Fantasy's worst pitchers

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If you're in a head-to-head league, tell me if this sounds familiar:

You're cruising along and dominating ERA and WHIP for the week when, suddenly, one of your starters forgets to bring his good stuff to the park and winds up giving up an exorbitant amount of runs and all of a sudden you've lost.

It happened to me last week, when Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo took one on his goateed chin against the St. Louis Cardinals, giving up eight runs on eight hits in two innings, causing my ERA and WHIP to skyrocket over 5.00 and 1.50, respectively. Seriously, how do you give up eight hits in two innings? A pitching machine set on "medium" wouldn't even do that bad.

Then Gallardo's outing got me thinking. Prior to that massacre, he had thrown three straight seven-inning starts, so I couldn't be that frustrated with him. After all, there are pitchers this season who have made two-inning, eight-run performances the norm.

So who are they? Well, they'd likely prefer that you didn't know, but I'm going to expose them for the softball throwing ERA and WHIP killers they are.

That's right, for every Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander, there are an equal number of pitchers who aren't fooling anyone -- even the kids on a school trip sitting in the upper deck, each clad in the same brightly colored shirt, know what pitch is coming.

So without further adieu, here are the pitchers who have undoubtedly caused most owners to want to tear hair out, break laptops and scream themselves hoarse in frustration - the worst pitchers in fantasy baseball in 2012:

9. Josh Johnson, Miami Marlins (0-3, 5.34 ERA, 1.74 WHIP) - Johnson has been clobbered all over the ballyard this season, giving up 41 hits in 28 2/3 innings after being mostly unhittable in the past two seasons. His batting average against was .185 last year; this season, it sits at .350, as he's had three starts with 10 or more hits allowed. Johnson does have three quality starts in five turns along with 25 strikeouts, so that prevents him from ranking higher on this list, but, make no mistake, he's been awful.

8. Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers (1-3, 7.77 ERA, 2.05 WHIP) - Scherzer gave up seven runs on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings against Boston in his first start, and it hasn't gotten much better for him. Though he struck out 11 in six innings in his second start, he's surrendered eight runs on 17 hits and nine walks in 9 2/3 innings his last two turns.

7. Carlos Marmol, Chicago Cubs (0-1, 6.23 ERA, 2.31 WHIP) - Marmol has always been wild, but this season he's lost all control of the strike zone. In 8 2/3 innings, Marmol has walked 12 batters, given up eight hits and eight runs (six earned) while blowing three games for Chicago. He was officially removed from the closer role by manager Dale Sveum on Thursday.

6. Heath Bell, Miami Marlins (0-3, 11.74 ERA, 2.74 WHIP) - As bad as Marmol has been, he doesn't even take the cake when it comes to lousy relievers. That dishonor goes to the portly Bell, who presumably has eaten a lot of cake in his lifetime. The $27 million man should think about donating some of that money to a Cuban American charity -- it would help manager Ozzie Guillen's cause after his controversial Fidel Castro comments and it would endear him to Marlins fans who are fed up with his unbelievably terrible right arm. This season, Bell has blown four games while giving up 13 hits and walking eight batters in just 7 2/3 innings. He surrendered four hits in each of his first two save opportunities, walked the bases loaded in another appearance and walked four straight batters in a blown save against the New York Mets. On Wednesday, he choked away a Carlos Zambrano victory for the third time by giving up two runs on three hits without getting an out. Still, Guillen has said he'll stick with Bell, likely because of the money Miami has tied to him. On a side note, Bell is lucky that Zambrano has mellowed out, as Zambrano saw it necessary to note that his old self would have been throwing chairs and screaming at his teammates after Wednesday's blown save.

5. Ubaldo Jimenez, Cleveland Indians (2-2, 5.02 ERA, 1.74 WHIP) - Jimenez has been on the decline since he started out 15-1 in 2010. In the second half that year, he went 4-7 with a 3.80 ERA, and then last season he went 10-13 with a 4.68 ERA and 1.40 WHIP while splitting time between the Colorado Rockies and Indians. Things haven't improved in his first full season with Cleveland, as he's come down with a case of Marmol-itis, walking 20 batters in 28 2/3 innings. When he has managed to throw the ball in the zone, he's found nothing but bats, giving up 30 hits with just 14 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings. Jimenez' swing-and-miss percentage is down to just 10 percent this season after posting 17 percent in 2010 and 15 percent last year.

4. Jhoulys Chacin, Colorado Rockies (0-3, 7.30 ERA, 1.86 WHIP) - Chacin, Jimenez' former rotation-mate, got himself demoted to Triple-A on Thursday. Those looking for a breakout season from the righty after he posted a 3.62 ERA in 31 starts last year have been let down, as he's gone 0-3 while allowing 31 hits and 15 walks in 24 2/3 innings. Chacin has only pitched past the fifth inning in one start, averaging less than five innings per turn. His most recent outing was also his worst, as he gave up seven runs on 11 hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. That's right, Chacin gave up more base runners (15) than he got outs (14).

3. Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox (3-1, 8.69 ERA, 1.90 WHIP) - As bad as the previous six pitchers have been, the players in our top three are undisputedly worse. Buchholz has given up five earned runs or more in all five starts while putting 55 runners on base in just 29 innings. It seems impossible that he's 3-1, but Buchholz is first in the MLB among starting pitchers in run support, winning games by the scores of 13-5, 7-6 and 11-6.

2. Josh Collmenter, Arizona Diamondbacks (0-2, 9.82 ERA, 1.64 WHIP) - Collmenter confused batters with his over-the-top motion last season, going 10-10 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. This season, offenses have caught up. In four starts, Collmenter has allowed 20 earned runs. He gave up 58 earned runs all of last season. After giving up six runs on nine hits in six innings against Philadelphia -- a team that boasted one of the league's worst offenses at the time -- on April 24, Collmenter was mercifully removed from the rotation.

1. Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins (0-4, 9.97 ERA, 2.22 WHIP) - In the battle to be the worst, there's everybody else, and then there's Francisco Liriano. I don't know how this guy threw a no-hitter in 2011, but that's become the lone bright spot in a two-season race to the bottom for the lefty. Even with the no- no, Liriano went 9-10 with a 5.09 ERA and 1.49 WHIP last year, and he's put 48 men on base in 2012. Unlike Collmenter and Chacin, the Twins keep trotting him out there, as he most recently started on May 1. When it comes to your fantasy team, don't make like Minnesota. Cut him, and just about everyone on this list save Johnson, Bell and Buchholz.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at

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