June 2012

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, June 30-July 2

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Peavy @ Kuroda

Richards @ Alvarez – Richards not a bad gamble in deeper leagues but this matchup is too risky for my liking.

J. Sanchez @ Diamond  (Gm 1 of doubleheader) – Diamond worth a shot.

Tomlin @ Eveland

Hochevar @ DeVries  (Gm 2 of doubleheader) – Hochevar is hot!

Milone @ Grimm

Porcello @ Hellickson

Beckett @ Ramirez

Karstens @ Lynn

Strasburg @ Minor – Minor too erratic to trust.

Happ @ Garza

Latos @ Zito

Hamels @ Buehrle

Miley @ Fiers – Miley just keeps on rolling.

J. Santana @ Eovaldi – Eovaldi’s last start has scared me off.

Volquez @ Friedrich – No way on Edinson here!

                                                                                                                                               SUNDAY

Masterson @ Matusz – I have faith in Masterson.

Smyly @ Cobb

Floyd @ Hughes – Ditto for Hughes…for now.

B. Chen @ Liriano – I’ll take a chance on both.

Wilson @ Laffey

Doubront @ Vargas

Blackley @ Darvish

Blanton @ Nolasco – I need to see more consistency from both.

Gonzalez @ T. Hudson

Collmenter @ Gallardo

Bedard @ Westbrook – Taking a break from Bedard. Great matchup for Westbrook.

Wandy @ Wood – Tempted to say pitch on Wood but will wait one more start.

K. Wells @ Cabrera

Arroyo @ Vogelsong – Arroyo always risky but this is a nice time to try him.

Gee @ Kershaw

                                                                                                                                            MONDAY

F. Garcia @ Moore

Weaver @ Jimenez – Still reluctant to pitch Ubaldo in tougher matchups.

Hendriks @ Fister

Teaford @ Romero – I’ll give Ricky Ro one more chance before I sit him.

Matsuzaka @ Parker – Dice-K worth a shot here in deeper formats.

Hammel @ Millwood

Lyles @ McDonald – I love to pick on the Pirates!

Samardzija @ Hanson

Zambrano @ Estrada – Both are borderline calls though.

Outman @ Lohse

Richard @ Cahill – Tough road matchup for Richard.

Bailey @ Billingsley – Homer a great option here. I’ll pitch Billingsley for this start but if he blows up I’ll sit him @ARI.

Two-Start Pitchers – Week of 7/2

Hey everyone,

By now you know the drill. Here’s a list of 10 of the tougher calls for next week along with my commentary.

-Zach

                                                                                                                                                      Ricky Romero  (vs. KC, @CWS)

He’s struggled mightily in June (7.33 ERA, 1.81 WHIP) but his outstanding 2011 season and solid start to this year has earned him a fairly long leash. If this were a one-start week where he would face the White Sox on the road, I might sit this one out. But it isn’t, and I think overall the reward is worth the risk. If he gets bombed next week I’ll start to worry.

Ivan Nova  (@TB, @BOS)

Nova has bounced back nicely in June following a mediocre May, but these matchups are frightening. Still, he pitched well at Fenway earlier in the year and has had success against the Rays this season. In 10-team mixed leagues, I’d play it safe and sit him, but in 12-teamers he’s a pitch.

Chad Billingsley  (vs. CIN, @ARI)

I’ve just about had it with this guy. Yeah, the strikeouts are nice, but the high hit rate and control issues are troubling. The D-Backs rank in the top-3 in the NL in both runs scored and batting average at home, and while the Reds have been a middle of the pack offense this year, they still have some dangerous hitters in that lineup. In 12-team mixed leagues, I’m staying away.

Ubaldo Jimenez  (vs. LAA, vs. TB)

I don’t trust him. It’s as simple as that. He’s just too prone to the disaster outing and the walks often get out of control. These matchups are far from appealing, as the Angels rank 1st in the majors in runs scored in June and the Rays’ lineup always has the potential to put up big run totals. Pitch only in 15-team mixed or AL-only leagues.

