Week 12 Stream Team

The Stream Team feature is designed to help you identify the best pitching matchups for each week of the fantasy baseball season.  All pitchers with an average ownership below 40% in Yahoo! and ESPN Leagues are assigned a Matchup Score (MS), a score that weighs multiple factors in an effort to quantify how successful any pitcher will be on any given night.  You can learn more about how Matchup Scores are calculated by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

 

There are currently 79 starting pitchers who are owned in more than 40% of Yahoo! Leagues and 76 starting pitchers who are owned in more than 40% of ESPN Leagues. Since there are 150 starting pitchers in the major leagues, this means that when choosing streaming candidates, we are being asked to choose only from pitchers who the collective fantasy community feel are worse than average.

What is average? This season, the average Major League starter has a 3.91 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 4.9 strikeouts per start. Based on ownership data, any player who can produce numbers better than these should be owned in Yahoo! and ESPN mixed leagues, whereas anyone below these cutoffs should be dropped. Our goal as streamers should also be to beat these numbers, and since I began recommending pitchers in week four of this season, it’s fair to say that we’ve accomplished this goal. Here’s how the data looks:

Grouping GS Win% ERA WHIP K/GS
Average MLB Starter 1978 34.5 3.91 1.29 4.9
Pitchers with +5.5 MS 200 34.0 3.85 1.28 4.7
Pitchers with +6.0 MS 147 34.7 3.73 1.25 4.7
Pitchers with +7.5 MS 18 38.9 2.68 1.08 5.1
Last 7 Days 34 35.3 3.58 1.33 4.7
Last 4 Weeks 119 40.3 3.63 1.32 4.7

As you know if you read this feature regularly, I never recommend pitchers with Matchup Scores below 5.5 (though I include them in the charts so you can see each pitcher’s score) and I only recommend starting pitchers with Matchup Scores below 6.0 if you are in weekly leagues and can punt ERA and WHIP. You want to target the pitchers with the best matchups each night, and this typically means that you will rarely start pitchers with Matchup Scores below 6.5. Of course, it’s also an option to be more selective in your streaming. There are an average of two pitchers per week with Matchup Scores of 7.5 or higher, and these pitchers have performed at a nearly elite level thus far, as their 2.68 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 5.1 strikeouts per start suggest.

This week, Jonathan Niese is the only pitcher to earn a Matchup Score of 7.5, which he earned for his matchup with the Marlins. Henderson Alvarez’s start versus the Mets (7.4 MS), Jason Vargas’s start versus the Mariners (7.3 MS), and Jake Odorizzi’s matchup with the Astros (7.2 MS) just missed this cutoff.

Among two start pitchers for week 12, Odorizzi leads the way with a combined Matchup Score of 12.9, followed by Brandon McCarthy (12.1 MS), Roenis Elias (12.1 MS), and Josh Tomlin (12.0 MS).

For detailed breakdowns of each day’s best matchups as well as advice on which pitchers are over and underperforming, be sure to read the in-depth analysis which is included for each day of week 12. If you simply want a quick list of the best matchups for each day of the week, look no further. This week’s Stream Team is as follows:

Monday – Rubby De La Rosa vs Twins (6.4 MS, Yahoo! 9%, ESPN 3%)

Tuesday – Roenis Elias vs Padres (7.1 MS, Yahoo! 22%, ESPN 21%)

Wednesday – Bartolo Colon at Cardinals (6.4 MS, Yahoo! 33%, ESPN 39%)

Thursday – Jose Quintana at Twins (6.8 MS, Yahoo! 37%, ESPN 8%)

Friday – Henderson Alvarez vs Mets (7.4 MS, Yahoo! 29%, ESPN 21%)

Saturday – Jason Vargas vs Mariners (7.4 MS, Yahoo! 34%, ESPN 36%)

Sunday – Jonathan Niese at Marlins (7.5 MS, Yahoo 38%, ESPN 41%)

 

 

In-Depth Analysis of Streamer Options

Monday

MS Pitcher Opponent Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor Yahoo ESPN%
6.4 Rubby De La Rosa vs MIN 20.50% 0.325 1.05 9 3
5.9 Chris Young vs SD 22.70% 0.279 0.96 8 4
5.9 Brandon McCarthy vs MIL 19.40% 0.322 1.02 5 1
5.8 Tom Koehler vs CHC 22.70% 0.285 0.95 20 7
5.7 Jake Odorizzi vs BAL 19.60% 0.322 0.99 6 2
4.9 Jacob deGrom at STL 18.70% 0.307 0.97 9 3

*All K% and wOBA included in charts are active roster data for the 2014 season. When calculating Matchup Scores, both short-term and long-term trends are used. Park factors are based on Rotogrinder’s park data since 2013 as well as pitcher’s split stats versus left- and right-handed batters.

