Shields @ Salazar – I’ll stick with Salazar and his dominating stuff
M. Gonzalez @ Dickey – bench but don’t cut struggling Dickey
Leesman @ Verlander
Tanaka @ Lester
Gibson @ Price – not buying in on Gibson just yet
Martinez @ Milone – Milone is a solid play at home
McHugh @ E. Ramirez – sticking with Erasmo at home vs. weak offense
Skaggs @ Jordan
Cueto @ Volquez
Fernandez @ A. Wood
Wainwright @ Gee – Gee is HR-prone but he’s at home and Cards aren’t crushing (yet)
McCarthy @ Hammel – I expect McCarthy to get on a roll but will bench him ‘til he does
Kennedy @ Gallardo
Bumgarner @ Morales
Burnett @ Ryu
Back with another round of two-start pitcher notes. This latest installment isn’t nearly as pessimistic as last week’s version, as there are a number of intriguing candidates that could easily be available on your league’s waiver wire. So let’s get to it.
Ian Kennedy (@MIL, @WAS)
At this point, there’s no reason why Kennedy should be on any league’s waiver wire. Pick him up now! Look, it’s clear that 2011 was an outlier, but 2013 was an absolute disaster and I’m not expecting a repeat. Kennedy’s chief nemesis has always been the longball, but he’s given up just one home run through his first four starts this season to go along with a superb 23-to-5 K/BB ratio. Plus, pitching his home games at Petco Park should help considerably in his quest to lower that home run total. I’d feel totally comfortable pitching Kennedy in all but the toughest of matchups. Next week’s schedule does not fit that description.
Wily Peralta (vs. SD, vs. CHC)
Peralta is hoping that this is the year he finally puts it all together. So far boasting a 1.96 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, he’s off to a promising start. Oh, and the Padres and Cubs rank last and next to last respectively in the NL in runs scored.
Zach McAllister (vs. KC, @SF)
McAllister has been a Fantasy 411 breakout candidate for a couple of years now, and he’s coming off two consecutive gems, one of which was against a tough Tigers lineup. The Royals rank near the bottom of the AL in runs scored and AT&T Park is always a favorable place to pitch. Outside of shallow mixed leagues, feel free to start McAllister next week.
Dan Straily (vs. TEX, @HOU)
Straily’s 5.40 ERA through three starts is skewed by his particularly poor showing vs. the Angels on Tuesday. And even though he allowed seven hits and one walk in just 3 2/3 innings, his overall WHIP still stands at a solid 1.20. Pitching Straily at home vs. the Rangers is a borderline call, but I like him so much for the @HOU start that I’d be willing to take a chance on him for the two-start week in mixed leagues of 12 teams or more.
R.A. Dickey (vs. BAL, vs. BOS)
It seems like every time I say to ditch on Dickey, he goes out there and turns in a dominant performance, but I don’t like R.A. for next week. He’s allowed at least five runs in three of his four starts this year and has issued at least five free passes in two of those outings. The bottom line is that the former Cy Young award winner is too erratic to trust from one start to the next, and although the Red Sox and Orioles have had a tough time consistently scoring runs in the early going, I’m not expecting their struggles to continue for much longer. There’s too much talent in those lineups.
Garrett Richards (@WAS, @NYY)
After struggling with inconsistency through parts of three seasons in the big leagues, Richards has opened 2014 with two terrific outings and one mediocre performance. I’m a believer in Richards and his strikeout potential, and I like his chances of earning permanent roster status in 12-team mixed leagues by year’s end, but in a weekly league, I’d be hesitant to pitch him for this pair of starts. I did recommend to play him @WAS but the @NYY matchup scares me, as the Yankee offense has finally woken up. Also keep in mind that Richards’ two strong starts this month came against the Mariners and Astros, not exactly offensive juggernauts.