Carlos Zambrano  (@MIL, @STL) 

After kicking off the year on fire, Big Z has cooled off considerably. His ERA has gone up by almost a full run since the start of June and he’s issued 15 free passes over his last three starts. The Cards rank 1st in the NL in both runs scored and batting average and the Brewers are tied for 2nd in the NL in homers. I’m taking the conservative route and ditching.

Homer Bailey  (@LAD, @SD)

Meet my blue-plate special! The Padres and Dodgers rank 12th and 15th respectively in the NL in runs scored in June and the Dodgers as a team are batting .219 this month. And now Andre Ethier is hurt. Not to mention that Bailey is 4-2 with a 3.09 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in seven road starts this season. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t turn in two quality outings here.

Jeff Samardzija  (@ATL, @NYM)

He’s been an absolute mess of late, so starting him is asking for trouble. The Braves’ offense is fairly strong and the Mets pounded him on Wednesday. Don’t chase the strikeouts!

Clayton Richard  (@ARI, vs. CIN)

Three straight dominant road starts versus sub-par offenses hasn’t convinced me that Richard can go into Chase Field and handle the D-Backs. His career numbers at Chase (7.71 ERA, 1.61 WHIP) are ugly, and the home matchup against the Reds isn’t favorable enough to outweigh this risk. He’s an NL-only and deep mixed league play. 12-team mixed? No thanks.

Wei-Yin Chen  (@SEA, @LAA)

His poor performance yesterday vs. a weak Indians’ lineup has scared me off a bit. Chen has recorded just two quality starts in his last six outings and the strikeouts haven’t been there lately. Despite the appeal of the @SEA matchup, the @LAA matchup makes me very nervous. Ditch.

Daisuke Matsuzaka  (@OAK, vs. NYY)

You just never know what you’re going to get from Dice-K and a disaster outing is always right around the corner. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he pitches well against the A’s. However, it would surprise me if he registers a quality start vs. the Yankees. In 10 career starts against the Bombers, Matsuzaka sports a 5.52 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. Enough said! He’s strictly an AL-only option.

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, June 29

CORY’S PICKS

Quintana @ Warren

Lowe @ Arrieta – look past the ERA, Arrieta has been excellent

Big Erv @ Villanueva – flip a coin on Erv, I say ditch

Verlander @ Price – yum

Griffin @ Harrison

Mendoza @ Duensing

Cook @ Noesi – I like Noesi at home, but not vs. the Red Sox

Norris @ Maholm

Lee @ Johnson

Detwiler @ Delgado – risk/reward on both, I’ll play it safe

Kennedy @ Wolf

Marquis @ Francis – could be a 13-11 game, stay far away

Correia @ Wainwright

Dickey @ Harang

Leake @ Cain

Game Notes from Wednesday, 6/27

Hey everyone,

Unfortunately, we had to cancel the show today, but since I had prepared notes, I figured I’d post these on the blog. I’ve included my commentary in italics.

-Zach

                                                                                                                                                          CLE @ NYY

-Major news comes on the injury front. Before the game, CC Sabathia placed on DL with groin strain. Good news is he’s expected back right after the All-Star break. Andy Pettitte not as fortunate. Gets hit by a liner in the fifth inning and is now out at least six weeks with a fractured ankle.

Tough blow for the Yankees and for me! I own Pettitte in Mixed Tout and he’s a major reason why I currently lead the league in ERA. Fortunately, I have Trevor Bauer, so hopefully he can at least partially make up for this loss.

-Cano: 3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R

Last 10 games: .389 AVG (14-for-36), 7 HR, 11 RBI

                                                                                                                                                          MIL @ CIN

-Bailey struggles again: 4 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER)

Last two starts: 9 1/3 IP, 15 H, 4 BB, 8 ER

Next two starts: @LAD, @SD

Bailey is a guy we’ve recommended a number of times this year for Pitch or Ditch, and although he’s managed to pick up a bunch of quality starts, he’s been a bit inconsistent. We did say ditch on him for this one though, so don’t blame us! Regardless, you’ve gotta love these upcoming matchups.

