Thursday's Recommended Starter's Stats - Brandon Beachy - 5.1 Innings Pitched - 8 Strikeouts - No Decision - 8.44 ERA - 2.06 WHIP
Cumulative Recommended Starters' Stats - 99.1 IP - 86 Strikeouts - 9 Wins in 16 Starts - 3.35 ERA - 1.18 WHIP - 7.79 K/9
Week Two Starts' Stats - 25 IP - 21 Strikeouts - 2 Wins in 4 Starts - 4.68 ERA - 1.32 WHIP - 7.56 K/9
Cumulative Starter Stats Spreadsheet Online Here
While I felt I had nothing to apologize for Thursday with Zambrano, I do feel bad about what happened with Beachy today. He just got off to a rough start, and even though he picked up in later innings, the three earned runs in the first inning really hurt his day. Somewhat salvaging the start was his eight strikeouts, which you can't really complain about. In todays starter pickups, I offer a good candidate to bring the ERA and WHIP down while still giving you more strikeouts coming up right now....
Chris Narveson - Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals - 7:05 PM EST - 34.4% Owned in ESPN Standard Leagues
Recommending Narveson here is one of the easiest recommendations I've made so far this year. Here is a guy with a career K/9 of nearly 8.00 who has pitched two excellent games already this year against decent lineups. Here he has a nice game up against the Nationals away from Miller Park matched up against Tom Gorzelanny as the opposing starting pitcher. He's got a good chance of keeping his sparkling 0.00 ERA here on his way to at least seven strike outs and a win.
As always, the rest of the pitchers owned in less than fifty percent of leagues are ranked in the order I would play them with ESPN fantasy ownership percentages in parenthesis. Eighteen pitchers fall below the fifty percent line today, so the blurbs on each player might be a little smaller than usual.
Also don't miss my weekly column here
Aaron Harang (19.8%) - San Diego at Houston - I offered up Harang as my spot starter choice on Sunday, and he gave me more or less what I expected. Six innings of one run ball and a win is always a nice spot start even if you just get two strikeouts. I expect more of the same here against Houston. Harang seems to be zone early in the year and while Houston's lineup has been scoring, it's not that great on paper. Harang will only top out at like two or three strikeouts, but if you need the ERA and WHIP and can spare the Ks after playing Beachy Thursday, Harang can help you on Friday.
Justin Masterson (16.2%) - Cleveland vs Baltimore - Masterson has looked good so far this year and might be my number one recommendation Friday if not for the matchup here. Baltimore can trot out six lefties with their switch hitters, and thats where Masterson has trouble. Going up against Zach Britton (who's owned in more than 50% of leagues and would be recommended a notch below Narveson today) is also a worrisome part of this matchup. He can strike some guys out and has potential for the win with that Cleveland offense, but don't bank on too much from Masterson today.
Nick Blackburn (2.2%) - Minnesota at Tampa Bay - Blackburn has been pitching well in his first two matchups, and similar to Harang, you know you aren't going to get the strike outs, but the WHIP and ERA potential is always there. This simple reason to play him though is simple.... You have to play your starting pitchers against Tampa Bay right now(and Wade Davis (50.9%, just over the line) here against Minnesota.
Brandon McCarthy (0.7%) - Oakland vs Detroit - McCarthy has had two innings eatings starts already on the road, and going home to play in Oakland vs a Detroit team that hasn't been hitting for the last few games is a good spot for McCarthy here. He's got a matchup against Porcello as well, who has been shaky so far this year. I like him for good ERA and WHIP with a shot at a win if he gets run support.
This is the 10-team mixed league line. Anyone below this line is only being recommended for deeper or AL/NL-Only leagues.
Kyle Lohse (2.6%) - St Louis at Los Angeles Dodgers - Lohse is going to turn back into Lohse at some point, but the match-up against the Dodgers isn't too offensive, and he's been eating up innings and sprinkling in strikeouts so far this year. The St. Louis offense seems to be back, so he'll have a shot at the win here. Too much risk for me in standard leagues though.
Luke Hochevar (1.2%) - Kansas City vs Seattle - Yeah it got ugly quick today. Hochevar is never the best starter choice, but he hasn't been atrocious so far this year, and he's the only guy left who has a solid match-up, going against Seattle. He'll probably get a win here, and everything else has a shot to be decent because of the match-up.
J.A. Happ (5.7%) - Houston vs San Diego - The match-up against San Diego is good, but Happ is not right now. He had a good outing last time out against Florida, but he walked too many guys for the second straight game. He doesn't have enough strikeout potential to make it worth starting him without the control in place right now.
Phillip Humber (0.0%) - Chicago White Sox vs Los Angeles Angels - Humber isn't owned in any mixed leagues, but might make a sneaky start here in AL-Only leagues. He looked solid against the Rays the last time out and the Angels offense isn't scaring me right now. The only downside here is the opposing match-up against Jered Weaver. On a day where a bunch of other AL starters have bad match-ups, he is worth a look.
Rick Porcello (4.7%) - Detroit at Oakland - Porcello hasn't shown that he can actually get the job done yet, but is still worth a look here. Oakland hasn't been scoring many runs. Porcello has a shot to pull off a pretty decent game here, but it's a risky play.
Tom Gorzelanny (0.0%) - Washington vs Milwaukee - He ended up letting up five earned runs his first time out, but that came on just four hits and two walks from him. He struck out eight guys in the process and has been a solid strikeout pitcher throughout his career. Not saying start him, but the pickings are slim.
Charlie Morton (0.8%) - Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - Morton has been pitching well in terms of ERA and WHIP so far, but that doesn't make him playable here against Cincinnati. The Reds have been too hot and Morton doesn't strike out enough people to make him worth the play here.
Erik Bedard (5.1%) - Seattle at Kansas City - Bedard wasn't good his last two times out, but the strikeout potential is so good here with Bedard over 8.50 K/9 on his career that he is worth a mention at this point. The Kansas City lineup has been hot but should cool off eventually, so Bedard might be a sneaky play here, but I'd try and wait until next time out with Bedard.
Jon Garland (5.4%) - Los Angeles Dodgers vs St. Louis - Garland is not really worth a play here normally against the Cardinals, and when you add in him coming off an injury, he's a stay away here.
D.J. Carrasco (0.0%) - New York Mets at Atlanta - Atlanta hasn't been hitting well so far this year, but I think that Carrasco as the reliever making a spot start is just the remedy they have been looking for. Carrasco is likely to get beat up and likely to not be in line for a win up against the hot Derek Lowe.
Brett Cecil (2.5%) - Toronto at Boston - Cecil has been lit up a few times already this year and now gets a Boston offense looking to turn it around coming off a few days rest. Boston is a scary lineup on paper, and only the fact that they haven't done it yet keeps Cecil from the last group of players, but he's still a huge stay away here.
Javier Vasquez and Ivan Nova - Vasquez is at Philly and Nova is home against the Rangers. That's a pair of bad match-ups in bad ballparks. Add in the fact that neither of these guys have been impressive yet at all, and both fall to the bottom of the rankings here.