I won't sugar coat it. Last week sucked. On Monday, Ted Lilly labored through three innings, giving up five runs (four earned), eight hits and two walks against the Rockies. And he might be hurt. I fell hard for Wade Davis that same night and he burned me big time. He gave up eight runs and 12 hits against the Indians. Never. Again. He could be headed for the pen. My best call was Jason Hammel against the Mariners, who picked up the win but was unimpressive in doing so. He gave up two runs, seven hits and three walks in five innings. Meh. On Tuesday night, Edinson Volquez picked up a win against the Cubs, but it was in typical underwhelming Volquez fashion. He gave up four runs and couldn't get through six. I'll take it, even if it's a little victory.
This week, the scheduling gods have packed a light schedule, so hopefully the rain (and snow) gods leave the wet stuff for another week.
Madison Bumgarner: Mon-PHI (Lee), Sat-ATL (Maholm)
Matt Harvey: Tue-CWS (Sale), Sun-PIT (McDonald)
Cliff Lee: Mon-@SF (Bumgarner), Sat-@ARI (Cahill)
Clay Buchholz: Mon-MIN (Worley), Sat-TOR (Buehrle)
Chris Sale: Mon-@KC (Shields), Sun-LAA (Wilson)
Ryan Dempster: Tue-MIN (Diamond), Sun-TOR (Happ)
Jeremy Hellickson: Mon-TOR (Buehrle), Sat-SD (Volquez)
Paul Maholm: Mon-@CIN (Arroyo), Sat-@SF (Bumgarner)
Trevor Cahill: Mon-@LAD (Beckett), Sat-PHI (Lee)
Hiroki Kuroda: Tue-@COL (De La Rosa), Sun-@KC (Mendoza)
Pretty, pretty good
Kris Medlen: Tue-@CIN (Bailey), Sun-@SF (Lincecum)
Kyle Kendrick: Tue-@SF (Lincecum), Sun-@ARI (McCarthy)
Wei-Yin Chen: Tue-KC (Mendoza), Sun-@MIN (Diamond)
C.J. Wilson: Tue-@HOU (Bedard), Sun-@CWS (Peavy)
Andrew Cashner: Mon-MIA (LeBlanc), Sun-@TB (Hernandez)
Tim Lincecum: Tue-PHI (Kendrick), Sun-ATL (Medlen)
Josh Beckett: Mon-ARI (Cahill), Sun-MIA (LeBlanc)
Tommy Milone: Tue-@CLE (Jimenez), Sun-@SEA (Saunders)
Roberto Hernandez: Tue-TOR (Happ), Sun-SD (Cashner)
Scott Feldman: Mon-TEX (Tepesch), Sun-@WSH (Gonzalez)
Bronson Arroyo: Mon-ATL (Maholm), Sun-MIL (Estrada)
Nick Tepesch: Mon-@CHC (Feldman), Sun-@HOU (Bedard)
Play the matchups
J.A. Happ: Tue-@TB (Hernandez), Sun-@BOS (Dempster)
Zach McAllister: Mon-OAK (Parker), Sat-@DET (Scherzer)
Jeremy Hefner: Tue-CWS (Sale), Sun-PIT (McDonald)
James McDonald: Tue-SEA (Maurer), Sun-@NYM (Hefner)
Brandon McCarthy: Tue-@LAD (Capuano), Sun-PHI (Kendrick)
Jarrod Parker: Mon-@CLE (McAllister), Sat-@SEA (Iwakuma)
Not this week
Erik Bedard: Tue-LAA (Wilson), Sun-TEX (Tepesch)
Mark Buehrle: Mon-@TB (Hellickson), Sat-@BOS (Buchholz)
Scott Diamond: Tue-@BOS (Dempster), Sun-BAL (Chen)
Vance Worley (MIN) -- Mon-@BOS (Buchholz), Sat-BAL (Hammel)
Wade LeBlanc: Mon-@SD (Cashner), Sun-@LAD (Beckett)
Ubaldo Jimenez: Tue-OAK (Milone), Sun-@DET (Verlander)
Luis Mendoza: Tue-@BAL (Chen), Sun-NYY (Kuroda)
Kyle Kendrick (58.7% ESPN; 40% Yahoo!)
