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It's time to preview the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. As the old wrestling promoters would always say: “Card Subject to Change,” because injuries and tinkering managers can make this less than a science. Should new information present itself, we can go over it in the comments.

Most of these recommendations are based on a combination of ADP/auction price and PECOTA projections for opponent strength. As the season progresses and we get more concrete data points for how the pitchers and their opponents perform, the formula will evolve into a performance-based projection. For more information on some key terms—Auto-Start, Start, Consider and Sit—click here.

National League

Auto-Start

Yu Darvish

@PIT, MIL

Aaron Nola

MIA, CHC

After decimating NL lineups with 20 strikeouts in his first two starts as a Dodger, Darvish scuffled against the lowly White Sox, only managing two strikeouts in six innings before his back tightened up. Provided that everything is copasetic under the hood, I think a huge bounce-back week is in store for the 31-year-old hurler.

Over the past month, only a handful of starters have been as strikeout-centric as Nola. This week he gets two home starts at Citizens Bank Park, where he has fared even better to the tune of a 2.69 ERA in 60 1/3 innings this season.

Start

Robbie Ray

@NYM, SF

Gerrit Cole

LAD, @CIN

Jon Gray

@KC, @ATL

Lance Lynn

SD, TB

Dan Straily

@PHI, SD

Alex Wood

@PIT, MIL

With Cole, you’re expecting volume, as the former top pick has thrown more innings this season than all but 11 other starters. The 8.7 percent swinging-strike rate (almost 2 percentage points below league average) is not very good but he’s never really been a strikeout guy. If you ask Cole how he strikes such a delicate balance, you might be reminded of the title to the unfinished memoir of Michael Gary Scott: “Somehow I Manage.”

Gray hasn’t really followed up on his breakout sophomore season the way most of us might have hoped, but the 25-year-old seems to be rounding into form as of late, with a 2.89 ERA in 18 2/3 August innings. This week, he’s getting two fairly decent matchups away from Coors Field, so I’m trying to reclaim my seat on the bandwagon.

Of Lynn’s career-high 22 dingers surrended, only six have come at Busch Stadium. Lucky for all of you Lynn-onites (no clue where that came from), this week he’ll get two pretty good matchups at, you guessed it, Busch Stadium.

Straily’s matchups against the Phillies and Padres are about as good as you could hope for this week. The righty (see, I remembered this time!) has been a little homer-prone, but otherwise has put together a supremely solid campaign for his first season in South Beach.

Consider

Zach Davies

@SF, @LAD

John Lackey

@CIN, @PHI

Jameson Taillon

LAD, @CIN

Clayton Richard

@STL, @MIA

Tanner Roark

@HOU, NYM

Taijuan Walker

@NYM, SF

In Davies’ past six starts, three have come at Miller Park and three have been on the road. In his home starts, Davies allowed nine earned runs in 18 1/3 innings. For the road starts, Davies tossed 21 2/3 innings with a 0.00 ERA. He’ll get two road starts this week (yes, one will be against the Dodgers, but still). Also, while “Corey’s Brother” is getting all the headlines for Players Weekend nicknames, don’t sleep on Davies’ “Batboy” taking the crown.

Second-half Lackey is better than first half Lackey, and can be relied upon for a guaranteed five innings, five strikeouts, two runs, and 204 expletives per start.

Taillon gave up 17 earned runs in two consecutive starts, limping into August. Those starts represent nearly one-third of his run total for the 2017 season. He bounced back quite nicely, turning in quality starts against the Padres and Blue Jays, striking out 15 in 12 1/3 innings. The Dodgers are a bad matchup for anyone, and pitching at Great American Ball Park is never fun, but Taillon is good, and that’s good enough for a “Consider.”

Clearly Trevor Cahill was hoarding all of the magic dust for the Padres’ rotation. Since the trade deadline, it has been dispersed a little more democratically. Our colleague George Bissell made a case for Travis Wood being the primary beneficiary, but Richard has been just as good over his past three starts, giving up only three runs in 21 innings, including a CGSHO against the Phillies. Sure these are all super-small samples, but c’mon, it’s the Padres. Let’s let them have this.

It always feels like you could do better than Roark. But you could also do much worse. He’s giving up a few too many homers to be comfortably relied upon, but the matchups this week aren’t bad.

Sit

Homer Bailey

CHC, PIT

Mike Foltynewicz

SEA, COL

Robert Gsellman

ARI, @WAS

Steven Matz

ARI, @WAS

Chris Stratton

MIL, @ARI

Thus far in 2017, Bailey has given up eight or more earned runs in a start three times. That’s a lot. He did strike out 10 Cubs in his previous outing, however. So there’s that.

