As always, there are some good, some bad and some ugly two-start options for the coming week. Who should we gamble on? Who should we ignore? Let’s take a look:
Must Start Options:
- Cole Hamels – Philadelphia Phillies – @ NYM, vs. Mia
- Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers – @ Bos, vs. NYY
- Jered Weaver – Los Angeles Angels – vs. NYY, vs. Tex
Pitchers That You Should Start:
Lance Lynn – St. Louis Cardinals – @ Atl, @ NYM
I’ve repeatedly made my feelings on Lynn known, and the regression has definitely started (10 ER over his last 18.0 innings). While the metrics have become more believable (.265 BABIP, 82.5% strand rate), there is definitely still room for the numbers to fall even more. Obviously, he’s proven that he can win games (7 W), but he hasn’t gone more than 6 innings in each of his past four starts. Asking your bullpen to consistently get you 9 outs makes wins a lot tougher to come by. It’s nearly impossible to bench him, but just know that there’s the risk for further regression and wins could be tricky.
James McDonald – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Cin, @ Mil
The matchups aren’t necessarily the best, but how can we ignore the type of hot stretch McDonald is on? He’s struck out at least 7 in each of his past six starts, with 52 K over 41.2 IP. He’s gone 3-1 over that stretch, allowing just 10 ER. While it’s hard to call him a lock, it’s also impossible to have him on your bench at this point. We’ve long heard about his potential, so ride the wave while you can.
Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox – @ TB, vs. Sea
After his brief move to the bullpen to act as the White Sox closer, Sale has returned to the rotation seamlessly. He’s won his last two starts, allowing 1 ER over 12.1 innings of work. While Tampa Bay is a decent offense, without Evan Longoria they aren’t what they potentially could be. Throw in the matchup with a weaker Mariners offense and it’s nearly impossible to imagine having him on your bench.
More pitchers you should start:
- Trevor Cahill – Arizona Diamondbacks – @ SF, @ SD
- Doug Fister – Detroit Tigers – @ Bos, vs. NYY
- Tommy Hanson – Atlanta Braves – vs. Stl, @ Was
- Ted Lilly – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. Mil, @ Col
- Shaun Marcum – Milwaukee Brewers – @ LAD, vs. Pit
- Wandy Rodriguez – Houston Astros – @ Col, vs. Cin
- Jordan Zimmermann – Washington Nationals – @ Mia, vs. Atl
Useable (or Benchable) Depending On Your Other Options:
Daniel Bard – Boston Red Sox – vs. Det, @ Tor
We’ve spoken a lot about Bard and there are justifiable concerns regarding him at this point. We all knew he wasn’t going to bring the same velocity that he did when he was coming out of the bullpen, but a 4 mph drop is substantial. It certainly has affected his strikeout rate, as he’s gone from striking out over a better per inning to a miniscule 5.25 K/9 thus far this season. He also has had awful control, with a 5.44 BB/9. He has strikeout upside, which makes him alluring in a two-start week, but he’s shown little to make us trust him. He has walked 4 or more in four straight starts and whiffed 3 or less in five straight. Taking on two strong offenses (he allowed 5 ER in 5.0 innings against Toronto earlier in the year), I’d definitely try to find a more trustworthy option.
Scott Diamond – Minnesota Twins – vs. Oak, @ Cle
Diamond has pitched well in his four starts for the Twins, in large part due to tremendous control (3 BB over 25.1 IP), as he’s posted a 1.78 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. The lefty has always had good control in the minor leagues (2.84 BB/9), but this is obviously excessive. Throw in the lack of strikeout upside, and I would consider Diamond a very risky play. The matchups seem favorable, but there is a lot of risk of him getting torched. I’d proceed with extreme caution.
Matt Moore – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. CWS, vs. Bal
I think at this point in the season we all just kind of assumed Moore would be in the must start category. However, the year has been a disappointing season thus far, with a 5.07 ERA and 1.57 WHIP through his first nine starts. While he has suffered from some poor luck (.309 BABIP, 66.9% strand rate), the ultimate blame lies with his control (4.89 BB/9). Obviously he has tremendous upside, but with the way he’s been pitching it’s not unthinkable to sit him down if you have more dependable options.
Carlos Zambrano – Miami Marlins – vs. Was, @ Phi
I know his overall numbers have been good, with a 2.85 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. We also know he was pitching well over his head, and the thrashing he took in his last outing against the Rockies (7 ER in 5.0 IP) could just be the beginning of things to come. He’s a huge risk, as even with the poor outing he’s benefiting from a .233 BABIP. If I had better options I would definitely be avoiding him.
Other pitchers to consider:
- Jake Arrieta – Baltimore Orioles – @ Tor, @ TB
- Bronson Arroyo – Cincinnati Reds – @ Pit, @ Hou
- Felix Doubront – Boston Red Sox – vs. Det, @ Tor
- Aaron Harang – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. Mil, @ Col
- Matt Harrison – Texas Rangers – vs. Sea, @ LAA
- Phil Hughes – New York Yankees – @ LAA, @ Det
- Kevin Millwood – Seattle Mariners – @ Tex, @ CWS
- Juan Nicasio – Colorado Rockies – vs. Hou, vs. LAD
- Jonathan Niese – New York Mets – vs. Phi, vs. Stl
- Alex White – Colorado Rockies – vs. Hou, vs. LAD
- Travis Wood – Chicago Cubs – vs. SD, @ SF
- Barry Zito – San Francisco Giants – vs. ARI, vs. CHC
Pitchers To Be Benched:
- Nate Adcock – Kansas City Royals – @ Cle, vs. Oak
- Drew Hutchison – Toronto Blue Jays – vs. Bal, vs. Bos
- Zach McAllister – Cleveland Indians – vs. KC, vs. Min
- Jeff Suppan – San Diego Padres – @ CHC, vs. Ari