by Ray Kuhn
In leagues where there are no innings limits, it is important to maximize your innings. However, you do not want to do that at the expense of poor performance. Quality is better than quantity.
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. Starting decisions should be made accordingly.
Here are the Week 5 Two Start Pitchers:
|Tier||Pitcher||Opponent #1||Opponent #2|
|Tier 1||Justin Verlander||vs. MIN||@ HOU|
|Yu Darvish||vs. CHW||vs. BOS|
|Max Scherzer||vs. MIN||@ HOU|
|Stephen Strasburg||@ ATL||@ PIT|
|Adam Wainwright||vs. CIN||@ MIL|
|Roy Halladay||@ CLE||vs. MIA|
|Tier 2||Jon Lester||@ TOR||@ TEX|
|Gio Gonzalez||@ ATL||@ PIT|
|Mat Latos||@ STL||@ CHC|
|Matt Harvey||@ MIA||@ ATL|
|Yovani Gallardo||vs. PIT||vs. STL|
|Matt Cain||@ ARI||vs. LAD|
|Tier 3||Jeff Samardzija||vs. SD||vs. CIN|
|Marco Estrada||vs. PIT||vs. STL|
|Ian Kennedy||vs. SF||@ SD|
|Andy Pettitte||vs. HOU||vs. OAK|
|Wandy Rodriguez||@ MIL||vs. WAS|
|Alex Cobb||@ KC||@ COL|
|Jose Quintana||@ TEX||@ KC|
|Jaime Garcia||vs. CIN||@ MIL|
|Jorge De La Rosa||@ LAD||vs. TB|
|Jason Hammel||@ SEA||@ LAA|
|Tim Hudson||vs. WAS||vs. NYM|
|Tier 4||Brandon Morrow||vs. BOS||vs. SEA|
|Brett Anderson||vs. LAA||@ NYY|
|Ted Lilly||vs. COL||@ SF|
|Wade Davis||vs. CLE||vs. CHW|
|Jose Fernandez||vs. NYM||@ PHI|
|Tommy Hanson||@ OAK||vs. BAL|
|Garrett Richards||@ OAK||vs. BAL|
|Edwin Jackson||vs. SD||vs. CIN|
|Tier 5||Julio Teheran||vs. WAS||vs. NYM|
|Joe Saunders||vs. BAL||@ TOR|
|Edinson Volquez||@ CHC||vs. ARI|
|Kevin Slowey||vs. NYM||@ PHI|
|Ubaldo Jimenez||@ KC||vs. MIN|
|Clayton Richard||@ CHC||vs. ARI|
|Lucas Harrell||@ NYY||vs. DET|
|Mike Pelfrey||@ DET||@ CLE|
|Philip Humber||@ NYY||vs. DET|
- For the record, I am not implying here that Max Scherzer is a better pitcher than Stephen Strasburg. However, he is certainly pitching better so far this season. Strikeouts are a huge part of that as Scherzer has 36 in 24 innings and he is facing the Astros for one of his two starts. They will certainly add to his total, and the Twins also present another favorable matchup.
- Knocking Strasburg’s early season performance would not be fair to him and he obviously comes with very high expectations. For almost any other pitcher a 3.16 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP would not be a problem, but Strasburg has raised the bar as far as expectations go. He has 28 strikeouts in 31.2 innings and at minimum a quality start in four of his five outings. In two of those outings he did not allow a run and in his one bad start he gave up six runs in 5.1 innings. I will agree that Strasburg is not yet his dominating self, but he is still pitching at a high level.
- Matt Harvey has received many early season accolades, and rightfully so. His performance to start the season has been downright dominating. Harvey’s only early season blemish was his last start against the Dodgers where he gave up three runs in his six innings of work. After that start his ERA rose to 1.54 and his WHIP sits at 0.69. Harvey has 39 strikeouts in 35 innings and was a Justin Morneau home run away from a no hitter. You can’t expect his ratios to stay this low all season, but his early season performance should also not be discounted.
- This week’s pitcher that you have watch out for with injury risk is Jeff Samardzija. He suffered a small cut to his hand in last start, and should be fine to make both starts this week. It should not impact his performance, but it is something to be aware of. With 39 strikeouts in 32.2 innings he is certainly living up to his preseason expectations. The only issue is that despite his 3.03 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, he has a 1-4 record because the Cubs have not given him any support. It is hard to chase wins, and this week he has a chance at two, but start him for his strikeouts only.
- My knock on Alex Cobb this week is that he makes both of his starts on the road, and one in Colorado. In his last start Cobb dominated the Yankees for 8.1 innings to pick up the win. Out of his four starts so far this season, his shortest has been 6.2 innings. It is appearing that Cobb could be Tampa’s next ace, and so far this season he is doing a good job of replacing James Shields and should be in your lineup every week.
- This is not how we expected Brett Anderson’s season to go. His first two starts of the season were more like it, but lately Anderson has been having some trouble. In his last three starts he has pitched 11.2 innings and gave up 17 runs. He is clearly shaking off some rust, and although he still deserves a roster spot, I have hard time starting him until I see some proof of him overcoming this rough patch.
- With all of the early season injuries to the Dodgers’ starting pitchers, Ted Lilly is now in the rotation and could be a valuable pickup. It was only one start so far, but Lilly pitched five innings against the Mets giving up one run and striking out seven. He will not be a difference maker for your team, but he is certainly worth an add and could be one of the more reliable lower end options out there this week.