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What a week to be a Nationals pitcher, you’re six games up in the division and you have the D-backs and the Giants rolling into town. So much of my focus this year has been on Daily Fantasy that I tend to see things through DraftKings colored glasses. If you’re unfamiliar with the format and scoring, pitchers have much higher floors than hitters and the scoring is laser focused on K’s and innings. Low strikeout/ good ratio guys need not apply. Both Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg have been good but I always seem to be a little underwhelmed by what I get from them. I’m hoping for a big week from both of them. The Diamondbacks and Giants are both in the bottom 1/3 of the league in wOBA over the past fortnight and both have a k% over 20%. Don’t be surprised if owners of the Nats frontline starters run the table in ratios this week.

Other than the aforementioned Nationals aces, Max Scherzer‘s week sets up to potentially be a monster one. The Tigers and the Scherz-nit travel to both Tampa and Minnesota, as he faces crappy offenses in pitchers parks. Reverse HodgePadre Ian Kennedy gets two road starts this week. I wonder if he’s the first Friars pitcher to be better away from Petco? It’s so confusing I devoted a chapter to it in my forthcoming book “Things That Don’t Make Sense”. Should be a best seller, Gary Busey did the foreword. Most of the content covers the last 5 years and a two week period in 1639. Diamondbacks Ace(?) Chase Anderson looks to continue his hot streak against Washington and San Diego. I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t come away with another two quality starts. Overall this week’s two start pitchers remind me of the stock at a Marshall’s, a couple of finds, a whole bunch of mediocre crap, and a few things so ugly they can’t be unseen.

Must Start:

Max Scherzer (@TB, @MIN), Chris Sale (vs. BAL, @ NYY)

Scherzer has been on fire of late. Look no further than his 14 K masterpiece against the Pirates on Thursday. This man can do no wrong. As for Sale the matchups aren’t nearly as cushy. Who cares, he’s Chris Sale God Damn it!

First Tier:

Stephen Strasburg (ARI, SF), Jordan Zimmermann (ARI, SF), Chase Anderson (@WAS, SD), Ian Kennedy (@LAD, @SD)

Pretty handsome group if I do say so myself. I considered Strasburg for the must start tier but he’s just not on Sale and Scherzer’s level. So I kept him here. All of these guys should be started in all formats.

Second Tier:

Ervin Santana (@PIT, @CIN), Bartolo Colon (CHC, @LAD), Tsuyoshi Wada (SF, BAL), Trevor Bauer (@MIN, HOU), Chris Archer (DET, @TOR), Ryan Vogelsong (@CHC, @WAS), Alfredo Simon (@STL, ATL), Jason Vargas (@MIN, @TEX)

I’m not sure why Santana is first he just is. I got a feeling deep down in my plums. I really like Trevor Bauer‘s matchups but never know what to expect from him, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wada has the best week of the group. He’s been pretty solid thus far posting a 3.15 ERA, 7.86 K/9 and 2.62 BB/9. I really like his matchup against the Giants a lot, but his second start against Baltimore at Wrigley scares me.

Third Tier: 

Jered Weaver (@BOS, @OAK), Vance Worley (ATL, @MIL), C.J Wilson (@BOS, @OAK), Kyle Hendricks (@NYM, BAL),Roenis Elias (@PHI, @BOS), Bud Norris (@CHW, @CHC)

Going back to my Marshall’s analogy this is a pile of nice clothes that are damaged or irregular. I mean you like the shirt, it just has one sleeve much longer than the other one. Or maybe it just gives up too many homers or walks too many batters. I don’t know it’s just not right. A couple of decent matchups in this group but no one you have to start each turn.

Fourth Tier: 

Aaron Harang (@PIT, @OAK), Kyle Gibson (CLE, DET), Mike Leake (@STL, ATL)

I could see starting these guys if you were looking for counting stats in a head to head league. Especially now that playoff time in many of those leagues is drawing near. I like Leake’s start against Atl the best of the six games in the tier. The Braves strikeout a ton and Leake has been pretty damn good this year(7.01 K/9, 2.06 BB/9, 3.59 ERA, 3.43 xFIP). I could see his Atlanta start being a big difference maker for some of the streamers out there.

