Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 4/7
Welcome to the first 2014 season installment of my two-start pitcher series. Each Friday, in an effort to help out those of you in weekly lineup leagues, I’ll be discussing several of the following week’s two-start pitcher candidates before making a final determination as to whether you should pitch them or ditch them. Note that I will be focusing on the not so obvious options. I don’t need to advise you to pitch Max Scherzer next week or to ditch Brett Oberholtzer for his pair of starts @TOR and @TEX. Also keep in mind that my decisions are mainly geared towards standard 12-team mixed leagues.
Alright, let’s get started!
Jose Quintana (@COL, vs. CLE)
Quintana was decent in his season debut, as he whiffed eight and though he gave up five runs, three of those runs were unearned. The 25-year-old is coming off a very strong first full season in the big leagues, and I like him a lot for 2014. In fact, I like him so much that I’ll say pitch here, even though Coors Field will be the venue for one of his starts.
Tim Hudson (vs. ARI, vs. COL)
Hudson owners could not have possibly asked for anything more from the veteran righty in his season debut, as he blanked the D-Backs over 7 2/3 innings and even punched out seven. Now look, it would be silly to expect anything close to a strikeout per inning going forward, but another season of top-notch ratios would not at all be surprising. Even at 38 years of age, Hudson remains a highly effective big league pitcher, and at this point in his career, he is one of the most underrated and underappreciated hurlers in the game. With two home dates on tap for next week, he’s an automatic pitch. Actually, I see him as an automatic pitch regardless of the matchup, at least for the time being.
John Lackey (vs. TEX, @NYY)
Lackey was without question one of last season’s biggest starting pitching surprises, as he triumphantly returned from missing an entire season due to Tommy John surgery to post the lowest WHIP of his career and his lowest ERA since 2007. At 35, he’s getting up there in age, but he can handle any lineup when he’s on his game. Lackey will face a tough challenge next week, but I think he’s up for the task.
Dan Haren (vs. DET, @ARI)
Haren is a longtime personal favorite, so I made sure to draft him in multiple leagues this year. After a brutal start to last season, he settled down in the second half, and I consider the Dodgers to be a great fit for him. Sure enough, he dominated in his season debut, though @SD is a very favorable matchup. These matchups aren’t too friendly, and in a shallow mixed league, I’d totally understand if you opt to take the conservative route and sit this out. But in a 12-team mixed, I’ll roll the dice on Haren in hopes that the 2014 version is closer to the pitcher who registered a 3.52 ERA and 1.02 WHIP following the All-Star break last year than the pitcher who toiled in mediocrity for much of the 2012 season and the first half of the 2013 campaign.
Bartolo Colon (@ATL, @LAA)
This one is a tough call, as Colon was rather shaky in his inaugural outing as a Met, notching a quality start but serving up two homers in the process. The good news is that he continued to display his pinpoint control, not issuing a single free pass in his six innings of work. Honestly, I don’t know what to expect from Colon this year. He should remain a quality mixed league option, especially in light of his move to the NL. On the other hand, he will turn 41 in May. These matchups are a bit scary but I’d lean towards pitching Bartolo, as control guys tend to perform well against any lineup as long as they effectively pound the zone. But Colon is my least confident Pitch.
Tyson Ross (@CLE, vs. DET)
Ross put forth a mediocre performance in his first outing of 2014, and I’m not crazy about the four walks in five innings. But the Dodgers’ lineup is a tough one to face, and at least he racked up seven strikeouts. I said pitch on Ross for the @CLE start, but the vs. DET matchup would scare me off for two-start pitcher purposes. Outside of very deep mixed leagues or NL-only formats, I’m ditching.
Ubaldo Jimenez (@NYY, vs. TOR)
If you’re thinking about chasing strikeouts by pitching Ubaldo next week, forget it. Though he was decent against the Red Sox on Wednesday, this guy is way too combustible to trust outside of very favorable matchups. And these matchups are far from favorable, even if the Jays’ lineup is a lot less intimidating without Jose Reyes.
Tanner Scheppers (@BOS, vs. HOU)
Making his first career big league start this past Monday, Scheppers received a rude awakening as the Phillies lit him up for seven runs over four innings. Fresh off a dominant season as a late-inning reliever, he certainly carries plenty of upside, and the move to the rotation could work out just fine. But for now, I’m benching Scheppers unless the matchup is particularly appealing. The vs. HOU matchup is particularly appealing. The @BOS matchup has disaster written all over it.