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June 22, 2012 5:00 am

Weekly Planner: Week 13

8

Paul Sporer

Pleasant 2012 surprises James McDonald and Jake Peavy are among this week's top two-start pitchers.

This is what happens when I trust Clay Buchholz. He faced Miami in back-to-back starts and initially demolished them at home, running his streak to four straight great games (which is why he got the seal of approval as a “start”), but the Fish smashed him for five runs on nine hits in six innings in their rematch. The silver lining is that he managed to get the win since Ricky Nolasco was even worse.

Of the three other AL “starts,” all of whom were relative no-names, it was actually Scott Diamond facing the Pirates in Pittsburgh who did the worst, surprisingly enough. After seven straight starts of three earned runs or fewer, he has allowed four in back-to-back outings against the Phillies and Pirates. Matt Harrison and Tommy Milone were excellent in their initial starts of the week, including a complete game from Milone.

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June 15, 2012 2:54 am

Weekly Planner: Week 12

3

Paul Sporer

Another week, another round of two-start pitchers to consider.

One start in for most of last week’s Weekly Planner picks and there have been some bumps in the road for American League hurlers: Brandon Morrow succumbing to injury, Felipe Paulino hitting the DL before the week even got started, and Josh Beckett, Wei-Yin Chen, and Alex Cobb all getting batted around.  While they weren’t necessarily difficult choices, I was pleased to have led you down the right path with the AL sits. 

Bud Norris, who is clearly ailing with a bum knee, was the only failure in the NL starts.  There were some sits who had palatable outings, but they were wait-and-see (Chris Young) or prove-it-to-us (Randall Delgado) guys anyway.  Josh Johnson did not disappoint in his return to “auto-start” status. 

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June 8, 2012 3:49 am

Weekly Planner: Week 11

1

Paul Sporer

A look at the two-start pitchers worthy of your active fantasy squad this week.

I wish I would have had the intestinal fortitude to put Jarrod Parker in the “starts” last week; instead, I straddled the fence with a “consider” in light of his start against Texas, even though it was at home.  He aced the test with seven no-hit innings before Michael Young broke it up to start off the eighth.  He gets his former team on Saturday in Arizona against the Diamondbacks with the pitcher he was dealt for, Trevor Cahill, on the mound opposite him. 

In the National League, is Tim Lincecum no longer a “start”?  He has already been stripped of “auto-start” status, but I left him as a “start” even with a date against Texas (it’s coming at home) because his first start of the week is in San Diego.  While he walked one and struck out eight, he was pretty bland otherwise, allowing four runs in six innings.  Pitchers are supposed to right the ship against the Padres, especially in PETCO Park, and even more so when you’re an elite talent. 

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June 1, 2012 5:00 am

Weekly Planner: Week 10

5

Paul Sporer

Another round of two-start pitchers awaits fantasy players this week.

Kevin Millwood just keeps dominating.  He started off this week with a third straight strong outing against the Texas Rangers.  I’m not sure how he is doing it, but he is definitely on an incredible run.  And yet, I am still leery.  It was nice to see a gem from Matt Moore, and his curveball spurred the 10 strikeout performance.

I would feel fortunate to get out of Colorado with four earned runs on 10 hits if Wandy Rodriguez were on my team.  It could’ve been much worse, and there are maybe five or six pitchers in the National League I would trust in Coors Field (Kershaw, Hamels, Lee, Greinke, Gallardo and a healthy Halladay) at this point.  Bronson Arroyo has come back to Earth with a 5.01 ERA in his last four outings including four earned runs in three of them.  He is almost back to a full on sit for me. 

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May 25, 2012 3:02 am

Weekly Planner: Week Nine

6

Paul Sporer

Which two-start pitchers are worth using in your fantasy league this week?

