W. Chen @ F. Garcia – I like Chen but I’m afraid to pitch him vs. Yanks.
Niemann @ Alvarez – Playing it safe and ditching Niemann in his first start back.
Big Erv @ King Felix – Going with Erv in favorable matchup.
Feldman @ R. Hernandez – Feldman too erratic lately.
Liriano @ Scherzer – Liriano’s on a roll.
Hendriks @ Hochevar – Rolling the dice on Hochevar.
Doubront @ Anderson – Doubront has been terrible of late.
Lincecum @ Germano
Lee @ Hudson
Lohse @ Zimmermann
Bailey @ Harrell – Can’t trust Homer vs. anybody right now. Harrell at home = Pitch
Burnett @ Estrada – Giving A.J. another chance.
Hefner @ Johnson – Hefner a decent gamble in deeper leagues though.
Volquez @ Chacin
Skaggs @ Beckett
Tillman @ Phelps
Holland @ McAllister – I like the matchup for Holland.
Price @ Romero
Diamond @ Mendoza – Diamond struggling lately but I’ll pitch him here.
Matsuzaka @ Milone – Not buying into Dice-K just yet.
Weaver @ Iwakuma – Iwakuma is on fire.
Sale @ Verlander
Young @ Buehrle
Westbrook @ Strasburg
Arroyo @ Norris – Norris’ home ERA is 2.09
McDonald @ Gallardo – Is McDonald back on track?
Cain @ Wood
C. Kelly @ Francis – Kelly very impressive in MLB debut but this is Coors we’re talking about.
Miley @ Capuano
TBD (PHI) @ Maholm
Hughes @ Shields
Kluber @ An. Sanchez
Saunders @ Happ – This could be 2-1 or 9-8…more likely the latter.
Darvish @ B. Chen
Wilson @ Blackley – Can’t bench Wilson here.
Buchholz @ Vargas – Vargas has been lights out at home all year.
Deduno @ Axelrod
Samardzija @ Detwiler – Gotta roll with both.
Chatwood @ Medlen
Hamels @ Cueto – Nice!
Fiers @ Nolasco – Even a CG SHO doesn’t change my opinion on Nolasco.
Keuchel @ Wandy
McHugh @ J. Kelly
Corbin @ Zito – Corbin worth a shot if you’re chasing K’s. Zito’s back in my doghouse.
Werner @ Blanton – For this one start, I’ll pitch Blanton.
Here’s this week’s installment. And since there’s no podcast today, you won’t even get to hear what Mike and Cory have to say. So as the only official two-start pitcher voice of the 411, all I can say is that I hope I’m right.
Jason Vargas (vs. BOS, vs. OAK)
Vargas has been awful over his last two starts (11.42 ERA, 2.08 WHIP) but he’s still 5-2 with a 3.53 ERA since the All-Star break and is on the whole having a very strong season. The Red Sox lineup is not the same without Adrian Gonzalez and you’ve got to like the A’s matchup. Oh yeah, Vargas’ ERA at home this year is 2.63. Pitch.
Shaun Marcum (@MIA, @STL)
Who knows whether or not Marcum will make these starts, but if he remains a two-start pitcher, I’d throw him out there, despite the tough matchup @STL. The @MIA start more than makes up for it. The Marlins rank 14th in the NL in runs scored this season and 13th in the Senior Circuit in batting average. There is some injury-risk in pitching Marcum in a weekly league since he could suffer a setback either before or during the @STL start, but he’s still a grad, and too good to sit in any two-start week.
Mike Fiers (@MIA, @STL)
Coming off a gem of a performance at Wrigley, Fiers gets the same two matchups as Marcum, and although he’s the less established pitcher, I’m starting him as well. Take out an August 13th shelling at Coors Field and he has yet to allow more than four runs in any one of his starts this year. Not to mention that he’s striking out more than a batter per inning. In a 12-team mixed league, I’d feel very comfortable pitching Fiers.
Jose Quintana (vs. MIN, vs. KC)
Quintana will look to rebound from his brutal outing vs. the Orioles on Thursday and gets a pair of tasty matchups. The Twins and Royals both rank in the bottom half of the AL in runs scored and rank next to last and last respectively in homers. Throw in Quintana’s 2.64 home ERA and this is a pitch.
