Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 8/29
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Happy Friday to all,
Time for another blog-only full version of my weekly two-start pitcher article. And good luck down the stretch.
38 days to go…
Standard mixed leagues
Matt Shoemaker (vs. CIN, @SEA)
Fresh off a stellar performance on Wednesday in which he held the high-powered Blue Jays offense scoreless over six innings, Shoemaker has now notched four quality starts in his last five outings. In eight starts since the All-Star break, the Angels righty has registered a 3.13 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Expect Shoemaker to continue pitching at a high level next week, when he faces a Reds team that ranks 28th in the Majors in OPS on the road. As for the Mariners, although Seattle ranks a respectable 11th in the Majors in runs scored this season, they place only 20th in runs scored since the All-Star break.
Dan Straily (@LAA, vs. STL)
After tossing six shutout innings versus the Rangers on Tuesday, Straily has now allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last ten starts dating back to the beginning of July. Although the Reds righty cannot be relied upon to consistently deliver in the strikeouts category (7.3 K/9 this season), this extended period of effectiveness is enough of a reason to start him next week. The Angels rank last in the AL in OPS this month but Straily’s second matchup of the week, against a Cardinals squad that ranks 4th in the Majors in both runs scored and OPS, is much tougher. The good news is that the 27-year-old will be making this start at home, where he boasts a 2.94 ERA this season compared to a 4.27 ERA away from Great American Ball Park.
Tom Koehler (@NYM, @CLE)
Having recorded six quality starts in his last six outings to go along with a 1.62 ERA and 0.85 WHIP, Koehler has been a model of consistency for quite some time now. The Marlins righty heads into a two-start week with one favorable matchup followed by one challenging matchup. While the Mets rank 28th in the Majors in runs scored, the Indians rank among the top seven teams in both runs and OPS. The potential for a subpar outing in Cleveland makes the Marlins righty somewhat of a risky play for next week. But the very favorable opening matchup combined with his recent results makes starting Koehler a risk worth taking.
Zach Davies (vs. STL, @PIT)
Following two straight poor performances, Davies bounced back nicely on Wednesday versus the Rockies, firing six innings of one-run ball while racking up eight strikeouts. Despite his so-so 4.06 ERA, the 23-year-old has enjoyed a largely successful first full season in the big leagues, highlighted by his solid 10-6 record and 2.3 BB/9 rate. The Brewers righty is a fine starting option for next week. Davies will first take the mound against a Cardinals offense that he blanked across eight innings back on June 1st before facing a Pirates lineup that ranks last in the NL in OPS since the All-Star break.
Deeper mixed leagues
Matt Boyd (vs. CHW, @KC)
Over his last three starts, Boyd is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, and two of those outings came against the Red Sox and Rangers, two top-tier offenses. Next week’s matchups are not nearly as tough, as the White Sox and Royals rank among the bottom six teams in the Majors in both runs scored and OPS. Boyd carries a relatively thin big league track record (132 innings) and he mostly struggled prior to this year. But he’s still only 25, and his minor league numbers are impressive. The Tigers southpaw deserves the nod in all deep mixed leagues and even some 12-team formats.
Joe Musgrove (vs. OAK, @TEX)
Through his first three big league appearances (two starts), Musgrove sported a shiny 1.47 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. But the 23-year-old has now gotten roughed up in two straight starts, allowing a combined 13 runs across 9 1/3 innings. Musgrove’s recent results in addition to next week’s matchup on the road versus a dangerous Rangers offense relegates him to deep-league two-start pitcher status. But the Astros righty did toss seven innings of one-run ball in a home start against Texas earlier this month and the A’s rank 14th in the AL in runs and 15th in OPS. And perhaps most importantly, Musgrove’s ability to rack up strikeouts at a high rate (25 K’s through 27 2/3 IP) automatically makes him an intriguing two-start pitcher choice.
Zach Steinhorn is a fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ZachMLB