Two-Start Pitchers 2015: August 24-30: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

At this point in the season, things become even more difficult when searching for pitchers taking the mound twice in any given week. As pitchers near innings limits they are either skipped all together or have their starts shifted by a day or two. Spot starters could be inserted into the rotation at any time and young pitchers begin to make their way into the rotation of teams who are out of playoff contention. With that being said, let’s take a look at how the options ranks for this week:

Tier One:

  1. Jake Arrieta – Chicago Cubs – at San Francisco; at LA Dodgers
  2. Jacob deGrom – New York Mets – at Philadelphia; vs. Boston
  3. Corey Kluber – Cleveland Indians – at Chicago Cubs; vs. LA Angels

Tier Two:

  1. Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals – vs. San Diego; vs. Miami
  2. Jon Lester – Chicago Cubs – vs. Cleveland; at LA Dodgers
  3. James Shields – San Diego Padres – at Washington; at Philadelphia
  4. Lance Lynn – St. Louis Cardinals – at Arizona; at San Francisco
  5. Julio Teheran – Atlanta Braves – vs. Colorado; vs. NY Yankees
  6. Hisashi Iwakuma – Seattle Mariners – vs. Oakland; at Chicago White Sox

Tier Three:

  1. Jamie Garcia – St. Louis Cardinals – at Arizona; at San Francisco
  2. Nathan Eovaldi – New York Yankees – vs. Houston; at Atlanta
  3. Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets – at Philadelphia; vs. Boston
  4. Mark Buehrle – Toronto Blue Jays – at Texas; vs. Detroit
  5. Alex Wood – LA Dodgers – at Cincinnati; vs. Chicago Cubs
  6. Jose Quintana – Chicago White Sox – vs. Boston; vs. Seattle
  7. Jeff Samardzjia – Chicago White Sox – vs. Boston; vs. Seattle

Tier Four:

  1. Ubaldo Jimenez – Baltimore Orioles – at Kansas City; at Texas
  2. Derek Holland – Texas Rangers – vs. Toronto; vs. Baltimore
  3. Jered Weaver – LA Angels – at Detroit; at Cleveland
  4. Charlie Morton – Pittsburgh Pirates; at Miami; vs. Colorado
  5. Patrick Corbin – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. St. Louis; vs. Oakland
  6. Nathan Karns – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Minnesota; vs. Kansas City
  7. Jorge De La Rosa – Colorado Rockies – at Atlanta; at Pittsburgh

Tier Five:

  1. Danny Duffy – Kansas City Royals – vs. Baltimore; at Tampa Bay
  2. Matt Cain – San Francisco Giants – vs. Chicago Cubs; vs. St. Louis
  3. Miguel Gonzalez – Baltimore Orioles – at Kansas City; at Texas
  4. Ervin Santana – Minnesota Twins – at Tampa Bay; vs. Houston
  5. Alfredo Simon – Detroit Tigers – vs. LA Angels; at Toronto
  6. Tom Koehler – Miami Marlins – vs. Pittsburgh; at Washington
  7. Robbie Ray – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. St. Louis; vs. Oakland

Tier Six

  1. Joe Kelly – Boston Red Sox – at Chicago White Sox; at NY Mets
  2. Kris Medlen – Kansas City Royals – vs. Baltimore; at Tampa Bay
  3. J.A. Happ – Pittsburgh Pirates – at Miami; vs. Colorado
  4. Wily Peralta – Milwaukee Brewers – at Cleveland; vs. Cincinnati
  5. Mike Montgomery – Seattle Mariners – vs. Oakland; at Chicago White Sox
  6. John Lamb – Cincinnati Reds – vs. LA Dodgers; at MIlwaukee
  7. Adam Morgan – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. NY Mets; vs. San Diego
  8. Keyvius Sampson – Cincinnati Reds – vs. Detroit; at Milwaukee
  9. Brad Hand – Miami Marlins – vs. Pittsburgh; at Washington
  10. Felix Doubront – Oakland A’s – at Seattle; at Arizona
  11. Jerome Williams – Philadelphia Phillies; vs. NY Mets; vs. San Diego
  12. Buck Farmer – Detroit Tigers – at Cincinnati; at Toronto


