Ride the Pine for Week 7
Even if the pitchers below have pitched well recently, I’d bench each of them based on their matchups, even in deeper formats.
Patrick Corbin got absolutely shelled in his last start against the Rockies in Colorado but in each of his three starts before that, he allowed three runs or less. I am a fan of Corbin overall this season because of his 48 percent groundball rate and his improved command. His 11.5 percent swinging strike rate is also a career-high and suggests more strikeouts in the future. Unfortunately, he should be on the bench for Week 7. Corbin is slated to face the Mets, who have a collective .320 wOBA against left-handed pitching this season. You wouldn’t expect a team of Wilmer Flores, T.J. Rivera and Rene Rivera to be worrisome but each of those players mashes against lefties. Because of their success, Corbin should be benched next week.
Matt Andriese was likely added as a two-start pitcher for Week 6, but in Week 7, he will face the red-hot New York Yankees. So far, the Yankees have the BEST wOBA against right-handed pitching in all of baseball. Their 10.4 percent walk rate against righties is also third-best. While Andriese has pitched well this season, the one knock on him has been his command. He’s currently posting a career-worst 3.35 BB/9. That’s not a good combination with the patient Yankees hitters who can also swing for power.
Like Andriese, A.J. Griffin has also pitched well and was added for his Week 6 double start. I’ll admit it’s a little harder to bench Griffin considering he’s coming off a four-hit complete game shutout against the Padres. However, the Padres are terrible and instead, Griffin will face the Tigers in Detroit in Week 7. The Tigers have a collective .332 wOBA against right-handed pitching plus Griffin has struggled against them in the past. He is 1-2 with an 8.53 ERA in his career against the Tigers. I’d pass on Griffin in Week 7.
Now come the good ol’ Oakland A’s. Many a Fantasy owner has waited for the return of Sonny Gray but just because you waited doesn’t mean you have to start him, especially against the Red Sox. The Sox aren’t the team they were last year but they still have the eighth-highest wOBA against right-handed pitching this season, plus they’ve been better recently. While we’re on the A’s, even though Jharel Cotton has a double start, keep him out of your lineups. Michael Florio and I are still trying to figure out why Cotton is so hyped up considering his mediocre minor league numbers and his rough start this season. While his strikeouts have been encouraging, his command, ERA and any other ERA indicators all say he stinks. With Cotton facing the Mariners and the Red Sox in Week 7, don’t take that chance of getting blown up twice in one week.
From now on, when I suggest two-start pitchers, I want you to imagine me selling them to you like that Cracker Jack vendor in Yankee Stadium. He’s a legend. Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of great names available for Week 7 but a few of these pitchers could be used in deeper formats.
Health will always be an issue for Hyun-Jin Ryu but that’s why you need to get him in your lineup while he is healthy. He’s returning Thursday, which puts him in line for a double start in Week 7 against the Giants and the Marlins. The Giants lineup has been anemic lately and Ryu even has a quality start against them already this season. As for his pitching profile, he’s racking up more strikeouts than ever before while limiting hard contact, two major positives for any starting pitcher.
Warning: These next two should only be added in deeper leagues.
I am nowhere near a fan of Yovani Gallardo but you have to at least consider him next week in deeper leagues because of his matchups. Gallardo faces the A’s and the White Sox at home, two teams that have struggled all season against right-handed pitching. Both teams are in the bottom-third of the league in wOBA against righties and both teams strike out more than 24 percent of the time. Gallardo is in a position to succeed in Week 7.
This is a shout out to Nando Di Fino who is a huge Zack Godley fan and called his great start against the Tigers Wednesday night. In that start, Godley had it all working, which led to 15 swinging strikes in the game as well as 14 groundballs. He ended up going seven innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out six. Godley will face the Mets and Padres in Week 7. The Padres are god awful while the Mets have played better as of late.
Do You Even Stream, Bro?
Below are a few names you can stream this weekend based on plus matchups.
Scott Feldman @ SF, Friday – You don’t always need the sexy names in Fantasy but the favorable matchups. The San Francisco Giants offense has been horrendous and they showed it the last time they faced Feldman too. In that game, Feldman threw a four-hit shutout with five strikeouts in the band box known as Great American Ballpark. This Friday he gets to do it all over again in a good pitching environment in San Francisco.
Trevor Cahill @ CWS, Saturday – Cahill has reinvented himself as a pitcher, using a knuckle curve more frequently this season to go along with a nasty sinker-changeup combination. He’ll face the White Sox this weekend, a team that has the second-worst wOBA against right-handed pitching this season. Cahill might not go as deep into the game because of his walks, but the strikeouts will definitely be there.
A.J. Griffin vs. A’s, Sunday – I know I shot down using Griffin in Week 7 against the Tigers but I love him this weekend against an A’s team that really just has Khris Davis and Yonder Alonso right now. As long as Griffin plays it safe with those two, he should be able to go deep into this game. As a team, the A’s have struggled overall against right-handed pitching.
The biggest news in terms of closers this week has been the Tigers situation. Francisco Rodriguez has been awful this season. There is no way around it. He appeared in 13 games, allowing runs in more games than he didn’t. As a result, he’s been replaced by Justin Wilson who’s been lights out this year. Wilson currently owns a career-high 14.11 K/9, 11th best among all relievers in the baseball this season to go along with a 1.23 ERA. He’s likely owned already but if he isn’t, you have to be willing to throw at least 30-40 percent of your FAAB on him in rotisserie leagues. I’d consider him a Top-20 closer the rest of the way if he keeps the job.
What do you know? Not only was Zach Britton not ready to return in the minimum time, he’s suffered a setback and will now be out the next 45-60 days. If you own Brad Brach, rejoice because he was already one of the best relievers to own before this injury. Brach did blow another save Wednesday night but I think he has a longer leash than most. Speaking of relievers with forearm issues …
Mark Melancon is the latest victim, dealing with a mild right pronator strain in his throwing arm, near his elbow. Ouch! Similar to Britton, Giants management expects Melancon to miss the minimum time. You’ve got to be kidding me, right? Derek Law is expected to head the bullpen in the meantime. He earned his first save already against the Mets, albeit in unimpressive fashion. If he were to falter, Hunter Strickland would be the next man up. In roto leagues, feel free to throw 15-20 percent of your FAAB on Law, especially if you’re a Melancon owner.
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