Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/8

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Tampa Bay Rays


Shelby Miller (@CIN, vs. COL)

Fresh off an exceptional rookie campaign, Miller hasn’t been anything close to the same pitcher this season. He’s rarely terrible, but 11 quality starts in 27 tries simply doesn’t cut it. That said, three of those quality starts have come in his last three tries. The Reds have scored the fewest runs of any team in the Majors since the All-Star break while the Rockies rank next to last in the Majors in both runs scored and batting average on the road, ahead of only the Padres. Miller is certainly worth a pickup if he’s available in your 12-team mixed league, which is a distinct possibility.

Miguel Gonzalez (@BOS, vs. NYY)

At first glance, Gonzalez’s matchups might not seem great. That is until you realize that the Yankees and Red Sox rank 12th and 15th respectively in the AL in runs scored. Oh, and Gonzalez sports a 2.11 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in seven starts since the All-Star break and has a pretty good offense supporting him. He’s a strong play in any mixed league of 12 teams or more.

Marcus Stroman (vs. CHC, vs. TB)

Although the consistency hasn’t quite been there, Stroman has managed to piece together a number of dominant performances in his rookie season. The stat that impresses me the most is his exceptional 89-to-26 K/BB ratio. Both of Stroman’s starts next week will be at home, where he’s 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA. The Cubs and Rays each rank in the bottom third in the Majors in runs scored.

Jason Vargas (@DET, vs. BOS)

Very quietly, Vargas is putting together quite a season. The strikeout rate will never be great and he has allowed more hits than innings pitched. But his 1.8 BB/9 more than makes up for the mediocre hit rate, and Vargas does a fine job keeping the ball in the park (15 HR allowed in 169 IP). The @DET matchup is a challenging one, as the Tigers have now surpassed Oakland as the highest scoring team in the Majors, so Vargas is probably more of a deep mixed league option. But keep in mind that he boasts a 2.12 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 12 road starts this season. As for the Red Sox, I’ve already alluded to their offensive futility.


Justin Verlander (vs. KC, vs. CLE)

Like I mentioned in the Pitch or Ditch post, Verlander continues to be an enigma. Every time you think he has turned the corner, he takes a step backward, the latest example being Wednesday’s 6 ER outing against the Indians. So now he gets to face the very same Indians squad followed by a Royals team that has given him problems this year (1-2, 5.68 ERA, 1.50 WHIP). If you’re chasing wins and strikeouts, feel free to trot him out there. But personally, I just can’t deal with this guy anymore.

Hector Santiago (@TEX, vs. HOU)

I’m still a big believer in Santiago, and he’s proven to be a very useful spot-start option in deeper mixed leagues this year. But his most recent start, on the road against the Twins, was mediocre at best. The Rangers have had a hard time scoring runs this season, but this start will be on the road, where Santiago’s ERA is more than a full run higher than it is at home, and in a hitter’s park. What about the Astros? To tell you the truth, their offense is flat out scary these days. Since the All-Star break, Houston ranks 4th in the AL in runs and 2nd in homers. This is a close call, but in a 12-team mixed league, I’d lean towards ditching.

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, September 6-8

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Colorado Rockies



Gausman @ Smyly – I’ll give Gausman a shot versus bottom tier Rays lineup.

Bumgarner @ Price

Duffy @ McCarthy

Feldman @ Kazmir – Kazmir coming off two straight blowups but both were against high-powered Angels offense.

Quintana @ Kluber

Happ @ R. De La Rosa – Still a fan of Rubby but this matchup scares me.

Rasmus @ Hughes – Rasmus not a bad PoD play in AL-only leagues though.

Young @ Martinez – Young really struggling right now. I’ll play it safe.

Liriano @ Doubront – Doubront worth a look in NL-only leagues.

Gee @ Cueto

Burnett @ Roark – Burnett can’t be trusted when facing the better lineups

Al. Wood @ Eovaldi

Lynn @ Lohse

T. Ross @ J. De La Rosa – DLR at home (9-2, 3.19 ERA) against worst offense in the Majors.

C. Anderson @ Greinke


Ventura @ Greene – Tough to have any confidence in Greene coming off disaster outing vs. BOS.

Noesi @ Carrasco – Carrasco just 3 ER over his last five starts (30 IP) with 34 K’s.

Dickey @ Kelly

Norris @ Hellickson – Norris a toss-up. Let your league’s standings make the decision for you. Not a good matchup for the struggling Hellickson.

Wilson @ TBD (MIN) – Wilson far from an automatic pitch though.

Paxton @ Holland – Holland has already returned to vintage form.

Keuchel @ Hammel – Hammel’s last two starts: 1.20 ERA, 0.53 WHIP.

Hudson @ Lobstein

Wheeler @ Latos

Teheran @ TBD (MIA) – Alvarez unlikely to make this start for Marlins.

Hamels @ G. Gonzalez

Wainwright @ Nelson

Cole @ T. Wood

Cahill @ Ryu

Despaigne @ Morales – Despaigne pitching well but I’ll sit this one out at Coors.


Weaver @ Salazar – Salazar is red-hot.

