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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

Jake Arrieta

@PIT, MIL

Carlos Martinez

@SD, PIT

Welcome back to the “Auto-Start” tier, Jake.

Start

Kenta Maeda

ARI, COL

Jose Quintana

@PIT, MIL

Robbie Ray

@LAD, SD

Hyun-Jin Ryu

ARI, COL

Michael Wacha

@SD, PIT

OK, analyst hat fully secured. The Dodgers have been good this season, and their pitching has also been good. While Maeda and Ryu have been two of the less-heralded hurlers on the staff this season, they’re both rocking ERAs under 3.75 in 2017, and this week they’re squaring off against the Diamondbacks and the Rockies, two of the four worst road offenses in baseball (according to wRC+).

So, um, how’s everyone enjoying the Jose Quintana era on the North Side? Thus far not Eloy Jimenez Quintana has had a tough introduction to the National League, issuing more walks and homers than any previous point in his career. As it turns out, it’s hard to produce typical numbers with those maladies. The southpaw has seen a Senior Circuit bump in strikeouts, however, and it’s very likely that once his HR/FB rate settles back to career average levels, he again will be one of the better pitchers in the league.

Concussion, smuncussion (kidding, head injuries are no laughing matter). In any case, Ray was excellent in his return from the DL against the Mets, fanning nine in five innings, while giving up only one run. He followed up that performance with another strong outing, striking out 10 Dodgers. It’s nice having Ray back, and as always, expect lots of strikeouts.

Wacha has struggled in his past handful of outings, developing a bad case of homeritis that seemingly is “going around” this season. Having said that, the Padres and Pirates are two of the worst teams in baseball when it comes to battling right-handed pitching, which is fortuitous for Wacha, who is incidentally right-handed.

Consider

Chase Anderson

@CIN, @CHC

Johnny Cueto

@COL, @CWS

Zach Davies

@CIN, @CHC

R.A. Dickey

TEX, MIA

Jerad Eickhoff

@NYM, @WAS

Edwin Jackson

@MIA, PHI

Mark Leiter Jr.

@NYM, @WAS

Rafael Montero

PHI, CIN

Ivan Nova

CHC, @STL

Robert Stephenson

MIL, @NYM

Julio Teheran

TEX, MIA

Anderson has looked sharp in his first three starts off the DL, giving up six runs in 16 innings, keeping his ERA under 3.00. However a career-low HR/FB rate, a strand rate approaching 80 percent (nearly eight percentage points better than league average), and a 4.45 DRA signal trouble could be ahead. You hear that Mr. Anderson? That’s the sound of…inevitability.

Since the All Star break, Davies has been a stud for the Brewers, posting a 2.28 ERA in 59 1/3 innings while allowing only two homers. The matchups aren’t great this week, with the 24-year-old getting road starts against the Reds and Cubs, two teams that have been much better at home.

After shoveling dirt on the grave of his career, I can definitely say that the tales of Dickey’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Another stellar start against the Phillies gives the 42-year-old 74 strikeouts in his past 83 1/3 innings with an ERA hovering around 2.50. I completely understand the hesitation for jumping back in, especially this week against the homer happy Rangers and Marlins (well, the Marlins named “Stanton,” at least), but the former Cy Young winner’s reemergence has certainly been a welcome sign in the second half.

Leiter has helped ignite the Phillies’ rotation (nope). Truly horrible word play aside, the 26-year-old righty has impressed in a six start sampling, tossing 35 innings with a 3.34 ERA. He has struggled to log large strikeout numbers, however we could see those numbers rise with as August brought increased splitter usage, a pitch that gets nearly 24 percent whiffs.

Since joining the rotation, Stephenson has shed some of his dinger issues, serving up only four long balls in 28 innings. The walks, however, have not yet been solved. While the 24-year-old is striking out a batter per inning with an 11.7 percent swinging strike rate as a starter, he’s also walking around six batters per nine. The matchups this week are pretty good, with the strikeout-happy Brewers and the depleted Mets, but it’s hard to fully invest until Stephenson becomes a little less charitable.

I think it’s safe to say 2017 doesn’t include a lot of clips for Teheran’s career highlight reel. However this month the righty has increased his fastball usage (mostly at the expense of his sinker) throwing the pitch over 50 percent of the time, resulting in a .128 average and .154 slugging percentage. After a stellar outing against the Phillies, Teheran’s past four starts have unearthed 27 innings with 27 strikeouts and only seven walks with a 2.33 ERA.

Sit

Homer Bailey

MIL, @NYM

Chad Bettis

SF, @LAD

Adam Conley

WAS, @ATL

Odrisamer Despaigne

WAS, @ATL

Chad Kuhl

CHC, @STL

German Marquez

SF, @LAD

Travis Wood

STL, @ARI

Bailey has a WHIP approaching 2.00, a DRA over 8.00, and he’s walking five batters per nine innings. His home run rate is only slightly above average. So I guess he’s got that going for him.

