Welcome back to Dixon’s Picks! I hope that everyone had a good weekend.
This isn’t the best week when it comes to two-start guys. There aren’t many available guys out there going against two bad offenses this week. So, that means that you’ve gotta take some chances. But, that’s a big part of streaming anyway. So, let’s take a look at some guys to consider gambling on.
- A.J. Griffin, Oakland Athletics — Probable Starts: Monday vs. Texas Rangers, Sunday vs. Kansas City Royals
I’ve been a fan of A.J. Griffin all year, so I guess there’s no reason that he shouldn’t be here. At first glance, his 3.83 ERA and 1.21 WHIP look decent, but probably not great. But he’s taken the mound seven times, recording five quality starts, and only one really bad outing, which came against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. To show you what one bad start can do this time of the year, Griffin’s ERA in his other six outings is 2.68, while his WHIP is 1.14. That looks much better.
As far as this week goes, I get some skepticism about starting him against the Rangers. That’s certainly a lineup that can produce a bad day. But if 2012 is any indicator, Oakland isn’t exactly Texas’ happy place. They hit only .212 in the Coliseum last year, hitting only five home runs. The fewest of any of any AL West stadium (in 2012). Oakland’s big dimensions hurt a lot of bats, and the Rangers’ potent lineup hasn’t been much different. Remember that while the 2013 Rangers are a good team, their pitching is a big reason why. Texas are currently hitting .263. They did lose Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, and Mike Napoli. So, in a pitcher’s park, they can be had.
The Royals are always an interesting team for me to include here. They are one of the better hitting teams in the league in terms of average, but are in the bottom-third of the MLB in scoring runs. So, I have no reason to believe that Griffin won’t do well against them, even if a few more guys get on base than you’d normally like.
There’s also one more bonus with Griffin. While he only gets one start next week, it comes against the Astros. So, you can count on a pretty good outing there, too.
Griffin’s Projections for the Week
- Jason Vargas, Los Angeles Angels — Probable Starts: Tuesday vs. Kansas City Royals, Sunday vs. Chicago White Sox
Much like Griffin, Jason Vargas is an old friend who I’ve written about more times than I care to count. You may be asking yourself a question. How in the world can I suggest throwing a guy who just had a rough outing against the Astros? Well, the two outings before were gems, and the one before that was not bad at all. Take a look, going in reverse chronological order.
|at Seattle Mariners||8||6||2||2||7|
So yes, the outing against the Astros was bad, but I’m not giving up on a guy who came into that start really hot.The start against the Royals should be an interesting one. As we went over with Griffin, they get a lot of hits, but don’t score a lot of runs. Vargas gives up a lot of hits, but not a lot of runs. So, expect some stranded runners there.
As for the White Sox, they are a bottom two offensive team in just about every offensive category. Mind you, that’s not bottom two in the American League, but bottom two in all of baseball. Other than the Marlins, every team in the DH-free National League has scored more runs, gets on base more, etc. That’s amazing.
Heading into Angel Stadium, it’s hard to see those numbers going up too much. You have to play odds here and while the Astros defied those odds once against Vargas, don’t bet on it happening again. Make your own decision about the start against the Royals, but the White Sox are a pitcher-friendly opponent in 2013.
Vargas’ Projections for the Week
- Travis Wood, Chicago Cubs – Probable Starts: Monday vs. Colorado Rockies, Sunday vs. New York Mets
Do you know that Travis Wood enters this week with a WHIP under 1.00? Do you know that every one of his outings has been a quality start? This includes outings against the Brewers, Rangers, Reds (in Cincinnati), and Cardinals. Do you know that over the last two months of 2012, Wood had an ERA of 3.56, and a WHIP of 1.10?
Well, whether you knew it or not, it’s all true.
So, even though the Rockies have been pretty solid with the bats both at Coors Field and away from it, I feel alright with Wood against that lineup. Yes, they could make me eat those words, but their numbers were also aided by a really strong start to the season. Over the last few weeks, Colorado has normalized a little bit. You may not like the matchup, but I’m not scared of it.
I’m definitely not scared of the matchup against the Mets over the weekend. They have done a decent job scoring runs, but nothing more than that. Wood has done well against far better offenses this year. A red-hot pitcher should do just fine against that offense. Grab Wood and ride him until this hot streak ends. He’s still on an awful lot of waiver wires. Give him a roster spot — at least for the week.
Wood’s Projections for the Week