As always, the projections from Ziguana were made Monday before the first pitch of the week. They may have changed since that time.
Let’s Play 2 vs Land Shark
Let’s Play 2 hasn’t won more than four categories in a series for the past five weeks and they’ve won just two series this season. Louie Bottaro’s team now stands at 42-74-4 and are 15th in the league standings. Land Shark is trending in the other direction. Meredith James’ team has won three straight and are now in seventh place with a 61-55-4 record.
Pitching: Land Shark is 8-3-1 in pitching categories over the past two weeks and has seven quality starts in two of the past three weeks. The team had a season-high 77.1 innings pitched in Week 9. John Lackey is the league’s seventh-rated player over the past three weeks, pitching 27.2 innings for Land Shark, earning four quality starts, while posting a 1.30 ERA and 0.82 WHIP. Let’s Play 2’s pitching staff is in the midst of a major meltdown, winning just two categories over the past five weeks. There was a glimmer of hope last week, as the team posted a season-low 2.40 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. After a great start, Jeff Samardzija has just one quality start in his last four appearances with a 5.48 ERA and 1.59 WHIP.
Hitting: Let’s Play 2 has held their own at the plate over the last three weeks, going 9-9 in hitting categories. Outfielder Mookie Betts has carried the team, going 24-for-76 with a .955 OPS, 14 RBI and 19 runs scored during that period. A big reason for Land Shark’s winning streak has been the hitting. The team is 16-7-1 in offensive categories over the past month and didn’t lose a category in their Week 8 series with Hapamon. Infielder Eduardo Nunez has a .929 OPS over his last 19 games with just nine strikeouts in his last 91 plate appearances.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Is this the week Let’s Play 2 wins a series? Ziguana thinks so, giving Louie Bottaro’s team a 56.5 percent chance of winning. Land Shark has a 28.2 percent chance of avoiding what would be a catastrophic loss.
Home Run 101 vs Warning Track Power
Home Run 101 remains in the league basement with a 40-74-6 record. How bad has it been? They’ve won just two series this year and are in the midst of a four-week losing streak after losing last week to the Bulls – the only team they’ve beaten this year. Warning Track Power is also scuffling. Mark Peterson’s team has just two series wins over the last two months. They are sixth in the overall standings with a 63-56-1 record.
Pitching: Home Run 101 has won just two pitching categories over the past two weeks and seven over the past four. It’s been a difficult stretch on the mound for the team. Chris Young doesn’t have a quality start in his last three appearances and has a 5.19 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in those starts. In the last three weeks, Warning Track Power is 5-12-1 in pitching categories. Starter Chad Bettis has made four starts in the last three weeks, hasn’t earned a quality start, and has an 11.57 ERA and 2.27 WHIP.
Hitting: Home Run 101 won four offensive categories last week against the Bulls, their best performance at the plate since Week 5 against the Bulls. Unfortunately, the team is 6-10-2 at the plate over the past three weeks, including winning just one category in each of Weeks 8-9. Outfielder Steven Souza has been particularly bad over his past 18 games, striking out 28 times in his last 75 plate appearances. Warning Track Power is 9-3 over the past two weeks at the plate and has lost the important OPS category just three times all season. Catcher Wilson Ramos has been the team’s best hitter the past three weeks, hitting .305 with a .966 OPS over his past 18 games. He has 15 RBI during that stretch.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana has installed Warning Track Power as the second biggest favorite in the league this week. They have a 74.4 percent chance of winning this series. Home Run 101 will need to continue to pitch well to pull the upset. They have just a 12.8 percent chance of winning.
High Cheese vs Hapamon
High Cheese has lost just one series over the last five weeks and now sits third in the league standings with a 66-48-6 record. Hapamon is coming off an impressive 8-4 series win over Bacon at Mile 11. The victory snapped a five-week winless streak and they are now 12th in the league standings with a 51-58-11 record.
Pitching: After not winning a pitching category in Week 9 against Los Coches Bomba, Hapamon bounced back last week and won five of the six categories against Bacon at Mile 11. Matt Shoemaker has bolstered the staff, posting three quality starts in his last four appearances with a 2.32 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. High Cheese has one of the top pitching staffs in the league. They’ve gone 22-7-1 on the mound over the past five weeks. They’ve lost the quality starts category just once this season. Jon Lester has four quality starts over the past three weeks with a 0.59 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts over 30.1 innings. He’s the league’s second-rated player during that period.
