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Two-Start Pitchers for the Week of August 23

Happy Saturday all. What a week, huh? Let’s dive into the two-start options this week.  It’s an interesting week: some nice top-shelf options, with a really solid middle tier of options, and not too many that will suck your will to live like a giant Flobee.  Let’s get after it.

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Two-Start Pitchers


Tyler Mahle @ Milwaukee, @ Miami: He’s a very nice 10-4 with 3.78 ERA and 160 punchouts as well. Mahle did not fare as well against the Cubs last week, surrendering five runs on two homers. But Mahle has been consistently good all year, and you should start him this week.

German Marquez @ Chicago Cubs, @ Los Angeles Dodgers: There always seems to be some level of consternation over using Marquez, but I feel you should in most situations. He was awful last week against San Francisco, but the Giants have made many good pitchers look lousy this year. Marquez has been homer-happy in his last two starts, surrendering four. But he’s still a good source of strikeouts even though he struggles away from home (4.81 ERA this year on the road).  It’s risky but I will be starting him in all leagues.

Lance Lynn @ Toronto, vs. Chicago Cubs: As long as he’s not tossing his belt onto the field from the dugout and getting ejected, Lynn is a must-start this week. He’s 10-3 with a 2.26 ERA and 140 punchouts.

Carlos Rodon @ Toronto, vs. Chicago Cubs: Rodon is coming off the IL with a bout of shoulder fatigue, which could mean anything. Could have been a bit of IL manipulation to get the Sox ace some extra rest as the season wanes through August.  A matchup against Toronto might give managers pause, but he’s been terrific all year (9-5, 2.38 ERA, 160 strikeouts) and he gets the Cubs later in the week. My only concern might be a pitches or innings limit which might preclude him from a win, but there has been no word on that out of Chicago. Start him.

Zack Greinke vs. Kansas City, @ Texas: Just keeps rolling: 11-3, 3.42 ERA, 1.11 WHIP.  The Ks are down but that is fine since he gives you everything else you would want.  Add in two good matchups this week, and you have a potential top-shelf guy. Go for it.

Walker Buehler @ San Diego, vs. Colorado: Buehler is a set-and-forget every time now. The guy is 13-2 with a 2.11 ERA and 170 strikeouts. Doesn’t matter where he is pitching either.

Jack Flaherty vs. Detroit, @ Pittsburgh: Many fantasy players were faced with a dilemma when Flaherty went down with an oblique injury:  do you keep with an uncertain return date, or do you cut him? I kept him, and suffered greatly without him. His first two starts off the IL were just fine: only two earned runs in 12 innings, 13 punchouts, one walk and a win. With these matchups, he’s on the top shelf this week.

Jose Berrios vs. Chicago White Sox, @ Detroit: There always seems to be a next level coming with Berrios, but at this point, he is what he is, and what he is, looks very good. He’s 8-6 with a 3.52 ERA and averages a little more than a whiff per inning. He’s had seven walks and nine earned runs in his last two starts which is mildly concerning, and has only pitched nine innings combined there. The Sox are a tough draw this week, but I would use Berrios if I had him in all formats.

Middle Shelf

I really like the middle shelf this week with some potentially satisfying two-start options.

Josiah Gray @ Miami, @ New York Mets:  Gray intrigues me and I am sure he intrigues you as well. The only question I have had is volume of innings; but in his last two outings, he has gone six each time, and given up all five runs on home runs.  Egads! He has nice strikeout potential and gets two struggling offenses this week. Use him if you have him, but beware the home runs might drive you nuts.

Alek Manoah vs. Chicago White Sox, @ Detroit: Manoah has been as advertised for the Blue Jays, providing much-needed support in their rotation. He’s 5-2 with a respectable 3.34 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 62.1 innings. In his last start against the Nationals he looked gassed, and only survived three innings while giving up six earned runs. I will trust his limited track record thus far; he’s only given up as many as five runs one other time and will roll with him this week in my lineups.

Logan Webb @ New York Mets, @ Atlanta: Webb has been a quiet revelation for a surprising Giants’ squad, going 7-3 with a 2.92 ERA and 98 punchouts. And he just looks to be getting stronger, at 3-0 with a 1.78 in August thus far. The Braves do give you pause, but I am using him this week, and the only reason he’s not top-shelf is because that matchup frightens me.

Kyle Hendricks vs. Colorado, @ Chicago White Sox: It’s been an interesting year for Hendricks, who has 14 wins for an awful Cubs team. His ERA has ticked up over 4.00 and he is not a strikeout guy as we all know. He took a nine-run shellacking at the hands of the Brewers but rebounded nicely against the Reds. I traded for him in a points league based on his consistency and I hope he can be the guy winning games and controlling ratios. Tough matchup for him against the White Sox this week, so I am on the fence, but will likely use him.

