Aces Jake Peavy and Brad Penny share the mound in San Diego after neither of them gave up an earned run in their first start of the season. It should be interesting to see who breaks first. The debut of Manny Parra in Milwaukee will have strikeout-hungry fantasy owners watching intently.
Matchups for Saturday, April 5
All times are ET. Statistics are from the 2007 regular season.
Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Tigers (quadriceps)
David DeJesus, OF, Royals (ankle)
Chris Duncan, OF, Cardinals (hamstring)
Tony Gwynn, OF, Brewers (hamstring)
Conor Jackson, 1B, Diamondbacks (illness)
Kelly Johnson, 2B, Braves (knee)
Jorge Posada, C, Yankees (shoulder)
Gary Sheffield, DH, Tigers (finger)
Jack Wilson, SS, Pirates (calf)
Dmitri Young, 1B, Nationals (back)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: Kevin Millwood owns Chone Figgins. Normally I won't recommend benching a top-50 draft choice, but Figgins is 0-for-17 lifetime against Millwood without so much as a walk. Forget about Austin Kearns when Adam Wainwright is on the mound. Kearns is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts versus the Cardinals ace. Corey Patterson is a lowly 2-for-12 (.167) in his career versus Adam Eaton. Carlos Delgado hammers Tom Glavine (10-for-17, .588). Think twice about all your Dodgers. Jake Peavy dials it up an extra notch against L.A. The current Dodgers team hits a combined .200 against Peavy (in 215 at-bats) with only James Loney and Nomar Garciaparra (DL) better than .257. Josh Willingham is 0-for-9 against Paul Maholm, while Dan Uggla is 3-for-8 with two home runs against him. A matchup with Brandon Webb is just what Brad Hawpe needs. While fellow Rockies Matt Holliday, Garrett Atkins and Troy Tulowitzki all hit Webb below .250 in their respective careers, Hawpe is 13-for-38 (.342) with four home runs.
Pitchers: Andy Pettitte is coming off the DL and possibly limited in his pitch-count, so it might be wise to watch this start and see how he looks ... while he's firmly planted on your bench.
Clay Buchholz had a decent outing against the Blue Jays last season, and fellow rookie Phil Hughes had a solid line against the Jays on Thursday. Start Buchholz.
I think Dontrelle Willis is all right for this matchup. The only White Sox who have seen much of him (Jim Thome, Orlando Cabrera) can't hit him (combined 7-for-40, .175). Not to mention the fact that the only White Sox hitter who managed better than .300 against left-handed pitching last season is in the minors (Josh Fields).
Jeff Francis is not only thankful that he gets a mulligan on his first start (rainout), but also the fact that the two Diamondbacks who hit him well in their careers could both be out of the lineup: Chad Tracy is on the DL and Conor Jackson may have pneumonia.
Hitters: Get Emil Brown into your lineup for some cheap pop. In a nice sample size of 41 career at-bats, Brown is hitting .341 against C.C. Sabathia. With Chris Duncan sidelined, Skip Schumaker is almost assured some at-bats; especially versus a southpaw (Matt Chico). Pedro Feliz whiffs at almost everything Aaron Harang throws (.111). If you are using Feliz in deep leagues, leave him out of this one. Randy Winn batted .351 versus left-handed pitching last season and gets to face a rookie in his first big-league start. Not a bad day to start Luis Castillo, as he has managed a career .384 average against Tom Glavine (73 at-bats). There may not be much power in his numbers, but Brian Giles hits Brad Penny very well (.345/.500/.414). Pirates catcher Ronny Paulino should get the call with left-hander Mark Hendrickson on the hill for Florida. Paulino smacked left-handed pitching at a .407 clip last season. Ben Broussard has strong numbers against Jered Weaver (.368 average in 19 at-bats).
Pitchers: It may be Manny Parra's first big league start, but if you are not confident enough to use him against the anemic Giants, when are you going to use him?
If you were thinking about Jason Marquis for a spot-start win, think again. Lance Berkman single-handedly destroys Marquis (19-for-37, .514 with 13 RBIs in his career).
Kevin Correia had good peripherals last season, especially in the eight games he started (2.6 K/9), but I'd be more comfortable recommending him after we've seen a start or two.
I'm going to be recommending Jesse Litsch a lot this season, but I think a wait-and-see approach is fair when it comes to facing the Red Sox.
Already with a save under his belt this season, Miguel Batista is the winner of the daily "who pitches against the Orioles, and is therefore a spot-start candidate" sweepstakes. Considering that he comes with more strikeouts than many pitchers, I'd consider him in deep leagues.
I'm not going to recommend Adam Loewen as an option, but I am going to suggest keeping a close eye on him. He is flying under the radar this season.
There may be thunderstorms in the forecast for Atlanta and Miami, but both games could be spared. In Georgia the storm is supposed to give way to light showers by the time the first pitch on the Mets/Braves games is shown. In South Florida, there is a chance of isolated thunderstorms all day, but it's only a slight chance. There could be showers in Baltimore through the afternoon, as well. There could also be a wet field in New York, as the rain isn't supposed to give way until just before the Rays/Yankees matchup.
Sean Allen is a fantasy baseball and hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.