Weaver @ Tillman
Iwakuma @ Bauer
Quintana @ An. Sanchez
Stroman @ R. De La Rosa – rematch!
Garza @ Cobb
McCarthy @ Martinez – McCarthy is on a roll and the Rangers, er, are not
Gibson @ Shields
Samardzija @ Feldman
Cahill @ Leake – I’m keeping an eye on both though
Hamels @ Gee – FYI, Hamels’ 4.38 career ERA vs. the Mets is his worst vs any NL club
Strasburg @ Alvarez
J. De La Rosa @ Jackson
Harang @ Beckett
Lynn @ T. Ross
Liriano @ Hudson
***ZACH SAYS “I’d absolutely pitch Alvarez, who is coming off a strong outing against the Braves. The Nats are a tough lineup, but as long as you’re not expecting too many strikeouts, you’ll be happy with what you get from him going forward. Agree on rest.”
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.
Hutchison @ Greene – I don’t fully trust either.
Norris @ Young – Norris not a bad gamble in deeper leagues though.
McAllister @ Guthrie
Sale @ Gibson – Gibson very erratic of late.
Koehler @ Cosart – Koehler has five quality starts in his last six outings.
Lackey @ Hellickson – Lackey appears back on track. Keep an eye on Hellickson.
Gray @ Tepesch
Verlander @ Shoemaker – Riding it out with Verlander.
Miller @ Arrieta – Not completely giving up on Miller though.
G. Gonzalez @ Cueto
Collmenter @ Lee – Collmenter an intriguing deep mixed/NL-only league option.
Niese @ Peralta – Peralta 14 IP, 1 ER since disaster outing vs. PHI.
Despaigne @ Teheran – All aboard the Despaigne bandwagon!
Locke @ Matzek – Playing it safe with Locke at Coors.
Kershaw @ Vogelsong – Not a great matchup for Vogelsong but he does have a 3.04 ERA at home.
Happ @ Whitley
Peavy @ Archer – Peavy has a 5.87 ERA on the road and Rays hitting has improved.
Salazar @ B. Chen – Nice matchup for Salazar, who pitched pretty well in his return on Tuesday.
Carroll @ Pino
Turner @ McHugh – McHugh is fading.
Porcello @ Santiago – Santiago worth monitoring going forward but this matchup is too tough.
M. Gonzalez @ Elias – Gonzalez has been dominant over his last three starts (1.90 ERA, 0.93 WHIP).
Kazmir @ Mikolas
Fister @ Latos
Nuno @ R. Hernandez
deGrom @ Nelson – Nelson worth a shot here.
Wainwright @ Hendricks
Volquez @ Morales
Stults @ Minor
Ryu @ Petit
Dickey @ Buchholz – Could be 2-1 or 10-9. No thanks.
Lohse @ Odorizzi – Tough matchup for Odorizzi but he’s earned it.
Phelps @ Darvish – I’m a fan of Phelps, but not here.
Chavez @ Oberholtzer – Chavez hasn’t been as sharp lately, but the K’s are still there.
Lane @ Big Erv
C. Anderson @ Bailey – Homer has been a lot better lately.
Burnett @ Colon
Zimmermann @ Eovaldi – I’m quickly losing confidence in Eovaldi.
Flande @ Wada
Worley @ Bumgarner – Worley a borderline call but in a 12-team mixed, I’ll take the conservative route.
Buehrle @ Kuroda – I’m off the Buehrle train
Lester @ Price – last start with their current teams for both??
Hammel @ Williams – good matchup for Hammel to rebound
Tomlin @ Ventura
Danks @ Correia – Danks has 10 starts this year with 0-2 runs but four with 6+ runs!
