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 Nine.
Jeremy Bonderman – After a rough April, Bonderman has rebounded with a strong May, posting a 1.33 ERA with 26 Ks and 7 BB in 27 IP. But it has not translated into Wins, as Bonderman picked up one victory in May and has a 2-2 record overall. Look for Bonderman to continue his strong pitching with matchups this week against the Indians and Royals, two teams with a combined 37-56 record. He could double his win total this week.
Rich Harden – It has been a roller coaster ride for Harden in his first season in Texas. At various times this year, Harden has had troubles with BB, HR and BABIP. The overall effect has been both a FIP and xFIP higher than his 5.14 ERA. Harden has a very good 8.82 K/9, but that is down from last year’s 10.91 rate. Additionally, he has a career high 54.2 FB%. So, while his HR/FB rate is a lower than average 9.1 percent, he still has allowed 7 HR in 49 IP. Bottom line, Harden is not pitching anywhere close to how he did in the second half of 2009, so do not risk him being active in a two-start week.
Ricky Nolasco – The story of the Spring was how Ricky Nolasco did not give up a walk until his final appearance. His control has carried over into the regular season, as Nolasco’s 1.60 BB/9 is the seventh-best mark in the majors. And while he is allowing fewer walks, he is also striking out fewer batters, over three per nine compared to a season ago. Not only is he allowing more balls in play, Nolasco’s FB% is up too, checking in at 44.1%. The end result is an ERA of 4.65. While he has been unlucky to the tune of 0.55 by both FIP and xFIP, Nolasco is not having the impact year many predicted. This week he faces the Brewers and Mets. Lifetime he is winless with an 11.81 ERA against Milwaukee and is 4-6 with a 5.62 ERA against New York so leave him on the bench if you have other options.
Ervin Santana – After starting the season 0-2 when he allowed 9 ER in 11.2 IP, Santana has been a much better pitcher. In his last six games he has thrown five Quality Starts. Santana’s K/9 is up to 8.09 for the season. He has been lucky with an 82.2 percent strand rate but he has favorable matchups this week against Kansas City and Seattle. While both of those starts are on the road, Santana has a 3.06 road ERA this year.
Hisanori Takahashi – The Japanese veteran started his career in the U.S. in long relief but did so well he earned a shot in the rotation, where he has pitched 12 scoreless innings. It remains to be seen if Takahashi will continue his success his second time through the league, but this week he gets a road start in Petco against a Padres team that has yet to face him and a home start against the Marlins. Takahashi is 4-0 with a 2.00 ERA in Citi Field, so he is a good pickup for his two-start week.
Other scheduled two-start pitchers in Week Nine are listed below. Please remember that these are projected pitchers and changes can and will happen between now and next week.
Lincecum, Jimenez, Verlander, Garza, Billingsley, Oswalt, Hudson, J. Garcia, Hanson, Pettitte, Liriano, Lackey, Vazquez, Buehrle, Ely, Arroyo, Fister, Myers, Blanton, Matusz, Vargas, Morrow, Blackburn, Correia, Cahill, Talbot, Gorzelanny, Hochevar, Robertson, Westbrook, Narveson, Ohlendorf, Bush, R. Lopez, Bannister, Atilano, Stammen.
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 Seven pitchers and how they fared.
Ely – Advised to start. 2 W, 11 Ks, 2.77 ERA, 1.077 WHIP (2 starts)
Kuroda – Advised to start. W, 7 Ks, 4.50 ERA, 1.250 WHIP (2)
Matsuzaka – Advised to sit. W, 8 Ks, 4.97 ERA, 1.342 WHIP (2)
Pavano – Advised to start. 7 Ks, 7.50 ERA, 1.417 WHIP (2)
Pelfrey – Advised to sit. 2W, 8 Ks, 1.98 ERA, 1.244 WHIP