May 2013

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, June 1-3

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners

CORY’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Archer @ Jimenez – tough matchup for both, big upside for both

Harang @ Correia – Harang coming off a shutout, great K/BB, great matchup. Why not?

Verlander @ Hammel – Hammel’s been mostly solid this year

Quintana @ Straily – Straily getting on a roll

Shields @ Tepesch – vs. Royals almost a must-start these days

Doubront @ Hughes – could be 3-2, could be 10-9

Norris @ J. Williams

Fiers @ Cloyd – keep an eye on both, though…

Greinke @ Chacin

McHugh @ J. Fernandez – bad time for Niese to get a sore shoulder!

G. Gonzalez @ T. Hudson

Kennedy @ Samardzija

Leake @ Liriano – gambling on Liriano vs. tough offense

Bumgarner @ Wainwright – NICE

Buehrle @ Richard

                                                                                                                                               SUNDAY

Hellickson @ McAllister – can’t trust Hellickson here

Porcello @ Gausman – can’t trust either here

TBD (SEA) @ Diamond

Big Erv @ Darvish – can’t trust Big Erv here due to HR risk

Lyles @ Wilson

Sale @ Parker

Buchholz @ Kuroda

Harvey @ Slowey

Karns @ Maholm

W. Peralta @ Lee

Latos @ Gomez

Gaudin @ Lyons

Corbin @ Jackson

Ryu @ De La Rosa

Morrow @ Volquez – sitting it out on Morrow ‘til he shows some signs of life

                                                                                                                                             MONDAY

Masterson @ Pettitte

Bedard @ Blanton

Danks @ Saunders – yep, pitch Saundo at home vs. weak offenses

Koehler @ Kendrick – tempting on Koehler, but not in Philly

Burnett @ Medlen

Chatwood @ Arroyo

Milone @ Estrada – not using Milone on the road

Cahill @ Lynn

Stults @ Capuano – why not, right?

Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 6/3

Zach here,

By now you should be fully aware that Friday = two-start pitcher notes, so without further adieu, let’s get to it. I’ve chosen 10 pitchers who I feel are particularly tough calls, and I’m mainly gearing my decisions towards standard 12-team mixed leagues.

                                                                                                                                                          Tim Lincecum  (vs. TOR, @ARI)

Check this out:

Lincecum 2012: 10-15, 186 IP, 183 H, 90 BB, 190 K, 5.18 ERA, 1.47 WHIP

Lincecum 2013 On Pace: 9-15, 195 IP, 195 H, 93 BB, 204 K, 5.12 ERA, 1.48 WHIP

Eerily similar, right? At this point, we all need to give up on the hope that Tiny Tim will recapture his pre-2012 Cy Young form. That said, he still carries mixed league value thanks to the high K rate and at least the possibility that he can perform at a more consistent level. The problem though is that it’s extremely difficult to trust him right now, and these matchups aren’t exactly ideal. Even though the Blue Jays’ lineup has been ravaged by injuries this season, Toronto still ranks in the top-5 in the AL in home runs, runs and batting average in the month of May. Chase Field is always a tough place to pitch, and Lincecum did not fare well when he faced the D-Backs in Arizona earlier in the year (5 IP, 10 H, 5 ER). In mixed leagues, I’m ditching. You just never know which Lincecum you’re going to get.

Tommy Milone  (@MIL, @CHW)

Coming off yet another mediocre road outing, Milone should be treated as strictly a pitch at home/ditch on the road guy. This year’s splits are drastic and last year’s splits were just as drastic. With two road matchups on tap, Milone is a ditch, despite the fact that he’ll be facing a pair of scuffling lineups.

