Happy Friday everyone!
You know what’s coming. Yep, my weekly two-start pitcher notes. The good news is that you have a few days to make these decisions. The bad news is that eventually you’ll have to make these decisions. And these decisions aren’t easy. So let’s get started.
Yovani Gallardo (@MIA, @CIN)
From soft ace to two-start pitcher question mark. Hard to believe, but we’re already one-third into the season and Gallardo has shown no signs of improvement. He’s had a few solid starts but the consistency just isn’t there. He’s been way too hittable this year, the velocity is down and even the strikeout rate isn’t quite at the level that we’re used to seeing. Still though, he’s not going to finish the season with a 5.25 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. At least I don’t think so. In a daily league, I’m at the point where I’d probably bench Gallardo in matchups that are particularly unfavorable, and the @CIN start is very risky considering that he got roughed up at Great American Ball Park back on May 10th. But he could very easily dominate the Marlins, and that alone is the reason why I’d pitch him next week. I haven’t totally given up on this guy just yet, and quite honestly, if you’re scared to pitch him in a two-start week, you shouldn’t even have him on your roster.
Dan Haren (@COL, @CLE)
Coming off back-to-back quality starts, Haren struggled his last time out, and it was versus the Mets of all teams! Even when Haren was putting up ace numbers, his biggest flaw was a propensity to serve up a ton of gopher balls, and this year has been no exception. But 15 home runs allowed in 12 starts is flat-out ridiculous. Like Gallardo, I haven’t lost all faith in Haren, but in 12-team mixed leagues you’re better off benching him next week. The @COL start could get very ugly, and unlike Gallardo, Haren doesn’t have the luxury of one favorable matchup, as the Indians’ lineup is no pushover. In an NL-only, you probably don’t have many better options, so you might need to pitch Haren. But in a mixed, chances are there are better options. Far better options. I’m playing it safe and ditching.
Bartolo Colon (vs. NYY, vs. SEA)
Three earned runs or less in 10 of his 12 starts this season to go along with a 1.09 WHIP and a mere six walks over 77 1/3 innings. Oh yeah, and the 267-pounder is 40 years of age! Well, whatever Colon is eating, it’s working, and there’s no reason not to continue throwing him out there while he’s on such a roll. And these matchups are pretty decent. Yeah, the Yankees’ offense is starting to heat up, but at least this start will be in Oakland. And you’ve got to thing that Colon will pitch well at home against the Mariners. I’m pitching Bartolo, and I’m not really thinking twice about it.
Ricky Nolasco (vs. MIL, vs. STL)
A longtime 411 favorite who isn’t much of a favorite anymore since he’s let us down time and time again, Nolasco is very quietly putting together a fine season. His strikeout rate is up, his hit rate is down, and slowly but surely he’s beginning to win me back over. And this is a dangerous thought considering that every time he’s won me over in the past, he’s left me disappointed. I’d be very careful here. Although the Brewers are only a mid-tier offense, the Cards can score runs in bunches, as witnessed Thursday night when they absolutely destroyed Ian Kennedy. Predicting a 4 IP, 10 ER outing for Nolasco versus St. Louis is unfair, but I don’t like this one bit. To me, Nolasco is a toss-up in deeper mixed leagues but a ditch in 12-teamers.
Wade Miley (@LAD, @SD)
Heading into this season, I felt that Miley was way overvalued, and so far it looks like I was right. Criticizing Miley too much is a little uncalled for, as his 4.92 ERA is skewed by a pair of 7 ER outings. But the reality is that he’s been hit or miss all year, and you just never know when it’s going to be a miss as he’s gotten knocked around by weak and strong lineups alike. Plain and simple, this is not the same guy who won 16 games last season while posting a 3.33 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. All that being said, next week offers a great opportunity for Miley to get back on track, and I’d be totally willing to send him out there. First off, he’s been a lot better on the road than at home this year. Second off, both the Dodgers and Padres are at best middle of the pack offenses. To repeat a famous line, if you don’t feel comfortable pitching Miley here, you might as well cut him.
John Lackey (@TB, @BAL)
Talk about a surprise, 2013 has marked the return of vintage Lackey. Since putting up a mediocre stat line in his season debut at Toronto, he’s allowed three earned runs or less in seven of his eight starts. And even the strikeout rate has been strong. These matchups aren’t all that favorable, and a stat correction is bound to come sooner or later, but the matchups aren’t terrible either. And the way Lackey is pitching right now, it’s awfully tough to sit him. Pitch and hope for the best.