Jenrry Mejia (vs. STL, vs. MIA)
Mejia bounced back nicely from a shaky performance vs. the Braves to fire five shutout innings against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. The 18 K’s over 16 innings are nice. The 11 walks? Not so much. Keep a close eye on Mejia going forward, but for now, he’s strictly an NL-only option.
Buehrle @ Kluber – Buehrle not a terrible choice but major stat correction bound to happen soon.
Wilson @ Scherzer
Norris @ Doubront
Correia @ B. Chen
Oberholtzer @ Kazmir
Nova @ Archer – Nova’s last start very encouraging.
Quintana @ Lewis – Tough challenge for Quintana but he’s been dominant so far. Keep an eye on Lewis.
Lynn @ Zimmermann
Cingrani @ Villanueva
Garza @ Wandy – Haven’t given up on Wandy but he’s a ditch for now.
Big Erv @ Colon – Colon is risky though.
Elias @ Alvarez – Elias a decent deep mixed/AL-only play.
Boisinger @ Haren
Kendrick @ Lyles
Hudson @ Stults
Morrow @ Carrasco – Need to see a bit more from Morrow.
Santiago @ Porcello – Still a fan of Santiago but this is a terrible matchup.
TBD (NYY) @ Ramos
Hughes @ Ventura
E. Johnson @ R. Ross
Peacock @ Chavez – Great matchup for red-hot Chavez.
Jimenez @ Peavy
Hale @ Wheeler – Hale worth a shot here in rematch vs. Mets.
TBD (SEA) @ Slowey
S. Miller @ Strasburg
Estrada @ Cole
Bailey @ Jackson – Sticking with Homer.
Collmenter @ Beckett – Beckett not trustworthy right now.
Lincecum @ Erlin – Tiny Tim coming off solid outing.
R. Hernandez @ Nicasio
W. Chen @ Buchholz
Guthrie @ McAllister – McAllister is on a roll.
Danks @ An. Sanchez – Danks impressive so far but playing it safe here.
Darvish @ Straily – Straily roughed up in his last start and this isn’t a good matchup.
Keuchel @ King Felix
Leake @ Liriano – Leake is pitching well.
Richards @ Roark – Richards a blue-plate special.
Koehler @ Teheran – Kudos to Koehler but this matchup concerns me.
Lyons @ Mejia – Mejia deserves our attention going forward though.
Arroyo @ T. Wood
Cashner @ W. Peralta – This could be Peralta’s breakout year.
Vogelsong @ De La Rosa
Lee @ Maholm
Hutchison @ Masterson – one trending up and the other down, play it safe on both for now
Weaver @ Smyly
Tillman @ Lackey
Kuroda @ Bedard
Paulino @ Perez – Paulino worth watching, but not using right now
Nolasco @ Vargas – yep, you read that right
Cosart @ Gray
Simon @ Samardzija – Simon in a groove and Cubs are not
Wacha @ G. Gonzalez
Lohse @ Morton
Harang @ Niese – great matchup for red-hot Harang
Young @ Eovaldi
Pettibone @ Chatwood
Miley @ Greinke
Cain @ T. Ross – still plenty to like about both
***ZACH SAYS “I’d pitch Eovaldi without much reservation at home against a below average Mariners offense. One mediocre outing isn’t going to change my belief that he’s a prime breakout candidate. Agree on rest.”
Salazar @ Verlander – over/under on combined K’s: 18?
Dickey @ Gibson (Gm 1) – keep an eye on Gibson
McGowan @ Pelfrey (Gm 2) – blue-plate gamble on McGowan if you’re feeling bold
E. Ramirez @ Scheppers
Sabathia @ Price – sorry, not trusting CC right now
Lester @ Sale
B. Chen @ Feldman
A. Wood @ Burnett
Ryu @ Bumgarner
Morales @ Kennedy – Kennedy’s K’s and velocity are back up
Wainwright @ Jordan
Gallardo @ Volquez
Hammel @ Tanaka (Gm 1)
T. Wood @ Pineda (Gm 2) – both Wood and Hammel deserve the shot based on results to date
Price @ Tillman
Salazar @ Smyly – could see a combined 18 K’s in about 11.2 IP
King Felix @ Darvish – OMG
Buchholz @ Danks – keep an eye on Danks
Dickey @ Pelfrey
Guthrie @ Keuchel – blue-plate special!
