by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The trade deadline is upon us, and that is going to help to complicate a few decisions for the coming week (thanks to a slew of rumors hanging out there). We also are at the point in the season where the time has come to potentially take a few gambles, because if you don’t act now, it may become too late. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the pitchers scheduled to take the mound twice this week and try to determine who’s a good play and who can be ignored:
Tier 1 – The Elite
- Jake Arrieta – Chicago Cubs – at CWS, vs. Sea
- Carlos Martinez – St. Louis Cardinals – at NYM, at Mia
- Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets – vs. Stl, vs. Col
Tier 2 – The Must Use
- Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers – at Bos, vs. Hou
- Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros – vs. NYY, at Det
- Anthony Desclafani – Cincinnati Reds – at SF, at SD
- Aaron Sanchez – Toronto Blue Jays – vs. SD, vs. Bal
- Kyle Hendricks – Chicago Cubs – at CWS, vs. Sea
- It’s hard to keep Sanchez out of the top tier for the coming week, but he does draw a tough matchup with the Orioles (who he has a 5.73 ERA against in two starts this season) and also hasn’t been nearly as good at home (4.07 ERA). That’s not to take anything away from him, just be realistic in your expectations.
- Anthony Desclafani has been great since coming off the DL (2.50 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) and gets to take the mound in a pair of pitcher friendly ballparks. It’s hard not to really like him for this week, isn’t it?
Tier 3 – Usable, but risky
- Michael Pineda – New York Yankees – at Hou, at TB
- Gio Gonzalez – Washington Nationals – at Cle, at SF
- Jaime Garcia – St. Louis Cardinals – at NYM, at Mia
- Bud Norris – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. TB, vs. Ari
- Ervin Santana – Los Angeles Angels – vs. Atl, vs. CWS
- Chris Tillman – Baltimore Orioles – vs. Col, at Tor
- Hector Santiago – Los Angeles Angels – at KC, vs. Bos
- Steven Wright – Boston Red Sox – vs. Det, at LAA
- Drew Pomeranz – Boston Red Sox – vs. Det, at LAA
- It’s been an up and down year for Gonzalez, but he’s been pitching well lately and draws two offenses who are in the bottom half of the league against left-handed pitchers in terms of SLG. Over his past two starts he’s allowed 3 ER over 11.2 IP and there’s a good chance he can keep things rolling in a positive direction.
- Things have really started to slide for Wright, who had allowed 3+ ER while going 6.0 innings or fewer in four straight starts (21.2 IP, 15 ER), prior to rebounding in his most recent outing. It’s hard to sit him, but the matchups are difficult and it’s reasonable to be concerned.
- Home runs have been the biggest issue facing Pineda, though he has allowed just 3 on the road. He’s coming off a tremendous outing and continues to show strikeouts (10.75 K/9) and control (2.45 BB/9). With Houston on the schedule the strikeouts should certainly continue.
Tier 4 – Maybe Yes, Maybe No
- Jerad Eickhoff – Philadelphia Phillies – at Mia, at Atl
- Jeremy Hellickson – Philadelphia Phillies – at Mia, at Atl
- James Shields – Chicago White Sox – vs. CHC, at Min
- Ian Kennedy – Kansas City Royals – vs. LAA, at Tex
- Jake Peavy – San Francisco Giants – vs. Cin, vs. Was
- Bartolo Colon – New York Mets – vs. Stl, vs. Col
- Matt Garza – Milwaukee Brewers – vs. Ari, vs. Pit
- Martin Perez – Texas Rangers – vs. Oak, vs. KC
- Patrick Corbin – Arizona Diamondbacks – at Mil, at LAD
- Tom Koehler – Miami Marlins – vs. Phi, vs. Stl
- Yovani Gallardo – Baltimore Orioles – vs. Col, at Tor
- Chad Bettis – Colorado Rockies – at Bal, at NYM
- Eickhoff has been trading good and bad starts of late, including a dud against the same Marlins he’ll get this coming week. He’s also been significantly worse on the road (5.51 ERA) than at home (2.45 ERA). While the matchups seem alluring, it’s impossible to call him a must start option.
- While Shields has been pitching better of late, is anyone really ready to call him a must start option?
Tier 5 – Not A Chance
- Daniel Mengden – Oakland A’s – at Tex, at Cle
- Jorge De La Rosa – Colorado Rockies – at Bal, at NYM
- Matt Cain – San Francisco Giants – vs. Cin, vs. Was
- Miguel Gonzalez – Chicago White Sox – vs. CHC, at Min
- Colin Rea – San Diego Padres – at Tor, vs. Cin
- Chase Anderson – Milwaukee Brewers – vs. Ari, vs. Pit
- Lucas Harrell – Atlanta Braves – at Min, vs. Phi
- Kyle Lohse – Texas Rangers – vs. Oak, vs. KC