The Monday MVP and Single puts everything on the table, meaning we have an entire league of starting pitchers to choose from for our Stream Team. Before we get started, the Stream Team would like to give a shout out to regular streamer Ryan Vogelsong for his All-Star bid. He’s been getting it done for our team and for the Giants all season, and though he may not have made the initial team if it were any other manager picking, we know how great he’s been all season. Congrats!
Ace: Jordan Zimmermann, WAS vs. CHC ($6,900). He’s capable of double-digit strikeouts in any performance (he’s done it twice in 2011), which is a big plus in FanDuel contests. He’s allowed two runs or less in eight straight starts and a total of eight runs over that span. He keeps the ball in the yard (four HRs in 102.2 innings). He has a 2.63 ERA. What more could you ask for?
*Middle Man: Chris Capuano, NYM at LAD ($5,100). You might have thought I would sour on Capuano after he gave up five runs in five innings during his most recent start. All five runs scored on homers (two solo, one three-run shot), and Capuano actually pitched quite well otherwise, striking out six batters and walking none. Add that to the gem he pitched in the previous start and he’s on a no-walk streak over his last two games, striking out 13 batters between the two starts. With 77 strikeouts and 24 walks in 90.2 innings, Capuano is the type of fantasy pitcher that’s a better bet than his ratios would indicate. The Dodgers happen to be one of the league’s lowest scoring teams at home (ahead of only the Padres and the Giants). If Capuano gives us another no-walk effort, he should have a stellar line at a discount price.
Wild Card: Brandon McCarthy, OAK vs. SEA ($4,700). McCarthy did a quality job early in the season, throwing up a 3.39 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with a 37:10 K:BB ratio in nine starts. He returns Monday to face the lowest-scoring team in baseball. I wouldn’t normally gamble on pitchers in their first starts off the DL, but you can’t ask for a better matchup here.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Chris Capuano (at LAD), 2. Brett Myers (at PIT), 3. Mark Buehrle (vs. KC), 4. Paul Maholm (vs. HOU), 5. Vance Worley (at FLA).
Ace: Randy Wolf, MIL vs. ARI ($7,100). He doesn’t get a lot of fantasy respect, as he’s owned in only one-third of Yahoo leagues, but Wolf has a 3.33 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with 76 Ks this season. He also has an excellent chance at a win, as Milwaukee is 29-11 at home and opposing starter Zach Duke has a 5.92 ERA.
Middle Man: Matt Harrison, TEX vs. BAL ($4,800). Harrison’s mediocrity caught up to him in his last start, when he allowed five runs to the Astros — the Astros! — in six innings. He generally doesn’t help much with strikeouts, so you may be better off going with Wolf if your budget allows you to. Or …
*Wild Card: Jeff Karstens, PIT vs. HOU ($4,000). If you can explain how Jeff Karstens became a viable fantasy pitcher, I’d love to hear. He was 3-10 with a 4.92 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 2010; now he’s 6-4 with a 2.65 ERA and 1.08 WHIP this season. He’s given up more than two runs in a start twice since April; both times, he only let three runs get on the board. It looked like his control may be regressing two starts ago when he allowed three free passes to the Red Sox, but he came back to surrender only one base on balls to the Blue Jays in his last start (7 IP, 2 ER, Win). I still don’t know how someone could go 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in June with just a 15:7 K:BB ratio in 41.1 innings, but it happened. Here’s a fun Karstens fact:of his16 HRs allowed this season, 15 were solo shots. This guy is money out of the stretch.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Randy Wolf (vs. ARI), 2. Jeff Karstens (vs. HOU), 3. Matt Harrison (vs. BAL), 4. Edinson Volquez (at STL), 5. Mike Pelfrey (at LAD).
*Ace: Jair Jurrjens, ATL vs. COL ($7,500). We streamed him in our last column, and he came through with a complete game shutout, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out eight en route to earning his third straight win. He’s 11-3 in 15 starts with a 1.89 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. If you want to pick nits, he has just 63 Ks in 104.2 innings, but c’mon, a 1.89 ERA! He looked to be having control problems until that July 1 gem against the Orioles, walking 11 batters over three consecutive starts. Hopefully that’s all in the past for this All-Star, who faces a tough task against the Rockies but remains one of the most affordable aces around.
Middle Man: Tom Gorzelanny, WAS vs. CHC ($6,200). If you’d like to save a little coin, there’s nothing wrong with going Gorzelanny Wednesday. His last two starts were near mirror images of each other, featuring the National pitching seven one-run innings with eight Ks and a walk in each. Against the Pirates on July 1, however, his run was unearned and he allowed one less hit. The strikeouts in particular are impressive, and they give him 64 Ks in 71.2 innings this year.
Wild Card: Tim Wakefield, BOS vs. TOR ($4,500). There aren’t many good clearance rack pitchers on Wednesday, so we’ll take the guy pitching for the team with the best offense in baseball this season. The knuckleballer hasn’t been very effective this year, but a win’s a win.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Tom Gorzelanny (vs. CHC), 2. Jason Vargas (at OAK), 3. Jonathon Niese (at LAD), 4. Jeremy Guthrie (at TEX), 5. Charlie Morton (vs. HOU).
Ace: Bartolo Colon, NYY vs. TB ($6,400). Colon hit the DL after his June 11 start while in the midst of a nice three-start winning streak, one that included two shutouts. The rejuvenated pitcher picked up where he left off last weekend, holding the Mets scoreless over six innings for his fourth win in the last four starts. He has a 78:18 K:BB ratio over 84.1 innings and looks like the leader in the clubhouse for the Comeback Player of the Year award.
Middle Man: Livan Hernandez, WAS vs. CHC ($5,000). Three Washington pitchers in four days? Why not? Hernandez has a 74:33 K:BB ratio this year and is coming off two solid starts. He also sports a respectable 3.73 ERA and 1.35 WHIP this season, and 15 Ks in 13.2 innings over his last two starts. The Cubs are 15-24 on the road while the Nationals are 24-15 at home. Win?
*Wild Card: Cory Luebke, SD at SF ($3,400). On June 20, after an extended relief outing that saw him hold the Red Sox to two runs in 3.1 innings, Luebke had made 29 relief appearances and no starts this season. Then he joined the rotation and turned in two masterpiece performances. In the first, Luebke allowed one hit and two walks through five innings, striking out six Braves. In Seattle, he then shut out the Mariners for six innings, allowing two hits and no walks while striking out seven. As his pitch count continues to climb, Luebke could morph from a solid bullpen arm to fantasy ace. Add up his two starts so far, and he’s allowed only three hits and two walks in 11 innings while piling up 13 Ks. That’s why we featured him as a must-have sleeper at the Cafe. With an insanely low price tag, Cory Luebke has officially earned Vogelsong status while he remains in the starting rotation.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Cory Luebke (at SF), 2. Homer Bailey (at MIL), 3. Livan Hernandez (vs. CHC), 4. Andrew Miller (vs. BAL), 5. Juan Nicasio (at ATL).