Chris Tillman  (@HOU, @TB)

Tillman’s ugly performance vs. the Nats on Wednesday in which he served up four homers in just 4 2/3 innings can’t inspire too much confidence, but he had been pitching fairly well before that start. The longball has been a major problem for him this season, as he’s served up a whopping 14 homers through 63 1/3 innings (11 starts). But if he can make strides in that area, his overall stat line will improve significantly. The @TB matchup is a little scary as the Rays actually rank 1st in the AL in runs scored this month, but they’re only a mid-level home run hitting team (8th in AL this season). And you’ve got to like the @HOU matchup. In deeper mixed leagues, I’ll take a chance on Tillman.

Brandon McCarthy  (@STL, vs. SF)

Just when you thought McCarthy had turned the corner, posting a 1.19 ERA over a four-start stretch, he puts up a stinker @TEX (I know it’s a tough matchup but still…) to raise his season ERA to 5.00. Cory remains a big-time McCarthy supporter, but I’m just not a fan. The low walk rate is nice but he’s giving up way too many hits this year while posting a strikeout rate that is mediocre at best. Even in a two-start week, I wouldn’t feel comfortable pitching B-Mac unless both matchups are favorable, and the @STL game could be a disaster. I want no part of this. Ditch.

John Danks  (@SEA, vs. OAK)

Danks registered a quality start in his season debut at home vs. the lowly Marlins, but he really struggled on Wednesday at Wrigley, and while he’s a guy who I’m going to monitor closely going forward, he can’t be trusted in mixed leagues yet. AL-only owners should probably take a flier on him next week though, as these matchups are promising. But like I said, mixed leaguers are better off following a wait and see approach.

MLB: New York Mets at New York Yankees

David Phelps  (vs. CLE, @SEA)

I’m willing to give Phelps a mulligan after the beating he took from the Mets, as he was on a nice roll heading into that start. Overall, I’ve been very impressed with the 26-year-old, who has managed to post a strong strikeout rate while limiting the longball and keeping his walk rate under control. Phelps did a fine job against a quality Indians lineup a couple weeks ago and the @SEA matchup certainly has upside potential. Pitch.

Jonathan Pettibone  (vs. MIA, @MIL)

Pettibone’s mediocre performance vs. the Red Sox on Thursday night, the first time he has given up more than three earned runs in a start this season, put somewhat of a damper on what has so far been a solid rookie campaign for the 22-year-old. On one hand, Pettibone sports a stellar 3.64 ERA and 3.06 BB/9 rate. On the other, he’s allowed well over a hit per inning and isn’t a strikeout pitcher. There’s not a whole lot of upside here, but these are decent matchups, so there’s not much downside either. If you’re short of worthy one-start options in a deep mixed league, Pettibone isn’t a bad guy to gamble on for the two-start week.

Juan Nicasio  (@CIN, vs. SD)

Nicasio looked like a strong two-start play for next week until he struggled against a weak Astros team on Thursday night. If he can’t even handle the Astros, how will he fare on the road against a high-powered Reds’ lineup? I don’t care that the vs. SD matchup seems like a favorable one. His entire week could be ruined by the time he takes the mound for that start. Keep an eye on Nicasio though, as he could re-emerge as a legitimate mixed league option, but I’m staying away for next week.

Tyler Chatwood  (@CIN, vs. SD)

Chatwood has exactly the same matchups as Nicasio but I’m a tad more confident in him. The way Chatwood is pitching right now, there’s pretty much zero chance that he’ll be removed from the Rockies’ rotation even after Jeff Francis returns. He’s allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last four starts and is coming off a dominant 10 K performance against the Astros. His shaky track record would scare me off in mixed leagues, but I like him a lot as an NL-only waiver wire pickup. Keep in mind that he’s still just 23, so one would think that he will only get better.

Eric Stults  (@LAD, @COL)

This guy is hard to figure out. He’s capable of tossing a gem on any given day but far too often puts up a mediocre stat line. The good news is that he’s been pitching more gems of late and is coming off a superb performance vs. the Mariners (8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 12 K). The bad news is that the historically fly-ball oriented pitcher will head into Coors Field next week. This worries me. This worries me a lot. I’m ditching Stults in mixed leagues but will group him with Nicasio and Chatwood as guys who deserve NL-only consideration.

