Two-Start Pitchers: Week 8 (May 20 – 26): Who To Start, Who To Sit & Who To Avoid

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 performances.  Quality is always 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 into tiers.  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 and starting decisions should be made accordingly.

Here are the Week 8 Two Start Pitchers:

Tier Pitcher Opponent #1 Opponent #2
Tier 1 Clayton Kershaw @ MIL vs. STL
Jon Lester @ CHW vs. CLE
Max Scherzer @ CLE vs. MIN
Cole Hamels @ MIA @ WAS
Tier 2 Yovani Gallardo vs. LAD vs. PIT
Hisashi Iwakuma @ CLE vs. TEX
Shelby Miller @ SD @ LAD
Johnny Cueto @ NYM vs. CHC
Tier 3 Wandy Rodriguez vs. CHC @ MIL
Jeremy Guthrie @ HOU vs. LAA
Patrick Corbin @ COL vs. SD
Julio Teheran vs. MIN @ NYM
Matt Garza @ PIT @ CIN
Tier 4 Phil Hughes @ BAL @ TB
Scott Kazmir vs. SEA @ BOS
Jason Marquis vs. STL @ ARI
Bartolo Colon @ TEX @ HOU
Tier 5 Kevin Correia @ ATL @ DET
Jerome Williams vs. SEA @ KC
Felix Doubront @ CHW vs. CLE
Ryan Vogelsong vs. WAS vs. COL
Wade Davis @ HOU vs. LAA
Shaun Marcum vs. CIN vs. ATL
Jon Garland vs. ARI @ SF
Dylan Axelrod vs. BOS vs. MIA
Josh Lindblom vs. OAK @ SEA
Mike Pelfrey @ ATL @ DET
Miguel Gonzalez vs. NYY @ TOR
Freddy Garcia vs. NYY @ TOR
Dallas Keuchel vs. KC vs. OAK
Alex Sanabia vs. PHI @ CHW
Corey Kluber vs. DET @ BOS
Chad Jenkins vs. TB vs. BAL
Ramon Ortiz vs. TB vs. BAL

Thoughts:

  • Aside from the top few pitchers, it is likely that your staff is not the strongest if a lot of your pitchers are on the list this week. While there are certainly some options if you are looking to take a flier or two, there is a lot of risk or unknown factors involved. Your best bet for value this likely is with pitchers like Matt Garza and Johnny Cueto returning from injury. If you find a lot of the pitchers making two starts this week available on the waiver wire, leave the majority of them there.
  • Who would have expected this much success from soft tossing Seattle righty Hisashi Iwakuma to start the season. While he had success last season, he has been dominating thus far.  To date he has a 1.84 ERA to go with a WHIP of 0.78. Last year Iwakuma did have an ERA of 3.16 so you shouldn’t have too much skepticism, but a small regression is possible. What stands out to me and puts Iwakuma high on my list is his ratio of 55 strikeouts compared to 8 walks over 58.2 innings.
  • Is it time to overreact to the early season struggles of Cole Hamels? Any thoughts that Hamels was due to turn it around in his last start proved to be false as he gave up five runs on the way tohis sixth loss of the season. Granted you did not draft Hamels expecting him to be 1-6 at this point in the season with a 4.61 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP, but things could be a lot worse. It is a case more of Hamels not living up to ace level expectations than just being plain awful. This does not mean you don’t have a right be frustrated with Hamels, but it also does not mean you should bench him this week when he takes the mound twice, and once against the Marlins at that. At this point it still seems like Hamels is only a few small corrections or tweaks away from turning his season around.
  • Patrick Corbin showed some flashes last season, but this season he has just been unreal. Corbin has started the season off with a 6-0 record and an ERA of 1.52. The argument could be made that I have him too low on this list, but one of his starts is in Coors Field (although facing San Diego in his other start will help). With a 1.07 WHIP he is also keeping the bases clear, which helps to limit the damage. Eventually he will have a bad start (each of his last seven have been quality starts) or two, but enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts. The fact that Corbin seems to be throwing a little harder this season with more consistent command has been the biggest factor in his strong start, and that does not seem to be changing.
  • I’m sure Scott Kazmir is not a name many of you expected to be seeing in this space. After a detour, the former top prospect is back in the major leagues with the Indians. His ERA of 5.33 is partly inflated because he has only made five starts on the season, averaging five innings a start. His first and last starts were forgettable, but there are two quality starts and a five inning, two run outing in between. Kazmir has struck out 28 batters, so that is a good sign and could help out in a week where he starts twice. The one concern here is the 1.46 WHIP, as even when Kazmir has ultimately pitched well he has gotten into some trouble. Still, I’m not sure that’s enough to keep him on my bench this week. He faces Seattle at home, where he has a 2.25 ERA this season, giving him one very favorable matchup (he faces the Red Sox on the road in his other start).
  • What is going on with Ryan Vogelsong? At this point it really is just a start by start thing that he stays in the rotation. His WHIP of 1.84 is higher than some pitcher’s ERA and his ERA of 8.06 is even more troubling. There are a few decent starts mixed in here, but his last win came more than a month ago and Vogelsong only lasted two innings in his last start against Toronto. He doesn’t throw hard enough to dominate and over power hitters, plus the opposition is consistently making contact this season. Being stuck with a pitcher like this for two starts is a little scary to me, so I would let him figure it out from your bench.

 

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