Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 8/27
Here are my two-start pitcher notes for next week. Be sure to listen to today’s podcast when it comes out later today to hear what Mike and Cory have to say about some of these guys.
Tommy Milone (@CLE, vs. BOS)
Milone should still be considered a pitch at home but ditch on the road guy, even though he hasn’t been an automatic start at home of late. Despite it being on the road, I like the @CLE matchup as the Indians rank 12th in the AL in home scoring. Although the Red Sox lineup is no walk in the park, Milone has already handled some of the league’s best offenses when pitching at home. In 12-team mixed leagues, he’s a worthy gamble.
Francisco Liriano (@BAL, @DET)
Liriano has been exceptional over his last two starts (12 1/3 IP, 4 ER, 13 K) but we all know how he can implode at any moment. He’s especially struggled on the road this year (2-6, 5.53 ERA), and while the @BAL matchup isn’t too bad, the @DET matchup is a bit scary. The Tigers rank 4th in the AL in runs scored this month and 5th in the AL in runs scored at home. The decision really comes down to where your team stands in ERA and WHIP and whether you can take a risk in those categories to chase wins and strikeouts. Liriano is obviously an ideal choice if your primary focus is strikeouts.
Vance Worley (vs. NYM, @ATL)
After getting off to a strong start this season, Worley has been wildly inconsistent since the All-Star break, going 2-4 with a 5.04 ERA. Worley’s home/road splits are extreme, as he’s 2-5 with a 5.00 ERA at home compared to 4-4 with a 2.98 ERA away from Citizens’ Bank Park. Luckily, the tougher matchup here is on the road, while the Mets rank next to last in the NL in runs scored this month. I’ll say pitch.
Bronson Arroyo (@ARI, @HOU)
Arroyo is 3-0 with a 2.82 ERA and 0.94 WHIP over his last three starts and sports a solid 3.48 road ERA this season. The @ARI matchup is a challenging one but I really like the @HOU matchup. The Astros are batting a collective .219 in August and rank dead last in the Majors in runs scored this month. I know it’s always tough to trust Arroyo, but in deeper mixed leagues I think the risk outweighs the reward. Pitch.
Brett Anderson (@CLE, vs. BOS)
The only reason why you might even think about holding off on pitching Anderson next week is if you want to see more than just one start from him following such a long absence. But let’s be real. This guy is a no-brainer. Keep in mind that he holds a career 3.62 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in the big leagues. The Red Sox are always a tough lineup to face but at least he’ll be at home. Pitch.
Joe Blanton (@COL, vs. ARI)
Blanton has struggled mightily as a member of the Dodgers, going 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA and 1.76 WHIP through four starts. Don’t expect his fortunes to change next week. Home for the D-Backs isn’t a terrible matchup, but Blanton at Coors Field could be a disaster given his tendency to serve up a ton of homers. Stay far away from this one in all mixed leagues. Even in NL-only leagues, Blanton isn’t a particularly good option.
Bud Norris (vs. SF, vs. CIN)
We expected a whole lot better from Bud this year. While Norris has pitched well at times, he’s had way too many disaster outings. But check this out. His ERA at home (2.18) is more than five full runs lower than his road mark (7.27). He’s allowed three earned runs or less in all but one of his home starts this season and was outstanding when he faced these same Reds at home in late-July. The Giants are no slouch offensively but are still middle of the pack. There’s clearly some risk here as Bud has been so inconsistent. But if you believe in the power of the split stat and need the strikeouts, taking a chance on Norris could pay off.
Zach McAllister (vs. OAK, vs. TEX)
Yeah, McAllister has recorded only two quality starts in his last five outings, but aside from the one game vs. the Twins where his defense let him down to the tune of seven unearned runs, he hasn’t really gotten roughed up in any one of his starts this season. He’s also pitched better at home than on the road. Any time your starting pitcher is facing the Rangers, there’s cause for concern. But at least he won’t be in Texas. In deeper mixed leagues, I’m trotting McAllister out there.
Marco Estrada (@CHC, vs. PIT)
Fresh off a 6 IP, 0 ER performance at home vs. the Cubs, Estrada now heads to Wrigley for a rematch with the National League’s lowest scoring offense. The Pirates’ lineup poses a tougher challenge but it’s not like they’re a juggernaut. Estrada’s 4.23 ERA is nothing to get excited about but he’s whiffed more than a batter per inning while issuing very few free passes. Unless you’re closely guarding your ERA and cannot gain much ground in strikeouts, go ahead and pitch Estrada.