Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, August 19

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers

ZACH’S PICKS

Oberholtzer @ Capuano
Weaver @ Webster
Scherzer @ Archer
Tillman @ Quintana
Bauer @ Gibson – Bauer always risky but I’ll give him a shot here.
Gee @ Kazmir – Gee a borderline call in tough matchup.
C. Anderson @ Strasburg
Iwakuma @ Burnett – Burnett hard to trust right now.
Harang @ Liriano – Harang coming off rough outing and Pirates lead NL in runs scored since All-Star break.
Mikolas @ Cosart
Vogelsong @ Wada
Happ @ Fiers – Fiers a decent gamble in deeper leagues but I’m not liking this matchup.
Simon @ Lackey
Shields @ Matzek – Very dangerous matchup for Shields though.
Kennedy @ Correia

Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 8/18

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs

PITCHES

Kyle Hendricks (@NYM, vs. BAL)

How could anyone not be impressed by what they’ve seen from Hendricks through his first six big league starts? Although his minor league strikeout numbers are nothing special, his other ratios are outstanding, so it wouldn’t be wise to dismiss this fast start as a fluke. The Mets offense is mediocre at best and while the Orioles lineup poses a significant challenge, at least that start will come at Wrigley, where the O’s won’t get the benefit of the DH.

Mike Leake (@STL, vs. ATL)

Even though Leake is coming off his worst outing in awhile (5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER vs. BOS), I still have confidence in him. Prior to his last start, he had allowed a combined three earned runs over his previous three outings. The Braves and Cardinals rank 28th and 29th respectively in the Majors in runs scored.

Trevor Bauer (@MIN, vs. HOU)

Bauer’s erratic ways continue to frustrate his fantasy owners, but when he’s on his game, he’s a pretty good pitcher. And he’s fresh off a dominant performance against the Diamondbacks (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 9 K). Bauer’s 5.82 road ERA is a bit scary, but the Twins rank near the bottom of the AL in runs scored at home. The Astros offense has far exceeded expectations this season, but they have enjoyed a lot more success at home than on the road, where they are the lowest scoring team in the AL. Oh, and Bauer’s home ERA this season is 3.36.

Bud Norris (@CHW, @CHC)

Norris is more of a deep mixed/AL-only play, but he’s an intriguing option nonetheless. In his five starts since the All-Star break, Norris is 3-1 with a 3.10 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 29 innings, and the White Sox and Cubs are both mid to low-end offenses. Norris is rarely terrible, so the risk of a disaster outing is minimal. That said, his 4.55 road ERA is concerning. Depending on your specific situation, taking a shot on Bud could pay off, but he’s a true toss-up in a 12-team mixed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DITCHES

C.J. Wilson (@BOS, @OAK)

Yeah, there’s reason for optimism following Wilson’s quality outing against the Phillies, but he was so awful leading up to his DL stint and in his first start back that I’d proceed with caution. If he makes it through next week in decent shape, I think it would be safe to once again treat him as a grad, a guy who deserves to start in just about any matchup. But making it through next week in decent shape will be tough to say the least. The A’s have been the top offense in baseball all season long and starting any non-elite pitcher at Fenway Park always scares me. At least for next week, the risk outweighs the reward.

Aaron Harang (@PIT, @CIN)

No, I’m not as down on Harang as I was earlier in the season, as he’s done a nice job proving his doubters wrong. But his last start was his worst since mid-June, and it’s fair to wonder if the 36-year-old is simply running out of gas, as he’s already eclipsed last season’s innings total. The Pirates rank 1st in the NL in runs scored since the All-Star break, and while the @CIN matchup isn’t terrible, like with Fenway Park, I try to avoid starting mid to lower tier pitchers at Great American Ball Park.

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, August 16-18

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Greene @ Smyly – Smyly erratic but the Yanks aren’t hitting at all these days.

