Saturday is two-start pitcher day. Let’s look at who gets the ball twice in week five, who you should take a chance on and who you should avoid.
CC Sabathia (BAL, @BOS)
Adam Wainwright (@PHI, @PIT)
Ubaldo Jimenez (@SD, @LAD)
Ryan Dempster (@PIT, @CIN)
Roy Oswalt (ARI, @SD)
James Shields (@SEA, @OAK)
Jon Lester (LAA, NYY)
Ricky Romero (@CLE, @CWS)
Cole Hamels (STL, ATL) – Hamels has been hit hard by the home run ball, but his peripherals look awesome. 10.57 K/9, 2.93 BB/9 and a 24.4 percent whiff rate. He’s doing his best Ricky Nolasco impression right now, which is both good and bad. As long as Hamels continues to have issues with the home run ball, he’s a bit risky. Still, the upside is tremendous.
Clay Buchholz (LAA, NYY) – Everything about Buchholz’s peripherals is rock solid right now. Going up against the Yankees is no easy task, but you have to roll with Buchholz against anyone the way he’s throwing.
Carl Pavano (DET, BAL) – Pavano is not a big strikeout guy, but his command is impeccable. There is risk involved (see the seven earned runs on 4/18), but the risk is worth taking against two good matchups in week five.
Jamie Garcia (@PHI, @PIT) – Garcia is not going to be a big strikeout guy, but he features good command and sinking action on all offerings. That has resulted in a ground ball rate just under 70 percent this season, which is probably unsustainable, but not out of line with his minor league track record. Hopefully he can neutralize the left-handed power of the Phillies befroe he heads to a good matchup in Pittsburgh.
Max Scherzer (@MIN, @CLE) – Scherzer is having a little struggle adjusting to the American League. His strikeout rate is down as well as his velocity, which has dipped in almost each outing. I’d roll him out there against the Indians, but going to Minnesota is a far less attractive matchup.
Scott Baker (DET, BAL) – There is nothing tricky about Baker’s early season struggles; he just hasn’t pitched that well. His strikeouts are down a bit and his walks up a hair, but it’s early. There is still time for Baker to find his groove, but that makes him a risky pitcher for this week. At least the matchups are OK if you feel like gambling.
Jake Peavy (KC, TOR) – It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what is wrong with Peavy, other than pitching in the American League and in a hitter’s park. It’s tough to bench him given his preseason expectations, but this might be a case where we really have no other option until he can start missing more bats and getting some of his old strikeout numbers back.
Rich Harden (@OAK, KC) – 23 walks to 22 strikeouts in 23.2 IP. Decent matchups, but hard to trust Harden right now.
Ervin Santana (@BOS, @SEA) - Good K/BB rate, but still hasn’t been the same since early elbow problems last season. Worth a gamble if you need it.
Gavin Floyd (KC, TOR) – I’m going with Floyd this week. My reasoning here.
Brian Matusz (@NYY, @MIN) – Two brutal matchups, but excellent K/BB numbers from this rookie early on. I would tend not to pitch him this week, but I wouldn’t fault anyone for going for it.
Kevin Correia (COL, @HOU) – Colorado is a tough matchup, but at least it’s in San Diego (Petco). Love just about anyone against Houston right now.
Mike Leake (NYM, CHC) – Good ERA masked by a low BABIP and a huge ground ball rate. Leake pitches to contact, so there is a lot of risk. I’d sell high if you’ve got him.
Joe Blanton (STL, ATL) – Two starts in Blanton’s first action since coming off the disabled. It’s hard to jump right into a pitcher coming off of an injury. I’d like to wait and see if Blanton is a bit rusty or not. Remember, he wasn’t exactly a dominant pitcher to begin with.
Brett Cecil (@CLE, @CWS) – Cecil’s command has been great so far this season to go along with an improved strikeout rate. He’ll get two decent matchups in week four.
Ian Kennedy (@HOU, MIL) – Take away the seven home runs allowed and Kennedy has actually been a fairly impressive pitcher. He has struck out 27 in 30.1 innings with only seven walks. He may be worth a flier in deeper leagues against Houston. Just keep your fingers crossed when he faces the Brewers in start number two.
Anibal Sanchez (SF, @WAS) – Sanchez has some peripheral numbers quite similar to Mike Leake at this point, but Leake has the sparkling ERA. Sanchez is sporting good command and getting ground balls. He has been hurt by a high .347 BABIP against so far, which makes him a sleeper in week five. His lack of strikeouts makes him risky, but he has two good matchups to roll the dice against.
Oliver Perez (@CIN, SF) – Just can’t trust Perez, who has never been able to harness his stuff.
Dallas Braden (TEX, TB) – Braden is pretty much the exact same pitcher he was last season: Good command, but not a lot of strikeouts or ground balls. That keeps his risk fairly high especially going up against the Rangers and Rays in week five.
Luke Hochevar (@CWS, @TEX)
Jason Vargas (TB, LAA)
Jeremy Guthrie (@NYY, @MIN)
The Stay Aways
Gil Meche (@CWS, @TEX)
Todd Wellemeyer (@FLA, @NYM)
Scott Feldman (@OAK, KC)
Livan Hernandez (ATL, FLA) – Only ten strikeouts in 31 innings with eight walks. How has Livan done so well with these numbers? How about an amazing 99.2 percent strand rate and an insanely low .180 BABIP against? Huge red flags.
Mitch Talbot (TOR, DET)
Kenshin Kawakami (@WAS, @PHI)
Chris Narveson (@LAD, @ARI)
Felipe Paulino (ARI, SD
Kevin Mulvey (@HOU, MIL)