Kuroda @ Lobstein
Hellickson @ Norris – Hellickson has been impressive but I’ll play it safe for this matchup. Sticking with Norris.
Carrasco @ Danks – Carrasco due for some regression but White Sox offense has struggled for most of the season.
Milone @ Guthrie
Tepesch @ McHugh
Gray @ Wilson – Wilson getting back on track.
Arrieta @ Axelrod
Lyles @ Petit – Petit an intriguing option in NL-only leagues though.
Minor @ Niese – Minor coming off three straight quality starts.
Lewis @ E. Ramirez
Greene @ Price – Not liking this matchup for Greene. Pitch only in very deep mixed/AL-only.
Smyly @ Gausman – Tough spot for Smyly but he’s earned it.
Kelly @ Stroman – Stroman a bit risky but he’s pitched very well vs. BOS this year (2-0, 0.64 ERA).
Kluber @ Noesi
Hughes @ Hendriks
Pomeranz @ Peacock
Alvarez @ Santiago – I’d give Santiago a shot here in mixed leagues of 12+ teams.
Wainwright @ Locke
Fister @ Kendrick
Turner @ Latos
Teheran @ Wheeler
Kershaw @ Miley – Miley at home (6.20 ERA) against a good offense? No thanks.
Gallardo @ Despaigne
Morales @ Hudson
Cobb @ W. Chen
R. De La Rosa @ Dickey – Both a little risky though. Consult your league standings.
McCarthy @ Porcello
House @ Quintana
Nolasco @ Duffy
Hammel @ Keuchel – Hammel cannot be trusted right now.
Eovaldi @ Shoemaker – Shoemaker having a solid year.
Martinez @ Paxton – I’ll take a chance on Paxton here.
G. Gonzalez @ Hamels
Lynn @ Cole
T. Wood @ Cueto
A. Wood @ Gee
R. Hernandez @ Cahill
Nelson @ T. Ross – Very favorable matchup for Nelson.
J. De La Rosa @ Bumgarner
While looking at the projected two-start pitchers for next week, I came to the realization that there was really no one, outside of the more obvious guys, who I would definitely bench. So instead of the usual Pitches and Ditches, we’ll focus solely on Pitches this time.
Wei-Yin Chen (vs. TB, vs. MIN)
Chen has been one of my favorite two-start pitcher picks this season, and there’s a good reason why. He’s rarely terrible, and with a strong offense supporting him, a quality start usually means a W (not that we chase wins or anything). The owner of a 4-1 record and 2.72 ERA through six starts since the All-Star break, Chen gets to face the Twins and Rays next week, a pair of mediocre offenses that rank 9th and 14th respectively in the AL in runs scored on the road. Pitch with confidence!
James Paxton (vs. TEX, vs. WAS)
Yeah, he’s been a little erratic since returning from a four-month injury absence, managing just two quality starts in four tries. But the bottom line is that Paxton is a high-end talent who should only get better as he shakes off the rust. The Rangers lineup has been a major disappointment this season (losing Prince Fielder for the year certainly didn’t help) and while the Nationals are a top-tier offense overall, Washington’s lineup has been significantly less productive on the road than at home.
Matt Shoemaker (vs. MIA, vs. OAK)
I’ve been hesitant to climb aboard the Shoemaker bandwagon for awhile, but I’m now convinced that this is a guy who deserves to be on all 12-team mixed league rosters. After all, he’s 12-4 with a 3.56 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, just under a strikeout per inning and a 102/19 K/BB ratio. What more could you possibly ask for? That said, next week presents a tough challenge for Shoemaker, as he will face an underrated yet solid Marlins offense followed by the best offense in baseball in the A’s. Still, this is a situation where performance quality trumps the matchups, and Shoemaker’s performance quality this season has been pretty good.
Jimmy Nelson (@SD, @SF)
Nelson is coming off a mediocre outing against the Blue Jays, but prior to that start, he had registered five straight quality starts, so there’s no doubt that the former top prospect can succeed at the big league level. Both of Nelson’s starts next week will take place on the road in pitcher-friendly parks against a pair of offenses that each rank in the bottom third of the NL in runs scored and home runs at home.
Jake Peavy (vs. COL, vs. MIL)
The move back to the Senior Circuit has certainly helped Peavy, who sports a 3.58 ERA and 1.26 WHIP through his first five starts with the Giants. Both of his starts next week come at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, and while the Brewers offense is formidable, the Rockies rank 13th in the NL in runs scored and batting average away from Coors Field. All in all, Peavy is a risk worth taking in all mixed leagues of at least 12 teams.
