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Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, September 21-23

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Angels



Vogelsong @ Nova

TBD (BAL) @ Cobb

P. Hernandez @ Parker – good chance for Parker to rebound from LA debacle

Clemens @ Kazmir

Sale @ Porcello

Buehrle @ Buchholz

Garza @ Guthrie – good chance for Garza to rebound from PIT debacle

Saunders @ Williams – Williams is rolling and it’s a strong matchup

Medlen @ T. Wood

Koehler @ Strasburg

Gee @ Cloyd – Gee has been on a roll longer than the Phillies have been

Bailey @ Burnett – for postseason survival!

Lynn @ Gallardo – your guess what Gallardo might do, though

Cahill @ De La Rosa

Kershaw @ Smith


Petit @ Pettitte – Pettitte’s last home start is a strong one

Bedard @ Kluber

E. Johnson @ An. Sanchez

Dickey @ Doubront – if you trust Dickey, you might as well…

Feldman @ Hellickson

Ogando @ Shields

King Felix @ Wilson

De Vries @ Gray

Flynn @ Haren

Torres @ Lee

Arroyo @ Locke – Reds aren’t great vs. LHP but Locke is too shaky lately

Teheran @ Jackson

Greinke @ Cashner

Corbin @ Nicasio – Corbin struggling too much for Coors

Kelly @ W. Peralta – have to stick with Peralta while he’s hot


W. Chen @ Archer

Lyles @ Holland

Happ @ Quintana

Verlander @ Pelfrey

Milone @ Richards

Ventura @ Maurer

Estrada @ Minor – Estrada hot, but too homer-prone to trust in Atlanta

Harang @ Cueto

Halladay @ Eovaldi

Morton @ Samardzija – Shark was better last time but I’m hesitant

Roark @ Wainwright – Roark’s numbers demand a roll of the dice

McCarthy @ Stults

Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/23

Hey everyone,

Alas, we’ve come to the final edition of my two-start pitcher notes for the 2013 season. There’s a rather low number of borderline calls for next week, so hopefully you already have a bunch of no doubt two-start options on your roster.

A reminder that our final regular season podcast will come your way next week (date TBD), and most of the show will be dedicated to answering listener questions, so if you have any tough keeper decisions, let’s hear them! You can either post your questions right here on the blog or through Twitter (@fantasy411).

Good luck down the stretch!


Alex Wood  (vs. MIL, vs. PHI)

After kicking off his big league career in dominant fashion, Wood has hit a speed bump this month, going 0-1 with a 8.49 ERA and 2.57 WHIP in three September starts. Although I’d lean towards pitching him, as these matchups aren’t too scary, it’s entirely possible that the 22-year-old is simply running out of gas, as the 137 innings he’s thrown between the Minors and Majors this season represents a 84 1/3 inning hike from last year. Let the categories guide you here. If you’re in a tight ERA/WHIP race, you might want to play it safe and ditch. Otherwise, I think Wood is worth starting thanks to the wins and strikeouts potential.

Wei-Yin Chen  (@TB, vs. BOS)

This guy has frustrated me to no end ever since he returned from the DL back in mid-July. Yeah, he’s capable of throwing a gem on any given night, but a few rough outings have inflated his ratios. On the bright side, Chen has allowed three runs or less in 17 of his 21 starts this season. Unfortunately, his worst performance of the year came against the Red Sox at Fenway (3 2/3 IP, 8 ER on August 27). He was better in his Fenway Park rematch his last time out but still gave up 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings. The Red Sox clearly have his number, and for that reason alone I’m benching Chen. And it’s not like @TB is an easy matchup either.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers

Marco Estrada  (@ATL, @NYM)

Estrada’s second half stat line (2-0, 2.62 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 42 K’s in 44 2/3 innings over seven starts) is simply outstanding, so there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t pitch him next week. The only reason why I’m even including him on this list is that he’s always been very home run prone and the Braves lead the Senior Circuit in homers this season. But the reward here outweighs the risk. Estrada is simply pitching too well right now for you to consider benching him. Oh yeah, and then there’s the @NYM matchup. You’ve gotta like that one!

Brandon McCarthy  (@SD, vs. WAS)

McCarthy struggled upon returning from his lengthy DL stint, but it looks like he’s finally gotten his act together, with four quality starts in his last five outings. What makes next week risky is that the Nats rank 2nd in the NL in runs scored since the All-Star break and 1st in the NL in homers since the Midsummer Classic. But McCarthy has done a good job keeping the ball in the yard this season (11 HR allowed in 122 IP), so the risk is somewhat mitigated. As for the Padres, McCarthy has dominated them to the tune of a 2-0 record and 0.64 ERA. In mixed leagues of 12 teams or more, I’ll say pitch.

Eric Stults  (vs. ARI, @SF)

Even though he’s faded a bit lately, Stults is still a pretty safe bet to turn in a quality performance. Not a lights out performance, but a quality performance. He walks very few and boasts a strong 123-to-38 K/BB ratio for the season. The main issue I have with next week, however, is that Stults is a combined 2-4 with a 5.59 ERA versus the Diamondbacks and Giants this year. Add in his low strikeout rate and there’s not a whole lot of upside here. I’d only use Stults in deeper mixed leagues. In 12-teamers, I’d pass.

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, September 20

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs


Lincecum @ Sabathia – if you still trust CC, gotta start him vs. the weak-hitting Giants
Oberholtzer @ McAllister
Rienzo @ Scherzer
Rogers @ Lester
Hammel @ Price
Perez @ Big Erv
Ramirez @ Shoemaker
Albers @ Colon
Maholm @ Baker – Baker’s post-surgery stuff has not been as impressive as the results
Turner @ Zimmermann
Matsuzaka @ Hamels
Latos @ Liriano
S. Miller @ Hellweg
Delgado @ Chacin – going for it with Chacin at home
Volquez @ Erlin

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 19

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets


Paxton @ Fister

Keuchel @ Jimenez

Kuroda @ Redmond – Not giving up on Kuroda.

