Jeremy Hermida (hamstring) was expected to be available when he was eligible to return from the disabled list Saturday, but he isn't quite ready. Hermida had a triple-slash line of .340/.401/.555 after the All-Star break last season, but he also was limited to just 429 at-bats all season because of injuries. His likely absence helps Tim Redding's chances to successfully follow up his seven-inning shutout of the Phillies, as well as an even more surprising 3.64 ERA in 84 innings dating back to last season. Elsewhere, Ted Lilly and Tom Gorzelanny will have an old-fashioned lefty duel; the recurring theme of Matt Cain's lack of run support threatens to rear its ugly head again; and Cole Hamels has a good shot at his eighth career double-digit strikeout game while facing the Reds. Let's begin.
Matchups for Monday, April 7
All times are ET. Statistics are from the 2007 regular season.
Lance Berkman, 1B, Astros (neck)
Chris Duncan, OF, Cardinals (hamstring)
Jason Giambi, 1B, Yankees (groin)
Brendan Harris, 2B, Twins (illness)
Kelly Johnson, 2B, Braves (knee)
Victor Martinez, C, Indians (hamstring)
Freddy Sanchez, 2B, Pirates (shoulder)
Javier Valentin, C, Reds (hamstring)
Ty Wigginton, 2B/3B, Astros (thumb)
Jack Wilson, SS, Pirates (calf)
Dmitri Young, 1B, Nationals (back)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: The lone thing Troy Glaus could do well last year was destroy lefties, just as he has done consistently his entire career. He had nine home runs and hit .361/.476/.759 in 83 at-bats last season against southpaws, so consider him a must-start against Houston's Wandy Rodriguez, especially considering Minute Maid Park also boosts righty power. Andrew Miller simply isn't major league-ready, so decent hitters who can hit lefties well will continue to profit. For the Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman and Lastings Milledge make the strongest starts. In his brief major league career, Ryan Garko has shown a distinct ability to hit left-handed pitching (.330/.407/.537 with nine home runs in 188 at-bats). Having a nondescript, soft-tossing lefty such as Joe Saunders on the mound gives you a good opportunity to get Garko in your lineup.
Pitchers: Bronson Arroyo has allowed 51 home runs the past two seasons, and facing one of the majors' elite offenses (Phillies have second-highest team OPS in 2007) in a hitters' park is a hazardous situation.
Matt Cain has a lot of things going for him: a career 3.28 ERA and 1.19 WHIP at AT&T Park; a career 2.07 ERA and 0.93 WHIP versus Monday's opponent, the Padres; and, as a predominantly right-handed team, the Padres struggle against righties (26th in team OPS against them in 2007). Expect Cain's dominance to continue.
The Twins finished second-to-last in home runs hit and 27th in slugging percentage last season and have lost Torii Hunter to departure and Michael Cuddyer to injury since then. That means Javier Vazquez's biggest problem, his propensity to allow home runs, is no longer an issue and a superb start should be in the cards.
Hitters: Xavier Nady is fairly streaky, and he's off to a hot start. He improved against right-handers last season, and both his homers this year have come against righties. But for his career, he hits lefties much better (.320), so he is a good bet against the Cubs' Ted Lilly on Monday.
Pitchers: Though it won't take much for any pitcher to become worth mentioning when facing the Giants, Greg Maddux is an especially worthy spot start. He had a 1.86 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in three starts last season against San Francisco, and sadly enough, this year's lineup is demonstrably weaker. Carlos Silva is probably the best of a weak crop of spot starters; the Orioles' offense takes a lot of bashing, but the hitting finished closer to the middle of the pack than not in OPS last season (.746, 18th). But Silva is a decent pitcher, too, so a quality start isn't out of the realm of possibility, either.
The Rockies-Braves game will be threatened seriously by showers all day in Denver on Monday. Otherwise, the weather should take a back seat to the games.
Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com.