Stat Potential: ERA, WHIP
Risk Factor: Moderate-High
It's been a tough go at it so far this week, with both Jason Vargas and Doug Davis delivering unimpressive performances. Two guys I suggested in brief for Tuesday—Brad Bergesen and Jason Hammel—actually pitched very well and earned wins, so even if my featured pickup fails to deliver, I can always fall back on those bonus suggestions.
Nonetheless, spot starting is a risky business. If you do it regularly, there will always be an occassional dud. Hopefully, it's an outing like Vargas had Tuesday night (5.2 innings, three runs), and not like Jeremy Guthrie's of a week ago (six runs in 0.2 innings).
With interleague play returning tomorrow, several starters will face lineups they've never seen before, which tends to benefit a pitcher more than a hitter—if said pitcher has any talent of course. Vin Mazzaro will be a fresh face to any team he opposes, other than the White Sox and Orioles, whom he saw in his first two big league starts this month.
In those outings Mazzaro was impressive, pitching a combined 13.2 innings of scoreless baseball. He scattered eight hits through those two games, and after walking four against the White Sox, gave up zero free passes to a patient Orioles lineup. Both starts resulted in wins for Mazzaro, and he will look to continue his hot start against the Giants tomorrow night.
San Fran didn't help my cause last night against Doug Davis, but they're still ranked 29th in the league in runs scored and play at a pitchers park. If that's not a good matchup, I don't know what is.
Whether or not their players get hyped up for the "Battle of the Bay" series as much as the teams in New York and Chicago is anyone's guess. Both teams are playing well as of late, so it should make for a competitive series.
The one thing you shouldn't bank on with this spot start is a win. Timmy Lincecum will take the hill for San Fran, and despite a rough start this season, it's still the same dominant Freak going against a light-hitting Oakland lineup.
Still, Mazzaro is a candidate to provide solid ERA and WHIP numbers if he can get his impressive breaking stuff, a plus sinker and slider, to induce a bunch of ground balls against the contact hitting Giants' bats. I don't know nearly enough about him to give a ringing endorsement, but Oakland seems to have this thing with pumping out effective fantasy starters.
Mazzaro, after two starts, looks like the next guy in that chain. He's already turning into a hot pickup, and may surge past the 25 percent owned threshold with another strong outing tomorrow night.