This is it, the final edition of my two-start pitcher notes for the 2014 season. And the unique thing about next week is that among the two-start pitchers who are owned in the majority of mixed leagues, there really isn’t anyone who I’d avoid. So instead of the usual Pitches and Ditches, we’ll stick to Pitches this time. Note that all of these guys are owned in less than 65 percent of CBS leagues and I’ve ranked them in order of preference.
Derek Holland (vs. HOU, vs. OAK)
Holland is owned in only 46 percent of CBS leagues, which is simply inexcusable. All he’s done through four starts since making his long awaited return from the DL is post a 0.99 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 22-to-3 K/BB ratio in 27 1/3 innings. No, last season was no fluke, and don’t forget about the Rangers southpaw in the latter rounds of drafts next spring. There’s a good chance that he will deliver a substantial profit.
Josh Collmenter (@MIN, vs. STL)
Very quietly, Collmenter is putting together a fine season, and he’s no longer simply a pitch at home but ditch on the road guy. Yeah, his 2.75 ERA at home is more than two full runs lower than his road ERA, but in ten starts since the All-Star break, home and road, Collmenter boasts a 3.26 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. The Cardinals lineup has significantly underperformed this year and while the Twins actually rank 5th in the AL in runs scored, their lineup isn’t exactly intimidating. Plus, Collmenter gets to face them in pitcher-friendly Target Field.
Aaron Harang (vs. PIT, @PHI)
Harang usually scares me, but he’s fresh off two consecutive dominant performances against a very good Nationals lineup (14 IP, 2 ER, 17 K). The Pirates and Phillies rank 2nd and 6th respectively in the NL in runs scored since the All-Star break, so there’s certainly risk involved here. That said, I’m going to side with the recent performance over the matchups, especially if you’re looking for some cheap strikeouts.
Jorge De La Rosa (@SD, @LAD)
Of this group, I’m the least confident in De La Rosa, mainly due to the fact that he’s been a far better pitcher at home than on the road this year. But since one of the matchups is @SD and considering that his 3.57 ERA since the All-Star break is nearly a full run lower than his first half mark, I’d give it a shot in deeper mixed leagues. In a 12-team mixed, he’s more of a last resort if you’re chasing wins and strikeouts.
Scherzer @ Shields – Nice!
Stroman @ Capuano – Stroman inconsistent lately but Yankees offense has been terrible for most of the season.
Williams @ Pomeranz – Pomeranz an intriguing very deep mixed/AL-only option.
R. De La Rosa @ Tillman – Rubby has been awful this month (0-2, 7.43 ERA).
House @ May
Young @ Keuchel
Noesi @ Archer
Lewis @ Weaver
Hernandez @ Doubront – Doubront pitching well since trade to Cubs but this isn’t a good matchup.
Cahill @ Butler
Garza @ Volquez
Niese @ Minor – Minor should get back on track here.
Zimmermann @ Cosart – Tough matchup for Cosart but he’s reeled off seven straight quality starts.
Leake @ Wacha – Not overly confident in either but Wacha’s matchup is a lot more favorable.
Petit @ Cashner – If you’re ever going to pitch Petit, this is where you do it.
Hutchison @ Tanaka – Hutchison a toss-up. Let the categories be your guide. If you’ve held onto Tanaka for this long, you might as well throw him out there.
Kelly @ M. Gonzalez – Nice matchup for the underrated Gonzalez.
Danks @ Karns
Porcello @ Guthrie
Kluber @ Milone
Iwakuma @ McHugh – This matchup could be just what the struggling Iwakuma needs.
Tepesch @ Rasmus
Burnett @ Kazmir – A.J. cannot be trusted.
Strasburg @ TBD (MIA)
deGrom @ Big Erv – Let’s just name deGrom the NL ROY right now!
Peralta @ Morton
Haren @ Turner – I’ll give Haren a mulligan for his last start since it was at Coors.
