, allowing three earned runs and 15 baserunners in his first three starts back, a span of 20 innings. He was hit hard by the Dodgers last time out, however, and is a risky play here. Jeremy Hermida is a choice pickup here. He's hitting .353/.424/.572 in the second half and seems poised for a big September. Play all of the other hitters whom you normally would from both sides.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Perez has had some control problems of late, walking 17 batters in his past four starts. His strikeout totals have remained high, however, and he's been effective despite the wildness. He still ranks ninth in the National League in both ERA and strikeouts. Use him here if you have him, especially since the Reds don't hit left-handed pitching well. Play only the top Reds hitters. Belisle had one of his better outings of the year last time out against the Pirates, but still isn't recommended. Moises Alou has wielded a hot bat for the Mets lately and is a solid choice in this matchup. Carlos Delgado is available in very few leagues, but if you're one of the Delgado owners who's had him benched due to his recent slump, it's time to put him back in. He's heating up.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Neither starter has been effective recently, nor did either manage to throw seven innings in any August start. It's the offenses that you'll want to mine for pickups here, starting with the red-hot Jayson Werth. Making the most of Shane Victorino's nagging injury, Werth has hit .409/.505/.613 with three home runs and four steals in 93 second-half at-bats. He's been even better during the past week, with an OPS of 1.293. He should be in nearly all lineups right now, as should Pat Burrell, whom I've been recommending all year. Four of Burrell's past five hits have left the park! On fire for the opposition is Atlanta outfielder Matt Diaz. He's smacked three homers this week to accompany his nifty .409/.435/.955 line.
Notable Injuries: Damian Miller, C, (calf, day-to-day)
Game Story: Backe is returning to the hill less than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Brewers don't hit right-handers very well, but Backe hasn't looked all that great in his rehab starts in the minors, so avoid him until he proves he's ready. Villanueva isn't a very good play, either. He's been decent this year, but is making just his second start of the season and his first since June 13. Those in need of outfield help should consider Corey Hart, whose hot hitting helped the Brewers sweep the Pirates and get back on track in the playoff race.
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: Ignore Trachsel's ERA and WHIP. His 69 walks and 45 strikeouts tell the only story you need to know. Avoid him at all cost. Penny may not be such a great bet either. He hasn't been sharp in either of his past two starts. I wouldn't be completely afraid to use him, but if you have a great alternative, a day off for Penny might not be a bad thing. Get all of your Dodgers in the lineup, and make sure you include James Loney, who's been swinging a hot bat of late. Matt Murton is a potential addition for those in deeper leagues. He's not expected to see that much playing time now that Craig Monroe is in town, but he has seven hits -- including two homers -- in his past 10 at-bats.
Busch Stadium (outdoor) 8:10 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, low of 71 degrees)
Game Story: Neither of these consistently mediocre starters has been terrible lately, but neither has been consistently effective. Pineiro probably has the better skills and better recent track record, so if you need to take a shot on a spot starter, he's the better choice. An even better idea would be to abandon the starters and cram your lineup with hitters from both sides. Rick Ankiel has been hammering the ball this week, bating .500 and slugging .833 with two home runs. Aaron Miles has also wielded a very hot bat, and he'll get plenty of playing time with several Cardinals sidelined by injuries.
Coors Field (outdoor) 8:35 p.m. ET (partly cloudy, low of 60 degrees)
Tim Lincecum, RHP (7-4, 3.87 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) versus
Franklin Morales, LHP (0-2, 4.40 ERA, 1.81 WHIP)
Notable Injuries: none
Game Story: There's more raw talent taking the mound in this game than in any other National League matchup, but you still want to pass on activating either hurler for this thin-air affair. Lincecum is a better bet to succeed than the unproven Morales, but San Francisco may be disadvantaged by the Rockies' preference for facing right-handers. Get all hitters from both sides in the lineup here.
Game Story: This matchup features the same starters who faced each other on August 30. That game marked Young's return to the rotation following a back injury, and he was not effective. Young walked six Diamondbacks in 4.1 innings. I'd probably use him here if I had him, but he's a risky play as long as his back appears to still be bothering him. Davis has been sharp recently, but left-handers aren't recommended against the Padres. Mike Cameron is the Padres hitter who has seen the most of Davis in his career, and he has owned the Diamondbacks lefty. He also has a .997 OPS and two home runs this week, so snatch him up.
Waiver Wire Pickups
Melky Cabrera, OF, NYY versus Seattle Mariners
Delmon Young, OF, TB versus Baltimore Orioles
Kenny Lofton, OF, CLE @ Minnesota Twins
Jered Weaver, SP, LAA versus Oakland Athletics
Garret Anderson, OF, LAA versus Oakland Athletics
Kendry Morales, 1B, LAA versus Oakland Athletics
Howie Kendrick, 2B, LAA versus Oakland Athletics
Ian Kinsler, 2B, TEX versus Kansas City Royals
Jeremy Hermida, OF, FLA @ Washington Nationals
Moises Alou, OF, NYM @ Cincinnati Reds
Corey Hart, OF, MIL versus Houston Astros
Mike Cameron, OF, SD @ Arizona Diamonbacks
Rick Ankiel, OF, STL versus Pittsburgh Pirates
Aaron Miles, 2B, STL versus Pittsburgh Pirates
James Loney, 1B, LAD @ Chicago Cubs
Matt Diaz, OF, ATL versus Philadelphia Phillies
Jayson Werth, OF, PHI @ Atlanta Braves
Pat Burrell, OF, PHI @ Atlanta Braves
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