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Pitching For the Final Weekend

If you are in H2H championships right now, you are probably thinking of streaming or already knee deep in probable starters as we speak. Here’s a quick run-down of the more interesting starters by day for the final weekend. Good luck!

Mark Rogers is starting against the Reds and if you need strikeouts and strikeouts alone, he’s an interesting name. He missed all of 2007 and 2008 with labrum surgeries (torn!) and yet he’s got his velocity back up to 94/95 MPH and has shown his characteristic strikeout punch again (10.06 K/9 in his minor league career). Then again, Rogers has control problems (5.67 BB/9 career in minor leagues), to put it mildly. He also saw a reduced strikeout rate (about one per inning) after the surgeries. In more shallow leagues, the strikeouts-and-strikeouts alone option is Bud Norris, but that’s living on the edge, too, despite his nice FIP (4.16).

PIcking up Pat Misch might be a misch-take but at least he doesn’t walk people (0.93 BB/9 this year, 2.53 career), and is keeping the ball on the ground this year (51.8%). The Washington lineup will also be without Ryan Zimmerman, so he’ll have less opposition. He’s probably the safest streamer Friday. Jordan Zimmermann is also safer than Rogers (most starters are), and offers more strikeout ability than Misch, but he’s been limited to about five innings per start, so his ability to get you a “W” has been adversely affected.

The Kyle Kendrick / Brandon Beachy tilt is probably best to be avoided, given Kendrick’s FIP (4.91) and Beachy’s lack of experience and the stress of the moment. If you’re going to take the dive on one of the two, try Beachy, who has always shown great control in the minor leagues (2.12 BB/9), and added strikeout punch as he advanced.

Saturday is actually a rough day for streamers, with a lot of established pitchers taking their final turns. Chris Capuano has been pitching decently and should be fresh, but his career numbers (4.34 ERA / 1.35 WHIP) were accrued in over 700 innings and shouldn’t be ignored. He’s pretty vanilla and only struck out one dude in his last start. His opponent, Homer Bailey, offers much more in the way of strikeout ability and risk. But Bailey’s only given up more than four runs once in his past ten appearances, so maybe he’s not as risky as we think. He’s pitching as a post-season audition and has a 3.89 FIP, he’s a decent spot starter.

Tim Stauffer is flying off the shelves (14% owned now), and for good reason. He’s got a great final matchup against the Giants, and has finally regained that groundball-inducing stuff (53.7%) that made him interesting before the injuries. His FIP (2.84) and opponent makes him the best spot starter of the day. Wade Davis is also an interesting name for the day, as he has a good matchup (the Royals) and has been pitching better since the half-way mark (3.36 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9).

Joe Saunders and Alex Sanabia both have nice matchups (the Dodgers in LA and the Pirates in Florida, respectively), and they limit the walks (2.93 and 1.99 BB/9), but both have poor strikeout rates (5 and 5.85 K/9), so they are better options for those looking to protect ratios than those looking for the K.

A little tip for roto players looking to get the most out of their innings limits. On Yahoo, the innings limits are enforced at the end of the day. So if you have one inning going into the final day, you can throw as many arms as you like that day and receive credit for all of them. It may not be in the spirit of the rule, but it is in the rules, and winning eases all pains. If you have little to lose in regards to your ratios, you might as well throw everyone you can that day.

That said, it’s not a great day for streaming. The shallow league prize is probably Ted Lilly, who has a nice matchup against the K-happy Diamondbacks in Los Angeles, but he’s owned in 62% of leagues and you’d have to get lucky to find him on your wire. Mike Pelfrey seems streaky and is in the midst of a decent stretch (only two starts of 3+ runs allowed in his last ten) and he gets the scrubs the Nationals want to run out on their final day in a decent matchup. He’s available about half the time, too. Randy Wolf would be a better matchup if he weren’t a flyballer going into Cincinnati, but he’s been strong this second half at least (3.70 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) and is a known quantity.

The deep league prize is probably Marc “Scrabble” Rzepczynski, who is once again striking out over eight per nine (8.1 K/9) and keeping the ball on the ground (51.7%). His walks are once again a little too high, though (4.45 BB/9 this year, 4.42 career), so as his FIP shows (4.87), he’s not without risk. Then again, it doesn’t seem likely that the Twins will risk too many of their regulars on the last day, and Scrabble is coming off of a string of good starts, including his last, a gem against the Yankees. I’d rather use him than his opponent Nick Blackburn, as his groundball-inducing repertoire will be going up against a slew of Jays trying to pad career-high homer totals. Strength on strength, I’m not betting against Jose Bautista et al, at least not this year.

Otherwise, it’s a tough day. Had Brad Bergesen not blown up against the Rays, he might look like a decent start against the weaker Tigers offense, but there is that five-run start looking up at you from his game log (as well as his poor strikeout numbers (4.25 K/9) and well-deserved FIP (5.20)). Brian Burres gets an okay matchup in Florida, but he’s not a good pitcher (5.01 K/9, 4.89 FIP). If you are scraping the bottom of this barrel, you’d be better off trying Esmil Rogers, who gets to pitch in St. Louis and has shown the ability to keep the ball on the ground (50.7% career GB) and garner the strikeout (8.47 K/9 this year). Call Rogers the surprise at the bottom of the cracker jacks.