Jimenez @ Carrasco

King Felix @ Price – Must watch TV!

Peacock @ R. De La Rosa – I like what I’m seeing from Rubby lately.

Buehrle @ Danks

Ventura @ Hughes – Hughes always risky but he seems to be back on track.

Shoemaker @ Lewis – Shoemaker a decent play in deeper leagues but in a 12-team mixed, I’d play it safe.

Kendrick @ Hudson

Locke @ G. Gonzalez – Not trusting Locke against strong offense.

Gray @ Teheran

Straily @ Niese

Miley @ Alvarez – Miley a solid play on the road (5-2, 3.00 ERA this season).

Hahn @ Miller – Favorable matchup for both.

TBD (CIN) @ Lyles

Gallardo @ Kershaw

SUNDAY

Gausman @ Salazar – Both are borderline calls.

Young @ Ray – Young continues to impress.

McHugh @ Kelly – Both pitchers make me a little nervous though.

Kuroda @ Hellickson – Sticking with Kuroda. Hellickson is pitching well enough to trust for this matchup.

Hutchison @ Carroll

Guthrie @ Milone – Favorable matchup for Milone.

Santiago @ Tepesch – I’m a fan of Santiago, but not for this start.

Arrieta @ R. Montero – Keep an eye on Montero, but he’s not mixed league material just yet.

Collmenter @ Koehler – Giving Koehler one more chance. 2.66 ERA at home this year.

Despaigne @ Wainwright – Coming off 7 IP, 0 ER, 8 K performance, Despaigne deserves a shot.

Buchanan @ Lincecum – Lincecum back to being a constant headache.

Lohse @ Haren – Still not sold on Haren.

Latos @ Flande

Volquez @ Fister

Lester @ Minor

MONDAY

Wilson @ Workman – Need to see one more solid outing from Wilson.

Norris @ Sale – Norris an intriguing option in deeper leagues though.

Vargas @ May – Vargas coming off CG SHO vs. OAK, but he still worries me.

Hendricks @ Torres – Hendricks has been outstanding for awhile now.

Nuno @ Zimmermann

Elias @ Williams

Big Erv @ Worley – Not too confident in Worley but the Braves have struggled offensively lately.

Leake @ Masterson – Nice bounce back opportunity for Leake. Masterson getting closer to regaining my trust.

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, August 15

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Oakland Athletics

ZACH’S PICKS

W. Chen @ Kluber – Chen is a toss-up, but he’s much better at home than on the road and this matchup isn’t great.
Paxton @ Porcello – Paxton has been decent but I don’t like this matchup.
Keuchel @ Buchholz – Buchholz is DTM.
McCarthy @ Cobb
Richards @ Martinez
Stroman @ Noesi
Duffy @ Nolasco
Morton @ Roark – Morton has been a little erratic of late and the Nats offense is hot.
T. Wood @ Wheeler
Cahill @ Hand
Hammel @ A. Wood - Sticking with Hammel for now.
T. Ross @ Lynn
Cueto @ Morales
Nelson @ Greinke – Tough matchup for Nelson but he’s coming off four straight quality starts.
Hamels @ Bumgarner

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, August 14

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals

CORY’S PICKS

Liriano @ Scherzer

Samardzija @ Shields

Feldman @ Webster

Odorizzi @ R. Ross

R. Hernandez @ Harang

Fiers @ Jackson – Fiers is a nice blue-plate special if you can afford to take a risk

Strasburg @ Gee Gee’s been erratic; play it safe if your categories dictate

C. Anderson @ Penny

Stults @ Lackey – good matchup for Lackey to bounce back

Simon @ J. De La Rosa – Simon has been good enough to trust in Coors vs. depleted Rox

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, August 13

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Pittsburgh Pirates

CORY’S PICKS

Gibson @ Oberholtzer

Pineda @ Tillman

Chafin @ Bauer (Gm 1) – Bauer hot and cold right now, but D-backs are cold with Goldy out.

