April 2012

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, May 1


Matusz @ Hughes

J. Sanchez @ Porcello

Feliz @ Hutchison

Parker @ Doubront – Doubront has been very impressive

Noesi @ Moore

Jimenez @ Sale – bench but not cut on Ubaldo

Liriano @ J. Williams – same for Liriano

Cahill @ Zimmermann – Nationals can’t score right now

Samardzija @ Arroyo – who knows which Samardzija will show up?

Hamels @ Beachy

Niese @ Happ – Happ’s increased K rate is intriguing

Morton @ Wainwright

Lilly @ Chacin

Marcum @ Volquez – still not trusting Volquez. Maybe I will if he’s dominant again here?

Nolasco @ Cain

                                                                                                                                               ***MIKE SAYS:

Sanchez @ Porcello *sigh, what could have been but may not ever be.
Some tough pills to swallow on the bench with Ubaldo and the LAD @ COL matchup but I’ll stick with CS.
***ZACH SAYS “I’d play it safe and sit Parker @BOS. Tough situation for a guy making his third career big league start. Volquez at home is tempting in deeper leagues but if you choose to start him make sure to not watch the game. It might drive you crazy!”

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, April 28-30



Haren @ Gomez

B. Chen @ Marquis – I’m very high on Chen for this matchup.

Smyly @ F. Garcia – Garcia very close to DTM status.

Millwood @ Morrow – K’s have been lacking for Morrow so far but I’m not concerned just yet.

Ross @ W. Chen – Gotta roll with “the other Chen” vs. lackluster lineup. Ross also a decent play here.

Lester @ Peavy

Niemann @ Lewis – Niemann has been solid thus far but this is a dangerous one.

Estrada @ Lohse

Harrell @ Cueto

Wells @ Blanton – After struggling @SF and then @SD, Blanton has lost my trust.

Kennedy @ An. Sanchez

Bedard @ Delgado – Challenging matchup for Bedard but he’s the kind of guy you pitch vs. everyone, that is until he gets injured.

Gee @ Guthrie – This could get ugly for both.

Bass @ Lincecum – Need to keep trotting Lincecum out there. Bass worth a shot in deep leagues.

Strasburg @ Billingsley – I’ll give Billingsley a mulligan for his last outing.


Big Erv @ Lowe – Erv deserves one more chance before I’d think about benching or cutting him.

Scherzer @ Sabathia – Much like Erv, Scherzer very risky, but when he’s on he can dominate any lineup. I’d totally understand if you choose to bench him though.

Vargas @ Alvarez – Outstanding matchup for Alvarez.

Colon @ Hunter

Beckett @ Floyd – Red Sox lineup is hot so I’d lean towards sitting Floyd. Not much upside here.

J. Sanchez @ Blackburn

Price @ Holland

Miley @ Johnson – Miley impressive in first start but I need to see more.

Norris @ Latos – Norris a gamble but he’s still racking up the whiffs.

Garza @ Kendrick

Correia @ T. Hudson – Correia’s hot but he’s due for a blowup soon. Nice way for Hudson to open his 2012.

Greinke @ J. Garcia

J. Santana @ Moyer

Richard @ Bumgarner – Richard almost always a ditch on road but this is an exception.

Gonzalez @ Capuano – Capuano has been excellent at home.


Hammel @ Kuroda – Disaster alert for Hammel.

Hochevar @ Wilk – I’ll play it safe and sit Hochevar for this one.

Darvish @ Drabek – Drabek way too inconsistent to trust vs. upper-echelon offenses.

Milone @ Buchholz – Clay is very close to DTM.

King Felix @ Hellickson

Hendriks @ Wilson

Collmenter @ Buehrle

Samardzija @ Worley – Samardzija turning back into a pumpkin!

McDonald @ Minor – Not a good time to test out McDonald.

Dickey @ Happ – Dickey coming off a much needed bounce back performance.

Harang @ Nicasio – Nicasio a worthy play in deeper mixed leagues.

Wolf @ Wieland – Great matchup for Wolf.

Two-Start Pitchers – Week of 4/30

Hey guys,

Every Friday going forward, in addition to the analysis on the podcast, we’ll be posting our two-start pitcher notes right here on the blog. So let’s get started. Here are my thoughts on some of the more intriguing lineup decisions that you might face next week. Be sure to watch today’s podcast (coming out later) for Siano’s thoughts.


                                                                                                                                                        Mike Minor: vs. PIT, @COL

He’s a fly ball pitcher, which makes the start at Coors scary, but 4 ER over his last three starts spanning 21 1/3 innings, and the Pirates matchup is too good to resist. Pitch.

Randy Wolf: @SD, @SF

His last start was good enough that I’ll take a chance on him here. As far as matchups go, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Ubaldo Jimenez: @CWS, vs TEX

He’ll be pitched in the vast majority of leagues so this is more of a tread lightly warning. Still, I haven’t been impressed at all with Jimenez so far, particularly the mediocre K rate. This has disaster written all over it and I’d seriously consider sitting him if I had a better two-start option or even a lower ranked one-start guy with an exceptionally favorable matchup

Clay Buchholz: vs. OAK, vs. BAL

He’s not officially DTM but I personally don’t feel comfortable starting him under any circumstance right now, even in a two-start week with decent matchups. Ditch!