Ross Detwiler (vs. CHC, vs. MIA)
It’s easy to be forgotten when you’re pitching in a rotation that includes Strasburg, Gio, E-Jax and Zimmermann. Anyone notice that Detwiler’s ERA since the All-Star break is 3.15? This is a guy who should not be on the wire in 12-team mixed leagues. If he is, grab him immediately. The Marlins and Cubs rank 14th and 15th respectively in the NL in runs scored, just ahead of the Astros.
Joe Blanton (vs. SD, @SF)
There’s no way around it. Since joining the Dodgers, Blanton has been very hittable. He is coming off a surprisingly strong outing vs. the Rockies at Coors, but even there he gave up 10 hits. These matchups are fairly appealing but guess what? The Giants rank 1st in the NL in runs scored since the All-Star break. In NFBC style mixed leagues and NL-only formats, I might take a chance on Blanton. But in a 12-team mixed, I’d play it safe and ditch.
Ricky Nolasco (vs. MIL, @WAS)
Yeah, he’s coming off a CG SHO, but if we’ve learned anything about Nolasco by now, it’s that he’s totally unreliable. He could very well give up eight runs his next time out. These are not favorable matchups, and I’m not ready to free him from Club DTM just yet. Ditch.
Barry Zito (vs. ARI, vs. LAD)
So after dominating the Braves, what does Zito do for an encore? He gets shelled by the Astros of all teams. I’m sorry, but I’ve completely lost faith in this guy. He’s listed as PoD on our latest Pitch or Ditch chart, but to me he’s DTM. Ditch.
Patrick Corbin (@SF, @SD)
Corbin gets the same two teams as Blanton, the one difference being that he’ll face the Padres at Petco. I prefer Corbin over Blanton, but I also have a feeling that he’s due for a blowup. If you’re in a tight ERA/WHIP race, I’d lean towards sitting him in mixed leagues. But if you’re simply chasing wins and strikeouts, he’s not a bad play.
Joe Kelly (vs. NYM, vs. MIL)
Since going on that nice run from mid-June into the beginning of August, Kelly has been hit or miss. These matchups aren’t too scary, but the reality is that we just don’t know which Kelly will show up from one start to the next. NL-only leaguers can feel free to pitch him. But in a mixed league, I’m passing.
M. Gonzalez @ Kuroda
Dempster @ Jimenez – 1.93 ERA for Dempster over his last two starts.
Peavy @ Fister
Hellickson @ Morrow – Morrow shaky in return but I’ll give him another shot.
De Vries @ Smith
Cook @ McCarthy
Haren @ Millwood – If you can’t trust Haren here, there’s no point in owning him!
Bumgarner @ Volstad
Wainwright @ G. Gonzalez
Dickey @ Eovaldi
Halladay @ Minor – Minor has been outstanding since the All-Star break (2.45 ERA).
Leake @ Abad – Gotta love the matchup for Leake.
Karstens @ Rogers
Richard @ White – I got burned with my ditch on Richard @ARI but I’ll try this again at Coors.
Cahill @ Harang – Cahill has been inconsistent of late but he’s had success against the Dodgers this year (2.37 ERA in three starts).
Parker @ Masterson – Great matchup for Masterson following stellar performance vs. Yankees.
Quintana @ Britton – Quintana 3 ER or less in each of his last four starts.
Beavan @ Duensing
Moore @ Villanueva
Porcello @ Guthrie – Coming off pounding at Fenway, we just cannot trust Guthrie right now.
Lester @ Greinke
Niese @ Kendrick – Kendrick is hot.
Marcum @ Raley
J. Garcia @ Jackson – Garcia is a toss-up, but this isn’t a terrible matchup.
Vogelsong @ Lyles
Kennedy @ Kershaw
Happ @ Sabathia
Axelrod @ Saunders – Not a great matchup for Saundo in his Orioles debut.
Blackley @ Kluber
Cobb @ Harrison – Harrison is hot.
An. Sanchez @ B. Chen
Vargas @ Deduno – Expect a bounce back from Vargas coming off rough outing @CWS.
Stewart @ Wilson
Blanton @ Pomeranz
Latos @ Corbin – Corbin might be turning back into a pumpkin.
Hanson @ Stults – Stults is 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA in August but I’m not loving this matchup.
Harvey @ Hamels
J. Kelly @ Wandy
Detwiler @ Turner – Turner a solid NL-only play though.
Fiers @ Samardzija – Both are risky but I’ll give it a shot.
Zito @ Keuchel – I love the matchup for Zito.
Sale @ Tillman – I like Tillman but not for this one.
