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Two-Start Pitchers Week of 7/19/21

Here’s hoping that the All-Start Break finds you ready and refreshed for the second half of the baseball season; we have several two-start pitchers that could help your teams this week.  As always, there may be some robust debate about these rankings, so read on and determine for yourself which of these two-start options suit you best.

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Two-Start Pitchers for the Week of July 19

Top-Shelf Options

These are your best two-start options for the coming week.  Let the debate begin!

Lance Lynn vs. Minnesota, @ Milwaukee:  The White Sox All-Star and de facto ace gets the fading Twins and the first place Brewers this week.  He’s an automatic start right now: 9-3 with a 1.99 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, and 105 punchouts in 90.1 innings.  Use with confidence. I will.

Luis Garcia vs. Cleveland, vs. Texas:  Has there been a more underrated starter this year than Garcia? He’s 6-5 with 3.06 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Of course you’d like to see him go deeper into games, but he’s been very solid in most outings.  With these matchups this week, he’s a good start if you have him.

Shohei Otani @ Oakland, @ Minnesota: What superlative is left to say about the inimitable Ohtani? He’s 4-1 with a 3.49 ERA and 87 Ks in 67 innings.  Outside of the awful outing against the New York Yankees when he did not get out of the first inning, he’s been terrific. My only issue with him earlier in the year had been his inability to pitch deeply enough into games to get wins and help there; you’d like your ace to have more than four wins. That being said, a complaint like that is like being upset about a paint chip on a Ferrari.  Start in every single format in any fantasy league.

Trevor Rogers @ Washington, vs. San Diego: Automatic start.  He’s 7-6 with a 2.31 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.  Don’t overthink it.  Use him in all formats.

Zac Gallen vs. Pittsburgh, @ Chicago Cubs: It’s another situation where you probably need to use him based on where you drafted him. He’s 1-4 with a 4.17 ERA. I am not sure what to make of him at this point, but I would run him out there this week, in all honesty.

Alex Wood @ Los Angeles Dodgers, vs. Pittsburgh: Wood is 8-3 with a 3.67 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Use him while you can; he is injury prone and the bottom could fall out anytime.  But he is quality when he is out there, even against a tough Dodgers lineup.  Start him.

Kevin Gausman @ Los Angeles Dodgers, vs. Pittsburgh:  Gausman keeps getting results without much fanfare, but fantasy managers know how good he has been for the resurgent Giants. He’s 9-3 with a commanding 1.73 ERA and .82 WHIP, with 133 KS in 114 innings.  Stellar.  Don’t even think about it. Set and forget.

Yu Darvish @ Atlanta, @ Miami: The Statcast is blood red, and here are the raw numbers: 7-3 with a 3.09 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 125 punchouts.  Darvish has been as advertised for the Padres. However, a word of caution: he’s been dealing with a balky back and a hip issue, both of which seemed to hamper his last two outings. He’s still an ace, and you should treat him as such.  Watch the innings though this week though as the Padres could take a cautious approach with their most valuable arm.

Middle Shelf

The middle shelf gives us some two-start options that could benefit your team.  Or maybe kill them.  Buyer beware, and proceed with caution!

Aaron Nola @ New York Yankees, vs. Atlanta:  Is there a more enigmatic starter this year than Nola? Drafted as an ace by many, Nola is 6-5 with a bloated 4.53 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He does have 126 punchouts, which really helps your bottom line. A deeper look shows that his xERA is 3.92, the BB % is career-best 5.4%, and the K% is still very good at 29.5%. What’s the problem? He’s getting barreled up more than ever, and his fastball command has been seemingly missing often this year.  That being said, if he’s drafted as your ace, you have to bank on him turning things around, and I would argue you have to use him and hope for better.

Jose Berrios @ Chicago White Sox, vs. Los Angeles Angels: Berrios is one of the lone bright spots for a moribund Twins team.  At 7-3 with a 3.48 ERA, and 114 strikeouts, he has been their ace. Be forewarned, however, that he seems to have been pitching with luck on his side, as his 4.11 xERA shows us a half-run difference between reality and expectation.  He’s definitely a must-start, but just be cautious in thinking that there may be another level with Berrios.  He’s solid but not spectacular.

