Perfection is impossible to predict, and as we saw in Detroit on Wednesday, even harder to achieve, even when you actually have achieved it! Armando Galarraga was in the minors until mid-May and in his prior start allowed five earned runs in less than five innings, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The start before his perfect game, Dallas Braden allowed 11 hits in a loss to the Texas Rangers. Roy Halladay's precursor to perfection was a game in which he allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings, losing to the Boston Red Sox. Odds are good we won't be seeing yet another pitcher flirting with the rarest of pitching feats Friday, but that doesn't mean a guy like 0-5 Justin Masterson of the Cleveland Indians won't be giving it his best shot. That's right, the gauntlet has been thrown. Go out and put the master in Masterson, Justin. Prove me to be perfectly wrong with these rankings for Friday's action:
Starting pitcher rankings for June 4
Rk.: The author's ranking of that pitcher for that day only. T: Pitcher throws left-handed or right-handed. Opp: The pitcher's opponent for the day. Rating: The starting pitcher's matchup rating -- separate from the author's ranking -- which accounts for past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days), opponent and ballpark. Ratings range from 1-10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. 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.
• At the top: After Halladay, it's Adam Wainwright against the Milwaukee Brewers, thanks to a 2.25 ERA in eight decisions. ... Clayton Kershaw slides into the No. 3 slot. He held the Atlanta Braves to just two hits over seven innings earlier in 2010.
• A perfect storm is brewing in Philadelphia, as Mat Latos is rocking a 1.67 ERA over the past three weeks and the Phillies have scored just 1.8 runs per game since May 18. Yes, this could be the day the floodgates finally open, but I'm expecting Latos to hold them back at least one more day.
• All things Sanchez: Anibal Sanchez already has a win against the New York Mets under his belt this season, allowing two runs over seven innings. Jonathan Sanchez did him one better, shutting out the Pittsburgh Pirates on three hits over eight innings earlier this season. Both are solid plays today.
• Rounding out the top 10: Scott Baker is fabulous when he steps to the mound against the Oakland Athletics, 4-0 for his career with a 3.24 ERA. ... Dallas Braden had his day in the sun, but is 0-3 since then. Still, his 2.81 ERA versus the Minnesota Twins bodes well for this being a decent pitching duel.
• Middle-of-the-road options: John Danks gets the light-hitting Cleveland Indians, whom he defeated earlier this season, going the minimum. ... C.J. Wilson needs to get back his mojo. Maybe the Tampa Bay Rays will provide it, as the Texas Rangers pitcher has a 1.35 career ERA against them.
• Streamers on alert: Thanks to rainouts and some rotation juggling, Carlos Zambrano is expected to make his return to starting today. He has been abysmal so far in 2010 but is 5-2 with a 2.49 ERA against the Houston Astros since 2007. ... Joe Saunders is 7-1 lifetime against the Seattle Mariners, but he has a 7.20 ERA against them in two no-decisions this season. ... Then there's Max "14 K's" Scherzer, who has a 1.64 ERA in two games versus the Kansas City Royals.
• Stay away: Brett Cecil has been terrific this season, but he owns an 11.25 ERA against the New York Yankees. I'm avoiding him today. ... Livan Hernandez is 2-7 with a 5.64 ERA against the Cincinnati Reds. ... R.A. Dickey has an 8.22 ERA against the Florida Marlins. ... What's that Snell? It's Ian Snell's 0-2 record with a 7.04 ERA against the Los Angeles Angels.
Hitter matchup ratings for June 4
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days) as well as ballpark factors. "LHB" and "RHB" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.
Jose Guillen, DH, Kansas City Royals: As much as Guillen does whiff (fifth in the American League in 2010), Max Scherzer has never managed to reach strike three against him. In limited action, Guillen's slugging percentage is a whopping 1.167 against the Tigers pitcher.
Jonny Gomes, OF, Cincinnati Reds: Hitting .393 since May 24, the scalding hot Gomes faces Livan Hernandez on Friday, against whom he's 3-for-5 with a home run.
Bengie Molina, C, San Francisco Giants: It's amazing that Molina's batting average isn't worse than .252 after his recent 3-for-44 stretch. But that's why there's still optimism here. That awful run has to come to an end eventually, doesn't it? Perhaps the Pittsburgh Pirates are the remedy, as Molina is a .345 against the Bucs' pitchers.
Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida Marlins: Already 9-for-28 (.321) against the Mets in 2010, Han-Ram is a perfect 3-for-3 in reaching base safely against R.A. Dickey.
Marco Scutaro, SS, Boston Red Sox: After an 8-for-17 series against the Royals, Scutaro had three hits in two games against the Oakland Athletics. The Baltimore Orioles will need to watch out, as Marco is hitting .307 against them since 2007.
Paul Konerko, 1B, Chicago White Sox: He had only one home run since May 9 before his pair Wednesday, but it is his 2-for-11 career lack of success against Justin Masterson that puts a huge warning label on Konerko for Friday.
Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers: Adam Wainwright can seemingly do no wrong against Fielder, who is hitting .214 against him lifetime with nine strikeouts in 28 at-bats.
Troy Glaus, 1B, Atlanta Braves: An eight-game hitting streak has made Glaus far more attractive to fantasy owners. But he is 0-for-5 against Clayton Kershaw and his .075 average against the rest of the Los Angeles Dodgers current staff is plain ugly.
Carl Crawford, OF, Tampa Bay Rays: He's only 1-for-9 against C.J. Wilson with three strikeouts, and just a .248 hitter against the Texas Rangers over the last three years.
Shane Victorino, OF, Philadelphia Phillies: On May 17, Victorino was hitting .275. Now his average is down to .252 with nary a home run and only a single RBI over the last two weeks. Come back, Shane!
Baseball Challenge Pick of the Day
Hideki Matsui, DH, Los Angeles Angels: With 12 hits in 11 games since May 20, including nine RBIs, Matsui is doing better than most of the available designated hitter options in the Baseball Challenge. He should keep up the success against Ian Snell, as he's homered twice in seven at-bats against him lifetime.
Injury list: Out
Michael Cuddyer, OF, Minnesota Twins (bereavement list, death in family)
Derek Holland, P, Texas Rangers (15-day DL, left rotator cuff)
Mark Teahen, 3B, Chicago White Sox (15-day DL, fractured finger)
Mike Lincoln, P, Cincinnati Reds (15-day DL, strained side)
Chris Sampson, P, Houston Astros (15-day DL, tendinitis)
Alexi Casilla, 2B, Minnesota Twins (15-day DL, bone spur)
Nelson Cruz, OF, Texas Rangers (15-day DL, sprained left hamstring)
Kendry Morales, 1B, Los Angeles Angels (15-day DL, broken leg)
Injury list: Day-to-day
Vladimir Guerrero, DH, Texas Rangers (swollen eye)
Orlando Hudson, 2B, Minnesota Twins (wrist)
Mike Cameron, OF, Boston Red Sox (abdominal soreness)
Jason Bartlett, SS, Tampa Bay Rays (hamstring)
Chipper Jones, 3B, Atlanta Braves (finger)
Weatherproof games: Cubs at Astros, Yankees at Blue Jays, Rockies at Diamondbacks and Angels at Mariners. Look for the weather to be fairly uneventful in all locales save the Midwest, where thundershowers are in the Friday forecast for Chicago, Kansas City and St. Louis.