Our featured picks for the weekend included Tim Stauffer (7 IP, 2 ER, 9 K, Win), Jair Jurrjens (6 IP, 1 ER, 2 K, Win) and Roy Halladay (9 IP, 1 ER, 4 K, Win). Three wins? You’re welcome. We also suggested Cory Luebke, who allowed one hit in five shutout innings during his first start, as well as Philip Humber, who had two earned runs in 6.2 innings, on Sunday. Saturday also brought Jeff Karstens (6.2 IP, 3 ER and the Win against Boston) and Jason Vargas (4 ER in 6 IP). Friday featured Randy Wolf (7 IP, 3 ER, Win) and Matt Harrison (7 IP, 1 ER, Win). Nine pitchers, six wins and several good performances. I’d gather many of those pitchers won people some serious money in the various FanDuel competitions. Who will be next?
Ace: Erik Bedard, SEA vs. ATL ($7,000). If my money’s on the line in the Monday MLB Single, I have to take Bedard. He’s allowed no more than three earned runs in each of his last 11 starts, he’s allowed zero earned runs in both of his most recent appearances and he’s striking out almost a batter per inning (80 Ks in 83 IP). The Mariners aren’t scoring enough runs to give Bedard the won-loss record he deserves, but that’s neither here nor there. He stands a great chance of picking up the win at home against the Braves on Monday — he’s given up only 11 earned runs in his last 10 starts combined. That’s a serious streak from a guy that was on the fantasy scrap heap at the beginning of the season.
Middle Man: Nick Blackburn, MIN vs. LAD ($6,000). No one is ever going to confuse Nick Blackburn for a strikeout pitcher or a great fantasy commodity. But what he does do is keep runs off the board. The Twins pitcher has allowed two runs or less in nine of his last ten starts. He has a 2.40 ERA at home this year, making him usable in all formats.
Wild Card: Jeff Francis, KC at SD ($5,000). Francis is tied for the lowest price among Monday pitchers, and that’s great news as he travels to Petco Park. While he hasn’t been a great fantasy pitcher at all this year, striking out just over four batters per nine innings, you have to love the matchup.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Nick Blackburn (vs. LAD), 2. Mike Leake (at TB), 3. Jeff Francis (at SD), 4. John Lannan (at LAA), 5. Mitch Talbot (at ARI).
Ace: C.J. Wilson, TEX at HOU ($8,900). If you’re going to spend top dollar, why not grab a guy playing the worst team in the majors (Houston) and going up against a rookie pitcher (Jordan Lyles)? The Astros rocked Wilson for 11 hits and four runs in his last start. C.J. gets his revenge Tuesday.
Middle Man: Ryan Vogelsong, SF at CHC ($5,900). I wouldn’t dream of recommending anyone but Vogelsong on Tuesday, with his eight earned runs in the last nine starts combined. His K:BB ratio is 3.0, his ERA is 1.86 (in 72.2 innings) and his fantasy owners are loving him. He’s locked up in two-thirds of Yahoo leagues. Folks in the other third just aren’t paying attention — I don’t know what more a guy has to do to find a fantasy home. He played Tuesday opponent Chicago during his recent streak, shutting the Cubs out for six innings while striking out seven batters and allowing just one walk in a win. Now he returns to the scene of the crime looking for the same results.
Wild Card: Kyle Lohse, STL at BAL ($4,700). His talent isn’t reflected in his high-profile stats (7-4 record and 2.91 ERA this year), and it seems to have caught up with Lohse, as he hasn’t recorded a win in any of his past four starts. He still exhibits great control (19 walks in 105 IP this year) to somewhat make up for his lack of strikeouts, and the price is right for our Wild Card.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Freddy Garcia (vs. MIL), 2. R.A. Dickey (at DET), 3. Jason Marquis (at LAA), 4. Clayton Richard (vs. KC), 5. Rick Porcello (vs. NYM).
Ace: Tim Stauffer, SD vs. KC ($6,900). Wednesday is our Stauffer day, and yes, I’m recommending him every time he’s up while he’s pitching like a fantasy ace. He has 14 strikeouts and no walks in 14 innings over his last two starts, allowing three runs between the two games. The two games prior were both shutouts. His 3.09 ERA is the lowest it’s been since May 11, when Stauffer allowed six runs in 5.1 innings to the Brewers. The Royals are just 10-21 on the road this year, and while opposing starter Bruce Chen is 4-1 with a 3.88 ERA, his other numbers are nowhere near as good as those of Stauffer. I’ve been the San Diego pitcher’s biggest fan this season, and I’ll continue to beat the drum.
Middle Man: Chris Capuano, NYM at DET ($5,100). Cappy had to leave his last start after six scoreless innings due to a cramp in his abdomen, but he looks on track to make his next start. He earned the win despite the somewhat early exit, giving him three Ws in his last four games while allowing a total of three runs during those starts.
Wild Card: Graham Godfrey, OAK vs. FLA ($2,000). Godfrey hasn’t been particularly impressive in his first three starts, but he hasn’t been awful either, posting a 4.24 ERA and a 9:4 K:BB ratio. He’ll face the floundering Marlins, which immediately puts him in the streaming conversation in any league.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Chris Capuano (at DET), 2. Jake Arrieta (vs. STL), 3. Graham Godfrey (vs. FLA), 4. Rubby de la Rosa (at MIN), 5. Bruce Chen (at SD).
Ace: Justin Verlander, DET vs. NYM ($9,600). Thursday features some great pitching, including CC Sabathia and a Cole Hamels-Jon Lester matchup. It also features Verlander, who has been the best pitcher in fantasy baseball this year with a 10-3 record, 2.38 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 124 Ks in 128.2 innings. He also gets the easiest matchup out of the other elites. With a short schedule, I’d grab one of the elite pitchers today and build a makeshift lineup behind him. It should prove difficult for your competitors to make up a sizable gap in the pitching totals should Verlander pitch up to expectations. Spend wisely on offense and you could go home with the first place trophy.
Middle Man: Matt Harrison, TEX at HOU ($4,800). The Astros have baseball’s worst record, making thema perfect target when we find a cheap potential streamer. Harrison did an excellent job for us in his last start, going seven strong while allowing one run for a win. He faces the solid Wandy Rodriguez, but the Astros are giving almost every opposing pitcher a chance at a win.
Wild Card: Jeff Karstens, PIT vs. TOR ($4,000). I keep waiting for him to course correct on his 2.66 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, but Karstens fails to do so. He’s excelled behind fantastic control this season, allowing him to have a K:BB ratio over 3.0. He’s also surrendered three runs or less in all but one game this year. I’m still not sold — but I’ll keep using him while he’s hot.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Matt Harrison (at HOU), 2. Randy Wolf (at NYY), 3. Jeff Karstens (vs. TOR), 4. Carlos Villanueva (vs. PIT), 5. Mike Pelfrey (at DET).