-Ludwick homers twice. Now has 11 total but is still batting just .229

                                                                                                                                                         CWS @ MIN

-Dunn: 3-for-5, HR, 4 RBI. Was 0-for-19 over his previous five games. Now has 24 homers but the .216 AVG is a killer. He already has 121 K’s!

-Rios: 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI. Nice bounce back season: .302 AVG, 10 HR, 40 RBI,  11 SB

                                                                                                                                                         TOR @ BOS

-Romero absolutely torched by Red Sox: 3 IP, 7 H,  9 R (8 ER), 6 BB

He’s now 5-7 with a 7.12 ERA lifetime vs. Boston. But more concerning is that his last quality start was on June 5th.

Next two starts: vs. KC, @CWS  (two-start pitcher next week)

I’ve been very surprised by Romero’s struggles this year. I own him in a couple of leagues and after last season we all loved him as a soft ace type. I think he’s a bench but don’t cut. Still a grad but for now I’d definitely consider benching him in tougher matchups.

-A-Gon: 2-for-5, 3 RBI

Last five games: .429 AVG (9-for-21), HR, 7 RBI

                                                                                                                                                             TB @ KC

-Moore decent but not spectacular: 7 1/3 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

But overall, he’s been strong in June: 3-0, 3.16 ERA, 1.28 WHIP

Next two starts: vs. NYY, @CLE

-Butler: 2-for-4, HR, RBI. He now has 15 homers on the year to go along with 46 RBI and a .296 AVG. Well on his way towards topping his single-season high of 21 homers.

I’ve never been a fan of his because I’ve felt that he doesn’t give you the homers you need from your starting first baseman, but his performance this year has forced me to reconsider my stance. Keep in mind that he’s still just 26, so there’s time for him to develop his power stroke.

NYM @ CHC

-Mets’ lineup explodes for 17 runs and four homers. Wright knocks in five and Davis, Murphy, Hairston each have 4 RBI.

-Murphy: 3-for-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI. Was batting just .190 with no homers and 9 RBI in June prior to this game, and these were his first two homers of the season.

-Davis: 3-for-5, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI. Pulls his AVG over the .200 mark for the first time all season!

If available in a 12-team mixed league, he’s someone you should definitely consider picking up.

-Samardzija hammered: 4 1/3 IP, 6 H, 9 ER, 4 BB                                                        Terrible in June: 0-3, 10.42 ERA, 2.06 WHIP

Next two starts: @ATL, @NYM

                                                                                                                                                          OAK @ SEA

-Parker: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 9 K, W. 2 ER or less in 10 of his 12 starts this year.

Next two starts: vs. BOS, vs. SEA

He’s had no trouble adjusting to the big leagues. A clear-cut grad.

                                                                                                                                                         LAD @ SF

-Lincecum dominates…finally! 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, W. He picks up his first win since April 28th  vs. SD, which also happens to be his only other scoreless outing this season.

Next two starts: @WAS, @PIT

This is what we’ve been waiting for from Timmy for awhile now. Hopefully, he’ll start to reward his patient owners. We began to see signs of improvement in his last outing. Time to buy low is running out.

-Ethier leaves game in first inning and is later diagnosed with an oblique strain. He’s likely headed to the DL.

I’m a little concerned about this since he does have an injury history, but there’s really nothing you can do.

                                                                                                                                                         LAA @ BAL

-Morales: 3-for-5, 4 RBI. Outside of the four homers, he’s had a rough month of June leading up to this game (.207 AVG, 7 RBI) so maybe this is the start of something!

-Hammel blasted: 3 1/3 IP, 8 ER. This after allowing no runs over his previous two starts combined, spanning 17 innings.

Next two starts: @SEA, @LAA  (two-start pitcher next week)

He’s still a grad, and although he faces the Angels again, you have to trot him out there for the two-start week.

