Adam Wainwright goes for 18th win

Thursday is a big day for fantasy owners. After all, Drew Brees and Brett Favre are throwing it down in the NFL's opening game of 2010. Baseball certainly knows the score, as they've gone to as bare bones a schedule as possible. Only six big-league games are on the schedule, but nevertheless, we are faithful to our duty, and present to you the starting pitcher rankings for your review below:

For starters

Starting pitcher rankings for September 9

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:

Adam Wainwright is a perfect 5-0 against the Atlanta Braves over his career with a 2.00 ERA. ... Gavin Floyd is also unbeaten in five decisions when facing the Detroit Tigers.

Matt Cain has fallen victim to the San Diego Padres twice this season, which is why I'm much higher on Jon Garland, 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA versus the San Francisco Giants.

Ted Lilly has a long history of positive outings opposing the Houston Astros, with a 7-1 record and a 2.19 ERA. That rolls off the tongue a lot better than Colby Lewis' 10.80 ERA against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jair Jurrjens is only 1-3 against the St. Louis Cardinals, but that's still a better track record than Rick Porcello, who has lost three times to the Chicago White Sox in 2010, with an 8.72 ERA.

Canadian Shawn Hill, back from his second Tommy John surgery, attempts to resuscitate his career for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Texas Rangers. Root for success all you want, but keep him away from your ERA and WHIP.

Hitter matchup ratings for September 9

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 Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: Kemp is hitting .325 against the current Astros staff and a perfect 2-for-2 against Bud Norris.

Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cincinnati Reds: Phillips has gotten his licks in versus Jason Hammel, with a .429 career batting average against the Rockies right-hander.

Bengie Molina, C, Texas Rangers: Molina is 4-for-8 lifetime against Shawn Hill, so he may well see his first base hits of September. If he gets the call from Ron Washington today, that is.

Pitchers' count:

Derrek Lee 1B, Atlanta Braves: With a .242 lifetime slugging percentage against Adam Wainwright, this Thursday is looking like a bad one for Lee.

Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado Rockies: When a player is hitting close to .600 for the month of September with a 15-game hitting streak, you're certainly not benching him, but so far Travis Wood is winning the personal battle between the pair, retiring CarGo all three times they've squared off, including two whiffs.

Miguel Tejada, SS, San Diego Padres: Tejada has a shocking .900 OPS so far in September, but is hitting a much more mortal .125 against Matt Cain.

Baseball Challenge Pick of the Day

Juan Pierre, LF, Chicago White Sox: Not only is Juan Pierre the proud owner of a .455 average when facing Rick Porcello, he also has a rare home run against him.


Injury list: Out

Ricky Nolasco, P, Florida Marlins (60-day DL, torn meniscus)

Donnie Murphy, SS, Florida Marlins (60-day DL, dislocated wrist)

Injury list: Day-to-day

Scot Shields, P, Los Angeles Angels (right elbow tightness)

Justin Upton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (shoulder, MRI showed no structural damage)

Josh Johnson, P, Florida Marlins (back)

Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers (biceps/shoulder)

Gordon Beckham, 2B, Chicago White Sox (hand)

Billy Butler, 1B, Kansas City Royals (hand)

Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, Oakland Athletics (back)

Weather concerns

Weatherproof games: Rangers at Blue Jays and Dodgers at Astros. With only four other games on the schedule, there shouldn't be any danger of weather playing a part in any of the Thursday tilts.

AJ Mass is a fantasy baseball, football and college basketball analyst for ESPN.com. You can follow AJ on Twitter or e-mail him here.