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There aren’t too many options I’d feel confident using on Saturday, but if you desperately need to play a card there are two pitchers worth taking a chance on.
Anibal Sanchez – Florida Marlins – vs. Washington Nationals
Sanchez faces the Nationals in Florida and while they had an offensive outburst against Joe Blanton (eight runs) on Thursday, huge offensive games are far and few between for the Nats.
The Nationals have the 19th ranked offensive in the league, and have scored 297 runs away from home compared to 334 at home, so if there is a prime time to use a starter against them, it’s when they’re away.
Even though Sanchez has a 4.47 ERA and 1.62 WHIP on the year, since he’s returned from his latest DL stint he has compiled a 2.61 ERA, 18 strikeouts in 20.2 innings, and a 1-2 record in his four starts.
His last start came against the Nats in DC where he threw six innings, giving up four hits, striking out five, and giving up no runs. While I doubt he’ll be this good in his next start because of the familiarity effect for Nats’ hitters, I still think he’ll be usable this weekend.
Prediction: 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K, and a W.
Vicente Padilla – Los Angeles Dodgers - @ San Francisco Giants
Padilla has already made an appearance in this column before, but how could you ignore him when he’s facing the Giants? The Giants are basically the worst hitting team in the majors—six runs removed from actually making that statement a reality, so at this point in the season you have to find a way to squeeze in starts against offenses like this.
They have one feared hitter in their lineup, Pablo Sandoval, and without him their lineup looks like a glorified Triple-A one.
Padilla has pitched remarkably well since the Dodgers scooped him up, allowing a total of five runs in his 16.1 innings. There’s a reason why the Texas Rangers gave up on him though, as ERAs of 5.76, 4.74, and 4.92 would point to.
With that said, he’s still facing the Giants and he plays in a productive offense, even though they’ve struggled to score a lot lately. You can’t ignore how he’s pitched recently, with two of his only Dodgers wins coming on the road.
He won’t strikeout a ton, but he’s keeping the Dodgers in the games he’s pitching in and he’s limiting his walks, so that’s all that can be asked for. Padilla should keep the streak alive on Saturday.
Prediction: 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K, and a W.
What do you guys think about these choices? What are your predictions?