StrategySeptember 12, 2009

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Double Dipper: Two Giant Opportunities

By Michael Marinakis

Welcome to the next installment of the Double Dipper series, where we check out the upcoming week’s two-start pitchers and give weekly-league owners some strategic pickups to give you a leg up over your opponents. So far last week’s picks have done quite well for anyone who decided they needed a couple of spot starts to give them a boost in the playoffs. After a gem against the Phillies in his debut with the Giants, Penny kept the ball rolling in his last start, pitching very well in a win against the Padres (7 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks). He’ll try to continue his recent success against his old team, the Dodgers, on Sunday. Pedro Martinez also nailed down a win in a quality start against the Nationals (6.2 IP, 7 hits, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks). He’ll be taking on the injury-plagued Mets in his second start on Sunday.

Now on to next week — we’ll take a look at the two-start pitchers that are available in 50-95% of Yahoo leagues. Then, I’ll analyze the best options on this list and give you my thoughts on who is worth a spot start next week. If you like streaming in your weekly-lineup league or you’ve simply have an extra roster spot to burn, check out our suggestions below.

PitcherStart 1Start 2% Owned
Bronson Arroyovs HOUvs FLA30%
Aaron Laffey*@MIN@OAK7%
Carl Pavanovs CLEvs DET15%
John Smoltzvs FLAvs CHC42%
Kevin Correiavs ARZ@PIT8%
Jon Garlandvs PITvs SF11%
Jason Hammel@SF@ARZ5%
Jeff Niemann@BALvs TOR45%

Mixed League Pick
Jason Hammel
Hammel has pitched relatively well as the Rockies’ fourth starter this year in their run for the playoffs, posting a 4.31 ERA and 1.43 WHIP over 150.1 innings. However, like the rest of the Rockies, Hammel has stepped up his game down the stretch and has pitched very well over his last five starts. During that span he has four quality starts with the fifth being a start where he pitched well but was pulled after giving up two runs in five innings against the Giants.
With the Rockies on an absolute tear in September and winners of eight straight, Hammel should get plenty of support in his two starts this week. What really sets Hammel apart as a spot start, however, are his two opponents next week. Hammel will begin the week against the Giants, who’s offense has been awful in September even by their own standards. Over the 10 games so far this month, the Giants have scored a total of 29 runs, just under three runs a game. During that span they have a team OPS of only .643, which is bound to go down after their pathetic performance against the Dodgers last night. Right now the Giants could be shut down by Adam Eaton, so now is the time to spot start as many pitchers as you can against them in order to boost for stats for the playoffs.
In his second start, Hammel will face the Diamondbacks, who have struck out more than any other team in the major leagues this season. Like the Giants, the Diamondbacks have been struggling this month, posting a .682 OPS so far as compared to their .746 season mark. With the Rockies hot streak and the recent (and season-long) struggles of his opposition, Hammel is looking like a good option to put up pretty big numbers for a spot starter next week.
Second Option
John Garland
Garland has pitched pretty well for the Dodgers since they acquired him, posting two quality starts and a win over his two starts. Much like Hammel, a lot of his value as a spot starter this week comes in the offensive support behind him and the ineptitude of the line ups he’s facing. Both games will be played in Garland’s new home ballpark in Los Angeles, an extreme pitcher’s park. Combine that with the fact that he’ll be up against the Pirates and Giants and you’re practically getting two free quality starts and a very good chance at a couple of wins.

Michael Marinakis is a 23-year-old unemployed fantasy addict. You can find him roaming the Cafe all day where he posts as GiantsFan14 and waits for Bruce Bochy to be fired for incompetency.
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