by Will Overton
There are a couple of different approaches to handling pitching during the fantasy baseball playoffs. The most popular way of doing things is the pitching stream. It is a risky move, but if you are willing to gamble on your ERA, a pitch and ditch method to winning wins and strikeouts in the playoffs can work.
However, that method can also blow up in your face, a bad game can ruin your ERA and WHIP and ultimately even if you win wins and K’s, you’ve lost two other categories which is really pointless. Another problem is that some leagues have created provisions to stop teams from the stream in which you have to find other methods.
One of those other methods can be finding a few guys with some really favorable matchups during the playoffs to snatch up off the waiver wire. This is obviously not a foolproof plan because at times mediocre pitchers can fail even in the best of matchups, but these are some of the best playoff matchup pitchers out there on a whole lot of waiver wires.
Bear in mind rotations can change, especially with September call ups, but the way things are right now these six guys have very favorable matchups coming up:
Mike Leake – Cincinnati Reds (PITT, @CHI, LA, @PITT): There have been moments this season where Leake has had value, and times where you need to just stay away. Leake has had two rough starts in his last four outings, but good times may lie ahead thanks to favorable scheduling. All four of these matchups are against teams in the bottom third in the league in runs scored. While the Dodgers are a better team offensively now, it’s still just one tough game out of four. Leake has the stuff to go on a nice run and this schedule is made for him to make one this September.
Tommy Milone – Oakland A’s (SEA, BALT, @DET, @TEX, SEA): The matchup with Texas obviously sticks out on that list, but that’s one game, and you can bench him for that one, he’s still got four other solid starts. Including three starts at home where he has a 2.77 ERA, two of which are against Seattle who he has already dominated in three starts this season. The Detroit start is iffy, but Milone shut the Tigers down once already this season and that offense is inconsistent despite its overall numbers. I will admit to worrying about Milone wearing down because of his youth, but if he struggles in the first couple starts you can always look for someone else. The upside in four of these five starts is nice.
Scott Diamond – Minnesota Twins (KC, CHI, @DET, DET, @TOR): This isn’t the most favorable of matchups, but Scott Diamond has pitched well enough this season to earn a spot on playoff rosters. Diamond faces the Tigers twice, but he handled them once already and he could well do it again. The Blue Jays offense had good overall numbers, but were the third worst run producing team in August and it may not be getting better. Also, Diamond is home for three starts where he has a 2.93 ERA and is 6 – 3.
Lucas Harrell – Houston Astros (CHI, @STL, PITT, @MIL, @CHI): Like Diamond even without the nice schedule Lucas Harrell should be owned for the playoffs. In 11 of his last 13 starts Harrell has allowed two runs or less. The Cardinals and Brewers matchups are tough to handle, but two showdowns with the Cubs helps an awful lot and another game against the struggling and all around inconsistent Pirates is nice too. Harrell has already quietly been one of the better pitchers of the second half, and now he’s got this schedule to look forward to.
Jaime Garcia – St. Louis Cardinals (@SD, @LA, @CHI, @HOU, CIN): There are positives and negatives to grabbing Garcia off the waiver wire. The negative is, he’s not as good on the road. There is actually a considerable difference in his road and home splits over the years. The positive, three road games are against the following teams: Padres, Cubs and Astros. Those are woeful offenses and in the case of San Diego, a trip to a pitchers dream park. The Reds are a scary matchup, but Garcia has owned them with a 7 – 2 record dating back to 2009. Garcia is starting to round back into form after a stint on the DL and he makes a solid pickup right now.
Rick Porcello – Detroit Tigers (@CHI, @CLE, MIN, KC, @ KC): The American League doesn’t have the same amount of woeful offenses as the National League does, but Porcello is about to see the worst of the worst in the American League this month. The only matchup on that list that looks like it could be frightening is the one against the White Sox, and Porcello owns the Sox, 3 – 0 with a 1.23 ERA this season so far. Chances are one of these starts will be rough, because it is Porcello, but overall this schedule doesn’t get any better for Porcello to end the season with a big hot streak.