Stream Team: Back From the Dead
After nine days in beautiful Ireland, I’m back and ready to find the best streamers in the nation once again. Ironically, my fantasy teams seemed to do better while I was away. Lesson learned? We have nine games and 18 starting pitchers on tap for the Monday Single, which features $1,250 in prizes for just a $5 entry fee. Which pitcher will lead you to your piece of the prize pie?
Ace: Derek Lowe, ATL at HOU ($7,200). The Astros have dropped eight of their last nine games, giving them the worst record in baseball. Wandy Rodriguez comes off the DL to face Lowe, who threw 6.2 shutout innings in Florida in his last start. You’d generally like your ace to have more Ks, but lucky for us the Astros are tied for third in that category this season, striking out 509 times in 66 games. Give Lowe seven Ks to go with seven quality innings and a win, and you have a nice FanDuel start on your hands.
Middle Man: Paul Maholm, PIT vs. NYM ($5,800). Monday starters and Middle Man candidates Maholm and Mike Pelfrey faced each other on June 2, and both had starts they wish they could forget, allowing a total of 14 runs (13 earned) in 10.2 innings. Both performed admirably in their immediate starts before and after that game — while Pelfrey sandwiched the dud with two two-run outings, Maholm pitched 15 scoreless frames in his two starts, allowing only four hits and three walks to the Cubs and Diamondbacks combined. Block out that previous Mets start and Maholm’s been on fire — I say he gets his revenge here.
Wild Card: Alex Cobb, TB at DET ($2,100). Cobb comes off his first major-league win, in which he allowed just one earned run in 6.1 innings in Los Angeles, and though he’s had some control problems this season, that start against the Angels featured no walks from the rookie. I’ll take him over the smoke-and-mirrors option (Zach Duke), especially with the Rays winning five of their last six games.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Randy Wolf (at CHC), 2. Jason Vargas (vs. LAA), 3. Paul Maholm (vs. NYM), 4. Alex Cobb (at DET), 5. Aaron Cook (vs. SD).
Ace: Jon Niese, NYM at ATL ($6,600). Niese has managed to hold his opponent to two earned runs or less in eight of his last ten starts, with three-run and five-run efforts in early May being the only breaks in the chain. In his last five starts, Niese has allowed a total of five earned runs while striking out 33 in 33.2 innings. Sounds like the numbers of an ace to me. In his last start against the Braves on June 3, Niese held them to two earned runs in 7.2 innings while striking out seven.
Middle Man: Josh Collmenter, ARI vs. SF ($5,500). All Collmenter has done since joining the Diamondbacks rotation is throw four shutouts in six starts. While he doesn’t strike out a ton of batters, he’s been insanely good at limiting the damage if they get on base, as his only four runs allowed as a starter have come via three solo shots and a balk. His luck will even out eventually, but I’ll take the 30:7 K:BB ratio against a Giants offense that has struggled to score runs this season (29th in the league in runs).
Wild Card: Jeff Karstens, PIT at HOU ($4,000). Two Pittsburgh recommendations in one Stream Team column? Karstens deserves the nod by exhibiting Cliff Lee-like control this season, walking only 12 batters in 64.1 innings thus far. He hasn’t given up more than two runs in a game since May 3, and the impeccable control has helped bring his ERA down to 2.94 and his WHIP down to 1.15. If he could use a favorable matchup against the Astros to wrangle a few more Ks, this could be an excellent start.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Jon Niese (at ATL), 2. Jeff Karstens (at HOU), 3. Juan Nicasio (vs. SD), 4. Carl Pavano (vs. CWS), 5. Josh Outman (vs. KC).
Ace: Erik Bedard, SEA vs. LAA ($7,000). Bedard has experienced a Renaissance period in his fantasy value this season, limiting runs while racking up strikeouts and, most importantly, staying healthy. He has 65 Ks in 70 innings this season, and he’s struck out a batter or more per inning in five of his last six starts. Even better, he hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start since April 15, giving him a very nice 3.47 ERA this season. The Angels are just ahead of the Twins in runs scored this year, ranking near the bottom of the pack in the AL. Let’s hope Bedard continues his run in Seattle on Wednesday.
Middle Man: Nick Blackburn, MIN vs. CWS ($6,000). He never overwhelms with Ks (a FanDuel negative), but Blackburn is a capable innings eater who more often than not keeps runs off the scoreboard. He’s allowed two runs or less in seven of his last eight starts, a streak that has recently featured fewer and fewer walks (three in his last four starts combined). Facing a mediocre pitcher (Mark Buehrle) at home — where Blackburn has been much better in his career — he’s a solid option for Wednesday.
Wild Card: Dillon Gee, NYM at ATL ($4,500). Despite the Mets continued mediocrity, Gee has placed himself squarely in the running for the Rookie of the Year award. In nine starts and three relief appearances this season, Gee is 7-0 with a 3.05 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. His strikeout (44) and walk (20) numbers aren’t overwhelming, but he’s getting the job done, particularly in his last five starts, where he’s 5-0. Can Gee continue the winning streak against the Braves, against whom he pitched seven scoreless innings two starts ago?
Roto Stream Team: 1. Derek Holland (at NYY), 2. Nick Blackburn (vs. CWS), 3. Kyle McClellan (at WAS), 4. J.A. Happ (vs. PIT), 5. Mark Buehrle (at MIN).
Ace: Ryan Vogelsong, SF at ARI ($5,900). Still dealing — five earned runs in 45.1 innings over his last seven starts. Still underpriced — his $5,900 tag almost begs you to take him. There’s nothing more really that needs to be said — Vogelsong is my guy at this price level until he slips up.
Middle Man: Kyle Lohse, STL at WAS ($4,700). It’s a day of bargains! Lohse has underwhelmed lately, giving up four runs in each of his last two starts, neither of which lasted a full six innings. However, I will point out that he’s still 7-3 with a 2.67 ERA and 1.02 WHIP on the season, which a K:BB ratio near 3.0. He should get back on track against the Nationals, a team he threw a complete game shutout against on April 21 in his best start of the season.
Wild Card: Graham Godfrey, OAK vs. KC ($2,000). The rookie was very shaky in his first start, allowing five runs in 4.1 innings against the White Sox with only two Ks to his credit. However, he sports excellent numbers at Triple-A (7-1 with a 2.50 ERA and 51:15 K:BB ratio in 54.1 innings), making him one to watch, especially when pitching in Oakland. He faces a Kansas City team that’s terrible on the road, so I like his chances at a bounce-back start and his first major-league win.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Jeff Francis (at OAK), 2. Nick Blackburn (vs. CWS), 3. Mike Minor (vs. NYM), 4. Jeremy Guthrie (at TOR), 5. Mark Buehrle (at MIN).