Tillman @ Nova
Verlander @ Beckett
Weaver @ Holland – Holland has been very erratic, especially at home… proceed with caution
Liriano @ Blackburn – good matchup for Liriano’s ChiSox debut
Lowe @ Hochevar – play the over!
Shields @ Milone – Milone is a must-start at home
Laffey @ Vargas – Vargas is a strong home play too
Lee @ Strasburg
Nolasco @ Medlen – watch Medlen but don’t start yet
Marquis @ Bailey – Bailey better on the road, but on fire overall
Burnett @ Dempster
Keuchel @ Gallardo
Lohse @ Francis – yes, even in Coors
Miley @ Capuano
Harvey @ Lincecum
An. Sanchez @ Alvarez – Alvarez too erratic lately to trust.
Lester @ Sabathia – No way am I pitching Lester here.
B. Chen @ Millwood
Colon @ Hunter – Colon has thrived on the road (3.12 ERA) and dominated the O’s at Camden earlier this year.
Masterson @ Deduno
Humber @ Harrison
Moore @ Wilson
Kelly @ Samardzija – Kelly working on six straight quality starts and the Cubs rank dead last in the Majors in runs scored.
Billingsley @ Zito
Wandy @ Galarraga
Blanton @ Minor
Ohlendorf @ Eovaldi – Eovaldi a decent gamble in deeper leagues.
Zimmermann @ Wolf
Cueto @ Friedrich
Young @ Kennedy – Young a little risky though.
Fister @ Cecil
Blackley @ W. Chen – Blackley is on a roll.
Jimenez @ Liriano – Battle of the two most frustrating pitchers to own in all of fantasy baseball. Pass.
Hellickson @ Richards – I still don’t fully trust Richards.
Smith @ King Felix
Floyd @ Oswalt – Oswalt’s last two starts have been solid.
Doubront @ Kuroda
Richard @ Johnson – I’ll give Richard another chance, despite this being on the road.
Halladay @ Hudson
McDonald @ Harrell – Harrell 3 ER combined over his last three starts (19 IP).
Gonzalez @ Greinke
Wainwright @ Maholm – Still not ready to gamble on Maholm vs. top-tier offense.
Latos @ J. Sanchez
Kershaw @ Vogelsong
Dickey @ Saunders
Weaver @ Feldman
M. Gonzalez @ F. Garcia
Scherzer @ Buchholz – Scherzer has a sub-3 ERA in two career starts at Fenway.
Quintana @ De Vries
Price @ Griffin – Gotta go with Griffin.
Romero @ Iwakuma – Yup, I don’t even trust Ricky Ro at Safeco.
Buehrle @ Hanson
Volquez @ Leake – I said pitch on Volquez in weekly leagues but in daily leagues this is too dangerous of a matchup.
Bedard @ Dempster – Nice matchup for Bedard.
Norris @ Estrada – I’ll pitch both but if you’re in a tight race in ERA and WHIP, feel free to ditch both.
Cahill @ Harang – Harang is hot.
Hefner @ Bumgarner
A lot of two-start pitchers to discuss this time. I’ve picked 12 who I consider neither obvious pitches nor obvious ditches and included my analysis. Catch today’s podcast to hear what Mike and Cory have to say about these guys.
Tim Lincecum (vs. NYM, @COL)
Despite his first half struggles, I never thought I’d be ditching Tiny Tim for a two-start week. But we’re at the point now where I just don’t trust him in less than ideal matchups. After putting together two straight stellar outings, Lincecum reverted back to the erratic pitcher we’ve seen for much of this season his last time out, getting roughed up at home vs. the light-hitting Padres. Maybe he does OK at home vs. the Mets, but the @COL start could very well be a disaster. In 11 career starts at Coors Field, Lincecum sports a mediocre 4.31 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. Not to mention that he got lit up there earlier this season (2 1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER). Outside of NL-only leagues and very deep mixed formats, I want no part of him.
Ricky Romero (@SEA, @OAK)
The matchups are very favorable but the pitcher is a mess. Maybe if Romero pitched decently in his most recent start vs. OAK I’d think about pitching him here. But he’s DTM for the time being and should not be started in any format until he shows some signs of breaking out of this funk. I have no idea what’s wrong with this guy but this is getting ridiculous. In mixed leagues, I wouldn’t blame you for cutting him outright.
