Nearly a full slate of games here on Monday from which to choose. Only six teams getting the day off. It looks like the early game between Arizona and Miami won’t be available for Monday’s daily salary cap games, but there are plenty of other quality players available. Here’s a look at some of the data you’ll need to make your decisions.
Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees (7:05pm ET)
Jason Hammel is off to an outstanding start this season, posting a 3-0 record with a 1.73 ERA and a 25/8 K/BB ratio. The Yankees will surely put to the test whether this is a new and improved Hammel or just an early-season imposter as Alex Rodriguez is 6-for15 (.400) with four home runs against him. On top of that, both Raul Ibanez and Derek Jeter have home runs against him and are each hitting over .300. The Orioles will have Hiroki Kuroda to contend with and only Mark Reynolds and his .191 batting average against have seen him for more than three at-bats — 21 to be exact. Chris Davis has seen him twice and has one hit while J.J. Hardy is hitless in three at-bats.
Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies (7:05pm ET)
A number of the Phillies are looking forward to seeing Chris Volstad on the mound, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz in particular. Rollins is batting .448 with one home run in 21 at-bats while Ruiz is hitting Volstad at a rate of .450 with four doubles in 24 plate appearances. Shane Victorino is batting a healthy .286 with a pair of home runs of his own. Unfortunately for the Cubs, the red-hot Vance Worley takes the hill and their experience against him is very limited. No one has seen more than three at-bats and the only players to register a hit were Geovany Soto and Darwin Barney.
Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays (7:07pm ET)
The Blue Jays get their first look at Yu Darvish who has looked solid this season, boasting a 3-0 record with a 2.42 ERA, and could be even more impressive here. The Jays have some talented young hitters, but they have a lineup stacked with right-handed hitters. Darvish has held righties to a .212 batting average with a 21.6% strikeout rate. This will be a big test for rookie starter Kyle Drabek who takes on one of the toughest lineups in the game right now. He pitched against them once, last season, and allowed three runs through six innings, so that’s not bad. Michael Young and Ian Kinsler each have a hit off of him in three plate appearances and Yorvit Torrealba, who may be considered for the start, went 1-for-2 with a home run against him.
Oakland A’s at Boston Red Sox (7:10pm ET)
Though he won’t provide you with a ton of strikeouts, A’s starter Tommy Milone has shown excellent command and is sitting with a 2.00 ERA and just a 0.85 WHIP. He’s never faced the Red Sox, so Fenway could be a little intimidating. But how intimidated could you get when you’re holdin ghitters to a .185 average this season. Clay Buchholz takes the mound for Boston and he’s had mixed results in the limited times he’s faced the A’s. Kurt Suzuki is 5-for-10 (.500) with one double and Daric Barton is 4-for-8 (.500) with three walks, but Coco Crisp is batting just .222 and Cliff Pennington is at an even worse .167.
New York Mets at Houston Astros (8:05pm ET)
Despite the fact that the Astros are one of baseball’s bottom-feeders, R.A. Dickey still has a little trouble with some of their hitters. Jason Castro and Travis Buck haven’t seen him often but each has gone 2-for-3 with a double and Buck has a home run as his other hit. Jordan Schafer has seen him seven times and is batting .429. But it’s not all bad news for Dickey as Carlos Lee, who is batting .381 with a home run and three doubles in 21 at bats, is likely to miss the game with an ankle injury. For the Astros, strikeout whiz Bud Norris takes the hill. He’s had a rough go at it the last two outings but has still managed to average more than a strikeout per inning in those starts. And a rebound is a distinct possibility here for the Astros young right-hander. Ike Davis and Josh Thole are each batting .250 and David Wright is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts.
Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies (8:40pm ET)
Though the Rockies haven’t seen Aaron Harang too often, they’ve hit him well in their limited experiences. Carlos Gonzalez is 4-for-8 with two doubles, a home run and four RBI, and troy Tulowitzki is batting .294 with a double, a home run and eight RBI of his own. And though Todd Helton is hitting .200 against him, he too, has a home run. Juan Nicasio looked strong in his last outing and is going to need his best stuff to handle the likes of Matt Kemp (3-for-6, 1 HR) and Andre Ethier (3-for-4, HR, 2 BB). He does get a reprieve near the bottom of the order though as James Loney and Juan Uribe are a combined 1-for-8 with a strikeout.
Milwaukee Brewers at San Diego Padres (10:05pm ET)
Petco Park is always favorable for the pitchers and veteran Randy Wolf knows it all too well. But while he has been able to hold the likes of Chase Headley to a .143 average with four strikeouts, Orlando Hudson is hitting a surprising .455 in a dozen plate appearances. Look for Mark Kotsay to get the start in right field as he is batting .421 against Wolf with a double, a home run and four RBI. The Padres will be throwing Joe Wieland at the Brewers and are hoping that their lack of experience plus the ballpark dimensions will help keep Ryan Braun and Co. at bay. They have never faced Wieland and he has been on a nice run lately. After getting beaten up in his first start of the year, Wieland has had two starts in which he owns a combined ERA of 2.25 with 11 strikeouts over 12 innings. He’ll need to stay sharp though if he wants to be successful.
Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Angels (10:05pm ET)
With Nick Blackburn on the mound for the Twins, some of the Angels are eager to step into the box on Monday. Howard Kendrick and Torii Hunter have each seen Blackburn for 16 at-bats and both are hitting .438 against him with Hunter showing some nice power with two doubles and a home run. It’s very possible that Mike Scioscia plays the numbers and starts Alberto Callaspo at third in lieu of Mark Trumbo. Callaspo has seen Blackburn 21 times and hits him at a .350 clip with a home run and a walk while Trumbo has never seen him before. C.J. Wilson faces a Twins team that he has had tremendous success against. Justin Morneau is batting .133, Joe Mauer is hitting .091, and Alexi Casilla has faced him 11 times and never had a hit. But the Twins brought in Josh Willingham and “The Hammer” is rocking a .381 average with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites, including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.