Guthrie @ Verlander – Your guess is as good as mine with Verlander.

Turner @ Stroman – Stroman – Stroman a bit risky though.

M. Gonzalez @ Kelly – Tough to sit Gonzalez right now.

Gray @ Noesi

Peacock @ King Felix

Minor @ Fister

Locke @ Kendrick – Kendrick a decent deep league play.

Miller @ Axelrod – Shelby looking to build on three straight quality starts.

Lyles @ Niese

Penny @ Gallardo

Despaigne @ Kershaw

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, September 5

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals


Sale @ House – House for Sale! haha

Shields @ Pineda

Peavy @ Porcello – Peavy seems to be enjoying his new digs

Hutchison @ Buchholz – Not trusting Buchholz against a big offense, shutout or not

W. Chen @ Cobb

Iwakuma @ Baker

Shoemaker @ Nolasco – Shoemaker continues to defy expectations

Oberholtzer @ Samardzija

Worley @ Wada

Williams @ Strasburg

Colon @ Simon

Harang @ Cosart

Lackey @ Fiers

Stults @ Matzek

Nuno @ Haren – Nuno on a nice run in the desert, let’s give it a spin


Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 4

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at St. Louis Cardinals


Leake @ Tillman – Leake is pitching well lately but I don’t trust him in Baltimore

Scherzer @ Bauer – Bauer has two straight scoreless outings but I’m not risking it vs. Detroit

Workman @ Capuano

Buehrle @ Odorizzi – Odorizzi has been inconsistent lately and the Jays can rake

Elias @ R. Ross

Santiago @ Gibson

Wacha @ Peralta – not giving up on Peralta, but ditching here

Delgado @ Kennedy

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, September 3

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Arizona Diamondbacks


King Felix @ Lester

Ranaudo @ Kuroda

Axelrod @ M. Gonzalez

Verlander @ Salazar – not the quality of matchup we anticipated back in April, but still…

Stroman @ Archer

Tepesch @ Vargas – Vargas has been solid and the Rangers look like a Triple-A team

Danks @ May

Weaver @ McHugh

Buchanan @ Big Erv

Volquez @ Miller – Volquez has surprised this year but I’m not trusting him

Zimmermann @ Frias

Vogelsong @ Bergman

deGrom @ Koehler – Koehler has a 2.69 ERA at home!

Garza @ Hendricks – ride the Hendricks wave vs. the righty-heavy Brewers

Collmenter @ Cashner – tempting to pitch Collmenter but I’ll stick with home starts only

***ZACH SAYS “I’d pitch Gonzalez, who has seven quality starts in his last eight outings. Ditch on Vogelsong at Coors. Agree on rest.”

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, September 2

MLB: San Diego Padres at Minnesota Twins


Latos @ Norris – Norris not great lately but I’ll give him a try here.

Lobstein @ Carrasco – Tough to bench Carrasco right now.

Kelly @ Greene – Kelly worth a look in very deep mixed/AL-only.

Dickey @ Hellickson – Both a little risky though.

Holland @ Guthrie – Holland a great waiver wire addition if he’s out there, but let’s see how he does here before starting him.

Noesi @ Milone

Wilson @ Peacock

Paxton @ Gray

Kendrick @ Minor

Niese @ Penny

Gallardo @ Arrieta

Locke @ Wainwright – Feel free to pitch Locke if you wish. I just don’t trust him.

Petit @ Lyles – Not a good spot for Petit.

Fister @ Kershaw

Miley @ Despaigne – Miley just about an automatic pitch when on the road. Ditto for Despaigne when at home.

Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/1

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Arizona Diamondbacks


Wade Miley (@SD, @LAD)

If you’re a regular reader of my two-start pitcher series, feel free to skip this paragraph. But for those of you who haven’t noticed, Miley’s home/road splits this year are so drastic that it’s rather easy to decide whether to pitch him or ditch him. The Diamondbacks lefty is 2-7 with a 6.08 ERA and 1.47 WHIP at home but 5-3 with a 2.65 ERA and 1.22 WHIP on the road. The @LAD matchup is a bit scary, but that is far outweighed by the extremely favorable matchup in Petco Park against a Padres club that has scored the fewest runs of any team in the Majors this season.

Jimmy Nelson (@CHC, vs. STL)

Although Nelson hasn’t been quite as sharp as usual of late, his overall numbers this season remain solid. He’s allowed three runs or less in seven of his nine starts and his 7.7 K/9 along with a 2.6 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9 are all promising signs for any young pitcher. The Cubs and Cardinals rank 13th and 14th respectively in the NL in runs scored. If you can’t trust Nelson for next week, there’s really no point in owning him.

Carlos Carrasco (vs. DET, vs. CHW)

Over his last four starts, Carrasco has allowed a combined two runs across 24 2/3 innings to go along with 24 strikeouts. Some will say he’s due for a blowup, and he might be. But keep in mind that this is a former top prospect, so maybe it’s a case of a high-upside talent finally starting to figure things out at the big league level. The vs. DET matchup is a tough one, and that alone probably limits his appeal to deeper mixed leagues. But in a 12-team mixed, depending on your specific standings situation, Carrasco is a guy worth considering, especially if you’re looking for a strikeouts boost.

