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September 7, 2012
With expanded rosters, rotations are far from stable, and I don’t expect them to be the rest of the way, so please keep that caveat in mind more than ever.
It’s really only been about health with Fister this year; otherwise he has been nails. He has been healthy since the All-Star break, and, unsurprisingly, that has yielded a 2.48 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 62 strikeouts in 69 innings. He is one of the most unheralded starters in the league, but he’s been great in 2012.
Dan Haren (vs. OAK; @ KC) – Like Fister, it has really been a matter of health more than anything else with Haren. He has tried to labor through back pains at times, and it hasn’t gone well, leaving Haren with elevated numbers relative to his true talent. He appears to be back on track of late, though, with three strong starts in a row. He is actually just a third of an inning away from three straight quality starts, going 5 2/3 in Detroit but then seven and six innings in the subsequent two starts. All told, he has a 1.45 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 17 strikeouts, and just three walks in the 18 2/3 innings.
Ryan Dempster (vs. CLE; vs. SEA) – He was absolutely pummeled twice as a Ranger (eight earned each time) and yet still has a 4.36 ERA in 43 1/3 innings with them, which tells you how well he has pitched in the other five starts. His strikeout rate is actually up with the Rangers too; he is striking out 9.1 batters per game after posting a 7.2 mark with the Cubs.
Jon Lester (vs. NYY; @ TOR) – Amidst all the turmoil in Boston, Lester has rebounded a bit with a nice seven-start stretch starting in August. He has a 3.70 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 7.2 K/9 in the 48 2/3 innings of work that really only saw Texas get to him a bit (four earned in 6 2/3 innings).
Jarrod Parker (@ LAA; vs. BAL) – Parker might have been a shutdown candidate, but the A’s have surprisingly remained in contention, and while they have depth in the rotation, they can definitely use Parker, who has enjoyed a strong first full season. While his ERA is a bit elevated since the break (4.62), his walk rate has improved quite a bit and is down to a very strong 2.0 BB/9. By contrast, his first half rate was 4.3 BB/9.
Justin Masterson (@ MIN; vs. DET) – His earned run totals since the All-Star break: zero, four, one, eight, seven, two, zero, seven, one, eight, and two. He gets a “consider” nod only because gamblers in desperate need of potential might be willing to roll the dice here. He has dominated and been crushed by each opponent at times this year.
Samuel Deduno (vs. CLE; vs. CWS) – Too many walks.
Blake Beavan (@ TOR; @ TEX) – Not in Texas, no way.
Big week for NL aces. It is perfect timing for any team with a couple of these guys too, especially if they are in a tight roto race or in the midst of head-to-head playoffs. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to imagine a team with all five of these guys given the varied rounds they went in this year. I’m sure it is more common for a team to have two or three, though.
Jaime Garcia (@ SD; @ LAD) – He has looked pretty good since returning from the disabled list, especially with the 22 strikeouts and four walks in 26 2/3 innings. This west coast swing should allow him to pad those numbers.
Wandy Rodriguez (@ CIN; @ CHC) – Riding a 13-inning scoreless streak heading into this week thanks to great outings against the Cardinals and Astros recently. Thrashing the Astros isn’t exactly special, but six shutout innings against St. Louis is impressive.
Alex White (vs. SF; @ SD) – Even if a Colorado pitcher had two starts in San Diego, it would still be hard to start them because they are only going to go four innings anyway. He has a 3.55 ERA in 33 innings since returning from the DL in August, but that’s across eight starts. Zero wins.
Dallas Keuchel (vs. CHC; vs. PHI) – The NL’s Blake Beavan?