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Working the Wire

April 14, 2012

This will be a near-weekly article highlighting pitchers available in under 50 percent of ESPN leagues who should provide solid stats for those of you who enjoy streaming.

Vance Worley – April 19 at San Diego – Worley’s getting hit around pretty well by the Mets as I write this, but so far he’s struck out four in four innings. He’s given up two home runs, but both to pretty good hitters (David Wright and Lucas Duda). He had a good first start of the season – against the Pirates who resemble the Padres – compiling a 1.0 WHIP, 1.5 ERA and a 5:1 K:BB. So far the Pads have scored 29 runs in eight games, fewer than four a contest. Their hitters are also only hitting a combined .190. That number, as well as their combined OBP, goes down when they play at Petco (seven games at home so far). They’re also only slugging .274 at home, which is last in the NL. Worley should be a good source of K’s and a low WHIP in his Thursday start.

Jeff Samardzija – April 19 at Miami – “Shark” has looked very good so far, striking out 13 in 13.2 innings while only walking one. That one walk is a good sign for the Shark so far, as his walk rate is a miniscule 1.8 percent so far, compared to it being over 13 last year. He’s able to blow hitters away with a fastball that averages over 95 miles an hour, and his advanced stats (FIP, xFIP, etc.) show that his numbers are legit so far. In two games at the Marlins’ new stadium, only one home run has been hit and only 14 total runs have been scored. The Marlins haven’t hit at home, and it’s not much better on the road, either: They’ve only averaging a shade over three runs a game on the season. Ride the Shark before he bites you.

Jake Arrieta – April 16 at Chicago – A pirate’s favorite pitcher isn’t striking out as many as he did last year (nine total this year), but he’s cut back on his walks, issuing only three free passes in two starts. In his most recent start against the Yankees he gave up four runs but only allowed six base runners in 6.2 innings. That followed a strong first start of the season against the Twins. Against righthanders the White Sox are only scoring three runs a game and aren’t even getting on base at a combined .300 clip. White Sox hitters have struck out 57 times and only walked 15 times this season, which should bode well for the so far command-heavy Arrieta.

Lance Lynn – April 20 at Pittsburgh – Lynn wasn’t able to get out of the sixth inning in today’s start, but otherwise he put up another solid outing against the Cubs – five Ks, two BBs and only four hits. He now has 13 strikeouts and only three walks in 12 innings. Pirates’ hitters have a combined eight at bats against Lynn in his career, which should help him get through a lineup that’s only scored 11 runs in seven games this season. The Pirates have the lowest total average, OBP and slugging among all NL teams. Lynn’s looked very good this season, using a mid-90s fastball low in the zone, a slider and curveball as his three primary pitches. He should continue his hot start for a couple months at least.

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