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 5.
R.A. Dickey – Last year’s feel-good story is off to a rough start this year, with a 1-3 record and an ERA nearly a full run higher than 2010. Walks have been a big problem for Dickey, as his 4.09 BB/9 is way above last year’s 2.17 mark. But after giving up 12 BB in his first 17.1 IP, Dickey has allowed just 3 BB in his last 15.2 innings. With home games against the Giants and Dodgers, look for Dickey to get back to last year’s results, where he was 7-3 with a 1.99 ERA at Citi Field, and get him into your lineup.
Livan Hernandez – Last year, Hernandez got off to a hot start, which prompted Dave Cameron to call him: The Luckiest Man Alive. Regression hit in his final 21 starts (5-9, 4.48 ERA) and his overall numbers were what we would expect, save for a 5.8 HR/FB rate. Flash forward to this year and his 2011 numbers are similar to what he produced overall in 2010. His xFIP is nearly identical to what it was a year ago, but his ERA is 1.31 runs lower than his xFIP due mainly to a low HR rate. Here are the HR/FB rates for Hernandez the past five seasons, starting with 2007: 11.8, 10.7, 8.4, 5.8, 3.4.
Regression will hit Hernandez again this year, but the problem with regression is while we know it’s coming, we’re just not sure when. We do know that Hernandez faces two teams in the Phillies and Marlins this week that are below average in the National League in hitting homers. While Hernandez has had some trouble on the road this year, my feeling is that the good luck with HR will continue another week and I am going to have him in my lineup.
Jair Jurrjens – Since being activated from the disabled list, Jurrjens has been masterful in three starts, going 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA. While that is accompanied by all of the unsustainable marks you would expect, like a 92.6 LOB%, one thing Jurrjens has impressed with and might be able to continue with going forward is his K/BB ratio. It currently sits at 2.80, thanks to a 2.05 BB/9. He goes up against the Brewers and Phillies, two teams that are below average in the NL drawing walks. Both teams are above average in scoring runs, so it certainly will not be an easy week for Jurrjens, but I like his chances.
Mike Leake – In a bit of unusual circumstance, Leake is 3-0 yet his xFIP (3.58) is lower than his ERA (4.40). In his second season in the majors, Leake has upped his K rate, going from a 5.92 K/9 a season ago to 7.63 this season. In his last three starts, Leake has 18 Ks in 20 IP. He’s pitched a Quality Start in four of his five games this year, stumbling only in a road game in Arizona. This week Leake squares off against the Astros and Cubs, two teams with a combined 19-30 record. Get the youngster into your lineup this week.
Josh Tomlin – A perfect five-for-five in Quality Starts, the previously unheralded Tomlin has been embraced by fantasy players, with ownership rates in CBS Sports leagues higher than Dickey, Hernandez and Leake. The righty Tomlin has an average fastball velocity of just 87.6, but throws four other pitches, does a nice job mixing them and has positive Pitch Type Values on all of his non-fastball offerings.
But while it has been fun to watch Tomlin come out of nowhere, he does have a .179 BABIP and a 91.7 LOB%. With two West Coast road starts this week against the A’s and Angels, this may be the time that regression shows up. Look for alternatives to Tomlin this week.
Other scheduled two-start pitchers in Week 5 are listed below. Please remember that these are projected pitchers and changes can and will happen between now and next week.
Sabathia, Lester, Verlander, Haren, Beckett, Kershaw, Oswalt, Hanson, Gallardo, Lohse, Harang, Ogando, A. Sanchez, McClellan, Davis, Holland, Bumgarner, Guthrie, McCarthy, Colon, Buehrle, Rogers, Francis, Happ, Bedard, Penny, McDonald, Volstad, Chatwood, Gorzelanny, Ross, Saunders, Vogelsong, Bergesen, Reyes.
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 3 pitchers and how they fared.
Beachy- Advised to sit. W, 14 Ks, 1.50 ERA, 0.583 WHIP, 12 IP, 2 ER
Matsuzaka – Advised to sit. 2 W, 12 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.400 WHIP, 15 IP, 0 ER
Pavano – Advised to start. W, 6 Ks, 7.71 ERA, 1.629 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 10 ER
Vargas – Advised to start. 7 Ks, 6.55 ERA, 1.546 WHIP, 11 IP, 8 ER
Zambrano – Advised to start. 14 Ks, 4.15 ERA, 0.923 WHIP, 13 IP. 6 ER