Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/24
Time for the final installment of my two-start pitcher notes! A fairly even mix of Pitches and Ditches this time around. As always, feel free to ask follow-up questions on pitchers who aren’t listed here, but I’ve included all of the guys who I consider to be borderline calls.
Derek Holland (vs. OAK, vs. LAA)
Holland’s 5.12 ERA at home is the only reason why you’d even think about sitting him next week. But don’t let this scare you. He’s notched a quality start in six straight outings while striking out 38 over 42 innings. The A’s lineup is sub-par and while Holland got roughed up by the Angels the first two times he faced them this year, he’s coming off a strong performance against them (7 IP, 2 ER). Pitch.
Trevor Cahill (@COL, vs. CHC)
This one is a real tough call. It’s always risky to start a mid-level pitcher at Coors, but the bottom line is that Cahill has been lights out in September (3-0, 2.79 ERA). And he’s done a nice job of limiting the homers (15 HR allowed in 30 starts). On the negative side, Cahill’s ERA at home (4.96) dwarfs his road mark (2.91), so the vs. CHC matchup isn’t quite as attractive as it might seem at first glance. Still, Cahill’s recent performance stands out as the most important factor, so I’ll say pitch.
Tommy Milone (@TEX, vs. SEA)
Next week has disaster written all over it for Milone. First, he gets the worst matchup possible (I don’t care that he’s pitched well against the Rangers this year). Then, he’ll face a Mariners’ lineup that performs rather well on the road. AL-only owners might want to throw him out there, but I’m not touching him in mixed leagues. He’s faded badly in September, pitching to a 4.95 ERA and 1.90 WHIP. Ditch.
Mike Fiers (@CIN, vs. HOU)
Like Milone, Fiers has struggled mightily of late, registering a 6.61 ERA and 1.96 WHIP in September. But he’s still racking up those strikeouts. The @CIN matchup poses a challenge, but Fiers has dominated the Reds this year to the tune of a 1.29 ERA and 0.57 WHIP. And you’ve got to love the vs. HOU matchup. There’s risk here considering his recent pitching, but I’d slightly lean towards starting him.
Paul Maholm (vs. MIA, vs. NYM)
Maholm owners might be panicking, as he’s gotten lit up twice in his last four outings. But the good news is that he’s coming off a strong outing on the road against the Marlins and then gets the Marlins at home to begin next week before facing the Mets. The Marlins and Mets rank 14th and 15th respectively in the NL in runs scored since the All-Star break and Maholm is a combined 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA against these two teams this season.
Francisco Liriano (vs. CLE, vs. TB)
Liriano is a category-based gamble. We all know that he can blow up at any moment but we also know that he’ll rack up plenty of strikeouts, that is as long as he stays in the game beyond the second inning! These aren’t terrible matchups, so if you can afford to risk ERA and WHIP and are in need of K’s, Liriano might be worth a look. Otherwise, feel free to pass and avoid the headache.
Edinson Volquez (vs. LAD, vs. SF)
Volquez is a lot like Liriano. He’s high risk/high reward. The one major difference is that I’d much rather start a high risk pitcher who’s making two starts at Petco than one who’s making two starts at U.S. Cellular. Edinson isn’t a must-start, but his 3.11 ERA and 9.13 K/9 at home this year is enough of a reason to take a chance on him, unless you’re in an ultra-tight WHIP race. Volquez won’t help you much in that department.
Aaron Harang (@SD, vs. COL) *Two-Start Pitcher status in question
Harang has been nothing more than an average pitcher this year. His ERA is solid but the record, the WHIP and the strikeout rate are mediocre. I like him a lot for next week though. Harang has pitched better on the road than at home this season, and @SD is about as favorable as it gets in terms of road matchups. What about the home matchup? It’s simple. The Rockies do not hit well on the road. I think we’ve mentioned this before. Pitch!
Mike Leake (vs. MIL, @PIT)
Leake has been a major source of frustration for me this year as you just never know which Mike Leake you’re going to get from one start to the next. The @PIT matchup is a decent one, but I don’t like the vs. MIL matchup at all. Believe it or not, the Brewers have overtaken the Cardinals as the highest scoring team in the NL and they also rank first in the NL in homers. Oh yeah, Leake’s home ERA is 5.54. In NL-only leagues, he might warrant some attention, but I want no part of him in mixed leagues.