By: Jack Moore
For the final installment of 5 up, 5 down, we’ll look at available starting pitchers over the next two days as rotisserie leagues come down to the wire.
1. Hisashi Iwakuma, SP, SEA: Iwakuma gets the Angels on Tuesday, which could be a tough matchup, but the Angels could be eliminated by that game as well. Iwakuma has both been great as a starter and particularly great at home. He owns a 2.83 ERA and 2.6 K/BB as a starter to go with a 2.70 ERA and 2.4 K/BB at SafeCo Field (even including his time as a 4.75 ERA reliever). Iwakuma has been one of the best under-the-radar starters out there and is still widely available for his last start.
2. Bud Norris, SP, HOU: Norris has been disappointing in his age 27 campaign, posting just a 4.82 ERA and continuing to allow the home run ball to deflate his value – 23 this year in 28 starts. But not much else has changed – his K/BB is 0.01 higher than last year, his WHIP is 0.02 below his career average, and he’s still racking up the strikeouts with 161 in 162.1 innings. He gets a solid matchup against the Cubs at Wrigley on Tuesday, and he’s a particularly good option if you need to catch up in the strikeout category.
3. Patrick Corbin, SP, ARI: Corbin has been beat up in his last two starts, allowing 11 runs in six innings, but those were each in tough environments; at Coors and at the playoff-chasing Giants. But Corbin gets the Rockies at home on Tuesday, and even though Chase Field isn’t the most pleasant pitching environment, the Rockies have been awful pretty much everywhere that isn’t Coors – .867 OPS at home compared to a .660 mark on the road. Corbin has a good chance to end his season on a positive note. Wood has been sharp at times, notching a 2.4 K/BB
4. Travis Wood, SP, CHC: Wood gets the season finale against Houston at home, and that’s all you need to know. Houston is awful, and Wood has managed to strike out 7.6 batters per nine innings at home. Wood still has a bit of a homeritis problem – 25 in 25 starts, and the Cubs’ defense isn’t kind either. But at this point in the season, take the matchup and the home date and run with it.
5. Luis Mendoza, SP, KCR: Mendoza against the Tigers to end the season Wednesday sounds like an awful matchup, but there’s a good chance he’ll catch the Tigers post-clinch – as long as either the Tigers win one of the previous two against Kansas City or the White Sox lose one to Cleveland, it’s over. Mendoza has been a bit better in the second half, too – 4.24 ERA, 2.16 K/BB. It’s scraping the bottom of the barrel, but if you need innings in a deep league, don’t overlook Mendoza.
1. Justin Masterson, SP, CLE: Masterson gets the White Sox on Tuesday, which means he has to face lefties like Adam Dunn, A.J. Pierzynski and Alejandro De Aza. Masterson is awful against left-handed hitters – an .835 OPS allowed and 13 of his 18 homers have come against southpaws. Don’t be surprised if Dunn launches a 450-foot bomb or two en route to a disappointing finish to a disappointing season for Masterson.
2. Jon Lester, SP, BOS: Lester gets the Yankees in Yankee Stadium as they go for a playoff spot. Lester has shown no sign of curing his issues with the home run ball (25 in 32 starts, a career high) and the Yankees will be slugging for the fences as they try to pass the Orioles in this final series. For what it’s worth, he has been significantly better on the road – 3.38 ERA against 6.01 at home – but he has given up three homers at New Yankee Stadium in two starts already this season. Start at your own risk.
3. Ivan Nova, SP, NYY: Nova against the defeated and deflated Red Sox at home sounds like an easy place to pick up a win, right? Unfortunately for Nova, he’ll have to pitch at least 5 innings to get that win, and he hasn’t managed to do it in his last two starts. With the Yankees trying to scratch and claw their way to the AL East crown (to avoid that pesky one-game Wild Card round), don’t be surprised if New York tabs David Phelps for a few innings before Nova can become eligible for the win when he goes Tuesday.
4. Kevin Correia, SP, PIT: Correia probably seems like a better option than guys like Mendoza or Wood, but at least they get strikeouts. Correia has reached his 4.33 ERA with just 4.6 strikeouts per nine innings and he still manages to allow a WHIP of 1.308. He’s not really helping anywhere, and he seems like a good candidate to be hit around by the lefty-heavy strong Braves lineup on Tuesday.
5. Blake Beavan, SP, SEA: Beavan, weirdly, has been impersonating a major league pitcher for the last 28 days, posting a 3.33 ERA in his last four starts. Why am I not buying it? More runs allowed (10) than strikeouts (7). He still has allowed five homers in those four starts and the problem of “being a soft-tossing righty with poor stuff” is likely to bite him in the season finale against the Angels. Also, the opposing starter is Jered Weaver – Beavan almost certainly isn’t winning that game.
Jack Moore is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Mathematics and Economics. His work can also be found at FanGraphs.com, DisciplesOfUecker.com, RotoWire.com, AdvancedNFLStats.com and ESPN. Follow him on twitter at @jh_moore.