#2xSP: 8.29-9.4

We got off to a pretty solid start in week 18, with Kevin Gausman and Dan Straily putting up scoreless outings before seeing that Homer Bailey got rocked a bit, but overall we’re halfway through that week with a 3.77 ERA and a pair of quality starts under our belts. One issue: We somehow missed that Dan Straily was starting Tuesday with an off-day on Thursday, so he won’t be making two starts this week, but will be doing so next week with a Monday start.

With that said, if you grabbed Straily, use him this week instead! He had a very nice start and has been one of the hardest pitchers to square up in the NL all season.

Here’s how we’re doing through half of week 18 overall:

40-38 record
3.93 ERA
8.1 K/9
2.9 K/BB
1.31 WHIP
57 quality starts

….and here are this week’s recs (with team wRC+ in parentheses):

RHP Tom Koehler – 40.3% ESPN – @NYM (93), @CLE (104)

It’s understandable if Koehler doesn’t do much for you on the whole, as he’s got a so-so ERA with some iffy peripherals as a 30-year-old who has put together mostly a nondescript career. But he’s been very, very solid over the last month or so — so much so that it stands to take note of. He’s carried a 2.16 ERA through four August starts so far (20-5 K/BB ratio in 25 innings, .599 OPS against) and he was also solid in July (3.33 ERA). All told, since July 1 — a span of nine starts — he’s got a 2.77 ERA, .650 OPS against and 36-12 K/BB ratio in 52 innings. He lost to the Mets twice already this season, but now seems like as good of a time as ever for him to get off the schneid.

LHP Matt Boyd – 21.2% ESPN – v. CWS (90), @KCR (88)

Boyd has been on a pretty solid run, holding opposing offense to three or fewer earned runs in each of his last eight appearances. He’s lowered his ERA from 5.77 to its present-day mark of 3.98 over that time frame, as he’s been a big reason the Tigers have managed to hang in the AL Central race — on the fringes, anyway — despite Anibal Sanchez pitching poorly and Jordan Zimmermann getting hurt again. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tipped me off on this during my last podcast, but it appears that a mechanical change for Boyd has made quite a different of late. Pitching coach Rich Dubee helped him bring his arm slot down a few inches lower, and his fastball added a couple more mph and his slider added a little bit more bite. With these two subpar offenses in his way, we’ll take our chances here!

RHP Matt Shoemaker – 33.1% ESPN – v. CIN (87), @SEA (108)

Shoemaker is so Jekyll and Hyde, but the hope here is that he’ll be able to trample a weak Reds offense and then perhaps have a repeat of his penultimate start, when he stymied the Mariners for seven innings of just two-run ball. Two of Shoemaker’s last four starts have come against the Mariners — both quality starts, for what it’s worth — as he’s yet again been very up-and-down this season. Still, for all the rollercoaster business, his season numbers aren’t that bad: 3.98 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 134-30 K/BB ratio in 151.2 innings .He should probably be owned in more leagues, quite frankly.

We hoped you liked reading #2xSP: 8.29-9.4 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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