Musings from Wednesday’s Game Action

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies

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.


Pitch or Ditch for Friday, September 6

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox


Doubront @ Pettitte – both lefties on a nice run

Danks @ Feldman – Feldman worth a look vs. rebuilding ChiSox

Wheeler @ Kazmir – Kazmir worth a gamble vs. old team

An. Sanchez @ Shields

Dickey @ Pelfrey

Garza @ Wilson

Keuchel @ Griffin

Cobb @ Iwakuma – Iwakuma to be shut down in another 2-3 starts

Lohse @ Rusin

Minor @ Lee

Capuano @ Leake – the regression zombies are feasting on Leake’s ERA

Haren @ J. Fernandez – enjoy the last 20 IP from Fernandez!

Burnett @ Kelly – Kelly has a 2.11 (!) ERA in 11 starts

Nicasio @ Smith – Nicasio worth a shot on the road vs. weak Padres

Corbin @ Petit – Corbin may be fading but Giants are an easy draw

                                                                                                                                                ***ZACH SAYS “Doubront is coming off an ugly outing vs. the awful White Sox and the Yankee lineup has really found its groove, so I’d play it safe and ditch in 12-team mixed leagues. I’m probably way too loyal to Haren, but particularly if you’re chasing K’s, the matchup is very favorable. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, he’ll help your ERA and WHIP too!”

Random Thoughts from Tuesday’s Games + Strop

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Chicago Cubs

Wilson Ramos’ three-run homer last night marked his 10th home run of the season while his four RBIs brought his season total up to 38, this in only 57 games. Ramos is playing almost every day now and makes for a sneaky good pickup in deeper mixed leagues and a must-own in all NL-only formats, especially keeper leagues. Not too long ago (like last year), he was a popular breakout candidate, so don’t forget about him come 2014. Keep in mind that he just turned 26, so there’s still plenty of time for him to take that next leap forward.

After limiting the A’s to a mere one run over seven innings last night, Martin Perez now has six quality starts in his last seven outings, and his only non-quality start wasn’t too bad (7 IP, 4 ER). He’s definitely earned serious PoD consideration and is another guy to monitor closely heading into next season. He’s only 22!

Ricky Nolasco surprised most of us by pitching well at Coors Field last night (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). If he wasn’t Ricky Nolasco, we would’ve promoted him to grad status a long time ago. But unfortunately, this is Ricky Nolasco who we’re talking about. But do you know that he’s allowed three earned runs or less in each of his first 11 starts as a member of the Dodgers? Maybe it’s finally time to take him seriously.

Those of you in dire need of saves for the stretch run should go out and grab Pedro Strop. Today, Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum indicated that Strop could be used in save situations this month, and with the Cubs in rebuilding mode, it makes all the sense in the world that they would want to see if Strop has a future as a closer. Since coming over to the Cubs from the Orioles as part of the Scott Feldman trade, Strop has registered a 2.19 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and better than a strikeout per inning in 26 appearances. At this point in the fantasy year, every save is so important, and wouldn’t it be neat if you were to win your league thanks to a save on the final day of the season by Pedro Strop?

I thought so.



Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 5

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals


Saunders @ Guthrie – Guthrie worth a gamble if chasing wins

Peavy @ Nova – Nova en fuego since returning from minors

Quintana @ M. Gonzalez O’s are somewhat vulnerable to lefties

Price @ J. Williams

Peacock @ Gray – Peacock worth a gamble if chasing K’s

Lynn @ Cingrani – not trusting either in this matchup

Cahill @ Vogelsong

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, September 4

MLB: New York Yankees at San Diego Padres


Hendriks @ Lyles

Darvish @ Parker

Porcello @ Dempster

Britton @ McAllister

Johnson @ Sabathia – still trotting CC out there vs. low-tier offenses

Walker @ Big Erv

Hellickson @ Weaver

Gee @ Loe – Teheran being skipped to hold down IP count

Flynn @ Samardzija

Buehrle @ Delgado

Lincecum @ Stults – the matchup says gamble on both

Zimmermann @ Halladay – don’t expect vintage Halladay, but gotta try

S. Miller @ Arroyo – Miller is fading and Cincy is tough at home

Liriano @ W. Peralta – borderline call on Peralta; let your categories be your guide

Volquez @ De La Rosa – tough matchup but DLR keeps getting it done

                                                                                                                                                ***ZACH SAYS “Depending on your categorical needs, I might pitch Walker, as he was impressive in his big league debut. I’m a little concerned about Gee @ATL. If you’re ever going to ditch him and you have that luxury, now would be the time. Agree on rest.”

