Pitchers, matchups, streamers, chasing wins and strikeouts, it's a crazy game in September with so much at stake. Rather than trying to guess which arms you want to know about, the heck with it, let's rank the entire slate of pitchers for Saturday 1 to 30. Assume a 5x5 format, as always.
Pitching Ranks for Saturday 9/20
- CC Sabathia (at Cincinnati): Working on three days of rest, but can't deny him.
- Ted Lilly (vs. St. Louis): Mr. Underrated could be the clincher.
- Roy Halladay (vs. Boston): Fine form against Red Sox (2.20, 0.89 over four turns).
- Hiroki Kuroda (vs. San Francisco): He's been money for two months now.
- Gavin Floyd (at Kansas City): Win potential bumps him this high.
- Scott Kazmir (vs. Minnesota): Hasn't been sharp last few outings.
- Alfredo Aceves (vs. Baltimore): I like what I've seen; could be in their 2009 rotation.
- Chris Young (at Washington): Coming off two lively starts.
- Joe Blanton (at Florida): He's been better in NL than expected.
- Pedro Martinez (at Atlanta): Wild card all the way.
- Jon Lester (at Toronto): Bumped down because of Halladay.
- Kevin Slowey (at Tampa Bay): Rays haven't seen him this year.
- Justin Verlander (at Cleveland): The enigma of the American League.
- Johnny Cueto (vs. Milwaukee): Rallying nicely, but draws Sabathia.
- Aaron Cook (vs. Arizona): Lost his mojo in August.
- Brian Moehler (at Pittsburgh): Journeyman has been sneaky-effective at times.
- Anibal Sanchez (vs. Philadelphia): Been hit twice by Phillies recently.
- John Lannan (vs. San Diego): Awful numbers at home, oddly.
- Jorge Campillo (vs. New York): Hasn't had a great start since early August.
- Vicente Padilla (vs. Los Angeles): He's better than I want to admit, but the park scares me away.
- Doug Davis (at Colorado): Ground-ball resume, but I still wouldn't risk it.
- Jeremy Sowers (vs. Detroit): Possible win-chase, but you won't get many strikeouts.
- Kyle Davies (vs. Chicago): Don't chase his Seattle start.
- Brad Hennessey (at Los Angeles): Even Digital Underground would say no.
- Jimmy Barthmaier (vs. Houston): Good-not-great resume from the minors, I'm not chancing it.
- Kirk Saarloos (vs. Seattle): Doubtful he'll work deep into game.
- Carlos Silva (at Oakland): I can't use him, but he has been sharp in Oakland this year (two starts).
- Joel Pineiro (at Chicago): League is hitting .310 off him.
- Dustin Moseley (at Texas): In this park, not on your life.
- Brian Burres (at New York): Ugly 2008 numbers tell the story.
Need help with Sunday's card, too? Let's take a quick gander there (pitchers ranked in preference order):
No-brainers (they're probably owned anyway): Oswalt, Liriano, Lowe, Arroyo, Matsuzaka, Danks, Dempster, Haren
Green Light (pretty much usable if they're out there, depending on your needs): Pettitte, Morrow, Lewis, Pelfrey, Moyer, Cain, Parr
Yellow Light (less exciting or safe but worth considering): Lackey, McClung, Sonnanstine, Volstad, Gallagher, Looper
Red Light (no means no, unless really desperate): Baek, Perez, Richmond, Ohlendorf, Duckworth, Feldman, Waters
Inquiry Light (you're trying to lose on purpose): Reynolds, Willis
With the look-ahead out of the way, let's look back at some Friday nuggets:
• Another monster night for Cameron Maybin out of the leadoff spot in Florida: four hits, three runs, two stolen bases. That's eight hits in two nights, amigos. With the particularly-hittable Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer pitching the next two days, let's give Maybin some run and see if he can keep this going.
• It certainly wasn't difficult to get a knock in Arlington Friday night, as the Rangers and Angels combined for a ridiculous 28 runs and 41 hits. The only bad news from the offensive guys in their respective lineups: Milton Bradley took a collar (0-for-5, four strikeouts), and Michael Young left with a ring-finger injury. You're free to peruse the numbers at your leisure; take note that Nelson Cruz (three hits, homer) might positioning himself for a significant role in 2009.
• Injury Lap: Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) remains day-to-day. He'll want to hurry back, the Marlins have won nine in a row and are still within miracle distance for the wild card . . . B.J. Upton (quad) ran the bases Friday and has a chance to play Saturday. I wouldn't make any assumptions here, however . . . Shaun Marcum is headed for Tommy John surgery, putting his 2009 season in doubt . . . Chipper Jones left Friday's game with a sore shoulder, so add that to the laundry list . . . Carlos Guillen (back) is probably out for the year . . . A sore hamstring took Ray Durham out of Friday's game in the fourth inning; Craig Counsell replaced him. Teammate Ben Sheets (elbow) will not pitch Tuesday, as expected . . . Vladimir Guerrero (knee) rested Friday but should go Saturday. The early clinch was well-timed for the Angels, there are a slew of hurt players in the OC right now . . . Mike Lowell (hip) is out for the weekend, and with Boston very close to clinching a playoff bid, there's no reason to rush him back . . . David Murphy (knee) isn't coming back this year, if you wanted to know.
• Just for fun, I want you to look at Francisco Rodriguez's stats up against Mariano Rivera's. Ignore the save column, look at everything else. Then compare K-Rod to Joakim Soria, and to Jonathan Papelbon. You know what I'm getting at.
• Speed Round: Another useful 4-2-2-1 line from Swiss Army knife Felipe Lopez, and he batted cleanup of all places. He's been playing out of his mind since he landed in St. Louis (41-for-117, .350), and he qualifies at four positions in the Yahoo game (2B, SS, 3B, OF). . . Four more hits for Chase Headley, who you're really going to want in 2009 or 2010. Trust me . . . Max Scherzer took the loss at Colorado (six innings, three runs), but he paid the strikeout tab, as expected (eight whiffs). He's struck out 28, against just five walks, in his 17 innings since re-entering the rotation . . . Glen Perkins will be skipped early next week, so look for him to return on the weekend against the Royals . . . Lance Berkman is hitless in his last 23 at-bats, though he did walk three times Friday . . . Two more jacks for Miguel Cabrera, who's ripped the AL to shreds in the second half (it is not possible to take him too early next year). You gotta love it when they hit it in the shrubbery.
• Handshakes: The aforementioned Rivera (37) and Papelbon (39), Scot Shields (3), Brian Fuentes (29), and old friend Brad Ziegler (10). Hope some of the stats fell your way; we'll meet up again Saturday night with the final Weekly Rundown of the season.