Vogelsong @ Kennedy – No reason to own Vogelsong if you don’t feel comfortable using him here.
Miley @ Bergman – Miley actually pitched well at Coors earlier this year but I’d rather not risk it.
Simon @ Lynn
Duffy @ Carrasco
Chen @ Pineda
Paxton @ Happ
TBD (CHW) @ Lobstein
Tropeano @ Holland
Collmenter @ Nolasco – Collmenter in ten starts since ASB: 3.26 ERA, 0.99 WHIP.
Wilson @ Samardzija – Wilson has been a lot better lately.
Liriano @ Harang – Liriano 2 ER or less in each of his last five starts. Harang always risky but 14 IP, 2 ER, 17 K over his last two starts.
Wainwright @ T. Wood
Peavy @ TBD (LAD) – Challenging matchup for Peavy but he’s a must-start these days.
Matzek @ Stults – Ideal matchup for Matzek if you’re willing to gamble.
Webster @ Gausman – looking forward to having Gausman on a lot of teams in 2015
Buehrle @ Kuroda
Quintana @ Hellickson – Hellickson hasn’t been great, but he’s been good enough
Verlander @ Vargas
Bauer @ Hughes – you know who has been great this year? Phil Hughes
Walker @ Peacock – high risk/high reward tandem… start both if your categories need/allow
Buchanan @ Lester
Bonilla @ Santiago
Kershaw @ Jackson – biggest mismatch of the day, so the Cubs will probably win 11-2 #ycpb
Gallardo @ Locke – tough matchup for Locke though vs. righty-heavy Brewers
Fister @ Koehler – check Koehler’s home/away splits
Wheeler @ Teheran
C. Anderson @ Lyles
Holmberg @ Lackey – Lackey hasn’t been great lately but the Reds can’t score
Hudson @ Despaigne
Martinez @ Gray
Dickey @ Greene – Greene worth a look if you are desperate for K’s
Salazar @ Feldman – Salazar 3.30 ERA in 10 GS after recall…post-hype sleeper in ’15
King Felix @ Weaver – Did you know Jered Weaver leads the AL in wins?
Workman @ Cole
G. Gonzalez @ Hand
Greinke @ Wada
Lohse @ Miller
Nuno @ Flande – Nuno has been sharp lately but I’m not chancing him in Coors
Kendrick @ Erlin
***ZACH SAYS “For those of you chasing wins and K’s in a deep mixed or NL-only, pitching Kendrick @SD isn’t a bad gamble.”
Happ @ Norris
McCarthy @ Cobb – McCarthy has been lights out with the Yankees
Sale @ Ventura - oh baby!
Price @ Gibson
Carrasco @ Oberholtzer – Carrasco has been lights out since re-joining the rotation
Paxton @ Wilson – Paxton has been lights out, period
Holland @ Samardzija
Frias @ J. De La Rosa
Bumgarner @ Chafin
Treinen @ A. Wood
Buchholz @ Liriano
Alvarez @ Gee
Corcino @ Hendricks
Fiers @ Wainwright – speaking of lights out…
Hamels @ Stults
Hutchison @ Jimenez – Hutchison is inconsistent but can dominate when he’s on
Pineda @ Odorizzi - these guys will be popular “sleepers” next year
Bassitt @ Hendriks
Porcello @ Nolasco
Kluber @ Tropeano
Elias @ Rasmus
Tepesch @ Kazmir
Ranaudo @ Morton – Morton is excellent at home, but matchup and injury recovery make him risky
Roark @ Harang
Eovaldi @ Colon – sticking with Bartolo at home vs. Giancarless Marlins
Peralta @ Lynn – Peralta is hot and cold, let your categories guide you
Cueto @ Arrieta
Haren @ Matzek
Peavy @ Collmenter – red-hot Collmenter a must-start at home right now
Burnett @ Kennedy – risky tandem, but great matchup for both
Jarred Cosart (@NYM, vs. WAS)
Cosart has made quite an impression with his new club, as he’s 4-2 with a 1.93 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in seven starts since being traded to the Marlins. I’d be very surprised if he has trouble against the Mets at Citi Field, as the Amazins rank next to last in the Majors in runs scored at home and last in batting average. The vs. WAS matchup is a challenging one but Cosart did pitch well against the Nats earlier this year (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 6 K). I’d start him in all mixed leagues of 12 teams or more.
