by Ray Kuhn
There are options this week, but how many of the pitchers taking the mound twice do you feel confident in? The short answer should be not that many. Of course we still will rank each pitcher, and in certain situations take our chances, but there is risk. This is when you evaluate where you are at in standings and adjust accordingly, but if you are looking to maximize your starts let’s take a look at how they rank:
- Marcus Stroman – Toronto Blue Jays – vs. Kansas City; vs. New York Yankees
- Jon Lester – Chicago Cubs – at Tampa Bay; at Milwaukee
- Ervin Santana – Minnesota Twins – at New York Yankees; at Detroit
- Lance McCullers – Houston Astros – vs. Chicago White Sox; vs. LA Angels
- Mike Clevinger – Cleveland Indians – at LA Angels; at Seattle
- Kevin Gausman – Baltimore Orioles – vs. Boston; vs. Tampa Bay
- Chase Anderson – Milwaukee Brewers – at Pittsburgh; vs. Chicago Cubs
- Jose Berrios – Minnesota Twins – at New York Yankees; at Detroit
- Aaron Nola – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. LA Dodgers; at Atlanta
- Lucas Giolito – Chicago White Sox – at Houston; vs. Kansas City
- Patrick Corbin – Arizona Diamondbacks – at San Diego; vs. Miami
- Mike Leake – Seattle Mariners – vs. Texas; vs. Cleveland
- Kenta Maeda – LA Dodgers – at Philadelphia; vs. San Francisco
- Dan Straily – Miami Marlins – vs. New York Mets; at Arizona
- Blake Snell – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Chicago Cubs; at Baltimore
- Martin Perez – Texas Rangers – at Seattle; at Oakland
- Steven Brault – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Milwaukee; vs. St. Louis
- Luis Perdomo – San Diego Padres – vs. Arizona; vs. Colorado
- Doug Fister – Boston Red Sox – at Baltimore; at Cincinnati
- Matt Harvey – New York Mets – at Miami; vs. Washington
- German Marquez – Colorado Rockies – at San Francisco; at San Diego
- Tyler Skaggs – LA Angels – vs. Cleveland; at Houston
- Jharel Cotton – Oakland A’s – at Detroit; vs. Texas
- Jack Flaherty – St. Louis Cardinals – at Cincinnati;at Pittsburgh
- Tyler Mahle – Cincinnati Reds – vs. St. Louis; vs. Boston
- Wade Miley – Baltimore Orioles – vs. Boston; vs. Tampa Bay
- Brent Suter – Milwaukee Brewers – at Pittsburgh; vs. Chicago Cubs
- Luiz Gohara – Atlanta Braves – vs. Washington; vs. Philadelphia
- Buck Farmer – Detroit Tigers – vs. Oakland; vs. Minnesota
- Jake Thompson – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. LA Dodgers; at Atlanta
- Eric Skoglund – Kansas City Royals – at Toronto; at Chicago White Sox
- Chad Bell – Detroit Tigers – vs. Oakland; vs. Minnesota
- As the season draws to a close we want pitchers who are coming down the stretch strong. At this point there isn’t all that much time left for pitchers to figure things out or for trends or bad luck to normalize or correct themselves. In his last three starts Chase Anderson has a 2.30 ERA, although he has just 11 strikeouts in 15.2 innings. Overall he is 10-3 in 22 starts with a 2.88 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. With three starts left in the season, and two this week, all we want out of Anderson is for him to continue this success. The fact that Anderson’s FIP is 3.73, with a 4.61 xFIP, doesn’t necessarily matter anymore. Aside from a 5.61 ERA in May, Anderson has been relatively consistent throughout the season despite the fact that he has just a 38.5% ground ball rate. He has managed to limit his home run per fly ball ratio to 8.5%, and while I’m not a fan of him for the long term there is no harm with continuing to use him this week.
- If you take a look at Kevin Gausman’s 4.83 ERA and 1.56 WHIP, there is no way you would feel comfortable using him. While he does have a BABIP of .344, his 4.65 FIP (4.50 xFIP), doesn’t allow for much optimism. However, it truly has been a tale of two halves as his second ERA is 3.44 after he put up a 5.85 mark in the first half. After hitters had a .317 average against in the first half, it is down to .247 in the second half. After he only made it through three innings against the Yankees two starts ago, Gausman bounced back with seven innings of one run ball against Toronto.
- Maybe Lucas Giolito has figured things out and he will make Washington regret the fact that they traded him. After allowing four runs in his first start he has gone on to allow just five runs in his last 27.2 innings (4 starts). Overall the right-hander has a 2.56 ERA and 0.95 WHIP, and while the sample size is small his success should not be coming as a complete surprise. Don’t get too comfortable though. Giolito has benefited from BABIP of .160 while his FIP is 5.30. This week he gets to face the dangerous Astros on the road and Kansas City at home as he looks to build upon his success. If you can withstand the risk then he is a worthy option, if not then look elsewhere.
- While Lance McCullers is listed as taking the mound twice this week, it is a situation I would monitor. Houston will likely go into the weekend as division champions, but home field advantage will still be on the table. Also the Astros do need to make sure McCullers is healthy, recovered and back on track for the playoffs after his second DL stint. When healthy he is one of the top options, but it is unclear whether or not the right-hander will take the mound twice. If he does start both games the Astros will likely manage his workload. When on the mound the results should be there. Yes, McCullers did struggle as he allowed 20 runs in his last four starts before his most recent DL stint. In his return two weeks ago he started off strong before tiring out and stalling in the sixth inning. With McCullers there is the chance for two victories as well as strikeout potential, so it’s difficult to leave him out of your lineup.
- Despite having the benefit of pitching in San Diego, Luis Perdomo’s home ERA of 4.67 is actually higher than his 4.55 road ERA. This week he takes the mound twice with both starts coming at home; against the Diamondbacks and Rockies. Each offense is strong, so we are taking a chance here, but the hope is that they will be neutralized away from their home parks. He is working on a streak of five straight quality starts, and at this point in the season when scraping the bottom of the waiver wire (18% owned in CBS leagues), that is all you can ask for.
- Another starting pitching who is readily available (5% ownership in CBS leagues) and has had some recent success is Steven Brault. Brault recently picked up his first victory of the season, and in just 24.2 innings he has a 4.38 ERA. Upon a closer look the right-hander allowed four runs in one inning of work in his last relief outing. Since moving to the rotation he allowed three runs in 11 innings of work. In 20 starts this season at Triple-A prior to his promotion he had a 1.94 ERA, and I’ll be streaming him in one league this week with the expectation that he can maintain that success.