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It pays to take chances every once
in a while.
Those of you who seized on last
week’s recommended spot-starters — namely, Ricky Romero and Dallas
Braden — know exactly what I’m talking about.
And to those of you who went with Luke Hochevar instead, I don’t know what you’re
But last week is last week. Let’s
check out this week’s slew of arms facing favorable matchups:
Andrew Miller, LHP, Marlins
Matchup: June 23 vs. Baltimore, at
Summary: Control has always been
Miller’s Achilles’ heel, but he seems to be making some good headway in that
area, illustrated by his 19/5 K/BB ratio in his last three starts and 17 1/3
innings. Look for continued progress when Miller plays host to the Orioles at
home, where he’s gone 2-0 with a 3.52 ERA this season compared to a 6.10 ERA
elsewhere. If your league allows daily roster moves, though, consider benching
him against the Rays later in the week.
Brandon Morrow, RHP, Mariners
Matchup: June 24 vs. San Diego
Summary: Last week, Morrow struck
out six Padres and walked one in four innings of two-run ball, a fine, albeit unspectacular,
return to the Mariners rotation. This week, he again takes on the light-hitting
Padres, only this time at home, where he boasts a career 2.92 ERA against a
5.52 ERA on the road.
Brett Cecil, LHP, Blue Jays
Matchup: June 25 vs. Cincinnati
Summary: Replacing Roy Halladay in
the Blue Jays rotation might intimidate some starters, but Cecil took it in
stride, tossing seven innings of three-run ball against the Nationals over the
weekend. The 22-year-old lefty doesn’t garner the hype of, say, Tommy Hanson,
but make no mistake — he’s one of the top pitching prospects around. Plus,
four of his five starts have been quality starts, and he brings a 22/7 K/BB
ratio back to Toronto to square off against the middling Reds.
Brad Bergesen, RHP, Orioles
Matchup: June 26 vs. Washington
Summary: Without much fanfare,
Bergesen has been surprisingly effective in an otherwise ineffective Orioles
rotation, relying heavily on his sinker and a pitch-to-contact approach that’s
allowed him to last seven-plus innings in four of his last five starts. That
makes him an appealing target Friday, when he goes up against the last place
Nationals in Baltimore, where he’s gone 4-1 with a 3.30 ERA and a 25/7 K/BB
Charlie Morton, RHP, Pirates
Matchup: June 26 vs. Kansas City
Summary: OK, so Morton doesn’t have
a ton of service time, and he’s just getting his feet wet in Pittsburgh after
being included in the Nate McLouth trade earlier this month. Still, if his
Minor League stint offers any clues (7-2, 2.51 ERA, 55/16 K/BB ratio), he’s
more than capable of holding his own against an uninspiring Royals lineup in
Jason Hammel, RHP, Rockies
Matchup: June 26 at Oakland
Summary: Pitchers typically hate
leaving home. Hammel, however, can’t get out of Colorado enough. And who blames him? He’s routinely gotten hammered at Coors Field (7.12 ERA), but continues to
excel everywhere else (2.06 ERA). Banking on more of the same could leave
owners pleasantly surprised Friday, when he visits Oakland to face an erratic
Alex Cushing, MLB.com
big headlines from Wednesday include Justin Verlander‘s seventh straight win,
Gil Meche‘s 11-strikeout gem in Cleveland and Carlos Quentin‘s recovery
timetable being pushed back until after the All-Star break.
is this important?
Morrow no longer lurking in the shadows, Aardsma is the clear-cut closer in
Seattle, not just the guy whose name appears first during roll call.
great news for owners who were lucky enough to scoop him up a few weeks ago.
Saves are saves, and Aardsma deserves the chance. The guy owns a 1.84 ERA,
having converted all but one of his 11 save opportunities this season.
winning a closer job and keeping it are two different things.
Aardsma has both the imposing mound presence and the heavy fastball required of
good firemen, he’s yet to erase the control problems that have hampered him
throughout his five-year career.
you can argue that he strikes guys out (9.85 K/9 rate) and limits hits (.175
AVG against), but the righty’s strikingly high 6.5 BB/9 rate is cause for
legitimate concern. Sooner or later, the ball will start falling in more
frequently, as is made clear by his .247 batting average against on balls in
play. And when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before Aardsma’s back
in middle relief like so many past flavor-of-the-month closers.
you’ve held onto Aardsma for this long, now is the time to cash in your chips.
This is as good as it gets.
ERA fell below 6.00 for the first time in weeks Wednesday, as he struck out
seven Oakland hitters and walked two en route to his second consecutive quality
start. A buy-low opportunity could be
brewing here, as his next start comes against the powerless Pirates.
wait around any longer if Liriano’s rotation counterpart, Scott Baker, is still
available. He’s on a roll, racking up 28 strikeouts against two walks in his
last four starts.
an eye on Jorge De La Rosa, who whiffed eight Brewers batters and allowed two
earned runs Wednesday. Despite pitching for Colorado, he’s better than you
a brutal season debut, Jeremy Bonderman was bumped to the bullpen in favor of
you need a little speed at the hot corner, check out Ryan Roberts, who could deliver lightning in a bottle with Conor Jackson and Chad Tracy on the shelf.
scrappy Diamondback worth targeting is shortstop Stephen Drew, who went deep
Wednesday to extend his hit streak to 14 games.
Tulowitzki joined Drew on the better-late-than-never tour with his second homer
in three days.
Hardy, who’s in another slump (0-for-16) and hitting a paltry .219, could take
a few notes.
all knew Brad Hawpe could rake at Coors Field, but now the 12-game-streak
holder is doing it on the road, too.
bother waiting around for Dioner Navarro, whose .197 average is supported by an
equally frightening 3/26 BB/K ratio. He’s just not seeing the ball.