                                                                                                                                                           PIT @ PHI

-Utley back to vintage form in first game back: 3-for-5, HR, RBI

-Ruiz: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI. Now batting .364 on the year and his 43 RBIs are already more than he had all of last season.

Cory mentioned yesterday that he sees Ruiz as a great sell-high candidate. I agree.

                                                                                                                                                           ARI @ ATL

-Benched for third straight game, Chris Young enters as a pinch-hitter and hits his first homer since April 16th. Nightmare season for Young. Batting .225 with six homers and 17 RBIs and spent a month on the DL.

Young is such a frustrating guy to own. I’ve owned him a number of times over the past few years, and this year I finally decided that I’ve had enough and didn’t draft him in any of my leagues. When he’s hot he’s red hot, but when he’s cold he’s ice cold. Let him be someone else’s problem.

                                                                                                                                                          STL @ MIA

-Logan Morrison hits pinch-hit homer. Had been 1-for-20 over his previous six games and is having an extremely disappointing year overall.

Not a believer. Too inconsistent.

                                                                                                                                                        DET @ TEX

-David Murphy has monster night: 4-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI

.345 AVG, 4 HR, 14 RBI in June

-Fister bombed: 4 1/3 IP, 9 H, 9 R (8 ER). Had recorded a quality start in six of his previous seven outings, so I’ll give him a mulligan @TEX.

Next two starts: vs. MIN, vs. KC

I love these matchups!

-Oswalt gets win but is not sharp: 6 IP, 13 H, 5 ER. He’s now allowed a combined 22 hits in two starts since coming back.

Don’t be swayed by the track record. Oswalt is no longer an automatic pitch. The NL to AL transition factor is very real. Should be a solid source of wins though.

Next two starts: @CWS, vs. MIN

                                                                                                                                                              SD @ HOU

-Lucas Harrell tosses six-hit shutout. 16 IP, 1 ER, 16 K over last two starts. 7-6, 4.33 ERA, 1.33 WHIP for the season.

Next two starts: @PIT, vs. MIL

Harrell is definitely PoD worthy. But these are the Padres we’re talking about!

                                                                                                                                                         WAS @ COL

-Ryan Zimmerman: 2-for-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI. Still batting just .221 in June BUT 8-for-17, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 2B over last four games.

A few frantic Zim owners wrote into the blog recently, so hopefully this will calm them down a bit. Gotta be patient.

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, June 28

 

CORY’S PICKS

Axelrod @ NovaSuper Nova in June!
McAllister @ W. Chen – keep an eye on McAllister though… good stuff
Haren @ Cecil – Haren struggling in June but has earned trust
Scherzer @ Shields
Ross @ Feldman
Morales @ King Felix – Morales adjusting nicely to starting
Burnett @ Kendrick
Jackson @ Outman – The Nats’ top four have all earned trust in Coors
Bauer @ Jurrjens – um, ya think?!
Cashner @ Keuchel – I’d be cautious on Cashner to start out
Young @ Capuano
Cueto @ Bumgarner

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, June 27

CORY’S PICKS

Jimenez @ Pettitte

Sale @ Blackburn

Romero @ Lester – Romero hasn’t been at last year’s level

Moore @ Teaford

Parker @ Millwood – Millwood at home vs. the A’s? Worth a shot

Weaver @ Hammel

Fister @ Oswalt

Greinke @ BaileyBailey has struggled at home, pass on this one

Niese @ Samardzija

Billingsley @ Lincecum – Lincecum keeps showing just enough to earn the nod…

McDonald @ TBD (PHI)