Derek Holland (vs. LAA, @KC)
Holland’s 4.74 ERA is far from impressive but he has recorded four quality starts in his last five outings. That said, his 5.94 home ERA is cause for concern and the Angels are a talented offense. I can see him posting a quality start @KC but the risk attached to the vs. LAA matchup is enough of a reason to play it safe and bench Holland in mixed leagues of 12 teams or fewer.
Edinson Volquez (@CIN, vs. NYM)
As much as Cory can’t stand Volquez, the reality is that he’s having a pretty darn good season. Walks continue to be an issue but the 8.2 K/9 rate cannot be ignored. The @CIN matchup is scary considering that Great American Ballpark is always a tough place to pitch and Volquez has been a lot better at home than on the road. But even away from Petco, Edinson sports a respectable 3.96 ERA. Not to mention that he’s hot, having allowed 3 ER or less in each of his last six starts. In 12-team mixed leagues, I’ll roll the dice and pitch him.
Jose Quintana (@MIN, vs. LAA)
After kicking off his big league career in dominant fashion, Quintana has come back down to earth a bit, allowing at least 4 ER in three of his last five starts. That said, he allowed just 1 ER combined in the other two outings. Coming off a mediocre start vs. MIN, I expect him to do a lot better in his rematch with the Twins, an offense that is nothing more than middle of the pack in the AL. the vs. LAA matchup is challenging but Quintana has already pitched exceptionally well vs. TEX and then @BOS, so he’s shown that he can handle the stronger lineups. Pitch!
Ricky Nolasco (@ATL, @WAS)
What’s happened to this guy? The former 411 darling has been a colossal disappointment this year after being a colossal disappointment last year, and the year before that! And it’s gotten even uglier in 2012. The strikeout rate is way down, the ERA is up and the WHIP is mediocre. Sure, he might give you a quality start, but he’s also very prone to the disaster outing, and since he’s no longer a big strikeout pitcher, there’s little reason to play him in all but the easiest of matchups. These matchups aren’t that easy, so I’m ditching.
Aaron Harang (vs. ARI, vs. CHC)
While Harang’s numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, the veteran righty is enjoying a solid season in L.A. Yeah, he’s no longer a dominant ace, but he has emerged as a decent spot starter in mixed leagues for ERA and strikeout help. Harang has gotten off to a very strong second half, going 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in three starts since the All-Star break The D-Backs are a poor hitting team on the road and the Cubs are a poor hitting team in general. Pitch.
Bud Norris (@MIL, @ATL)
I expected a lot more from Norris this season and there’s no way around the fact that he has not pitched well. But keep in mind that his current 5.05 ERA is skewed by two starts in which he allowed a combined 18 runs over six innings. On the brighter side, he’s struck out more than a batter per inning for the season. But the main reason why I’d bench Norris for next week has to do with his Home/Road splits and his 7.46 road ERA and 1.75 road WHIP. The Brewers and Braves both have some dangerous hitters, so I’m thinking that this could get ugly. Ditch.
Mike Leake (vs. SD, vs. PIT)
Leake has lowered his ERA by close to a full run since mid-June, during which time he’s allowed 2 ER or less in six of his seven starts. His 5.40 home ERA is the only factor that would make me think twice about starting Leake next week, but ultimately I’d take the plunge. The Pirates and Padres rank 22nd and 28th respectively in the Majors in runs scored. Pitch.
Carlos Zambrano (@ATL, @WAS)
With just two quality starts in his last eight outings and an astronomical 5.2 BB/9 rate for the year, I’ve completely lost all faith in Big Z regardless of the matchup. Zambrano’s early-season dominance was fun while it lasted, but he’s now back to his old inconsistent ways and is simply not worth the grief. Ditch.
A.J. Griffin (vs. TB, vs. TOR)
The matchups aren’t great but it’s hard to bet against a guy who has opened his big league career with six straight quality starts and a 29-to-8 K/BB ratio. He’s bound to hit a rough stretch eventually, but I’ll gamble on him keeping the magic going for a little longer. Pitch.
