No podcast today but you can always count on my two-start pitcher notes each and every Friday.
Have a splendid Labor Day weekend!
Ian Kennedy (vs. SF, vs. COL)
As I said in the Pitch or Ditch post below, Kennedy is DTM. For some crazy reason, I drafted him on four of my five teams this year, fully convinced that a bounce back season was in store. Oops. He’s steadily regressed in just about every statistical category for two years running now, and while his move to the Padres is somewhat promising, he hasn’t even taken advantage of Petco yet, having already gotten hammered there by the Mets. The Mets! Anyway, despite these two promising home matchups, I can’t trust this guy under any circumstances. It’s as simple as that, though would I be surprised if he pitches well next week? Not really. But I don’t care. Ditch.
Jose Quintana (@NYY, @BAL)
Let’s face it, this guy has been extremely consistent this season. Better yet, he’s even upped his strikeout rate significantly in eight starts since the All-Star break, with 48 punchouts in 50 2/3 innings. These matchups are far from ideal, but the Yankees are still an inconsistent offensive club and I’m at the point with Quintana where I trust him regardless of the opponent. Pitch.
Bud Norris (@CLE, vs. CHW)
The 3-1 record is nice, but the 4.91 ERA and 1.70 WHIP since joining the Orioles is flat out ugly. There’s always strikeout upside with Norris, but his habit of blowing up every now and then has me fearing that if you do choose to pitch him and one of these starts turns out to be a disaster outing (a legitimate possibility), your whole week would be ruined. Better be safe than sorry. Ditch.
Charlie Morton (@MIL, @STL)
Five straight starts of two earned runs or less might have you thinking that Morton in a two-start week is a no-brainer pitch. Not quite. For the season, the Cardinals lead the NL in runs scored and batting average. And it’s not even close. Then there’s the fact that the last time Morton gave up more than two earned runs in a start was on August 1st. Against who? Yup, the Cardinals! If we were just talking about the @MIL start, I’d say pitch. But unfortunately, the @MIL start is tied to the @STL start, so I’ll say ditch. Feel free to pitch him in NL-only leagues though, as you probably don’t have many better options. And who knows, maybe Morton will surprise me. He already has.
Erasmo Ramirez (@KC, vs. TB)
I really like what I’ve seen from Erasmo this year. I like the high strikeout rate. I like the exceptional 3.00 K/BB ratio. The 5.18 ERA is largely the product of an inflated home run rate, and being that Ramirez served up only six homers over 59 innings last season compared to nine in 48 2/3 frames this year, I think he’s bound to improve in that department. The Royals and Rays are both middle of the pack offenses, so I don’t have much of a problem pitching Ramirez next week.
Feldman @ Nova – Feldman not a bad play in deeper leagues but I just don’t have a whole lot of confidence in him.
Guthrie @ Dickey – Dickey’s been so unpredictable this year but he’s pitching fairly well of late.
Kazmir @ An. Sanchez
Danks @ Peavy – Danks has been solid but this is a bad matchup.
Saunders @ Keuchel
Pelfrey @ Garza
Cobb @ Gray – Gray coming off brutal outing but the overall results have been impressive.
Lee @ Rusin – Rusin 2 ER or less in each of his last four starts.
Wheeler @ Haren
Lynn @ Burnett
Williams @ Estrada – I think it’s fairly safe to use Estrada now.
Turner @ Minor – Turner’s been shaky after hot start.
Reynolds @ De La Rosa – DLR has been lights out at home (8-1, 2.58 ERA).
Vogelsong @ Cahill – Vogelsong close to regaining my trust but for now I’ll only pitch him at home.
Cashner @ Capuano – Capuano too hit or miss.
W. Chen @ Hughes – Let’s not freak out after one bad start from Chen at Fenway.
Shields @ Happ
Salazar @ Verlander
Rienzo @ Doubront – Doubront has gotten back on track.
Iwakuma @ Oberholtzer
Correia @ Blackley
R. Hernandez @ Griffin – Not too confident in Griffin though.
Lyons @ TBD (PIT)
Wilson @ Lohse
Kendrick @ Arrieta
Ross @ Greinke – Not a good matchup for Ross. He’s purely a chasing K’s option.
Leake @ Nicasio – Leake is fading and it’s Coors. Nicasio very risky but I’ll roll the dice. His home ERA is almost two full runs lower than his road mark.
