Sabathia @ Lester – Sabathia risky here but he’s been a lot better over his last two starts.
Colon @ Darvish – Bartolo has a 3.00 ERA in three starts vs. TEX this season.
Tillman @ Rogers – Tillman is 5-2 with a 3.19 ERA and 8.51 K/9 since ASB.
Big Erv @ Fister
Jimenez @ Rienzo – Ubaldo is rolling. 1.94 ERA since ASB!
Moore @ Albers
Weaver @ Oberholtzer
Bailey @ Hellweg
Alvarez @ Matsuzaka (Gm 1)
Turner @ Torres (Gm 2) – Great matchup for both.
Hamels @ G. Gonzalez
Baker @ Cole
Erlin @ Medlen
Paxton @ Wacha
Oswalt @ Miley
Lincecum @ Nolasco – Tough matchup for Tiny Tim but he’s been solid lately, for the most part.
M. Gonzalez @ Buehrle – Gonzalez not a bad choice in deeper leagues though.
Guthrie @ Scherzer
McAllister @ Sale
Price @ P. Hernandez
Williams @ Clemens
Parker @ Perez – Perez a borderline call.
Nova @ Buchholz – I don’t trust Nova vs. BOS.
Koehler @ Gee
Smith @ Teheran
Cloyd @ Zimmiermann
T. Wood @ Liriano
Arroyo @ Gallardo – Gallardo has righted the ship.
E. Ramirez @ S. Miller – Bad matchup for Erasmo.
Vogelsong @ Volquez
Chacin @ Delgado – Delgado should get back on track here.
Saunders @ Porcello – Good matchup for Porcello.
Garza @ Cobb – Not giving up on Garza just yet.
Hendriks @ E. Johnson
Kazmir @ Shields – Kazmir’s control has improved significantly in the second half.
Cueto @ Bedard
Wilson @ Gray
Minor @ Haren – Haren a dangerous start here.
Dyson @ Lee
Cashner @ Burnett
Jackson @ W. Peralta – Peralta very inconsistent but I’ll give him a shot.
Lynn @ McHugh – Disaster alert for Lynn.
Ryu @ Cahill
Today marked our final phone guest show of 2013, and we had a good one in Paul Sporer of Baseball Prospectus. Be sure to catch the podcast when it comes out later, as Paul and Cory will discuss most of these two-start pitchers in addition to answering a bunch of listener questions. But here’s my take on some of next week’s tougher two-start pitcher decisions.
Lance Lynn (@COL, @MIL)
There’s no way around it. Coming off an impressive first full big league season, Lynn has been a disappointment this year. And even though his last start was his best one in a long time, Lynn had allowed at least four runs in each of his previous five outings. His home/road splits are extreme (3.00 ERA at home compared to 5.59 ERA on the road) and @COL is about as tough as it gets from a road matchup perspective. I wouldn’t hesitate to draft Lynn next year if the price is right, as most of his peripheral stats haven’t changed much from last year, so luck might be playing a factor in his elevated ERA. But for the rest of 2013, you’re better off staying away unless the matchup is ideal. And these matchups are far from ideal.
Dan Haren (vs. ATL, vs. MIA)
I wrote about Haren yesterday, declaring him both YPNM and DTM. Has my opinion changed over the last 24 hours? Ah, no. Chances are he’ll fare better against the Marlins than he did in his most recent bout with The Fish, but he’s been the model of inconsistency all season, so who knows. Yeah, Haren was excellent vs. the Braves when he faced them back in early-May (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), but the reality is that Atlanta ranks 1st in the NL in home runs, and the longball has been Haren’s chief nemesis throughout his career. And he’s yet to beat it (26 homers allowed in 27 starts this season). Plain and simple, he cannot be trusted. Ditch.
Andy Pettitte (@TOR, vs. SF)
Although Pettitte’s days of being a high-end starting pitcher are long over, he’s very quietly having a solid season. The 41-year-old southpaw is on a nice roll right now, having strung together six consecutive quality starts, and neither the Blue Jays nor Giants boast top-tier lineups. Next week is as good a time as any to trot Pettitte out there.
Scott Feldman (@BOS, @TB)
Like Pettitte, Feldman isn’t exactly an intimidating prescense on the mound. But he’s gotten the job done this season, particularly of late (3 ER or less in each of his last six starts). As far as next week goes, the good news is that the Rays rank dead last in the AL in runs scored since the All-Star break. The bad news is that he gets the Red Sox at Fenway. The bad news outweighs the good news. Ditch.
