Trolling the Wire: Week 8 Tuesday-Friday

I am doing a great job at picking starters who end up involved in rainouts.  Of course, half the league gets rained out nightly so I guess that’s not too surprising.  Tuesday was a total washout with Rick Porcello and Jordan Zimmermann getting wiped out, but I went back to the well with both on Sunday and it went quite well (14.3 IP, 2 ER, 8 K).

I pound this one home time and time and time again, but the week 7 Trolling picks accentuate perfectly just in case you still don’t believe: you cannot chase wins… ever.  Twelve starters threw 78 innings with a 2.89 ERA and 1.21 WHIP yet netted just two wins.  TWO!  It wasn’t a necessarily an ill-begotten ERA, either, as the group had a solid if unspectacular 6.1 K/9, but a very strong 2.5 K/BB.

We will still aim for skills first and foremost, but hopefully we can pull a few more wins with this week’s picks.

MONDAY:  Found here.

TUESDAY:

Chris Narveson (MIL v. WAS) – He has spent most of May chiseling away at an ERA that was heavily damaged by a 7 ER in 2.3 IP outing, but now it’s at a very respectable 3.44 thanks to a really strong month.  Again, I know you can’t pick and choose starts, but if you remove that outlier, you see a 2.34 ERA in eight starts with a strong 7.9 K/9.  Of course, leave it in and the strikeout rate remains the same and the ERA above average, even in the very heavy pitching environment of 2011.

Charlie Morton (PIT v. ATL) – This is still a tough nut to crack with his just over 1 K:BB rate (1.12), but the insane groundball (62%) masks some of the K:BB shortcomings.  He has three really weird starts with five walks in each and just one or two strikeouts (five total), but he has a 3.50 ERA in 18.3 innings with two wins during the starts.  In his last two starts, he has five Ks in each with 14 and 17 groundballs, respectively.  He’s facing a team with 21st ranked OPS on the heels of losing one of their best hitters in Jason Heyward.  He has succeeded against much better teams including two complete games at Cincinnati (1 ER total).

WEDNESDAY:

James McDonald (PIT v. ATL) – He has really picked it up in May with a 3.18 ERA in 23 innings along with 24 strikeouts.  Still a little inconsistent, but the favorable matchup (6th-most Ks in MLB) helps.

Erik Bedard (SEA @ MIN) – I’ll simply reiterate my Sunday Twidbit on Bedard: “After posting an 8.56 ERA in first 3 starts, Erik Bedard has a 1.97 ERA & 0.97 WHIP in last 5 w/7.3 K/9 & 2.4 K/BB.”  Plus he has 18 K in his last 13 IP and he gets to face Minnesota in a pitcher’s ballpark.

Mike Minor (ATL @ PIT) – I love the skills of this kid and he’d have probably gotten a shot sooner had he been on rotation when they needed the spot starts that eventually went to Julio Teheran.  He has better than a strikeout per inning in 53 innings at AAA-Gwinnett and just 2.4 BB/9 leading to a near-4.0 K/BB.  He had nearly identical skills in 41 major league innings last year (9.5 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 3.9 K/BB) and I think he has a chance to be a high-impact starter the rest of the way.

THURSDAY:

Ryan Vogelsong (SF v. FLO) – His huge, albeit surprising, skills are holding strong with a 2.9 K/BB rate in 33 innings.  He has also added in some luck so the 1.93 ERA will almost certainly rise a bit, but I’d be surprised if there was a total implosion as long as he maintains the skills hold.

FRIDAY:

Scott Baker (MIN v. LAA) – The Hold List is coming apart at the seams with Brandon McCarthy on the disabled list and Baker struggling in his last three with a 7.04 ERA, though he does have 21 Ks in 15 innings.  While a 4.12 ERA might have been usable 2-3 years ago (in fact, Baker’s 4.37 in 2009 netted a 100 ERA+), it’s below average now which costs Baker his HL spot.  That said, I’m going to use him for this matchup because the skills are still strong (2.8 K/BB power by 9.1 K/9) and his main weakness (home runs) isn’t a particular strength of the Angels (17th-most in baseball w/38).

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