Auto-Starts: Matt Cain (@HOU, @CHC) and Stephen Strasburg (@MIA, vs. STL)

Cain gets about as good a draw as a pitcher can possibly get this week, facing what are perhaps baseball’s two worst offenses.  The only thing that would make this better is if he were facing them at home.

Yovani Gallardo (@CHC, vs. PIT)
Marco Estrada (@CHC, vs. PIT)
Kyle Lohse (@PIT, @WSN)

Maybe I just expect a lot from my pitchers, but the list of guys I would absolutely start is quite limited this week.

Gallardo and Estrada get half of the Cain treatment with a start against the Cubs, and an outing each against the Pirates ain’t too shabby either.  

Patrick Corbin (vs. CIN, @LAD)
A.J. Burnett (vs. STL, @MIL)
Paul Maholm (@SD, vs. PHI)
Jake Westbrook (@PIT, @WSN)
Wade Miley (vs. CIN, @LAD)
Jeff Francis (vs. LAD, vs. SD)
Bud Norris (vs. SF, vs. CIN)
Chris Capuano (@COL, vs. ARI)
Joe Blanton (@COL, vs. ARI)
Vance Worley (vs. NYM, @ATL)

I discussed Corbin when I added him to the Value Picks list yesterday.  He gets a great matchup against the Dodgers in LA, but Cincinnati could give him a little trouble.

A.J. Burnett was one of my pet players this year, drafting him in LABR (though I traded him this past week for Craig Kimbrel).  While he’s been better than anyone could have hoped for, this might be the week to sit him down if you have other options.  The Cardinals and Brewers offenses won’t be easy to get past.

Francis might be a bit of a shock to see on the consider list, but he gets two very good match-ups this week, albeit in Coors.  I really do like his skills—he has tremendous control and generates groundballs—although the Rockies’ 75-pitch limit makes him a fringe option in deeper mixed leagues.

I love Capuano, especially on a week-by-week basis where you don’t really have to worry about his health (though he’s been surprisingly durable this season). Against poor offenses he’d easily get my “start” seal of approval, but his match-ups this week are terrible.

Justin Germano (vs. MIL, vs. SF)
Travis Wood (vs. MIL, vs. SF)
Bronson Arroyo (@ARI, @HOU)
Tyler Chatwood* (vs. LAD, vs. SD)
Padres SP (vs. ATL, @COL)

Tyler Chatwood gets an asterisk because he may not get that second start, depending on how the Rockies decide to deploy their pitchers.   Both would be good match-ups and might tempt me to use him in deeper leagues (like NL-only formats), but mixed leaguers can leave him alone given the uncertainty and, well, the fact that he’s Tyler Chatwood.

The Padres SP was going to be Jason Marquis, but he hit the DL and will be replaced by… someone.  It really doesn’t matter, though, given what’s up on the docket.

Auto-Starts: Jered Weaver (vs. BOS, @SEA), Felix Hernandez (@MIN, vs. LAA), David Price (@TEX, @TOR), Chris Sale (@BAL, @DET), and James Shields (@TEX, @TOR)

There are tons of AL auto-starts this week, although the Rays pitchers might have a tough road against Texas and Toronto inside both of their extreme hitter’s parks.  Still, Price and Shields are too good to bench in anything deeper than like a six-team mixed league.

Brett Anderson (@CLE, vs. BOS)
Tommy Milone (@CLE, vs. BOS)
Derek Holland (vs. TB, @CLE)
Anibal Sanchez (@KC, vs. CHW)

As in the NL, the list of guys I’d be completely confident starting is small.  These four all possess the combination of solid skills and good match-ups, even if Holland and Sanchez have struggled mightily of late.  The Oakland duo might be “considers” if Boston’s offense was at full strength, but with David Ortiz, Carl Crawford, and Will Middlebrooks all out, it seems a harmless enough match-up.

Anderson and Holland got a write-up in yesterday’s VP.  Anderson’s teammate Milone has been a pleasant surprise this year.  We knew he had stellar command, but this many strikeouts is a bit of a surprise coming from someone that many were content to throw a “soft-thrower” or “sixth starter” label on.  What he lacks in velocity, however, he makes for with quality secondary pitches and pitchability.  He’s a solid play, no question.

Scott Diamond (vs. SEA, @KC)
Liam Hendriks (vs. SEA, @KC)
David Phelps (vs. TOR, vs. BAL)

Very short list of considers.  Diamond is a soft-thrower with control in the mold of Milone, although he’s not quite as good either in terms of control or stuff.  He does get groundballs, though, which is something Milone doesn’t.  Facing the AL’s third- and fifth-lowest-scoring teams of the second-half—both in favorable parks—make him a fringe “start” and even earn teammate Liam Hendricks a “consider,” assuming he sticks around for the second start.

Zach McAllister (vs. OAK, vs. TEX)
Francisco Liriano (@BAL, @DET)
Luke Hochevar (vs. DET, vs. MIN)
Hisashi Iwakuma (@MIN, vs. LAA)
Franklin Morales (@LAA, @OAK)
J.A. Happ (@NYY, vs. TB)
Clay Buchholz (@LAA, @OAK)
Roberto Hernandez (vs. OAK, vs. TEX)
Aaron Laffey (@NYY, vs. TB)
Chris Tillman (vs. CHW, @NYY)
Luis Mendoza (vs. DET, vs. MIN)
Tommy Hunter (vs. CHW, @NYY)

McAllister has been a very nice surprise this year, and I buy into him to a large extent, but his match-ups this week are less than ideal.  Oakland might sound harmless, but they’ve been on fire recently and are, in fact, the fifth-highest-scoring offense in the league in the second-half.  They may not be that good, but they do have a lot of quality hitters and can’t be considered push-overs anymore.  And, of course, Texas is a powerhouse, which means McAllister just misses the “consider” cut.

I could see gambling with Liriano given the right conditions, but you do have to be pretty desperate and be completely okay running the risk of a seven-run outing.

I talked about how much I like Hochevar yesterday, but this isn’t the week to try it out unless you’re in an AL-only league.  Same goes for Iwakuma, who I discussed on Monday.

No one else got much consideration from me, though I do think good things could be in store for J.A. Happ with the right set of opponents.






Matt Cain

Yovani Gallardo

Scott Diamond

Zach McAllister

Jered Weaver

Marco Estrada

Patrick Corbin

Francisco Liriano

Stephen Strasburg

Brett Anderson

A.J. Burnett

Justin Germano

Felix Hernandez

Tommy Milone

Paul Maholm

Travis Wood

David Price

Derek Holland

Jake Westbrook

Luke Hochevar

Chris Sale

Anibal Sanchez

Wade Miley

Hisashi Iwakuma

James Shields

Kyle Lohse

Jeff Francis

Franklin Morales



Bud Norris

Bronson Arroyo



Chris Capuano

J.A. Happ



Joe Blanton

Clay Buchholz



Vance Worley

Tyler Chatwood*



Liam Hendricks

Roberto Hernandez



David Phelps

Aaron Laffey




Chris Tillman




Luis Mendoza




Tommy Hunter




Padres SP

Before I wrap up, I just wanted to point out that I’ll be holding a live chat on Monday for those of you with stretch-run questions, keeper league conundrums, or curiosities about the man behind the curtain.