Gsellman’s GM publicly stated that the rookie needs to pitch better. In his next outing, the righty gave up two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings while issuing three free passes to only two strikeouts. I mean, I guess technically that’s better, but it sure isn’t all that inspiring.

Matz isn’t throwing as hard as he used to. He’s also not limiting runs as he used to. He’s also not striking many guys out. I guess at least he’s healthy. Sorry, Mets fans. Unless it says deGrom on the back of the jersey, I’m staying away from your pitchers.

American League

Auto-Start

Carlos Carrasco

BOS, KC

Carrasco’s matchups aren’t great, but if you’ve got him, you’re starting him.

Start

Danny Duffy

COL, @CLE

Jacob Faria

TOR, @STL

Cole Hamels

@LAA, @OAK

Charlie Morton

WAS, @LAA

Carlos Rodon

MIN, DET

Eduardo Rodriguez

@CLE, BAL

Marcus Stroman

@TB, MIN

Duffy’s stat line has looked ugly in his past three starts, but a .356 BABIP paired with a 43.5 percent strand rate leads me to believe that some bad luck was involved. He’s still posting elite walk rates and the missing strikeouts are slowly starting to reappear. If the whiffs continue to tick up, well, this brings us to one question, and one question only: Are you ready to get Duffed? Oh, yeah!

Four of Hamels’s 10 starts since returning from the DL in June have resulted in zero earned runs. The strikeouts are sparse, but the lefty is doing a great job everywhere else to make up for it. In addition, if your league rewards points for glorious moustaches straight out of the Old West, Hamels is worth his weight in gold.

In eight starts off the DL, Morton has picked up right where he left off, riding a sinker that touches 97 mph to a 3.26 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings. This week he’ll get a Harper-less Nationals lineup and a road start against the Angels, both decent matchups.

For Happy Gilmore, his game really took off when he realized he could spare himself from putting by simply making holes-in-one. For Rodon, it appears that he has drawn a similar conclusion: pitching is easier if you just strike everyone out. In his past five starts, the lefty has fanned 39 batters in 33 2/3 innings with a 2.94 ERA, and a drastically reduced walk rate. Weird how that works.

Among qualified starters, nobody throws more ground balls than Stroman. In fact, nobody is within 5 percentage points of Stroman. Sure, ideally, you’d like more strikeouts and this week, you could be in luck as the diminutive righty faces two of the 12 most strikeout-prone teams against right-handed pitching.

Consider

Mike Clevinger

BOS, KC

Jaime Garcia

@DET, SEA

Ubaldo Jimenez

OAK, @BOS

Reynaldo Lopez

MIN, DET

Rick Porcello

@CLE, BAL

Tyler Skaggs

TEX, HOU

Clevinger has #greatstuff (maybe not Joe Kelly level, but one can dream). I’m a little worried about him making starts this week against two teams that have great contact skills, however.

Oh, Ubaldo. Before getting roughed up by the Mariners in his latest outing, he had a 2.63 ERA with 32 strikeouts in his last 24 innings. Through gritted teeth, I’m considering him this week. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 3,402 times…

Porcello has been better in the second half, but it’s still a far cry from last season’s dominance. I don’t really see the upside this week, outside of a smattering of strikeouts against the Orioles.

Skaggs has struck out 14 while surrendering only five runs over 15 1/3 innings since coming off the DL. (This seems to be a common theme for guys this week. Pitchers: please stop getting injured). The Astros rake against lefties, but the Rangers are pretty bad, perfect for a “Consider.”

Sit

Andrew Albers

@ATL, @NYY

Matt Boyd

NYY, @CWS

Kyle Gibson

@CWS, @TOR

Ricky Nolasco

TEX, HOU

Tyson Ross

@LAA, @OAK

Dillon Gee

@CWS, @TOR

Chris Smith

@BAL, TEX

A little peek behind the curtain: Every week Ross is on the list, he usually starts out as a “Consider.” Then I’ll take a look at his numbers and most recent starts. He always ends up a “Sit.”

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jmoore
8/18
Does Patrick Corbin line up for 2 starts next week? If so, is he a start? Thanks.
markusbaa
8/18
It looked like he was getting two, but if Ray comes back, that would bump Corbin from that Tuesday start. If Ray doesn't come back that soon, I'd slot Corbin right into his spot on the list. I'm starting him.