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Fantasy baseball two-start pitching options for Week 15

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 09: Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester (34) is relieved in the first inning during the game between the Pittsburg Pirates and the Chicago Cubs on July 9, 2017 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire)

Each week I will take a look at all the two-start fantasy pitchers and give recommendations on who is “safe” to start. Inclement weather conditions could postpone or cancel games at any time; keep this in mind when planning your weekly lineup. A mid-week cancellation could push starters up a day, which means any of those two-start pitchers who were slated to go on Sunday may be getting two starts next week instead.

Note that Tuesday starts are highlighted in a lighter font. Take this into account when making your decisions weekly – especially for those players listed under questionable and lower. If you do not love the pitcher’s first start you may want to sit him in case he does not get his second turn. Must and solid start pitchers should be in your lineup regardless.

This week’s notes

– Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros are off Monday and Thursday, so no two-start pitchers for any of these clubs.

– Boston Red Sox (vs TOR, @LAA) and New York Yankees (@MIN, @SEA) play a doubleheader on Sunday, putting the Tuesday starter for each team up in the air. It is doubtful whoever Boston taps will get that second start on Sunday. The Yankees recently lost Michael Pineda, which leaves a rotation spot up for grabs. There is streaming potential here with two friendly road parks.

– Milwaukee Brewers starter Junior Guerra is slated to come off the DL and start Tuesday at Pittsburgh. Provided he makes it through a bullpen session today he would get a second start Sunday at Philadelphia. A healthy Guerra would only rate as questionable. The opponents are manageable, but his rocky outings prior to the DL trip need to be taken into account.

– Detroit Tigers are listing no starter for Tuesday’s game at Kansas City. The second start would also be on the road at Minnesota. It is doubtful we will see Buck Farmer after being shelled his last time up. Both opponents are hitting somewhat better in July, so maybe just avoid whomever Detroit promotes.

MUST START

  • Lance McCullers vs SEA, @BAL
  • Jon Lester @ATL, vs STL
  • Stephen Strasburg @CIN, @ARZ
  • Clayton Kershaw @CHW, vs ATL

McCullers has had success against both teams this year and is a top-20 pitching option. We haven’t seen vintage Lester consistently, but he has been solid more often than not. The same goes for Strasburg to a lesser extent. I don’t see many scenarios where I would not start either one of them.

SOLID START

  • Jason Vargas vs DET, vs CHW
  • Eduardo Rodriguez vs TOR, @LAA
  • Marcus Stroman @BOS, @CLE
  • Scott Feldman vs WSH, vs MIA
  • Brent Suter @PIT, @PHI
  • Jake Odorizzi @OAK, vs TEX
  • Robbie Ray @CIN, vs WSH
  • Ivan Nova vs MIL, @COL

Vargas gets bumped from must down to solid start because both teams, especially the Sox, hit lefties well. Provided the knee is healthy, I see little reason not to start Rodriguez against two weak offenses, both for the season and against lefties.

The pitcher Stroman has been this season trumps the higher road numbers and the “not so ideal” matchup here. It feels weird listing Feldman as solid, but he has been just that all season. He faced Washington on June 25 and handled the Nats.

I have an odd feeling about Suter this week. His minor league career has been average at best, but he looks good and I like the opponents. This could make a sneaky streaming option. Odorizzi was the poster child for boring, dependable numbers until recently. Look for him to get back to his three-run, six inning ways this week. He’s not pretty, but he gets the job done.

As much as I like Ray, I do worry about the home game and the fact both teams are better than average against lefties. Nova has not allowed more than four runs in any game, and in the game he allowed four runs he went at least six innings. I’ll give him a hall-pass for the Colorado game.

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 22: Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray (38) warms up before the MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Diamondbacks on April 22, 2017, at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 11-5. (Photo by Carlos Herrera/Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by Carlos Herrera/Icon Sportswire)

QUESTIONABLE START

  • Jerad Eickhoff @MIA, vs MIL
  • German Marquez vs SD, vs PIT
  • Zack Wheeler vs STL, vs OAK
  • Adam Wainwright @NYM, @CHC
  • Luis Cessa @MIN, @SEA
  • J.A. Happ @BOS, @CLE
  • Sean Newcomb vs CHC, @LAD
  • Sal Romano vs ARZ, vs MIA

If this were 2016 Eickhoff would be listed under solid. There are signs of improvement, enough that he could put up two quality starts this week. He could come up a little short too. Every pitcher starting in Colorado should be questioned, but Marquez does draw two tasty matchups.

