Don't start hot Vicente Padilla on Tuesday? 

August, 10, 2010
The Los Angeles Dodgers' Vicente Padilla and San Diego Padres' Wade LeBlanc are each scheduled to start Tuesday night, and while Padilla is the one coming off a two-hit shutout and sporting a 1.33 ERA over his past eight starts, there isn't a chance I'd use him in a spot-starter role over LeBlanc on this night. The reasoning is simple to me: Look where their games will be played, 3,000 miles apart.

By this time of the fantasy baseball season, owners should be looking a bit closer at the stats rather than blindly using ERA or wins to evaluate starting pitchers. With hitters, I admit I tend to play my best guys, no matter the matchups. With pitchers, I'm far more likely to take into account numerous factors and trends, and the primary one by this point is the home/road splits. For those looking for help Tuesday, Padilla is the one you don't want, because he's in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park, while LeBlanc is in San Diego at cozy Petco Park.

Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireVicente Padilla is not a safe start Tuesday in Philly.
I've watched the normally erratic Padilla pitch for years, and he knows how to use stadiums to his advantage. Similarly, he knows when he's overwhelmed. Pitchers obviously bring a different strategy to certain places. This season Padilla has a cool 1.61 ERA at Dodger Stadium, with a 0.71 WHIP. He has fanned 44 hitters in 44 2/3 innings. Only two pitchers with 40 or more innings of work in home games have a better ERA, and they are considerably better and more popular (Adam Wainwright, Josh Johnson). Padilla really isn't that good ... but in his large home ballpark, he is. In road games this season, Padilla has one win in seven starts and a 4.86 ERA. So do you feel lucky trusting this guy in Philadelphia on Tuesday? I don't.