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Watching the Wire: May 24-29

May 23, 2011

So that whole Excel sheet nonsense was kind of a pain in the butt – like Jim Joyce yelling after every strike, then calling Albert Pujols out on a terrible “strike” call. But last week’s ‘Wire’ recommendations were another solid bunch. We didn’t get any W’s, but you’re not chasing wins when you stream pitchers. You’re looking to get some K’s and improve your ratios, and you’ll take any wins that come your way. Last week’s five pitchers went 31 innings, compiled a 3.48 era and a 1.09 whip. Jake Arrieta had the worst start of the bunch, giving up six runs in only 3.2 innings. Bartolo Colon, who was rocked tonight, went eight innings, gave up zero runs and struck out seven. And we had two solid starts from Scott Baker and Brandon McCarthy, and a very good start from Chris Narveson, who didn’t allow a run and only allowed five walks/hits in 7.1 innings. Here are this week’s ‘Wire’ recommendations:

Ted Lilly, Wednesday vs Houston – Lilly’s been inconsistent this year, or consistently bad, I guess. Lately though his numbers have began to correct themselves. He’s 2-2 in his last five starts, with two quality starts in his last three outings. He’s gone six or more innings and struck out at least four in each of his last five starts. In his last three starts he has a 1.00 WHIP, but a 4.26 ERA, which is due to only one “bad” outing – a 6-inning, 4-run, 7-walks/hits, 5-k game. Lilly’s BABIP is 30 points over his career norm of .273, while his groundball rate is at 35.1 percent – better than last year’s. His K/9 is down from years past, but so is his BB/9. Once the batted balls start falling into fielders’ gloves, Lilly will again be a good start against almost any team. Houston has the fifth-highest strikeout total of any team in the majors, and ranks 29th in walks taken. Even if Lilly does give up four runs, his WHIP and K numbers should help you this week.

Erik Bedard, Wednesday vs Minnesota – Bedard hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last four starts, has only allowed 21 walks/hits in 27 innings and has compiled a 4:1 K:BB in that same time span. He’s got a 0.69 ERA in his last two starts, with a 0.92 WHIP. Now he’s facing the worst offensive team in the majors, the Twins, who have the lowest OPS of any major league team. Bedard might not get the win, but every other stat should be there.

J.A. Happ, Tuesday vs Los Angeles – Happ’s got three straight quality starts and struck out eight in his last start. He’s walking quite a few (10 in his last three starts), but limiting his opponents’ hits (15 in last 18 innings). The Dodgers rank 26th in runs scored, and really only have two offensive threats in Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Los Angeles ranks in the bottom half of the majors in strikeouts and walks. Happ should be able to get another quality start, and supply you with a good amount of K’s.

John Lannan, Friday vs San Diego – Lannan’s not very good, but the Padres’ offense is, well, not much better. Stream-worthy in deep mixed leagues.

Nick Blackburn, Tuesday vs Seattle – Blacky has three quality starts, a 1.71 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in his last three outings. He’s gone into the 7th inning in each of those starts, and limited the Red Sox to one run and Blue Jays to two runs. Seattle’s tied for second-to-last place in runs scored throughout the majors, and has only hit 24 home runs, worst among all 30 teams.

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