by Ray Kuhn
Each week during the season we will break down all of the pitchers scheduled to make two starts in the upcoming week. Just like when assembling your rotation, we will break the pitchers down by tier. In all formats every pitcher within the first two tiers should be owned no questions asked. Pitchers in the third and fourth tiers are likely owned in all formats, but some could be borderline starting decisions depending on the league structure and your roster composition. The fifth tier has pitchers who will likely be available in most, if not all, leagues and could be either the deepest of sleepers or do the most damage to your ratios. Within each tier, the pitchers are also ranked so starting decisions should be made accordingly.
Here are the Week 2 Two Start Pitchers:
|Tier||Pitcher||Opponent #1||Opponent #2|
|Tier 1||Madison Bumgarner||vs. COL||@ CHC|
|Gio Gonzalez||vs. CHW||vs. ATL|
|Tier 2||Jake Peavy||@ WAS||@ CLE|
|Mat Latos||@ STL||@ PIT|
|Brandon Morrow||@ DET||@ KC|
|Matt Harvey||@ PHI||@ MIN|
|Tier 3||C.J. Wilson||vs. OAK||vs. HOU|
|Roy Halladay||vs. NYM||@ MIA|
|Anibal Sanchez||vs. TOR||@ OAK|
|Hiroki Kuroda||@ CLE||vs. BAL|
|Tier 4||Jaime Garcia||vs. CIN||vs. MIL|
|Alexi Ogando||vs. TB||@ SEA|
|Wandy Rodriguez||@ ARI||vs. CIN|
|Clay Buchholz||vs. BAL||vs. TB|
|Tim Lincecum||vs. COL||@ CHC|
|Jarrod Parker||@ LAA||vs. DET|
|Josh Beckett||@ SD||@ ARI|
|Trevor Cahill||vs. PIT||vs. LAD|
|Wei-Yin Chen||@ BOS||@ NYY|
|Jeremy Hellickson||@ TEX||@ BOS|
|Lucas Harrell||@ SEA||@ LAA|
|Marco Estrada||@ CHC||@ STL|
|Andy Pettitte||@ CLE||vs. BAL|
|Ubaldo Jimenez||vs. NYY||vs. CHW|
|Edwin Jackson||vs. MIL||vs. SF|
|Tier 5||Paul Maholm||@ MIA||@ WAS|
|Brandon Maurer||vs. HOU||vs. TEX|
|Ervin Santana||vs. MIN||vs. TOR|
|Travis Wood||vs. MIL||vs. SF|
|Kevin Correia||@ KC||vs. NYM|
|Jorge De La Rosa||@ SF||@ SD|
|Clayton Richard||vs. LAD||vs. COL|
|Brett Myers||vs. NYY||vs. CHW|
|Joe Saunders||vs. HOU||vs. TEX|
|Kevin Slowey||vs. ATL||vs. PHI|
|Nick Tepesch||vs. TB||@ SEA|
- Roy Halladay is a pitcher that could have gone either way. I honestly thought about ranking him anywhere from the first tier to the fourth tier, and a case could have been made for anthing. We all know about the track record, just as we know about the struggles he experienced this spring. There was the thought that Halladay would turn it around once the season started, but he had an up and down season debut. He struck out nine Braves in 3.1 innings, but he also gave up six hits and five runs in a losing effort. In the Mets and Marlins he has two desirable matchups, so for all of his shortcomings he should at least be starting for one more week.
- Let’s get right into another divisive pitcher, Tim Lincecum. He is entering the season with less goodwill than Halladay and his season debut was just as frustrating. Again, despite the 7 walks I am not sure there is enough to keep Lincecum from my starting lineup this week. Granted he is starting twice and could do a lot of damage to your ratios, but he did not give up a run, struck out four and only gave up three hits. The Rockies and the Cubs, both at home, are also not the most difficult of opponents. This ranking could end up being way too low, or it could be just right.
- Matt Harvey is on the way to becoming a full fledged ace. Ten strikeouts and no runs while only allowing three base runners is a pretty good start to the season, even if it came against the Padres. With two starts this week, he really could rack up the strikeouts.
- After his health woes last season, Jamie Garcia was a forgotten pitcher heading into this season. He seems to be healthy this season although his season debut was a little up and down. He pitched 5.2 innings against Arizona, striking out four while only giving up one run on four hits and two walks. Facing the Reds could be a tough start for Garcia, but at least he faces them at home and is worth a start in just about all formats.
- By all accounts Hiroki Kuroda is on pace to make both of his scheduled starts this week as the x-ray on his fingers have come back negative. His status should be clear for sure when it is time to set your roster, and the solid veteran is worth starting. As far as his possible replacements, Adam Warren or Chien Ming-Wang, both would find themselves in the fifth tier.
- Try not to put too much stock in Alexi Ogando’s ten strikeouts since they came against the Astros. Keep in mind he is a talented pitcher, will get run support and can be counted on for some strikeouts. Don’t overrate him compared to more established options, but Ogando is not a bad choice.
- One starter who often gets overlooked is Wandy Rodriguez. Sure he might not have dazzling stuff or wow you with strikeouts, but he eats innings and keeps his team in the game. He is one of the better options in Tier 4, especially considering that he might still be available in your league.
- Don’t discount Lucas Harrell just because he is on the Astros and is not a strikeout pitcher. He keeps the ball on the ground and is able to limit the damage. Of course he might not get any run support, but sometimes it is more prudent to go with the safer choice as opposed to trying to chase wins. Facing the newly powerful Mariners and the star-studded Angels, both on the road, might not be the best matchups for Harrell this week.
- You would be forgiven if you forgot about Ubaldo Jimenez, as the last two years have been quite difficult for him. At least for one start he looked pretty good against the Blue Jays. Jimenez went six innings, striking out six while giving up one run and only allowing five base runners. One start does not make a turnaround, but if you are grasping for starting pitching he is at least worth a look. Also, he is facing the Yankees and they are not the powerful team they used to be.
- Brandon Maurer is the hot rookie starting pitching prospect so far this season. However in his season debut he did not live up to those expectations, giving up six runs over six innings in Oakland while only striking out one. Do not overreact based on one poor start, but also remember he is a young pitcher. He is facing the Astros this week, so strikeouts should not be an issue. There might be some more short-term growing pains, but with two starts he is worth a flier both for this week and the rest of the season.