Marco Estrada (vs. HOU, @STL)
The 10.0 K/9 rate is nice and the 1.9 BB/9 rate is even nicer. But the 15 homers allowed in only 67 2/3 innings is worrisome and the @STL start could ruin whatever positive vibes come from the start at home vs. the Astros. I’ll take the conservative route and say ditch.
Cook @ Hughes – Cook has 3 K’s in 36.0 IP… recipe for disaster
Parker @ Britton
Porcello @ Villanueva
Sale @ Darvish
Tomlin @ Diamond
Cobb @ Haren – Haren looked 100% better last time out
Guthrie @ Beavan – Beavan worth a look in deep/AL-only leagues
Lynn @ Wood
K. Wells @ Zambrano
Hamels @ Sheets
Karstens @ Lyles – yes, that is a “pitch” on Karstens
Detwiler @ Fiers
Arroyo @ Pomeranz
Niese @ Collmenter
TBD (LAD) @ Cain
Shields @ Tillman – Rays struggle vs. RHP
Milone @ Laffey – still not sure I trust Milone on the road vs. a good offense
Verlander @ McAllister
Mendoza @ Vargas
Capuano @ Westbrook – Dodgers are building a real offense but Westbrook is having a good year
Burnett @ Keuchel
Jackson @ Gallardo
Harvey @ Miley – sit out Harvey’s MLB debut in tough environment
Fister @ Jimenez
Hellickson @ W. Chen
Blackley @ Cecil
Buchholz @ Lewis – Buchholz has been on a serious roll…
De Vries @ Quintana
Smith @ Richards
F. Garcia @ King Felix – M’s are last in MLB in runs at home
Maholm @ McDonald – Maholm is on a road but Pirates can score now
Greinke @ Lee – hang with ‘em (both)
Hudson @ Buehrle
Gonzalez @ Dickey – both are regressing but still deserving starts
Leake @ Harrell – Harrell worth a look for deep league gamblers
Kershaw @ Wainwright
TBD (COL) @ Saunders
Volquez @ Bumgarner
***ZACH SAYS “I’d ditch Buchholz. He was great last time out but did allow 9 ER combined over his previous two starts. For me, @TEX is an automatic ditch for non-elite starters. Also ditch Garcia. It doesn’t matter who he’s up against. I just don’t trust him. Agree on rest.”
Darvish @ Big Erv – Santana too erratic to trust vs. top-tier lineup.
Sale @ Porcello
Tillman @ McAllister – McAllister 3 ER or less in each of his last six starts.
Villanueva @ Cook – Villanueva pitching well but I’m not risking it at Fenway.
Diamond @ Mendoza
Vargas @ Cobb – Vargas on a roll.
Hughes @ Parker – I’ll risk it with Parker at home.
Sheets @ Jackson (Gm 1 of doubleheader)
Delgado @ Lannan (Gm 2 of doubleheader)
Capuano @ Batista
Cain @ Hamels
Zambrano @ Burnett – I could regret trusting Big Z though.
Gallardo @ Arroyo – Bronson has pitched well vs. MIL this year (2.51 ERA).
Garza @ Westbrook – Rolling the dice on Westbrook in mixed leagues with 12+ teams.
TBD (HOU) @ Miley
Francis @ K. Wells
Humber @ Turner
Alvarez @ Lester – Only thing preventing me from sitting Lester is that Joey Bats won’t be in the TOR lineup.
Beavan @ Moore – Fed up with Moore as well and SEA hits on the road.
Deduno @ Teaford
Britton @ Tomlin
Sabathia @ Colon – Colon too prone to disaster outings to trust here.
Harrison @ Haren – I’m sitting Haren in what would be his first start back from DL.
Eovaldi @ Niese
Fiers @ Cueto
Jurrjens @ Detwiler – I’ve lost all faith in Jurrjens after his latest start. Detwiler not a bad play in deeper formats.
Zito @ Blanton – This could be 3-2 or 9-8. In 12-team mixed leagues, I’ll pass.
An. Sanchez @ Karstens
Wood @ Lynn – I like Wood but not in love with this matchup.