Wheeler should probably be listed under solid start. Outside of those two hiccups in June he has been solid, and the matchups are favorable. I’m just playing things safe. Wainwright should also be listed under solid since he has been for the most part. He gets downgraded for giving up 36 runs over 37 innings on the road.

Cessa gets two comfortable parks, and the timing works with Seattle struggling. However, he has barely made it through five innings in the spot starts he was given this year, and the results were mixed. Happ would be listed next to Stroman under solid if not for the fact that Boston is first in batting average and OBP against lefties and Cleveland is first in runs scored. Proceed with caution.

Part of me is willing to write off the last two tough starts by Newcomb. Both opponents are better than average against lefties, and the Cubs are heating up. I was tempted to list Romano under 50/50, but Arizona’s offense has stalled this month. I would bench him in standard 12-team leagues.

50/50 OPTIONS

  • Julio Teheran vs CHC, @LAD
  • Chad Kuhl vs MIL, @COL
  • Matt Moore vs CLE, vs SD
  • Luis Perdomo @COL, @SF
  • Dinelson Lamet @COL, @SF
  • Ariel Miranda @HOU, vs NYY
  • Sam Gaviglio @HOU, vs NYY
  • Michael Wacha @NYM, @CHC
  • Ty Blach vs CLE, vs SD

Considering how bad Teheran has been at home (7.58 ERA through nine starts) I would avoid him against the Cubs. Kuhl gets the standard Coors Field warning all pitchers get. He gave up three runs over five innings to the Rockies in Pittsburgh in June. Moore is a regular on the avoid/sit column, but I find it hard to avoid streaming against the Padres.

Perdomo and Lamet are also Coors Field casualties this week. While I am not a fan of either pitcher, I’ll always entertain the option to stream against the Giants. Miranda and Gaviglio are both recommended sits against the hottest team in the majors. There are very few pitchers I would trust pitching against Houston right now.

Wacha has looked good in his last three starts. Even though he has given up 23 runs over 24 innings on the road, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt against the Mets. The surging Cubs are another story. Blach is an easy streaming option against the Padres. I’m tempted to say one should start him against Cleveland as well, but a blowup would erase any gains from the San Diego start.

START AT OWN RISK

  • Josh Tomlin @SF, vs TOR
  • Jordan Zimmermann @KC, @MIN
  • Daniel Gossett vs TB, @NYM
  • Adalberto Mejia vs NYY, vs DET
  • Andrew Cashner @BAL, @TB
  • Tyson Ross @BAL, @TB

By all rights Tomlin and Zimmermann should be on the bench. They are a deeper league consideration this week due to the matchups, but I would still avoid them. I had high hopes for Gossett when he first got the call. After his last three starts I am beginning to wonder if he is ready for primetime. The matchups alone bump him up a tier if you still have faith.

In eight home starts Mejia has a 5.62 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. He has been a little better recently, and the Yankees are in a major offensive slump which makes for a desperation stream if needed. Cashner and Ross both fall into the same category: two formally successful pitchers trying to recapture past glory and prove they can pitch outside of San Diego. At least the matchups are neutral.

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 17: Texas Rangers starting pitcher Andrew Cashner (54) pitches in the first inning during the game between the Texas Rangers and the Philadelphia Phillies on May 17, 2017 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. Texas defeats Philadelphia 9-3. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)

AVOID/SIT

  • Chris Tillman vs TEX, vs HOU
  • Travis Wood vs DET, vs CHW
  • Tom Koehler vs PHIL, @CIN
  • Dylan Bundy vs TEX, vs HOU
  • Rafael Montero vs STL, vs Oak

Tillman looks broken, plain and simple. Don’t get fooled by the occasional rogue quality start. Wood has been in the bullpen all year so he’s not stretched out to start. Not only that, but both teams hit lefties well, and I’m not convinced the Royals will give him that second start.

How bad is Koehler? He was dropped last week in my 30-team league, and he is still on the waiver wire. A best-case scenario would be a textbook quality start against Philly if everything goes right. The last five starts for Bundy have been brutal. Even if you still have faith, do not start him against Houston. Montero doesn’t deserve to be a reliever in the majors right now. It’s only a matter of time before we see a DFS tag next to his name.

*****

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