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Need pitching help? Scooping up one of the following
starters for this week’s action could leave you pleasantly surprised:
Braden, LHP, A’s
Matchups: June 16 at Dodgers; June 21 at San Diego
Summary: Lost in the emergence of newcomer Vin
Mazzaro has been the success of teammate Braden, who’s emerged as Oakland’s de
facto ace, reeling off five straight quality starts and a 2.91 ERA over that
span, including a 2.25 ERA in his past three starts. The Dodgers rank in the
bottom-half of the Majors in OPS over the past 30 days, and the Padres are
hitting just .218 against left-handers this season.
Blanton, RHP, Phillies
Matchup: June 18 vs. Toronto
Summary: Blanton doesn’t have most favorable
matchup, but there’s no reason he can’t keep his string of quality outings
going Thursday against the Blue Jays. Note that in his past five starts, the
rejuvenated righty has gone 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA and a 32/7 K/BB ratio,
including seven innings of two-run ball against the Red Sox last time out.
Hochevar, RHP, Royals
Matchup: June 18 vs. Arizona
Summary: Hochevar seems to be settling down in the
Royals’ rotation, tossing two impressive quality starts since being recalled
from Triple-A Omaha, including a complete-game shutout against the Reds last
time out. He’ll host another below-average lineup Thursday in the Diamondbacks,
making him a guy to grab despite being opposed by ace Dan Haren.
Outman, LHP, A’s
Matchup: June 19 at San Diego
Summary: See Dallas Braden. Southpaws give the
punchless Padres lineup fits, and Outman is trending in the opposite direction
as Friday’s opposing starter, Chris Young, who owns a ghastly 8.78 ERA in his
last three starts. Quietly emerging as one of the AL’s top surprise arms,
Outman has lasted six-plus innings in each of his past seven starts and boasts
a 4-1 record, 2.80 ERA and .182 average during that span.
Penny, RHP, Red Sox
Matchup: June 17 vs. Florida
Summary: Penny’s pitch command has improved markedly
since putting April in the books (38/9 K/BB ratio), which explains why he
sports a 3.57 ERA in his past three starts, including six scoreless innings vs.
the Yankees last time out. You can’t ask for more momentum than that heading
into Wednesday’s outing at home against the Marlins, who are hitting just .247
on the road this season.
Romero, LHP, Blue Jays
Matchups: June 16 at Philadelphia; June 21 vs.
Summary: Knocked around in his first start back from
the 15-day DL, Romero has rebounded by holding the Royals and Rangers to a
combined four earned runs in two starts and 13 1/3 innings since, good for a
2.70 ERA. Nobody has questioned his stuff, and his command is improving (32/14
K/BB ratio). If you have the choice of starting him once, pick Sunday against
the Nationals. Otherwise, he’s capable of pulling his weight against a Phillies
lineup featuring a number of left-handed hitters.
Wakefield. RHP, Red Sox
Matchups: June 16 vs. Florida; June 21 vs. Atlanta
Summary: Both of Wakefield’s matchups come at Fenway
Park, where the knuckleballer has done his finest work this season with a 5-0
record and a 3.27 ERA. He also faces two of the National League’s least
productive lineups in the Marlins (.725 OPS) and Braves (.716 OPS).
— Alex Cushing, MLB.com