Over Rubby De La Rosa’s first 18.1 innings this season he’s struck out 20 batters and walked only four. These numbers are spectacular, but there’s not much hope that they continue. Over 80.1 innings at AAA last season, De La Rosa had a 5.38 BB/9. The season before, he had a 3.88 BB/9 over 53.1 innings of AAA ball. De La Rosa throws hard and with his increased use of his changeup, the strikeouts will be there, just not at this rate. De La Rosa is a two-pitch pitcher with a history of control problems, and although he makes the Stream Team as the best among a limited number of options on Monday, he should be dropped prior to his Saturday start versus Oakland.

I continue to believe in Brandon McCarthy despite his mixed results: a sinker ball pitcher with a 7.9 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 should be having far more success than he has had so far this season. The Brewers have a right handed dominant lineup which favors McCarthy overall, but the 9 homeruns McCarthy’s allowed versus right-handed hitters this season is worrisome. Still, McCarthy’s my second favorite option on Monday.

If you look elsewhere Monday, Chris Young versus the Padres is your safest option but he won’t get many strikeouts. Tom Koehler has pitched respectably this season but his walk rate (4.0 BB/9) has me steering clear. Jake Odorizzi’s 10.5 K/9 is intriguing but his 3.6 BB/9 and a matchup with the Orioles aren’t. Jacob deGrom has been as wild as Odorizzi but with less strike outs – there’s no reason to start him versus the Cardinals.

 

Tuesday

MS Pitcher Opponent Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor Yahoo ESPN%
7.8 Tanner Roark vs HOU 22.70% 0.307 0.98 51 48
7.1 Roenis Elias vs SD 23.00% 0.265 0.96 22 21
6.8 Jon Niese at STL 19.60% 0.292 0.96 38 41
6.6 Josh Tomlin vs LAA 21.20% 0.322 1.00 12 12
6.1 Eric Stults at SEA 22.40% 0.282 0.97 1 0
5.6 Wade Miley vs MIL 23.30% 0.319 1.03 16 13
5.4 Kyle Kendrick at ATL 22.50% 0.29 0.97 2 1
5.3 John Danks vs SF 21.10% 0.314 1.00 5 3
4.9 Tommy Milone vs TEX 17.90% 0.342 0.96 14 6

Tanner Roark’s surge in ownership eliminates him from consideration for the Stream Team, but his 7.8 Matchup Score versus the Astros would have made him the best option on Tuesday. While Roark is no longer eligible, Josh Tomlin is doing quite the Tanner Roark impersonation. To compare, consider the following:

Pitcher Starts Record IP K/9 BB/9 ERA WHIP
Roark 13 5-4 83.1 7.02 1.94 2.92 1.06
Tomlin 7 4-3 46 7.43 1.37 3.33 1.07

Obviously, Roark’s ability to maintain his ratios across nearly twice as many innings as Tomlin makes him the more attractive long-term option, but it’s interesting that Tomlin has better strikeout and walk ratios. Sadly, there’s nothing in Tomlin’s profile that clearly suggests we should continue to expect this type of production, though Tomlin has made enough minor improvements (such as throwing more first pitch strikes, throwing more called strikes, and improving his swinging strike rate) to suggest it’s at least a possibility. Tomlin has already faced plenty of strong competition this season, as he’s faced the Tigers, Red Sox, Rangers, Rockies, A’s, and Rays. I’m not afraid to use him versus the Angels, and if he turns in another quality performance versus their lineup, I’ll consider using him versus the Tigers.