Nuno @ Tomlin (Gm 2)

Worley @ Farmer

Archer @ Mikolas

Kazmir @ Vargas

Burnett @ Weaver – don’t like Burnett vs. Angels’ offense

Dickey @ Iwakuma

Ranaudo @ Leake

Quintana @ Peavy

Matzek @ Kennedy

Ryu @ Big Erv

Zimmermann @ Colon

Masterson @ Eovaldi

Lohse @ Wada

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, August 12

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Oakland Athletics

CORY’S PICKS

NYY @ BAL (PPD)

Collmenter @ House – Collmenter’s road/home splits are uuuugly

Hellickson @ Tepesch – not totally sold on Hellickson yet, but great matchup

Lester @ Guthrie

Pino @ McHugh – McHugh’s been consistently good this year

Williams @ Wilson

Happ @ Young

Ray @ Volquez

Haren @ Minor – high risk/high reward on both. Let the categories be your guide

Kelly @ Latos

Fister @ R. Montero

Wainwright @ Cosart

Peralta @ Hendricks – Hendricks may be O2W though

Flande @ Despaigne

Sale @ Vogelsong

***ZACH SAYS “I’d pass on Hellickson. I just don’t trust him yet and Rangers Ballpark is never an easy place to pitch. Agree on rest.”

Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 8/11

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Tampa Bay Rays

PITCHES

Shelby Miller (@MIA, vs. SD)

Coming off a terrific rookie campaign, Miller has been an overall disappointment this season, so much so that he was temporarily bumped from the Cardinals rotation last month. But in three starts since rejoining the starting staff, he’s registered a 2.41 ERA and 0.59 WHIP. The Padres remain the lowest scoring team in the Majors by a healthy margin while the overachieving Marlins offense has fallen back down to earth of late, ranking 11th in the NL in runs scored since the All-Star break. If available on the wire, Miller is a must-add in all mixed leagues of 12 teams or more. Next week is as good a time as any to trot him out there.

Tom Koehler (vs. STL, vs. ARI)

Although Koehler’s dominant April (2.97 ERA) is a distant memory by now, he does have six quality starts in his last nine tries. His ERA at home is 2.45, this compared to a 5.05 mark away from Miami, and the Cardinals and Diamondbacks both rank in the bottom third of the NL in runs scored on the road. I’m convinced. Pitch.

Odrisamer Despaigne (vs. COL, @STL)

Being that he’s fresh off three straight mediocre performances, pitching Despaigne next week might seem like a leap of faith. Well, I’m ready to take that leap. Let’s not forget that through his first five big league starts, the Padres righty boasted a 1.31 ERA, so the talent is certainly there for him to finish the season strong. The Rockies are by far the highest scoring team in the Majors when at home, but it’s an entirely different story away from Coors Field, as they rank 28th in runs scored on the road. Meanwhile, the Cardinals offense has struggled all year. In shallower formats, maybe there are better waiver wire options, but even in a 12-team mixed, Despaigne would be squarely on my radar.

DITCHES

Drew Smyly (@TEX, vs. NYY)

In our Pitch or Ditch posts, we’ve had a love/hate relationship with Smyly all season, and quite honestly, I’m not as high on him as Cory might be. I do think he has a bright future, but is he an automatic start in 12-team mixed leagues? Far from it. And getting traded to the Rays doesn’t exactly help his outlook, as his run support will almost certainly take a hit. Smyly actually pitched very well at Rangers Ballpark back in June, but I still don’t trust him there. Starting him against the Yankees is something I’d probably do in a daily lineup league, but for the two-start week, I just don’t have a good feeling about this.