Milone @ Skaggs – only using Milone at home
Liriano @ Cueto
Kelly @ W. Peralta
Gee @ McCarthy – Both are due for some positive regression on BABIP and HR/FB
Teheran @ Burnett
Roark @ Fernandez
De La Rosa @ Cashner
Maholm @ Vogelsong
Odorizzi @ M. Gonzalez – sticking with Odorizzi for now
Hammel @ Tanaka (PPD) – Hammel’s first two starts were excellent and Yanks are mid-tier offense
McAllister @ An. Sanchez – playing it safe with McAllister
Beavan @ R. Ross
Peavy @ E. Johnson
Morrow @ Hughes – good matchup to roll the dice on Morrow
Ventura @ Harrell
Straily @ Richards
Hale @ Lee
Cole @ Leake
Strasburg @ Koehler
S. Miller @ Estrada
Mejia @ Arroyo
Nicasio @ Erlin
Beckett @ Lincecum – toss-up on both. I’d rather live in the now
The theme for next week is simple. If you don’t already own a viable two-start pitcher candidate, don’t stress over finding one on the waiver wire, because there aren’t a whole lot of appealing options.
Now that I’ve hammered that point home, let’s take a look at some of the borderline calls.
Tim Lincecum (vs. LAD, @SD)
I own Lincecum in one of my leagues, and I’m already regretting it. Yeah, the strikeouts are nice, but the former Cy Young award winner is just too inconsistent from one start to the next, and he’s already served up four homers. I guess I can give him some slack as both of his starts this season have come against the Diamondbacks, a club that can score runs in bunches, but would you really feel comfortable starting Tiny Tim next week against the Dodgers? The @SD matchup is tempting though, and I’d pitch him for that one in a daily lineup league. But in a weekly, I’d play it safe and ditch for this pair of starts.
Jake Odorizzi (@BAL, vs. NYY)
Although owners in deeper mixed leagues and AL-only formats should have Odorizzi on their radar due to his stellar minor league track record and strong showing in limited big league action last season, I wouldn’t trust him yet in a 12-team mixed league. We’ve seen one dominant performance and one terrible outing from him thus far, and next week’s matchups are not favorable to say the least. Ditch Odorizzi for now, but don’t forget about him.
Brandon Morrow (@MIN, @CLE)
By now, it seems like we’ve been waiting forever for Morrow to break out, but a lot of the blame for his disappointing career can be attributed to injuries. The last time he pitched close to a full season (2011), Morrow racked up 203 strikeouts. The problem was that those 203 strikeouts were tied to a 4.72 ERA. Since converting to a full-time starting pitcher back in 2010, Morrow has posted a sub-4.00 ERA just once. His first two starts this season have been OK but not great. Like Odorizzi, Morrow is a guy who mixed leaguers should monitor closely, and I might even pitch him @MIN, but for the two-start week, I’m passing. I need to see a little more.
Jesse Chavez (@LAA, vs. HOU)
Two starts, a 1.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 13 strikeouts in 13 innings. What’s not to like about that? Chavez also pitched well for the A’s last year in a relief role, so the sample size is greater than 13 innings. I view Chavez as a must-add in AL-only leagues, and I’d even think about using him in a 12-team mixed. A stat correction is bound to happen at some point, but these matchups are promising, so I don’t think it will happen next week.
