I’m not sure what it is with pitching this year, but everything seems topsy-turvy.
There’s the bona fide aces and then there’s this smorgasbord of extremely underwhelming pitchers.
This observation has made things very difficult for me when it comes to the Pitching Planner each week. It’s been very hard to determine those matchups that seem like easy wins against weaker opponents, and then miraculously these easy matchups aren’t easy at all.
Week 11’s Pitching Planner was a little on the weaker side, whereas Week 12 is quite plentiful in the hurler department.
Let’s take our best shot at this week’s two-start pitchers and hope for the best!
Week 12 Pitching Planner
Five to start
John Lackey, Chicago Cubs (vs. STL/@MIA)
The Cubs’ offense is amazing.
With that being said, that is instantly a huge plus for any pitcher that pitchers for Chicago.
The fountain of youth has found it’s way into John Lackey’s veins as he continues his resurgent career. He squares off against a Cards’ offense that he dominated on May 23rd with nine strikeouts in seven innings. A visit to Miami and their 20th scoring offense shouldn’t be much of a challenge to Lackey.
Jason Hammel, Chicago Cubs (vs. STL/@MIA)
See John Lackey.
Jason Hammel continues his career year and has been a pleasant surprise for the Cubbies and their pitching staff. Again, with Chicago’s offense being as good as it is, it makes things a lot easier for their pitching staff and it allows them more room for error and gives them a better opportunity for pitcher to pitch deep into games, which then leads to less wear and tear on their pitching staff.
In a nutshell, if you have a Cubs pitcher and they have two starts, pitch them no matter who their pitching against.
Steven Wright, Boston Red Sox (vs. CHW/@TEX)
Steven Wright has been flat out amazing in 2016.
Equipped with his deadly knuckleball, Boston has struck gold with Wright as they had with Tim Wakefield way back when.
Wright has a very tasty matchup at home with the swing-friendly White Sox who just can’t seem to get things going offensively in 2016. An away visit to Texas could be a tad troubling as the Rangers are prone to hitting the longball, but that knuckleball, when it’s on, can be unhittable.
Sonny Gray, Oakland A’s (vs. MIL/@LAA)
Sonny Gray has been abysmal in 2016 — I get it.
BUT, sometimes a week like Week 12 can change the fate of a pitcher.
A home match against the lowly Milwaukee O should give plenty of strikeout opportunities for Gray to boost his confidence. An away game against the so-so Angels offense (aka Mike Trout) will prove to be a bit stiffer, but isn’t insurmountable for Gray’s pitching arsenal if he can get things going.
James Paxton, Seattle Mariners (@ DET/vs. STL)
We may be looking at the James Paxton breakout.
Sporting a 2.86 ERA and 29 Ks in 22 IP, Paxton is slowly but surely starting to make a name for himself and Week 12 looks to be the telling story for him.
An away game to a hot-or-not Tigers team and a home game against the Cards gives Paxton a bit of an uphill climb. If he’s able to come out of these two matchups unscathed, make sure you get your invitation to Paxton’s breakout before someone else does.
Five to sit
Drew Smyly, Tampa Bay Rays (@ CLE/@ BAL)
The Wheels seem to be falling off for Drew Smyly.
After pitching 77.2 innings, with a 2-7 record and a bloated 4.75 ERA, Smyly needs to get on track now.
Unfortunately for him Week 12 isn’t going to do him any favors. He and the lowly-hitting Rays go to Cleveland and face against a formidable Tribe offense. Another road visit lays ahead against the hard-hitting O’s and their hitter-friendly Camden Yards Ballpark.
Jeremy Hellickson, Philadelphia Phillies (vs. ARI/@SF)
Jeremy Hellickson is trending in the wrong direction.
Similar to Smyly, Hellickson pitches on a horrific offense which makes little room for error on Helli’s end.
Arizona and their homer prone lineup comes into town and the last time that happened the Snakes O had a mockery of the Phils pitching. Hellickson then goes to San Fran to pitch against the most patient lineup in the majors. Just ignore Hellickson from here on out at all costs.
Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals (@ CHC/@ SEA)
To Jaime, or not to Jaime — that is the question.
Jaime Garcia has always been a fringe pitcher and 2016 hasn’t been any exception to that rule.
With a so-so 3.93 ERA and a bloated 1.33 WHIP, Garcia has amassed a dissapointing 4-6 record for a winning Cardinals team. He’ll face the Cubs in Chicago where their high-powered offense will capitalize on his walk/too many hits he gives up. A trip to Seattle and their big bats will be another tough outing for Garcia again due to his lack of control.
Tyler Duffey, Minnesota Twins (vs. PHI/@NYY)
At one point this year it looked as if Tyler Duffey was going to be a bright spot in the Minnesota Twins’ horrific lineup.
Long story short, he hasn’t.
Duffey sits on a bloated 5.56 ERA and 1.54 WHIP and it surely doesn’t help that he pitches for the Twins and their nearly non existent offense. He does get a solid matchup at home against an equally bad offense in the Phillies, but a visit to Yankee stadium erases anything positive that may come from the Phils matchup.
Shelby Miller, Arizona Diamondbacks (@PHI/@ COL)
The Arizona Diamondbacks are looking like complete fools after the haul they gave the Braves for Shelby Miller and his 7.09 ERA and 1.86 WHIP.
He’s been so bad this year that a typical visit to Citizens Bank Park, isn’t so typical, and then a trip to Colorado … well, I shouldn’t have to explain what Coors Field does to pitchers. Miller was an OK team that played great for half of a season last year — drop him if you got him.
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