As we approach the final few games of the 2010 season, some pitchers you may have been counting on for that last little statistical push may well end up letting you down by not throwing at all. Due to some slight pain in his elbow last week, 20-game winner Adam Wainwright has been shut down for the rest of the season, and will miss his scheduled Thursday start against Colorado. Here are our rankings for the arms that haven't yet gone into hibernation:
Starting pitcher rankings for September 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.
Top two: Cliff Lee looks to make his final tuneup before the playoffs get underway. Lee currently has a K/BB ratio of 9.83. Among pitchers with at least 150 innings pitched, only Bret Saberhagen in 1994 has had a better ratio. ... Jon Lester goes for win No. 20 on the year, as he attempts to finish September with a perfect 6-0 record.
Next in line: Brett Myers is 6-0 since Aug. 13 and gets to face a post-celebration Cincinnati Reds team. ... Zack Greinke may not face the full extent of the Tampa Bay Rays' onslaught, but he is 0-4 lifetime against the team. He goes up against struggling Matt Garza, who has a 6.41 ERA this month.
Solid plays, same place: Gio Gonzalez is 2-0 with a 3.93 ERA against the Seattle Mariners in 2010, while his mound foe Doug Fister is seeking his fourth victory over the Oakland Athletics this season.
Hitter matchup ratings for September 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.
Orlando Hudson, 2B, Minnesota Twins: With the postseason looming, Hudson looks to right his personal offensive ship against Shawn Hill, against whom he is 4-for-7 (.571) lifetime, with a home run and four RBIs.
Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants: With six home runs in September, Posey is doing his best to lead the Giants into the postseason. The effort should be there versus Barry Enright, as Posey is 5-for-9 facing the Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher.
Ramon Santiago, SS, Detroit Tigers: The shortstop is getting some playing time as the season winds down, and is 3-for-7 over the past three games. Plus, he's 2-for-3 in getting on base against Chris Tillman.
Chris Young, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: The .195 batting average over the final month of the season is depressing, and that's the same sad batting average he's managed to scrape out against the current Giants staff.
Seth Smith, OF, Colorado Rockies: With the Rockies now out of the playoff picture, Smith may see a few more at-bats than usual, but the .196 batting average down the stretch is part of the reason the Colorado season is coming to an early end.
Alex Rios, OF, Chicago White Sox: Rios is nursing a bad knee, but has said he wants to get back in the lineup before the season ends. Given his .143 batting average against the Boston Red Sox in 2010, that's probably not the greatest news for his fantasy owners.
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays: He's missed five games with quad issues, but Longoria is likely to get back into the mix at some point against the Royals, but against Zack Greinke, he's hitting just .154 lifetime.
Baseball Challenge Pick of the Day
Jose Lopez, 3B, Seattle Mariners (dislocated finger)
Andres Blanco, 2B, Texas Rangers (sprained finger)
Cameron Maybin, OF, Florida Marlins (lower back sprain)
Daniel Hudson, P, Arizona Diamondbacks (strained finger tendon)
Justin Upton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (slight tear in labrum)
Eric Young Jr., 2B, Colorado Rockies (right shin)
Weatherproof game: Athletics at Mariners. Expect some sloppy conditions in New York and Baltimore as the remainder of the rain empties itself out on the East Coast to finish up a dreary final week of September. The rest of the country should be in the clear.