Tillman @ Lackey – Tillman a borderline call this late in the season but he’s dominated the Red Sox this year (3-0, 1.42 ERA in four starts).

Darvish @ Moore

Correia @ Straily – Good matchup for Straily.

Kennedy @ Cole – Every time I say pitch on Kennedy, he blows up, so I’d pass unless you’re chasing K’s.

Bumgarner @ Niese

Arrieta @ Lohse

Wacha @ Oswalt – Playing it safe on Wacha at Coors.

Nolasco @ Miley – Nolasco coming off disaster outing, so if you’d like to sit him here, that’s fine too.

Alvarez @ Strasburg

2013 All-Surprise + All-Disappointment Teams

Hey everyone,

On today’s penultimate podcast of the 2013 season, we unveiled our annual All-Surprise and All-Disappointment teams. Here are the rosters with some honorable mentions thrown into the mix. And as always, feel free to post your own choices and I’ll be sure to either approve of them or tell you that you’re crazy!

One final podcast will be coming your way next week. We’ll share our All-Fantasy team but will dedicate most of the show to you, the fan. So send in all of your questions, keeper related or not, and we’ll be able to get through a ton of them.


MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers

                                                                                                                                        ALL-SURPRISE TEAM

C – J. Castro

1B – C. Davis

3B – J. Donaldson (honorable mentions to Miggy and C. Johnson)

2B – M. Carpenter

SS – J. Segura

OF – D. Brown, M. Byrd, N. Schierholtz (honorable mentions to Y. Puig, B. Moss, R. Ibanez)

SP – J.Fernandez, Colon (honorable mentions to F. Liriano, H. Iwakuma, M. Leake, J. Lackey)

CL – E. Mujica

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks                                                                                                                               ALL-DISAPPOINTMENT TEAM

C – J.Montero (honorable mentions to M. Montero, S. Perez)

1B – I. Davis (honorable mention to P. Konerko)

3B – C. Headley (honorable mention to W. Middlebrooks)

2B – D. Espinosa (honorable mention to R. Weeks)

SS – S. Castro (honorable mention to J-Roll)

OF – M. Kemp, J. Hamilton, B.J. Upton

SP – CC Sabathia, Y. Gallardo (honorable mentions to M. Cain, R.A. Dickey)

CL – J. Axford (honorable mention to T. Wilhelmsen)

Pitching Musings from Monday

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Detroit Tigers

Zach here,

Just a few pitching notes from last night’s games to keep you entertained until tomorrow’s big All-Surprise/All-Disappointment team podcast…

-After limiting the Mariners to one run on five hits over six innings last night, Rick Porcello is now 7-2 with a solid 3.93 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break. Keep in mind that he’s still just 24 years of age, pitches in a favorable ballpark for a very good team and is a former top prospect. There’s certainly room for growth here. Add Porcello to the post-hype sleeper list for 2014.

-Matt Garza began his Rangers tenure in impressive fashion, with back-to-back stellar performances against the Yankees and Angels. Since then, he’s been a headache for his fantasy owners, posting just one quality start in nine tries. Garza’s final two projected starts (@KC, vs. LAA) aren’t all that favorable, and the bottom line is that he cannot be trusted outside of deep mixed leagues. Depending on your categorical needs, I’d lean towards benching him in 12-teamers.

-Andrew Cashner’s one-hitter last night marked his fifth straight start of allowing two runs or less while pitching at least seven innings. Better yet, he’s whiffed at least seven batters in five of his last six outings. Cashner turned 27 last week, and coming off a successful first season as primarily a starter, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he delivers a career best season in 2014. He won’t be dirt cheap on draft day, but there’s still plenty of profit potential.

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, September 18

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers


Diamond @ Danks – I’m done with Danks

Vargas @ Griffin – Just FYI, A’s and Angels are 3rd and 4th in MLB in OPS in September

Holland @ Archer – Dutch having a very poor second half for fading Rangers

Hughes @ Happ

Iwakuma @ Verlander

W. Chen @ Peavy

Salazar @ B. Chen you’ll only get ~80 pitches from Salazar but they’ll probably be good ones!

Reynolds @ Peacock – high risk/high reward on Peacock, chase K’s if necessary

A. Wood @ Ohlendorf

Eovaldi @ Miner

Ross @ Morton – do you trust Ross after his last meltdown? Pirates O is improved

Cain @ Harang

Rusin @ Thornburg

Wainwright @ Chatwood

Fife @ McCarthy – Fife gets the start in place of resting Kershaw… McCarthy much better at home

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, September 17

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals


Pettitte @ Dickey

Maurer @ An. Sanchez

Feldman @ Dempster – don’t trust either in this matchup

Tepesch @ Hellickson

Pelfrey @ Quintana

Kluber @ Ventura

Leake @ Lyles

Richards @ Griffin

Minor @ Haren (Gm 1)

F. Garcia @ Roark (Gm 2) – Roark hasn’t allowed a HR yet; Braves lead NL in homers… who do ya got??

Flynn @ Halladay

Stults @ Locke

Petit @ Wheeler

Samardzija @ Estrada – Shark is running on fumes, I’ll pass

Kelly @ Nicasio – Kelly has a 2.28 ERA in 13 starts, good enough for me

Greinke @ Corbin – tough call on Corbin, who has faded somewhat and has a tough matchup

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, September 14-16

MLB: New York Mets at Cleveland Indians



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

Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/16

Hey everyone,

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.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays

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.


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