Thursday's Recommended Starter's Stats - John Lackey - 4.0 Innings Pitched - 1 Strikeout - Loss - 1.50 ERA - 0.67 WHIP
Week Five Starters' Stats - 23 Innings Pitched - 16 Strikeouts - 6.26 K/9 - 1 Win in 4 Starts - 7.04 ERA - 1.39 WHIP
Cumulative Starters' Stats - 256 Innings Pitched - 204 Strikeouts - 7.17 K/9 - 16 Wins in 42 Starts - 3.87 ERA - 1.18 WHIP
Starter Spreadsheet Viewable Online Here
Just takes one awful start to ruin all your stats, and that's what Lackey gave us right here. I could mention that four of the runs came with two outs in the third inning, but that would excuse the prior four runs. All I can do here is promise to go with my gut and not my brain and to never ever start John Lackey again. Hopefully can make up for it here on Friday. I'm going to offer up two starter recommendations today for those of you chasing after Lackey yesterday. Normally only offer two on Fridays and Saturdays, but playing catchup early here...
Friday's Starter Recommendation One - Philip Humber - Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners - 10:10 PM ET- 4.0% Owned in ESPN Leagues
Humber has now had four good starts in five outings including a seven inning gem against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. He's been striking out a solid six batters per inning, in line with his career rate, while cutting down on his walks. Humber is going to be on his way out of the rotation when Jake Peavy returns, but has been pitching so well the Sox are reportedly contemplating a six player rotation. On Friday night, he gets the Mariners in Safeco field, which is a blessing for any pitcher. His offense has been cold and they are facing Felix Hernandez so he might not catch a win, but he should pick up around five strikeouts over seven and give you solid ERA and WHIP.
Friday's Starter Recommendation Two - Tim Stauffer - San Diego Padres vs Arizona Diamondbacks - 10:05 PM ET - 4.9% Owned in ESPN Leagues
Stauffer found his fastball command three starts ago against the Cubs...Holding them scoreless over seven innings. He then had a pair of starts where he struck out seven and let up just two runs in each. He's going to be able to keep it up here against the Diamondbacks, who are seventh in the league in runs scored, but that number is propped up by them being fifth in slugging percentage. Petco is going to sap that slugging away, and let Stauffer continue to do work. As always with San Diego pitchers his win potential is limited because of his offense, but he's going to get you good ERA and WHIP and add in some strikeouts.
The rest of the players are listed in the order I would play them. Really shallow here on Friday. Ten pitchers going that are owned in every ESPN league. Percentage owned is listed in parenthesis.
Scott Baker (17.0%) - Minnesota at Boston - Baker has been striking guys out at a good rate again so far this year and is getting lucky with his ERA compared to his FIP this year, instead of the unluckiness he's experienced in the last few years. He should keep up the strikeouts here, and with Tim Wakefield starting for Boston, he has a decent shot at a win in spite of the Twins' offensive woes.
Armando Galarraga (1.4%) - Arizona at San Diego - Galarraga doesn't have the same strikeout potential as Stauffer and gives up too many home runs, but he benefits from the same Petco Park bonus that Stauffer will, plus he gets to play against the Padres. Not normally recommended, Galarraga is a decent play here.
Jonathon Niese (0.7%) - NY Mets vs LA Dodgers - Niese has pitched six innings and allowed just two earned runs with three strikeouts in each of his last three starts. He should be striking out more players than he has over the last three starts, so you can look at that to pick up while the other numbers should stay low. The Dodgers offense has been struggling recently, so Niese makes the mixed league cut on such a slow day.
This is the ten team mixed league line. Anyone below here is only recommended for players in deeper or AL/NL-Only leagues.
Sean O'Sullivan (0.1%) - Kansas City vs Oakland - O'Sullivan isn't very good, but he has been successful over all three of his spot starts. Oakland doesn't have a great offense, and the Royals offenses should have O'Sullivan in line for a win. He's too much of a risk for mixed leagues, but I like him in AL-Only leagues.
Ivan Nova (2.9%) - NY Yankees at Texas - Nova was rocky to start off the year, but has strung together a pair of solid starts in his last two games out. Playing against the Rangers is a worry of course, but everyone at this point has a bad match-up going on. The opposing pitcher is Matt Harrison, who has been just awful in his last three starts, so even if Nova is ugly he should have a shot at a win.
Pick A Winner
Phil Coke (0.8%) - Detroit at
Jesse Litsch (0.5%) - Toronto
Detroit has been hotter than Toronto lately, but these guys both aren't very good. Coke has been up and down since turning into a starter, with a pair of awful starts against Seattle before holding the Indians to two runs the last time out. Litsch hasn't had a very good game yet, just passable even when he held Seattle scoreless. Figure out which team you think will win, and play that starter hoping to catch the win, because that's the only thing you are going to get out of either of these guys.
Tim Wakefield (0.3%) - Boston vs Minnesota - I don't trust Wakefield for a second, but he does have a good match-up against Minnesota here. If you are in an AL-Only league, you can play him here and hope the knuckler has bite on Friday, but it is a big risk.
Bad Pitchers...Bad Match-ups
Paul Maholm (0.2%) - Pittsburgh vs Houston
Tyler Chatwood (0.1%) - LA Angels vs Cleveland
Matt Harrison (28.5%) - Texas vs NY Yankees
These guys are all facing top ten offenses on Friday, and not one of them has the stuff to make him worth starting against the offenses they have drawn. Harrison actually does have the stuff at times...But with an 11.18 ERA over his last three starts, you can't be starting him in any leagues right now.