Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 7/30
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.