With expanded rosters, rotations are far from stable, and I don’t expect them to be the rest of the way, so please keep that caveat in mind more than ever.

: Doug Fister

It’s really only been about health with Fister this year; otherwise he has been nails. He has been healthy since the All-Star break, and, unsurprisingly, that has yielded a 2.48 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 62 strikeouts in 69 innings. He is one of the most unheralded starters in the league, but he’s been great in 2012.

Hiroki Kuroda (@ BOS, vs. TB) – A couple of modest outings (four earned in each of his last two outings) aren’t going to derail this train. Kuroda has been the underappreciated rock that helped this team build the huge lead they have pissed away. His six innings last time out snapped his streak of going eight-plus innings, but he has still gone six-plus in each of his 11 outings since the All-Star break. He has a 2.66 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in that span too.

Dan Haren (vs. OAK; @ KC) – Like Fister, it has really been a matter of health more than anything else with Haren. He has tried to labor through back pains at times, and it hasn’t gone well, leaving Haren with elevated numbers relative to his true talent. He appears to be back on track of late, though, with three strong starts in a row. He is actually just a third of an inning away from three straight quality starts, going 5 2/3 in Detroit but then seven and six innings in the subsequent two starts. All told, he has a 1.45 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 17 strikeouts, and just three walks in the 18 2/3 innings.

Ryan Dempster (vs. CLE; vs. SEA) – He was absolutely pummeled twice as a Ranger (eight earned each time) and yet still has a 4.36 ERA in 43 1/3 innings with them, which tells you how well he has pitched in the other five starts. His strikeout rate is actually up with the Rangers too; he is striking out 9.1 batters per game after posting a 7.2 mark with the Cubs.

Jon Lester (vs. NYY; @ TOR) – Amidst all the turmoil in Boston, Lester has rebounded a bit with a nice seven-start stretch starting in August. He has a 3.70 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 7.2 K/9 in the 48 2/3 innings of work that really only saw Texas get to him a bit (four earned in 6 2/3 innings).

Jarrod Parker (@ LAA; vs. BAL) – Parker might have been a shutdown candidate, but the A’s have surprisingly remained in contention, and while they have depth in the rotation, they can definitely use Parker, who has enjoyed a strong first full season. While his ERA is a bit elevated since the break (4.62), his walk rate has improved quite a bit and is down to a very strong 2.0 BB/9. By contrast, his first half rate was 4.3 BB/9.

Alex Cobb (@ BAL; @ NYY) – Two tough opponents in two tough environments land Cobb here for the week. Gamble if you’re desperate, but pass if you’re protecting ERA and WHIP.

Justin Masterson (@ MIN; vs. DET) – His earned run totals since the All-Star break: zero, four, one, eight, seven, two, zero, seven, one, eight, and two. He gets a “consider” nod only because gamblers in desperate need of potential might be willing to roll the dice here. He has dominated and been crushed by each opponent at times this year.

Rick Porcello (@ CWS; @ CLE) – He could steal a win or two, but he allows way too many hits to feel safe. A lot of it is his groundball tendencies and the lack of defensive range behind, but some of it is definitely the fact that he is too hittable.

Ubaldo Jimenez (@ MIN; vs. DET) – If you can lose so much as a single point in ERA or WHIP with an implosion outing, don’t even bother.

Samuel Deduno (vs. CLE; vs. CWS) – Too many walks.

Blake Beavan (@ TOR; @ TEX) – Not in Texas, no way.

R.A. Dickey, Roy Halladay, Mat Latos, Gio Gonzalez, and Adam Wainwright

Big week for NL aces. It is perfect timing for any team with a couple of these guys too, especially if they are in a tight roto race or in the midst of head-to-head playoffs. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to imagine a team with all five of these guys given the varied rounds they went in this year. I’m sure it is more common for a team to have two or three, though.

Mike Minor (@ MIL; vs. WAS) – Minor allowed four or more earned runs in 10 of his first 15 starts this year, including a stretch of six straight. He has done so just once in his last 11 starts since the beginning of July, however, posting a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 6.7 K/9, and 4.0 K/BB in 69 2/3 innings.

Jaime Garcia (@ SD; @ LAD) – He has looked pretty good since returning from the disabled list, especially with the 22 strikeouts and four walks in 26 2/3 innings. This west coast swing should allow him to pad those numbers.

Wandy Rodriguez (@ CIN; @ CHC) – Riding a 13-inning scoreless streak heading into this week thanks to great outings against the Cardinals and Astros recently. Thrashing the Astros isn’t exactly special, but six shutout innings against St. Louis is impressive.

Ryan Vogelsong (@ COL; @ ARI) – You know how I feel about Coors Field… especially with Vogelsong struggling of late (7.27 ERA in his last seven starts).

Alex White (vs. SF; @ SD) – Even if a Colorado pitcher had two starts in San Diego, it would still be hard to start them because they are only going to go four innings anyway. He has a 3.55 ERA in 33 innings since returning from the DL in August, but that’s across eight starts. Zero wins.

Dallas Keuchel (vs. CHC; vs. PHI) – The NL’s Blake Beavan?


Auto Starts





































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Wainwright has looked pretty bad lately. Can you say something reassuring about him that makes him an auto-start? Thanks
It's just a couple of games. I didn't see anything that jumped out at me as a red flag. He has had a very successful return, IMO, even accounting for the elevated ERA (compared to normal Wainwright).
What about Carlos Villanueva? CBS has him listed for 2 starts next week, home against Boston and Seattle,
Or Kyle Kendrick? Home v MIA, then @ HOU, sounds like a Start to me.
You mean NL-Scott Feldman? Sure, I'd give him a go in those outings. He's been pitching pretty well of late. But like his AL doppelganger, he can fall off a cliff without warning regardless of opponent. Unless you're in a really tight ERA and/or WHIP race with limited innings left, he's a standard start. Otherwise, I'd play it cautiously and maybe only use the best of the best SPs.
I'd definitely start him there.
CBS is reporting that Blake Beaven lost his 2-start status... both he and Millwood are sliding back to give Noesi and Erasimo a start each.
Thanks, John. It's probably for the best, LOL.
How do you know he's not Julio?
Hi Paul - looks like Harrison is 2-starter this week. If you had one spot, who do you like this week?

vs. CLE (Jimenez)
vs. SEA (Vargas)

@ MIA (Buehrle)