Zito @ Corbin
Eovaldi @ A. Wood – Wood’s on a roll.
Niese @ Ohlendorf – The same can be said for Niese. Ohlendorf a strong NL-only play and decent choice in deeper mixed leagues versus depleted Mets lineup.
Quintana @ Pettitte
Fister @ Lackey – Fister no longer an automatic start though, so if you want to sit this one out, that’s fine.
King Felix @ Duffy – Keep a close eye on Duffy.
Albers @ Clemens
Norris @ Masterson – Norris has been erratic of late and this is not a favorable matchup.
Holland @ Straily – I’ll throw Straily out there coming off strong showing @DET.
Archer @ Richards – Playing it safe on Richards, who got roughed up by Rays his last time out.
Matsuzaka @ Maholm – Despite ultra-favorable matchup, I just can’t trust Maholm.
Kelly @ Latos – Kelly warrants consideration in deeper leagues but the matchup is a little scary and his lack of K’s limits his upside.
Morton @ Gorzelanny – Morton is red hot.
Alvarez @ T. Wood
Petit @ Kennedy – Kennedy is officially DTM. Now watch him throw a gem!
Kershaw @ Bettis
Redmond @ McCarthy – Still not sold on McCarthy.
Strasburg @ Hamels
M. Gonzalez @ Sabathia – Gonzalez a toss-up but I’ll go for it. CC looked a lot better his last time out.
Big Erv @ Buehrle – Buehrle hit or miss. I’ll play it safe.
McAllister @ Porcello – I like McAllister but not here. Porcello’s numbers in three starts vs. Tribe this year are outstanding (2-0, 1.42 ERA, 0.95 WHIP).
Santiago @ Dempster – I like Santiago but not here.
Hendriks @ Darvish
T. Walker @ Peacock – Walker an elite prospect but I’m not a fan of pitching SPs in their big league debut.
Price @ Parker
Halladay @ Samardzija – Liked what I saw from Doc in his return.
Gee @ Zimmermann – Gee coming off worst outing in quite some time, but it was the Tigers.
Miller @ Liriano
J. Fernandez @ Teheran – Nice!
Weaver @ W. Peralta – Peralta has been a lot more effective on the road (3.94 ERA) than at home (5.17 ERA).
Arroyo @ Manship – Bronson has terrible career numbers at Coors.
Lincecum @ Delgado – Lincecum good for K’s but he got roughed up @ARI earlier this season (5 IP, 10 H, 5 ER). Delgado a worthy start in deeper leagues.
Stults @ Ryu – Tough task for Stults though.
Colon @ Scherzer – Playing it safe with the returning Colon in brutal matchup.
B. Chen @ Deduno – Royals rank 4th in AL in runs scored and 3rd in AVG this month.
Vargas @ Odorizzi
Tillman @ Lester – Tillman risky but he’s dominated BOS this year (0.98 ERA in three starts).
E. Ramirez @ Lyles – Ramirez 3 ER combined over last two starts (13 2/3 IP).
Martin @ Torres – Torres worth monitoring though.
Koehler @ G. Gonzalez - Koehler a decent NL-only play but Nats are hitting well lately.
Gallardo @ Cole – YoGa showing some signs of improvement.
Jimenez @ Medlen
Perez @ King Felix – I like what I’m seeing from Perez this year, I like the venue and M’s rank 13th in AL in runs scored since the All-Star break.
Norris @ Lackey
Kuroda @ Redmond
Straily @ Fister – Straily has a 4.70 ERA in 12 road starts this year, and it’s the Tigers.
Richards @ Archer – Tough matchup for Richards, but 3 ER or less in five of his last six starts.
Cosart @ Sale – Cosart worth a shot here.
B. Chen @ Albers – Wheels starting to fall off for soft-tossing Albers.
Jackson @ Nolasco
Alvarez @ Strasburg
Gorzelanny @ Morton – Morton is hot.
Masterson @ Maholm
Hamels @ Matsuzaka
Bailey @ Wainwright
Bumgarner @ Chacin – Chacin 3 ER or less in each of his last nine starts.
TBD (SD) @ Miley
While the big news of the day came out of Queens, with Matt Harvey being diagnosed with a partial UCL tear in his right elbow, an injury that could very well require Tommy John surgery, which would keep Harvey out of action through the end of the 2014 season, let’s take a fantasy angled look at some of the other happenings around the league from Monday’s game action.