Hitting: Hapamon has struggled to get opportunities at the plate. They have lost the plate appearances category eight times in the first 10 weeks. It’s difficult to win counting categories if you can’t take your hacks. A good example is catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who has just 31 plate appearances over the past three weeks. High Cheese broke out of a hitting slump last week, winning four categories against Let’s Play 2. Prior to that, the team had gone 2-15-1 in hitting categories the previous three weeks. The team needs more from first baseman Freddie Freeman, who is hitting .174 with a .529 OPS over his last 19 games entering this series. He has just three RBI in his last 81 plate appearances.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: High Cheese is this week’s biggest favorite. Ziguana projects that Matt and Zach Patchell’s team has a 75.5 percent chance to win the series. Robert Kirkbride’s team has played most of the season in an underdog role but they’ve pulled some upsets. They have just a 12.8 percent chance of winning.
Bacon at Mile 11 vs Eephus Monkeys
Bacon has fallen on hard times. They haven’t won a series in the last five weeks and have lost their last three. Eric Brown’s team has fallen to fourth in the overall standings with a 66-49-5 record. Jordan Mazur’s Monkeys are going in the opposite direction, having lost just one series over the past five weeks. The Monkeys are now 48-65-7 and 14th overall.
Pitching: The Eephus Monkeys have gone 14-4 in pitching categories that past three weeks and haven’t posted an ERA above 3.40 over the past four weeks. Jacob deGrom has pitched 20 innings over his past three starts with a 2.25 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 11.7 K/9. It’s been a terrible month on the mound for Bacon. The team has won just four pitching categories in that time, going 4-18-2 during that period. The staff has been hit by injuries with starters Vincent Velasquez and Gerrit Cole both hitting the DL along with reliever Joe Smith. Veteran reliever Huston Streets has given up three runs in his last four appearances and hasn’t posted a save in those games.
Hitting: The Monkeys didn’t lose a hitting category in Week 8 against High Cheese but since then have gone 4-8. The team’s most consistent hitter, and top-rated player overall, over the last three weeks has been shortstop Xander Bogaerts. He’s posted a .999 OPS in his last 18 games with a .375 average and 19 RBI. Bacon has held its own at the plate over the past three weeks, going 9-9. They’ve lost the Runs Scored category just twice this year. Not surprisingly, outfielder Mike Trout has been strong, posting a .900 OPS over his last 19 games. Trout also has four net stolen bases over that period.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Bacon has struggled lately but Ziguana expects Eric Brown’s team to snap out of it this week. They have a 56.7 percent chance to win the series. The Monkeys are playing well but Ziguana gives Jordan’s team just a 27.8 percent chance to win.
Buster Hugs vs The Bulls
Buster Hugs has lost their last two series and have just one victory in the past month. They are 58-57-5 and 10th in the league standings. The Bulls want to keep their momentum going, having won three of their past four series. That modest wins streak has the team back in the playoff race with a 57-56-7 record, ninth overall.
Pitching: Buster Hugs won just two pitching categories against Land Shark last week but they’ve gone 9-8-1 over the last three weeks. They’ve lost the Quality Starts category just three times this season. Madison Bumgarner has been fantastic over this past three starts, pitching 19.2 innings with a 0.92 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and a 10.1 K/9. The Bulls have been accumulating points on the mound over the last month, going 17-5-2 on the mound. They’ve lost the K/9 and Innings Pitched categories just three times each in 2016. In his last four starts, Stephen Strasburg has pitched 25 innings with a 3.60 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 12.6 K/9 for the Bulls.
Hitting: It’s been a struggle at the plate for Buster Hugs over the past three weeks. They’ve won just seven hitting categories in that stretch but have just three category wins at the plate in the last two weeks. The middle infield, Starlin Castro and Jean Segura, have combined to score 13 runs during that stretch. Castro is 15-for-74 with a .203 average over his last 19 games. The Bulls have been very competitive at the plate over the past three weeks, going 11-7 in hitting categories. Infielder Jonathan Villar is hitting .306 with a .881 OPS over his last 19 games and is the league’s ninth-rated player during that period.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana expects Buster Hugs to win this series. They open the week with a 73.6 percent chance of victory, the third largest chance to win in the league this week. The Bulls have a 13.8 percent chance to win.