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, May 31

MLB: Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants

CORY’S PICKS

Miley @ Garza – Miley hasn’t been great, but it’s the Cubs

Lester @ Sabathia

Cueto @ Wandy – tough matchup for Wandy but he’s been solid this year

Scherzer @ M. Gonzalez

Gallardo @ Hamels – rhetorical question: how much longer do we go with YoGo?

Moore @ Kluber

Marcum @ Turner – coming off 12 K’s, have to!

Strasburg @ Teheran – Teheran is hearing graduation music…

W. Davis @ Holland

Iwakuma @ Pelfrey

Cain @ S. Miller

Kershaw @ Garland

Axelrod @ Colon

Keuchel @ Hanson – good matchup for Hanson’s return

Jenkins @ Marquis

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, May 30

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays

CORY’S PICKS

McCarthy @ Grimm

Peavy @ Wood

King Felix @ Cashner

Griffin @ Zito

Morales @ Pettibone

Bailey @ Kazmir

Fister @ Locke – riding Locke as long as it lasts

Gee @ Nuno – you read that right. Vidal Nuno!

Haren @ F. Garcia – no idea what Haren will do so I’ll ditch

Colome @ Nolasco – Nolasco OK in deep leagues but I’m off that bus

Dickey @ Minor – maybe the return to the NL will help Dickey?

Lohse @ Walters – good matchup for Lohse

Guthrie @ Wacha – great matchup for Wacha’s debut, but Guthrie is struggling

Harrell @ Nicasio – Nicasio worth the gamble at home vs. whiff-prone Astros

Lilly @ Vargas – your call but I want no part of this

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, May 29

MLB: ALDS-Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers

CORY’S PICKS

Danks @ Feldman

An. Sanchez @ Burnett

R. Hernandez @ Koehler – you read that right on Koehler. I like his stuff.

Estrada @ Deduno

Capuano @ Weaver – perfect matchup for Weaver’s return

Lackey @ Kendrick – bad time for Kendrick to regress, vs. Red Sox

Hefner @ Phelps

Rogers @ Medlen

Mendoza @ Lynn

Saunders @ Stults

Arroyo @ Masterson

Zimmermann @ Tillman

McCarthy @ Grimm – playing it safe on McCarthy despite recent success

Bedard @ Chatwood

Milone @ Lincecum – don’t like Milone on the road

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, May 28

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers

ZACH’S PICKS

Maholm @ Morrow – Not trusting Morrow outside of very favorable matchups…this isn’t one of them

De La Rosa @ Lyles – Great matchup for DLR

Gomez @ Porcello – Porcello not a terrible play here but I’m just not a fan

Lee @ Dempster – Ditch on the struggling Dempster

Slowey @ Hellickson – I’m off the Slowey bandwagon

Jackson @ Sale – E-Jax is DTM for the time being

Lyons @ Big Erv

Kickham @ Parker – Parker on a nice roll now

Volquez @ Maurer

Kuroda @ Harvey

Gausman @ TBD (WAS) – Gausman showed me enough in his debut that I can trust him here