It would appear as though Conley made an adjustment to limit the walks, but it was at the expense of the whiffs, as the lefty is averaging less than seven strikeouts per nine innings for the Fish. His 5.02 ERA is ugly, but his DRA is worse, and he’s facing the Nationals this week, who have the second-best OPS in baseball against left-handed pitching.

American League

Auto-Start

Dallas Keuchel

@SEA, @OAK

Justin Verlander

KC, @TOR

Well it looks like Verlander will finish the 2017 season in Detroit. The veteran did everything in his power to put on a good audition for suitors, making six starts in August with a 2.36 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 42 innings.

Start

Jose Berrios

@TB, @KC

Danny Duffy

@DET, MIN

Collin McHugh

@SEA, @OAK

Danny Salazar

@CWS, BAL

It’s hard to call Berrios’s 2017 campaign anything but a huge success, especially considering the young hurler’s struggles from a season ago. The second half has not been kind to the 23-year-old, however, with inconsistencies leading to an ERA around 5.00 before a dominant outing against the White Sox on Wednesday night. This week he gets two decent matchups against the Rays (who strikeout a ton) and the Royals (who struggle mightily against right-handed pitching).

Much has been made of McHugh scrapping scaling back his curveball usage to incorporate a slider into his pitch mix. The results have been promising, as the slider is getting whiffs 22 percent of the time, and the curveball has yielded a paltry .083 ISO. This week McHugh gets two decent matchups in great parks.

When Salazar is right, you start him. I hope he’s right.

Consider

Andrew Cashner

@ATL, NYY

Alex Cobb

MIN, @BOS

Miguel Gonzalez

CLE, SF

Kendall Graveman

LAA, HOU

J.A. Happ

@BOS, DET

Rick Porcello

TOR, TB

Well done, Mr. Cashner. You’ve worn me down.

Aside from a drubbing at the hands of the Astros, Cobb has given up only nine earned runs in 46 2/3 innings since the All Star break. He’s even starting to strike a few guys out, with 17 strikeouts in his last 16 1/3 innings.

Don’t look now, but Gonzalez has been kind of decent in his past five starts, working 34 innings with a 1.85 ERA. Will the 33-year-old keep up this torrid pace? No. It’s not likely. He does make an interesting matchup play down the stretch, however, with the Giants looming this week.

Happ seemed well on his way to salvaging a tough season before getting shelled by the Cubs and Twins in back-to-back starts. The lefty still has been a good source for strikeouts, but he’ll face two lineups this week that feast on lefties, making him an iffy proposition.

Porcello has defended his Cy Young award with the same ferocity has you or I would defend the flu. However he’s been much better recently, striking out nearly a batter per inning in his past five starts, en route to a 3.26 ERA.

Sit

Bartolo Colon

@TB, @KC

Jaime Garcia

@BAL, @TEX

Troy Scribner

@OAK, @SEA

James Shields

CLE, SF

Chris Smith

LAA, HOU

Jason Vargas

@DET, MIN

Things haven’t gone super well for Garcia in the Bronx. He’s walking guys at nearly double his career clip with a 4.55 ERA. He’ll have two matchups this week in parks that are very unforgiving of mistakes.

After an awesome start to the season, Vargas has an ERA approaching 7.00 in the second half, and has given up 11 dingers in 45 innings.

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marquezd
9/01
Any chance Miguel Gonzalez gets two starts with the Rangers?
markusbaa
9/01
That's a good question. Between Gonzalez and Verlander, this thing got out of date in a hurry. With Gonzalez starting last night, there's a chance he would get two this week, as I'd imagine the Rangers would try to keep him on normal rest. My guess is that he takes Nick Martinez's spot in the rotation, which would slot him in behind Cashner, and he wouldn't get two until the following week.
markusbaa
9/01
Sounds like Verlander (man, that "Verlander will finish the 2017 season in Detroit" line aged poorly) will debut on Tuesday, keeping Keuchel as the two start guy for the Astros. At last glance, the Tigers are planning on running a six-man rotation for the time being with Drew VerHagen and Buck Farmer filling JV's shoes. Needless to say, I'm not as confident in them.
alwaxman
9/04
That Verlander line reminds me of the time you said Bumgarner never gets injured... the day before he fell off his motorbike.
markusbaa
9/04
Stupid motorbikes making me look bad...
lvhawk
9/01
I have seen a source projecting that Garrett Richards is going to activated to start Monday for the Angels. Where would you place the risk/reward meter for him with a projected 2 start week? Thanks and Cheers...
markusbaa
9/01
I like the matchups, but I wonder how hard they would be willing to push him coming off such an extended layoff. There's some upside there, but definitely more than a little risk.
sroney
9/03
Richards is starting Tuesday with s fifty pitch limit.
markusbaa
9/03
That's awesome. I'd be nervous starting him with that pitch count, despite the good matchup. That does set him up for two starts next week, so we'll have to keep any eye on how much they increase his work load.
sldetckl16
9/01
Eickhoff is on the DL...
markusbaa
9/01
Good looking out. I was afraid of that after he complained of a tingling elbow (which just sounds like the *worst*) after his last start. I don't think I'd be too excited to throw Ben Lively out there against the Nats, but he could be useful against the Mets if you're in a pinch.