The Daily Grind provides daily match-up advice for tinkerers and daily fantasy players. I welcome advice to help make this column more effective, including notice of impending weather events, new injuries, and changes to platoon situations. Ownership rates are from Yahoo!
The daily picks are a mixture of Daily League specific advice and information for the more typical fantasy owner.
Today’s weather watch
The Indians versus Royals game has a 50 percent chance of showers. The rest of the games should see clear skies.
Johnny Cueto is back from the disabled list but is also working with a pitch count. I would avoid the outing against the Astros unless you need to throw multiple Hail Marys. Other pitchers today include Scott Kazmir, Erik Johnson and Sonny Gray.
Pitcher (to start): Tanner Roark has a sparkling ERA, but his match-up against the Braves doesn’t pair well with some worrying peripherals. Using Roark would be a classic case of trusting the hot hand over talent. There’s a reason that he didn’t debut until his age 26 season and has bounced between the rotation and bullpen. While he’s shown strong walk rates, he generates whiffs at a well below average rate and has been lucky on balls in play and home runs allowed. The Nationals have cut their deficit to 4.5 games in the Wild Card race, so expect a quick hook.
If you have the nerve to use Roark, I recommend looking at Brian Flynn first. He’s been disastrously wild in his first two big league starts but has a strong track record of limiting free passes. He’s also had bad luck on balls in play and with home runs. The Phillies feature a pretty weak offense, although they aren’t as prone to left-handed pitching with Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown on the shelf.
Marco Estrada has been excellent since returning from the disabled list in August. He’ll face a weak Cubs offense. He’s a good bet to generate strikeouts while limiting walks.
Corey Kluber can be counted on to give you a shot at an excellent outing. It’s unclear if the Indians mean to continue limiting his work given that he’s now two starts removed from his stint on the disabled list and the Indians are just half a game out of the second Wild Card. He’s opposed by Danny Duffy, who has seen good results since returning from the disabled list in August but has allowed way too many walks in the process. The Royals are just 3.5 games back from the Wild Card, so this series may make or break their season.
Pitcher (bum): Freddy Garcia opposes Roark. He’s pitched well in three outings since joining the Braves, but he’s showing the exact same stuff as the last few seasons. He can eat some innings, which is all the Braves need of him.
Roy Halladay is having trouble throwing strikes. He’s blaming mechanical changes, but erratic control makes me think that his shoulder injury is not healed. The Marlins aren’t a terrifying lineup, but anyone who walks four batters in a row is exploitable.
Brandon Maurer has struggled when starting ballgames and the Tigers are a tough assignment for anybody.
Nick Tepesch had a single terrible inning in his lone appearance since coming back from the disabled list. It’s not likely that he’s stretched out for the start, so expect a bullpen game.
Jordan Lyles has pitched well of late, but he has a tough game against the Reds tomorrow.
Mike Pelfrey doesn’t have a difficult match-up, but he’s been very inconsistent start-to-start.
Juan Nicasio has to survive the Cardinals onslaught at Coors Field. Good luck.
Try squeezing in Christian Yelich against Halladay.
Pitchers to come
Wednesday: Wednesday has a few interesting choices including Alex Wood and Danny Salazar, but I’m leaning toward the safe pick of Charlie Morton. The upside is significantly less but so is the downside.
Thursday: Ubaldo Jimenez appears to be the best choice for Thursday.
Friday: Zach McAllister has a decent match-up with the Astros.
In case you missed it, Wladimir Balentien broke the Japanese home run record. As mentioned previously, he’s under contract for another two seasons, so don’t get excited about your team signing him.