Rick Porcello (vs. SEA, vs. CHW)
Starting Porcello is always risky, as he’s liable to blow up at any moment. But overall, he’s putting up decent numbers this year, especially the 3-to-1 K/BB ratio. The Mariners and White Sox rank next to last and last respectively in the AL in runs scored this season, and in five starts vs. the Pale Hose, he’s 4-0 with a 2.02 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. In mixed leagues of 12 teams or more, I’d lean towards pitching Porcello.
Scott Kazmir (@KC, vs. HOU)
After opening the season in roller-coaster fashion, Kazmir has settled down nicely in the second half, registering a 3.67 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 9.17 K/9 and 2.17 BB/9 over 10 starts since the Midsummer Classic. The @KC matchup is of medium difficulty but the vs. HOU start is plenty tasty. Ultimately though, Kazmir’s greatly improved control combined with his high strikeout upside would lead me to pitch.
Wily Peralta (vs. CHC, vs. STL)
Predicting what this guy is going to do from one start to the next is pretty much impossible, but Peralta has been effective more times than not this season. The problem is that I tend to bench any borderline pitcher who’s facing the Cardinals, especially a pitcher who sports an 8.44 ERA vs. the Cards in three starts this year. Would I pitch Wily vs. the Cubs? Absolutely. But I’ll take the conservative route and pass on starting him for this two-start week.
Juan Nicasio (vs. STL, vs. ARI)
Even though Nicasio has pitched fairly well of late, this is a similar situation to Peralta in that the vs. STL matchup would scare me off. In two starts vs. the Diamondbacks this year, Nicasio is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA, so you’ve got to like him for that one. But a great performance vs. ARI would be all for naught if he gets torched by the Cardinals. That’s why I’m ditching Juan in all mixed leagues.
Coco Crisp hit his 19th home run (yes, 19th!) of the season last night, and he’s done it in just 116 games. Crisp’s previous single-season career high was 16 back in 2005, and that was in 145 games. Is this power surge for real? I’m not buying it. An inflated 9.6% HR/FB ratio (this compared to his career 5.5% HR/FB) coupled with the fact that he entered 2013 with only three double-digit HR seasons to his record suggests that luck is playing a factor here. Be careful not to overrate Crisp in drafts next year. Draft him for his speed, not his power. But also keep in mind that at least one trip to the DL is likely. Personally though, I’m staying away. He’ll be 34 in November and isn’t even running as much this season as in years past.
After getting roughed up by the Reds yesterday, Jeff Samardzija has now allowed five runs or more in each of his last three starts. He’s tailed off big time since the All-Star break (5.09 ERA, 1.46 WHIP) and simply cannot be trusted down the stretch, especially since two of his final three projected starts will come against the Braves and Cardinals. Unless you’re desperate for strikeouts, feel free to cut “The Shark” in all non-keeper formats.
Continuing on the frustrating starting pitchers theme, Dan Haren delivered a gem last night vs. the Mets, this after getting pounded by the lowly Marlins. So in the one league where I own Haren, guess what I did? Yep, I started him against the Marlins and benched him last night. Look, Haren has been a longtime favorite of mine, but I give up trying to predict what he is going to do from one start to the next. He’s both YPNM (your problem, not mine, for those of you unfamiliar with this legendary 411 acronym) and DTM.
Jose Fernandez clearly has some growing up to do when it comes to his on-field behavior, but when it comes to the rookie’s on-field performance, he’s been nearly flawless. Last night, Fernandez ended his inaugural big league campaign in impressive fashion, dominating a strong Braves’ lineup and even hitting his first career homer for good measure. Can we just give him the NL Rookie of the Year award right now? I’m very curious to see where Fernandez gets taken in drafts next spring. I’m a believer in him, but chances are his price in redraft leagues will be way too high for my liking being that I usually wait until at least the 7th round in a 12-team mixed league to take my first starting pitcher and I wouldn’t feel all that comfortable with Fernandez as my ace. But this is all a mute point, as the chances of Fernandez even lasting into the 7th round are minute.
An all-new podcast will be coming your way tomorrow with the special guest being Paul Sporer of Baseball Prospectus.
