Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 5/27

Hey everyone,

It’s Friday, so you know what that means! Time for another dose of my weekly two-start pitcher notes. As always, remember that these are geared towards standard, 12-team 5×5 mixed leagues. And of course, be sure to listen to today’s podcast, as Cory and JB will be joined by Todd “Lord” Zola of Mastersball to talk about some of these two-start pitcher options while answering a bunch of listener questions.

-Zach

Ervin Santana  (vs. STL, @TEX)

This is a very tough test for Big Erv, who is fresh off a mediocre performance versus the Angels in which he allowed four home runs. But the strikeouts are still there and his walk rate is at a career-low level. With Erv, it basically boils down to whether the longballs he serves up will be solo shots or multi-run homers. Despite the scary matchups, I think he’s pitched well enough this year to earn our trust in a two-start week.

Brandon Morrow  (vs. ATL, @SD)

More often than not, Morrow has disappointed this season. On any given day, he could either throw a two-hitter or allow six runs in three innings. This makes him incredibly frustrating to own. While the @SD matchup is enticing, in a 12-team mixed league I’m not going anywhere near him for the vs. ATL outing. The Braves rank 1st in the NL in homers and 5th in runs. No thanks. Ditch.

Francisco Liriano  (@DET, vs. CIN)

Check out Liriano’s stats so far this year. They’re pretty good. The problem is that it’s only been three starts, and Liriano has teased us before. The other problem is that these matchups are flat-out frightening, with the Tigers leading the AL in runs and the Reds being the second-highest scoring team in the Senior Circuit. In an NFBC-style mixed league, maybe you want to take a chance on him due to the upside, particularly in the strikeout department. But in a standard sized mixed, you’re probably better off playing it safe and ditching.

Ubaldo Jimenez  (@CIN, vs. TB)

Ubaldo, Ubaldo, Ubaldo. Just when we started to think (or hope) that he had turned the corner, he goes out and puts up a stinker. It was against the Tigers, so let’s give him a bit of a break. But the bottom line is that you just can’t trust this guy. And I’m not a fan of these matchups. At all. I view Jimenez as a lot like Liriano. High risk/high reward but to me, the high risk outweighs the high reward. I’ll pass.

Phil Hughes  (@NYM, vs. BOS)

This is an interesting one considering that Hughes is coming off a strong showing vs. the Orioles and the @NYM matchup is rather tasty. But the Red Sox game has disaster written all over it and let’s not conveniently forget that Hughes had allowed a combined 13 earned runs over his previous two starts (6 1/3 IP) against a pair of weak offenses in the Mariners and Royals. Hughes, who currently sports an ugly 5.51 ERA and 1.50 WHIP through nine starts this season, still has a ways to go before I can feel comfortable pitching him, even in a two-start week.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics

Jarrod Parker  (vs. SF, vs. CHW)

Finally, Parker seems to have righted the ship, with three straight quality starts. The overall stat line is still tough to look at, but I’m still a Parker fan thanks to his excellent rookie campaign last year. He’ll get a couple of home starts next week, one versus a White Sox offense that ranks dead last in the AL in runs scored and second to last in batting average and the other a Giants’ lineup that has surprisingly hit well so far but is still no one’s idea of Murderers’ Row. I’ll pitch on Parker.

Kevin Slowey  (@TB, vs. NYM)

Just when it looked like Slowey was turning back into a pumpkin, he redeemed himself in his most recent start, but being that his only quality season came back in ’08, I remain skeptical. If you have him on your roster, you might as well pitch him, as the vs. NYM start is an enticing one, but generally speaking, he’s not someone I plan on owning anytime soon because, well, he’ll probably turn back into a pumpkin.

Edwin Jackson  (@CHW, vs. ARI)

I expected better from E-Jax this season. I didn’t quite expect him to duplicate his performance from last year, but at the same time I didn’t expect him to be this erratic. Come on, a 6.11 ERA and 1.57 WHIP through 10 starts? The only positive is that he’s striking out a shade under a batter per inning, so at least he offers K’s in a two-start week. While I have yet to lose all faith in him, my patience is wearing very thin, and these are pretty bad matchups. In a 12-team mixed, I’m ditching until he shows some signs of righting the ship. But in deeper mixed leagues, rolling the dice on Jackson isn’t a terrible move if you’re chasing K’s.

Mike Leake  (vs. CLE, @PIT)

Leake is hard to trust in general, but guess what his ERA is over his last two starts, spanning 13 2/3 innings? Yep, 0.00. The bad news is that the Indians’ lineup ranks 2nd in the AL in runs scored and is tied for 1st in homers, which makes this a tough call. But I do like the @PIT matchup, and Leake has been pitching well enough lately that I’m willing to take the risk. Plus, he’s backed by a strong offense, so chances are you’ll get at least one W.

Jose Quintana  (vs. CHC, @OAK)

Although Quintana has had a few mediocre outings this season, on the whole he’s done a solid job. He doesn’t hurt himself with walks and has even shown considerable improvement in the strikeout department. Oh yeah, and he’s only 24. I’m a huge Quintana supporter, and next week is as good a time as any to roll him out there, as he’ll be facing two sub-par offenses. Pitch!

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