Fifth Tier:

Justin Masterson (CIN, @PHI), Michael Pineda (HOU,CHW), Trevor May (KC, DET), Brett Oberholtzer (@NYY, @CLE)

This is just ugly stuff, if you need to start any of these guys do it at your own peril. Masterson faces two bad offenses but he is Justin King Of Suckitude. He’ll find some way to screw the whole thing up, then pitch a gem when you’ve lost all faith, and gotten to the point of avoiding him as a stream. I wouldn’t start any of them in Roto or H2H leagues. Maybe as a long shot in a daily league.

Don’t Start:

Vidal Nuno (@WAS, SD), Allen Webster (LAA, SEA), Brandon Workman (LAA, SEA), Jerome Williams (SEA, STL)

I’m putting Jerome Williams last because he’s played for three teams this year (Astros, Rangers, Phillies). Though it was tough picking the ugliest girl, in this list of beauties. I think he might be it. Allen Webster can compete for the title considering he finds ways to throw 100 pittches in 2 2/3 innings. Bottom line all of these guys are like a pair of hershey stripped draws. Throw them things out man. It’s poop, but old poop that’s no dried. Ewwwww….

From Around The Web

  1. Steve Stevenson says:
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    Obie’s a sneaky value play for me. Something like 6 straight QS, plus being a lefty neutralizes the effects of Yankee Stadium and Cleveland’s lineup. I like him in the Elias range.

    6×6 (QS) H2H, my opponent loaded up on SP and has 9 starts this weekend. I have 2 starts (Miley and Gray today) now that Hendricks got moved, plus 1 roster move. We’re tied in W and QS, I’m up 5K, and also have SV locked up and am ahead in ratios, big in ERA, little in WHIP. Should I use my move on a meh streamer or concede counting stats on the pitching end and go for SV, ratios and 3+ hitting cats, maybe using my move on a batty call, MR or a 2-starter for next week? Would you even start Miley and/or Gray today?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Steve Stevenson: I’d start Gray for sure, probably stay away from Miley’s start.

      As for Obie I’m not a big fan. I think he’s been sort of lucky. Low K/9 of 5.68, xFIP of 4.39, and a 37% gb%. I could see him getting creamed at Cleveland.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Oh and use your move for a batty call. If you’re up in ratios I wouldn’t play with it too much.

  2. ty says:
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    Thanks for the write-up..I’m lucky enough to have Sale, Zim and Stras going. I also have archer and although he goes against 2 good O’s he plays those teams fairly well. I’m in dire need for wins to maintain my lead on 1st place and my question is would you start Archer over a 1 start Grey who plays the Angeles at home?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @ty: I’d go Archer, especially if you need counting stats. I am a little nervous about those two Archer starts though. He faces the two best offenses in baseball (2 and 3 in wOBA).

  3. Mike

    Mike says:
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    The new avatar is killer and nice job with the post Ralph!

    Looks like I’m gonna have to replace my boy Ryu with Wada this week. Fingers crossed.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mike: Thanks Mike! I really like Wada, I own him on all my RCL teams. He’s definitely someone I’m targeting next year as well.

  4. malamoney

    malamoney says:
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    Would you take a two-start Wada over a one start Greinke or Teheran in a H2H points league?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @malamoney: Tough call on the Grienke one, mostly because I really don’t love Wada against the O’s. If you need counting stats go Wada. The San Fran start sets up so well, it makes the chances you take with Baltimore worth it. As for Teheran, he is losing my faith with each passing start.

      • malamoney

        malamoney says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Do you drop Anibal Sanchez to pickup Wada?