  • Short sample sizes can sometimes be deceiving. By no means can we consider Jon Lester’s first season with the Cubs a success overall, but for the most part he has been a legitimate fantasy starter. Yes a 3.58 ERA doesn’t mean the same thing it did a few years ago, and it also is a lot different from Lester’s 2.46 mark last season, but things could be worse. Also the fact that he has struck out 153 batters in 148.1 innings is a big positive, and that he is starting twice this week makes it even more valuable to fantasy owners. But back to those sample sizes… Over his past three starts the southpaw has an unsightly ERA of 6.32. However, other than his most recent start against the Tigers Lester has been pretty clutch for fantasy owners. In his previous five starts he had quality starts in each and allowed only eight earned runs in 35.1 innings. I know you can’t completely ignore the fact that he allowed seven runs to Detroit in 2.2 innings, but the wind was blowing out and all of the runs crossed the plate via a home run. I would look for Lester to bounce back this week.
  • The road just doesn’t seem to agree with Noah Syndergaard. Prior to his last start in Baltimore the Mets tried to change his routine, but he promptly loaded the bases to start the game. He did get out of the inning without any damage, and the rookie’s night ended after five innings and three earned runs. After putting up consecutive eight inning outings, first in which he allowed no runs and the second in which he allowed two, Syndergaard has given up 11 runs in his three most recent starts spanning 16 innings. The first start of his week does come on the road in Philadelphia, but their offense doesn’t pose too much of a threat. He is still striking batters out, 15 in his last three starts, which also helps to maintain some value. Just try to manage your expectations for the rookie.
  • You are not going to get strikeouts from Mark Buerhle, as the veteran southpaw has struck out 75 batters in 159 innings this season. The fact that he is a reliable innings eater is a positive, as are his ratios. Buerhle has four complete games this season with an ERA of 3.45 and WHIP of 1.18. Perhaps more important is his 13 wins. I know we also preach not to chase wins, but they are one of the ten categories in which you are ranked and at this point in the season you need to find every edge possible. With Buerhle’s ability to pitch deep into games and limit the damage, plus Toronto’s string of success, there is some value here.
  • If you haven’t cut bait with Mike Montgomery already, it is time to do so. After bursting onto the scene with Seattle with a 1.62 ERA in June, things have gone increasingly downhill for the fringe prospect as he had a 5.88 ERA in July and so far has a 7.85 August ERA. It is worth nothing that there is a substantial difference in his home and road ERA’s (3.40 compared to 4.95), but I’m still staying away here. The biggest factor in his early success was the .213 BABIP he had in June, which is quite unsustainable. His first start of the week comes at home against Oakland while his second is in Chicago against the White Sox. This is a situation where, for the week, I would look for another option.
  • Jorge De La Rosa gets a bad rap since he is a Colorado pitcher. That is a large reason why he is only owned in 18% of CBS leagues. What happens when he is making two starts in a week, and both are on the road? To me that represents a buying opportunity. You don’t see many large disparities in home and road ERA’s than De La Rosa. At home his ERA is 5.91 while on the road it is just 3.17. You will also get some strikeouts, as he has struck out 106 batters in 116 innings.
  • As far as raw pitchers go, Joe Kelly has always had good stuff. Putting it together, though, has been a different story. He has found his groove over his last three starts, putting up a 1.56 ERA while being victorious in each outing. Kelly has 16 strikeouts over 17.1 innings in that stretch and for the season he has 90 strikeouts over 105.1 innings. While he his recent starts have told a different story than the overall numbers (5.37 ERA, 1.50 WHIP), base runners continue to be an issue. There is some measure of risk here, but depending on your situation it might be worth the potential reward.

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