Paul takes a tour of the league's two-start pitchers to see which are worth using this week.
It’s been a shaky start to the two-start week for several of our American League options from last week. Drew Smyly and Max Scherzerwere both touched up in Chicago. Jeff Niemann had his leg broken and now sits on the 60-day disabled list. Ivan Nova and Jason Hammel were smacked around in an 8-5 slugfest against each other.
National Leaguers didn’t fare much better as Erik Bedard, Ryan Dempster, and Chad Billingsley were among the casualties in their first start. I should’ve known better with Dempster; I gave the reason not to start him within the article—he was facing St. Louis. They have become a team you must sit your non-star pitchers against.
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Phil Hughes, Jamie Garcia, Chris Capuano, and Jake Peavy get the Preseason VP treatment this week
It’s March 1 as you’re reading this, and that is noteworthy if only because we’re finally into a month where there’s going to be real, live Major League Baseball that counts—even if the Japan-based series between the M’s and A’s will take place in the middle of the night for most of us. With the season fast approaching, fantasy drafts are really starting to heat up. Here are some thoughts on four pitchers who may or may not be on your radar for various reasons…
If you tuned out when the Rangers led 7-5 in the ninth, you missed quite a finish
It was the best worst World Series game—or perhaps the worst best World Series game—I've ever seen. Four and a half hours, 11 innings, 42 players, 19 runs, 23 men left on base, six home runs, five errors, two final-strike comebacks, a handful of bad relief performances, some managerial howlers including a cardinal (not Cardinal) sin… and it all ended with the much-maligned Joe Buck giving a fitting nod to history by emulating one of his father's most famous calls. As David Freese's game-winning blast landed in the grass beyond the center field wall of Busch Stadium, Buck exclaimed, "We'll see you tomorrow night!" Game Six of the 2011 World Series will be remembered as a classic—a Game Six that can sit alongside those of 1975, 1986, and 1991, among maybe a couple others—as the Cardinals staved off elimination to beat the Rangers 10-9, forcing a Game Seven.
Sloppy defense does the Brewers in, putting Milwaukee at a 3-2 disadvantage.
With the NLCS tied at 2-2, we had the makings of a pitchers’ duel, as the Cardinals’ sinkerballing lefty Jaime Garcia opposed Zack Greinke, former AL Cy Young winner. While Garcia looked downright dominating through most of the game, Greinke did not, allowing seven hits and failing to notch a single strikeout.
While the starters for the Brewers and Cardinals got off to a slow start, the offenses did not in Game One.
Zack Greinkeversus "phony" Chris Carpenter. Tony Plush, er, Nyjer Morganversus "Alberta" Pujols. A showcase for the coming winter's two top free-agent first basemen. A rematch of the 1982 World Series. A good old-fashioned NL Central grudge match featuring the league's top two slugging teams, and six of the league's top 13 sluggers according to slugging percentage. This year's National League Championship Series between the "Beast Mode" Brewers and the more staid Cardinals does not lack for storylines, tough talk, or the potential for fireworks. On Sunday afternoon, the two teams produced plenty of the latter, albeit without the sideshows we'd been led to expect. After falling behind early, the Brewers used a two-pitch sequence to break the game open in the fifth inning, with Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder each plating a pair of runs in the space of a few moments. Behind their big bats and their bullpen, the Brewers took Game One, 9-6.
A look ahead at the NLCS match-up between the Brewers and Cardinals
With a thrilling Game 5 victory on Friday night, the Cardinals advanced to their first National League Championship Series since 2006, when they wound up winning the World Series. The square-off between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay was so hyped up and oversaturated with storylines that it felt odd to realize the pair exceeded the high expectations put before them.
If Game 3 is any guide, the Cardinals skipper needs a refresher course
The Cardinals and Phillies are playing the last game of their Division Series tomorrow, with each team’s ace (Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay) taking the mound. The game—and thus the series—may very well be settled by which team’s ace pitches better. But it might just come down to which team’s manager has the audacity to sit his ace down on the bench.
One game this series has already been strongly influenced by a decision to pinch-hit (or not) by each manager—Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia struck out with runners on first and second to end the sixth inning in Game Three, then stayed in to allow a three-run homer to Phillies pinch-hitter Ben Francisco in the seventh.
The series' first true pitcher's duel just barely goes the Phillies' way.
Neither Roy Halladay nor Cliff Lee quite lived up to his billing in the first two games of the Phillies-Cardinals Division Series—Halladay because he failed to throw a no-hitter, and Lee because he allowed a season-high 12 hits—but after two games in which runs weren't especially scarce, Game Three gave us the pitcher's duel that every Phillies playoff game has the potential to be. Both Cole Hamels and Jaime Garcia were completely in control far most of the game, with Garcia surrendering just three singles through the sixth, thanks in part to smooth fielding from Rafael Furcal and David Freese, and Hamels nearly as successful in keeping runners off base, though he allowed two doubles to Albert Pujols (which has been known to happen to the best of pitchers).
A few pitchers had very strong springs, and Craig has the details on which ones matter during the regular season.
Fantasy season opens tomorrow, but it’s not too late to consider a couple of starting pitchers who enjoyed strong springs. This article is a complimentary piece to last week’s look at the hot hitters of spring. Almost all of us have drafted our teams for the year, but these pitchers may warrant either a waiver pickup or a trade offer as we prepare for the season to start.
A rundown of the starting pitchers from both leagues who have been just a tick below the level of greatness this season.
In addition to being a baseball nut, I consider myself to be a movie buff. I used to work somewhat in the field and just love taking breaks from reality to watch Schwarzennegger make silly puns after beatings, Lee J. Cobb make his patented scowl, or even the wide array of characters that Richard Jenkins and Stephen Tobolowsky can play with ease. While thinking of all the wonderful pitching performances that have been on display this year, these two passions collided, and I was taken back to the 1994 Academy Awards. In that year’s ceremony—technically, it was held in 1995 to honor the movies of 1994—the best picture went to Forrest Gump.