Milone @ McAllister – Even though he’s on the road, this is a good matchup for Milone.
Romero @ Hughes – Hughes’ last two outings have been exceptional.
Shields @ Darvish – Dangerous matchup for Shields but he’s on a roll. Darvish wearing down but he’s worth a shot for the K’s.
Verlander @ Mendoza
Iwakuma @ Diamond – Great matchup for the red-hot Iwakuma. M’s can hit on the road but I’ll pitch Diamond anyway.
Buchholz @ Weaver
Young @ Worley – I don’t trust either at this point.
Westbrook @ McDonald – Too scary of a matchup for McDonald.
Strasburg @ Nolasco – Nolasco is DTM.
Gallardo @ Wood
Cain @ Norris – Norris has a 2.18 ERA at home this year.
Capuano @ Chatwood
Cueto @ Miley
Medlen @ Werner – Nice matchup for Medlen!
McCarthy @ Hellickson
Duensing @ Dempster – Nice matchup for Dempster.
Morrow @ W. Chen – I think I’d play it safe and sit Morrow in his first start back.
Kuroda @ Masterson
Haren @ Smyly – Two straight awful performances by Haren…I’m ditching.
Guthrie @ Beckett – Guthrie has terrible career numbers at Fenway and Beckett cannot be trusted vs. anyone.
Beavan @ Quintana – M’s offense is solid on the road but Quintana is hot.
White @ Raley
TBD (HOU) @ Dickey
J. Garcia @ Leake – Tough matchup for both, and Garcia’s been a lot better at home than on the road this year.
Minor @ Bumgarner – Minor’s back on track.
G. Gonzalez @ Halladay
Marcum @ Karstens – I like the matchup for Marcum, though I’d understand if you would prefer to ditch him in his return from the DL.
Richard @ Kennedy – Too dangerous of a road matchup for Richard.
Johnson @ Kershaw
F. Garcia @ Jimenez – I just don’t trust The Chief.
Big Erv @ Scherzer – Not liking this matchup for Erv.
Romero @ M. Gonzalez – I’ll give Gonzalez a shot.
Smith @ Cook
Millwood @ Floyd
De Vries @ Feldman – Feldman a worthy gamble in deeper leagues.
Wainwright @ Bailey – Homer cannot be trusted at home.
Harrell @ Hefner – Harrell’s matchup is a favorable one.
Zimmermann @ Lee
Rogers @ Bedard – Bedard’s a mess right now.
Chacin @ Volstad – Chacin’s matchup is favorable enough to give him a try.
Buehrle @ Harang
Volquez @ Saunders – Both are high risk/medium reward.
Hudson @ Lincecum
Hochevar @ Buchholz – Not a good spot for Hochevar.
Liriano @ Tillman – Liriano deserves the nod. Tillman’s a decent deeper league flier.
Anderson @ R. Hernandez
Laffey @ Phelps
Price @ Holland – Holland’s a real toss-up. Pitch if you’re chasing wins and K’s.
King Felix @ Hendriks
Lohse @ Burnett
Estrada @ Germano – Great matchup for Estrada.
Blanton @ Francis – Disaster alert for Blanton.
Arroyo @ Miley – Arroyo’s risky but he’s been excellent on the road this year.
Maholm @ Marquis
Here are my two-start pitcher notes for next week. Be sure to listen to today’s podcast when it comes out later today to hear what Mike and Cory have to say about some of these guys.
Tommy Milone (@CLE, vs. BOS)
Milone should still be considered a pitch at home but ditch on the road guy, even though he hasn’t been an automatic start at home of late. Despite it being on the road, I like the @CLE matchup as the Indians rank 12th in the AL in home scoring. Although the Red Sox lineup is no walk in the park, Milone has already handled some of the league’s best offenses when pitching at home. In 12-team mixed leagues, he’s a worthy gamble.
Francisco Liriano (@BAL, @DET)
Liriano has been exceptional over his last two starts (12 1/3 IP, 4 ER, 13 K) but we all know how he can implode at any moment. He’s especially struggled on the road this year (2-6, 5.53 ERA), and while the @BAL matchup isn’t too bad, the @DET matchup is a bit scary. The Tigers rank 4th in the AL in runs scored this month and 5th in the AL in runs scored at home. The decision really comes down to where your team stands in ERA and WHIP and whether you can take a risk in those categories to chase wins and strikeouts. Liriano is obviously an ideal choice if your primary focus is strikeouts.
