Flamethrowers: MLB Week Two

Bret HoffmanCorrespondent IApril 13, 2009

Flamethrowers- Week Two

Flamethrowers is our Monday topic at thesportspa.blogspot.com. In these articles we tell you what pitchers are hot, and also those you might want to stay away from. There's a lot of info in this article, as it's still early in the season, and there are so many interesting players, both good and bad, at this point.


1) Josh Johnson

He's only 25, and he can pump it. The Marlin's youngster threw 6.2 scoreless innings against the Nationals to earn him his first victory of the season. In that game, he gave up 7 H, zero BB and had 8 SO. He followed that performance up by besting Johan Santana and the Mets on Sunday.
He went the complete game, giving up 5 hits, one ER, one BB and had 7 more SO. The Marlins are a hot team right now, and Johnson is one of the main reasons, so ride him while he's hot.

2) Johan Santana

Though he lost to Johnson, he still pitched well enough to win the game. The Mets lost 2-1, and both of those runs were unearned. Over his first 2 starts, Santana has only given up 6 H, 1 ER with an amazing 20 SO.
His five BB are kind of worrisome, but Santana is one you can count on to consistently pitch well all year. Plus, he has better second half numbers for his career, so you know he will get it done for you when it counts.

3) Chris Carpenter

It's nice to see him back. In his first outing of the season, Carpenter gave up only one H, one unearned R, two BB and had 7 SO over seven innings. Keep an eye on him to see how his next start goes, as he is scheduled to pitch against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday the 14th.
Those of you who gambled on him are really pleased with yourselves, but are also praying that he can stay healthy, and that his success continues. He looks good so far.

4) Kyle Lohse

Lohse threw a complete game shutout against the Astros on Sunday. After two games, Lohse is 2 and 0 while throwing 16 innings, giving up 8 H, two ER, one BB, and striking out 8. He has a 1.13 ERA thus far, yet he's only owned in 12.4 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. Grab him now and hope that he continues to get it done.

5) Aaron Harang
Harang appears to be healthy, and his stuff is looking legit. He had a tough loss on opening day against the Mets, in which he only gave up one ER over 5 innings of work. He rebounded extremely nicely on Sunday by throwing a three H shutout. He had zero BB while striking out 9 Pirates. He has a 0.64 ERA with 11 SO and a WHIP of 0.93. It will certainly be interesting to see if Harang can keep it up, but ride him while he's hot, and if for some reason he's available in your league, pick him up pronto.

6) Chris Young

Young is straight dealing through 2 starts. Everybody was ready to give up on him, but he's making all of us doubters pay. In his first start he beat the Dodgers throwing 6 strong innings, in which he gave up five H, two ER, two BB and had 5 SO. His second outing, on Sunday against the Giants, was even better.
He went seven innings, giving up four H, zero ER, zero BB and striking out seven. He's currently owned in 81.8 percent of ESPN leagues. If he's available, grab him immediately.

Other Notables

Roy Halladay. All this guy does is win. He's about as consistent as they come.

Yovani Gallardo is now the Brewer's ace. He looked the part in his first start. He went 6.2 innings, giving up six H, two ER, two BB and striking out six Giants. He also took Randy Johnson deep, so if that counts in your league that's just a cherry on top. Check him out Monday against the Reds.

Carlos Zambrano has been good so far for the Cubbies. A lot of people were ready to give up on him coming into this season. You believers out there, kudos to you for taking the risk on Big Z. The Cubs really need consistency from Carlos is they hope to finally end the curse.

Jarod Washburn had a great first start, going 8 innings and giving up zero ER. Watch his next start against the Angels on Wed. Apr. 15.

Kevin Millwood has been great over his first two starts for the Rangers. He's 1-0 with an ERA of 0.64. Pitching has been the Rangers downfall in years past, and seeing Millwood produce early has to be encouraging for a team with such a potent offense.

Kyle Davies and Zack Grienke have both looked good so far for the improved Royals. They need both of these guys to stay hot if they have a shot at all.

Bartolo Colon looked good in his first start for the Chi Sox. He pitched well for Boston in 2008 before he landed on the DL. Keep and eye on him, and remember at one time this guy was one of the best in the game.

Jair Jurrjens has won his first two starts. He sports and ERA of 2.45, but only has three SO so far. Obviously, for fantasy purposes, the wins are important, but so are the K's.

