For the first time in recent memory, there are a good number of starting pitchers populating the middle tier this scoring period. There are a good number of must start options in the top tier, as well. Of course, there are also a baker’s dozen of pitchers I suggest you avoid, at least in terms of those you want to use for both of their scheduled appearances on the mound this week.

Please realize that I am working off the most recent rotation information available when the article is written, but that circumstances do change due to weather conditions, injuries and general craziness with managers. If a pitcher I have listed as having two starts ends up with one (or perhaps none) in the upcoming week, I apologize but I only provide analysis, I do not set the lineups or rotations.

Without further ado, here are this week’s two start pitchers:

Start 'em If You Own 'em

 

Starting Pitcher

First Start/Opponent/Date

Second Start/Opponent/Date

Max Scherzer  WAS

@ ATL Rob Whalen 

 

Mon 8/15 8:40 PM ET 

Sat 8/20 7:10 PM ET 

Corey Kluber  CLE 

vs. CHW Jose Quintana 

vs. TOR Marcus Stroman 

 

Tue 8/16 7:10 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 1:10 PM ET 

Jon Lester  CHC

vs. MIL Matt Garza 

 

Tue 8/16 1:20 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 4:10 PM ET 

Justin Verlander  DET

vs. KC Danny Duffy 

vs. BOS Eduardo Rodriguez 

 

Tue 8/16 7:10 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 1:10 PM ET 

Danny Duffy  KC 

@ DET Justin Verlander

vs. MIN Ervin Santana 

 

Tue 8/16 7:10 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 2:15 PM ET 

@ CLE Corey Kluber

vs. OAK Ross Detwiler

 

Tue 8/16 7:10 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 2:10 PM ET 

@ LAA Ricky Nolasco

vs. MIL Matt Garza 

 

Mon 8/15 10:05 PM ET 

Sat 8/20 9:10 PM ET 

Kenta Maeda  LAD 

@ PHI Vince Velasquez 

 

Tue 8/16 7:05 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 1:10 PM ET 

Jason Hammel  CHC 

vs. MIL Matt Garza 

@ COL Tyler Chatwood

 

Tue 8/16 1:20 PM ET 

Sat 8/20 8:10 PM ET 

Matt Moore  SF 

vs. PIT Ryan Vogelsong

vs. NYM Bartolo Colon 

 

Mon 8/15 10:15 PM ET 

Sat 8/20 4:05 PM ET 

Ian Kennedy  KC 

@ DET Daniel Norris 

vs. MIN Hector Santiago 

 

Mon 8/15 7:10 PM ET 

Sat 8/20 7:15 PM ET

As I have been writing for years, these are the pitchers I suggest you plug in your lineup and forget about them until the scoring period is complete. You will note a couple starters that generally do not make the top tier, namely Kenta Maeda and Ian Kennedy. Both have been dealing on the mound, and have good matchups this scoring period. Jose Quintana is also now ensconced in the top tier. He may not be an exciting starter, but he gets the job done, and that is what you want from your starting pitchers.

 

Maybe Yes, Maybe No

 

Starting Pitcher

First Start/Opponent/Date

Second Start/Opponent/Date

Drew Pomeranz  BOS 

@ CLE Josh Tomlin 

@ DET Daniel Norris 

 

Mon 8/15 1:10 PM ET 

Sat 8/20 7:10 PM ET 

Gio Gonzalez  WAS

@ COL Chad Bettis

@ ATL Tyrell Jenkins 

 

Tue 8/16 8:40 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 1:35 PM ET 

Drew Smyly  TB 

vs. SD Luis Perdomo

vs. TEX Martin Perez 

 

Mon 8/15 7:10 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 1:10 PM ET 

Matt Garza  MIL 

@ CHC Jason Hammel

@ SEA Felix Hernandez 

 

Tue 8/16 1:20 PM ET 

Sat 8/20 9:10 PM ET 

@ ATL Joel De La Cruz  

@ KC Danny Duffy 

 

Tue 8/16 7:10 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 2:15 PM ET 

@ BAL Yovani Gallardo 

@ DET Justin Verlander

 

Tue 8/16 7:05 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 1:10 PM ET 

Ryan Vogelsong  PIT 

@ SF Matt Moore 

vs. MIA TBA

 

