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Mike Pelfrey's semi-charmed life

Will Mike Pelfrey be laughing last Friday night? (AP)

Major league baseball wanted a homer-friendly game, and that’s what we have now. Homers are cheap. Runs are flowing. ERA has risen for the third straight year; good lord, it’s up to 4.37.

And fantasy owners are having more and more trouble finding quality pitching.

There are some mound strategies and short-cuts, of course. Pay up for an ace, hope he stays healthy. Grab fire-breathing middle relievers, when they show. And try to find a quality starter if you see one emerging. Hey, Jimmy Nelson. Welcome, Dan Straily.

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In the meantime, the White Sox have a regular starter with a 3.56 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Those aren’t just acceptable ratios in today’s game, they’re good numbers. But almost no one wants to go near Mike Pelfrey. He’s owned in just five percent of Yahoo leagues.

Is there any case for Pelfrey? Or is this a charmed-life tour destined to blow up on us, any minute now?

Although Pelfrey was a first-round draft choice back in 2005, his career has been ordinary at best. His career ERA is over 5. He had some value with the Mets in the 2000s, but he hasn’t been trustable since. He was batting practice for the Twins in 2013 and 2014. He took a 5.07 ERA through Detroit last year.

And then came 2017. Fantasy and especially DFS players rejoiced when Pelfrey signed with the White Sox. Stack target for sure.

Pelfrey didn’t get the memo that he’s supposed to suck. He’s only had one start with more than three earned runs allowed, and he’s yielded two runs or less in five straight turns. But he’s had trouble going deep in games; most of his starts end after four, five or six innings.

Most of the normal stat searches will throw cold water on Pelfrey. His strikeout rate is under 6/9, and his walk rate is 3.40/9. The FIP metric spits out 4.40, and xFIP suggests 5.11.

That said, Pelfrey is doing some things right. A ground ball rate around 48 percent will help you work out of trouble. He’s allowing hard contact fewer than 30 percent of the time, about three percent under league average.

Pelfrey is at home Friday, hosting the A’s. Jharel Cotton pitches for Oakland. The game total is set for 10.

I totally get it if you’re not going near Pelfrey and his tightrope-walking metrics. But are you still in attack mode, in stack mode, against Pelfrey? What’s your prediction for Oakland and Chicago on Friday night?

I expect more of the same, a game where Oakland threatens often but doesn’t score a bunch of runs. This isn’t a streamable game for me, but it’s not a stack, either. When someone allows a bunch of baserunners but somehow allows three runs or less, I’ve stopped calling it complete luck. To me, that’s The Pelfrey.

Tell me about your expectations in the comments. Can the Wichita State Shocker continue to shock us? Or are you loading up with Oakland bats? Let’s figure out Friday night together.