Farmer @ Pino (Gm 1)
Verlander @ May (Gm 2) – Verlander was actually on a roll before his last start.
Carroll @ Kuroda – Kuroda coming off solid bounce back outing.
Hellickson @ Buehrle – Not trusting Hellickson in less than ideal matchup.
Young @ Workman – Workman a decent play in deeper leagues but I’m lukewarm on him for this one.
McHugh @ Salazar – Feel free to sit Salazar if you’re protecting your ratios.
Guthrie @ Tepesch
Wilson @ Lester – Wilson risky here but he seems to be figuring things out.
Norris @ Hendricks – Norris very quietly putting together an impressive season. Tough matchup for Hendricks but he’s been outstanding.
Lincecum @ Zimmermann
Wainwright @ Buchanan
Volquez @ Peralta
Big Erv @ Leake – Leake hasn’t been as sharp lately but he’s worth a shot here.
Koehler @ Lyles
Cashner @ Nuno – Not concerned about pitching Cashner in return outing.
deGrom @ Greinke – Ditto for deGrom.
Oberholtzer @ Bauer – Bauer has gone a month without posting two straight quality starts.
Sale @ Capuano – Capuano a serviceable AL-only/very deep mixed league option.
Archer @ Hutchison
Iwakuma @ Webster – Risk outweighs the reward for Webster.
Scherzer @ Gibson – Can’t trust Gibson against upper-tier lineups.
Vargas @ Mikolas – A little nervous about Vargas here but these aren’t your older brother’s Rangers.
Weaver @ Kazmir
Harang @ Simon – Harang unpredictable but Reds not a very good offense this year.
Vogelsong @ Strasburg – Vogelsong a true borderline call. Let the categories make your decision.
Masterson @ Williams
Worley @ Fiers – I’m back to not trusting Worley.
M. Gonzalez @ Wada – Gonzalez has been a popular PoD choice of mine all year. Not digging this matchup for Wada.
Colon @ Correia
Hand @ Bergman
Kennedy @ C. Anderson – Very favorable matchup for Anderson, who is looking for a rebound performance.
Pineda @ Shields
Odorizzi @ Tillman
Buchholz @ Happ
Samardzija @ Feldman
Cosart @ LeBlanc
Mikolas @ Elias
Roark @ Burnett – Burnett is a ditch until further notice. Don’t bother chasing K’s.
Lackey @ Liriano – Lackey getting his groove back.
Lohse @ Stults
Matzek @ Peavy – Peavy 3 ER or less in each of his last three starts and Rockies are a poor offense away from Coors.
Peacock @ Carrasco – Carrasco a decent play in deeper leagues but I’m still a bit leery.
Danks @ Greene - Greene has finally made me a believer. Now watch him get bombed!
Smyly @ Stroman – Smyly pitching well lately. Stroman’s been up and down but I’ll chance it.
King Felix @ Kelly
Ventura @ Lewis
Ray @ Milone – Ray has been shaky since recall. Hard to trust Milone after last outing.
Santiago @ Gray – I do like Santiago though…just not here.
Gausman @ Arrieta – Gausman 3 ER or less in five straight starts.
Hudson @ Fister
Miller @ Kendrick – Taking a break from Shelby.
Minor @ Latos – Minor not a terrible option, but I’m not yet convinced on his resurgence.
Locke @ Gallardo – Not a fan of Locke at all.
Alvarez @ Morales – Alvarez being a ground ball pitcher makes start at Coors less scary.
Despaigne @ Collmenter – Despaigne erratic lately. I’ll pass.
Niese @ Haren – Not sure what to expect from Haren these days. Pitch if you’re feeling lucky.
Keuchel @ McCarthy
Kluber @ Hughes – Four straight quality starts for Hughes.
Price @ Cobb – No, these guys aren’t teammates anymore.
Shoemaker @ R. De La Rosa – Haven’t lost faith in Rubby but this matchup worries me.
Miley @ G. Gonzalez – Miley is pretty much an automatic pitch when on the road (5-3, 2.86 ERA).
Teheran @ Holmberg
Bumgarner @ T. Wood
T. Ross @ Kershaw
Wheeler @ Samardzija – Wheeler working on nine straight quality starts.
Richards @ Buchholz – Clay has pitched well over his last two starts but I still don’t trust the guy.
Feldman @ Pineda – Pineda coming off encouraging return outing.