Wandy Rodriguez (@CIN, vs. MIL)
I’ve always been a big fan of Wandy, and although his stat line through two starts doesn’t look too good, let’s remember that he missed most of last season due to injury, so maybe this is simply a case of him shaking off the rust. The 11 strikeouts in 11 innings are encouraging, and despite the tough @CIN matchup, I’d pitch Wandy for the two-start week. Since 2011, Rodriguez sports a 3.38 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in four starts at Great American Ball Park.
Hector Santiago (vs. OAK, @DET)
I’m very optimistic about Santiago for this season, as he’s a 26-year-old lefty who has struck out a shade under a batter per inning through his first 234 big league frames. But he’s struggled with his control so far and his pitch counts have been way too high. He’s a sit until further notice, and next week’s matchups aren’t exactly inspiring.
Josh Beckett (@SF, vs. ARI)
I’ve taken a “your problem, not mine” approach with Beckett over the past couple of seasons, and it’s worked out quite well. He deserves somewhat of a pass for last year’s dreadful stat line, as he battled injuries throughout the season. But even when he was relatively healthy in 2012, he registered a 4.65 ERA, and he’s no longer a dependable source for strikeouts. Don’t be fooled by the name. Beckett’s days of dominance are long over, and he couldn’t even make it past four innings in his 2014 debut. He might earn mixed league relevance at some point this year, but not now.
Lackey @ Kuroda
Masterson @ Paulino – Paulino still worth monitoring though despite poor start @COL.
Shields @ Nolasco
Hutchison @ Norris
Cosart @ Scheppers – Hard to trust Scheppers until he puts together a few good outings.
Niese @ Weaver – Niese a borderline call but at least it’s in a pitcher’s park.
Gray @ E. Ramirez – Playing it safe with Erasmo, who got roughed up by these same A’s his last time out.
Cobb @ Simon
Villanueva @ Wainwright
Anderson @ Cain – Anderson not a bad play in deeper leagues for road starts.
Eovaldi @ Pettibone – Very impressed by Eovaldi so far.
Volquez @ Gallardo
Jordan @ A. Wood – Not in love with this matchup for Jordan but Braves offense has underachieved in the early going.
Greinke @ Miley
Verlander @ Kennedy – Tough matchup for Kennedy but at least it’s at home.
Buehrle @ Jimenez – Not a favorable matchup for either.
Kluber @ Quintana – Taking a chance on Kluber here but he scares me a bit.
Vargas @ Correia
Oberholtzer @ M. Perez – Nice matchup for Perez.
Colon @ Wilson
Kazmir @ Young
Doubront @ Nova – Only start Nova in deeper formats. I’d ditch in a 12-team mixed.
TBD (TB) @ Cingrani
G. Gonzalez @ Harang – Not sold on Harang yet.
Alvarez @ Kendrick – This could be 2-1 or 9-8.
Morton @ Lohse
Jackson @ Wacha
Chatwood @ Hudson
Scherzer @ T. Ross – Pitching Ross at home but there’s definitely some risk here.
Haren @ Cahill
Archer @ W. Chen
Elias @ Lewis
Chavez @ Santiago – Chavez lights out through two starts. Taking a break from Santiago.
Big Erv @ R. Hernandez
Wandy @ Bailey – Not a good matchup for Wandy.
Zimmermann @ Hand
Lynn @ Garza
Wheeler @ Collmenter
Lyles @ Stults
McGowan @ Norris – keep an eye on McGowan
Lester @ Sabathia – yes, that’s a ditch on CC
Feldman @ Darvish
Carrasco @ Sale
B. Chen @ Gibson
Gee @ Skaggs
Milone @ King Felix – only using Milone at home
Fernandez @ Burnett
Price @ Cueto
Roark @ Teheran
Liriano @ W. Peralta
Samardzija @ Kelly – not much conviction on Shark, though
Ryu @ McCarthy
Porcello @ Cashner
De La Rosa @ Bumgarner
***ZACH SAYS “I know Cory is a fan of McCarthy, but he’s gotten roughed up twice in a row now and faces a tough Dodgers lineup, so I’d ditch. Agree on rest.”