Scott Feldman (vs. CIN, @NYM)
Much like Lackey, one would think that Feldman is due for a blowup or two, as his current 2.84 ERA looks weird when compared to his 4.65 career mark and he’s benefited from a very low .263 opponent BABIP. But to me, this is a situation where you can’t ignore the overall results. And the overall results have been outstanding. With one promising matchup but one tough matchup on tap, pitching Feldman doesn’t come without risk, so in shallower leagues you might want to look elsewhere. But in 12-teamers where you don’t have any clearly superior options, I’m OK with rolling the dice.
Miguel Gonzalez (vs. LAA, vs. BOS)
Gonzalez was my blue-plate special pitch or ditch pick for Thursday, and he made me look pretty good, limiting the Astros to one run over six innings with seven punchouts. Owners in deeper mixed leagues (>12 teams) should consider using him for this two-start week, but in 12-teamers, Gonzalez owners are better off quitting while they’re ahead. He’ll be facing two dangerous lineups, and the decision is made easier by the fact that his home ERA (5.11) is almost two full runs higher than his road mark (3.31). I like Miguel going forward as a quality PoD option. I just don’t like him for next week.
Liriano @ Wood – roll with ‘em!
Correia @ Karns
Tepesch @ Rogers
Jimenez @ Verlander
Hanson @ Doubront
Hammel @ Archer – tough matchup for Archer after shaky season debut
J. Fernandez @ Harvey – must-see TV!
Wainwright @ Leake – cashing in my profits on Leake… bad matchup at home
Lyles @ Shields – you read that right on Lyles
Parker @ Sale – rematch!
Lee @ Figaro
Volquez @ De La Rosa
Cain @ Corbin
Maholm @ Ryu – Maholm worth consideration in deeper leagues
Kuroda @ Bonderman
R. Hernandez @ Scherzer
M. Gonzalez @ Norris – gotta like Bud at home
Hughes @ Harang – I’d like Harang at home a lot more if it wasn’t vs. the Yankees
Holland @ Lester
Straily @ Quintana
Pelfrey @ W. Davis – should be 9-8 based on the pitchers but will probably be 3-2 based on the offenses
Marcum @ G. Gonzalez – your call on Marcum
Kennedy @ S. Miller – risky start for Kennedy but he’s been getting better
Cloyd @ W. Peralta
Cashner @ Chacin – yep, even in Coors
T. Hudson @ Greinke
***ZACH SAYS “I’d pitch Miguel Gonzalez in a very favorable matchup vs. the Astros. 3 ER or less in six of his nine starts this season. I picked him up in Mixed Tout for this week, so don’t think I’m not practicing what I preach!”
Wandy @ Teheran – Teheran is a grad, the 2-seamer making all the difference
Kluber @ Sabathia
Turner @ Hamels – Turner worth watching though
Colon @ Gallardo – have to bench Gallardo for now but don’t cut
Axelrod @ Iwakuma
Dickey @ Zito – last chance for Dickey?
Garza @ Vargas
Gee @ Haren
Cobb @ Fister
Garland @ Cueto
Ogando @ Lackey
F. Garcia @ Keuchel – Garcia on a nice run but hard to trust
Walters @ Guthrie – Guthrie slumping but a nice bounce-back matchup
Miley @ Kelly – Miley struggling and Cards can rake
Marquis @ Kershaw
Kazmir @ Phelps – can’t trust Phelps after getting hammered by Mets
Moore @ An. Sanchez
Grimm @ Dempster – too risky for either
Griffin @ Lohse
Peavy @ King Felix
Nolasco @ Pettibone – your call on Nolasco; I’ll pass
Nicasio @ Bailey
Tillman @ Harrell – toss-up on Tillman; I’ll pass
Skaggs @ Wacha – have to, right?
Richard @ Lilly
Hefner @ Zimmermann
Locke @ Minor – might as well ride Locke as far as he goes
Deduno @ Mendoza
Feldman @ Weaver
J. Johnson @ Lincecum
***ZACH SAYS “I’ll roll the dice and say pitch on Nolasco. He’s been extremely effective pretty much all season and his career numbers at Citizens Bank Park are, somewhat surprisingly, excellent (6-2, 3.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in eight starts). Ditch on Locke. Stat correction alert! Agree on rest.”