Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 8/6
Just about an even balance of pitches and ditches this time. Here’s a list of 10 of the more interesting two-starters for next week along with my analysis and a final verdict. Be sure to listen to today’s podcast when it comes out later. Who knows, Mike and Cory might disagree with me on some of these.
Ivan Nova (@DET, @TOR)
Nova’s coming off a rocky July but his 5.97 ERA for the month is skewed by one disaster outing (5 IP 9 ER vs. BAL). Still, Ivan has been mired in inconsistency for most of the season, as June marked the only month during which he posted an ERA under 5.00. Not to mention the ugly 1.44 WHIP for the year. On the bright side, he’s considerably improved his strikeout rate from a year ago and the Yankees’ lineup will always put him in great position to rack up wins. Plus, Nova’s home/away splits this season are telling, as he sports a 6.16 ERA at home as opposed to a 3.32 ERA away from the Bronx. Still, I’d be very hesitant to pitch him for these matchups as I think there’s a good chance he puts up a stinker in at least one of these starts. In AL-only leagues and NFBC-style mixed formats, I might throw him out there. But in a 12-team mixed, I’m passing.
Phil Hughes (@DET, @TOR)
What’s not to like about the way Hughes is pitching of late? He’s now notched four straight quality starts and has lowered his ERA by close to two full runs since the beginning of June. He has the same two matchups as Nova but I’m simply more confident that he will avoid at least one disaster start. Pitch.
Jon Lester (vs. TEX, @CLE)
Lester needs to do more than just put up a 6 IP 4 ER line vs. the Yankees to fully earn back my trust. And despite the strong showing vs. the light-hitting Twins last night, let’s face it, the guy has been flat out awful all season. While the @CLE matchup is tempting, no way would I feel comfortable starting him vs. the Rangers, even though he’s at home. Keep in mind that Texas rocked Lester for seven runs in only two innings back in Aprill. And that start was at Fenway as well. Ditch.
Vance Worley (vs. ATL, vs. STL)
Talk about a fall from grace. Worley seems to have lost his mojo, though he did toss a seven inning gem vs. the Nats on Wednesday night. The Braves and Cardinals both rank in the top-5 in the NL in runs scored and Worley has pitched a lot better on the road than at home, so pitching Vance next week is risky. But as crazy as it might sound, I’d pitch him in a 12-team mixed. There’s something about that last start that makes me believe he’s beginning to right the ship.
Scott Diamond (@CLE, vs. TB)
If only Diamond was more consistent in the strikeout department, he would be a must-start in any two-start week. But with less than five strikeouts in five of his last six outings, his upside is limited. That said, he’s a safe choice to at least give you a decent performance, as he’s allowed more than four runs in just one of his 16 starts this season. Both of these matchups aren’t overly intimidating, so I’d take a chance and pitch him. Even if he picks up one win without seriously hurting your ratios, it’ll be worth it.
Jake Westbrook (vs. SF, @PHI)
A decent ERA, a so-so WHIP, more than a hit per inning and a miniscule strikeout rate. That’s what you’re getting with Westbrook, and this just doesn’t excite me. With the acquisition of Hunter Pence, the Giants’ lineup is actually pretty decent, and Citizens’ Bank Park is always a tough place to pitch, even if the Phillies’ offense isn’t nearly as dangerous as it was a few days ago. Ditch.
Bronson Arroyo (@MIL, @CHC)
As much as we like to bash Bronson, we can’t deny that his stat line this year, aside from a pedestrian strikeout rate, is solid. Did you know that Arroyo has pitched to a combined 3.08 ERA vs. the Brewers and Cubs this year and holds a 3.39 ERA and 1.10 WHIP through 11 road starts? Now you know! Pitch.
Zach McAllister (vs. MIN, vs. BOS)
Yeah, McAllister was mediocre vs. the Royals on Wednesday night, but it wasn’t an ERA/WHIP ruining performance. And let’s cut the guy some slack. He was coming off eight straight starts of three earned runs or less and still sports a nifty 8.17 K/9 rate for the season. And here’s an interesting nugget. The Red Sox and Twins rank next to last and last respectively in the AL in runs scored on the road. Pitch.
Barry Zito (@STL, vs. COL)
Love the second matchup but hate the first one. In fact, I hate the first one so much that I’m willing to give up the second one. By week’s end, best case scenario is that Zito’s numbers are mediocre. Ditch.
Ross Detwiler (@HOU, @ARI)
Detwiler’s poor performance at Milwaukee last week broke a string of three consecutive starts of three earned runs or less, but he bounced back nicely last night in tossing seven shutout innings vs. the Phillies. The strikeout rate is nothing to get excited about and these matchups aren’t ideal, but with a 3.02 ERA and 1.21 WHIP through 22 appearances (16 starts) this year, NL-only owners could do a lot worse. I might even try him out in deeper mixed leagues.