Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 7/28
Trevor Bauer (vs. SEA, vs. TEX)
It took awhile, but Bauer is finally starting to live up to those great expectations. Yeah, the WHIP could use improvement, but he’s allowed three runs or less in each of his last six starts, and you gotta love the strikeouts. The Mariners rank next to last in the AL in both runs scored and batting average, the Rangers are no better than a mid-pack offense and Bauer’s ERA at home this year is 2.82. That’s good enough for me.
Aaron Harang (@LAD, @SD)
I’ve been doubting Harang all year, and I’m still not completely convinced that he will remain a viable option in 12-team mixed leagues through the end of the season. But for now, you can’t argue with the results, particularly the recent results, which have included six straight quality starts. The @LAD matchup might seem tough on paper, but the Dodgers offense has been mediocre at best in the month of July, ranking in the bottom half of the NL in runs and batting average and dead last in the Senior Circuit in homers. As for the @SD matchup, the Padres have scored the fewest runs in the Majors this year, and it’s not even close.
Chris Tillman (vs. LAA, vs. SEA)
After suffering through a brutal month of May (5.68 ERA, 1.53 WHIP), Tillman has rebounded nicely, posting a 3.10 ERA and 1.30 WHIP since the beginning of June. The vs. LAA matchup is a little scary, but the good news is that Tillman has been a far better pitcher at home (2.89 ERA) than on the road (4.68 ERA) this year. As for the vs. SEA matchup, there’s nothing scary about that one.
Nathan Eovaldi (vs. WAS, vs. CIN)
Heading into the season, I really liked Eovaldi as an undervalued pitcher, and things could not have gone much better in April (2.58 ERA, 1.02 WHIP). It’s been downhill since, however, and he’s allowed a combined 13 runs over his last two starts. I still haven’t given up on him, and I still think he deserves a roster spot in deeper mixed leagues, but you’re better off benching him for now. By the way, the Nationals lead the NL in runs scored in the month of July.
Francisco Liriano (@SF, @ARI)
Liriano has done a great job over his last two starts (12 IP, 1 ER, 12 K), and I might soon start to be a believer. But not yet. The strikeouts are nice, but the 4.79 BB/9 is disturbing, and with Liriano, there’s always the risk of a disaster outing. The days of the Giants being an offense to pick on are over, and the Diamondbacks rank in the top-5 of the NL in runs scored, home runs and batting average at home. I need to see more from Liriano before I can feel comfortable pitching him, even in a two-start week.
David Phelps (@TEX, @BOS)
Having allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last five starts , Phelps has emerged onto the mixed league radar. And he probably deserves an immediate pickup in deeper mixed formats. But next week is not a good time to use him. Although the Rangers and Red Sox haven’t exactly been lighting up the scoreboard this season, Rangers Ballpark and Fenway Park are two tough places to pitch, and Phelps’ ERA on the road is more than two runs higher than his ERA at home. Don’t forget about him in the coming weeks, but for next week, I’m playing it safe and ditching.