Woof. I don’t know what has happened. I’ve taken a real beating over the last couple weeks, and I apologize for anyone who has taken my advice. I’ll continue to write this column in vain, but completely understand if people don’t trust me again for a long, long time. Anyway, so here goes:
Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 10)
17 quality starts
Here are this week’s recs (with team wRC+ for this season in parentheses):
RHP Jason Hammel – 8.7% ESPN – v. BOS (98), v. TOR (92)
Surely neither his team’s nor his season have been much to write home about — 5.05 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 4.40 FIP — but Hammel has been better of late, and it’s not like he hasn’t had stretches where he was really, really good recently. That includes the month of June, where over the 20.1 innings he’s thrown this month, he’s posted a 2.21 ERA with 15 strikeouts and just one walk in three starts. Of course, that includes a start against the woeful Giants last time out, but he did also make solid starts against the Indians and Astros. Back up to his last five starts — since a rough outing against the Yankees on May 16 at home — and Hammel still has a 3.52 ERA and 24-7 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. That’s a string of five pretty good starts, or about 15 percent of a season. We’ll give him a spin here in a couple interesting matchups.
LHP Francisco Liriano – 10.5% ESPN – @TEX (89), @KC (82)
I understand being scared to death to trust Liriano — the literal definition of a human time bomb — but these two matchups were too good for me to ignore. If you don’t like it, there are a couple names at the bottom of this post to consider otherwise. It’s not like Liriano has been all bad this season, as he’s fanning a batter per inning. If that feels like a bit of a reach for you, at least he’s been pretty good in June, too: 17 innings, 19-5 K/BB ratio and 3.71 ERA. One thing that might give you pause is that this month, opposing batters are hitting .231/.278/.462 against him. He isn’t giving up much, but when he does, it’s big. He does have a 12 percent swinging strike rate this month, though — so there’s potential for some big strikeout games this upcoming week.
RHP Robert Gsellman – 9.2% ESPN – @LAD (102), @SF (77)
It’s been a rough season, but I’ve always believed in the talent here, and hopefully it can come to roost this week. Since a rough start against th Brewers a month ago sent him to the bullpen, Gsellman has been pretty darn good. In six appearances (four starts) in the meantime, he’s posted a 2.25 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 28 innings (eight walks) and an opponents’ slash line against of .204/.268/.320. I’m especially salivating over the matchup against the Giants, but it’s not like the Dodgers have absolutely obliterated opposing pitchers this year, either. Sure, they have the ability to make life difficult, but it’s not like facing this year’s Yankees. It’s the classic give-to-get scenario either way, because again, I really like his chances against San Fran.