Despite all of the love I just heaped on Tomlin, Roenis Elias, who has been about as average as you can get, is actually your second best option on Tuesday. Here’s how Elias compares to the average MLB starter this season:

Pitcher K/9 BB/9 ERA WHIP
Elias 7.8 3.4 4.13 1.26
Avg Starter 7.4 2.8 3.91 1.29

According to this data, and my breakdown of ownership rates earlier, Elias should probably be on someone’s roster. That said, he shouldn’t be on your roster except as a spot starter. And the best time to spot start someone is versus the Padres. Get Elias in your lineup.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Niese continues to solidify himself as a pitcher you can count on. His matchup versus the Cardinals is far from ideal, but I will use Niese where available. Eric Stults’ matchup versus the Mariners makes him a consideration. Although I like what Wade Miley has done this season, the Brewers are a terrible matchup for him. Avoid using him.

 

Wednesday

6.4 Jake Arrieta at MIA 23.70% 0.32 0.94 7 5
6.4 Bartolo Colon at STL 18.70% 0.307 0.98 33 39
6.0 Blake Treinen vs HOU 22.70% 0.307 0.98 1 1
5.7 Jorge De La Rosa at LAD 23.50% 0.291 0.96 29 17
5.7 Edinson Volquez vs CIN 20.40% 0.303 0.93 6 4
5.7 Drew Smyly vs KC 14.20% 0.304 1.06 25 50
5.5 Chase Anderson vs MIL 19.40% 0.322 1.02 19 16
5.4 Roberto Hernandez at ATL 22.50% 0.29 0.98 2 1
5.2 Scott Feldman at WAS 21.10% 0.308 0.98 11 4
5.0 Chase Whitley vs TOR 18.40% 0.343 1.03 8 4
4.4 Ubaldo Jimenez at TB 17.70% 0.305 0.99 34 9

Choosing Wednesday’s Stream Team Pitcher presented a tough choice. Bartolo Colon is a much better pitcher than Jake Arrieta, but the St. Louis Cardinals have a much better offense than the Miami Marlins. In the end, I chose Colon for the Stream Team. I simply don’t buy the 8.8 K/9 that Arrieta has posted thus far (his 8.4% swinging strike rate suggests a K/9 closer to 7.0) and Arrieta’s walk rate is high enough that it could pose a potential problem. I’ve been praising Colon’s peripheral numbers long before he started his recent string of dominant starts (going into Friday’s start, Colon was 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA in the previous 30 days), and I’d rather bet on him than bet against the Marlins.

Beyond Colon and Arietta, there’s not much that interests me on Wednesday. I would consider using Blake Treinen versus the Astros or Drew Smyly versus the Royals if I needed to stream someone, but no one should find themselves in such a position mid-week.

 

Thursday

MS Pitcher Opponent Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor Yahoo ESPN%
6.8 Jose Quintana at MIN 23.00% 0.307 1.01 37 8
6.8 Collin McHugh at TB 17.70% 0.305 0.99 44 45
6.7 Erasmo Ramirez at SD 22.70% 0.279 0.95 1 1
6.6 Randy Wolf vs NYM 24.80% 0.306 0.95 1 0
6.5 Gavin Floyd at WAS 21.10% 0.308 0.97 10 5
6.3 Drew Hutchison at NYY 19.00% 0.306 1.03 28 12
6.0 Charlie Morton vs CIN 20.40% 0.303 0.93 15 7
5.8 Josh Collmenter vs MIL 19.40% 0.322 1.01 9 4
5.1 Samuel Deduno vs CHW 23.50% 0.324 1.02 1 0
4.5 David Phelps vs TOR 18.40% 0.343 1.03 3 1

Collin McHugh would have been my choice for the Stream Team, but his worst start of the season finally propelled him above the 40% ownership threshold. Go figure.

Jose Quintana’s not a bad consolation prize, but his four walks versus the Angels on June 8 is very out of the ordinary for him. Assuming his command is back under control on Friday versus the Royals, I will have no reservations using him.

If Erasmo Ramirez manages to stay in the Mariners’ rotation another week, he’s another option to consider. I know, he’s been horrendous this season, but he was fantastic versus lineups riddled with minor league players during spring training. Facing the Padres is basically the same thing. Still, I prefer both Randy Wolf and Gavin Floyd to Ramirez. Randy Wolf has pitched well since being signed by the Marlins and Floyd has quietly had a bit of a resurgence under the guidance of Atlanta’s Roger McDowell.

