April 2013

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, May 1

MLB: New York Mets at New York Yankees

CORY’S PICKS

Gee @ LeBlanc – have to “Pitch” pretty much everyone vs. Stanton-less Marlins

Diamond @ An. Sanchez

J. Gomez @ Burgos

Bailey @ Lynn

Wilson @ Milone – Wilson shares MLB lead in walks allowed

Bedard @ Phelps – Phelps has sneaky-good K upside

Lee @ Bauer – don’t trust Bauer’s command issues

Buchholz @ Buehrle

Zimmermann @ Maholm

Sale @ Tepesch – Tepesch worth a gamble in deeper leagues

Cashner @ Feldman

Hellickson @ Mendoza

Lincecum @ McCarthy – hang with ‘em on McCarthy, stuff is there

W. Chen @ Harang

Nicasio @ Beckett – Dodgers can’t hit, can’t hit at home, can’t hit righties

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, April 30

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins

CORY’S PICKS

Humber @ Kuroda – OTOH I am picking **against** Humber in Beat the Streak ;-)

Halladay @ McAllister – tough matchup for McAllister but I’m a fan

Lester @ Morrow

Worley @ Verlander

Hefner @ Slowey – you read that right

G. Gonzalez @ T. Hudson

Quintana @ Darvish

Volquez @ Jackson – indecisive on Jackson, but might as well

McDonald @ Estrada – indecisive on McDonald, but passing this time

Cobb @ Shields

Arroyo @ J. Garcia

Bumgarner @ Cahill

Richards @ Parker – bench but don’t cut Parker, he’s pitching for his job

Hammel @ Maurer

De La Rosa @ Ryu

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, April 27-29

MLB: NLDS-San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds

CORY’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Medlen @ Porcello – never mind Porcello, stash Drew Smyly while you can

Happ @ Sabathia – Happ has been throwing well but it’s too risky

Tillman @ Griffin

Holland @ P. Hernandez

Peacock @ Doubront – good K potential, and blow-up potential, on both sides

Moore @ Floyd

Jimenez @ Guthrie

Blanton @ King Felix

Leake @ Haren – Leake much better on the road, and Nats struggling to score

Pettibone @ Marcum – tough matchup for his season debut, but take a shot

Burnett @ Westbrook – Westbrook due for some painful regression

Wood @ Sanabia

Francis @ Miley

Zito @ Stults – might as well!

W. Peralta @ Fife

SUNDAY

Dickey @ Hughes – I don’t trust Hughes in Yankee Stadium

Norris @ Lackey

Price @ Axelrod

Masterson @ Mendoza – Masterson is a mirror from which we see reflected our own wants, hopes and dreams, but sometimes our worst fears as well

Ogando @ Correia

M. Gonzalez @ Colon

Vargas @ Iwakuma

Minor @ Fister

Hamels @ Niese – Niese has to start throwing more strikes, though…

Villanueva @ Nolasco

Cingrani @ Detwiler – expect to see lots and lots of fastballs and not much else

Locke @ S. Miller

Lohse @ Kershaw

Vogelsong @ Marquis

Garland @ Corbin

MONDAY

Harrell @ Pettitte

Pelfrey @ Scherzer

Kluber @ Davis – good gamble at home vs so-so Tribe offense

Hanson @ Anderson – not trusting Hanson vs. good offenses

TBD (BAL) @ Saunders

Strasburg @ Teheran

Harvey @ J. Fernandez

Richard @ Samardzija – Cubs can’t hit lefties so Richard is a reasonable deep-league gamble

Wandy @ Gallardo – good chance for Gallardo to get straightened out

Latos @ Wainwright

Cain @ Kennedy

Chatwood @ Lilly – Lilly looked very sharp vs. the Mets

Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 4/29

Hey everyone,

Back with more of my two-start pitcher notes! We have a very special podcast coming your way today as Rotowire’s Jeff Erickson joins us to go over many of these two-start options and answer a bunch of listener questions, so be sure to catch the podcast when it becomes available later this afternoon.

-Zach

                                                                                                                                                        Brett Anderson  (vs. LAA, @NYY)

I’m still an Anderson fan but with a combined 17 ER allowed over his last three starts (10 2/3 IP), there’s no way I’m pitching him next week, as these matchups are far from enticing. Despite all of their injuries, the Yankees still lead the AL in homers. The Angels? Well, they only lead the AL in hits. In shallower mixed leagues, I wouldn’t be opposed to dropping Anderson. But in mixed leagues with 12 or more teams, bench but don’t cut.

Jose Quintana  (@TEX, @KC)

After getting roughed up in his first outing of the season, Quintana is on a nice little run, allowing 2 ER or less in each of his last three starts while striking out 17 over 18 2/3 innings. Still, I don’t trust him enough @TEX to recommend him for next week. There are plenty of better two-start options out there.

Julio Teheran  (vs. WAS, vs. NYM)

Teheran’s only quality start this season happens to be his most recent one, as he held the Rockies to one run over seven innings, and he did it pitching at Coors. Strange stuff. At just 22 years of age and coming off a dominant spring training, there’s certainly a lot to like about Teheran. But I’d like to see a little more consistency before I can consider him a no-brainer mixed league starter. These matchups aren’t awful but they aren’t great either. If you want to take a chance on him in a deep league, that’s fine. A 12-team mixed league? I’ll pass.

Edwin Jackson  (vs. SD, vs. CIN)

A longtime 411 favorite, E-Jax has been nothing special thus far. On the bright side, he’s striking out roughly a batter per inning. On the other hand, he’s walking too many guys and his high pitch counts have prevented him from going more than six innings in any one of his first five starts. Also, his two worst outings have come at Wrigley, where he’ll be making both of his starts next week. I’m lukewarm about this one but in a 12-team mixed, I’d lean towards pitching E-Jax. At least you know you’ll get the K’s and he actually pitched well against both the Padres and Reds last season.

Garrett Richards  (@OAK, vs. BAL)

If you asked me 24 hours ago, I would’ve said that pitching Richards next week was a decent gamble. But after last night’s mediocre performance, I’m scared off. Guess which team leads the AL in runs scored so far and is tied for 2nd in the Junior Circuit in hits? Yep, the A’s. Guess which team ranks 2nd in the AL in runs scored and 4th in hits? Yep, the Orioles. Pass.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays

Zach McAllister  (vs. PHI, vs. MIN)

McAllister struggled in his most recent start on the road vs. the White Sox but still managed to limit the damage (5 2/3 IP, 3 ER). Overall this year, he’s been solid, limiting the opposition to a .239 batting average while sporting a 20-to-8 K/BB ratio over 23 innings. The vs. PHI matchup will be somewhat challenging but I love the vs. MIN matchup. I’d give McAllister a shot. Pitch.

Ted Lilly  (vs. COL, @SF)

Quite a 2013 debut for Lilly, as the veteran lefty tossed five scoreless innings against the Mets while whiffing seven. Avoiding the DL has been Lilly’s biggest obstacle over the course of his career, but when he’s been able to pitch, he’s been very effective, particularly in the all-important K/BB department. And you have to like these matchups. Pitch.

Clayton Richard  (@CHC, vs. ARI)

The poster boy for the pitch at home but ditch on the road approach, Richard is coming off a disaster outing. And it was at home. My overall confidence in him is waning, and the fact that one of these starts will be on the road combined with the fact that he’s a low-strikeout pitcher makes him a ditch in any mixed league.

Wade Davis  (vs. CLE, vs. CWS)

Two great starts, two horrible starts. That’s been the story of Davis’ 2013 season. Inconsistent command and mounting pitch counts have been recurring issues and I’m not in love with these matchups. In a 15-team mixed league, you might want to take a chance on him, as he has shown the ability to post solid strikeout numbers. But in a 12-team mixed, I just don’t think that the reward is worth the risk.

Tommy Hanson  (@OAK, vs. BAL)

Remember when this guy was a no doubt future ace? Hanson has been a complete enigma this year. On one hand, he’s posted two quality starts in three outings. On the other, the strikeouts have been nonexistent and the hit rate sky-high. He has the same unappealing matchups as Richards and quite frankly, I’d let him be someone else’s problem. Ditch.

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, April 26

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays

CORY’S PICKS

Bailey @ Zimmermann

Johnson @ Nova – your patience with Johnson should not be endless, though…

Maholm @ An. Sanchez – tough matchup for Maholm, playing it safe

Feldman @ LeBlanc – why not?

Bedard @ Dempster

Kendrick @ Gee – don’t love Kendrick on the road, but after handling CIN and STL…

Kazmir @ Big Erv

R. Hernandez @ Peavy

Grimm @ Diamond – Grimm worth a gamble in deeper leagues

J. Sanchez @ Lynn

Nicasio @ McCarthy – one more shot on McCarthy at home

W. Chen @ Milone

Wilson @ Harangdon’t really trust Wilson, but Mariners don’t score much

Burgos @ Beckett – Beckett’s peripherals are still OK

Lincecum @ Cashner

***ZACH SAYS “I’d pitch Chen. 3 ER or less in each of his first four starts and the matchup is favorable. Agree on rest.”

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, April 25

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals

CORY’S PICKS

McDonald @ Lee

Shields @ Verlander

Ryu @ Hefner

Humber @ Buchholz – still not sold on Buchholz, but keep rollin’ it

Arroyo @ G. Gonzalez – don’t trust Arroyo much but he’s been dealing and Nats are scuffling

Buehrle @ Kuroda

Jackson @ Slowey – Slowey worth a gamble in deeper leagues, seriously!

