All but four of the 30 MLB teams get a rest on Monday, but at least we are left with some interesting interleague matchups: the Brewers against the Indians and the Angels versus the Giants. All four starters have some use in fantasy leagues, even if the day's top-ranked pitcher is owned in less than a fifth of ESPN leagues. That's just an opportunity to spot start for some value to a shrewd owner, of course.
Starting pitcher rankings for
Rk.: The author's ranking of that pitcher for that day only. T: Pitcher throws left-handed or right-handed. W-L: Pitcher's win-loss record. ERA: Pitcher's earned run average. WHIP: Pitcher's average number of walks plus hits surrendered per inning. K/9: Pitcher's average number of strikeouts per nine innings. OPSA: Pitcher's on-base plus slugging percentage surrendered to opponents. OPS: Pitcher's opponent's composite team on-base plus slugging percentage. CT%: Pitcher's opponent's success rate putting the ball in play (versus striking out).
Selected notes: It's unfortunate that Carl Pavano had his worst start of the season (4 2/3 innings, nine earned runs versus the Royals, of all teams) after fantasy owners finally picked him up; that's just one of the worst feelings you can ask for. But one can't ignore how well he pitched in his five starts prior to that one, and he has walked fewer than two batters per nine innings this season. The Brewers struggle to make contact (403 strikeouts against right-handed pitching, second in the majors), and facing those weaker National League bats should help, as well. Speaking of weaker NL offenses, that's where the majority of the faith we have in John Lackey lies. There's not much consolation to be found in his performance to date, anyway. The Giants have the worst OPS in the majors against right-handers, and that's against the generally weaker pitching of the NL. If Lackey doesn't look sharp here, then some concern can creep in. Barry Zito has held the Angels' lineup to a .220 average and .654 OPS in 214 at-bats, but it's difficult to weigh just how much was the Zito of old -- ace starter -- or him just having their number. The most convenient thing to do is split it down the middle and leave it at that; toss in his moderate improvement this season, and the Giants' defensive gains, and he's a decent, if unexciting, option. Dave Bush has allowed a home run in eight straight starts; how well do you think that's going to go over with American League hitting? The plus is that the Brewers are second in defensive efficiency, and the Indians don't possess a lot of power against right-handers, so if you squint, you may find a reason to throw him out there, but lesser teams have hit him around in recent weeks (the Reds and the Marlins).
• Aaron Rowand, OF, Giants: He's done well against John Lackey, with six hits in 11 at-bats (.545 average), including a double; he's also been scorching hot the past couple of weeks.
• Pablo Sandoval, 1B/3B, Giants: John Lackey has been pasted by left-handed batters this season, allowing them to hit .433 with three home runs in 67 at-bats, numbers that bode well for the switch-hitting, sweet-hitting first baseman.
• Mike Cameron, OF, Brewers: He's 1-for-10 lifetime with three strikeouts versus Carl Pavano.
• Mike Napoli, C, Angels: Napoli has been struck out by Barry Zito three times in nine at-bats; the most he's ever mustered against the southpaw is a single.
If you're hardcore
• Bill Hall, 3B, Brewers: Hall normally only starts against left-handers, but the Brewers will have the availability of the DH to work with, and manager Ken Macha could see that Hall is 2-for-3 with a double and home run against Carl Pavano and decide to start him.
• Juan Uribe, 2B/3B, Giants: The career .255 hitter is somehow managing to hit .298 in 121 at-bats this season, and after Pablo Sandoval was moved to first base, Uribe became the regular starter at third. Eight of his 12 hits in June have gone for extra bases, and he's 6-for-20 (.300) with four doubles against John Lackey.
• Robb Quinlan, 1B/3B, Angels: While not likely to start, Quinlan is nonetheless a robust 7-for-22 (.318) with three home runs and a double against Barry Zito, and since the game is in San Francisco, Quinlan could have an opportunity to pinch hit and do damage. Or maybe manager Mike Scioscia does look at the numbers and decides to rest one of the many Angels who have not done well against Zito historically; Juan Rivera (.217 in 23 at-bats) and Chone Figgins (.190 in 42) both have had their struggles against the lefty.
Injury list: Out
Injury list: Day-to-day
• Kelvim Escobar, RP, Angels (shoulder): "If he's not ready to pitch by the middle of next week then we'll have to DL him," said manager Mike Scioscia before the Angels' game Thursday at Tampa Bay. Of course, for fantasy purposes, his value went kaput when the Angels placed him in the bullpen due to a tired shoulder; the final six percent of his owners can let go.
• A few light showers (30 percent chance) could be seen in San Francisco, which is the extent of weather problems for the day.
Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com.