2013: 3-1, 40.2 IP, 29 K, 10 BB, 2.43 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
I went all in on Kendrick last week for his one start against Miami and it paid off with a win. (Bold, I know.) After giving up single runs in the first and second, Kendrick held off the potent Marlins offense for the next five and finished the day with five strikeouts and two walks in seven innings. Kendrick has now posted five consecutive quality starts and not all have come against scrubs (Mets, Reds, Cardinals, Mets, Marlins). Since August 14 of last year, Kendrick has gone 6+ innings in 13 of 16 starts. I'm buying Kendrick's breakout not only for this week but for the rest of the season. His 6.42 K/9 rate doesn't scream awesome, but he's not a pitcher who is going to beat himself with the walk, either (2.21 BB/9). Kendrick is on the road for both of his starts in Week 6 with one coming in cozy San Francisco against the maddening Tim Lincecum.
Andrew Cashner (6.3% ESPN; 25% Yahoo!)
2013: 1-2, 23.1 IP, 20 K, 12 BB, 4.24 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
Cashner hasn't had a smooth transition from reliever to starter (16 IP, 13 hits, eight runs, six walks, 11 strikeouts), but you have to keep in mind that he's going through an adjustment period. Cashner gets two favorable starts in Week 6, starting with a home matchup against the Stanton-less Marlins. Look for Cashner to go deep into this game after struggling to get through four innings against the Cubs in his last start. Cashner isn't striking out as many batters as we're accustomed to seeing, but a 7.71 K/9 rate and a 53.8% ground ball rate should be producing better results. The problem: a 4.63 BB/9 rate. I think that's a fixable problem, however. As a starter, Cashner's walk rate is 2.33 compared to 5.16 as a reliever. As he continues to stretch out, I see the walks coming down. Cashner still has doubters, so it's a big week to prove his starter worthiness.
Roberto Hernandez (0.8% ESPN; 2% Yahoo!)
2013: 1-4, 30.2 IP, 30 K, 10 BB, 5.28 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
With a little more luck, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona would be an early-season comeback player with a new name candidate. Hernandez's 5.28 ERA isn't pretty, but his 3.40 xFIP and 3.41 SIERA indicate that there's some serious upside here. He's gone 6+ innings with five or more strikeouts in four of five starts, and he currently holds a 3.00 K/BB rate. He's given up five long balls, but four of them have come on the road. His last start was rained out in Kansas City, so he now gets two home starts in Week 6 against the Blue Jays and the Padres. The Blue Jays are seventh worst with a 22.1% strikeout rate, while the Padres are 11th worst with a 21% strikeout rate. Both teams are in the bottom third of the league in runs scored. Start Hernandez with confidence this week.
Scott Feldman (0.8% ESPN; 2% Yahoo!)
2013: 2-3, 29.2 IP, 24 K, 13 BB, 3.34 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Feldman has gone unnoticed for the most part this year, but his latest start should bump up his ownership significantly. On Thursday, Feldman threw his first career complete game, giving up two runs, three hits (two home runs) with 12 strikeouts and one walk. After failing to go past five innings in each of his first three starts, Feldman has gone 15.2 innings in his last two with a 14:3 K:BB ratio. In 2011 and 2012, Feldman had a 3.72 xFIP and 3.87 xFIP, respectively, while with the Rangers, so his current 3.34 ERA in the NL doesn't surprise me. I see Feldman going on a nice run starting in Week 6. He faces his old teammates on Monday as the Cubs host the Rangers in a make up an early-season rainout. Texas might not have much interest playing in this one on what should have been an off-day. On Sunday, Feldman gets a Nationals team that might seem scary on paper, but they're currently ranked 25th with 107 runs scored. The Cubs, by comparison, are 24th with 109.
Alex Kantecki is a contributor for Fake Teams, Big Leagues Magazine, Dobber Baseball and Vigilante Baseball. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotodealer.