Everyone is happy when one of their pitchers is scheduled for two starts in a week. But that is not always a good thing. Here are five pitchers you may be on the fence about (or should be on the fence) putting into your lineup for Week Six.
Right now only 23 pitchers are scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. Of those, 12 are currently starting in less than 10 percent of leagues while five are active in 70 percent or more. So, there are slim pickings in the middle class, or where I usually try to focus on for this column.
Aaron Cook – He has allowed five runs in four of his last six starts, including his last outing at Petco. Cook gets two home starts this week, where he has actually fared much better this year. But he opens up against Roy Halladay. If that was not bad enough, Cook is 1-5 lifetime against the Phillies. His second start is against the surging Scott Olsen. It all adds up to a pitcher to reserve for this week.
Wade LeBlanc – You will not find many pitchers with a .353 BABIP and a 1.16 ERA after four games, but that is exactly what LeBlanc has managed to do so far this season. He achieves that thanks to the one-two combination of zero home runs allowed and a 90.3 LOB%. After opening with three of his first four games in the friendly confines of Petco, LeBlanc hits the road to face the red-hot Barry Zito in his first start. He is back home against the Dodgers in his second game, but LeBlanc is 1-2 with a 6.27 ERA in his brief career against Los Angeles. Put him on the bench if you have other options this week.
John Maine – Since I selected him as a “Hunch” 10 days ago, Maine has gone 1-0 with 15 Ks and 5 BB in his last 12 IP after a brutal start to his season. He still has not recovered the lost velocity on his fastball, but he proved he could pitch effectively without it. In his last game, Maine threw fastballs on 92 of his 102 pitches, averaged 89.19 with his heater, allowed just 1 ER in 6 IP and lost a win when the bullpen blew a two-run lead. Maine has favorable matchups this week so make sure he is in your starting lineup.
Scott Olsen – Everyone knows about the no-hitter he carried into the eighth inning in his last start, but that was the third straight solid outing in a row for Olsen, who is pitching like he is ticked off that he started the season in the minors. He is 2-0 with 5 BB and 20 Ks in his last 20.1 IP. Olsen faces an uphill task with two road starts this week but ride the hot streak and make sure he is in your lineup. His best pitch is his slider and Olsen faces the Mets and Rockies this week, two teams that are below-average against that pitch.
Jake Westbrook – Available on the waiver wire in most leagues, Westbrook is on there for a reason as he has not delivered good results this year, with an 0-2 record and a 5.74 ERA. But there are some encouraging signs for the veteran. His 6.03 K/9 is his highest since 2001 and he still gets a ton of ground balls. Westbrook is being hurt now by the gopher ball, as he carries an 18.2 HR/FB ratio. He squares off against the Royals and Orioles this week, two teams in the middle of the pack in HR hit, and who have combined for a 19-39 record. If you are looking for a pitcher to stream this week for his two starts, Westbrook has a good shot to pick up a win and hopefully not hut too bad in the other categories.
Other scheduled two-start pitchers in Week Six are listed below. Please remember that these are projected pitchers and changes can and will happen between now and next week.
Garza, Hanson, Lee, Zito, Billingsley, Lilly, Vazquez, Arroyos, Robertson, Willis, Cahill, R. Lopez, D. Davis, Kendrick, Atilano, Ohlendorf, D. Hernandez, G. Smtih.
Check back Sunday night for an update of two-start pitchers.
Now I want to provide some accountability and check in and see how previous recommendations turned out. There needs to be a two-week lag, since last week’s pitchers have not completed their second start yet. So here are Week Four pitchers and how they fared.
Buehrle – Advised to sit. 5 Ks, 6.94 ERA, 1.629 WHIP (2 starts)
Davis – Advised to start. 2 W, 9 Ks, 3.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP (2)
Duke – Advised to sit. 9 Ks, 10.80 ERA, 2.400 WHIP (2)
Lowe – Advised to sit. W, 7 Ks, 5.06 ERA, 1.313 WHIP (2)
Wolf – Advised to start. 9 Ks, 4.15 ERA, 1.769 WHIP (2)