Mon 8/15 10:15 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 1:35 PM ET

Braden Shipley  ARI 

vs. NYM Noah Syndergaard 

@ SD Luis Perdomo

 

Tue 8/16 9:40 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 4:40 PM ET 

vs. MIA TBA

vs. LAD Brett Anderson  

 

Mon 8/15 7:10 PM ET

Sat 8/20 7:10 PM ET 

Bartolo Colon  NYM

@ ARI Robbie Ray 

@ SF Matt Moore 

 

Mon 8/15 9:40 PM ET 

Sat 8/20 4:05 PM ET 

@ ARI Braden Shipley 

@ SF Jeff Samardzija

 

Tue 8/16 9:40 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 8:08 PM ET 

Dallas Keuchel  HOU

vs. STL Jaime Garcia 

@ BAL Yovani Gallardo 

 

Tue 8/16 8:10 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 1:35 PM ET 

vs. MIA TBA

vs. LAD Kenta Maeda 

 

Tue 8/16 7:10 PM ET

Sun 8/21 1:10 PM ET

This middle tier is larger than it has been in several weeks, although with just 13 pitchers included in the group, I will again break it into two sub-tiers. The first group opens with Pomeranzand ends with Vogelson. Pomeranz has been a hard luck starter of late, although he has pitched well over his last couple of starts, allowing just three earned runs over those 11.1 innings. He has been better on the road than at home this season, so no reason to fear his next two starts in Cleveland and Detroit. He is an elite source of Ks, and also generates a good share of grounders to keep his ratios in line. Those are a couple of key features that put him at the top of the middle tier. Gonzalez does not get the same adoration that his teammate Scherzer does, and rightfully so, although he is working on  a pair of consecutive victories, and will go for his third consecutive victory on the road at Colorado, a tough matchup in a hitter-friendly park. It will be a better chance for him to pick up his ninth victory when he heads to Atlanta at the end of the week. Smyly has gotten over whatever was plaguing him to open the season, and is now working on a strong stretch of four games where he has picked up two wins, an allowed two of fewer earned runs in all four of those appearances. He should rack up some Ks when he takes on the Padres in his first start, but the strikeouts have been inconsistent for the southpaw. 

Garza has thrown three quality starts out of his past four appearances on the mound, and has finally pushed his ERA below 5.00. He has not been as sharp on the road as at home this season, so a pair of road games leads to some concern in Week 20. If he can continue to generate grounders at a terrific pace, he should continue to have success, even in his first start of Week 20 at Wrigley Field. Santana is working on a stretch of seven quality starts in his past nine appearances, and has pushed his ERA down to a useful 3.62 (down from 5.10 on June 14th). His control has been excellent this season, which helps overcome his below average K rate of 6.61 K/9. I like him in his first start at Atlanta, not as much in his second start in Kansas City. Rodriguez has been dealing over his last 28.1 innings, and after his horrific start to the season (8.59 ERA as of June 27th), he is now pitching like a useful SP. Both his control and dominance have been trending in the right direction in the season’s second half, although it would be nice if he was pitching deeper into games on a more consistent basis. Vogelson has looked sharp in his two starts after coming off the DL, racking up 11 Ks and giving up only one earned run. He has been the victim of poor support, but despite that, he has been sharp and should continue to be a part of the Pirate rotation going forward.

 

 

Not On My Roster

 

Starting Pitcher

First Start/Opponent/Date

Second Start/Opponent/Date

Jeff Samardzija  SF

vs. PIT Jameson Taillon 

vs. NYM Noah Syndergaard 

 

Tue 8/16 10:15 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 8:08 PM ET 

Vince Velasquez  PHI 

vs. LAD Kenta Maeda 

vs. STL Mike Leake

 

Tue 8/16 7:05 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 1:35 PM ET 

Josh Tomlin  CLE 

vs. BOS Drew Pomeranz

vs. TOR Aaron Sanchez 

 

Mon 8/15 1:10 PM ET 

Sat 8/20 7:10 PM ET 

Robbie Ray  ARI 

vs. NYM Bartolo Colon 

 