Merrill Kelly @ Pittsburgh, @ Philadelphia: Kelly has been the best starter on the hollowed-out Arizona roster all year. He’s only 7-9 with a 4.30 ERA, but he has been eating innings for them and generally been in the games through the sixth innings. He got pasted last week against San Francisco, but Kelly is a solid option for you outside of that top tier.

Madison Bumgarner @ Pittsburgh, @ Philadelphia: Didn’t you kind of figure that MadBum would rediscover himself and be able to get outs again? He’s not the dominant ace he once was, but he’s a veteran who studies the game and himself and reinvented his style this year. He has pitched into the seventh inning in his last five starts, giving up no more than two runs in any of those while limiting damage. I like these matchups for him and will use him in most places that I have him, and you could too, depending on your league context.  The ERA is down to 4.06 now and he’s 7-7.

Nathan Eovaldi vs. Minnesota, @ Cleveland: Eovaldi has been the ace this year for the BoSox, who welcomed Chris Sale back last week. He’s 10-8 with a 3.91 ERA and a strikeout per inning.  Good matchups for him this week.  Start him.

Tylor Megill vs. San Francisco, vs. Washington: I am surprised that more fantasy players are not in in Megill, who is rostered in very few leagues, from what I see. With the exception of two starts, Megill has been helpful to the Mets and fantasy players. He has at least six strikeouts in half of his starts, and limits walks and homers. The one thing he doesn’t get is wins with only one on the year.  I have him in the middle shelf even though these matchups might be tough because I believe he can get outs and help you.

Cole Irvin vs. Seattle, vs. New York Yankees: I was late to buy into Irvin and thus do not have shares of him. He’s 9-11 with a 3.57 ERA and will not help you with strikeouts. He can give you some worry-free innings but is not sparkly like the top-shelf options. You could do worse.  I do not like soft-tossing lefties against a team like the Yankees, who boast light-tower power and hit like a 16-inch softball team on Chicago’s South Side. I probably bench him this week.

Ranger Suarez vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Arizona: Initially many rostered Suarez as a closer in Philly, but after the acquisition of Ian Kennedy, a surprising announcement was made moving Suarez to the rotation. He’s 5-4 with an unbelievable 1.47 ERA.  The issue with Suarez is that he is not stretched out enough to give too many innings, and thus will struggle to qualify for wins. His high-water mark this year for a start has been 4.2 innings.  Depends on your league context.

Marco Gonzales @ Oakland, vs. Kansas City: He’s 5-5 with a 4.10 ERA.  But recall he was injured and missed all of May, and it has taken him some time to get his feel back. I picked up as depth in NFBC, and he’s been good for me pressed into service. In August, he’s 2-0 in four starts with a .67 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 27 innings.  Those are stats you can use this deep into the season, and I like these matchups for him this week.  Depends on your context, but he’s an option this week.

Lower Shelf

This week, even the lower-shelf two-start options could provide a return on investment for you.

Daniel Lynch @ Houston, @ Seattle: He’s 3-3 with a 5.12 while he learns on the job.  And Lynch has been good in August so far: 2-0 in three starts, 18 Ks in 16.1 innings.  He still gives up many walks (seven in his last two starts), and that is what worries me this week: these two lineups will make you pay if you surrender baserunners. I would sit him but could see using Lynch depending on your acceptable level of risk and how desperate you are at this point.

Lewis Thorpe @ Boston, vs. Milwaukee: He is not giving any volume of innings and so I would pass here, especially with two good offenses against him.

Andrew Heaney @ Atlanta, @ Oakland: Heaney remains an enigma.  Full admission: I swore I would no longer roster him based on his volatility. I can’t stomach rostering him even though the strikeouts are enticing. Pass on him for your mental health.

Wil Crowe vs. Arizona, vs. St. Louis: Crowe intrigues but down the road a bit. I would pass this week.

JT Brubaker vs. Arizona, vs. St. Louis: It’s been a disappointing year thus far for Brubaker: 4-13 with a 5.49 ERA and nothing to point to that has been good. Many liked him going into this year but he’s had a horrendous run.  Pass.

Lowest Shelf

Not even I can recommend the following this week as two-start options.

Spencer Watkins vs. Los Angeles Angels, vs. Tampa Bay: No.

Eli Morgan vs. Texas, vs. Boston: He’s been better in August, but the overall ERA is near 6 and I am not willing to take this risk with Morgan.

Jesus Luzardo vs. Washington, vs. Cincinnati: Luzardo is still young and has time to work through his issues, but do nit drink the Kool-Aid right now.  He will get opportunities in Miami but he should not get opportunities for you.

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