Cahill @ Hanson – Cahill has been solid

Kelly @ An. Sanchez

Richard @ Harrell – not an easy enough road matchup to start Richard

Zimmermann @ Outman

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, June 26

CORY’S PICKS

Wilson @ Matusz

Masterson @ Hughes – Masterson is en fuego, pitch vs. anyone right now

Laffey @ Matsuzaka – Dice-K not an unreasonable gamble here

Smyly @ Darvish

Floyd @ Hendriks

Archer @ B. Chen – good matchup for Archer, assuming he throws strikes

Blackley @ Vargas

Bedard @ Worley – Bedard struggling lately on the road

D. Hudson @ T. Hudson – hang with ‘em on Daniel

Estrada @ Arroyo – tough matchup for Estrada but good K upside

Lohse @ Zambrano – Lohse is on a tear, Zambrano notsomuch

Gee @ Wells

TBD (SD) @ Lyles

Gonzalez @ Friedrichgotta take the shot with Gio, even in Coors

Kershaw @ Vogelsong

***ZACH SAYS “As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll pitch Bedard vs. anyone as long as he’s healthy. Agree on rest.”

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, June 23-25

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Wainwright @ Mendoza

Outman @ Lewis

Delgado @ Morales – I’m not trusting Delgado in this matchup.

Capuano @ Big Erv – Erv is back!

Wolf @ Humber

Bumgarner @ Ross

Jackson @ W. Chen – Chen bounced back nicely his last time out.

Cecil @ Johnson

Gomez @ Keuchel

Scherzer @ Lincoln – I expect Scherzer to dominate here.

Cobb @ Kendrick

Duensing @ Cueto

Nova @ Young – Young worth watching going forward though.

King Felix @ Marquis

Maholm @ Kennedy

                                                                                                                                              SUNDAY

Minor @ Buchholz  – Clay’s a grad now.

Detwiler @ Arrieta – Detwiler should be on your radar but let’s see how he does in return to rotation vs. a quality lineup.

Fiers @ Quintana – Quintana not a terrible option in deeper formats but I’m in a conservative mood today.

Lynn @ J. Sanchez

Harang @ Richards – This could be 10-9 or 2-1. I’m not risking it.

Cain @ McCarthy – McCarthy’s lights out at home.

White @ Harrison – Harrison a very strong play here.

Diamond @ Leake- I love Leake vs. weak Twins’ lineup. Diamond a bit risky but I’ll chance it.

Alvarez @ Buehrle – Buehrle up and down of late but 3.21 ERA at home.

Verlander @ Correia – Perfect game alert for Verlander!

Price @ Hamels

Lowe @ Happ

Noesi @ Volquez – Great matchup for Edinson. Noesi always risky but if you’re not going to pitch him here there’s no reason to own him.

Sabathia @ Dickey – Nice!

Garza @ Miley

                                                                                                                                            MONDAY

Tomlin @ Kuroda

Chavez @ Doubront – I trust Doubront.

Porcello @ Feldman – This one could get ugly.

Peavy @ Liriano – Still not sold on Liriano. Let me see another quality start and then I’ll think about pitching him vs. KC his next time out.

Archer @ Hochevar – Archer an intriguing AL-only option. Not mixed league relevant just yet.

Bedard @ Blanton – Gotta go with both.

Gallardo @ Latos – Latos coming off terrible performance. He’s back in my doghouse.

Westbrook @ Nolasco – Nolasco is close to DTM and Westbrook offers little upside.

J. Santana @ Wood

Ohlendorf @ Wandy

Strasburg @ Francis

Eovaldi @ Zito – I’ll take a chance on Eovaldi here. Can’t trust Zito.

Two-Start Pitchers – Week of 6/25

Hey everyone,

As promised, here are my in-depth two-start pitcher notes for next week. We also discussed these guys on today’s podcast, so be sure to check that out!

-Zach

Justin Masterson  (@NYY, @BAL)

Masterson has been on a roll of late (23 IP, 1 ER, 24 K over last three starts) but he’s in store for a challenging week. Yankees and Orioles rank 1st and 3rd respectively in Majors in homers and Masterson’s home/road splits are pretty drastic (7.07 ERA in five road starts this year). BUT the good news is that he’s a ground ball pitcher and has allowed only seven home runs through 15 starts this season. The bottom line though is that he’s been pitching too well for you to sit him in mixed leagues of 12 teams or more.