Taijuan Walker @ Cincinnati, vs. Toronto: What a find he has been for the Mets, huh?  He’s 7-3 with a 2.50 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 89 Ks in 90 innings. I’d be using him everywhere right now, even though his xERA is 3.86.  I should be careful reading too much into that, though, as he has gotten the job done for the Mets.  Use him, even though I know these lineups can score runs like a 16-inch softball team on the South Side of Chicago.

Jameson Taillon vs. Philadelphia, @ Boston:  Is Taillon coming on for a Yankees team that really needs pitching help? He’s looked better, albeit in a very small sample size, through two July starts.  The stat line: 4-4, with a 4.90 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, with 86 Ks in 82.2 innings. The xERA is a kinder at 4.03 this season.  He’s a tough one. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in four of his last five starts, and I am on the fence about him.  My advice: starting him is context-dependent.  These are two tough lineups he is going against this week. If you are desperate to make up stats, take the risk.  If you are worried about the possible destruction of your fragile ratios, pass on him.  Right now I would lean towards using him based on what we have seen over his last three weeks.

James Kaprielian vs. Los Angeles Angels, @ Seattle: What a great story Kaprielian has been for the Athletics this year, who continue to scour the earth for starting pitching. A first-round pick with a dire injury history, he’s 4-3 with a sparkling 2.90 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. The 66 strikeouts help as well. We may have to watch for signs of fatigue or an innings limit for him as he ventures into unknown waters; he’s never thrown more than 68 innings as a professional hurler. The guy throws five pitches but is also getting hit hard when he gets hit as evidenced by the 7th percentile in average exit velocity.  Use, but be careful and watch him in the coming weeks. I don’t think there is another gear here.

Ryan Yarbrough vs. Baltimore, @ Cleveland: He’s 6-3, has a 4.30 ERA and 1.18 WHIP and is a master of limiting hard contact (98th percentile in average exit velocity). He won’t help much with strikeouts but does seemingly give five to six innings of quality most times out.  These are decent matchups for him.  Use him if you have need.

Tony Gonsolin vs. San Francisco, vs. Colorado: Gonsolin always intrigues fantasy players and rightfully so.  He’s always pitched well for the Dodgers and been quietly under the radar at times. But it’s the same issue as Gray above: the innings volume just will not get you what you need, unless you play in a format where four innings and a handful of strikeouts can really help you. Proceed with caution.

Shane McClanahan vs. Baltimore, @ Cleveland: McClanahan features an electric fastball to go with his 3-3 record and 4.05 ERA.  The 71 punchouts help too. He doesn’t always give you the depth you might be looking for from a starter; he’s only pitched six innings twice all year.  Buyer beware but the stuff is really good.

Kyle Gibson @ Detroit, @ Houston: He’s 6-1 with a 2.29 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.  The one drawback is you won’t get many strikeouts here. He did earn his first loss in his last start before the All-Star Break, but Gibson gives innings and helps with ratio control.  Use him.

Kyle Muller vs. San Diego, @ Philadelphia: Muller is 1-2 with 3.45 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.  Looks like he will continue to get chances in Atlanta.  I am wary of him using at this time based on these matchups.  You could do better, but you could also do much worse.  How risk-averse are you?

Nick Pivetta @ Toronto, vs. New York Yankees: Pivetta is 7-4 with a 4.30 ERA and 113 punchouts in 96.1 innings. The WHIP is a pedestrian 1.28. He’s come back to earth after his 6-0 start.  He’s been ok to use, but proceed with caution: he’s 1-4 and given up 10 bombs and 18 walks in his last eight outings, although he has averaged six strikeouts per outing over that stretch.

Wade Miley vs. New York Mets, vs. St. Louis: He’s a surprising 7-3 with 2.80 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, but with precious few strikeouts. The matchup against the Mets may give you pause, but I would use him until the bottom falls out.

Lower Shelf

These lower-shelf options are risky for your two-start options this week.  A bet on one of these guys could help you, but the wrong wager could cost you.

Touki Toussaint vs. San Diego, @ Philadelphia: It feels like forever to me that we have been waiting for Toussaint to make it in the bigs, yet he is only 25 years old. He’s probably not going to go deep enough into the games this week to give you a win or any counting stats.  He’s been good in AAA and takes the place of the injured Ian Anderson. I would pass until we see what happens here.

