It was a big week for Trolling the Wire so I hope you took advantage this week. In case you were curious, I do hop on board with my own recommendations and I used of eight of the 13 to sweep the pitching categories in my daily transaction head-to-head league. Unfortunately, my hitting couldn’t hold a candle to Prince Fielder, David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury on the other ballclub so I took the split week.
Anyway, enough about my team, let’s see if I can help your teams again next week. After back-to-back weeks of Trolling picks topping a 4.00 ERA, the bounce back bring a sub-3.00 ERA and a single week high of six wins.
Randy Wolf (MIL @ CHC) – Strong skills (6.8 K/9, 2.2 K/BB), a weak opponent and a hot streak (2.59 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) in his last five starts makes him our only Monday start on a lean schedule.
Jonathon Niese (NYM @ ATL) – He has allowed more than 2 ER just twice in his last 10 starts. In fairness, there is also a 6 R/2 ER outing in there, but even if you added back those four earned runs his ERA in that span would be 3.19 instead of the sparkling 2.63 we see. Wasn’t striking out a lot of batters early on, but has fewer than five just once since April 30th, good for an 8.0 K/9 in 46 IP.
Bud Norris (HOU v. PIT) – Ownership rates dipped during rough stretch, but as I mentioned in Twidbits his strikeouts make him enticing even with an ERA that vacillates between slight above average to slightly below.
None – There are two borderline plays I could make, but they both against their split so I don’t want to force it. If you’re desperate for a play for go with Chris Narveson or Dillon Gee, both on the road, but I can’t fully endorse them so don’t bark at me on Twitter if they fail. Both are pitching very well, with Narveson having smoked St. Louis last time out and Gee knocking down the Pirates on the road, but they both excel at home so far this year so I’ll sit this one out.
James McDonald (PIT @ HOU) – I’ll quote my Sunday Twidbit to back J-Mc this week: “Horrid start buried James McDonald’s ERA (10.12 after 4 GS), but 2.84 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 7.6 K/9 & 2.0 K/BB in 51 IP (9 GS) since.” Astros aren’t terrible offensively, but this is more of a vote for McDonald than it is picking on Houston.
Edwin Jackson (CWS @ MIN) – Back-to-back strong starts and solid record since his horrid April (5.86 ERA): 3.22 ERA, 6.6 K/9 and 2.5 K/BB. His 1.42 WHIP is ugly, but a .340 BABIP is driving that more than poor control which usually hurts Jackson.
Scott Baker (MIN v. SD) – Maddening up and down season so far this year to the point where it wouldn’t be surprising if somehow San Diego got to him on the heels of a complete game shutout against Texas. I don’t think that will happen and I’m more than willing to play the favorable odds here, but some of the weird fluctuations in his performance this year have left me scratching my head.
Brad Hand (FLO @ TB) – This a pure odds play. Tampa Bay has been terrible against southpaws this year (.675 OPS/22nd ranked, 60 runs/25th ranked) which is exactly the paw that Hand throws with so we’ll see if one of Florida’s best prospects can exploit a weakness and play on the Rays’ penchant for striking out against lefties (147/3rd most in MLB).
Weekend picks later this week.