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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

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

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Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, August 27-29

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Mike Leake

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Bundy @ Green – Tough matchup for Green. I’ll play it safe.

J. De La Rosa @ A. Cole

Big Erv @ Stroman

Hammel @ TBD (LAD)

Duffy @ Price

Chacin @ Fulmer – Fulmer should bounce back here.

Hellickson @ Syndergaard – Hellickson is 4-1 with a 2.84 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break.

Taillon @ Nelson – Nelson coming off strong outing but he needs to show more consistency.

Richard @ Urena

Miranda @ Quintana

Snell @ Keuchel – Control issues continue to plague Snell. He’s a bit too risky right now. Keuchel is no sure thing either but I’ll go for it.

Neal @ Leake – Leake coming off one of his best outings of the season and the A’s rank 28th in the Majors in runs scored since the All-Star break.

Carrasco @ Griffin

DeSclafani @ Godley

Foltynewicz @ Peavy

SUNDAY

Gausman @ Pineda

Gibson @ Dickey

Skaggs @ An. Sanchez – Anibal worth a try in deeper formats though.

Velasquez @ Gsellman – A matchup against the Mets should cure whatever is ailing Velasquez.

Perdomo @ Cashner – Cashner a decent deep-league option for this one.

Bettis @ TBD (WAS)

Nova @ Ch. Anderson

Walker @ Rodon – Walker a little risky but I’ll take a chance on him. Rodon has been on a roll.

Archer @ Fister

Triggs @ Garcia

Salazar @ Holland – Benching Salazar for the time being. Keep an eye on Holland.

Whalen @ Bumgarner

Lester @ Maeda

Bailey @ Bradley – Both are hard to trust right now.

Ventura @ E. Rodriguez – Ventura has been very good for quite some time but this matchup makes me too nervous.

MONDAY

Sabathia @ Gee

Estrada @ Miley – Sticking with Estrada.

Roark @ Thompson

Andriese @ Porcello

TBD (MIN) @ Bauer – Bauer a toss-up. I’ll pitch.

Shields @ Boyd – Three straight quality starts for Boyd.

Fernandez @ deGrom – deGrom might get skipped though.

C. Martinez @ Davies – Davies’ last start was encouraging.

Iwakuma @ Darvish

G. Cole @ Arrieta

Manaea @ Musgrove – Musgrove a borderline call. Pitch in deeper formats.

Hill @ J. Gray – I have enough confidence in Hill to pitch him at Coors.

Straily @ Shoemaker

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Pitch or Ditch for Friday, August 26

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David Phelps

ZACH’S PICKS

Gallardo @ Cessa

Hoffman @ G. Gonzalez

Dean @ Liriano – Liriano too hard to trust from one start to the next.

Kennedy @ S. Wright – Wouldn’t blame you for benching Kennedy here.

Nolasco @ Verlander

Morgan @ Colon – Colon sports a 2.04 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in three starts versus Phillies this season.

Cosart @ Phelps – Phelps has registered a 1.31 ERA and 11.3 K/9 rate in four starts this month and the Padres rank last in the Majors in OPS this month.

Kluber @ M. Perez

Vogelsong @ Garza

King Felix @ Sale

Smyly @ Fiers – Smyly is 4-1 with a 3.50 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break. Fiers a decent option in deeper formats.

Detwiler @ L. Weaver

Finnegan @ Shipley – Finnegan has been solid of late but I don’t like this matchup.

Montgomery @ B. Norris – Pitch count restrictions limit Montgomery’s appeal.

De La Cruz @ Samardzija

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Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, August 25

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Mariners Rays Baseball

ZACH’S PICKS

Pomeranz @ Odorizzi – Odorizzi is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in seven starts since the All-Star break.

D. Norris @ Berrios – Norris giving up a lot of hits this season.

Jimenez @ Scherzer

J. Weaver @ Happ

Volquez @ Koehler – Six straight quality starts for Koehler and this is a favorable matchup.

Lugo @ Wainwright – Tough to bench Wainwright here, despite his inconsistency.

Tomlin @ Hamels

Kuhl @ Peralta – Kuhl a viable option in deeper formats though.

Paxton @ Ranaudo – Paxton a little risky in his return from injury but the White Sox rank last in the Majors in runs scored since the All-Star break, so I’ll go for it.