I have no idea what Gavin Floyd’s problem is, but I thought the Minnesota matchup would be the easier of his two this week.  Hopefully he doesn’t make things worse in his start against Cleveland.  Meanwhile, Felipe Paulino remains excellent and started the week off with a gem in New York.  Looks like I had last week’s AL “starts” in reverse order; it should have been Paulino, Jerome Williams, Floyd, Hiroki Kuroda

Mike Minor has a long way to go before earning another “consider” recommendation, let alone a “start.”  His home run issues are just painful at this point.  At least Chris Capuano rewarded my confidence in him over guys like Bud Norris and Mat Latos (both of whom I like immensely) by pitching a gem to start the week in Arizona. 

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May 18, 2012 12:11 pm

Weekly Planner: Week Eight

10

Paul Sporer

Paul takes a tour of the league's two-start pitchers to see which are worth using this week.

It’s been a shaky start to the two-start week for several of our American League options from last week.  Drew Smyly and Max Scherzer were both touched up in Chicago.  Jeff Niemann had his leg broken and now sits on the 60-day disabled list.  Ivan Nova and Jason Hammel were smacked around in an 8-5 slugfest against each other.

National Leaguers didn’t fare much better as Erik Bedard, Ryan Dempster, and Chad Billingsley were among the casualties in their first start.  I should’ve known better with Dempster; I gave the reason not to start him within the article—he was facing St. Louis.  They have become a team you must sit your non-star pitchers against. 

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May 11, 2012 3:00 am

Weekly Planner: Week Seven

4

Paul Sporer

Another crop of two-start pitchers are examined in this week's planner

Interleague play fires up next week, and we have a star-studded slate of two-start pitchers to examine.  Last week, I gave the thumbs up to the back end of the Red Sox rotation, but both Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront flopped in Kansas City.  They could redeem themselves at home against Cleveland, but they move down a peg and need to prove something before being trusted again.

All of the other “starts” in both leagues have pitched adequately or better in their first outing of the week, including gems from Ivan Nova, Neftali Feliz, Doug Fister (listed as Duane Below in the piece, but then corrected to Fister in the comments), Edwin Jackson, and Jeff Samardzija.  Conversely, many of the National League “sits” did quite well themselves, especially Carlos Zambrano and Bronson Arroyo.  I’m still concerned about both in the long-term, however, and Alex White (the “Unnamed Colorado Starter” in the piece) did have the good fortune of debuting in San Diego. 

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May 4, 2012 3:58 am

Weekly Planner: Week Six

11

Paul Sporer

Paul helps you sort out the fantasy pitchers worth starting in this week's planner

In last week’s season debut of the Weekly Planner, I said of Phil Hughes and Clay Buchholz, “If you aren’t starting them in these matchups, then why even roster them at this point?”  While both still have their weekend start yet to come, neither impressed in their first start of the week with Buchholz completely imploding against Oakland.  You can safely move on from both. 

Two AL sits, Jason Hammel and Kyle Drabek, excelled in their first starts this week, both of which came against the tougher of their two opponents (New York and Texas, respectively).  I stand by both calls, but both proved a lot in their starts. This is especially true of Hammel, who almost seems to be getting better with each outing.  In the NL, Chris Volstad was only listed as a “consider,” but he is not improving at all and is an unequivocal “sit” at this point. 

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April 27, 2012 3:00 am

Weekly Planner: Week Five

2

Paul Sporer

The return of the Weekly Planner helps you decide which two-start pitchers to start and sit

Welcome to the 2012 debut of the Weekly Planner!  Here, we will look at the scheduled (subject to change, of course) two-start pitchers across the league and decide whether or not they are worth a start in your league based on performance to date, opponents, and venues.

Some pitchers are no doubters and, obviously, we won’t need to spend too much time on them.  I don’t care if Justin Verlander is starting in Texas or against the Yankees; you are not benching him.  Others get the thumbs up for this specific week because things set up favorably for them, even if you wouldn’t otherwise use them. Finally, there are the guys we would be wise to avoid. Sometimes this will be because we would always avoid them, and other times these are guys who we might otherwise start but the factors align to make them too risky. 

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