 

Friday

MS Pitcher Opponent Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor Yahoo ESPN%
7.4 Henderson Alvarez vs NYM 20.80% 0.289 0.94 29 21
6.9 Jaime Garcia vs PHI 20.70% 0.345 0.98 19 16
5.8 Ricky Nolasco vs CHW 23.50% 0.324 1.01 18 2
5.8 Bronson Arroyo vs SF 22.20% 0.312 1.01 16 6
5.6 Hector Noesi at MIN 20.50% 0.325 1.01 1 0
5.4 Daisuke Matsuzaka at MIA 23.70% 0.32 0.94 6 2
5.2 Edwin Jackson vs PIT 20.10% 0.321 1.02 4 1
5.0 Brandon Workman at Oak 17.50% 0.337 0.97 2 0

Henderson Alvarez strained a hip last Sunday but he’s not expected to miss any time. If all goes well when he takes the mound on Sunday, consider him a must start streamer versus the Mets on Friday night. Alvarez threw a complete game shutout versus the Mets on May 6 and held them to two runs over six innings on April 25. Expect more of the same on Friday.

Jaime Garcia is another strong option on Friday. Owners are taking notice of Garcia’s 8.7 K/BB ratio and sub 1.00 WHIP. As I pointed out two weeks ago, Garcia’s velocity is up two mph from the previous two seasons and he is throwing harder than he has since Pitchf/x began tracking data in 2008. The extra velocity’s helping induce far more swings at pitches outside the zone, and getting batters to change has led to an elite 12.2% swinging strike rate. So far this season I’ve promoted Nate Eovaldi, Dallas Keuchel, and Collin McHugh as pitchers who should be retained. Jaime Garcia is now the fourth pitcher from the ranks of streamer candidates who I believe you should hang onto, and his upside is far superior to pitchers like Mike Leake, Jason Vargas, Jose Quintana, and Ryan Vogelsong who are all owned in roughly twice as many leagues as Garcia.

Outside of Alvarez and Garcia, there is no one that I plan to use on Friday. However, if you find yourself needing strikeouts and can punt ERA and WHIP, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Edwin Jackson have high strikeout potential.

 

Saturday

MS Pitcher Opponent Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor Yahoo ESPN%
7.3 Jason Vargas vs SEA 22.40% 0.282 0.99 34 36
7.2 Jake Odorizzi vs HOU 22.70% 0.307 0.99 6 2
6.5 Jacob deGrom at MIA 23.70% 0.32 0.95 9 3
6.5 Mike Leake vs TOR 20.40% 0.303 1.01 39 21
6.2 Brandon McCarthy vs SF 22.20% 0.312 1.02 5 1
6.0 Travis Wood vs PIT 19.70% 0.322 1.01 32 5
6.0 Tom Koehler vs NYM 20.80% 0.289 0.95 20 7
5.9 Ryan Vogelsong at ARI 19.80% 0.312 1.02 32 33
5.6 Kevin Correia vs CHW 23.50% 0.324 1.01 0 0
5.3 Rubby De La Rosa at OAK 17.50% 0.337 0.97 9 3
5.4 Andre Rienzo at Min 20.50% 0.325 1.01 1 0
5.1 Trevor Bauer vs DET 17.30% 0.333 1.00 25 12
4.6 Chris Young at KC 14.80% 0.296 0.99 8 4

Assuming both Jake Odorizzi and Jason Vargas are available, who you choose to use on Saturday should depend on what you need. If you’re looking for strikeouts, Odorizzi is your best option. If you’re looking to improve your ERA and WHIP, use Vargas. If you need to look beyond these two, I would use Jacob deGrom, Brandon McCarthy, and Travis Wood over Mike Leake.