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @malamoney: Yuppers

          • malamoney

            malamoney says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: I’m afraid Sanchez comes back in 3 weeks and helps someone else in the playoffs. I wish there was a definitive time table for his return.

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @malamoney: at worst you miss 3 starts, maybe? Wada could be better than him regardless.

  5. OT says:
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    thoughts on these guys 3 starts over the next two? pretty good options?

    James Paxton @PHI v TEX v WAS
    Chris Tillman @CWS v TB v MIN

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @OT: I don’t trust Tillman still, he burned me bad. I like Paxton’s first two starts against Philly and Texas, but don’t like lefties against Washington.

  6. Brown L says:
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    With Henderson Alvarez coming off the DL, would you drop any one of Hughes, Keuchel, and Peavy? Could also just drop Alvarez, I suppose.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Brown L: I could see dropping Peavy it Keuchel. I’m sort of iffy on Dallas ROS.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: *or Keuchel. Upon further review I’m going Peavy. Alvarez has the best ratios of the bunch and Peavy isn’t striking out enough batters.

  7. really tight race says:
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    need the counting stats next week in a 5×5 WITHOUT a blow out…..
    must start 3 relievers cause saves are close too….
    so that leaves me with 3 spots left as i should start bumbgrdnr-zimmerman-lester

    so what is your top 4 order between
    hudson
    nelson
    duffy
    pineda(y don’t u like him w/2 start and pitching so great?
    vogelsong
    wada
    C Anderson

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @really tight race: Anderson, Wada, Hudson, Nelson.

      As for Pineda, he pitched 5 innings. Unless I know a guy is going 7 I’m fading him.

  8. Sharlie Cheen says:
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    What’s up with your man crush on Chase Anderson? His SD start looks juicy! His Washington Nationals start on the other hand looks dry

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Sharlie Cheen: I think he’s right where he should be. I like him more than Kennedy and he’s been too hot for the last two months for me to drop him down a tier for the Washington start. He’s had 6 straight Quality Starts and the Nationals are a good offense but don’t scare me that much. He’s had good starts against Detroit and Pitt during his streak. I think he continues his run this week.

  9. Redlegs says:
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    Just put Ryu and Yu on the DL and now I need a couple starters. Wada makes the most sense, I suppose. But seriously, who would you (any you) add?

    Anderson, Bauer, Fiers, Kennedy, Leake, Paxton, Quintana, Vargas, or Wada?

    I was leaning Wada and Fiers, but what do I know?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Redlegs: I would say Anderson and Kennedy. Wada is third and Paxton is only fourth due to only have a single start. I’m hot on Anderson.

  10. Steve Stevenson says:
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    I know you love Anderson, but in H2H where W, L and QS are cats, would Wada push above him based on mound opponents? Anderson gets Strasburg and Kennedy, Wada gets Vogelsong and Norris.

    • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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      @Steve Stevenson: agree i’d rather have wada, doesn’t he have better K rate too? i know i’d rather have CUBS offense right now than ARI.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Montezuma’s Revenge… right now: Fair enough I’d rather face Washington’s O than Baltimore’s and San Diego’s than San Francisco’s.

        Wanda’s K rate was 7.31 in July and is 8.35 in August. Anderson’s was 10.32 in July and is 7 in August. I think it’s close I just like Anderson more. Especially when taking into account QS. 3 of Wada’s 6 starts have been shorter than 6 innings.

  11. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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    why is pineda in that group? what has he done except be great in small sample sizes? and oberholtzer has been solid for his last 6 starts, just low K’s. i’d certainly rather have him than gibson or norris (who is somehow 2 levels up with 2 bad matchups)

    • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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      @Montezuma’s Revenge… right now: i see above you would stay away from pineda (but you probably should’ve said why in post). dude could seriously (at least based on rates so far this year) have like top 5 ratios of any pitcher listed above. he’s less likely to get wins due to shortened outings. i get that. either way i love you doing this column.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Montezuma’s Revenge… right now: I’m not high in Pineda. He’s had 5 starts so far and 4 of them were in April. Those April starts were….aided? He went 5 innings last start. If he puts up two quality starts this week and looks like the guy he was in April. He’ll get a bump to the 2nd tier. I just need to see it.

