Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 6/2
Sticking with the simple three and three format, let’s get to it.
Matt Garza (vs. MIN, @PIT)
I was very high on Garza heading into this season, fully convinced that a return to the NL would result in a stat line closer to the one he posted before his mid-season trade to Texas last year (6-1, 3.17 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) than after it (4-5, 4.38 ERA, 1.32 WHIP). Not quite. Through 11 starts with the Brewers, Garza’s ERA is even higher than it was with the Rangers last year. The good news for Garza is that he’s coming off a strong performance against the Orioles in which he struck out a season-high nine batters and the Twins and Pirates rank in the bottom half in the Majors in both runs scored and batting average. But most of all, Garza carries enough of a track record to suggest that better times are ahead. And he’s probably on many 12-team mixed league waiver wires.
Bartolo Colon (@PHI, @SF)
Currently sporting a 4.73 ERA to go along with nine homers allowed over his first ten starts (he allowed only 14 in 30 starts last year), the Mets’ 20 million dollar off-season investment hasn’t exactly given the club what they paid for. At 41 years of age, maybe Father Time has finally caught up to Bartolo. On the other hand, Colon has looked a lot better of late. With a combined two earned runs over his last two starts, spanning 15 1/3 innings. The Phillies rank 26th in the Majors in runs scored in the month of May while the Giants are a mid-pack offense.
Henderson Alvarez (vs. TB, @CHC)
As I mentioned in the Pitch or Ditch post below, Alvarez isn’t a guy who you can rely on for strikeouts. That said, he’s usually a strong bet for a quality outing, and the fact that he keeps walks to a minimum (2.16 BB/9 this season) certainly helps matters. The Rays rank last in the AL in both runs scored and batting average on the road (also mentioned in the Pitch or Ditch post below) and the Cubs are a bottom-tier offense overall. Oh, and Alvarez has tossed 12 shutout innings over his last two starts.
Justin Masterson (vs. BOS, @TEX)
Listen, I’m still a Masterson fan, and I’m fairly certain that he will snap out of his season-long funk. But outside of AL-only leagues, it’s awfully hard to justify pitching him next week. I know the Red Sox lineup has underachieved so far, but it’s liable to catch fire at any moment, and @TEX is a terrible matchup for any struggling pitcher. Masterson is a ditch, but he’s still a hold in all mixed leagues of 12 teams or more.
Jorge De La Rosa (vs. ARI, vs. LAD)
De La Rosa has suffered from the “Rockies Pitcher Stigma” throughout his entire career, meaning that he’s a lot better than the average fan realizes. And he’s off to an impressive start this year. The crazy thing is that his ERA at home (2.49) is more than two full runs lower than his road mark (4.54). In fact, De La Rosa holds a very respectable 4.10 career ERA at Coors Field. Still, for 12-team mixed league purposes, I simply cannot bring myself to recommend him, especially with one of his starts coming against the Dodgers. It’s just too risky.
David Phelps (vs. SEA, @KC)
Phelps is more of a deep mixed/AL-only league special as opposed to someone I’d seriously consider using in a 12-team mixed. He’s allowed three runs or less in four of his five starts this season and is finally beginning to pitch deeper into games. The Mariners and Royals are both bottom tier offenses in the AL. Again, I’d take the conservative route and pass on Phelps in 12-team mixed leagues, but he’s definitely someone to keep tabs on going forward.