Mon 8/15 9:40 PM ET 

Sat 8/20 8:40 PM ET 

Luis Perdomo  SD

@ TB Drew Smyly

vs. ARI Braden Shipley 

 

Mon 8/15 7:10 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 4:40 PM ET 

Jhoulys Chacin  LAA 

vs. SEA TBA

vs. NYY TBA

 

Tue 8/16 10:05 PM ET

Sun 8/21 3:35 PM ET

vs. WAS Max Scherzer

vs. CHC Jon Lester 

 

Mon 8/15 8:40 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 4:10 PM ET 

Yovani Gallardo  BAL

vs. BOS Eduardo Rodriguez 

vs. HOU Dallas Keuchel

 

Tue 8/16 7:05 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 1:35 PM ET 

Martin Perez  TEX

vs. OAK Ross Detwiler

@ TB Drew Smyly

 

Mon 8/15 8:05 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 1:10 PM ET 

Ricky Nolasco  LAA

vs. SEA Felix Hernandez 

vs. NYY Luis Severino

 

Mon 8/15 10:05 PM ET 

Sat 8/20 9:35 PM ET 

@ CHC Jason Hammel

@ SEA TBA

 

Tue 8/16 1:20 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 4:10 PM ET

vs. KC Ian Kennedy 

vs. BOS Drew Pomeranz

 

Mon 8/15 7:10 PM ET 

Sat 8/20 7:10 PM ET 

Ross Detwiler  OAK 

@ TEX Martin Perez 

@ CHW Jose Quintana 

 

Mon 8/15 8:05 PM ET 

Sun 8/21 2:10 PM ET

The bottom tier begins with Shipley and runs down through DeSclafani. The former shortstop, Shipley, is coming off  a superb start where he held the Mets to just three hits through seven innings, with only one runner making it as far as second during his stint on the hill. He gets to see if his magic against the Mets continues in his first start of Week 20, before heading to San Diego to try and rack up some more Ks. Finnegan is working on a three game QS streak, but he has been wild. He does get to pitch both of his Week 20 starts at home, where he has been marginally better, and thus he makes the middle tier. If you feel shaky about starting him, I fully understand and will not blink if you wanted to consign him to the bottom tier. 

Colon can either be very good or a disaster. He gets two road starts, and has been more of a road warrior this season than a home park hero. He still has elite control, and none of his peripherals scream to avoid him when he takes the mound. Syndergaard has been struggling since mid-June, and he is allowing baserunners to swipe bags almost at will. He is also pitching inefficiently, which limits how deep he can go in games. He will look to get back on track when he tries to avenge the loss to the Diamondbacks in his latest start, as he heads to the desert for his first start of Week 20. Keuchel’s last start was rained out, and that was fortunate for him as he allowed five runs in just two innings. He is not struggling as badly as he was earlier this season, but still is not a dependable starter game in, game out in 2016. I would prefer to start him at home against the Cardinals, and perhaps sit him when the Astros head to Baltimore at the end of the scoring period. DeSclafani is the final denizen of the middle tier, and with his excellent production at home this season, I like him for both his starts. The main issue is his inability to pitch deeply into games, as he lasted just five innings in two of his last four starts. He is also 0-1 in his last three starts, despite pitching well and continuing to push his ERA and WHIP down. He is a useful starter if you are not relying on him to provide victories or quality starts.

There are pitchers in this tier that would consider using based on the matchup but not for both their scheduled starts, notably Robbie Ray against the Padres in his second start and Martin Perez when he faces Tampa Bay on the road. If Chase Anderson or Daniel Norris were pitching deeper into games, either or both could make the middle tier, but the lack of innings hurts their chances to shine. 

?Please note that the Fantasy Alarm Forums are now open for your use, to ask questions or provide your own commentary and wisdom. I enjoy responding to comments, or if you do not want to put your question out for public consumption, feel free to write me at ia@fantasyalarm.com for a more personal response to your specific issue. The more detail you can provide about your team and league, including settings (H2H vs roto, points or categories, weekly or daily moves, roster size, league size, etc.) the better my response will be suited to your individual situation. I am open to questions about issues apart from starting pitching, too, as I play fantasy sports as well as serve as an analyst. As ever, good luck and Godspeed in all your fantasy endeavors