With rivalry weekend in full gear, there are plenty of interesting matchups around the majors as most teams march out an ace pitcher on Saturday. Brandon Webb is coming off two rough starts to take on rookie Andrew Miller. The Subway Series features ace lefties Johan Santana and Andy Pettitte. Former Phillies pitcher Vicente Padilla tackles his old club's new ace in Cole Hamels. The Battle of the Bay features the sensational Tim Lincecum and the major league ERA leader Justin Duchscherer. Two surprising young lefties square off in D.C.
Plenty to choose from on the mound also means you have to be very selective with your hitters. So keep an eye on which members of your offense might be caught up in a pitchers duel.
Matchups for Saturday, June 28
Alfredo Amezaga, OF, Marlins (groin)
Hank Blalock, 3B, Rangers (wrist)
Milton Bradley, OF, Rangers (quadriceps)
Johnny Damon, OF, Yankees (foot)
J.D. Drew, OF, Red Sox (neck)
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, Reds (back)
Yunel Escobar, 2B/3B/SS, Braves (shoulder)
Kosuke Fukudome, OF, Cubs (calf)
Eric Gagne, RP, Brewers (shoulder)
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B, Royals (back)
Vladimir Guerrero, OF, Angels (flu)
Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers (knee)
Mark Mulder, SP, Cardinals (shoulder)
Omar Infante, 2B/3B, Braves (hamstring)
Maicer Izturis, 2B/3B/SS, Angels (hamstring)
Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves (quadriceps)
Hideki Matsui, OF, Yankees (knee)
Xavier Nady, OF, Pirates (shoulder)
Matt Stairs, 1B/OF, Blue Jays (calf)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: With the Rays, Orioles, Red Sox, Mariners and Angels in National League parks, look for DHs Cliff Floyd, Aubrey Huff, Coco Crisp, Jose Vidro and Gary Matthews Jr. to take a seat for these games. An ailing Hideki Matsui likely gets the day off for the Yankees. ... Don't think twice about Placido Polanco, Carlos Guillen or Edgar Renteria. The trio of Tigers lead the way for Detroit when it comes to hitting lefties like Jeff Francis. ... The same meaningful National League hitters likely will get spot starts thanks to the addition of the DH that my colleague Tristan Cockcroft pointed out in Friday's Notes: Jeff Baker (Rockies), Craig Counsell (Brewers), Norris Hopper (Reds), Nick Stavinoha (Cardinals), Daryle Ward (Cubs) and Jayson Werth (Phillies). Ward in particular stands out because of his 9-for-24 (.375) with four home runs history versus Javier Vazquez. ... Maybe don't expect too much out of Johnny Damon. Not only does he have to go up against Johan Santana, but he is dealing with a sore foot the day after a doubleheader. Watch how much he gets used on Friday before marching him out on Saturday. ... Players expected in the lineup on Friday, but should still be checked on include: J.D. Drew, Milton Bradley and Vladimir Guerrero. However, Edwin Encarnacion is less likely to be ready.
Pitchers: Not that the Blue Jays' offense is all that threatening to begin with, but Tim Hudson should have another decent interleague outing (something rare for him) on Saturday. Hudson is 1-10 in 13 interleague starts for Atlanta, with that one win coming thanks to seven shutout innings versus Seattle in his most recent start. However, Hudson is also 10-2 against the Blue Jays with a 2.61 ERA in 14 career starts. ... The Rangers might have the best OPS of any team in June, but they aren't so hot over the past week or versus left-handers. Cole Hamels doesn't come with any asterisks for this start. ... Javier Vazquez is going through a rough spell, and the Cubs' offense can only exacerbate things. Vazquez has been charged with four earned runs or more in all of his June starts, including a June 22 start against the Cubs. Until his walks come back down and strikeouts go back up, you might want to have an extra close look at all of Vazquez's starts. ... Andy Pettitte is on fire and there is no reason to hold him back against the Mets. Pettitte hasn't allowed a run in 19 innings coming into this start and his stretch of quality pitching goes back even further if you toss out that bizarre 12-11 game versus Kansas City. Carlos Delgado (21-for-63, .333 with five home runs), Carlos Beltran (14-for-37, .378) and David Wright (7-for-16, .438) might hit him above average, but the rest of the Mets wallow near the Mendoza Line against Pettitte. ... Jon Lester seems to have turned a corner in June, as he is now getting into the seventh inning on a consistent basis. He already plays for a great offense and his short outings were the only thing keeping him from being a must-start fantasy pitcher. The Astros can be tough on lefties, but so can the Phillies, Cardinals and Orioles, teams that are all Lester's victims already this month. ... Jered Weaver loves taking on the rival Dodgers in interleague play; he is 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in three starts against them. Definitely start Weaver here; you'll be able to pick him up in some leagues with his ownership slipping to 66 percent.