Salazar @ Santiago – Salazar a good source of K’s even with pitch limits
Hammel @ Redmond – Redmond has good K potential but blow-up risk vs. O’s
B. Chen @ Verlander
Kuroda @ Lackey – Kuroda is slumping and it’s a brutal matchup… base your decision on your category needs
Straily @ Holland
Archer @ Correia
Vargas @ Keuchel – decent matchup for Vargas, who hasn’t shown much home/away split this year
Kendrick @ Strasburg
Arrieta @ Morton – assuming Morton’s foot is healthy
Hand @ Niese
Kennedy @ Hale – bad matchup for HR-prone Kennedy
Latos @ Lohse
Iwakuma @ Wainwright
Chatwood @ McCarthy – McCarthy’s last 5 home starts: 1.66 ERA, 0.82 WHIP
Bumgarner @ Kershaw
Shields @ Kazmir – hang with ‘em on Shields, who’s been dominant on the road
Burnett @ Garza
Dempster @ Cobb
Pettitte @ Feldman – Feldman is on a tear, might as well push it
Wilson @ Dickey
An. Sanchez @ Quintana – why not Anibal for AL Cy?
Gray @ Pelfrey
Peacock @ Maurer – Peacock showing excellent K upside
Samardzija @ Leake – both fading, but good matchup for Leake
Nicasio @ Petit – can Petit be perfect again?
Stults @ Lee – easy matchup but Stults is fading badly
Haren @ Weaver
Minor @ Fernandez
Estrada @ Lynn – Lynn has a 5.10 ERA since the break
Corbin @ Ryu – Corbin’s ERA is up 2 runs since the break
Nova @ M. Gonzalez
Guthrie @ McAllister
Williams @ Buehrle – Buehlre 2.21 ERA since All-Star
Buchholz @ Price – play it safe on Buchholz’s return
Liriano @ M. Perez
Porcello @ E. Johnson
Parker @ Hendriks –mismatch of the day
Lyles @ Saunders
Cashner @ Cloyd
Jackson @ Cingrani
Zimmermann @ Gee
Teheran @ Koehler – cushy return to the rotation for Teheran
W. Peralta @ S. Miller – Miller has been awful for awhile
Cahill @ Volquez – Cahill seems to be righting the ship but I’m still wary
De La Rosa @ Vogelsong
Randall Delgado (@LAD, vs. COL)
Outside of a decent but not great strikeout rate, there’s a lot to like about Delgado’s stat line this season. There’s even more to like about his second half stat line (3-2, 3.53 ERA, 0.95 WHIP). Despite the tough matchup against the Dodgers, I’m confident enough in Delgado to give him a shot next week. Also note that he’s allowed more than four runs in just one of his 15 starts this year, so the risk of a disaster outing is minimal.
Martin Perez (vs. PIT, vs. OAK)
6-1 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in nine starts since the All-Star break. Pretty good. Oh yeah, and Perez’s ERA at home this year is 2.20 and he’s coming off a dominant performance against these same A’s. While the Pirates offense is no longer the anemic one of years past, they’re still no better than middle of the pack. In mixed leagues of 12 teams or more, I’m pitching Perez.
Ubaldo Jimenez (vs. KC, @CHW)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of Ubaldo. He’s just so maddeningly inconsistent and it’s often tough to play the matchups with him, as he could breeze through or struggle against any lineup. But let’s give the guy some credit. We’re talking about a 2.22 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and better than a strikeout per inning in eight starts since the Midsummer Classic. The matchups aren’t ultra-favorable but they’re not terrible either. I’d lean towards pitching Ubaldo, particularly if you’re looking for a strikeout boost.
Ivan Nova (@BAL, @BOS)
Nova’s magical season hit a speed bump last night as the Red Sox knocked him out of the game after only four innings. Although Nova’s overall numbers remain exceptional, this is about as tough as it gets from a matchups standpoint. On the bright side, he’s had a great deal of success vs. the Orioles this season, going 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA and 0.59 WHIP in three appearances (two starts). But the @BOS start is extremely risky, in fact too risky for my liking. I’d take the conservative route and ditch, though categorical needs should play a big factor in your decision.
Zach McAllister (vs. KC, @CHW)
I like McAllister, but the reality is that he’s coming off two straight ugly performances and I need to see a turnaround before I can comfortably slot him into my lineup. But he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on for Pitch or Ditch purposes down the stretch. And don’t forget about him in drafts next spring. He turns 26 in December.