-After belting five home runs on Monday night (Jason Castro, Matt Dominguez, Brett Wallace, Chris Carter twice), the Astros rank 3rd in the Majors in homers in the month of August. The ultra-streaky Dominguez is batting a measly .236 for the season and his overall walk rate is horribly low, but he does have five homers in his last ten games to go along with a .342 average. He could make for a decent short-term add in deeper mixed leagues. From a counting stats perspective, he’s on pace to finish the season with 24 homers and 80 RBIs. That’s pretty good from a guy who went undrafted in the vast majority of mixed leagues. Castro (.280 AVG, 18 HR, 52 RBI) has turned out to be a major draft day steal, and with a .968 OPS since the All-Star break, he’s only gotten better. Congrats to those of you who drafted him as your second catcher in an AL-only league (yes, that is very possible). As for Carter, he looks like a 26-year-old version of Adam Dunn sans the OBP skills. If you like that type of player, go ahead and draft him again next year, but I’m passing.
-Both Juan Nicasio (6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K vs. SF) and Brandon McCarthy (7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K vs. SD) delivered strong performances last night. For McCarthy, it was his first victory since May 24th, a start that oddly enough came at home against these same Padres. He’s back on the PoD radar for his next two starts (vs. SF, @SF) depending of course on your risk tolerance. As for Nicasio, he’s actually pitched much better at home this year (4-1, 3.56 ERA) than on the road (4-5, 5.43 ERA). Considering that his home is Coors Field, this is rather strange. I like him for Pitch or Ditch purposes though, and so far my decision to pick him up for the two-start week in my NL-only league is looking good…so far.
Pettitte @ Happ – Not much upside with Pettitte here in hitter-friendly park versus quality lineup.
Milone @ Verlander – Terrible matchup for Milone, and he’s struggled on the road this year (5.00 ERA).
W. Chen @ Doubront – Doubront has been solid for awhile now.
Wilson @ R. Hernandez – Wilson is 4-0 with a 3.13 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break.
Clemens (not that one) @ Quintana - Great matchup for Quintana, who has allowed 3 ER or less in nine of his last ten starts.
Shields @ Correia
Holland @ Iwakuma – Iwakuma seems to be back on track.
Eovaldi @ Ohlendorf – Eovaldi a toss-up but that horrific outing a couple starts ago has scared me off.
Lohse @ Locke – Avoid Locke until further notice.
Salazar @ A. Wood – Salazar a risky play though versus top-notch offense.
Kendrick @ Niese
Latos @ Kelly – Kelly has been in a nice groove but there’s limited K upside and this matchup scares me.
Petit @ Bettis
Kennedy @ Holmberg – Kennedy showing signs of improvement but I still need to see more consistency.
T. Wood @ Kershaw
Milone @ Tillman
Hendriks @ Kazmir – Kazmir hit and miss, but overall a good percentage play
Darvish @ Santiago – I like Santiago for the K potential even in tough matchups
Zimmermann @ W. Davis – if Zimmermann can’t handle the Royals, THEN we’ll ditch
TBD (TOR) @ Peacock – Peacock has good K potential and Toronto is banged up
Sabathia @ Price
Vargas @ E. Ramirez
Lester @ Ryu
Scherzer @ Harvey
Delgado @ Martin – Delgado is tempting vs. banged-up Phillies
W. Peralta @ Arroyo – I’d love to use Peralta here but Reds shelled him last time
Manship @ Fernandez
Teheran @ Miller
Samardzija @ Stults – one more shot on Stults at home vs. a weak opponent
Liriano @ Lincecum
Pelfrey @ McAllister – McAllister worth a look in deep and/or unmixed leagues
Parker @ M. Gonzalez
Nova @ Cobb
Garza @ Danks – Danks a riskier pick but he’s pitched better than his ERA shows
Haren @ Big Erv – Haren looks reborn of late (again)
Buehrle @ Keuchel
Weaver @ Harang
Estrada @ Cingrani – Estrada sharp since coming off the DL but too HR-prone for this matchup
Porcello @ Gee
De La Rosa @ Turner – Turner is fading, should be shut down soon
Corbin @ Cloyd
Minor @ Lynn
Burnett @ Vogelsong
Rusin @ Cashner
Peavy @ Capuano
Hellickson @ Guthrie
Hughes @ Dickey
Griffin @ An. Sanchez
Oberholtzer @ Rienzo
Blackley @ Saunders
Leake @ Lyons
Lee @ Wheeler
Zito @ Nicasio
Ross @ McCarthy – tough call on both… red-hot Ross in tough matchup vs. struggling McCarthy in favorable matchup… play it safe on both
Arrieta @ Greinke
You know the drill by now. Another Friday, another installment of my two-start pitcher notes. Today’s special guest was Lawr Michaels of Mastersball, so be sure to listen to that segment when the podcast comes out later today. Trust me, it’s a great listen. Oh, and the rest of the podcast is pretty good too.