Jermemy Guthrie is also 2-0 for the Orioles. He has an ERA of 2.25 with 5 SO. Same as Jurrjens, the wins are nice, but you would like to see more K's.

Livan Hernandez looked good for the Mets in his first start of the year. Having stability at the back of their rotation is crucial if they expect to make the playoffs. Keep an eye on Livan, I'm sure he's available in most leagues. He's a veteran who can pick up some wins for you.

Andy Pettite is another veteran that can notch some wins for you. He's on a very good team, and should have very solid numbers at season's end.

Heath Bell for the Padres and Joakim Soria for the Royals are both 3-for-3 in save opps. Soria has only given up one ER, while Bell has yet to surrender any ER.


1) Cliff Lee

The AL Cy Young winner from just a year ago has struggled mightily in his first two starts. Lee has surrendered 17 H, 11 ER, five BB over only 10 innings. This gives him an ERA of 9.90 to start the year. The Indians can't seem to win, and Lee is making 2008 appear like a fluke.
I would sell high on Lee while you still can.

2) Roy Oswalt

Normally solid, but it hasn't been true so far in 2009. Over two starts, Oswalt has given up 16 H, 9 ER, three BB and has only had 6 SO in 13 innings. Not good numbers at all, and the lack of SO's have to be a concern.
I think Oswalt has a better chance to bounce back than Lee. Don't get too concerned yet, he's had a consistent career. However, if he struggles in his next couple of outings I would try a get some value out of him as well.

3) Carl Pavano

Easily the worst start of the 2009 season. Pavano only managed one inning in his first start for the Indians. He gave up six H, 9 ER, three BB to give him a whopping ERA of 81. Steer clear until he proves he can still pitch at all.

4) Francisco Liriano

Not many people saw this one coming, but I'm sure there were some out there who were a little iffy on Liriano. He has lost his first two starts so far, giving up 10 H, 9 ER, 4 BB and only striking out 6 over 11.2 innings.
He is still a young pitcher, and I think he has by far the best chance of a rebound. Don't give up on him yet. If you don't own him, you might try to buy low.

5) Brian Moehler

Not that you own him or anything, but he had Pavano-like stats in his first outing, thus earning him a spot on the NOT HOT list. He made it a mere 1.2 innings, giving up 8 H and 7 ER to boast an ERA of 37.8.
His ERA and age are the same (37), which clearly warns to stay away. Houston is hurting at the back end of their rotation, and Moehler may get a few more chances, but still avoid him completely, obviously.

Other Notables

Randy Johnson looked his age in his first start for the Giants. He gave up his first career HR to a pitcher, Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers. He gave up four ER over five innings. The Unit might have a little left in the tank, but he's someone you would want to play the match-ups with, and that's if you use him at all.

Stay away from all Washington National pitchers at this point. Joe Lannan and Daniel Cabrera have both looked horrible so far.

Tim Lincecum has been roughed up over his first two starts. I have to believe that he will turn it around. Don't panic, this kid is legit.

Ricky Nolasco has also had some early trouble. As with Lincecum, don't give up on him just yet.

Dan Haren has just been unfortunate. He has lost both his first two starts while having an ERA of 2.08. Haren is solid, hang on to him for sure. Arizona will be counting heavily on him to produce while Webb is on the DL, and he's proved in his career that he's capable.

Brandon Webb. Another Cy Young winner off to a rough start. Now he's landed on the 15 day DL. Don't be stupid though, hang on to him.

Cole Hamels had a horrible first outing. He gave up 11 H and 7 ER over just 3.2 innings. This has to raise some concern. But just as with Webb, ride out the storm. Hamels is a good young pitcher, don't sell yourself short by selling him cheap. Think about the long run.

Edinson Volquez had a good 2008 season, but he was roughed up in his first start of 2009. Again, we have another young pitcher in question here. Face it, young pitchers are gonna struggle from time to time. It's called learning, and almost every MLB pitcher goes through this phase at one point or another. Keep the faith, he'll be back.

Lastly, we have Jonathan Sanchez. He looked superb in the early going, striking out 5 of the first six batters he faced. Then he got wild, and it snowballed from there. He did show a glimpse of what he can do though.
He's owned in only 8.2 percent of ESPN leagues. He's someone that's worth taking a gamble on. His upside far outweighs the bad in my opinion.


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