Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, September 16

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers


Hutchison @ Jimenez – Hutchison is inconsistent but can dominate when he’s on
Pineda @ Odorizzi - these guys will be popular “sleepers” next year
Bassitt @ Hendriks
Porcello @ Nolasco
Kluber @ Tropeano
Elias @ Rasmus
Tepesch @ Kazmir
Ranaudo @ Morton – Morton is excellent at home, but matchup and injury recovery make him risky
Roark @ Harang
Eovaldi @ Colon – sticking with Bartolo at home vs. Giancarless Marlins
Peralta @ Lynn – Peralta is hot and cold, let your categories guide you
Cueto @ Arrieta
Haren @ Matzek
Peavy @ Collmenter – red-hot Collmenter a must-start at home right now
Burnett @ Kennedy – risky tandem, but great matchup for both

Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/15

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Miami Marlins


Jarred Cosart (@NYM, vs. WAS)

Cosart has made quite an impression with his new club, as he’s 4-2 with a 1.93 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in seven starts since being traded to the Marlins. I’d be very surprised if he has trouble against the Mets at Citi Field, as the Amazins rank next to last in the Majors in runs scored at home and last in batting average. The vs. WAS matchup is a challenging one but Cosart did pitch well against the Nats earlier this year (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 6 K). I’d start him in all mixed leagues of 12 teams or more.

Ryan Vogelsong (@ARI, @SD)

Vogelsong has been far from a sure thing this year, but through 29 starts, he’s had only two disaster outings (defined by giving up more runs than innings pitched) and both of them came at Coors Field. But we all knew to ditch him there, right? His mediocre outing at Chase Field back in June (5 IP, 4 ER) certainly tempers our enthusiasm for the @ARI start. But keep in mind that overall, Vogelsong has pitched reasonably well against the Diamondbacks this season, posting a 3.91 ERA and 1.26 WHIP across four starts. Regardless, the @ARI risk is far outweighed by the @SD matchup, as he will get to face the lowest scoring offense in baseball in an extreme pitcher’s park.

Vance Worley (vs. BOS, vs. MIL)

I remain skeptical about Worley, as after a dominant start to his season, he hasn’t been quite as sharp lately. That said, both of Worley’s starts next week will come at home, where he’s 4-2 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in six starts. Amazingly enough, the Red Sox have scored the second fewest runs in the AL this season, and while the vs. MIL matchup might seem scary, the Brewers have been a middle of the pack offense since the All-Star break. In a 12-team mixed league, he’s a true borderline call, but I’d lean towards pitching him so long as your ERA and WHIP are in decent shape.


Dan Haren (@COL, @CHC)

Haren has been on quite a roll of late, having allowed two earned runs or less in six of his last seven outings, but this is about as bad as it gets from a matchups perspective. The longball continues to be Haren’s chief nemesis, as he’s served up 25 of them in his 29 starts, so Coors Field isn’t exactly a good fit. Oh, and then there’s the fact that in his only other start at Coors this year, he gave up eight runs on ten hits over 5 1/3 innings. As for his road date against the Cubs, Wrigley Field is another home run friendly park and Haren posted an ugly 4 1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER line when he faced the Cubs at Dodger Stadium on August 1st. In mixed leagues, you’re better off playing it safe here.

Wade Miley (vs. SF, @COL)

So let’s see, Miley is 2-7 with a 6.08 ERA and 1.47 WHIP at home and is fresh off a terrible performance on the road against the Giants. He actually pitched very well at Coors Field earlier this season (8 IP, 2 ER) but it’s still hard to trust any non-elite pitcher in that environment and the Rockies are the highest scoring team in the Majors at home by a wide margin. There’s absolutely no way I’m pitching Miley next week in any mixed league, and I’d even think twice about starting him in an NL-only.

A.J. Burnett (@SD, @OAK)

Yeah, Burnett’s first start next week will be in Petco Park against the worst offense in the Majors while his second start will be in another pitcher-friendly park versus an A’s offense that just hasn’t been the same since dealing away Yoenis Cespedes. But think about this. Burnett hasn’t posted back-to-back quality starts in over two months. That kind of inconsistency is what scares me off. If you’re purely chasing strikeouts and have little to lose in ERA and WHIP, go ahead and pitch A.J. Otherwise, forget about it.

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, September 13-15

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers



Greene @ M. Gonzalez – Gonzalez since All-Star break (8 starts): 5-2, 1.86 ERA.

Teheran @ Baker

Hellickson @ Dickey – I’m wary of Hellickson here. Pitch only if you’re chasing wins and strikeouts.

Salazar @ Lobstein – I’d rather be safe than sorry with Salazar.

Milone @ Carroll

R. De La Rosa @ Guthrie – Rubby too erratic lately to trust.

Feldman @ Weaver

Gray @ King Felix

Hand @ Kendrick – Marlins offense a lot less scary without Stanton, making Kendrick a viable deep mixed/NL-only play if you’re willing to take the risk.

Doubront @ Locke – Not a big fan of Locke but Cubs lineup is mediocre at best. If you’re really feeling lucky, Doubront is tempting.

Holmberg @ Gallardo

Fister @ Wheeler

Morales @ Miller – Great matchup for Miller, who has been much more consistent lately.

T. Ross @ C. Anderson – Gotta love the matchup for Anderson too.

Greinke @ Hudson


Archer @ Stroman

Bauer @ Verlander – Bauer always capable of dominating but I’d rather not chance it here. If you want to sit Verlander as well, I don’t have a problem with it.

May @ Noesi

Kelly @ Vargas – Vargas far from a slam dunk but the matchup is decent enough. Kelly an intriguing deep league option.

