In honor of the Golden State Warriors taking home the NBA Championship this past week, it’s “NBA Championship Style Pitching Planner” for the week of June 22-28.
Let me explain. For my list of 5 pitchers to start, I will look at the Warriors’ starting 5. I will give you an ace that I think outperforms all (Steph Curry), Then there is the sleeper pick (Andre Iguodala), Mr. Finals MVP. The pick that is solid on a weekly basis, regardless of how much hype they receive (Draymond Green). The boring pick, that quite frankly, I hate putting on the list but he will give you solid numbers and probably a “W” (Harrison Barnes). Then there’s the man who only hits the bottom of the net, or in this case, the back of the mitt (Klay Thompson).
That last one, probably a bit of a stretch, but hey, I came up with this on the fly. I would have dedicated something to NHL but quite frankly, I was rooting for the Lightning. And, there are way too many line changes, it just would not have worked out well. Yes, this is the time you call me out and ask yourself, “You consider this working out well?”
Anyhow, I never got to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and that’s my favorite comparison of all.
For the 5 to sit, you get the bold decision, the player you wish you left on the bench to start (Andrew Bogut). The players you better leave on the bench because that’s where they belong (Shawn Marion and Mike Miller). The player that has had a few good starts, but scores (metaphorically) one point this week because he really is not that good (Matthew Dellavedova). And then, alas, the once All-Star that just does not have it this year (David Lee).
So finally, now that you skipped my rock solid, AWESOME comparisons to the NBA Finals, I present, “NBA Championship Style Pitching Planner” for the week of June 22-28. Yikes, I really need to come up with a better name for that.
5 Pitchers to Start:
1. Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Francisco Giants (Steph Curry)
Big fan of Bum this week. It’s a two-start week, both starts coming at home against the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies. The home starts could actually be a curse as San Francisco tends to not score runs at AT&T Park. Then again, Colorado is 27th in the league in runs scored on the road, while the Padres did not score a run until the third inning of the third game at AT&T Park earlier this season, which included 7.1 shutout innings by Bumgarner.
2. Mike Leake, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (Andre Iguodala)
Anyone else watch MLB Tonight on Friday when Harold Reynolds said “He just dominates people.” Well, while I couldn’t DISAGREE with that more, even if he were wearing a party hat while saying it, he does generally dominate the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team he draws on Wednesday. Plus, he starts at PNC Park, where he is 2-3 with a 2.54 ERA throughout his career. For what it is worth, June has also been his best month throughout his career, 14-6 with a 3.07 ERA.
3. Hector Santiago, LHP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – (Draymond Green)
Two things to note about Santiago: He is actually having a great season, and he can rack up the strikeouts. He draws the Houston Astros on Monday, so we know the strikeouts will be there. He starts at home, where he is 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA. He then gets the Seattle Mariners inadequate offense at home over the weekend for a two start week. What’s not to like about Draymond Green, sorry, I mean Hector Santiago.
4. Jordan Zimmerman, RHP, Washington Nationals (Harrison Barnes)
Zimmerman has been a mystery this season but I think a start at home against the Atlanta Braves will get him back on track. First, June has also typically been Zimmerman’s best month, 12-8 with a 2.10 ERA (yes I realize it is a pointless stat but something I found intriguing). Not useless, however, is Zimmerman’s 5-2 career mark against the Braves, 2.83 ERA against Atlanta over the last three seasons entering 2015, and his 24-8 record with a 2.88 ERA at home during that stretch.
5. Mike Fiers, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers (Klay Thompson)
What do we want out of a starter? Strikeouts, a 3.00 ERA or below and when possible, a victory. Fiers always gets the strikeouts (even when he gets rocked), CHECK. He draws the New York Mets and the wonder that is Jonathan Niese on Tuesday at Miller Park. The victory could very well be a check as Milwaukee is actually .500 against lefties at 7-7, and the Mets are 2-8 over Niese’s last 10 starts. The ERA is anyone’s guess, but Fiers has only allowed more than three earned runs once in his last eight starts so he has been pitching better.
5 Pitchers to Sit:
1. Lance McCullers, RHP, Houston Astros (Andrew Bogut)
It may be a bit of a stretch calling McCullers an ace, but I bet plenty of people are happily deploying him as a “must-start” option currently. Anyone else, however, notice that he may have been a bit exposed on Friday night? He managed to escape without a major implosion, probably in large part to Seattle’s inability to score runs. However, it was his second time facing a team twice, previously the Chicago White Sox, and both of those games were his worst starts thus far this season. While he has not faced the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim once yet this season, the scouting report won’t stay hidden for long. His three worst starts this season were all on the road, granted only Friday was truly “bad.” An Angels offense really clicking of late may give McCullers his crash back to reality similar to what Toronto did to Eduardo Rodriguez.
2. Bartolo Colon, RHP, New York Mets (Shawn Marion)
How in the Magic Johnson is Bartolo Colon 9-5? Regardless, he belongs on the bench next to Marion. Colon draws the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, a team that got to him for 5 earned runs through 5 innings at Citi Field earlier this season. He offers no upside, and his team can’t score. I would be very cautious in trying to pick up a cheap start simply because you think Milwaukee is an easy lineup to pick on. And yes, I realize I have been a big promoter of picking on their offense, but with Jonathan Lucroy back hitting, along with Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez “healthy,” this is a totally different lineup than it was for most of the year.
3. Clay Buchholz, RHP, Boston Red Sox (Mike Miller)
Do note get fooled by Buchholz’s one good start, it is what he does. What else does he do? He generally gets lit up at Fenway Park (where he starts on Wednesday), and generally gets beat up by Baltimore, his opponent. The Orioles were quiet in their previous matchup with Buchholz, but Adam Jones is 9-32 with 2 home runs and 11 RBI lifetime, J.J. Hardy is 7-19 with 2 home runs and Chris Davis is 7-22 with 2 home runs. So, I repeat, DO NOT GET FOOLED. Baltimore also leads the league in runs scored over the last seven days,
4. Jesse Chavez, RHP, Oakland Athletics (Matthew Dellavedova)
For a year now, everyone has said it can’t continue with Chavez, and he continues to prove people wrong. I actually think it can continue at spacious O.Co. Coliseum where he has a 1.75 ERA. This start, however, is not coming at home and it is coming against the Texas Rangers, a lineup stacked with lefties. Chaves is 1-4 away from Oakland this season and left-handed hitters are batting .247 against him, compared to right handers’ .217 clip. You are probably looking at a lineup with Martin-Choo-Fielder-Gallo to start the game, and it could be a short game at that for Mr. Dellavedova, sorry, Chavez.
5. Justin Verlander, RHP, Detroit Tigers (David Lee)
Every start, every week it is the same thing with Verlander. He looks fresh, he looks good, the velocity is back, this will be the start it comes back for him. Let’s just ask Tim Lincecum if it ever started “coming back” for him during his stretch of irrelevance? Verlander went 1-2 against Cleveland last season and 0-2 at Progressive Field. Even in a decent start against Cleveland in his first appearance this year, they lost the game and he only recorded two strikeouts. I do not see much upside in rolling him out there for a start at Cleveland on Wednesday. Anyone find it ironic that I end this piece in Cleveland? Sorry Cleveland, it’s not you, it’s Lebron.
- 2016 Fantasy Baseball Position Battles: Starting lineups beginning to take shape - March 28, 2016
- 2016 Fantasy Baseball: Breakout Relief Pitchers - March 8, 2016
- 2016 Fantasy Baseball: Breakout Second Basemen - March 3, 2016