Stults @ McAllister (Gm 1) – keep an eye on McAllister
Erlin @ Bauer (Gm 2) – keep an eye on Bauer
Chavez @ Hughes
Odorizzi @ Guthrie
R. Ross @ Peavy
Harrell @ Morrow – favorable matchup, but Morrow is on a short leash
M. Gonzalez @ Tanaka
Richards @ Elias
Leake @ S. Miller
E. Johnson @ Nicasio
Turner @ Zimmermann
Garza @ R. Hernandez
Wheeler @ Big Erv – cushy matchup for Big Erv’s return
Wandy @ Hammel
An. Sanchez @ Ryu
Arroyo @ Lincecum
W. Chen @ Nova
Perez @ Doubront
Erlin @ Kluber
Oberholtzer @ Buehrle – do it again, Buehrle
Archer @ Ventura
Santiago @ Paxton – do it again, Paxton
Lohse @ Kendrick
Cahill @ Hudson
Alvarez @ G. Gonzalez
Colon @ Harang – do it again, Harang
Morton @ Jackson
Bailey @ Lynn
Quintana @ Morales – play it safe in Coors
Scherzer @ Haren
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.
Gibson @ Carrasco – I’m a big fan of Carrasco this year.
Pineda @ Dickey – I’m not a big fan of Dickey this year.
Norris @ Porcello – Porcello could become a POD factor soon though.
Danks @ B. Chen
King Felix @ Milone – Not enough upside with Milone.
W. Peralta @ Buchholz – Peralta deserves attention but this matchup is too tough.
Skaggs @ Keuchel – Skaggs not a bad gamble here but let’s see him make one start first.
Martinez @ Price
Cueto @ Gee
Lee @ Samardzija
Bumgarner @ Maholm
Teheran @ Strasburg
Kelly @ Liriano – Kelly an intriguing NL-only play.
Cashner @ Fernandez
McCarthy @ De La Rosa
Nolasco @ Masterson – Nolasco is YPNM.
Sabathia @ Hutchison – CC looking to bounce back.
Tillman @ Verlander
Gallardo @ Lester – I liked what I saw from Gallardo on Monday.
Darvish @ Cobb
Sale @ Shields
Weaver @ Feldman – I don’t trust Feldman. Period.
E. Ramirez @ Gray – Nice matchup for Erasmo.
Simon @ Niese – Let’s see how Niese does here.
Kennedy @ Eovaldi – Promising matchup for both.
Al. Wood @ Jordan – Jordan could prove start-worthy before long.
Wainwright @ Volquez
Burnett @ Villanueva
Miley @ Anderson – Playing it safe on both.
Cain @ Greinke
Jimenez @ Kuroda
Wilson @ Cosart – C.J. should get back on track here.
Kazmir @ Correia – Kazmir dominant in season debut.
Scheppers @ Lackey – Taking a wait and see approach with Scheppers. Throwing Lackey out there despite challenging matchup.
T. Ross @ Kluber – Ross’ strikeout upside too tempting to ignore. Giving Kluber another shot versus lower tier offense.
Moore @ Vargas – Vargas worth monitoring though.
Lohse @ Kendrick
Cingrani @ Wacha – Wednesday’s meeting lived up to the hype. Will this one follow?
Paulino @ Lyles – I like Paulino but this matchup is too risky.
M. Gonzalez @ An. Sanchez
Estrada @ Peavy
Pelfrey @ Salazar – speaking of hype…
E. Johnson @ Guthrie
Tanaka @ McGowan – and, also speaking of hype…
Saunders @ Odorizzi – taking a shot on Big O at home
Richards @ Harrell
Young @ Straily
Hale @ Zimmermann
R. Hernandez @ T. Wood
Vogelsong @ Ryu
Delgado @ Nicasio
Miller @ Cole
Leake @ Mejia
Stults @ Koehler
Ventura @ An. Sanchez (PPD)
Hughes @ Quintana – some may like Hughes, but I’ll sit it out for now
Doubront @ W. Chen
Morrow @ Archer – might as well try Morrow while we can!
Nova @ Oberholtzer
Elias @ Chavez
Lynn @ Bailey
Hammel @ Wandy – blue-plate special!
Morales @ Turner
Roark @ Wheeler
Lincecum @ Arroyo – wait and see on Timmah
***ZACH SAYS “Keep an eye on Turner in the early going as he might earn mixed league consideration before long as a matchup-based play, but I agree that we should play it safe with him for now. Hughes is also worth monitoring.”
Vargas @ Scherzer
Correia @ Paulino – Paulino has legit K upside if he can stay healthy
Kluber @ Kazmir (Gm 1 of doubleheader)
McAllister @ Lindblom (Gm 2 of doubleheader)
Lackey @ Jimenez – not trusting Ubaldo yet vs. big offenses
Buehrle @ Moore
Kuroda @ Cosart – keep an eye on Cosart if K rate rebounds
Kendrick @ R. Ross
Paxton @ Santiago – wait and see on Paxton
Harang @ Garza
Jackson @ Morton
Wacha @ Cingrani – NC-17
G. Gonzalez @ Colon
Lyles @ Alvarez – love Alvarez at home vs. weak road offense
Hudson @ Cahill – good matchup for Cahill, take a shot
Haren @ T. Ross