Porcello @ Odorizzi
W. Chen @ Noesi – Chen a worthy play here.
House @ Nolasco
Martinez @ Eovaldi – Eovaldi risky but I’ll give it a shot at home.
Paxton @ Hamels – Paxton pretty safe to use at this point.
Dickey @ Nelson – I like Nelson but TOR offense with E42 now back scares me. Dickey scares me a bit too but I’ll chance it.
Cahill @ Roark
A. Wood @ Cole – Feel free to ditch Cole for this comeback start if you can afford it.
Cueto @ Lynn
Peavy @ Jackson – Peavy a toss-up but his numbers since joining Giants (3.86 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) are solid.
Duffy @ J. De La Rosa – Duffy a tough call but in 12-team mixed. I still think the risk outweighs the reward.
Stults @ R. Hernandez
Oberholtzer @ Capuano
Weaver @ Webster
Scherzer @ Archer
Tillman @ Quintana
Bauer @ Gibson – Bauer always risky but I’ll give him a shot here.
Gee @ Kazmir – Gee a borderline call in tough matchup.
C. Anderson @ Strasburg
Iwakuma @ Burnett – Burnett hard to trust right now.
Harang @ Liriano – Harang coming off rough outing and Pirates lead NL in runs scored since All-Star break.
Mikolas @ Cosart
Vogelsong @ Wada
Happ @ Fiers – Fiers a decent gamble in deeper leagues but I’m not liking this matchup.
Simon @ Lackey
Shields @ Matzek – Very dangerous matchup for Shields though.
Kennedy @ Correia
Kyle Hendricks (@NYM, vs. BAL)
How could anyone not be impressed by what they’ve seen from Hendricks through his first six big league starts? Although his minor league strikeout numbers are nothing special, his other ratios are outstanding, so it wouldn’t be wise to dismiss this fast start as a fluke. The Mets offense is mediocre at best and while the Orioles lineup poses a significant challenge, at least that start will come at Wrigley, where the O’s won’t get the benefit of the DH.
Mike Leake (@STL, vs. ATL)
Even though Leake is coming off his worst outing in awhile (5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER vs. BOS), I still have confidence in him. Prior to his last start, he had allowed a combined three earned runs over his previous three outings. The Braves and Cardinals rank 28th and 29th respectively in the Majors in runs scored.
Trevor Bauer (@MIN, vs. HOU)
Bauer’s erratic ways continue to frustrate his fantasy owners, but when he’s on his game, he’s a pretty good pitcher. And he’s fresh off a dominant performance against the Diamondbacks (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 9 K). Bauer’s 5.82 road ERA is a bit scary, but the Twins rank near the bottom of the AL in runs scored at home. The Astros offense has far exceeded expectations this season, but they have enjoyed a lot more success at home than on the road, where they are the lowest scoring team in the AL. Oh, and Bauer’s home ERA this season is 3.36.
Bud Norris (@CHW, @CHC)
Norris is more of a deep mixed/AL-only play, but he’s an intriguing option nonetheless. In his five starts since the All-Star break, Norris is 3-1 with a 3.10 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 29 innings, and the White Sox and Cubs are both mid to low-end offenses. Norris is rarely terrible, so the risk of a disaster outing is minimal. That said, his 4.55 road ERA is concerning. Depending on your specific situation, taking a shot on Bud could pay off, but he’s a true toss-up in a 12-team mixed.
C.J. Wilson (@BOS, @OAK)
Yeah, there’s reason for optimism following Wilson’s quality outing against the Phillies, but he was so awful leading up to his DL stint and in his first start back that I’d proceed with caution. If he makes it through next week in decent shape, I think it would be safe to once again treat him as a grad, a guy who deserves to start in just about any matchup. But making it through next week in decent shape will be tough to say the least. The A’s have been the top offense in baseball all season long and starting any non-elite pitcher at Fenway Park always scares me. At least for next week, the risk outweighs the reward.
Aaron Harang (@PIT, @CIN)
No, I’m not as down on Harang as I was earlier in the season, as he’s done a nice job proving his doubters wrong. But his last start was his worst since mid-June, and it’s fair to wonder if the 36-year-old is simply running out of gas, as he’s already eclipsed last season’s innings total. The Pirates rank 1st in the NL in runs scored since the All-Star break, and while the @CIN matchup isn’t terrible, like with Fenway Park, I try to avoid starting mid to lower tier pitchers at Great American Ball Park.