Welcome back to Dixon’s Picks. This is the last full week of August, which means it’s time to move, and fast.
Certainly not the greatest of weeks, as Richards and Chen each had one tough outing. While I still like the overall numbers, they can be better. So, let’s see who can offer that help this week.
- Andrew Cashner, San Diego Padres — Probable Starts: Monday vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, Sunday vs. Chicago Cubs
There are a few reasons why Andrew Cashner is almost universally available. One of them is that he struggles away from the friendly confines of Petco Park. But a reason he’s on this list this week is that he’s not only a two-start guy, but his two starts are in San Diego. In his home park, Cashner’s numbers have been pretty solid.
Also, while the Pirates wouldn’t seem like an ideal matchup, their offense ranks below average in nearly every category, and the Cubs are very much in the same boat.
You won’t get a lot of strikeouts with Cashner, who is an average (at best) pitcher in that regard anyway, and is much better in that one category on the road. It makes sense, in Petco, you can pitch to contact a lot more than other stadiums.
So, you might have to figure out a way around that deficiency, but he’s otherwise a very solid bet this week. Actually, unless he’s facing an elite offense, Cashner is a pretty solid bet at home for the rest of the season.
Cashner’s Predictions for the Week
- Chris Rusin, Chicago Cubs — Probable Starts: Tuesday vs. Washington Nationals, Sunday vs. San Diego Padres
It doesn’t happen too often, but here’s a situation where I’m recommending two pitchers going against each other. Obviously, you may need to figure something else out if you’re in a head-to-head league and need two wins come Sunday afternoon.
But otherwise, I like Chris Rusin. When you’re looking at a non-contending team at this time of the year, it’s tough to find guys with a lot of incentive, especially when they’re facing teams that are also out of contention. But Rusin is pitching for a spot in the Chicago rotation in 2014. For a guy who will be 27 next year, that’s pretty good incentive.
Rusin has shown that he can handle tough offenses, like the Cardinals and Reds, and he didn’t do that poorly against the Diamondbacks. So, the Nationals and Padres aren’t what I would call frightening matchups, although Washington always has the potential to break out for a game or two.
I will give a little bonus here and say this: If you absolutely need two wins on Sunday and don’t have the option of the next guy, take whichever pitcher you think wins the Cashner vs. Rusin showdown, and give Jorge de la Rosa a close look. He’s allowed a lot of runners all year, but has done a good job keeping them from scoring, especially away from Coors Field. This weekend, he’ll be facing the Marlins in Miami.
Rusin’s Predictions for the Week
- Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers — Probable Starts: Tuesday vs. Minnesota Twins, Sunday at New York Mets
Okay, I’m not a huge fan of Rick Porcello overall, but I like the way he’s been pitching for more than a month, and I love these matchups for him. The Twins can be a little tricky, but they’re still middle of the road, at best. The Mets are one of the worst offensive teams in the league and won’t be using a DH. They’re used to it, but Porcello is used to facing one extra hitter.
Actually, I should re-state what I originally said. I’m not a huge Porcello fan yet. I actually like his stuff quite a bit, but I don’t know that he’s learned to pitch at the Major League level consistently yet. Having said that, he’s only 24, and again, is coming into this week on a solid run of success, with only a few poorer outings in more than one month’s time. Granted, he’s had some good fortune going against pretty weak offenses, but that’s what he’s looking at this week, too.
All of that, combined with pitcher friendly Comerica Park and Citi Field makes Porcello a good pick this week.
Porcello’s Predictions for the Week