Hellickson @ Sale

Tepesch @ Worleygoing for it on Tepesch vs. weak Twins offense

De La Rosa @ Cahill

Hammel @ Parker – not convinced Parker is out of the woods yet but he’s worth a risk at home

Richards @ Maurer

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, April 24

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers

CORY’S PICKS

Samardzija @ Latos

Morrow @ Stinson – sticking with Morrow despite poor start

J. Garcia @ Strasburg – not trusting Garcia on the road

Kluber @ Sale

Saunders @ Harrell

T. Hudson @ Chatwood

Kennedy @ Bumgarner

Anderson @ Lester – pitch Straily for the spot start if Anderson can’t go

Wandy @ Halladay

Mendoza @ Verlander

Lilly @ Harvey – Lilly worth a look in deeper/unmixed leagues

Pettitte @ Cobb

Darvish @ Williams

Estrada @ Volquez

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, April 23

MLB: New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers

CORY’S PICKS

J. Fernandez @ Correia (Gm 1 of doubleheader)

Nolasco @ Pelfrey (Gm 2 of doubleheader)

Colon @ Aceves risky for Colon but 0 walks in 20.0 IP deserves a shot!

Locke @ Hamels

Wainwright @ Detwiler

Dickey @ M. Gonzalez

W. Davis @ Scherzer – Davis very impressive so far but very tough matchup

Villanueva @ Cingrani – check Cingrani’s next 5-6 probable starts… suhhh-weet

Kershaw @ Niese

Hughes @ Price – Hughes worth it on the road vs. a lesser offense

McAllister @ Quintana – two nice sleepers with plenty of upside

Iwakuma @ Norris – check out Norris’ home/away splits

Minor @ Francis (Gm 1 of doubleheader)

Teheran @ Garland (Gm 2 of doubleheader)

Ogando @ Vargas

Gallardo @ Richard – always start Richard at home, period

Corbin @ Cain

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, April 20-22

MLB: ALDS-Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers

CORY’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Kuroda @ Buehrle

Big Erv @ Dempster – not sure I trust either, but the results demand action!

Porcello @ Richards

Diamond @ Floyd – Floyd worth a gamble for the more fearless K-chasers

Beckett @ W. Chen

Kazmir @ Humber

Parker @ Hellickson – bench but don’t cut Parker… stuff is still there

Maurer @ Tepesch – same as Erv/Dempster for Tepesch

LeBlanc @ Arroyo – same as Tepesch for Arroyo

G. Gonzalez @ Hefner

Lynn @ Lee

Maholm @ McDonald

Jackson @ Burgos

Cahill @ De La Rosa – tough matchup for Cahill but I’m a fan

Richard @ Lincecum – your call on Lincecum, who knows what he’ll do

SUNDAY

Nova @ Johnson

Billingsley @ Arrieta

Guthrie @ Doubront – I think Guthrie is legit

Milone @ R. Hernandez

Correia @ Axelrod

Jimenez @ Bedard – bleeech

Harang @ Grimm

Fister @ Wilson – very risky matchup for walk-prone Wilson

Sanabia @ Bailey

Zimmermann @ Gee – I like Gee A LOT more at home

Medlen @ J. Sanchez

Feldman @ W. Peralta

Stults @ Zito

McCarthy @ Nicasio – bench but don’t cut McCarthy

Westbrook @ Kendrick – high risk start for both but play the trends…

MONDAY

Griffin @ Aceves

Sabathia @ Moore

Happ @ Tillman

Masterson @ Quintana – righty-heavy ChiSox a good matchup for Masterson

Nolasco @ Pelfrey – if you’re ever going to gamble on Nolasco, this is it

King Felix @ Peacock

Holland @ Blanton

S. Miller @ Haren – playing it safe on Haren for now

Burnett @ TBD (PHI)

Wood @ Leake – Leake better on road, but good matchup and coming off a strong start

Minor @ Francis

Lohse @ Marquis

Miley @ Vogelsong

Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 4/22

Hey everyone,

Here’s installment #3 of my weekly two-start pitcher notes. Be sure to catch today’s podcast as Jason Collette joins Cory and JB to talk about a number of these options plus much more.

-Zach

                                                                                                                                                     Justin Masterson  (@CWS, @KC)

I honestly don’t know what to make of Masterson. After getting off to a brilliant start to the season (3-0, 0.41 ERA through his first three starts), the Indians’ righty was roughed up a bit by the Red Sox on Wednesday. Last year, Masterson was a far better pitcher at home than on the road, so the fact that both of these matchups are on the road isn’t exactly comforting, as is the fact that he was mediocre vs. the White Sox (1-1, 4.18 ERA,  1.68 WHIP) and flat-out awful vs. the Royals (0-2, 8.25 ERA, 1.50 WHIP). If you’re convinced that he’s an improved pitcher, go ahead and start him. But I’m playing it safe and ditching.