Hector Santiago (@HOU, @MIN)

Simply put, Santiago hasn’t gotten the respect he deserves this year. I mean, look at the stats! The Angels southpaw has been especially dominant in the second half, going 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA and 1.07 WHIP across nine games (seven starts). The biggest concern here is that the Astros and Twins both rank in the top-4 of the AL in runs scored since the All-Star break, but this is a situation where recent performance is more important than the matchups.


Jason Hammel (vs. SEA, vs. HOU)

You might be tempted to start Hammel next week being that he’s coming off a gem against the Astros (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K). But prior to that start was an ugly outing versus the Braves (3 IP, 6 H, 5 ER), and I’m just not convinced that he’s over the inconsistency issues that have plagued him ever since he was dealt to the A’s. Plus, the Astros and Mariners aren’t exactly the pushover offenses of years past. If he gets through next week in decent shape, maybe I’ll become convinced. But for now, I’m playing it safe.

R.A. Dickey (@TB, @BOS)

Honestly, I’ve given up trying to predict how Dickey will fare from one start to the next. I know that he’s posted three quality starts in his last four tries. I know that he’s done well against the Red Sox this year (3-0, 2.49 ERA). But he makes me too nervous. I’m not saying that starting him would be a huge mistake, and the rational move is probably to start him. But I guess I’m kind of irrational when it comes to Dickey. I’d rather not deal with the headache.

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, August 30-September 1

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins



Pineda @ Hutchison

Scherzer @ Sale (Gm 1) – Must watch TV!

Ryan @ Bassitt (Gm 2)

Gibson @ Tillman

Bauer @ Shields – Bauer a tough call but he’s gone more than a month without back-to-back quality starts.

Mikolas @ Feldman

Webster @ Odorizzi

Samardzija @ TBD (LAA)

Strasburg @ Young – Young is 8-3 with a 2.35 ERA in 13 home starts this season.

Doubront @ Masterson (Gm 1) – Move to NL has done little to help Masterson.

Wada @ TBD (STL) (Gm 2) – Looks like Wada is for real.

Simon @ Worley – Worley risky but Reds have been a sub-par offense all year.

Cosart @ Harang – Cosart is hot and Braves offense has been mediocre this season.

Williams @ Colon

Matzek @ Nuno – Nuno worth considering in NL-only leagues.

Greinke @ Kennedy

Fiers @ Peavy


McCarthy @ Happ

Nolasco @ W. Chen – Sticking with Chen.

Buchholz @ Cobb

Porcello @ Quintana

Martinez @ Keuchel

Kazmir @ Shoemaker – Shoemaker continues to get the job done.

Roark @ Iwakuma

House @ Duffy

Burnett @ Gee

Cueto @ Liriano

T. Wood @ Lackey                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Lohse @ Bumgarner

Correia @ Stults – Stults a decent deep league gamble but there’s limited upside here.

J. De La Rosa @ C. Anderson – De La Rosa has a 3.46 ERA and 1.06 WHIP since the All-Star break.

Eovaldi @ A. Wood


R. De La Rosa @ Smyly – Taking a break from Rubby, who has been shaky lately.

Hughes @ Gausman

Price @ Kluber

Young @ Hammel – Hammel showing some signs of improvement but he’s still a ditch in a 12-team mixed.

Lewis @ Ventura

Hamels @ Teheran

Wheeler @ Alvarez

Cole @ Lynn

Nelson @ Turner

Cahill @ T. Ross

Hudson @ Morales

G. Gonzalez @ R. Hernandez

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, August 29

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals


May @ M. Gonzalez – Gonzalez 2 ER or less in six of his last seven starts.

Capuano @ Buehrle

Ranaudo @ Archer

Verlander @ Carroll – Sticking with Verlander in favorable matchup.

Salazar @ Vargas – Both deserve a shot here.

Baker @ Oberholtzer

Lester @ Weaver

Zimmermann @ King Felix

Leake @ Volquez – I really don’t care how well Volquez has pitched of late. He’s still DTM in mixed leagues.

Buchanan @ deGrom – Buchanan worth considering in deep mixed/NL-only leagues.

Koehler @ Big Erv – Koehler very quietly putting together an impressive season.

Hendricks @ Miller – Miller a borderline call but I’ll play it safe.

Bergman @ Collmenter

Haren @ Cashner – Ideal matchup for the inconsistent Haren.

Peralta @ Vogelsong – Vogelsong a little risky though. Let your league standings be the deciding factor.

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, August 28

MLB: Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees


Kuroda @ Lobstein

Hellickson @ Norris – Hellickson has been impressive but I’ll play it safe for this matchup. Sticking with Norris.

Carrasco @ Danks – Carrasco due for some regression but White Sox offense has struggled for most of the season.

Milone @ Guthrie

Tepesch @ McHugh

Gray @ Wilson – Wilson getting back on track.

Arrieta @ Axelrod

Lyles @ Petit – Petit an intriguing option in NL-only leagues though.

Minor @ Niese – Minor coming off three straight quality starts.


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