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Two-Start Pitchers: Week of August 14, 2017

As we roll into Week 19 of the fantasy baseball season, many leagues are starting to wind down and the playoff races are coming into focus. Depending on where you find yourself in your respective standings just might make the difference in how you view the upcoming two-start matchups. If you are in the driver’s seat, holding a locked position for the playoffs, you will want to maintain and not take any unnecessary chances. If you are a bubble dweller, you are probably looking for any and every advantage you can to propel yourself into that coveted playoff spot. Then you have everyone else, who are already preparing for next season or have shifted their focus to fantasy football drafts!

If you find yourself in the second group, you are probably frantically researching available players, trade blocks, schedules, and any and all other avenues available to you. This group should be able to find some help if the right pitcher or pitchers are available via the trade route or waiver wire. Be sure to spend time researching each player and move. Potential help can usually be found if you are willing to take some chances to augment your lineup with tiers three and four below. Don’t let yourself get to desperation mode and make moves you will regret.

These projected starts are subject to change due to rain outs, injury, performance issues, or managerial whims. I only offer my the opinion on the matchups; there are no guarantees on the actual starts.

What’s Not To Like Out of This Group?

  • Gio Gonzalez – (8/15 vs. LAA-Troy Scribner; 8/20 @ SD-Dinelson Lamet)
  • Jacob deGrom – (8/14 @ NYY-Sonny Gray; 8/20 vs. MIA-Adam Conley)
  • Zack Greinke – (8/14 vs. HOU-Collin McHugh; 8/19 @ MIN-TBD)
  • Madison Bumgarner – (8/15 @ MIA-Dan Straily; 8/20 vs. PHI-Vince Velasquez)
  • Sonny Gray – (8/15 vs. NYM-Jacob deGrom; 8/20 @ BOS-Doug Fister)
  • Justin Verlander – (8/14 @ TEX-A.J. Griffin; 8/20 vs. LAD-Kenta Maeda)
  • Danny Salazar – (8/15 @ MIN-Bartolo Colon; 8/20 @ KC-Trevor Cahill)

[the_ad id=”384″]There are quite a few outstanding choices here this week, as usual. One pitcher in this group gets a little less love than the others, even though he has put together a very nice season. Gio Gonzalez holds 2.59 ERA and 1.138 WHIP with 138 strikeouts in 149 innings this season. In his last three starts, he has held opponents to only three runs (1.23 ERA) and gone 2-1. What makes this week especially tasty is his two opponents. He draws the second and third worst teams in terms of OPS on the season. The Angels (.705) and Padres (.702) are only better than the Giants, who currently sit at an MLB-worst .684 OPS. In addition, the Angels matchup is at home, where the visiting American League team loses the advantage of the DH. You should be able to start Gonzalez with great confidence this week. Sonny Gray had a decent showing in his first game for the Yankees, even if he did record a loss. In fact, in his last three starts, he’s only 1-2. That record is deceiving, however, as he’s gathered 21 strikeouts in 18 innings and recorded a 1.96 ERA. There is no doubt that Gray is an outstanding pitcher. He just needs to stay healthy. There have been no signs of injury since being activated May 1, and he is putting together a very solid season. His matchups for the week are a little tougher than Gonzalez’s, as he’s going head-to-head with fellow two-start pitcher Jacob deGrom and then heads to Boston. He should still perform well in those contests. Quick shout out to Danny Salazar and his 1.35 ERA and 28 strikeouts in his last three starts. he looks to have come off the DL with a vengeance and has two very winnable road starts this week.

Second Tier a Little Thin This Week…

  • Trevor Bauer – (8/14 @ BOS-Doug Fister; 8/19 @ KC-Jason Vargas)
  • Masahiro Tanaka – (8/14 vs. NYM-Rafael Montero; 8/19 @ BOS-Chris Sale)
  • Jose Quintana – (8/14 vs. CIN-Asher Wojciechowski; 8/19 vs. TOR Nick Tepesch)
  • Kevin Gausman – (8/14 @ SEA-Yovani Gallardo; 8/20 vs. LAA-Parker Bridwell)
  • Dinelson Lamet – (8/15 vs. PHI-Vince Velasquez; 8/20 vs. WAS-Gio Gonzalez)

Since the All-Star break, Trevor Bauer has made five starts, throwing 27.2 innings and recording 30 strikeouts while compiling a 3.25 ERA. If not for one poor performance coming immediately after the break, his line would look much better. The subsequent four starts have been excellent, and he will look to build on those strong outings with road starts against the Red Sox and Royals. Rookie right-hander Dinelson Lamet has looked strong in his last four starts. He’s gone 3-0 with 23 whiffs in 23 frames. Three of those games were on the road, but he gets both matchups this week at home, where he owns a 4.03 ERA and 0.90 WHIP over five starts (compared to a 5.72 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in eight road starts). The second game against the Nationals will be a test for the youngster.