Stadium Mustard vs Marin Menehunes
A pair of struggling teams look for much-needed series victories when they meet in this series. The Menehunes have lost five of their last six and are clinging to the league’s final playoff spot with a 60-54-6 record. Stadium Mustard has just one series victory over the past five weeks and sits 13th in the league standings with a 50-64-6 record.
Pitching: It’s been a rough couple of weeks on the mound for Stadium Mustard. They’ve won a combined two pitching categories over the past two weeks and haven’t posted an ERA less than 4.66 in three of the past four weeks. Michael Wacha has just two quality starts over the past month, posting a 6.95 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in that period. The Menehunes have struggled on the mound the past six weeks. They’ve gone 9-27 in pitching categories during that time. They’ve won the Net Saves/Holds categories just twice this year. Starter Jordan Zimmerman doesn’t have a quality start over the past three weeks and has a 7.84 ERA and 1.65 WHIP during that time.
Hitting: Stadium Mustard is struggling to find consistency at the plate. They are 8-9-1 in hitting categories over the past three series and have had trouble driving in runs. They’ve won the RBI category just twice this season. Veteran catcher Yadier Molina is hitting .190 in his last 18 games and has driven in five runs over his last 70 plate appearances. Wil Meyers is on a tear for the Menehunes. He’s hitting .344 with a 1.093 OPS over his last 18 games. He’s driven in 17 runs during that stretch. The team is 6-4-1 in offensive categories over the past two weeks.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: The Menehunes start the week with a 60.8 percent chance to defeat Stadium Mustard, which has a 23.8 percent chance at victory.
A-Rod’s Mirrors vs. JetSetters
The Mirrors are on a roll. They’ve won seven straight series and are second in the league standings with a 68-48-4 record. After losing five of their first six series, the JetSetters have rebounded to win their last four in a row. They are now 55-58-7 and back in the playoff hunt.
Pitching: The JetSetters are winning because the pitching staff has been solid the past month. The team has gone 18-4-2 on the mound in that stretch. They’ve lost the K/9 category just once this season. Jose Fernandez is the league’s third-rated player over the past three weeks, posting three quality starts with a 1.67 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, and 13.3 K/9. The Mirrors have gone 16-7-1 on the mound over the past four weeks. They haven’t lost the K/9 category this season. Over the past three weeks, Justin Verlander has pitched 29 innings with a 2.17 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and three quality starts.
Hitting: The JetSetters lost four of six hitting categories last week but have gone 10-8 at the plate over the last three weeks. The team takes its hacks. They have lost the plate appearances category just twice this season. Outfielder Jay Bruce has led the JetSetters over the past 19 games, hitting .288 with a 1.023 OPS. He’s driven in 16 runs during that stretch. The Mirrors are 11-7 at the plate over the last three games, and haven’t had an OPS under .700 this season. The team is vulnerable on the base paths, winning the category just three times in 2016. Infielder Manny Machado is hitting .308 with a .952 OPS over his last 20 games. He’s tied for the team lead with 14 runs scored over the past three weeks.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana projects the Mirrors have a 68.5 percent chance to win the series while the JetSetters are a long shot at 18.3 percent.
Lower Haighters vs Los Coches Bomba
The Lower Haighters have the league’s best record at 69-48-3 while Los Coches Bomba is fifth in the standing at 60-50-10. Bomba has lost two of their last three series while the Lower Haighters haven’t lost a series over the last month, going 2-0-2.
Pitching: In two of the past three weeks, Los Coches Bomba hasn’t won a pitching category but in that third week, they didn’t lost one. It’s been a wild ride on the mound. In his last four starts, Hector Santiago has an 11.93 ERA, 2.09 WHIP and no quality starts. The Lower Haighters have lost just two pitching categories over the past two weeks and have lost K/9 just once this series. Reliever Sean Doolittle has appeared in eight games over the past three weeks for the Lower Haighters, tossing 7.1 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts and just one hit and two walks.
Hitting: Los Coches Bomba won four of the six hitting categories against the JetSetters last week but has gone 7-9-2 at the plate over the past three weeks. Second baseman Robinson Cano is hitting .309 with a .969 OPS over his last 20 games. He’s scored 20 games during that stretch. The Lower Haighters enter this series cold at the plate. They are 4-8 in hitting categories the past two weeks. The lineup has been hit with a variety of injuries and it has limited the team’s opportunities. They’ve won the Plate Appearances category just once over the past seven series.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Los Coches Bomba opens the week as a 62.4 percent favorite to win this series. The Lower Haighters have a 22.9 percent chance to win.