#2xSP (7.3-7.9)

Well, we’re moving ever so slightly back in the right direction as we sliced nearly two-tenths of a run off the ERA — nearly under 5.00! — and are at least trending in the right way rates-wise. As reminder, there’ll be no column next week due to the All-Star Game festivities. Enjoy!

Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 12)

20-21 record
5.04 ERA
7.5 K/9
2.1 K/BB
1.52 WHIP
22 quality starts

Here are this week’s recs (with team wRC+ for this season in parentheses):

RHP Aaron Nola – 43.9% ESPN – v. PIT (89), v. SD (81)

I’m just licking my chops over these matchups for Nola, an immensely talented righty who I think is criminally under owned at this point. Sure, his ERA isn’t great (4.13), but his FIP is pretty solid (3.82), he’s fanning nearly a batter per inning and isn’t giving up a ton of homers (1.1 per nine) despite the league having gone crazy in that respect. He was really, really good in June, too: 3.24 ERA, 35-11 K/BB ratio in 33.1 innings and .633 OPS against.

RHP Jeff Hoffman – 44.3% ESPN – v. CIN (100), v. CWS (93)

These matchups aren’t as kickass as Nola’s are, but they’re still pretty dang nice. The only thing really giving me pause here is how hard he’s been hit at home (8.22 ERA, .916 OPS), but it’s just 15.1 innings and I still think he’s more talented than Jose Urena and has better matchups than Sean Newcomb — the last two guys I omitted. Don’t get me wrong, I *love* Newcomb, but don’t love him facing the Nationals and Astros next week. Hoffman has a 4.04 ERA, but a filthy 2.83 FIP and more than a strikeout per inning with a 1.16 WHIP. I think he’s ready to break out.

RHP Jerad Eickhoff – 6.4% ESPN – v. PIT (89), v. SD (81)

Same deal here as Nola for the most part, and I feel Eickhoff is too dang good for how he’s pitching (4.93 ERA, 4.18 FIP). He’s giving up too many hits and walks, but he’s keeping the ball in the yard and still striking his share of batters. I like to gamble on talent — I think Eickhoff is steady, but by no means a stud — and again….those matchups! I won’t fault you if you go with Urena or Newcomb, but don’t say I didn’t warn(e) you!

Last two out: Urena (@STL, @SF), Newcomb (v. HOU, @WAS)

We hoped you liked reading #2xSP (7.3-7.9) by Brandon Warne!

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In addition to Rotographs, Warne writes about the Minnesota Twins for The Athletic and is a sportswriter for Sportradar U.S. in downtown Minneapolis. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Warne, or feel free to email him to do podcasts or for any old reason at brandon.r.warne@gmail-dot-com

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Alex Meyer, @Min @Tex; ERA 2.42, 10.39 K/9 past 30. Elevated FIP or low BB/K not excite you?