Wisler @ Ray – Ray has been impressive of late and the Braves are the lowest-scoring team in the Majors.

Moore @ Stripling

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Waiver Wire Wisdom (8/24)

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Again courtesy of Fred Zinkie:

Could your fantasy team use more power? What about saves? Steals? Runs, RBIs or wins?

Regardless of your holes, the fantasy waiver wire has a plug or long-term fix to pick up today. Check the following 10 men — all sitting in waivers in many leagues, and all ready to help you win.

Yoan Moncada, second baseman: With their sights set on winning the American League East, the Red Sox may soon turn to Moncada as an upgrade over the combination of Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill (combined .190 batting average in the second half) at the hot corner. In a regular role, the 21-year-old could compile many runs and steals in September by using the patient approach (.411 on-base percentage) and fleet feet (44 steals) he showed in the Minors this season.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Alex Bregman

Alex Bregman, 3B/SS: After collecting two hits in his initial 38 big league at-bats, Bregman has posted an excellent .320/.358/.587 slash line since Aug. 6. Wise fantasy owners will realize that the rookie’s recent surge and impressive .306/.406/.580 slash line in the Minors this season are accurate representations of his immense talent.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Keon Broxton, outfielder: Broxton has compiled three homers and nine steals across 66 plate appearances with the Brewers since Aug. 6, after regularly flashing his power stroke and fleet feet in recent Minor League seasons. The 26-year-old will likely contribute a few homers and many steals down the stretch despite a penchant for striking out, which may prevent him from being a batting-average asset.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Mitch Haniger, outfielder: A first-round MLB Draft selection in 2012, Haniger was hitting .351 with 19 homers and 56 RBIs across 228 at-bats in Triple-A Reno when he made his big league debut on Aug. 16. The 25-year-old could help deep-mixed-league squads in the home run, RBI and batting average categories by holding a regular role on an Arizona squad that is slated to play 24 of its final 36 games at hitter-friendly venues.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Domingo Santana, outfielder: Santana has the power to rip a handful of stretch-run round-trippers after recently returning from a lengthy disabled list stint due to an elbow injury. An expected low batting mark (career .224 average) will keep the 24-year-old on waivers in shallow leagues, but his powerful, patient approach (career .329 on-base percentage) makes him a useful roster addition in deep-mixed formats.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Robbie Ray

Robbie Ray, starter: With an 11.2 K/9 rate in ’16, Ray is the perfect waiver-wire target for owners who are focused on making late-season gains in the strikeouts category. The left-hander has recently become a multi-category asset (3.16 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP since the All-Star break) by combining his swing-and-miss stuff with improved control (two or fewer walks in 12 of his past 13 starts).

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Joe Musgrove, starter: A popular free agent one week ago, Musgrove returned to the waiver wire in many mixed leagues after a pair of poor outings. Despite the recent bumps in the road, the 23-year-old should still be owned in most formats on the strength of an impressive 25-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio that was produced against some of the toughest lineups in baseball.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Matt Boyd, starter: Boyd has gone 4-0 with a 2.06 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP since July 9, with no more than three runs allowed in any start during that stretch. Backed by a productive Tigers lineup, the left-hander could use his newfound consistency to be an excellent asset in the wins, ERA and WHIP categories.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Chad Green, SP/RP: Green owns a solid 3.66 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and a 10.3 K/9 rate despite enduring three rough starts across his initial 39 1/3 big league innings. With an impressive 16-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his past two outings, the right-hander is settling into the dominant form that led to a 1.52 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP across 16 Triple-A starts this season.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Enrique Burgos, reliever: With an 11.57 ERA and a 2.57 WHIP across 9 1/3 innings since July 30, Jake Barrett opened the door for manager Chip Hale to notice Burgos’ swing-and-miss arsenal (lifetime 11.1 K/9 rate) and turn to the 25-year-old in each of the team’s past two save situations. Burgos can be added by those who seek saves, but a possible lack of opportunities on a 52-74 Arizona squad and career 4.7 BB/9 rate should relegate his value to 12-team formats.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB

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Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, August 24

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Trevor Bauer

ZACH’S PICKS

McHugh @ G. Cole – Even in decent matchup, McHugh not worth the risk.

T. Anderson @ Davies – Giving both another shot.

Bauer @ Graveman – Bauer coming off strong performance in tough matchup versus Blue Jays. The A’s, on the other hand, rank last in the AL in OPS.