 

Sunday

MS Pitcher Opponent Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor Yahoo ESPN%
7.7 Tanner Roark vs ATL 22.50% 0.29 0.98 51 48
7.5 Jonathan Niese at MIA 19.50% 0.319 0.95 38 41
6.0 Tommy Milone vs BOS 21.60% 0.317 0.96 14 6
6.0 Jacob Turner vs NYM 20.80% 0.289 0.95 1 0
5.9 Marcus Stroman at CIN 20.40% 0.303 1.00 18 7
5.9 John Danks at MIN 23.00% 0.307 1.01 5 3
5.7 Trevor Bauer vs LAA 21.20% 0.322 1.00 25 12
5.4 Brandon Cumpton at CHC 22.70% 0.285 1.02 1 0
5.4 Josh Tomlin vs DET 17.30% 0.333 1.00 12 12
5.4 Wade Miley vs SF 21.10% 0.314 1.03 16 13
5.3 Erik Bedard vs HOU 21.10% 0.334 0.99 3 0
5.0 Roenis Elias at KC 14.20% 0.304 0.99 22 21

Tanner Roark, as I’ve already noted, no longer qualifies for the Stream Team, but he’s your best option on Sunday if he happens to be available. Jonathan Niese’s matchup versus Miami is nearly as nice, but there’s a good chance Niese isn’t available in your league either. None of the other options are particularly intriguing. Eric Bedard versus Houston is probably your best option if you’re chasing a win. Go with Trevor Bauer against the Angels if you need strikeouts. If you need ratios, I’d probably take my chances with John Danks versus a Twins’ team that has struggled versus left-handed pitching.

 

How Matchup Scores are Calculated

When evaluating pitcher matchups, there are a number of important factors to consider, including

  • A pitcher’s strikeout and walk percentages
  • A pitcher’s batted ball profile
  • A pitcher’s wOBA
  • The opposing team’s wOBA vs either LHP or RHP
  • The opposing team’s K% vs LHP or RHP
  • The likelihood that a pitcher earns a win in the contest
  • The effect that the ball park will have upon the pitcher’s performance

Matchup Scores attempt to take all of these factors into consideration, assigning a weight to each factor that is proportional to each factor’s impact and predictive power. Perhaps the easiest way to think of a Matchup Score is as a rating for how well a pitcher is expected to perform against a specific opponent, in a specific park, at a specific time.

While I have been evaluating pitcher matchups based on these factors for some time, I only began the process of quantifying these factors into a single score in April of 2014. This is an ongoing process and changes to the formula are continually being considered and implemented in an effort to make Matchup Scores more predictive.

Matchup Score Ratings

Matchup Score Rating
12.0 Excellent
10.0 Great
8.0 Very Good
7.0 Good
6.0 Average
5.0 Poor
4.0 Awful

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11 thoughts on “Week 12 Stream Team”

  1. Rob,

    Excellent work, as always.

    Since I am down to 3 healthy and reliable starters in my daily league, I think it is safe to say that I will be a regular customer from here on out (at least until Wood, Paxton and Heaney are fixtures in my lineup.

    This week, I plan to use Elias, Vargas and Garcia. Keep the great work coming!

    1. Those are three quality choices to help bridge the gap till your prospects are ready to go.

    1. Park factor is just a measure of how much the ballpark will influence the game. The lower the number, the better the park for pitchers, and the higher the number, the worse the park is for pitchers. I use Rotogrinders for my ballpark data because their data is based on 2013 and 2014 data and because they are one of the few sites who distinguish how a park affects left-handed and right-handed batters. We tend to think of somewhere like Chase Field as a great hitters park, but according to Rotogrinder’s data, Chase Field is much better for right-handed hitters than left-handed hitters.

      The numbers you see in the charts are based off of those numbers as well as the starting pitcher’s lefty-righty splits. Take, for example, Charlie Morton. Since Morton is so effective versus right-handed bats, I don’t worry as much about how the park affects right-handed hitters because Morton will take care of most of them by himself. However, since he is so terrible against left-handed batters, I emphasize that park factor when determining matchup score. To go back to the Chase Field example, Morton’s park factor would be better at Chase Field than a pitcher who pitched equally as well versus lefties and righties.

      Hopefully that makes sense.

      Eventually, I’d like to have park’s homerun factor weighted based on pitchers’ flyball/groundball ratios, so that Matchup Score weighs a park’s homerun data more heavily for extreme flyball pitchers like Phil Hughes and David Phelps. Unfortunately, I just don’t know enough about data entry to make this feasible right now. It’s something I will sometimes reference in my analysis of matchups though.