Hand @ Keuchel – Keuchel 33 hits in his last 16.0 IP
Smyly @ Skaggs – I guess I’m a lot more bullish on Smyly than the 411 community J
Gausman @ King Felix
Kelly @ T. Wood
Miley @ Kendrick
Roark @ Simon
Hahn @ A. Wood
Wheeler @ Gallardo
Morton @ B. Anderson – playing it safe on Charlie in Coors
Greinke @ Lincecum
R. De La Rosa @ Stroman – good matchup of talented young arms
Lewis @ McCarthy – McCarthy is revitalized since returning his cutter
Feldman @ Samardzija
Kluber @ Duffy
Noesi @ Hughes
Scherzer @ Richards – yes please!
W. Chen @ Iwakuma
Hudson @ Hamels
Alvarez @ Harang – Alvarez was too good for too long to jump ship yet
T. Ross @ Jackson
Gee @ Garza
With the unofficial second half of the season underway, it’s a perfect time for an updated Pitch or Ditch category chart.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the chart, this is something we started doing a few years ago (special shout out to longtime 411 fan Big Barry for the framework of the idea) to help guide you not only in your Pitch or Ditch decisions but also in knowing whether or not dropping a certain pitcher would be a mistake.
We’ve divided all of the current starting rotation pitchers into five groups: Aces, Grads, PoD, DTM and Indifferent.
Aces: Fairly straightforward. Elite starting pitchers with the track record to prove it.
Grads: Not ace-caliber but also not worth dropping under any circumstances. Grads should always be started, regardless of the matchup.
PoD: These pitchers do not quite deserve a permanent roster spot but should be picked up and started in favorable matchups. If their next matchup is not so favorable, feel free to drop them. Some PoD guys could earn Grad status if they string together several consecutive strong outings.
DTM: An old 411 acronym for “dead to me”, DTM pitchers are guys that we might have once liked but have repeatedly let us down to the point where we’ve had enough of them. It takes a lot to become DTM, but once you become DTM, it’s very tough to escape that category!
Indifferent: Pitchers who are just not that good and should not be rostered.
***Note that this chart is geared towards standard 12-team mixed leagues.
Here are the changes we’ve made since our last version from early-June.
Lester grad to ace
Teheran grad to ace
Quintana PoD to grad
Arrieta PoD to grad
Simon PoD to grad
Lincecum PoD to grad
Alvarez PoD to grad
Smyly PoD to grad
Porcello PoD to grad
Bailey PoD to grad
Buehrle grad to PoD
Peralta grad to PoD
Haren grad to PoD
Whitley PoD to indifferent
Lewis PoD to indifferent
And as always, feel free to comment below.
Bauer @ Gibson
Shields @ Quintana - Quintana is very quietly having an outstanding season
Colon @ Walker
Darvish @ Phelps
Buchholz @ Dickey
Tillman @ Weaver
Peacock @ Chavez – But, Chavez 4.98 ERA in his last four starts…
Leake @ Lohse – Leake is rarely terrible, but too much risk here
Strasburg @ J. De La Rosa
An. Sanchez @ Cahill – keep an eye on Cahill once the schedule gets easy
Bumgarner @ Burnett – A.J’s last outing as a Phillie?
Haren @ Liriano – risk/reward on both but I’ll sit this one out
Eovaldi @ Big Erv – Eovaldi 2.95 ERA in his last 18 road starts
Cobb @ Lynn
Kennedy @ Wada
Martinez @ Whitley
Peavy @ Happ – Peavy’s getting it together and Jays are not at full strength
B. Chen @ Carroll
Salazar @ Pino – tasty return matchup for Salazar
M. Gonzalez @ Santiago
Oberholtzer @ Kazmir
deGrom @ E. Ramirez – good place to gamble on Erasmo if categories warrant
Petit @ R. Hernandez – good gamble on Yusmeiro, too
Beckett @ Worley
Turner @ Minor
Stults @ Hendricks
Bailey @ Nelson – Reds have not been a scary matchup this year
Odorizzi @ Wainwright
Zimmermann @ Flande
Porcello @ C. Anderson
Jacob deGrom (@SEA, @MIL)
Over his last five starts, deGrom boasts a 1.65 ERA and 1.16 WHIP to go along with 38 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings. Next week, he gets to face a Mariners team that ranks in the bottom half of the Majors in runs scored, home runs and batting average in a pitcher-friendly park. The @MIL matchup is a challenging one, but deGrom’s recent performance has convinced me to pitch him.
