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Starting Pitchers: July 19th

The first starting pitcher update of the so-called second half…

Josh Beckett & Clay Buchholz | Red Sox | 88% & 81% owned, respectively

The Red Sox are finally starting to get healthy. Buchholz is on track to come off the disabled list and start Wednesday against the Athletics in Oakland, which is a must start for fantasy owners. He’s only missed two weeks, so I wouldn’t worry about the hammy injury limiting his effectiveness or anything like that. You can’t pass up a matchup like that.

Beckett’s a different story. He’s been out since mid-May with a back issue, but even before the injury his peripheral stats were down from last year (-0.55 K/9, +1.41 BB/9, -4.3% GB%). Obviously the injury could have contributed to that. Beckett’s 7.29 ERA is largely a function of a .365 BABIP and 55.9% LOB%, but a return to his ~3.33 FIP form from 2007-2009 through the rest of the season isn’t a given. (R) ZiPS predicts a 4.32 ERA (3.42 FIP) and 8.38 K/9 the rest of the way, though I’d perhaps plan for a few less strikeouts. Maybe that’s just the conservative in me. He’ll reportedly start in Seattle on Friday, another must start even if he’s not the Josh Beckett of old.

Sergio Mitre | Yankees | 0%

The Yankees lost Andy Pettitte for what GM Brian Cashman called four-to-five weeks yesterday, so his spot will be filled by Mitre for the time being. He’s coming off the disabled list himself (oblique), and his two spot starts earlier this year were bad (4.1 IP, 4 R) and good (5 IP, 1 R). The sinkerballer won’t give you any strikeouts (5.46 K/9), though he’ll steal a few wins given the team around him if used properly. His next two starts come against the Royals and at Cleveland, solid matchups.

Rick Porcello | Tigers | 33%

Back up from his minor league crash course, Porcello gave up one run over eight innings against the Indians over the weekend, though he still allowed a fair amount of fly balls plus line drives (17) compared to grounders (11). The sinker is a huge part of Porcello’s success, so until he gets his ground ball rate back closer to 55% than 45%, we’re going to have to hedge our bets. Saturday was a good step forward, now let’s see some more. His next two starts come against the homer happy Blue Jays and the powerhouse Rays. Might want to leave him on the bench for those two.

Quick Notes: Wesley Wright will replace Brian Moehler in the Astros’ rotation and start tomorrow in Wrigley. Moehler hit the disabled list with a groin issue … Roy Oswalt is on target to make his next start (Saturday against the Reds) after taking a comebacker off his ankle yesterday … Scott Kazmir, both ineffective and injured, will be replaced in the Halos rotation by either Trevor Bell or Sean O’Sullivan. The team will announce who gets the start tomorrow, before their game against the Yankees … Mat Latos is expected to come off the disabled list in time for his start against the Pirates on Saturday. Between the All Star break and off days, he’ll end up missing zero starts … Jeanmar Gomez of the Indians was fantastic in his big league debut yesterday (7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K), but was optioned back to the minors today. He’ll be back up at some point, and I definitely dig him as a sleeper. Not a big stuff guy, but good command and a willingness to attack the zone.

Ownership rates are based on Yahoo! leagues.