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, September 3

MLB: Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics


Sale @ Kuroda

Tillman @ Jimenez

Scherzer @ Lester

E. Ramirez @ B. Chen – Ramirez a good source of K’s and this is a decent matchup.

P. Hernandez @ Cosart – Great matchup for Cosart, who has allowed 2 ER or less in seven of his eight starts this year.

Moore @ Vargas

Perez @ Colon – Bartolo passed the @DET test, so I’ll pitch him here.

G. Gonzalez @ Martin

Torres @ Medlen – Torres continues to pitch well but I’ll play it safe in rough matchup.

Koehler @ Jackson

Wacha @ Bailey – Wacha a little too risky.

Cole @ Gallardo

Nolasco @ Chacin – Nolasco’s career numbers at Coors are ugly.

Redmond @ Miley

Bumgarner @ Erlin

Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/2

Zach here,

No podcast today but you can always count on my two-start pitcher notes each and every Friday.

Have a splendid Labor Day weekend!

Ian Kennedy  (vs. SF, vs. COL)

As I said in the Pitch or Ditch post below, Kennedy is DTM. For some crazy reason, I drafted him on four of my five teams this year, fully convinced that a bounce back season was in store. Oops. He’s steadily regressed in just about every statistical category for two years running now, and while his move to the Padres is somewhat promising, he hasn’t even taken advantage of Petco yet, having already gotten hammered there by the Mets. The Mets! Anyway, despite these two promising home matchups, I can’t trust this guy under any circumstances. It’s as simple as that, though would I be surprised if he pitches well next week? Not really. But I don’t care. Ditch.

Jose Quintana  (@NYY, @BAL)

Let’s face it, this guy has been extremely consistent this season. Better yet, he’s even upped his strikeout rate significantly in eight starts since the All-Star break, with 48 punchouts in 50 2/3 innings. These matchups are far from ideal, but the Yankees are still an inconsistent offensive club and I’m at the point with Quintana where I trust him regardless of the opponent. Pitch.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

Bud Norris  (@CLE, vs. CHW) 

The 3-1 record is nice, but the 4.91 ERA and 1.70 WHIP since joining the Orioles is flat out ugly. There’s always strikeout upside with Norris, but his habit of blowing up every now and then has me fearing that if you do choose to pitch him and one of these starts turns out to be a disaster outing (a legitimate possibility), your whole week would be ruined. Better be safe than sorry. Ditch.

Charlie Morton  (@MIL, @STL)

Five straight starts of two earned runs or less might have you thinking that Morton in a two-start week is a no-brainer pitch. Not quite. For the season, the Cardinals lead the NL in runs scored and batting average. And it’s not even close. Then there’s the fact that the last time Morton gave up more than two earned runs in a start was on August 1st. Against who? Yup, the Cardinals! If we were just talking about the @MIL start, I’d say pitch. But unfortunately, the @MIL start is tied to the @STL start, so I’ll say ditch. Feel free to pitch him in NL-only leagues though, as you probably don’t have many better options. And who knows, maybe Morton will surprise me. He already has.

Erasmo Ramirez  (@KC, vs. TB)

I really like what I’ve seen from Erasmo this year. I like the high strikeout rate. I like the exceptional 3.00 K/BB ratio. The 5.18 ERA is largely the product of an inflated home run rate, and being that Ramirez served up only six homers over 59 innings last season compared to nine in 48 2/3 frames this year, I think he’s bound to improve in that department. The Royals and Rays are both middle of the pack offenses, so I don’t have much of a problem pitching Ramirez next week.

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, August 31-September 2

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Oakland Athletics



Feldman @ Nova – Feldman not a bad play in deeper leagues but I just don’t have a whole lot of confidence in him.

Guthrie @ Dickey – Dickey’s been so unpredictable this year but he’s pitching fairly well of late.

Kazmir @ An. Sanchez

Danks @ Peavy – Danks has been solid but this is a bad matchup.

Saunders @ Keuchel

Pelfrey @ Garza

Cobb @ Gray – Gray coming off brutal outing but the overall results have been impressive.

Lee @ Rusin – Rusin 2 ER or less in each of his last four starts.

Wheeler @ Haren

Lynn @ Burnett

Williams @ Estrada – I think it’s fairly safe to use Estrada now.