Ryan Vogelsong (@PHI, vs. LAD)
Although Vogelsong’s 2014 stat line doesn’t exactly jump off the page, he’s usually a safe bet for a quality outing. The Phillies rank 11th in the NL in runs scored and 13th in batting average and while the vs. LAD matchup is a little scary, note that Vogelsong’s ERA at home this year (3.04) is more than two full runs lower than his road mark (5.18).
Collin McHugh (@OAK, vs. MIA)
There’s a small chance that McHugh won’t make the @OAK start, but all indications are that he will be activated from the DL in time. Regardless, I’d be very wary of pitching him next week, as the A’s and Marlins both rank in the top-4 in their respective leagues in runs scored and McHugh hasn’t been nearly as dominant as he was during the early part of the season. In a league with daily lineups, I might consider pitching him against the Marlins if he does well against the A’s. But in a weekly, I think you’re better off ditching.
Shane Greene (vs. TEX, vs. TOR)
Greene has no doubt been a nice story, but let’s not overlook the fact that his entire big league body of work spans a mere 13 2/3 innings and his career minor league numbers are really nothing special. The bottom line is that I need to see a lot more before I can trust Greene in any mixed league and I don’t like these matchups at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few weeks, the tale of Greene looks a lot like that of Chase Whitley. The wheels could fall off in a hurry.
Simon @ McCarthy
Lewis @ Stroman – Stroman no sure thing but Rangers a mid-pack offense this year.
Kluber @ Ray (Gm 1) – Ray expected to be sent back down after this start.
Salazar @ Scherzer (Gm 2) – Ditto for Salazar but he has slightly better chance of sticking around.
Duffy @ R. De La Rosa – Taking a chance on Rubby versus so-so offense.
Keuchel @ Noesi
Price @ Correia
King Felix @ Richards
W. Chen @ Hammel
Greinke @ Kelly
Garza @ G. Gonzalez
B. Anderson @ Morton – Rockies a mediocre at best offense away from Coors.
Hamels @ TBD (ATL)
Hudson @ Alvarez
T. Wood @ Miley – Miley has struggled at home but he’s hot.
Gee @ T. Ross
Cueto @ Kuroda
Tepesch @ Buehrle – Buehrle’s been a lot more hittable lately.
Tomlin @ Smyly – Both too risky.
Ventura @ Lester
Cosart @ Danks – Danks worth a try here.
Archer @ Hughes – Hughes 5 ER or more in four of his last five starts.
Young @ Skaggs – Not completely sold on Young but you can’t argue with the results. Skaggs a decent play vs. Mariners club that ranks last in AL in runs scored this month.
Gausman @ Gray
Lincecum @ Hand
Kendrick @ TBD (ATL)
Gallardo @ Fister – Not liking this matchup for fading Gallardo.
Matzek @ Locke – Locke has been outstanding of late and as mentioned above, Rockies can’t hit on the road.
Wheeler @ Despaigne – Nice matchup for both.
Arrieta @ Collmenter – Collmenter a solid play in NL-only leagues though.
Kershaw @ C. Martinez – Martinez still has some kinks to iron out
Mikolas @ Greene – Need to see a little more from Greene before I can fully trust him in a 12-team mixed.
Lackey @ Hutchison
Guthrie @ Sale
House @ K. Johnson
Norris @ Shoemaker
Niese @ Elias – Favorable matchup for Elias but he’s been terrible over his last three starts (10.05 ERA).
Vogelsong @ Lee – Vogelsong has done just enough this year to deserve the nod.
Ryu @ Volquez
Koehler @ Teheran
Latos @ Peralta
Fister @ Morales
Verlander @ Nuno – Not overly confident in Verlander though.