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Under the Radar Pitchers

   by ASA - 08/03/2010

Good Options When Betting On Bad Teams

These guys don’t always get the publicity they deserve because they all play for cellar dwellers. Whether it’s because of spotty defense or non-existent offense; these pitchers have a hard time catching a break.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get value when these guys are pitching for their respective teams. They will be underdogs most of the time when they take the mound and that represents a potentially beneficial play.

(Note: quality start, or QS, represents a start in which the pitcher completed at least 6 innings and allowed no more than 3 runs.)

Jason Vargas – Seattle Mariners
It amazes me that the Mariners were unable to stay afloat in the AL East. They started the season with Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee as potentially the best one-two punch in baseball. Jason Vargas is no “third wheel” however. Vargas is 6-5 with a 3.20 ERA with 15 quality starts, including 8 QS in his last 11 outings.

Potential Play-On opponent: LA Angels. Vargas is 1-0 with 3 QS against Los Angeles this season. Seattle has two remaining series’ against LAA.

Livan Hernandez – Washington Nationals
Rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg gets most of the hype and attention for the Nats, but it’s the veteran Hernandez who we like as an under-the-radar pitcher. The 35-year old is 7-7 with 14 quality starts and a respectful 3.22 ERA this season. Washington’s offense has done little to help Hernandez, averaging just 3.0 runs per game in his last 13 starts.

Potential Play-On opponent: New York Mets. Hernandez is 1-0 in 3 quality starts against the Mets this season. He’s allowed just 16 hits and 3 ER in 20.1 innings of work. Washington has two remaining series’ against New York this season.

Jeremy Guthrie – Baltimore Orioles
Amazingly, Guthrie is the Orioles leader in wins when it comes to starting pitchers – with 4. He is just 4-11 but has a solid ERA of 4.23. He’s also produced 13 Quality starts in 21 attempts. Baltimore has averaged just 3.1 runs per game in Guthrie’s 21 starts this season (scored 3 or fewer in 15 of 21). It’s hard to bet on the Orioles when starting pitchers are a combined 12-41, but Guthrie is the best option as an underdog.

Potential Play-On opponent: Toronto. Guthrie has faced Toronto three times this season. Despite the 0-2 record, he’s had two QS and allowed just 5 ER in 19.2 innings against the Jays.

Brett Myers – Houston Astros
Houston just traded Roy Oswalt to the Phillies, allowing Myers to obtain the “ace” of staff label. Based on the numbers, Myers was having a better 2010 campaign than Oswalt. Myers is 8-6 and boasts a 3.10 ERA with 15 quality starts this season. In the month of July, he’s allowed just seven runs and is 3-0 in 5 quality starts.

Potential Play-On opponent: Chicago Cubs. Myers is 3-0 against Chicago this season. He’s allowed just four runs in 22.2 innings of work, including a complete game in his most recent start. Houston has two remaining series’ against the Cubs.

Fausto Carmona – Cleveland Indians
Carmona shows up last on our list because he is a little bit more of a household name; however he still plays for the lowly Indians. Carmona has 15 quality starts this season and is the Indians leader in wins (10) and ERA (3.92). In June and July combined, he’s had eight quality starts (out of 11) and has a 3.48 ERA.

Potential Play-On opponent: Detroit & Chicago White Sox. Carmona is 3-1 combined vs. these two teams. and in the lone loss he pitched a complete game in which the Indians were shutout. He’s allowed just 11 ER in 27 innings of work. Cleveland has 12 total games against both remaining on the schedule.

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