Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 6/3

Zach here,

By now you should be fully aware that Friday = two-start pitcher notes, so without further adieu, let’s get to it. I’ve chosen 10 pitchers who I feel are particularly tough calls, and I’m mainly gearing my decisions towards standard 12-team mixed leagues.

                                                                                                                                                          Tim Lincecum  (vs. TOR, @ARI)

Check this out:

Lincecum 2012: 10-15, 186 IP, 183 H, 90 BB, 190 K, 5.18 ERA, 1.47 WHIP

Lincecum 2013 On Pace: 9-15, 195 IP, 195 H, 93 BB, 204 K, 5.12 ERA, 1.48 WHIP

Eerily similar, right? At this point, we all need to give up on the hope that Tiny Tim will recapture his pre-2012 Cy Young form. That said, he still carries mixed league value thanks to the high K rate and at least the possibility that he can perform at a more consistent level. The problem though is that it’s extremely difficult to trust him right now, and these matchups aren’t exactly ideal. Even though the Blue Jays’ lineup has been ravaged by injuries this season, Toronto still ranks in the top-5 in the AL in home runs, runs and batting average in the month of May. Chase Field is always a tough place to pitch, and Lincecum did not fare well when he faced the D-Backs in Arizona earlier in the year (5 IP, 10 H, 5 ER). In mixed leagues, I’m ditching. You just never know which Lincecum you’re going to get.

Tommy Milone  (@MIL, @CHW)

Coming off yet another mediocre road outing, Milone should be treated as strictly a pitch at home/ditch on the road guy. This year’s splits are drastic and last year’s splits were just as drastic. With two road matchups on tap, Milone is a ditch, despite the fact that he’ll be facing a pair of scuffling lineups.

Chris Tillman  (@HOU, @TB)

Tillman’s ugly performance vs. the Nats on Wednesday in which he served up four homers in just 4 2/3 innings can’t inspire too much confidence, but he had been pitching fairly well before that start. The longball has been a major problem for him this season, as he’s served up a whopping 14 homers through 63 1/3 innings (11 starts). But if he can make strides in that area, his overall stat line will improve significantly. The @TB matchup is a little scary as the Rays actually rank 1st in the AL in runs scored this month, but they’re only a mid-level home run hitting team (8th in AL this season). And you’ve got to like the @HOU matchup. In deeper mixed leagues, I’ll take a chance on Tillman.

Brandon McCarthy  (@STL, vs. SF)

Just when you thought McCarthy had turned the corner, posting a 1.19 ERA over a four-start stretch, he puts up a stinker @TEX (I know it’s a tough matchup but still…) to raise his season ERA to 5.00. Cory remains a big-time McCarthy supporter, but I’m just not a fan. The low walk rate is nice but he’s giving up way too many hits this year while posting a strikeout rate that is mediocre at best. Even in a two-start week, I wouldn’t feel comfortable pitching B-Mac unless both matchups are favorable, and the @STL game could be a disaster. I want no part of this. Ditch.

John Danks  (@SEA, vs. OAK)

Danks registered a quality start in his season debut at home vs. the lowly Marlins, but he really struggled on Wednesday at Wrigley, and while he’s a guy who I’m going to monitor closely going forward, he can’t be trusted in mixed leagues yet. AL-only owners should probably take a flier on him next week though, as these matchups are promising. But like I said, mixed leaguers are better off following a wait and see approach.

MLB: New York Mets at New York Yankees

David Phelps  (vs. CLE, @SEA)

I’m willing to give Phelps a mulligan after the beating he took from the Mets, as he was on a nice roll heading into that start. Overall, I’ve been very impressed with the 26-year-old, who has managed to post a strong strikeout rate while limiting the longball and keeping his walk rate under control. Phelps did a fine job against a quality Indians lineup a couple weeks ago and the @SEA matchup certainly has upside potential. Pitch.

Jonathan Pettibone  (vs. MIA, @MIL)

Pettibone’s mediocre performance vs. the Red Sox on Thursday night, the first time he has given up more than three earned runs in a start this season, put somewhat of a damper on what has so far been a solid rookie campaign for the 22-year-old. On one hand, Pettibone sports a stellar 3.64 ERA and 3.06 BB/9 rate. On the other, he’s allowed well over a hit per inning and isn’t a strikeout pitcher. There’s not a whole lot of upside here, but these are decent matchups, so there’s not much downside either. If you’re short of worthy one-start options in a deep mixed league, Pettibone isn’t a bad guy to gamble on for the two-start week.

Juan Nicasio  (@CIN, vs. SD)

Nicasio looked like a strong two-start play for next week until he struggled against a weak Astros team on Thursday night. If he can’t even handle the Astros, how will he fare on the road against a high-powered Reds’ lineup? I don’t care that the vs. SD matchup seems like a favorable one. His entire week could be ruined by the time he takes the mound for that start. Keep an eye on Nicasio though, as he could re-emerge as a legitimate mixed league option, but I’m staying away for next week.

Tyler Chatwood  (@CIN, vs. SD)

Chatwood has exactly the same matchups as Nicasio but I’m a tad more confident in him. The way Chatwood is pitching right now, there’s pretty much zero chance that he’ll be removed from the Rockies’ rotation even after Jeff Francis returns. He’s allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last four starts and is coming off a dominant 10 K performance against the Astros. His shaky track record would scare me off in mixed leagues, but I like him a lot as an NL-only waiver wire pickup. Keep in mind that he’s still just 23, so one would think that he will only get better.

Eric Stults  (@LAD, @COL)

This guy is hard to figure out. He’s capable of tossing a gem on any given day but far too often puts up a mediocre stat line. The good news is that he’s been pitching more gems of late and is coming off a superb performance vs. the Mariners (8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 12 K). The bad news is that the historically fly-ball oriented pitcher will head into Coors Field next week. This worries me. This worries me a lot. I’m ditching Stults in mixed leagues but will group him with Nicasio and Chatwood as guys who deserve NL-only consideration.

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