Ryan Vogelsong (@ARI, @SD)
Vogelsong has been far from a sure thing this year, but through 29 starts, he’s had only two disaster outings (defined by giving up more runs than innings pitched) and both of them came at Coors Field. But we all knew to ditch him there, right? His mediocre outing at Chase Field back in June (5 IP, 4 ER) certainly tempers our enthusiasm for the @ARI start. But keep in mind that overall, Vogelsong has pitched reasonably well against the Diamondbacks this season, posting a 3.91 ERA and 1.26 WHIP across four starts. Regardless, the @ARI risk is far outweighed by the @SD matchup, as he will get to face the lowest scoring offense in baseball in an extreme pitcher’s park.
Vance Worley (vs. BOS, vs. MIL)
I remain skeptical about Worley, as after a dominant start to his season, he hasn’t been quite as sharp lately. That said, both of Worley’s starts next week will come at home, where he’s 4-2 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in six starts. Amazingly enough, the Red Sox have scored the second fewest runs in the AL this season, and while the vs. MIL matchup might seem scary, the Brewers have been a middle of the pack offense since the All-Star break. In a 12-team mixed league, he’s a true borderline call, but I’d lean towards pitching him so long as your ERA and WHIP are in decent shape.
Dan Haren (@COL, @CHC)
Haren has been on quite a roll of late, having allowed two earned runs or less in six of his last seven outings, but this is about as bad as it gets from a matchups perspective. The longball continues to be Haren’s chief nemesis, as he’s served up 25 of them in his 29 starts, so Coors Field isn’t exactly a good fit. Oh, and then there’s the fact that in his only other start at Coors this year, he gave up eight runs on ten hits over 5 1/3 innings. As for his road date against the Cubs, Wrigley Field is another home run friendly park and Haren posted an ugly 4 1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER line when he faced the Cubs at Dodger Stadium on August 1st. In mixed leagues, you’re better off playing it safe here.
Wade Miley (vs. SF, @COL)
So let’s see, Miley is 2-7 with a 6.08 ERA and 1.47 WHIP at home and is fresh off a terrible performance on the road against the Giants. He actually pitched very well at Coors Field earlier this season (8 IP, 2 ER) but it’s still hard to trust any non-elite pitcher in that environment and the Rockies are the highest scoring team in the Majors at home by a wide margin. There’s absolutely no way I’m pitching Miley next week in any mixed league, and I’d even think twice about starting him in an NL-only.
A.J. Burnett (@SD, @OAK)
Yeah, Burnett’s first start next week will be in Petco Park against the worst offense in the Majors while his second start will be in another pitcher-friendly park versus an A’s offense that just hasn’t been the same since dealing away Yoenis Cespedes. But think about this. Burnett hasn’t posted back-to-back quality starts in over two months. That kind of inconsistency is what scares me off. If you’re purely chasing strikeouts and have little to lose in ERA and WHIP, go ahead and pitch A.J. Otherwise, forget about it.
Greene @ M. Gonzalez – Gonzalez since All-Star break (8 starts): 5-2, 1.86 ERA.
Teheran @ Baker
Hellickson @ Dickey – I’m wary of Hellickson here. Pitch only if you’re chasing wins and strikeouts.
Salazar @ Lobstein – I’d rather be safe than sorry with Salazar.