Hendricks @ Clemens

Tanaka @ Iwakuma

Miley @ Roark

Shoemaker @ Estrada – Shoemaker a toss-up. I’ll go for it.

Porcello @ Andriese

Gee @ Fernandez

Darvish @ Adleman

Boyd @ Duffey – Boyd has pitched well enough for me to trust him here.

Eickhoff @ Shields

deGrom @ C. Martinez

Teheran @ Greinke

Cueto @ Hill – Hill hasn’t made a start in over a month. Let me see at least one solid outing from him.

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Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, August 23

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Joe Musgrove

ZACH’S PICKS

Musgrove @ Nova – I’ll give Musgrove another chance. Pirates rank last in the NL in both runs scored and OPS since the All-Star break.

Lopez @ Gausman – Lopez coming off two straight dominant outings but both were versus Braves. This matchup is a little tougher. Gausman is risky here but he’s worth pitching for the K’s.

Skaggs @ Dickey – Staying far away from this one.

Buchholz @ Archer – Buchholz an intriguing play in deeper leagues though.

Ventura @ Cashner – Ventura continues to roll. Cashner continues to make me nervous.

Holland @ Straily – Straily has been solid for quite some time now but I have a bad feeling about this.

J. Gray @ Ch. Anderson – Gray really struggling lately.

An. Sanchez @ Gibson – I’m still not comfortable pitching Anibal in 12-team mixed leagues.

Thompson @ Rodon – Three straight quality starts for Rodon and this is a favorable matchup.

Niese @ Garcia – Garcia has been hard to trust this season but the Mets rank second to last in the Majors in runs scored, ahead of only the Braves.

Whalen @ Bradley – Even in favorable matchup, Bradley is too risky.

Salazar @ Manaea – Wouldn’t blame you for benching Salazar though.

Arrieta @ Friedrich

Sabathia @ Walker

Bumgarner @ Maeda

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Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 8/22

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Jamie Garcia

Hey everyone,

Only six full weeks to go, and falling short of a league title by a few strikeouts or a win surely isn’t fun. That’s why paying attention to two-start pitcher options throughout the season is a must for those of you in weekly lineup leagues. And that’s why I devote an entire blog post to two-start pitchers each and every week. Let’s get started.

Standard mixed leagues

Jaime Garcia (vs. NYM, vs. OAK)

Although Garcia is coming off a shaky outing against the Astros on Tuesday (5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER), the veteran southpaw still sports a solid 3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP so far in August. Look for the 30-year-old to get back on track next week, as the Mets and A’s both rank among the bottom six teams in the Majors in runs scored since the All-Star break. Also note that both of his starts will come at home, where Garcia has registered a 3.18 ERA this season as opposed to a 5.37 ERA on the road.

Dylan Bundy (vs. WAS, @NYY)

After allowing three runs or fewer in five straight starts, Bundy struggled on Wednesday against the Red Sox. But Boston leads the Majors in both runs scored and OPS, so fantasy owners should not give up on the young righty. Bundy is far from a must-start for next week, as the Nationals rank among the top nine teams in the Majors in runs scored, homers and OPS. But the Yankees rank in the bottom third of the Majors in all three of those categories, and Bundy’s strong overall performance this season, especially his 8.4 K/9 rate, makes him worthy of starting consideration in any two-start week.

Doug Fister (@PIT, vs. TB)

Since the beginning of July, Fister has seen his ERA rise from 3.36 to 3.76. But even during this span, the Astros righty has mixed in several strong outings, so he remains a viable mixed league option. His matchups next week are promising, as the Rays rank in the bottom third of the Majors in runs scored while the Pirates lineup has gone cold since the All-Star break, ranking 28th in runs and 27th in OPS.

Deeper mixed leagues

Blake Snell (vs. BOS, @HOU)

While there is certainly risk attached to pitching Snell next week, particularly for his start against the Red Sox, there is reward potential for owners in deeper formats. Despite his 5.1 BB/9 rate, the 23-year-old lefty has managed to record a 3.06 ERA through his first 12 big league starts, thanks in large part to his ability to rack up whiffs (9.6 K/9). And it just so happens that the Astros offense leads the AL in strikeouts.

