The Saturday slate on the sandlots is a meandering one, starting at 1 pm ET and winding down around midnight. Some aces are in play for their fortunate owners (Justin Verlander and Chris Sale most notably), so we'll have to work around that. Let's find you a temporary option, a one-night contractor.
(Standard disclaimer: consider every starting assignment to be tentative. It's the final week of the silly season. Double-check before you commit.)
Estrada was knocked around last week at Washington, but that's going to happen sometimes when you face a playoff-bound bully. The Astros are obviously low on the threatening meter, and Estrada's been especially sharp at home (70.2 IP, 10 BB, 78 K, 3.31 ERA, 0.95 WHIP). He's also drawing one of the weaker Houston starters.
We lost Nolasco's number a while ago, but the siren is singing again: 1.93 ERA, 1.11 WHIP over the last month. He's up against Doc Halladay here, but that hasn't been a big deal for 2012 (he's carrying a 4.78 ERA in the second half). Can you forgive Nolasco for past transgressions? … Santana has been lights out in six of his last seven turns, though four home starts and some friendly road locations (Seattle, 2012's version of Boston) played into it. His career numbers in Arlington are not pretty, covering 15 starts (7.08/1.53). Which way are you going to play it?
Joe Blanton vs. COL
Trevor Cahill vs. CHC
Chris Young at ATL
Derek Holland vs. LAA
Mike Leake at PIT
Felix Doubront at BAL
Jake Odorizzi at CLE
They've got a name for the winners in the world; Blanton (9-13) wants a name when he loses. But a home start against Colorado qualifies as a favorable draw: the Rockies are an .867 OPS club at home (best in the majors), but it's a .663 nightmare at sea level (28th in MLB). It might be time to start dropping some of those bats you streamed at Coors Field. … Odorizzi cruised through the first five innings of his major-league debut, then tired in the sixth (three runs).He's facing the Tribe for the second straight start, and I suspect that's a bigger advantage for the hitters. You can still consider him if you really need the innings, but don't force it if you don't need it.
Can't Buy a Thrill
Kyle McPherson vs. CIN
Tyler Chatwood at LAD
P.J. Walters vs. DET
Justin Germano at ARI
Ricky Romero vs. NYY
Dallas Keuchel at MIL
Hey man, didn't you used to be Ricky Romero? … Keuchel has been has been cheating the ERA gods over the last month, but you don't trust pitchers with more walks than strikeouts. And working in Milwaukee these days is a hornet's nest — it's a surging Brewers offense, and a team that generally plays better at home.
If you're looking ahead by a day, here are some possible preemptive adds for Sunday (in no particular order): Tommy Milone, Josh Beckett, Mike Fiers, Edinson Volquez. We'll keep the Police on patrol until the season is complete.