Carlos Torres (vs. WAS, vs. MIA)
Torres showed me a lot on Tuesday when he limited a potent Braves’ lineup to three runs over seven innings while racking up six strikeouts. The transition from reliever to starter has been a seamless one for Torres, and how about that 46-to-8 K/BB ratio! And how about that 0.92 ERA and 0.85 WHIP at home! Both of next week’s starts will be at home. And just in case you didn’t know, the Marlins are the lowest scoring team in the Majors. And it’s not even close. Pitch.
Have a fantastic weekend everyone!
Santiago @ W. Chen – Only pitch Santiago if you’re chasing K’s. Chen is a ditch until further notice.
Lackey @ Huff
Oberholtzer @ Straily – Straily has been erratic of late but the matchup is tasty.
Niese @ Kluber – Even though it’s Kluber’s first start back, this matchup is hard to resist.
Verlander @ Duffy
Happ @ Correia
Holland @ Richards
Archer @ Paxton
Greinke @ Latos
Hellweg @ Arrieta
A. Wood @ Kendrick – Expecting Wood to right the ship.
Roark @ Eovaldi – Eovaldi back in my good graces.
Locke @ Wainwright – Scary matchup for struggling Locke.
Chatwood @ Ross – Ross a solid source of K’s and he’s pitched especially well at home. Chatwood worth monitoring for road starts but he was rather shaky in return from DL.
McCarthy @ Cain – McCarthy a borderline call but I still don’t trust him.
Lester @ Kuroda
Matsuzaka @ Salazar – Salazar hasn’t been quite as sharp lately but it’s the Mets.
Rienzo @ Norris – Norris a so-so option but the matchup is favorable.
Fister @ B. Chen
Rogers @ Albers – Albers turning back into a pumpkin.
TBD (TEX) @ Vargas
Clemens @ Colon
Moore @ E. Ramirez – Ramirez 3 ER or less in each of his last four starts. Challenging matchup though.
Strasburg @ Turner – Turner running out of gas and lack of K’s limits his upside.
Maholm @ Hamels
Morton @ Wacha – Took a chance on Morton for the two-start week but in a daily league, I’ll sit him here.
Gallardo @ T. Wood – Gallardo is on a nice run.
Miley @ Bumgarner – As a Miley owner in two leagues, I’m hoping he gets back on track in this start. And I think he will.
Bettis @ Kennedy – Could Kennedy finally be turning things around?
Kershaw @ Bailey
Sabathia @ Tillman
Big Erv @ Jimenez – Ubaldo pitching well lately.
Weaver @ P. Hernandez
Cole @ Darvish
Scherzer @ Sale
Cosart @ Walker – Coming off his first rough outing of the season, Cosart deserves a mulligan. Sticking with Walker in favorable matchup.
T. Wood @ Arroyo – Bronson just keeps on getting it done.
G. Gonzalez @ Torres – Torres a PoD special in deeper leagues.
Medlen @ Alvarez
Delgado @ Nolasco – Tough test for Delgado but he’s been consistently effective for awhile now.
Chacin @ Lincecum
Pablo Sandoval’s three home runs yesterday upped his season total to a disappointing 13. He does have 71 RBIs in 119 games, which isn’t too shabby, but a .277 average from a career .298 hitter? Come on! One of these years, the Panda will manage to put a consistent season together from start to finish while avoiding the DL entirely. But personally, I’m kind of tired of him, and his draft day price tag is never going to be low enough where you can get a legitimate positive return on your investment. After all, he is the Kung Fu Panda, and that name alone is worth about five bucks at the auction table!
Will Middlebrooks, who went 3-for-5 with a homer, a double, four RBIs and two runs scored in last night’s blowout win over the Tigers, is batting .343 with three homers and 13 RBIs since being recalled from the Minors in early-August. Clearly, something has clicked. 2014 post-hype sleeper alert!
Not unlike any young hitter, Wil Myers’ inaugural big league campaign has been one of ups and downs, but projecting his totals over a full season, we’re talking about roughly 25 homers and 90 RBIs to go along with double-digit steals, this from a 22-year-old. Oh yeah, and he’s batting .291. If the Royals don’t make the playoffs this year, they better get there next season, because if James Shields signs elsewhere after 2014, the Myers trade is going to look very bad. Very bad.