Milone @ Carroll
R. De La Rosa @ Guthrie – Rubby too erratic lately to trust.
Feldman @ Weaver
Gray @ King Felix
Hand @ Kendrick – Marlins offense a lot less scary without Stanton, making Kendrick a viable deep mixed/NL-only play if you’re willing to take the risk.
Doubront @ Locke – Not a big fan of Locke but Cubs lineup is mediocre at best. If you’re really feeling lucky, Doubront is tempting.
Holmberg @ Gallardo
Fister @ Wheeler
Morales @ Miller – Great matchup for Miller, who has been much more consistent lately.
T. Ross @ C. Anderson – Gotta love the matchup for Anderson too.
Greinke @ Hudson
Archer @ Stroman
Bauer @ Verlander – Bauer always capable of dominating but I’d rather not chance it here. If you want to sit Verlander as well, I don’t have a problem with it.
May @ Noesi
Kelly @ Vargas – Vargas far from a slam dunk but the matchup is decent enough. Kelly an intriguing deep league option.
Minor @ Lewis
Keuchel @ Santiago – Santiago a little risky but I’m a big believer in him.
Lester @ Young – Young fading a bit lately but he’s 8-3 with a 2.35 ERA at home this year.
Kuroda @ Tillman
Zimmermann @ Niese
Koehler @ Buchanan – Taking a shot with Koehler. Buchanan is tempting too.
Turner @ Volquez – Volquez is still DTM.
Leake @ Garza – Leake has been solid for the most part but this matchup isn’t a favorable one.
Lyles @ Gonzales
Kershaw @ Petit – Not liking this matchup for Petit.
Despaigne @ Cahill – Despaigne is 1-5 with a 5.40 ERA on the road.
Stroman @ W. Chen – Chen very quietly turning in a fine season.
Capuano @ Colome
Danks @ Shields
Scherzer @ Swarzak
McAllister @ McHugh
Iwakuma @ Shoemaker
Strasburg @ Big Erv – Erv scuffling of late and Nats lineup is tough, so if you’re in ERA/WHIP protect mode, it’s fine to ditch him.
Cosart @ deGrom
Simon @ T. Wood – Simon coming off strong bounce back outing.
R. Hernandez @ Bergman
Vogelsong @ Miley – Miley awful on the road against these same Giants his last time out and he’s 2-7 with a 6.08 ERA at home. Vogelsong a toss-up.
Williams @ Cashner
McCarthy @ Gausman (Gm 1) – tough matchup for McCarthy but he’s earned the trust
Mitchell @ Norris (Gm 2) – Norris having a solid year, and Yankees’ offense is scuffling
Karns @ Happ
Carrasco @ Price
A. Wood @ Holland – Holland was very sharp last time, though
Hughes @ Quintana
Webster @ Ventura
Oberholtzer @ Wilson – Wilson has a 5.53 ERA since All-Star
Hammel @ Paxton - Hammel appears to be over his post-trade yips
Alvarez @ Hamels
Wada @ Cole – not fully sold on Wada, but a 2.95 ERA in 10 starts with only one blowup…
G. Gonzalez @ Gee
Latos @ Lohse – thus assuring me of a combined 11 earned runs and two no-decisions in NFBC
J. De La Rosa @ Wainwright
Stults @ Nuno – blue-plate special!
Ryu @ Bumgarner – this one’s worth staying up late for
***ZACH SAYS “Holland has been very impressive since his return and gets to face a Braves team that ranks next to last in the Majors in runs scored this year, ahead of only the Padres. I’d definitely pitch him. Agree on rest.”
Gibson @ Kluber (Gm 1)
Nolasco @ House (Gm 2)
Kazmir @ Sale – Kazmir 5.96 ERA since the break, and bad matchup… play it safe
Cobb @ Pineda
Rasmus @ Martinez
Buchholz @ Hendriks
Lynn @ Cueto
Delgado @ Peavy
Liriano @ Burnett
Roark @ Colon – tempting on Colon, but the Nationals are locked in now
Eovaldi @ Fiers