A handful of former aces take the mound just a few starts after their returns from the disabled list. Fausto Carmona makes his third start since coming off the disabled list, facing the Rays in what should be a good test of whether his last start versus the Tigers (6 1/3 innings, two earned runs) was real. Chris Young faces a tougher test against the Mets, and Chris Carpenter pitches against the reloaded Dodgers in St. Louis. It will be interesting to see just how long it'll take for players with such a recent track record of success to reclaim such productivity. Fantasy owners are hoping it'll happen sooner rather than later, as all three are owned in a majority of leagues.
Matchups for Tuesday, Aug. 5
All times are ET.
Rick Ankiel, OF, Cardinals (abdominal)
Michael Bourn, OF, Astros (ankle)
Rafael Betancourt, SS, Mariners (elbow)
Milton Bradley, OF, Rangers (quadriceps)
Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees (hand)
Bobby Crosby, SS, Athletics (dizziness)
David DeJesus, OF, Royals (ankle)
Cristian Guzman, SS, Nationals (thumb)
Adam Jones, OF, Orioles (foot)
Mariano Rivera, RP, Yankees (back)
Freddy Sanchez, 2B, Pirates (back)
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals (hand)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Hitters: Bobby Abreu (12 hits in his past 30 at-bats) and Xavier Nady (nine hits in his past four games) seem to be seeing the ball quite well, and they're scheduled to face the Rangers' Matt Harrison, who has just four strikeouts in five starts and has failed to make it past the sixth inning in his past four starts. Lefties are hitting only .193 against Andy Pettitte this season, so Rangers sluggers Josh Hamilton and Chris Davis can take the day off for your team. Zach Duke has allowed a whopping eight home runs in his past five starts, and Mark Reynolds has nine home runs in 110 at-bats against lefties this season. Chris Young also hits left-handers well, as he has a .305 average in 128 at-bats. Aaron Rowand is hitting .347 with six home runs in 98 at-bats against southpaws.
Pitchers: Fausto Carmona had quite the turnaround start versus the Tigers, one of the better offenses in the American League, compared with his disastrous first start after returning from the disabled list. He induced 12 ground balls and five fly balls, compared to three ground balls and three fly balls in his first start. That's a reason for optimism. Your decision to start him Tuesday against the Rays should depend mostly on your risk tolerance, but I think you should buy into Carmona and lean toward inserting him into your active lineup.
Six of Edinson Volquez's 10 home runs allowed have been hit in his past four starts, including two in his most recent outing against the Astros. That's worrisome as he faces the Brewers, who are fourth in the majors in home runs. You still have to play him.
Chris Young had a successful return from the disabled list with eight strikeouts and two hits allowed versus the Diamondbacks, but he gets a steep test against the Mets on Tuesday. Take a wait-and-see approach, especially because he's not in the confines of Petco Park.
Any pitcher coming off a start in which he allowed nine earned runs will draw a second glance his next time around, but Andy Pettitte happened to draw the best offense in the majors. The Rangers hit much worse against southpaws, but it's still not worth starting Pettitte, who has a 8.10 ERA in six starts in Rangers Ballpark.
Chris Carpenter threw just 67 pitches in his first start back, so keep him reserved for at least one more start.
Although Jonathan Sanchez had an ugly July (8.57 ERA in five starts), almost every team he faced is proficient against lefties. (The exception is the Mets, but they had a torrid offense in July.) Sanchez still struck out more than a batter per inning, and there's a good chance he'll rebound against the struggling Braves (and the volatile Mike Hampton).
Hitters: Reed Johnson is a decent fill-in because he'll face a left-hander Tuesday. He's hitting .344 against southpaws. With eight home runs in 101 at-bats, Cody Ross has some pop against lefties, and Jamie Moyer is definitely homer-prone.
Pitchers: Jamie Moyer sports an impressive 2.79 ERA in his past nine starts, and the Marlins are hitting only .230 against southpaws, last in the majors. In three starts versus the Marlins this year, Moyer has a 3.00 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. He's of the day's safer spot starts.
Even though Mike Pelfrey got roughed up for five runs in four innings against the Marlins in his last outing, he has a 2.70 ERA in his past six starts with 28 strikeouts and just three walks. The Padres are a cupcake matchup, and Pelfrey is showing some long-term potential.
Even though Scott Baker has allowed 16 home runs in 102 innings -- including five in his past four starts -- he's striking out enough batters to make up for it. Baker struck out 37 in 39 innings in July, and since returning from the disabled list in June, he has a 3.26 ERA. He's a good pickup for his start against the Mariners and beyond unless his home run problems catch up with him.
There's a chance of thunderstorms in a number of areas, most significantly in Cincinnati (Brewers-Reds), where there is a 50 percent chance of rain. The Nationals-Rockies and Marlins-Phillies matchups also may deal with precipitation, as there's a 40 percent chance of rain for each of those contests. The Astros-Cubs game may see some rain, as there's a 30 percent chance through the early afternoon, although weather should be fine in time for the White Sox's night game. The Dodgers-Cardinals also have a 30 percent chance of storms.
Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com