Jonathon Niese (vs. PHI, @WAS)
In three starts since coming off the DL earlier this month, Niese has gone 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 23-to-5 K/BB ratio over 19 innings. Pretty good. The Phillies have been an erratic offensive team all season and while the Nationals’ lineup has shown a great deal of improvement lately, they’re still struggling vs. lefties. The bottom line though is that Niese is on a roll, and his solid track record suggests that he’s closer to the pitcher we’re seeing in August than the one who was mediocre at best in May and June. Maybe he was just playing hurt. It could be as simple as that. Pitch.
Sonny Gray (@DET, vs. TB)
As impressive as Gray has been over his first five big league appearances (three starts), I tend to shy away from taking too many risks this late in the season. And to me, this is a risk. The Tigers’ lineup is arguably the scariest lineup in baseball, even without the suspended Jhonny Peralta, and the Rays are no slouch either. If you’re chasing counting stats (though good luck chasing wins against these two clubs) and play in a deep mixed league, maybe you take a chance on Gray. But I’m very leery of these matchups from an ERA/WHIP perspective. Ditch.
Phil Hughes (@TOR, vs. BAL)
Hughes is about as close to DTM as a pitcher can get without actually being DTM. The guy is just so maddeningly inconsistent that I honestly don’t trust him against anyone, let alone two teams that rank in the top-5 in the AL in runs scored and rank first and second in the Majors in homers. Don’t be swayed by the strikeout upside. This is a rather easy one. Ditch.
Brandon McCarthy (vs. SD, vs. SF)
Cory made a good point on the show today that if these matchups were both on the road, McCarthy might be worth consideration in deeper leagues. But the reality is that they’re not. The other reality is that McCarthy is coming off a horrific outing @CIN which was preceded by a shaky performance @PIT. In mixed leagues, McCarthy is a ditch.
Felix Doubront (vs. BAL, vs. CHW)
Although Doubront often tests my patience, he’s pitched pretty well since the All-Star break and has done a fine job in the free pass department, lowering his walk rate from 3.91 in the first half to 3.29. Add in the fact that he’s always a good bet for a decent number of strikeouts, and I’d feel fairly comfortable pitching Doubront next week. The vs. BAL start is a little scary but you’ve got to like the vs. CHW start. All in all, this is a risk worth taking. Pitch.
Tyson Ross (@ARI, @ LAD)
Take a look at Ross’ season numbers and you might fall over in shock. I mean, a 2.85 ERA and 1.17 WHIP to go along with 76 strikeouts in 85 1/3 innings? Are you kidding me? I’m not buying this, but if you’re desperate for strikeouts in a deep mixed league, maybe you want to take a shot. But I’m sitting on the sidelines for this one.
A.J. Griffin (@DET, vs. TB)
Very quietly, Griffin is putting together a quality season. But a number of things concern me about next week. First, he faces the Tigers on the road. The Tigers at home would be tough enough, but being that Griffin’s road ERA is more than a half-run higher than his home mark, that start could get very ugly very fast. Then there’s the fact that his ERA since the All-Star break is more than a half-run higher than his first half mark. And for good measure, the Rays are a pretty formidable offense in their own right. I don’t like this one bit. Ditch.
Danny Salazar (@ATL, @DET)
Salazar is a real toss-up. These matchups are as challenging as they come yet the young righty has already shown that he can pitch well against some of the league’s better lineups (Tigers, Blue Jays). Ultimately, this comes down to category needs. If you need strikeouts, Salazar is your guy. But if you’re in a tight ERA and WHIP race, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.