McAllister @ Latos – Not a good matchup for McAllister

Diamond @ Figaro

Blanton @ Ryu

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, May 25-27

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies

CORY’S PICKS

SATURDAY

F. Garcia @ Dickey – Dickey is rounding into form

Kazmir @ Lester – looks like the Kazmir experiment has already ended badly

TBD (LAA) @ Guthrie

Correia @ Fister

Sabathia @ Moore

Nolasco @ Peavy – Nolasco worth a look in deeper leagues, though

Griffin @ Harrell

Holland @ King Felix

Nicasio @ Zito – Nicasio still risky despite impressive outing last time

Locke @ Fiers

Wood @ Bailey

Gast @ Lilly

Pettibone @ Haren – Haren’s unpredictability making him unusable

Minor @ Gee – Gee is much better at home but starting him still takes #want

Cashner @ Miley

                                                                                                                                               SUNDAY

M. Gonzalez @ Jenkins

Pelfrey @ Scherzer

Kluber @ Doubront

Hughes @ Cobb – still OK with using Hughes on the road

Sanabia @ Axelrod – Axelrod worth a look in deep and AL-only leagues

J. Williams @ W. Davis

Colon @ Keuchel

Tepesch @ Iwakuma

Garza @ Cueto

Hamels @ Strasburg – NICE

Wandy @ Gallardo – tough draw for Wandy but he’s been solid as usual

Garland @ Cain

S. Miller @ Kershaw – sell high on Miller. Just sayin’

Marquis @ Corbin

Teheran @ Marcum

                                                                                                                                             MONDAY

Liriano @ Verlander – true test of Liriano’s hot start

Wainwright @ Shields

Chacin @ Norris

J. Fernandez @ Odorizzi – 2017 All-Star Game starters preview?

Bumgarner @ Straily – your call on Straily, I’ll pass

Volquez @ Harang

T. Hudson @ Buehrle – Hudson too hittable of late, I’ll pass

Cloyd @ Buchholz

Samardzija @ Quintana

Hammel @ G. Gonzalez – Nationals are struggling so go for it on Hammel

Jimenez @ Leake – toss-up on both, I’ll play it safe

TBD (MIN) @ Burgos

Darvish @ Kennedy (Gm 1 of doubleheader)

Nuno @ Niese – Niese seems to be turning it around and is at home

Wilson @ Greinke

Perez @ Cahill (Gm 2 of doubleheader)

Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 5/27

Hey everyone,

It’s Friday, so you know what that means! Time for another dose of my weekly two-start pitcher notes. As always, remember that these are geared towards standard, 12-team 5×5 mixed leagues. And of course, be sure to listen to today’s podcast, as Cory and JB will be joined by Todd “Lord” Zola of Mastersball to talk about some of these two-start pitcher options while answering a bunch of listener questions.

-Zach

Ervin Santana  (vs. STL, @TEX)

This is a very tough test for Big Erv, who is fresh off a mediocre performance versus the Angels in which he allowed four home runs. But the strikeouts are still there and his walk rate is at a career-low level. With Erv, it basically boils down to whether the longballs he serves up will be solo shots or multi-run homers. Despite the scary matchups, I think he’s pitched well enough this year to earn our trust in a two-start week.

Brandon Morrow  (vs. ATL, @SD)

More often than not, Morrow has disappointed this season. On any given day, he could either throw a two-hitter or allow six runs in three innings. This makes him incredibly frustrating to own. While the @SD matchup is enticing, in a 12-team mixed league I’m not going anywhere near him for the vs. ATL outing. The Braves rank 1st in the NL in homers and 5th in runs. No thanks. Ditch.

Francisco Liriano  (@DET, vs. CIN)

Check out Liriano’s stats so far this year. They’re pretty good. The problem is that it’s only been three starts, and Liriano has teased us before. The other problem is that these matchups are flat-out frightening, with the Tigers leading the AL in runs and the Reds being the second-highest scoring team in the Senior Circuit. In an NFBC-style mixed league, maybe you want to take a chance on him due to the upside, particularly in the strikeout department. But in a standard sized mixed, you’re probably better off playing it safe and ditching.

Ubaldo Jimenez  (@CIN, vs. TB)

Ubaldo, Ubaldo, Ubaldo. Just when we started to think (or hope) that he had turned the corner, he goes out and puts up a stinker. It was against the Tigers, so let’s give him a bit of a break. But the bottom line is that you just can’t trust this guy. And I’m not a fan of these matchups. At all. I view Jimenez as a lot like Liriano. High risk/high reward but to me, the high risk outweighs the high reward. I’ll pass.