Caleb Smith vs. Pittsburgh, @ Chicago Cubs: He’s 2-6 with a 4.54 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. He’s given up 14 earned runs in his last seven innings.  Don’t do this in spite of decent matchups.

Josiah Gray vs. San Francisco, vs. Colorado: Gray is intriguing because of his pedigree, and he’s 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA and sparkling .64 WHIP in four appearances in Oklahoma City.  The Dodgers are in need of starting pitching due to their circumstances right now.  Gray is an interesting name to watch and stash perhaps, but keep in mind the Dodgers will likely piggyback him with someone else this week; Gray has not thrown more than five innings this year. Gamble if you would like, but you may be disappointed without having seen how this will work out with his usage.

Alec Mills @ St. Louis, vs. Arizona: Mills is 4-2 with a 4.84 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. What good can we say here? The last two starts gave us nine and five punchouts and a win.  These are decent matchups for him this week and if you are desperate for innings, etc., you can use him, although I would not.

Michael Pineda @ Chicago White Sox, vs. Los Angeles Angels: Pineda is 3-5 with a 4.11 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.  He has 55 punchouts in 61 innings. The chase rate is upper echelon and he limits walks, but those are the only good things I can point out right now. He gave up 12 hits and five runs in 5.1 innings last outing against my beloved White Sox, who he sees again this week.  Egads!  No.  Don’t ruin your week.

Tarik Skubal vs. Texas, @ Kansas City:  I love Skubal and his potential. Yes, he’s 5-8 for an improving Detroit Tigers team and the 4.36 ERA and 1.38 WHIP may cause you to do a double-take. I get that.  He had a solid June, 2-0 with a 3.14 ERA and 37 Ks in 28 innings; but he’s had a rough go in July thus far, giving up ten runs in his two starts.  He’s a high-risk, potential high-reward but I love his matchups this week.  Double-digit Ks and wins are a real possibility.  I would lean towards using him, depending on league and situational context.

Marco Gonzales @ Colorado, vs. Oakland: The soft-tossing lefty is 1-5 with a 5.88 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.  He doesn’t help much with strikeouts and he is a recipe for a potential shellacking in Colorado.  Don’t do it.

Triston McKenzie @ Houston, vs. Tampa Bay: Some big FAAB money went down on McKenzie last weekend after his sparkling start of seven innings and nine strikeouts right before the All-Star Break.  Here’s my thing:  the arm talent is there, and everyone knows it. He has 68 strikeouts in 49.1 innings. But so are the walks; in seven of his 12 appearances, he has surrendered at least four free passes. If you are in desperation mode, go for it.  If not, I would pass this week, with two really tough matchups coming.

Dane Dunning @ Detroit, @ Houston: Dunning has quietly been better.  He profiles down the road as a solid number three starter in the Texas rotation, but as we know, it’s always hard to trust a young starter down the stretch for our fake teams. He’s 3-6 with a 4.22 ERA, a high 1.44 WHIP and 85 Ks in 79 innings. Small sample size, but he’s only given up three earned runs in his last three starts.  However, that matchup in Houston frightens me.  I would not use this week but would keep an eye on how he performs in these starts.

Ross Stripling vs. Boston, @ New York Mets: Stripling has helped many teams stay afloat as they await reinforcements via return from injury.  At 3-5 with a 4.34 ERA, he’s helped out.  That being said, I do not like these matchups for him this week against two first-place teams.  Unless desperate, pass here.

Lowest Shelf

Do not use any of these two-start options this week unless you have given up all hope.

Jon Lester vs. Miami, @ Baltimore: He’s 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA.  A 14.1 K%?  It’s over.  Pass.

Trevor Williams @ St. Louis, vs. Arizona: I would not.

J.C. Mejia @ Houston, vs. Tampa Bay: You’re not that desperate.

Johan Oviedo vs. Chicago Cubs, @ Cincinnati: 0-5 with a 5.09 ERA and low K rate.  Pass.

Jake Woodford vs. Chicago Cubs, @ Cincinnati: He’s been a starter through the minors with the Cardinals, but the results have been pedestrian.  I don’t see anything to recommend here, and he’s not stretched out enough to go deep into games.  Pass for now.  Let’s see what he does first.

For more great Fantasy Baseball check out Mick Ciallela’s Rest of Season Rankings! Mick was the No. 1 Ranker on for the 2020 MLB season.

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