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.”
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.