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 6.
Edwin Jackson – It would be hard to find a pitcher whose peripherals from last year more closely matched what he’s done this year than Jackson. In 2010, Jackson had a 3.86 FIP and a 3.71 xFIP. This year the respective numbers are 3.83 and 3.71. Last year Jackson’s ERA was three-quarters of a run higher than his xFIP and this year it’s a half run higher than that. In 2011 he’s either been very good or really bad. And (coincidentally or not) he’s been really good at the Cell and, well you can guess how he’s been on the road. This week he has two road starts, so leave him out of your lineup if you can.
Mat Latos – Before last year’s drafts, I thought fantasy players were overvaluing Latos and he went out and posted a 3.78 K/BB ratio along with a 77.4 LOB%. This year, with his season delayed by a shoulder strain, Latos has not been the same pitcher. His K/BB is down to 2.50, still an impressive number but not what it was a year ago. His velocity has dropped 1.7 miles per hour from last year. Latos is also allowing more fly balls than a season ago and his HR rate is up, too. This week he has road starts against the Brewers and Rockies, typically two good HR parks, although Coors is not playing that way so far this year. If you can, err on the side of caution this week with Latos.
Ted Lilly – It’s been a ho-hum start of the year for Lilly but the good news is that he does not have to face the Cubs this week. Two of his last three starts have been against his former team and Chicago put up 10 ER in 10.1 IP versus Lilly in those two games. Against the rest of the league he has a 3.67 ERA. The Pirates have the next-to-worst OPS (.618) versus LH starters in the National League this year. Lilly’s other opponent this week is the Diamondbacks, who are middle of the pack versus LHP (.702) but who are last in the league in away runs scored. Part of that is because Arizona has played only 11 road games to date but part of it is that Chase Field helps their overall numbers. With Lilly on the road against the Pirates and home against the Diamondbacks, make sure he’s in your lineup.
Francisco Liriano – Not many pitchers can throw a no-hitter on a night where they allow six walks, but that’s what Liriano did in his last outing against the punch-less White Sox. It had been a disappointing season for Liriano prior to the no-hitter. Now the question becomes if he can use that as a springboard to get his season back on track. His strikeouts (5.51 K/9) are at a career-low while his walks (6.61) are at a career-high. This week he faces the Red Sox and Blue Jays. Boston leads the AL in walks (123) while Toronto is fourth (113). Give Liriano the week off if you can.
Brandon Morrow – An inured forearm sidelined Morrow at the beginning of the year but he has come back and made three starts in the majors. Last year, Morrow finished on a high note, as in his final 15 games he had a 3.53 ERA with 112 Ks in 89.1 IP. This year he has a 3.06 ERA with an 11.72 K/9, with Quality Starts on the road versus Tampa Bay and Texas. This week he goes up against Detroit and Minnesota. Tiger batters have the second-most strikeouts in the American League, while the Twins score the fewest runs per game (3.07) of any club in the loop. Make sure Morrow is active this week.
Other scheduled two-start pitchers in Week 6 are listed below. Please remember that these are projected pitchers and changes can and will happen between now and next week.
Lincecum, Price, Lester, Hanson, Cahill, Carpenter, Billingsley, Wilson, Scherzer, Pineda, Chacin, Zambrano, Greinke, Tomlin, E. Santana, Correia, Marquis, Arrieta, Wood, F. Garcia, Vazquez, Hammel, Capuano, Blanton, Karstens, Davies, A. Rodriguez, Collmenter.
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 4 pitchers and how they fared.
Burnett – Advised to start. W, 6 Ks, 3.21 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 14 IP, 5 ER
Drabek – Advised to sit. W, 6 Ks, 8.64 ERA, 2.160 WHIP, 8.1 IP, 8 ER
Harrison – Advised to start. 2 Ks, 21.24 ERA, 4.071 WHIP, 4.2 IP, 11 ER
D. Hudson – Advised to start. 2 W, 11 Ks, 4.15 ERA, 1.462 WHIP, 13 IP, 6 ER
Masterson – Advised to sit. W, 14 Ks, 3.29 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 13.2 IP, 5 ER