Yordano Ventura (@MIA, @BOS)

Throughout much of the first half, Ventura’s 2016 season was looking like a lost season. Over his last eight starts, however, the Royals righty has pitched to a stellar 3.12 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Facing the high-powered Red Sox lineup at Fenway Park can be a challenge for any pitcher, let alone a pitcher who has been as inconsistent as Ventura. But the Marlins rank only 21st in the Majors in runs scored and will now be without Giancarlo Stanton for the remainder of the season. For owners in deeper leagues, Ventura’s recent resurgence should be enough of a reason to consider starting him next week.

Anibal Sanchez (@MIN, vs. LAA)

Sanchez used to be one of the more reliable starting pitchers in the game. Not anymore. The veteran righty has yet to demonstrate any sort of consistency this season aside from his strikeout totals. But he is coming off his finest outing of the year in which he limited the Royals to one hit across seven innings. Plus, in six starts since the All-Star break, he’s registered a 4.14 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, this compared to a 6.75 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in the first half. The Angels rank 11th in the AL in OPS while the Twins place 9th in the Junior Circuit in OPS at home. Sanchez still has work to do in order to reestablish himself as a standard mixed league option. But as a deep-league two-start hurler, he could be worth the investment.

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Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, August 20-22

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David Phelps

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Colon @ Moore

Griffin @ Odorizzi – Challenging matchup for Odorizzi but he’s 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in six starts since the All-Star break.

Fiers @ Tillman

Phelps @ Kuhl – Taking a chance on Phelps here as the Pirates rank last in the NL in runs scored since the All-Star break. Kuhl an intriguing deep-league option.

L. Weaver @ Hellickson

Pomeranz @ D. Norris – Norris a little risky though.

B. Anderson @ Finnegan

Detwiler @ Sale

Ar. Sanchez @ Tomlin – Tomlin actually pitched well versus Blue Jays last month but I’ll play it safe.

Scherzer @ Jenkins

Santiago @ Kennedy – Santiago hard to trust right now.

Montgomery @ TBD (COL)

Ray @ Richard – Great matchup for Ray.

Peralta @ King Felix

Cessa @ Nolasco

SUNDAY

E. Rodriguez @ Verlander

Maeda @ DeSclafani – DeSclafani 10-for-13 in quality starts this season.

M. Perez @ Smyly – Perez worth consideration in deeper formats. Smyly is 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break.

Stroman @ Kluber – Stroman impressive of late.

Keuchel @ Gallardo – Dangerous matchup for the inconsistent Keuchel. I’ll sit this one out.

Urena @ Vogelsong

Leake @ Velasquez – Leake coming off two straight quality starts and this is a favorable enough matchup.

G. Gonzalez @ De La Cruz

Hahn @ Quintana

Big Erv @ Duffy

Green @ Chacin – Green a viable option in deeper leagues and he could soon surface on the 12-team mixed league radar, but not yet.

Hammel @ J. De La Rosa

Garza @ Miranda

Shipley @ Perdomo – Giving Shipley another shot in favorable matchup.

Syndergaard @ Samardzija

MONDAY

Pineda @ Martin – Still not sold on Pineda.

Kazmir @ Bailey – Going for it with both.

A. Cole @ Bundy – Taking the conservative route with Bundy in this matchup.

Fister @ Taillon – Sticking with Fister.

Price @ Snell – Passing on Snell here.

Bettis @ Nelson

Foltynewicz @ Godley

Carrasco @ Triggs

Lester @ Jackson

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Pitch or Ditch for Friday, August 19

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Tom Koehler

ZACH’S PICKS

McHugh @ Miley – Tough matchup for McHugh.

Koehler @ Cole – Five straight quality starts for Koehler and the Pirates rank 24th in the Majors in runs scored since the All-Star break.

Wainwright @ Morgan – I wouldn’t blame you for benching Wainwright though.

Porcello @ Fulmer

B. Norris @ Adleman

Hamels @ Andriese

Liriano @ Bauer – Both are hard to trust these days.

Roark @ Teheran

Graveman @ Shields

Berrios @ Volquez

Hendricks @ T. Anderson – I’m still a believer in Anderson but this is a scary matchup.

Tanaka @ J. Weaver

Suter @ LeBlanc

Lugo @ Cueto

Greinke @ Cosart – Gotta stick with Greinke.

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