Stream Team: Harden Returns, Vogelsong Rebounds
Robert Jurney did it last week; can you do it today? The Daily Fantasy Baseball Championship qualifier is back on this fine Friday of baseball action. As always, the Stream Team is here to kick off your weekend by finding some valuable pitchers for each FanDuel competition every day of the week (my best option is marked with a (*) each day).
*Ace: Jair Jurrjens, ATL vs. BAL ($7,500). At a relatively cheap price, you’re getting the best pitcher going on Friday. Seriously — despite missing a few starts at the beginning of the season, Jurrjens is 10-3 with a 2.07 ERA. A low strikeout total means a course correction could be coming, but I’ll take my chances against an Oriole team that’s 13-21 on the road and has the third-worst scoring production away from home. I’m building my DFBC lineup around Jurrjens and a potential win.
Middle Man: Jason Vargas, SEA vs. SD ($6,900). The average lefty gets the Padre bump on Friday. The San Diego offense is the second-worst in the league at scoring runs (behind Vargas’ Mariners), so I like his odds at home. Besides, San Diego can’t keep winning games much longer, right?
Wild Card: Rich Harden, OAK vs. ARI ($5,800). A true Wild Card pick, Harden is making his season debut today against the Diamondbacks. Unfortunately, he’ll be on a strict pitch count and could be pulled from the game after five innings or even less. Still, he has the strikeout potential to help your FanDuel team for the short time he’s on the mound.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Jason Vargas (vs. SD), 2. Bronson Arroyo (vs. CLE), 3. Dustin Moseley (at SEA), 4. Tim Wakefield (at HOU), 5. Tom Gorzelanny (vs. PIT).
Ace: Jhoulys Chacin, COL vs. KC ($7,600). Outstanding pitchers Jered Weaver and Clayton Kershaw take the mound Saturday, but unfortunately for both, they’re up against each other. I’ll go with Chacin to bounce back from a terrible last start and get an easy win against Kyle Davies (he of the 7.31 ERA) and the Royals, a team with 10 road wins all year.
*Middle Man: Cory Luebke, SD at SEA ($3,400). The two cheapest pitchers available on Saturday stick out as great values, so I’m going to highlight them both for the Stream Team. The first is Luebke, who is likely to remain a great, cheap option for a while in FanDuel leagues, as he’s spent most of the season pitching in relief. His first start was outstanding, five innings of one-hit shutout ball that featured six strikeouts and two walks. The performance brought his ERA to 2.86 and his WHIP to 0.95. Starting games is a different beast than pitching in relief, but Luebke has the talent to excel in either role. Remember, the Mariners are the league’s worst run-scoring team, so this could definitely be a low scoring affair. Luebke should add enough Ks to have a great FanDuel game whether he gets the win or not.
Wild Card: Andrew Miller, BOS at HOU ($3,000). If you don’t quite trust Luebke after his first start, may I recommend Miller, who has made two solid starts since joining the Boston rotation. He has 10 Ks in 11.2 innings, and do you really think the Astros and J.A. Happ stand a chance against the Red Sox? Mark Miller down for six strong innings and a win.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Cory Luebke (at SEA), 2. Andrew Miller (at HOU), 3. Doug Fister (vs. SD), 4. Homer Bailey (vs. CLE), 5. Chris Narveson (at MIN).
Ace: Brandon Beachy, ATL vs. BAL ($8,200). Sure, the price may seem a little steep for a young pitcher that just recently came off the DL. Look closer and you’ll see that Beachy has picked up 20 strikeouts in 12 innings during his two starts since returning, allowing one run in each six-inning affair and picking up two wins. Those are huge numbers in FanDuel, and we’re going to hope the guy with a 66:15 K:BB ratio in 56.1 innings this season keeps rolling.
*Middle Man: Ryan Vogelsong, SF at DET ($5,900). After a stretch in which Vogelsong surrendered nine runs in nine games, he was touched for six runs in five innings on June 28. Fortunately, only three of them were earned. Does that mean we’re going to exercise caution with the best unheralded pitcher of the season? Didn’t you just read that he gave up nine runs in a nine game span? I’ll give him a pass for one game in the Windy City and expect him to get back to excellence against Rick Porcello and the Tigers. At 6-1 with a 2.09 ERA, Vogelsong is still a must-start, despite his last game.
Wild Card: Jason Marquis, WAS vs. PIT ($4,500). Marquis surprisingly shot out to a 7-2 start through his first 16 games, posing a solid 3.62 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. He has great career numbers against the Pirates, so he may be able to piece together his first win in four starts on Sunday.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Freddy Garcia (at NYM), 2. Mike Leake (vs. CIN), 3. R.A. Dickey (vs. NYY), 4. Jason Marquis (vs. PIT), 5. Kevin Correia (at WAS).