Francisco Liriano  (vs. CWS, vs. KC)

Although I’m happy that Liriano’s making major progress, something in me still doesn’t trust him. If we were only talking about the vs. KC start, I’d say pitch, but the White Sox are a potent offense and Liriano is simply too prone to the disaster outing. I’d play it safe and ditch.

Dillon Gee  (@CHC, @LAD)

Gee’s working on a streak of seven straight quality starts, during which time he’s posted a 3.02 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 46 K’s in 47 2/3 IP. The Cubs and Dodgers both rank in the bottom half of the NL in runs scored and batting average in the month of June. The wheels could fall off at any moment, but I don’t see it happening next week. Pitch.

Tommy Milone  (@SEA, @TEX)

Here’s all you need to know. Milone has a 7.42 ERA in eight road starts this season  The @TEX matchup is enough of a reason to bench him, and if you’re tempted by the @SEA matchup, keep in mind that Milone was mediocre in his start at Safeco on April 14 (6 IP, 4 ER). No way am I pitching him next week.

Gavin Floyd  (@MIN, @NYY)

Floyd’s strong outing vs. the Cubs on Wednesday night marked his first quality start since May 11th, which goes to show how ineffective he’s been for most of the year. In a daily league, I’d be willing to gamble on him @MIN, but on the road against the Yankees is too scary, despite their hitting with runners in scoring position issues. Ditch.

Erik Bedard  (@PHI, @STL)

Bedard’s a guy who I trust regardless of the matchup. A DL stint is always right around the corner, but as long as he’s healthy he deserves to start. When he’s on his game, he can dominate any lineup. With one decent matchup and one frightening matchup on tap, I’ll admit that he’s a bit risky, but you know the K’s will be there, and that’s an important factor when we’re talking about two-start pitchers.

Joe Blanton  (vs. PIT, @MIA)

Don’t overrate the complete game victory in Minnesota. Blanton has allowed at least five earned runs in six of his last seven starts. The recent increase in K’s is nice, but he’s never been a strikeout pitcher, so I’m not expecting him to sustain this. In NL-only leagues, I’d trot him out there, as these are appealing matchups. But mixed leaguers shouldn’t take the risk.

Daisuke Matsuzaka  (vs. TOR, @SEA)

I’m taking a wait and see approach on Dice-K for now. Owning him is always a roller coaster ride and his first two starts were OK but nothing special. He’s got one tough matchup and one easy matchup next week, but with him nothing is guaranteed. When his control is off, it doesn’t matter who he’s facing. He’s strictly an AL-only option in my mind.

Jake Westbrook  (@MIA, vs. PIT)

Coming off a gem @DET, some would think he’s a no-brainer for next week as both of these matchups are far from scary. Not so fast! Westbrook isn’t a consistent source of K’s and is a hard guy to play matchups with, as he can struggle against any team if his sinker isn’t working and his defense lets him down. He’s high-risk, medium-reward. In mixed leagues, I’m ditching.

Nate Eovaldi  (@SF, vs. NYM)

Through five starts, Eovaldi has been quite impressive. He hasn’t given up more than three runs in any one of his starts and boasts a 2.35 ERA. I love the @SF matchup while the vs. NYM one isn’t great but isn’t terrible either. He’s a solid option in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed formats, though I might hold off on him in 12-team mixed leagues.

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, June 22

CORY’S PICKS

Zimmermann @ W. Chen

Jurrjens @ Lester

Friedrich @ Oswalt – Rox are so bad on the road, might as well start Oswalt right away

Greinke @ Sale

Kelly @ Mazzaro

Capuano @ Haren

Lincecum @ Parker – still trying with Lineceum, at least in a decent matchup

Fister @ Burnett

Shields @ Lee

Blackburn @ Bailey – Bailey is better away than at home, but it’s a good matchup

Pettitte @ Niese

Romero @ An. Sanchez

Jimenez @ Harrell – your guess on Ubaldo; I’ll ditch

Millwood @ Richard

Samardzija @ Saunders

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 258 other followers