Luke Hochevar: @DET, vs. NYY

A really tough call but with these matchups I’ll say ditch in mixed leagues as long as you have a capable alternative option.

Jason Hammel: @NYY, @BOS

I don’t care how well he’s pitching. This is the week when his stats will see a major correction, and the Red Sox lineup is hot.

Juan Nicasio: vs. LAD, vs. ATL

Not in love with the matchups but in a deeper mixed league he’s been good enough to trust in a two-start week.

James McDonald: @ATL, vs. CIN

A little risky as these are not great matchups, but he’s coming off a gem and has yet to be really roughed up. A decent play in deep mixed leagues. A must-start in NL-only.

Jerome Williams: vs. MIN, vs. TOR

Not sold on him yet but the Twins’ offense ranks near the bottom in the AL in runs and the Jays haven’t hit too well on the road. I’ll be conservative and ditch but he’s not a bad gamble if you’re looking for a sleeper two-starter.

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, April 27


Weaver @ Masterson *Masterson risky because he has been terrible last two starts but if you are still carrying him home cooking may be all he needs.

Verlander @ Nova *Nova is a grad until further notice.

McCarthy @ Arrieta *Neither guy an awful play here if you are looking to POD.

Beavan @ Romero *Beavan has nothing to be a ditch here but with the low Ks and a correction due I’m not feeling it in Canada.

Shields @ Harrison *Harrison looks legit

Bard @ Danks *I have a bad feeling about this which means a 1-0 classic.

TBD (KC) @ Pavano *Pavano rolling as are the Royals.

Maholm @ Halladay

Saunders @ Zambrano *Ride Big Z until he does something dumb. Saundo on a roll too.

Wandy @ Leake *Wandy rolling, Leake not so much.

Burnett @ Hanson *TEAM AJ

Estrada @ Westbrook *Westbrook not a pumpkin yet but I’m sure it happens soon.

Schwinden @ Pomeranz

Detwiler @ Kershaw *Detwiler has a 15/4 K/BB

Luebke @ Hacker

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, April 26


Mendoza @ Tomlin – Tomlin worth a gamble in deep/unmixed leagues
Noesi @ Porcello – not quitting on Noesi, but bench for now… Porcello, ech
Williams @ Moore
Hutchison @ Matusz
Doubront @ Humber – cash in the profits on Humber or push your bets?
Vogelsong @ Bailey – Bailey worth a look against mid/lower-tier offenses
Nolasco @ Niese
Jackson @ Volquez
***MIKE SAYS “If Porcello is going to get healthy after that disaster then Mariners are delicious. Love the Humber pitch. At least it is home. Agree on rest.”

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, April 25


Sale @ Parker

Hochevar @ Jimenez

King Felix @ Wilk

Drabek @ Hammelgamble on Drabek, cash in the profits on Hammel

Wilson @ Hellickson

Hughes @ Feldman – Hughes is benched for now

Buchholz @ Hendriks – Buchholz has been terrible

Nicasio @ McDonald (Gm 1)

Chacin @ Morton (Gm 2) – Nicasio and Chacin have both been erratic but the Pirates can’t score

Happ @ Marcum

Lynn @ Volstad – keep an eye on Volstad though

Hamels @ Cahill

Zimmermann @ Wieland

Buehrle @ Dickey – Buehrle seems to be enjoying the NL

Zito @ Arroyo – ah, no

Beachy @ Lilly – Lilly an ordinary pitcher and Braves are #1 in NL in runs

***ZACH SAYS “Agreed. Drabek very risky though and I wouldn’t have a problem benching him. But he did handle the O’s quite well a couple starts ago.”

Updated Pitch or Ditch Category Chart (4/23)

Hey guys,

Now that we’re a few weeks into the season, time for an update to our Pitch or Ditch category chart!

First, a reminder as to how it works:

We’ve divided all of the current starting rotation pitchers in the Majors into five groups: Aces, Grads (pitchers who you should be starting regardless of the matchup), Pitch or Ditch (guys who you should be picking up to start in favorable matchups but do not deserve a regular roster spot), DTMs (guys who we are fed up with and would not start under any circumstances for the time being) and Indifferents (guys who we don’t feel any ill-will towards but who just aren’t that good). Keep in mind that these classifications are very much subject to change throughout the season based on performance. We’ll be updating the chart every other Monday.

POD Chart – 4-26 Update (Excel)

POD Chart – 4-26 Update (PDF)

Here are the notable changes we’ve made since the last version:


Nova PoD to grad

Duffy indifferent to PoD

B. Chen indifferent to PoD

W. Chen indifferent to PoD

Doubront indifferent to PoD

Williams indifferent to PoD

Morton indifferent to PoD

Lynn indifferent to PoD

Gee indifferent to PoD

Saunders indifferent to PoD

Arroyo DTM to PoD

Pelfrey DTM to PoD


Liriano PoD to DTM

Collmenter PoD to DTM

Hunter PoD to indifferent

F. Garcia PoD to indifferent

Jurrjens grad to PoD

Questions? Comments? Let’s hear it!


Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, April 24


J. Sanchez @ Lowe

Vargas @ Scherzer

Alvarez @ Hunter

Big Erv @ Price

Kuroda @ Darvish – not giving up on Kuroda but play it safe here

Beckett @ Blackburn

Floyd @ Milone

Nicasio @ McDonald – great matchup for Nicasio

Johnson @ J. Santana

Cain @ Latos – this is where Latos starts to turn it around

Wainwright @ Samardzija – not sweating Waino yet; Shark back to PoD after blowup vs. Marlins

Norris @ Wolf

Worley @ Collmenter – Worley is legit

Gonzalez @ Richard – yep, start Richard at home

Minor @ Harang – Harang is a toss-up but I don’t trust him yet

***MIKE SAYS “Full disclosure I’d trot out Kuroda, but if you think that is crazy I don’t have a strong argument to tell you you’re wrong. Agree on rest.”

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, April 21-23



Feliz @ Verlander

Humber @ Beavan – Beavan very impressive so far.

F. Garcia @ Doubront – Slugfest alert!

Pavano @ Shields – I’ll trust Pavano here.

Hutchison @ Mendoza

Arrieta @ Weaver – Let’s find out if Arrieta’s for real.

Gomez @ McCarthy – Great opportunity for McCarthy to get back on track.

Leake @ Maholm

An. Sanchez @ Strasburg

Vogelsong @ Pelfrey – Pelfrey too erratic to trust in just about any matchup.

Kershaw @ Weiland

Westbrook @ Correia – Not a terrible matchup for Correia vs. Berkman-less lineup but too risky.

Pomeranz @ Narveson – Pomeranz worth monitoring going forward though.

Hanson @ Saunders – Can Saundo handle a non-awful lineup? Stay tuned.

Halladay @ Luebke


Lewis @ Smyly

Liriano @ Niemann – Liriano’s DTM until further notice.

Romero @ Duffy – Duffy’s not a must-start here but I think he’s earned it.

W. Chen @ Haren – Chen intriguing but I’m not sold on him yet outside of very favorable matchups.

Masterson @ Ross – Ross a sneaky start in deeper leagues.

Danks @ Millwood – Inconsistent Danks should thrive in this one.

Sabathia @ Bard – Disaster alert for Bard, especially if he continues to walk the ballpark.

Lincecum @ Gee – Gee very much on the fantasy map again.

Johnson @ Gonzalez

Lohse @ Bedard – One of these days Bedard will get a win…ridiculous!

Billingsley @ Wandy

Guthrie @ Gallardo

Cueto @ Dempster – Dempster’s been lights out through three starts.

Blanton @ Bass – Blanton disappointing in last start. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t pitch well here.

Delgado @ Kennedy – Not a good time to take a chance on Delgado.


Kuroda @ Holland – Playing it safe and sitting Kuroda…starting to get very concerned.

Lester @ Marquis – Expect Lester to rebound from disaster outing.

Morrow @ B. Chen – I’ve got no issue with pitching Chen in favorable matchups but this isn’t one of them.

Peavy @ Colon – Seems like Peavy has finally figured out the AL.

Moyer @ Lincoln – Moyer a great story but not PoD material for the time being.

Bumgarner @ Santana

J. Garcia @ Garza

Harrell @ Greinke – Need to see more from Harrell before recommending him.

Lee @ D. Hudson

Jurrjens @ Capuano – Jurrjens cannot be trusted. Capuano is due for a blowup sometime in the near future.

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, April 20


Nova @ Buchholz – not trusting either in this matchup

Harrison @ Porcello – see above…try another day

Hendriks @ Moore

Drabek @ Hochevar – one’s off to a strong start, the other is not

Matusz @ Williams – play it safe on both

Jimenez @ Godfrey

Sale @ Noesi

Bailey @ Volstad – not giving up on Homer, but play safe for now

Zambrano @ Detwiler

Lynn @ Morton

Zito @ Niese

Lilly @ Happ

Chacin @ Marcum

Beachy @ Cahill

Hamels @ Volquez – have I mentioned I don’t trust Volquez anywhere against anyone?

                                                                                                                                                   ZACH’S PICKS

Nova @ Buchholz – Not overly optimistic about Nova here though. You’re basically chasing a win. Buchholz has been brutal so far. Ditch.

Harrison @ Porcello – Good test for Harrison.

Hendriks @ Moore – Hendriks worth monitoring though.

Drabek @ Hochevar – I’m close to trusting Drabek but not yet.

Matusz @ Williams

Jimenez @ Godfrey – I’ll roll the dice on Godfrey at home

Sale @ Noesi

Bailey @ Volstad – Good opportunity for Homer to right the ship.

Zambrano @ Detwiler – High risk, medium reward on both.

Lynn @ Morton – Lynn has earned it.

Zito @ Niese – Not a Zito believer. Period.

Lilly @ Happ

Chacin @ Marcum – Chacin can’t be trusted right now.

Beachy @ Cahill

Hamels @ Volquez – Even at home, Volquez too disaster-prone to start.