      As for Norris he’s been sort of unlucky the last couple if months. His second half FIP is 2.72 in the second half, his K/9 is 9 and his BB/9 is 2.79. I also think with an O’s team chasing the playoffs down the stretch gives him a bump. I always like having pitchers who have something to play for.

      As for his matchups over he past two weeks the White Sox are 21st in wOBA and the Cubs are 26th. The Cubs k% is 27% which is outrageous. I’m a K whore so I have all starters a bump going against K heavy offenses like the Cubs or Braves.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Sorry for the typos, sausage fingers on my celly

        • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: no problems here,entirely understandable.

  12. malamoney

    malamoney says:
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    I am hearing some reports of Mike Fiers being a two-start pitcher this week. Is this possibly true?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @malamoney: Fiers starts Tuesday, the Brewers are off on Monday and Thursday so he’s only going once.

      • malamoney

        malamoney says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: CBS should stand for Complete Bull Shit. They have him going Tuesday and Sunday.

      • malamoney

        malamoney says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Who will pitch next Sunday for the Brew Crew?

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @malamoney: Wily Peralta

          • malamoney

            malamoney says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: ESPN has Wily on Saturday.

            • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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              @malamoney: guy, stop trusting anything other then MLB or maybe here. Wily P had been scheduled for today for many days, even yahoo knew it a week ago.

                • Ralph Lifshitz

                  Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                  @malamoney: You know I looked MLB and Baseball Lineups and assumed Peralta but they could skip someone and move the two of them up with a two rest day week. So there could be a chance for a Fiers double.

                  With that said he would face the Blue Jays and the Pirates. Two top ten offenses. I also think his great performance against the Cubs had a lot to do with the Cubs strikeout issues. Adding Baez made their offense more exciting but made them even more likely to strikeout.

                  • malamoney

                    malamoney says:
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                    @Ralph Lifshitz: Ok, so at least I am not crazy. I hear you on the matchups, but I think using him in the RP spot over a reliever with only 5 games, might make sense…

                    • Ralph Lifshitz

                      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                      @malamoney: it could but I’d be worried about a 5 spot

  13. Paul says:
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    Looks like it’s now Hendricks Monday v the Mets instead of Wada – is he a strong stream? Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Paul: You know I think he is, but he’s always been scheduled for Monday. At least when I did this on Friday he was.

  14. thatguy says:
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    H2H points league…facing the top team next week, need a win to make the playoffs, need some advice.

    I lost Tanaka and JoFer already this year, but I have Strasburg, Cobb, and Santana lined up for next week. Starting Alex Wood and Kenley at RP, have to pick 2 more SP out of:
    Stroman, Ventura, Verlander, Peavy, and i just picked up Elias. Or i could pick up another closer (Janssen, Romo, Mejia?) and start Wood at SP…but i need to max points.

    He has Sale and Simon with 2 starts, as well as Price, Lester, Kluber, & Shields.

    Thanks for the article, you guys are the best.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @thatguy: Elias has had 4 straight solid starts and he faces two bad offenses. I still don’t trust him but if he can out of the 6th in both starts I could see him helping you out in the counting stats department. With that said my guy tells me Stroman rights the ship against the Rays and Ventura puts up a good one Friday against the Rangers. Peavy gets the Cubs so he could get some K’s but he’s so consistently inconsistent and he’s been striking out no one. So I’d stay away.

      I say go Stroman and Elias. You probably get more toward your points goal with two starts from Elias over one from Ventura.

      I wouldn’t suggest Verlander to any body ever.

      • thatguy says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: thanks for the advice, i’ll hope for the best!

  15. Hugman says:
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    Am I high on crack cocaine or has two-startapalooza gotten ahead of itself in the week #? Aren’t we starting week 20?

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