Before we get started don’t ask me to try and figure out Chris Sale, because all I’m doing is plugging him into my lineup and hoping for the best. At this point I think it’s all you can really do with your first round pick. Plus you want to be there when finally does turn it around so he can make up for his earlier struggles, and the fact that one of his starts this week comes against Detroit also helps.
That being said pitching hasn’t gotten any easier and the performances haven’t gotten much better across baseball, though it’s still early. While it is true, that doesn’t mean we get to use it as excuse and we have to keep on grinding. Let’s jump right into taking a look at the pitchers who are taking the mound twice this week and how they rank.
- Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians – vs. Miami; at HOuston
- Jake Arrieta – Philadelphia Phillies – at NY Mets; vs. Miami
- Chris Sale – Boston Red Sox – vs. Detroit; vs. Tampa Bay
- Joe Musgrove – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Arizona; at LA Dodgers
- Jose Quintana – Chicago Cubs – vs. LA Dodgers; at Arizona
- Kenta Maeda – LA Dodgers – at Chicago Cubs; vs. Pittsburgh
- Jack Flaherty – St. Louis Cardinals – vs. Milwaukee; vs. Cincinnati
- Kevin Gausman – Atlanta Braves – at Cincinnati; vs. Colorado
- Domingo German – NY Yankees – at LA Angels; at San Francisco
- Mike Minor – Texas Rangers – at Oakland; vs. Miami
- Matthew Boyd – Detroit Tigers – at Boston; at Chicago White Sox
- Sonny Gray – Cincinnati Reds – vs. Atlanta; at St. Louis
- Trevor Williams – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Arizona; at LA Dodgers
- Zach Eflin – Philadelphia Phillies – at NY Mets; vs. Miami
- Luke Weaver – Arizona Diamondbacks – at Pittsburgh; vs. Chicago Cubs
- Brad Peacock – Houston Astros – vs. Minnesota; vs. Cleveland
- Wade Miley – Houston Astros – vs. Minnesota; vs. Cleveland
- J.A. Happ – NY Yankees – at LA Angels; at San Francisco
- Brad Keller – Kansas City Royals – at Tampa Bay; at LA Angels
- Zach Godley – Arizona Diamondbacks – at Pittsburgh; vs. Chicago Cubs
- Jeremy Hellickson – Washington Nationals – at Colorado; vs. San Diego
- Kyle Freeland – Colorado Rockies – vs. Washington; at Atlanta
- Steven Matz – NY Mets – vs. Philadelphia; vs. Milwaukee
- Zach Davies – Milwaukee Brewers – at St. Louis; at NY Mets
- Lance Lynn – Texas Rangers – at Oakland; at Seattle
- Erik Swanson – Seattle Mariners – at San Diego; vs. Texas
- Spencer Turnbull – Detroit Tigers – at Boston; at Chicago White Sox
- Matt Harvey – LA Angels – vs. NY Yankees; at Kansas City
- Homer Bailey – Kansas City Royals – at Tampa Bay; vs. LA Angels
- Ivan Nova – Chicago White Sox – at Baltimore; vs. Detroit
- Chris Stratton – LA Angels – vs. NY Yankees; at Kansas City
- Chris Bassitt – Oakland A’s – vs. Texas; at Toronto
- Now that he is healthy, after off-season knee surgery, and has a full off-season, after signing late with the Phillies prior to 2018, we are seeing what Jake Arrieta is capable of. It’s wasn’t exactly a secret, but now Philadelphia is getting what they paid for. Through four starts he is doing two key things; pitching deep into games and getting victories. The right-hander is 3-1 with an average of seven innings per start. Not only is Arrieta ending up in the win column, but with a 2.25 ERA and 1.11 WHIP he is also pitching well. At this point you aren’t going to get overpowering strikeout numbers, just 18, but it’s hard to argue with the rest of the results. Arrieta takes on the Mets again to start the week after he just threw eight innings of two run ball against them. His next start is against the Marlins, and the trend of opposing pitchers taking advantage of Miami should continue (he does have seven innings of one run ball against the Marlins earlier this season).
- The walks are going to continue to be an issue for Brad Keller, 12 in his last three starts, but so far he has succeeded in spite of his control issues. Through five starts he has logged 30.2 innings while picking up two victories and recording a 2.64 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. When Keller drops the appeal of his suspension will bear watching, and even he didn’t have 17 walks, to go along with 26 strikeouts, my expectations are tempered. With a .210 BABIP and 4.18 FIP we have a sell high candidate. At the same time, facing the Rays and Angels shouldn’t be too rough.
- The Yankees are heading out on the road this week, to the west coast, and with all their injuries they might not even be recognizable, but Domingo German has become an intriguing option. For starters he is facing the Angels and Giants, in favorable ballparks, so that is working in his favor. German did come up on the short end of his last start, against the Royals, but he did strike out nine batters in six innings while allowing three runs. Overall German is 3-1 with a 2.37 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 19 innings with nine hits and seven walks allowed. While the only place for a .167 BABIP to go is up, he has shown that he has explosive stuff, and a 3.42 xFIP is a favorable floor.
- Maybe getting traded out Baltimore was all Kevin Gausman needed, and good health. After a quick detour to the Injured List to begin the season he hasgotten off to a smooth start. Through three starts, perhaps the best thing we can say is that he has allowed just six walks through 19.2 innings while striking out 22 batters. A 2.75 ERA and 0.76 WHIP is a solid body of work, and seven shutout innings against the Marlins to start the season was a pretty good debut. So far he is building on the success he established with Atlanta after last summer’s trade, and while a .171 BABIP is a little frightening, a 3.56 xFIP is solid and the strikeouts don’t hurt.
- It didn’t take long for the trade speculation to begin this season, but Mike Minor is certainly a large part of it. With the way the southpaw has pitched it makes perfect sense. After struggling to start the season, six runs in 4.2 innings against the Cubs, Minor has allowed just two runs in his last three starts. In fact they both came in the same start (a seven inning effort in Arizona), while he has thrown 16 shutout innings in his other starts (at home against Houston and a complete game against the Angels). With 18 hits and eight walks allowed, along with 22 strikeouts, the main thing for Minor has been limiting the traffic on the bases. A 4.61 xFIP and .211 BABIP should dial back the excitement, and while he is a solid option he is also very capable of another six run start.
- Zach Davies is 2-0 in his four starts, but I’m not sure how excited I would be. With 22.2 innings of work, the right-hander is struggling to pitch deep into games. It’s surprising to see a WHIP come in higher than an ERA, but with Davies that is the case (1.28 compared to 1.19), and 15 strikeouts in 22 innings isn’t going to generate much fantasy value. As far as upside goes there really isn’t much.
- One starting pitcher who has generated some enthusiasm is Spencer Turnbull. In reality it’s his last start, six shutout innings against the Pirates, that has gotten our attention, but a 3.43 ERA overall in four starts isn’t too shabby and neither is is 24 strikeouts in 21 innings. The same cannot be said with his 1.29 WHIP, and while a two start week will get your attention (one against the Chicago White Sox), we should take a step back. While Boston has struggled to begin the season they are still the Red Sox, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them bust out against Turnbull.