Friedrich @ Ohlendorf
Lyles @ Collmenter
Hunter @ Masterson
Doubront @ Oswalt – Disaster alert for Doubront and risk outweighs the reward with Oswalt.
Liriano @ Floyd – Although I like Liriano in a weekly league as a two-start pitcher, in a daily league I’d sit him for this one.
B. Chen @ Wilson
Kuroda @ Millwood
Wolf @ Halladay
Samardzija @ Bedard – Samardzija on fire in July. Still skeptical about Bedard.
Zimmermann @ Young
Minor @ Johnson
Latos @ Wandy – Giving both a mulligan for their most recent starts.
Billingsley @ Kelly
J. Sanchez @ Kennedy
Richard @ Vogelsong – Richard no longer just a start at home guy.
Time for our weekly two-start pitcher notes. I’ve focused on eight guys here who aren’t either automatic pitches or automatic ditches. Well, maybe Ubaldo is an automatic ditch but I really wanted a nice round number! Be sure to catch today’s podcast as we will run through all of this on the show.
Justin Masterson (vs. BAL, @MIN)
Two of Masterson’s last three outings have been awful but I haven’t lost faith in him. His exceptional month of June (2.06 ERA 1.00 WHIP) has bought him some more time. The Orioles rank near the top of the AL in both runs and homers but Masterson has been very solid at home this year (3.54 ERA). The Twins are at best a mediocre offense. Pitch.
Francisco Liriano (@CWS, vs. CLE)
Perhaps no starting pitcher in baseball is more frustrating to own than this guy. Walks continue to be an issue and there’s always a chance he completely blows up but I like him for this week. Liriano has notched six quality starts in his last seven outings and boasts a 9.89 K/9 rate for the season. The @CWS matchup is scary but he pitched well vs. the White Sox when he faced them last month. The Indians are no pushover either but despite their recent success, their lineup is far from elite. Liriano is a risky play but in 12-team mixed leagues I think he’s a risk worth taking. Pitch.
Ubaldo Jimenez (vs. DET, @MIN)
Ubaldo is pretty much DTM at this point. Yeah, he might do well @MIN but the vs. DET game could be a total disaster. Unlike Liriano, the risk here outweighs the reward. In mixed leagues, he’s a ditch.
Jeff Samardzija (@PIT, vs. STL)
Samardzija has rebounded nicely from a dreadful month of June, posting a 2.37 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 11.37 K/9 rate through three July starts. The Pirates’ lineup is no longer one to routinely pick on but it’s not exactly an overly intimidating lineup either. The Cardinals’ offense is strong but in two starts vs. STL this year, Samardzija is 1-0 with a respectable 3.86 ERA. I’m rolling the dice and saying pitch.
Wei-Yin Chen (vs. TB, vs. OAK)
Pitching Chen is far from a no-brainer as he has just four quality starts in his last eight outings, but I’ll give him a shot. The Rays are middle of the pack in the AL in runs and homers and rank near the bottom of the Junior Circuit in AVG. The A’s rank dead last in the AL in both runs and AVG. Plus, Chen is 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA in nine home starts this year. Pitch.
Jose Quintana (vs. MIN, @TEX)
I don’t care how well Quintana pitched at home vs. the Rangers a couple weeks ago or how well he pitched at Fenway Park on Thursday night. @TEX is an automatic ditch for all mid-tier starters and that in itself is enough of a reason why Quintana should be benched next week.
Clayton Richard (@SF, @MIA)
Richard is no longer a pitch at home but sit on the road guy. Over his last five road starts, he’s 3-2 with a 1.43 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. The Giants rank next to last in the NL in runs scored at home and the Marlins are nothing more than a mid-level offense. I’m pitching Richard without hesitation.
Erik Bedard (vs. CHC, @HOU)
The matchups are very favorable and Bedard is coming off an impressive outing at Coors, but I’ve lost all trust in him for the time being. The WHIP is horrible, the ERA is mediocre and he’s pitched to a 6.37 ERA since the beginning of June. In NL-only leagues and very deep mixed formats, I might trot Bedard out there. But in 12-team mixed leagues, I’m ditching.