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Almost half way through the season and pitching is still just as confusing as this year’s election.

You ask with compassion: “Who do I start in Week 13?” is almost just as crazy as asking: “Who do I vote for?”.

Yes, the starting pitching has been a journey, but don’t you worry, I’ve got the blueprints of the campaign trail that will set you up nicely this week.

Much like politics, fantasy baseball sees their fare share of qualified candidates and then the not-so competent entrants.

So let’s make a point to make the pitching planner great again and have a great Week 13 in the starting pitching department!

Week 13 Pitching Planner

Five to start

Jose Quintana, Chicago White Sox (vs. MIN/@ HOU)

Jose Quintana has done Jose Quintana things all year, and the only difference is the White Sox offense has been a bit better than year’s past. With the uptick in O for the ChiSox, Quintana is now half way (5) to reaching the heralded double digit wins.

Quintana has a home visit against the dead last Twins (23-51) and their invisible offense. The southpaw and the South Siders visit the swing-happy Astros where Quintana could add to his solid strike out rate.

Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants (vs. OAK/@ ARI)

Talk about a reclamation project for the ages. Jeff Samardzija has come back to be the most overrated decent starting pitcher in the MLB (sorry for the shade, but let’s be honest, it’s true). The Shark was a lost cause with the White Sox last year, signed a bloated contract with the San Francisco, and is doing vintage mediocrity in 2016.

Fortunately for the  subpar righty, he’s got a great matchup against one of his former teams the A’s at home. At Arizona is a bit more of a scary matchup against the run scoring happy D-backs team. If Samardzija can keep the ball in the park against the Snakes, and with the offense behind him, he could easily look at two wins in Week 13.

Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals (@ KC/vs. MIL)

Michael Wacha has been decent at best for a decent Cardinals team at best. For the most part he’s been wildly inconsistent and with a losing 3-7 record, it’s sometimes hard whether or not to trust him on a weakly basis.

Wacha sets up nicely against a Kansas City Royals team that has been having trouble putting runs over the plate this season. A home visit against a team that’s lucky enough to score a run in a game, the Milwaukee Brewers, where Wacha’s averageness should easily be enough to snag a win.

Joe Ross, Washington Nationals (vs. NYM/vs. CIN)

Joe Ross has been a pleasant surprise for the first place NL East Nationals. He’s been a very viable option for those rostering him in fantasy leagues as well on a week-to-week basis.

Ross will be enjoying a relaxing staycation in Week 13 and it kicks off with a visit from the suddenly putrid New York offense will be no match for the young righty and his arsenal. Another home visit against a similarly terrible offense comes into Washington with the Reds, who, also have terrible pitching. Look for two more wins for Ross in Week 13.

Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals (@ STL/@ PHI)

The hard throwing, both pitching and swinging, Yordano Ventura comes back from his eight-game suspension for taking the O’s fist-on (did that) earlier this month just in time for a two-start week. He pitched beautifully in his two games before his suspension so let’s hope a corner has been turned.

Opposite Ross’ staycation, Ventura will be doing all his hurling on the road. Going to St. Louis is a tad dicey, because both offenses is very hot-or-miss and like a box of choc-o-lates, you never know what you’re going to get. It’s the visit to Philly that makes things very interesting for Ventura (let alone any SP for that matter). Week 13 will be a very test for Ventura to see if he was really breaking out before his suspension.

Five to sit

Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays (vs. BOS/vs. DET)

Archer has been anything but good this year. Coinciding with Archer’s terrible ways is Tampa Bay’s horrific offense. Add those together and you get: A dud of a pitcher.

Archer has a date with Boston (no thanks) to start the week off. Not only does Boston’s lineup crush but they’re also a heck of a lot better than the Rays’ O. Detroit comes into Tampa later in the week and similar to Boston, they’re a very sound lineup from top to bottom.

Matt Harvey, New York Mets (@ WAS/vs. CHC)

The Dark Knight is not rising in 2016. He’s more or less the Riddler if anyone in the Batman realm. Many analysts were expecting a decline after his pitch count was maxed out last season, but I’m sure no one was expecting it to be this bad.

Harvey strolls into the team he and the Mets are looking up to in the NL East standing, the Washington Nationals whose lineup trumps (you’re fired; had to) New York’s bar none. The Cubbies then come to New York, and similar to everything I said about Washington can relate to Chicago — except better.

Vince Velasquez, Philadelphia Phillies (@ ARI/vs. KC)

Vince (not Vincent, that was his Houston name) Velasquez made a huge splash at the beginning of the year by striking out 16 San Diego Padres in his second outing with the Phils. Like many hurlers pitching their first full seasons, they have their peaks and valleys.

Coming fresh off the 15-Day DL for a right biceps strain, he’ll go to Arizona to face the big bats of the Diamondbacks. One is to expect rust coming back after two weeks of not pitching at game speeds and Arizona couldn’t be a worse place to start. Kansas City comes to town and could take advantage of hitting in a pitchers park against a punchless Phils O.

Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners (vs. PIT/vs. BAL)

All signs point to Iwakuma’s end in the big leagues is coming soon. He’s not fooling anyone in 2016 as he almost seems to get a little more every time he goes out. It surely doesn’t help that he failed his physical after the Dodgers planned to sign him before the season.

Pittsburgh comes to town to start the week. Now, Pittsburgh seems to either have no runs or double digit runs, and with Iwakuma pitching the way he has, look towards the latter. Baltimore visits Safeco Field and has way more thump in their lineup to outhit the M’s from top to bottom. This week looks to spell danger for the struggling veteran righty.

Dan Straily, Cincinnati Reds (vs. CHC/@ WAS)

Dan Straily has been a pleasant surprise for the rebuilding Reds. After toiling around with the A’s, Cubbies and Stros, Straily has made a name for himself in a Cincinnati uniform.

Unfortunately, like all good things, they must some day end and for Straily it looks as if Week 13 may do it. The hard-hitting Cubs come to town where they’ll have the benefit of hitting in a hitters park, and not to mention, have a way better lineup than the punchless Reds. Cincy then goes to Washington where Straily will face off against another high-powered offense that has the ability to outscore the Reds no matter how well Straily pitches.

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