Turner @ Minor – Turner’s been shaky after hot start.

Reynolds @ De La Rosa – DLR has been lights out at home (8-1, 2.58 ERA).

Vogelsong @ Cahill – Vogelsong close to regaining my trust but for now I’ll only pitch him at home.

Cashner @ Capuano – Capuano too hit or miss.


W. Chen @ Hughes – Let’s not freak out after one bad start from Chen at Fenway.

Shields @ Happ

Salazar @ Verlander

Rienzo @ Doubront – Doubront has gotten back on track.

Iwakuma @ Oberholtzer

Correia @ Blackley

R. Hernandez @ Griffin – Not too confident in Griffin though.

Lyons @ TBD (PIT)

Wilson @ Lohse

Kendrick @ Arrieta

Ross @ Greinke – Not a good matchup for Ross. He’s purely a chasing K’s option.

Leake @ Nicasio – Leake is fading and it’s Coors. Nicasio very risky but I’ll roll the dice. His home ERA is almost two full runs lower than his road mark.

Zito @ Corbin

Eovaldi @ A. Wood – Wood’s on a roll.

Niese @ Ohlendorf – The same can be said for Niese. Ohlendorf a strong NL-only play and decent choice in deeper mixed leagues versus depleted Mets lineup.


Quintana @ Pettitte

Fister @ Lackey – Fister no longer an automatic start though, so if you want to sit this one out, that’s fine.

King Felix @ Duffy – Keep a close eye on Duffy.

Albers @ Clemens

Norris @ Masterson – Norris has been erratic of late and this is not a favorable matchup.

Holland @ Straily – I’ll throw Straily out there coming off strong showing @DET.

Archer @ Richards – Playing it safe on Richards, who got roughed up by Rays his last time out.

Matsuzaka @ Maholm – Despite ultra-favorable matchup, I just can’t trust Maholm.

Kelly @ Latos – Kelly warrants consideration in deeper leagues but the matchup is a little scary and his lack of K’s limits his upside.

Morton @ Gorzelanny – Morton is red hot.

Alvarez @ T. Wood

Petit @ Kennedy – Kennedy is officially DTM. Now watch him throw a gem!

Kershaw @ Bettis

Redmond @ McCarthy – Still not sold on McCarthy.

Strasburg @ Hamels

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, August 30

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Colorado Rockies


M. Gonzalez @ Sabathia – Gonzalez a toss-up but I’ll go for it. CC looked a lot better his last time out.

Big Erv @ Buehrle – Buehrle hit or miss. I’ll play it safe.

McAllister @ Porcello – I like McAllister but not here. Porcello’s numbers in three starts vs. Tribe this year are outstanding (2-0, 1.42 ERA, 0.95 WHIP).

Santiago @ Dempster – I like Santiago but not here.

Hendriks @ Darvish

T. Walker @ Peacock – Walker an elite prospect but I’m not a fan of pitching SPs in their big league debut.

Price @ Parker

Halladay @ Samardzija – Liked what I saw from Doc in his return.

Gee @ Zimmermann – Gee coming off worst outing in quite some time, but it was the Tigers.

Miller @ Liriano

J. Fernandez @ Teheran – Nice!

Weaver @ W. Peralta – Peralta has been a lot more effective on the road (3.94 ERA) than at home (5.17 ERA).

Arroyo @ Manship – Bronson has terrible career numbers at Coors.

Lincecum @ Delgado – Lincecum good for K’s but he got roughed up @ARI earlier this season (5 IP, 10 H, 5 ER). Delgado a worthy start in deeper leagues.

Stults @ Ryu – Tough task for Stults though.

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, August 29

MLB: ALDS-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees


Colon @ Scherzer – Playing it safe with the returning Colon in brutal matchup.

B. Chen @ Deduno – Royals rank 4th in AL in runs scored and 3rd in AVG this month.

Vargas @ Odorizzi

Tillman @ Lester – Tillman risky but he’s dominated BOS this year (0.98 ERA in three starts).

E. Ramirez @ Lyles – Ramirez 3 ER combined over last two starts (13 2/3 IP).

Martin @ Torres – Torres worth monitoring though.

Koehler @ G. Gonzalez - Koehler a decent NL-only play but Nats are hitting well lately.

Gallardo @ Cole – YoGa showing some signs of improvement.

Jimenez @ Medlen


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