Back in Motown after a 2000 mile trek to 5 ballparks out east, and the living is...hot and humid. Not really all that different from the East Coast. I've never been so hot as sitting in 106°/100% humidity conditions at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Be that as it may, it's time to look at who you can insert before the All-Star Break to help you get a leg up on the competition.
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Ross Detwiler WAS vs SF Matt Cain
Michael Fiers MIL vs. MIA Mark Buehrle
Luke Hochevar KC @ TOR Henderson Alvarez
Rick Porcello DET vs. MIN Scott Diamond
Carlos Quintana CHW vs. TEX Matt Harrison
Garrett Richards LAA vs. BAL Jake Arrieta
Detwiler has not shown the tendency to rack up Ks that he did prior to his bullpen demotion, but with Washington's potent offense backing him up, he has a decent chance to rack up some wins. Fiers has been exceptional since his promotion to the Brewers' rotation, having limited opponents to 1 ER over his last 3 starts (22.2 IP, with a 22:6 K/BB ratio in those appearances). Might I suggest you roster him before your league-mates wake up? Porcello has become the second best starting option on the Tigers' staff, something unexpected with pre-season projections casting him as a SP4/5 at best. Ride the hot hand when he faces the Twins this week, although the Tigers do have issues beating the Twins, last season notwithstanding. Quintana has been a decent option, until he blew up in his last start (6 ER over 6 IP), I expect that was an aberration, and would expect him to return to his prior stingy ways, although facing the Rangers is not the best opportunity to right the ship. Proceed with caution. Richards has also done a fine job filling in the empty slot in the Angels' rotation in June. He's been solid except for the last start against the Blue Jays, and playing at home against Baltimore is a good match-up.
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J.A. Happ HOU vs. MIL Yovanni Gallardo
Aaron Laffey TOR @ CHW Jake Peavy
Kip Wells SD vs. CIN Bronson Arroyo
Travis Wood CHC @ NYM Johan Santana
I've like Happ since he arrived in Houston, and he's been a good option since mid-June. He is streaky, however, and with his last outing not going swimmingly, it might be wise to show caution in adding him to your roster this week. Laffey has been solid, but has nothing to show for his two straight QS offerings, as the Blue Jays have failed to provide him any run support. Still, the peripherals are good with the exception of Ks. Wells has been a fine addition to the Padres rotation, and is worth rostering if he is pitching at Petco, as is the case this week. Wood is another pitcher I urge you to pick up as a back end SP for your fantasy team. His ERA and WHIP continue to drop, and while he's not a K machine, he does show the potential to be a very valuable SP4/5, if he continues to keep the ball in the park and limit base runners. Not a fan of the Cubs offense, but they have to win some games and if Wood keeps his team close, good things can happen.
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Bruce Chen BAL @ DET Doug Fister
Cole DeVries MIN @ TEX Yu Darvish
Richard Clayton SD vs. CIN Homer Bailey
Not much here to cheer about. Chen has been struggling some of late, making his early season success seem kinda fluky. He's given up two 6 ER efforts in his past 5 starts, but on the other hand, only allowed 2 ER in the other three. Streaky and undependable, but then again, so is the Tigers' offense. DeVries put forth a nice effort in his last start against the Royals at home in Target Field, and will get a chance to show off again on Saturday. He does face the Rangers and Darvish, so proceed carefully if you decide you need to start him. Plus, the game is on the road. Clayton is another Padre pitcher that I like to stream when he's pitching at Petco. Nothing spectacular, just a solid SP. In his last 5 starts, he has racked up 4 wins and one loss, and put up a sub 2 ERA (1.70 to be precise). A 23:7 ratio is just icing on the cupcake. I would take a chance on his continued success, especially at home.
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Marco Estrada MIL @ HOU Jordan Lyles
Jeff Francis COL @ WAS Jordan Zimmerman
Joe Kelly StL vs. MIA Anibal Sanchez
Zach McAllister CLE vs. TB James Shields
Estrada is a great source for strikeouts (18:2 ratio over his last 2 starts), and has pitched 6 innings in each of his last two appearances as a SP. Francis is the one Rockies pitcher I feel worthy of a recommendation at this point in the season. There has been talk of relaxing the new 75 pitch limit for Colorado SPs, but wins are certain to be elusive for any starter in Colorado. Kelly has pitched well, but we tend to expect that of Cardinals pitchers, don't we? 3 QS in his last three starts, although he does give up too many walks to be entirely trustworthy. McAllister looks to have won a role in the Cleveland rotation with his last 2 starts, posting a 11:1 K/BB ratio in those games as well.
There will be no 2 Start Pitching post this weekend, with All-Star Break taking away Monday-Wednesday in the schedule, but it will return for week 16. There will, of course, be a Pitch & Ditch article mid week for Week 15, so don't despair.
Good luck and godspeed in your fantasy endeavors. If you want to talk about fantasy issues, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Always willing to chat with our readers and share opinions.
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