Hitters: Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 2-for-3 with a home run versus Cole Hamels, and Ramon Hernandez (owned in 14 percent of leagues) is hitting .333 against lefties (John Lannan). Those are two names to look for, for help at catcher. ... For your corner infield spots, consider Fernando Tatis and his .333 average versus lefties (Andy Pettitte) this season for the Mets, or Dmitri Young, who is hitting .342 against lefties (Garrett Olson) and available in 98 percent of ESPN leagues. ... At middle infield, look for Ty Wigginton (owned in 12 percent of ESPN leagues) and his .350 average versus lefties (Jon Lester); or in deeper leagues, try Matt Macri who platoons against left-hander(Manny Parra) for Minnesota and is hitting .409 against them this season. ... In the outfield, Jim Edmonds has a good history against Javier Vazquez (8-for-20, with two home runs) and has been hitting better lately. Mike Cameron has four home runs in 40 at-bats versus Livan Hernandez and is available in 80 percent of leagues. Geoff Jenkins is a .353 hitter against Vicente Padilla in 17 at-bats.
Pitchers: The Braves drop from .793 in OPS versus right-handers, to .715 versus lefties and might be missing Chipper Jones and/or Yunel Escobar. After also noting that Mark Teixeira is a .200 hitter at Rogers Centre (65 career at-bats) and also isn't hitting lefties this season (.223), John Parrish is starting to look like a decent gamble in AL-only leagues or some deep-mixed formats. He hasn't started a game in the majors since 2004, but Parrish is 10-1 with a 2.74 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 82 innings this year for the Jays' Triple-A affiliate. ... John Lannan might have a streak of five straight quality starts going for him, but the Orioles' offense surprises against lefties with a .798 OPS, fifth-best in the majors. Consider than Lannan's offense has been unable to provide him with a win during that stretch of games, and the potential payoff is even less. ... Part in parcel with my concerns about starting Lannan, is the plan to spot start Garrett Olson. Washington struggles against all pitchers, but lefties are a particular problem. Olson has been hit and miss this season, but has managed to limit damage against him in most starts. Look at him as a cheap win off your wire. ... The Brewers certainly bailed out Manny Parra in his most recent outing, but the rookie lefty should fare better in this matchup. The Twins can barely get a bat on the ball versus left-handers, with only the Blue Jays and A's posting a lower OPS so far this season against southpaws. Although Parra's ERA is much better at home (2.75 at Miller Park, 7.24 away), Minneapolis isn't too far away and he still gets to pitch indoors. ... The Reds have struggled with righties, as their OPS versus them has fallen to 26th in the majors (.697). Paul Byrd might have a line that shows four earned runs over seven innings in his last outing, but really he recovered to pitch seven shutout innings as all four runs were scored before he recorded an out in the eighth. On a day with so many starting pitchers already owned in most fantasy leagues, Byrd isn't a bad bet off the waiver wire. ... Edwin Jackson will come off his suspension to pitch against the Pirates, and should be considered worthy of a start. Pittsburgh hasn't even named their starter yet, but it likely will be John Van Benschoten coming off three days rest out of Triple-A. That should mean easy pickings for the Rays, as they'll get into the Pirates sub-par bullpen rather quickly. Jackson looked solid in his previous outing against Houston and should hang in for a quality start and win. ... Andrew Miller had another rookie hiccup in his previous start, but more and more often he is coming out and keeping his composure to log quality performance. Miller has a seven-inning shutout in the books against Arizona already this season (May 22), and the Diamondbacks aren't swinging hot bats anyway (.635 OPS in June, worst in league). ... Although it's looking less likely as Saturday approaches, there is a chance Mark Mulder starts for St. Louis instead of rookie Mitchell Boggs. Mulder was roughed up in a recent rehab start, so the Cardinals might be holding off on bringing him back into the rotation just yet. In shallower leagues, Mulder can be given a wait-and-see approach, but he should already be on rosters in deep-mixed or NL-only leagues. I still wouldn't be starting him, though. ... Not only is Vicente Padilla 8-1 in his last 11 starts, but he has a 3.00 ERA at home and gets to face his former team for the first time. I don't know that he outpitches Cole Hamels, but Padilla is certainly worth a spot in most leagues. ... Cha Seung Baek faces his former team, and he knows as well as anyone that Seattle can't hit righties (.660 OPS, worst in majors). Feel free to use the Korean righty, as even in a loss to the Tigers in his last outing, he managed to strike out seven batters.
The biggest weather concern will be a disturbance with isolated thunderstorms moving through the Ohio Valley. Games in Detroit (Rockies-Tigers), Cleveland (Reds-Indians) and Pittsburgh (Rays-Pirates) have a 60 percent chance of being affected by the storms. ... Thunderstorms are also possible, though only 30 percent likely, in Chicago (Cubs-White Sox), Washington (Orioles-Nationals), Miami (Diamondbacks-Marlins) and Arlington (Phillies-Rangers). ... Weather-proof games will be played in Toronto (Braves-Blue Jays), Houston (Red Sox-Astros) and Minnesota (Brewers-Twins).
Sean Allen is a fantasy baseball and hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.