Definitely Help Here That Isn’t a Stretch…

  • Jon Gray – (8/15 vs. ATL-Sean Newcomb; 8/20 vs. MIL-Matt Garza)
  • Brad Peacock – (8/15 @ ARI-Anthony Banda; 8/20 vs. OAK-Jharel Cotton)
  • Kyle Hendrick – (8/15 vs. CIN-Luis Castillo; 8/20 vs. TOR-Marco Estrada)
  • Ivan Nova – (8/15 @ MIL-Brandon Woodruf; 8/20 vs. STL-Mike Leake)
  • Luis Castillo – (8/15 @ CHC-Kyle Hendricks; 8/20 @ ATL-Sean Newcomb)
  • Marco Estrada  – (8/15 vs. TB-Jake Odorizzi; 8/20 @ CHC-Kyle Hendrick)
  • Jerad Eickhoff – (8/14 @ SD-Travis Wood; 8/19 @ SF-Ty Blach)
  • Doug Fister – (8/14 vs. CLE-Trevor Bauer; 8/20 vs. NYY-Sonny Gray)

Jon Gray, at age 25, was the Rockies’ Opening Day starter, but a nagging foot issue sent him to the DL after only three starts. He missed two and a half months, but he has come back and pitched decently since his reinstatement on June 30.  In his last three starts, he’s produced a 2.84 ERA with 18 Ks in 19 innings. Both of his starts this week are at Coors Field, but that’s actually not a bad thing, as he’s pitched much better at home this season (3.00 ERA, compared to 6.67 ERA on the road). He gets both the Braves and Brewers and should be able to rack up the strikeouts against these two lineups. Philly starters have been very hit or miss this season. Jerad Eickhoff is no different, having started the season 0-7 in his first 14 starts before going on the disabled list with back strain on June 20. Since returning to the rotation on July 9, he has gone 3-0 in six starts with a 3.46 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 35.2 innings. He gets two of baseball’s worst-hitting teams this week in the Giants and Padres.

Meh, If You Are Willing To Gamble, You May Find a One-Week Wonder…

  • Collin McHugh – (8/14 @ ARI-Zack Greinke; 8/19 vs. OAK-Kendall Graveman)
  • Mike Leake – (8/15 @ BOS-Rick Porcello; 8/20 @ PIT-Ivan Nova)
  • Jake Junis – (8/14 @ OAK-Jharel Cotton; 8/vs. CLE-Danny Salazar)
  • Ty Blach – (8/14 @ MIA-Adam Conley; 8/19 vs. PHI-Jerad Eickhoff)
  • Sean Newcomb – (8/15 @ COL-Jon Gray; 8/20 vs. CIN-Luis Castillo)
  • Antonio Senzatela – (8/14 vs. ATL-Julio Teheran; 8/19 vs. MIL-Brent Suter)
  • Anthony Banda – (8/15 vs. HOU-Brad Peacock; 8/20 @ MIN-Bartolo Colon)
  • Asher Wojciechowski – (8/14 @ CHC-Jose Quintana; 8/19 @ ATL-Julio Teheran)
  • Bartolo Colon – (8/15 vs. BAL-Kevin Gausman; 8/20 @ TB-Alex Cobb)

The right gambles here could pay off, as long as they aren’t your only two-start options. Rockies rookie Antonio Senzatela has been relegated to bullpen duty off and on after getting off to a hot start as a rotation option. He gets both games at home, where he is 8-2 with a 1.23 WHIP this season but also sports an ugly 4.81 ERA. He is not a big strikeout type pitcher, but when he is on, he gets a lot of weak contact. Another one of my favorite reach candidates for this week is Asher Wojciechowski. He is coming off two solid starts against the Padres and Cardinals with 11 strikeouts in 10.2 innings. That is a relatively small sample size, but his 1.10 WHIP with more than a strikeout per inning this season leaves enough speculate on. He was selected 41st overall in the 2010 draft by the Blue Jays and has the minor league pedigree to suggest a useful major league arm. If he can pitch well against the Cubs on Monday, the Braves offer a better matchup on Saturday.

Some Tough Calls Here, But Not Sure They’re Worth The Risk…

  • Julio Teheran – (8/14 @ COL-Antonio Senzatela; 8/19 vs. CIN-Asher Wojciechowski)
  • Blake Snell – (8/14 @ TOR-Nick Tepesch; 8/20 vs. SEA-Yovani Gallardo)
  • Vince Velasquez – (8/15 @ SD-Dinelson Lamet; 8/20 @ SF-Madison Bumgarner)
  • Adam Conley – (8/14 vs. SF-Ty Blach; 8/20 @ NYM-Jacob deGrom)
  • A.J. Griffin- (8/14 vs. DET-Justin Verlander; 8/19 vs. CHW-Derek Holland)
  • Jharel Cotton – (8/14 vs. KC-Jake Junis; 8/20 @ HOU-Brad Peacock)
  • Miguel Gonzalez – (8/15 @ LAD-Alex Wood; 8/20 @ TEX-Martin Perez)
  • Martin Perez – (8/15 vs. DET-Drew VerHagen; 8/20 vs. CHW-Miguel Gonzalez)
  • Yovani Gallardo – (8/14 vs. BAL-Kevin Gausman; 8/20 @ TB-Alex Cobb)
  • Rafael Montero – (8/14 @ NYY-Masahiro Tanaka; 8/19 vs. MIA-Vance Worley)
  • Travis Wood – (8/14 vs. PHI-Jerad Eickhoff; 8/19 vs. WAS-A.J. Cole)
  • Nick Tepesch – (8/14 vs. TB-Alex Cobb; 8/19 @ CHC-Jose Quintana)

It has been a mostly rough year for Julio Teheran. He has struggled this year, holding a 5.25 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over 23 starts. On the road, he is 6-2 in 11 starts, with a 3.57 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, though that stands to be mitigated by Coors Field in his first start. Then he is back home, where he is 1-8 in 12 starts with a 7.07 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. Until he can shake this or show some form of improvement, he should be a hard pass in all leagues.

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