Dan Haren (@ATL, vs. MIL)

At this point, I’m so down on Haren that I wouldn’t even pitch him in a two-start week coming off a gem versus a tough Angels lineup. Why? Because that was only his second quality start in his last nine outings. The bottom line is that Haren is a shell of his former self, his stuff and velocity so diminished that he often looks like he’s throwing batting practice. The Brewers rank 2nd in the NL in both runs scored and homers, and while the Braves have been a sub-par offense this year, Haren sports an ugly 4.99 ERA through 13 road starts.

Mike Minor (vs. LAD, vs. OAK)

This one is kind of obvious, as Minor has been a mess this year while both of these opposing lineups are very dangerous. But from a big picture perspective, it goes to show just how unpredictable starting pitching can be from one year to the next. This is a guy who was an undisputed top-30 SP heading into the season. Four months later, he’s an automatic ditch in all mixed leagues, even in a two-start week. Go figure.

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, August 9-11

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Oakland Athletics

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Kluber @ McCarthy – McCarthy since joining Yankees (5 starts): 4-0, 2.08 ERA.

Scherzer @ Stroman – Tough matchup for Stroman though, as he’s coming off worst outing in awhile.

Lackey @ Jimenez

Hudson @ Shields

Darvish @ Feldman

Buchholz @ Richards

TBD (MIN) @ Samardzija

Noesi @ Paxton – Keep an eye on Paxton but let’s see him shake off the rust first.

Odorizzi @ Jackson

Gee @ Hamels – Gee coming off solid bounce back performance.

Stults @ Liriano – Nice matchup for Liriano.

Greinke @ Fiers

Roark @ Harang – Harang pitching well enough to start here.

TBD (MIA) @ Simon – Simon fading a bit but I’m not ready to jump ship yet.

J. De La Rosa @ Cahill – De La Rosa a decent play in deeper leagues but I just don’t fully trust him.

SUNDAY

Carrasco @ Kuroda

Price @ Buehrle – Regression was inevitable for Buehrle.

Lynn @ Gausman – Three straight quality starts for Gausman and Cards have been a bottom tier offense this year.

Lincecum @ Duffy – Lincecum erratic of late but I’ll stick with him for now.

Martinez @ Keuchel

R. De La Rosa @ Santiago – Taking the safe route here but both are worthy gambles in deeper leagues.

Hughes @ Hammel

Danks @ TBD (SEA)

Hand @ Cueto

Wheeler @ Kendrick – Kendrick pitching decently lately but Mets have roughed him up this year (6.23 ERA).

T. Ross @ Morton

Kershaw @ Nelson – Nelson’s on a roll.

Cobb @ T. Wood

Morales @ Miley – I’m back to not trusting Miley at home. 10 ER outing will do that.

G. Gonzalez @ A. Wood

MONDAY

Capuano @ Norris – Norris an intriguing AL-only option though.

Smyly @ Lewis – Playing it safe with Smyly in tough environment.

Gray @ Ventura

Milone @ Peacock

Hutchison @ King Felix

Niese @ Buchanan

Correia @ Teheran

Verlander @ Locke – Not a believer in Locke.

Miller @ Koehler – Giving Koehler another chance in favorable matchup.

Gallardo @ Arrieta

Lyles @ Hahn – Hahn very impressive this year and Rockies can’t hit on the road.

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, August 8

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates

CORY’S PICKS

Masterson @ Tillman
Bauer @ Rogers
An. Sanchez @ Dickey – Dickey pitches better at home and Tigers are scuffling a little offensively
Bumgarner @ Vargas
Mikolas @ Oberholtzer
Webster @ Weaver
Gibson @ Kazmir
Quintana @ Iwakuma
Archer
@ Wada
Colon @ Burnett
Kennedy @ Worley – might as well ride the Worley train
Eovaldi @ Leake – blue-plate special on both if your categories will allow the risk
Strasburg @ Big Erv
R. Hernandez @ Lohse
Matzek @ C. Anderson

***ZACH SAYS “I’d give Tillman a shot at home (2.78 ERA this year) against a non-elite offense. Agree on rest.”

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