Minor @ Lewis

Keuchel @ Santiago – Santiago a little risky but I’m a big believer in him.

Lester @ Young – Young fading a bit lately but he’s 8-3 with a 2.35 ERA at home this year.

Kuroda @ Tillman

Zimmermann @ Niese

Koehler @ Buchanan – Taking a shot with Koehler. Buchanan is tempting too.

Turner @ Volquez – Volquez is still DTM.

Leake @ Garza – Leake has been solid for the most part but this matchup isn’t a favorable one.

Lyles @ Gonzales

Kershaw @ Petit – Not liking this matchup for Petit.

Despaigne @ Cahill – Despaigne is 1-5 with a 5.40 ERA on the road.


Stroman @ W. Chen – Chen very quietly turning in a fine season.

Capuano @ Colome

Danks @ Shields

Scherzer @ Swarzak

McAllister @ McHugh

Iwakuma @ Shoemaker

Strasburg @ Big Erv – Erv scuffling of late and Nats lineup is tough, so if you’re in ERA/WHIP protect mode, it’s fine to ditch him.

Cosart @ deGrom

Simon @ T. Wood – Simon coming off strong bounce back outing.

R. Hernandez @ Bergman

Vogelsong @ Miley – Miley awful on the road against these same Giants his last time out and he’s 2-7 with a 6.08 ERA at home. Vogelsong a toss-up.

Williams @ Cashner

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, September 12

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers


McCarthy @ Gausman (Gm 1) – tough matchup for McCarthy but he’s earned the trust

Mitchell @ Norris (Gm 2) – Norris having a solid year, and Yankees’ offense is scuffling

Karns @ Happ

Carrasco @ Price

A. Wood @ Holland – Holland was very sharp last time, though

Hughes @ Quintana

Webster @ Ventura

Oberholtzer @ Wilson – Wilson has a 5.53 ERA since All-Star

Hammel @ Paxton - Hammel appears to be over his post-trade yips

Alvarez @ Hamels

Wada @ Cole – not fully sold on Wada, but a 2.95 ERA in 10 starts with only one blowup…

G. Gonzalez @ Gee

Latos @ Lohse – thus assuring me of a combined 11 earned runs and two no-decisions in NFBC

J. De La Rosa @ Wainwright

Stults @ Nuno – blue-plate special!

Ryu @ Bumgarner – this one’s worth staying up late for

***ZACH SAYS “Holland has been very impressive since his return and gets to face a Braves team that ranks next to last in the Majors in runs scored this year, ahead of only the Padres. I’d definitely pitch him. Agree on rest.”

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 11

MLB: New York Mets at Oakland Athletics


Gibson @ Kluber (Gm 1)

Nolasco @ House (Gm 2)

Kazmir @ Sale – Kazmir 5.96 ERA since the break, and bad matchup… play it safe

Cobb @ Pineda

Rasmus @ Martinez

Buchholz @ Hendriks

Lynn @ Cueto

Delgado @ Peavy

Liriano @ Burnett

Roark @ Colon – tempting on Colon, but the Nationals are locked in now

Eovaldi @ Fiers

Updated PoD Category Chart (9/9)

Collin McHugh has allowed 2 ER or less in each of his last seven starts

Collin McHugh has allowed 2 ER or less in each of his last seven starts

Zach here,

There was no way we were going to let the 2014 season come to an end without posting one final update to our Pitch or Ditch category chart!

POD Chart 9-9

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 late-July.


Kluber grad to ace

McCarthy PoD to grad

Porcello PoD to grad

Duffy PoD to grad

Hughes PoD to grad

Shoemaker PoD to grad

Keuchel PoD to grad

McHugh PoD to grad

Wheeler PoD to grad

deGrom PoD to grad

Roark PoD to grad

Liriano PoD to grad

Nuno indifferent to PoD


Buehrle grad to PoD

Burnett grad to PoD

Nolasco PoD to DTM

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, September 10

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers


W. Chen @ Workman
Shields @ Porcello
Gibson @ House
Odorizzi @ Capuano
Hendricks @ Hutchison – tough matchup for Hendricks but the results don’t lie
Shoemaker @ Tepesch
Samardzija @ Bassitt
Tropeano @ Iwakuma
Harang @ Strasburg
Worley @ Williams – Worley may be fading, but play the matchup
Lackey @ Simon – Simon 1-7, 5.27 ERA since All-Star
Matzek @ Montero – have to roll Matzek again after the shutout last time
Cosart @ Peralta – not trusting Cosart though, much tougher matchup
Collmenter @ Vogelsong
Kennedy @ Haren – risk/reward on both, play it based on your categories

***ZACH SAYS “Kennedy is a toss-up but I’d definitely pitch Haren. He’s 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA since the beginning of August and the Padres are the worst offense in baseball. Agree on rest.”

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, September 9

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics


May @ Bauer – Bauer has been very volatile; pitch if your categories warrant aggressiveness
Archer @ Kuroda
@ Buehrle
Vargas @ Scherzer - solid year for Vargas, but a very unfavorable matchup
@ Ranaudo
Santiago @ Lewis – has anyone looked at the Rangers’ lineup lately?
Lester @ Danks
McHugh @ Elias
Big Erv @ Zimmermann
Volquez @ Buchanan – I’ll let you know when I’m ready to trust Volquez again
Wacha @ Leake
Bergman @ deGrom
Koehler @ Garza – very tempting on Koehler, though…
Cashner @ R. Hernandez
Miley @ Petit – blue-plate special for risk-reward hunters

***ZACH SAYS “I’d absolutely go for it with Miley, who is 5-3 with a 2.55 ERA on the road this year. Agree on rest.”

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


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 450 other followers