Nothing Mike Leake does is overly exciting, excluding his 12 strikeout performance versus the Giants last week. Over his last 47 starts(a little over 300 innings), Leake has posted a 3.38 ERA. His FIP during that time is 3.90. Throughout his career, he’s beaten his peripherals, so we keep waiting for him to fall back a little. So far, he hasn’t. In fact, he’s even taken a few steps forward this year.
Leake’s striking out more hitter than he ever has, even if you remove his impeccable effort last week, his K% this season sits at 17.4%; a career high. His walk rate, which has always been good, is also at a career low. And he’s posting the best groundball rate. All of that, plus a little more, is leading to the best year of his career.
Perhaps Mike Leake is a little underwhelming. It’s not hard to overlook him considering how many flamethrowers populate the game today, but he’s still pretty darn good. He’s facing the Padres tonight, who, as Blake noted on Sunday, are perhaps the best team in the majors to bet on pitching against; they do have a team wide wOBA of .270, after all.
Over his past five starts, James Shields hasn’t been very good, posting an ERA well over five and seeing his strikeouts drop off. Things won’t get much easier for him tonight when he faces off with Minnesota. Ricky Nolasco, opposing Shields, hasn’t been very good either, so runs could be somewhat plentiful in this one.
And speaking of pitchers that haven’t been as good as projected, Justin Masterson is on the bump tonight in LA. Josh Beckett, who refuses to die, will try to stifle the Indians and help the Dodgers pull ahead of the Giants.
Finally, feel free to target the following pitchers: Marco Estrada (he’s pitching in Toronto. Yikes.), Christian Friedrich (RHB), Nick Martinez (LHB), Edwin Jackson (LHB), Clay Buchholz (all hands on deck, if you so choose), Marco Gonzales (RHB), and the three struggling pitchers in the paragraphs above.
The Daily Five
Mike Leake – $16,234
Friedrich’s command leaves a little to be desired. The Nationals are off and on, so I’m hoping they’re on tonight considering the fact that the above men will have a rather large platoon advantage.
Andrew McCutchen – $7,559
Unfortunately, the forecast in Pittsburgh is a little iffy. If you’re able to monitor the radar, though, make sure McCutchen is in. Any time he’s under $8,000 and facing a lefty, especially one that has struggled, I’m going to have him.
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