  2. 12 team h2h weekly points keeper league

    Drop Ian Kennedy for any of Ventura, Niese, Hammel, or Stroman? Or just roll with the Hodgepadre this week?

    Rest of the staff is Hamels, cole, Beckett, Garrett Anderson, (5 sp max on roster, 7 starts in a week)

    Thanks

  3. Ooops. Sorry! Meant Gausmann is out there too….that’s what I get for trying to type on a phone with a 6 month old girl on your lap! Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there!!

    1. Ha. Gausman doesn’t change my response below, but a six month old on your lap helps explain calling Garrett Richards (I presume) Garrett Anderson in your original question. If you are starting Garrett Anderson, I suggest throwing in the towel on your baseball season and getting to work on your football research. 🙂

      Happy Father’s Day!

  4. Are we talking long term or for this week?

    If i’m trying to win a championship this season, I rank them Kennedy, Stroman, Ventura, Hammel, Niese.

    PETCO is a great home park for Kennedy and while I expect his strikeout numbers to dip a bit, everything else should stay in line.

    I really like Ventura and would have had him at the top of this list two weeks ago, but his fastball velocity dropped two miles per hour during his start in Houston (where he was removed from the game with elbow discomfort). After a brief rest, his velocity returned to normal for one start and then dropped again in his most recent outing. He’s also not topped three strikeouts in any of those three starts, all of which leads me to worry that there’s something wrong with his elbow. I like him, but don’t trust his health right now.

    Regarding Stroman, there are other writers on our staff who are more knowledgeable about prospects and they might give you some different advice, but if you’re focus is this season, I’d rather put my trust in Kennedy. As a first round pick who has had great numbers in the minors, Stroman’s certainly someone to have your eye on, especially in a keeper league, but he’s a rookie pitching in a terrible pitcher’s park, and he’s been roughed up a bit in his first taste of the big leagues. Looking at his profile, it’s very safe to say he’s been unlucky since his call up, but I just don’t trust that it’s not going to rattle him. l wouldn’t be surprised if Stroman outperforms Kennedy from today forward, and he may have a bit more upside, but Kennedy is a safer option. That said, if your league rewards wins or punishes losses, Stroman easily pitches on the best team of this bunch, which might help him supplant Kennedy in my rankings.

    As for Hammel and Niese, both have been great but both have had fortune on their side this season. Both have career lows or near career lows in BABIP, but there’s nothing to suggest that their BABIPs shouldn’t regress. Hammel’s ERA has increased significantly each month. Both are sell high candidates in my opinion but if they’re on your waiver wire now, they obviously don’t have trade value.

    Now, all of that said, none of these guys are going to be better week in and week out than whichever one of them has the best matchup. Case in point: I rank Niese the lowest of these pitchers for long term success this season, but if I’m only looking for one start this week, I’m going with Niese versus the Marlins. In other words, you’re best approach is to keep your fifth spot fluid and simply stream the pitcher with the best matchup each week. This week, that means cutting Kennedy for Niese. Next week, cut Niese for someone else. Of course, if you want advice on who to go with next week, simply come back and read this feature.

    Hope that helps!

  5. Hey Mr. Adams –

    Love this weekly series. Quick question. I know you are pretty big on Eovaldi, but given his last two starts (today vs. the Cubs was ok until the 6th), should I drop him to use McHugh tomorrow? My streaming spot is already filled with Henderson Alvarez for his start on Friday, so I could just keep Eovaldi and target the weekend streamers, though Niese and Vargas are not available in my league. I will need at least three more spot starts to feel comfortable against the team I am playing. Or, I could drop Eovaldi and open up a second streaming spot and possibly get him back next week after he clears waivers…..thoughts?

    1. Eovaldi’s strikeout numbers have regressed back to his career norms over the plast six weeks and while he still has some value at the bottom of a rotation, there’s no reason to feel obligated to hold him. McHugh has struggled a bit over his last two starts, primarily with control, but he’s been dealing with a blister so there’s reason to believe he could regain the form he had. I rank McHugh above Eovaldi so I’d make the change even if you didn’t need the spot start.

      Alvarez is a good play for your second start. Assuming you’re looking for strikeouts and/or a win, I’d go with Odorizzi for your third start.

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