Dan Haren  (vs. STL, vs. CIN)

This one is painful as I’ve always been a huge Haren fan. But the bottom line is that he hasn’t shown us anything so far to make us think that he will be a reliable fantasy option this year. The good news is that he’s still striking out guys and he’s still walking very few. The bad news is that he’s giving up way too many hits and throwing way too many pitches per inning. We classified Haren as a Pitch or Ditch guy on our recently released Pitch or Ditch category chart and even in a two-start week, I’ll pass. These are two scary matchups and Haren has a lot of work to do before my confidence in him can be restored.

Derek Holland  (@LAA, @MIN)

A 411 favorite heading into this season, Holland has so far even outperformed our expectations. While he pitched to a quality 3.65 ERA on the road last year, he struggled at home, but that hasn’t been a problem this time around as he’s allowed a combined four runs over his first two home starts. He gets a pair of road starts next week, one against a sub-par Twins’ offense and the other against an Angels’ lineup that he already dominated this year (7 IP, 2 ER). Pitch with confidence!

Tony Cingrani  (vs. CHC, @WAS)

Cingrani pitched fairly well in his big league debut on Thursday, though 102 pitches in five innings is way too many. But the 8 K’s were nice. I like the vs. CHC matchup but I’m a little wary of the @WAS one, so if you’re in a shallower league you might want to bench him. But in mixed leagues of 12 teams or more, I think I’d take a chance on him. He’s a big-time prospect and at least you know the strikeouts will be there.

Ross Detwiler  (vs. STL, vs. CIN)

Three starts, 20 innings pitched, two earned runs. Detwiler is on a major roll to open the season and two of his three matchups (@CIN, vs. ATL) were tough ones. These upcoming two matchups worry me somewhat, but both are at home, where Detwiler went 8-2 with a 2.59 ERA last season. In deeper mixed leagues and of course in NL-only formats, he’s a pitch.

Patrick Corbin  (@SF, vs. COL)

Corbin pitched to mediocre results as a rookie last year, but his sophomore campaign has been a different story. Two earned runs or less in each of his first three outings and although the Giants and Rockies haven’t had much trouble putting runs on the board thus far, I’m throwing Corbin out there in mixed leagues of 12 teams or more. These matchups aren’t scary enough to convince me otherwise.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox

Jose Quintana  (vs. CLE, vs. TB)

One poor outing followed by two exceptional ones. The 17 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings should be taken with a grain of salt considering that his strikeout rate last season was mediocre, but I am intrigued by his low walk rate and relatively low home run allowed rate. These matchups aren’t terrible but they’re not great either. A real toss-up, but I’ll take a chance on him. Who knows, maybe the strikeout uptick is real.

Wade Davis  (@DET, vs. CLE)

12 scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts over his last two starts has placed Davis firmly on the mixed league radar. After putting up exceptional numbers while pitching out of the bullpen for the Rays last year, Davis has made a seamless transition back into a starting role and generally speaking, I’m buying into him. But not next week. This is a situation where one bad start @DET could ruin whatever good he does in his vs. CLE outing. I need to see more before I can trust him against offensive juggernauts. Ditch.

Jason Vargas  (vs. TEX, @SEA)

Vargas proved to be a capable spot-starter last year but he’s battled inconsistency thus far in 2013 and is coming off two straight brutal performances, both against less than intimidating lineups. The @SEA start might be decent but facing the Rangers, even at home, will be a challenge. I don’t want any part of this. Ditch.

Miguel Gonzalez  (vs. TOR, @OAK)

After making a strong impression during his 2012 rookie campaign, Gonzalez has been OK but not great this season. Don’t expect a lot of strikeouts but he does seem to have a knack for stringing together quality starts. These are decent matchups, so pitch.

Ricky Nolasco  (@MIN, vs. CHC)

One of the more frustrating starting pitchers to own, Nolasco has registered a respectable 3.86 ERA through four starts to go along with a stellar 1.24 WHIP and 15-to-6 K/BB ratio. You just never know when Ricky is going to blow up but I really like these matchups and I’ll always be tempted by his consistently low walk rate.

Bartolo Colon  (@BOS, vs. BAL)

Speaking of low walk rates, Colon has yet to issue a free pass through 19 innings this year. The problem is that he’s allowed more than a hit per inning and has historically been extremely home run prone. Bartolo’s current 3.32 ERA and 1.05 WHIP is due for a stat correction, and that might happen during his start at Fenway. And even though his second start will be at home, the Orioles can hit. In 12-team mixed leagues, I’ll take the conservative route and ditch. Feel free to pitch him in deeper mixed leagues though.

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