Carlos Zambrano draws nice matchup

Hello and goodbye, for this is my final article for the lovely folks at ESPN Fantasy! I say it not with a tear shed but with a smile on my face, for all I will take away from this experience are memories and interactions with you, the readers, without whom nothing would be possible. You make fantasy sports what they are; you get out of it what you put into it! It is my hope that I have been the voice of the reader throughout this journey, and if not, I apologize. Time stops for no one, however, so the show must go on!

For starters

Starting pitcher rankings for Aug. 30

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.

Selected notes:

• There we go Carlos Zambrano! That's what we like to see! Zambrano looked downright dominant in his last start against the Washington Nationals, striking out eight in 7 1/3 innings en route to allowing six baserunners and one run. I am ready to believe in the big man once again, so run, don't walk, to pick him before he faces the Pittsburgh Pirates. Anything less than six or seven strong innings, with at least six strikeouts, would be a disappointment.

• For most of the season I wished I could give Brett Cecil more love, but it seems he always has a brutal matchup to be aware of. That said, he has made the best of it. Would you believe that in nine starts versus the AL East, he's posted a 2.14 ERA? It's been my -- our -- bad for sleeping on him, but we shall sleep no longer! Start him with confidence against the Tampa Bay Rays (2.66 ERA, 0.93 WHIP in three starts).

• For Monday, the line for whom to start and whom not to is drawn at Jonathan Sanchez, who faces the Colorado Rockies at home. There are two red flags here to note: (1) Sanchez has allowed a whopping nine home runs in 46 innings since the break, (2) He's averaging about 5 2/3 innings per start. That decreases the effectiveness of his sterling strikeout rate, since the only thing that matters in traditional fantasy leagues is total K's. Why risk the wild, potentially ineffective and homer-prone Sanchez against a threatening Rockies lineup?

• A matchup against the lowly Cleveland Indians would be a great time to admit wrong on Mark Buehrle and try to make amends, right? Not on my watch! For one, the Indians hit .328 off Buehrle as a team in 177 at-bats, a significant sample size, so it's not the great matchup it seems to be. But all the same I still don't feel I'm wrong! Every time I write about him I do research and try to find out where, how, I am wrong. Unfortunately I haven't found anything yet! The 66.2 percent of you who still own Buehrle are free to be as results-oriented as necessary -- in the end that's what matters so I can't blame you! -- but that doesn't mean I'll stake my reputation on faulty processes.

Now batting

Hitter matchup ratings for Aug. 30

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.

Hitters' count:

Matt Diaz, OF, Atlanta Braves: For the micromanager, Diaz is quite useful; he is hitting only .266 against southpaws but 16 of his 25 hits have gone for extra bases, including five home runs, in just 94 at-bats. He's 2-for-3 with a dinger off lefty Pat Misch, so give him a whirl.

Logan Morrison, 1B/OF, Florida Marlins: Now that he's finally gone deep, fantasy owners have no excuse not to buy into the top prospect. He's batting .306 with a cool 22:18 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and faces sieve Jason Marquis, who has been pummeled by left-handed hitters in his limited exposure this season.

Carlos Pena, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays: Pena has been one big disappointment but he's still capable of going deep. He's left his mark on Brett Cecil, launching three home runs in just 11 career at-bats.

Alfonso Soriano, OF, Chicago Cubs: A .293 hitter with a .577 slugging percentage against lefties this season, it's not too surprising he's taken the hapless Paul Maholm deep four times in just 27 career at-bats.

Pitchers' count:

Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B/SS, Cleveland Indians: Don't expect the middle infielder to snap out of his slump: his 4-for-23 (.174) mark against Mark Buehrle implies resistance is futile.

Angel Pagan, OF, New York Mets: Talk about futile, Pagan has one-upped Cabrera in that category: he's a paltry 1-for-17 (.059) against Jair Jurrjens.

B.J. Upton, OF, Tampa Bay Rays: You would like to think Upton's pleasant August is an indicator that he could turn the corner, but ... nah! In fact he has just three hits in his past 20 at-bats (.150 average) and it may get worse before it gets better: He's 1-for-11 (.091) with five strikeouts against Brett Cecil.

Franklin Gutierrez, OF, Seattle Mariners: The foundering outfielder isn't likely to do much against Ervin Santana. The right-hander has struck him out eight times in 23 at-bats, allowing just four hits in the process.

Baseball Challenge Pick of the Day

Jack Cust, DH, Oakland Athletics: A fairly low-cost option, Cust is more useful than you think, considering the game counts walks and total bases. The slugger is 6-for-10 with two walks and a home run off Dustin Moseley, too, so he could reward you with a big game Monday.


Injury list: Out


Injury list: Day-to-day

Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles (shoulder)
Derrek Lee, 1B, Atlanta Braves (side)
Lyle Overbay, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays (illness)
Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cincinnati Reds (hand)
Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants (forearm)
Colby Rasmus, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (calf)
Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets (oblique)
Brian Roberts, 2B, Baltimore Orioles (hip)
Ian Stewart, 2B/3B, Colorado Rockies (side)
Jim Thome, DH, Minnesota Twins (back)
Brian Wilson, RP, Giants (throat)

Weather concerns

Weatherproof: Blue Jays-Rays, Cardinals-Astros, Padres-Diamondbacks, Angels-Mariners. Miami (Nationals-Marlins) is the only city with an even remote chance of showers, with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms.

Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com.