Vance Worley (vs. NYM, @ATL)
After getting off to a strong start this season, Worley has been wildly inconsistent since the All-Star break, going 2-4 with a 5.04 ERA. Worley’s home/road splits are extreme, as he’s 2-5 with a 5.00 ERA at home compared to 4-4 with a 2.98 ERA away from Citizens’ Bank Park. Luckily, the tougher matchup here is on the road, while the Mets rank next to last in the NL in runs scored this month. I’ll say pitch.
Bronson Arroyo (@ARI, @HOU)
Arroyo is 3-0 with a 2.82 ERA and 0.94 WHIP over his last three starts and sports a solid 3.48 road ERA this season. The @ARI matchup is a challenging one but I really like the @HOU matchup. The Astros are batting a collective .219 in August and rank dead last in the Majors in runs scored this month. I know it’s always tough to trust Arroyo, but in deeper mixed leagues I think the risk outweighs the reward. Pitch.
Brett Anderson (@CLE, vs. BOS)
The only reason why you might even think about holding off on pitching Anderson next week is if you want to see more than just one start from him following such a long absence. But let’s be real. This guy is a no-brainer. Keep in mind that he holds a career 3.62 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in the big leagues. The Red Sox are always a tough lineup to face but at least he’ll be at home. Pitch.
Joe Blanton (@COL, vs. ARI)
Blanton has struggled mightily as a member of the Dodgers, going 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA and 1.76 WHIP through four starts. Don’t expect his fortunes to change next week. Home for the D-Backs isn’t a terrible matchup, but Blanton at Coors Field could be a disaster given his tendency to serve up a ton of homers. Stay far away from this one in all mixed leagues. Even in NL-only leagues, Blanton isn’t a particularly good option.
Bud Norris (vs. SF, vs. CIN)
We expected a whole lot better from Bud this year. While Norris has pitched well at times, he’s had way too many disaster outings. But check this out. His ERA at home (2.18) is more than five full runs lower than his road mark (7.27). He’s allowed three earned runs or less in all but one of his home starts this season and was outstanding when he faced these same Reds at home in late-July. The Giants are no slouch offensively but are still middle of the pack. There’s clearly some risk here as Bud has been so inconsistent. But if you believe in the power of the split stat and need the strikeouts, taking a chance on Norris could pay off.
Zach McAllister (vs. OAK, vs. TEX)
Yeah, McAllister has recorded only two quality starts in his last five outings, but aside from the one game vs. the Twins where his defense let him down to the tune of seven unearned runs, he hasn’t really gotten roughed up in any one of his starts this season. He’s also pitched better at home than on the road. Any time your starting pitcher is facing the Rangers, there’s cause for concern. But at least he won’t be in Texas. In deeper mixed leagues, I’m trotting McAllister out there.
Marco Estrada (@CHC, vs. PIT)
Fresh off a 6 IP, 0 ER performance at home vs. the Cubs, Estrada now heads to Wrigley for a rematch with the National League’s lowest scoring offense. The Pirates’ lineup poses a tougher challenge but it’s not like they’re a juggernaut. Estrada’s 4.23 ERA is nothing to get excited about but he’s whiffed more than a batter per inning while issuing very few free passes. Unless you’re closely guarding your ERA and cannot gain much ground in strikeouts, go ahead and pitch Estrada.
Greinke @ Porcello – hang with ‘em
Sabathia @ Kluber
Villanueva @ Britton – Villanueva has been solid, roll with it
B. Chen @ Lester – OK NOW I’m back on the Lester bus!
Parker @ Moore
Deduno @ Harrison
Vargas @ Peavy – playing it safe with Vargas on the road
Pomeranz @ Samardzija
Fiers @ Wandy – Wandy is a toss-up, play the categories
Jackson @ Kendrick
Lyles @ Niese
Lynn @ Latos – Lynn is fading, and a very tough matchup
Stults @ Corbin
Eovaldi @ Billingsley
Sheets @ Vogelsong – hang with ‘em on Sheets
Happ @ Verlander
Wilson @ Morales – OK to bench Wilson if protecting the ratios
TBD (OAK) @ Cobb – nice season for Colon comes to a sad ending
Diamond @ Darvish
Chatwood @ J. Santana – start Johan (if he pitches) only if chasing counting stats
Keuchel @ Westbrook
Cueto @ Hamels – game of the night!
Hanson @ Zito