by Ray Kuhn
If you are looking to bolster your pitching totals this week with starters taking the hill twice, there are plenty of options. Let’s take a look at how they rank for the upcoming scoring period to help determine who we should trust and who we should ignore:
- Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals – at Arizona; at San Diego
- Jon Lester – Chicago Cubs – vs. NY Mets; vs. Pittsburgh
- Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates – at Philadelphia; at Chicago Cubs
- Stephen Strasburg- Washington Nationals – at Arizona; at San Diego
- Chris Archer – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. NY Yankees; at Minnesota
- Jacob deGrom – New York Mets – at Chicago Cubs; vs. Milwaukee
- Jake Arrieta – Chicago Cubs – vs. NY Mets; vs. Pittsburgh
- Shelby Miller – Atlanta Braves – at Cincinnati; at Miami
- Jeff Samardzjia – Chicago White Sox – at Milwaukee; at Oakland
- Lance Lynn – St. Louis Cardinals – at Cleveland; vs. Detroit
- Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians – vs. St. Louis; at Texas
- Mike Leake – Cincinnati Reds- vs. Atlanta; vs. San Francisco
- Scott Kazmir – Oakland A’s – vs. Boston; vs. Chicago White Sox
- A.J. Burnett – Pittsburgh Pirates – at Philadelphia; at Chicago Cubs
- Edinson Volquez – Kansas City Royals – at Texas; at NY Yankees
- Ubaldo Jimenez – Baltimore Orioles – vs. Toronto; vs. LA Angels
- Anthony DeSclafani – vs. Atlanta; vs. San Francisco
- Ian Kennedy – San Diego Padres – at Seattle; vs. Washington
- Rick Porcello – Boston Red Sox – at Oakland; at Seattle
- James Paxton – Seattle Mariners – vs. San Diego; vs. Boston
- Alex Colome – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. NY Yankees; at Minnesota
- Wily Peralta – Milwaukee Brewers – vs. Chicago White Sox; at NY Mets
- Alfredo Simon – Detroit Tigers – vs. Minnesota; at St. Louis
- Nathan Eovaldi – NY Yankees – at Tampa Bay; at Kansas City
- Nick Martinez – Texas Rangers – vs. Kansas City; vs. Cleveland
- Danny Duffy – Kansas City Royals – at Texas; vs. NY Yankees
- Josh Collmenter – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. Washington; at Philadelphia
- Chris Heston – San Francisco Giants – at Houston; at Cincinnati
- Colby Lewis – Texas Rangers – vs. Kansas City; vs. Cleveland
- Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets – at Chicago Cubs; vs. Milwaukee
- Kyle Gibson – Minnesota Twins – at Detroit; vs. Tampa Bay
- Tom Koehler – Miami Marlins – at LA Dodgers; vs. Atlanta
- Carlos Frias – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. Miami; vs. Colorado
- Justin Masterson – Boston Red Sox – at Oakland; at Seattle
- CC Sabathia – New York Yankees – at Tampa Bay; at Kansas City
- Mark Buehrle – Toronto Blue Jays – at Baltimore; at Houston
- Tyler Matzek – Colorado Rockies – at LA Angels; at LA Dodgers
- Jerome Williams – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. Pittsburgh; vs. Arizona
- Marco Estrada – Toronto Blue Jays – at Baltimore; at Houston
- Samuel Deduno – Houston Astros – vs. San Francisco; vs. Toronto
- The Atlanta Braves are one of those organizations that just know pitching. I had decent expectations for Shelby Miller when they acquired him for St. Louis this winter, but thus far he has exceeded them. It is important to remember that even though he had his share of struggles last season, he is still just 24 and his ERA was 3.74. In his last start he pitched a complete game shutout against the Phillies needing just 99 pitches, 75 of them of strikes. On the season Miller is 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA and 0.97 WHIP and is a top option for this week.
- Entering this season, and rightfully so, Alfredo Simon did not get much respect. For starters he does not strike out many batters, 23 in 36.2 innings, which helps to limit his value. He also has issues allowing base runners, 1.25 WHIP, and in general owning him is stressful. On the surface his 3.44 ERA is appetizing, but in his last three games it is 5.63. For those of you willing to take a chance, which I am not sure I would recommend, he only had had one bad start this season (six runs in 4.1 against the Royals). Use him cautiously.
- Anthony DeSclafani started to season off on a strong note, but lately things have not been going as well for the young hurler. In his last three starts he is 0-3 with a 4.80 ERA, and in his last start he allowed four walks. What is truly troubling is that he has not gotten past the fifth inning in each of those starts with his 11 walks being the main culprit. Overall DeSclafani’s season ratios are still quite strong, with an ERA of 2.50 and a WHIP of 1.11, and his previous three starts he had averaged seven innings. You could chalk the majority of his recent struggles up to mechanical issues, which I would expect to see correct itself. Using him at home against two weaker offenses, Atlanta and San Francisco, is a good play this week.
- I really don’t know Nick Martinez how does it. He doesn’t overpower anyone or miss many bats, 15 strikeouts on the season, but yet until his last start he had been strong. On the season, after allowing three runs in 4.2 innings against Tampa (his first start that didn’t qualify as a Quality Start), Martinez’s ERA sits at just 1.47 with a 1.17 WHIP. At this point you have to use him if you have him, but don’t go all in and let the ratios fool you.
- James Paxton did not get off to a good start in 2015, but he has been righting the ship. It is important to remember that he did have some minor issues in Spring Training so we can somewhat excuse his early struggles. After a strong season debut, it was really Paxton’s second and third start that have set back his ratios for the majority of the season. In those starts he allowed 12 earned runs in just nine innings and his next start he couldn’t get out of the fifth inning and allowed four runs (although only one was earned). To get a better indication as to what we can expect I would point directly to his last three starts (2.41 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 18.2 innings).
- If you forgot about Alex Colome, you are forgiven. He didn’t even pitch 25 innings in the Majors last season, and then pneumonia delayed his 2015 season by almost a month. It is understandable that he is still working to increase his pitch count, 60 and then 79, but he has had success in his 10 innings so far while winning both his starts. He has 10 strikeouts in his 10 innings of work and also has yet to walk a batter. I would snatch him up for this week, against the Yankees and Twins, and also for the rest of the season.
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