Phil Hughes  (@NYM, vs. BOS)

This is an interesting one considering that Hughes is coming off a strong showing vs. the Orioles and the @NYM matchup is rather tasty. But the Red Sox game has disaster written all over it and let’s not conveniently forget that Hughes had allowed a combined 13 earned runs over his previous two starts (6 1/3 IP) against a pair of weak offenses in the Mariners and Royals. Hughes, who currently sports an ugly 5.51 ERA and 1.50 WHIP through nine starts this season, still has a ways to go before I can feel comfortable pitching him, even in a two-start week.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics

Jarrod Parker  (vs. SF, vs. CHW)

Finally, Parker seems to have righted the ship, with three straight quality starts. The overall stat line is still tough to look at, but I’m still a Parker fan thanks to his excellent rookie campaign last year. He’ll get a couple of home starts next week, one versus a White Sox offense that ranks dead last in the AL in runs scored and second to last in batting average and the other a Giants’ lineup that has surprisingly hit well so far but is still no one’s idea of Murderers’ Row. I’ll pitch on Parker.

Kevin Slowey  (@TB, vs. NYM)

Just when it looked like Slowey was turning back into a pumpkin, he redeemed himself in his most recent start, but being that his only quality season came back in ’08, I remain skeptical. If you have him on your roster, you might as well pitch him, as the vs. NYM start is an enticing one, but generally speaking, he’s not someone I plan on owning anytime soon because, well, he’ll probably turn back into a pumpkin.

Edwin Jackson  (@CHW, vs. ARI)

I expected better from E-Jax this season. I didn’t quite expect him to duplicate his performance from last year, but at the same time I didn’t expect him to be this erratic. Come on, a 6.11 ERA and 1.57 WHIP through 10 starts? The only positive is that he’s striking out a shade under a batter per inning, so at least he offers K’s in a two-start week. While I have yet to lose all faith in him, my patience is wearing very thin, and these are pretty bad matchups. In a 12-team mixed, I’m ditching until he shows some signs of righting the ship. But in deeper mixed leagues, rolling the dice on Jackson isn’t a terrible move if you’re chasing K’s.

Mike Leake  (vs. CLE, @PIT)

Leake is hard to trust in general, but guess what his ERA is over his last two starts, spanning 13 2/3 innings? Yep, 0.00. The bad news is that the Indians’ lineup ranks 2nd in the AL in runs scored and is tied for 1st in homers, which makes this a tough call. But I do like the @PIT matchup, and Leake has been pitching well enough lately that I’m willing to take the risk. Plus, he’s backed by a strong offense, so chances are you’ll get at least one W.

Jose Quintana  (vs. CHC, @OAK)

Although Quintana has had a few mediocre outings this season, on the whole he’s done a solid job. He doesn’t hurt himself with walks and has even shown considerable improvement in the strikeout department. Oh yeah, and he’s only 24. I’m a huge Quintana supporter, and next week is as good a time as any to roll him out there, as he’ll be facing two sub-par offenses. Pitch!

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, May 24

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Seattle Mariners

CORY’S PICKS

Kendrick @ Zimmermann

Medlen @ Hefner

Phelps @ R. Hernandez – why isn’t there more love for Phelps? Stats don’t lie

Milone @ Bedard – not starting Milone on the road

Lynn @ Capuano

Tillman @ Nolin

Feldman @ Arroyo – have to ride Feldman, even if the ride gets a little scary at times

Vargas @ Mendoza

Burnett @ Estrada

Grimm @ Saunders – yep, Saunders is a “pitch” at home, even vs. Texas

Deduno @ An. Sanchez

Masterson @ Lackey

Koehler @ Danks – keep an eye on Koehler in favorable matchups, though…

Stults @ McCarthy

Chatwood @ Lincecum

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, May 23

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers

CORY’S PICKS

Jackson @ Gomez – EJax hasn’t earned a start, but it’s the Pirates…
McAllister @ Dempster – tough call on McAllister but I’m a fan
Gausman @ Morrow – bench but don’t cut on both, don’t love the matchups
Blanton @ Big Erv
Diamond @ Porcello - Porcello on a nice run, and it’s the Twins
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