Fantasy Baseball: Two-Start Pitchers for Week 3

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Alex Kantecki ranks the two-start pitchers for Week 3 and recommends a few, including Tommy Milone, Chad Billingsley, Jake Westbrook and Erik Bedard.

I'm changing things up a bit this week. I'm still going to rank the two-start pitchers (I'm not even sure if this is at all useful?), but I'm going to break them up into a few different tiers as well. That way, if I don't specifically mention a pitcher below, you can get a better idea of how I think he stacks up in comparison. I'm open to any other suggestions to make this weekly piece as useful as possible, so just fire away in the comments below.

Last week, I recommended Marco Estrada (W, QS, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 6 K, 1 BB), Andy Pettitte (W, QS, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K), Travis Wood (QS, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) and Brandon Maurer (let's not and say we did). Estrada, Pettitte and Maurer all throw today, while Wood's second start got pushed back because of rain. Instead of facing the Giants today, he gets the Rangers on Tuesday. Pass. I still recommend Estrada and Pettitte, but Maurer can be fed to the waiver wire wolves.

Start!
Cliff Lee: Mon-@CIN (Arroyo), Sat-STL (Lynn)
Matt Moore: Tue-@BAL (Arrieta), Sun-OAK (Milone)
Kris Medlen: Tue-KC (Guthrie), Sun-@PIT (Sanchez)
Lance Lynn: Mon-@PIT (McDonald), Sat-@PHI (Lee)
Jordan Zimmermann: Mon-@MIA (LeBlanc), Sun-@NYM (Laffey)
Homer Bailey: Tue-PHI (Kendrick), Sun-MIA (Sanabia)
Derek Holland: Tue-@CHC (Wood), Sun-SEA (Beavan)
Pretty, pretty good
Tommy Milone: Mon-HOU (Bedard), Sun-@TB (Moore)
James McDonald: Mon-STL (Lynn), Sat-ATL (Maholm)
Chad Billingsley: Mon-SD (Stults), Sun-@BAL (Arrieta)
Josh Johnson: Tue-CWS (Axelrod), Sun-NYY (Nova)
Ryan Dempster: Mon-TB (Carmona), Sat-KC (Santana)
Erik Bedard: Mon-@OAK (Milone), Sun-CLE (Jimenez)
Barry Zito: Tue-@MIL (Peralta), Sun-SD (Stults)
Jake Westbrook: Tue-@PIT (Sanchez), Sun-@PHI (Kendrick)
Jake Arrieta: Tue-TB (Moore), Sun-LAD (Billingsley)
Ivan Nova: Tue-ARI (McCarthy), Sun-@TOR (Johnson)
Play the matchups
Wily Peralta: Tue-SF (Zito), Sun-CHC (Wood)
Travis Wood: Tue-TEX (Holland), Sun-@MIL (Peralta)
Brandon McCarthy: Tue-@NYY (Nova), Sun-@COL (Francis)
Bronson Arroyo: Mon-PHI (Lee), Sat-MIA (LeBlanc)
Gavin Floyd: Mon-@TOR (Buehrle), Sat-MIN (Correia)
Jeremy Guthrie: Tue-@ATL (Medlen), Sun-@BOS (Aceves)
Rick Porcello: Tue-@SEA (Beavan), Sun-@LAA (Blanton)
Eric Stults: Mon-@LAD (Billingsley), Sun-@SF (Zito)
Joe Blanton: Mon-@MIN (Pelfrey), Sun-DET (Porcello)
Not this week
Mark Buehrle: Mon-CWS (Floyd), Sat-NYY (Pettitte)
Alfredo Aceves: Tue-@CLE (Jimenez), Sun-KC (Guthrie)
Juan Nicasio: Mon-NYM (Hefner), Sat-ARI (Cahill)
Blake Beavan: Tue-DET (Porcello), Sun-@TEX (Holland)
Jeff Francis: Tue-NYM (Laffey), Sun-ARI (McCarthy)
Dylan Axelrod: Tue-@TOR (Johnson), Sun-MIN (Pelfrey)
Jeremy Hefner: Mon-@COL (Nicasio), Sat-WSH (Gonzalez)
Kyle Kendrick: Tue-@CIN (Bailey), Sun-STL (Westbrook)
Roberto Hernandez: Mon-@BOS (Dempster), Sat-OAK (Parker)
Aaron Laffey: Tue-@COL (Francis), Sun-WSH (Zimmermann)
Mike Pelfrey: Mon-LAA (Blanton), Sun-@CWS (Axelrod)
Wade LeBlanc: Mon-WSH (Zimmermann), Sat-@CIN (Arroyo)
Ubaldo Jimenez: Tue-BOS (Aceves), Sun-@HOU (Bedard)
Alex Sanabia: Tue-WSH (Haren), Sun-@CIN (Bailey)
Jonathan Sanchez: Tue-STL (Westbrook), Sun-ATL (Medlen)

My Two Start Picks

Tommy Milone (83.1% ESPN; 48% Yahoo!)
2013: 2-0, 12 IP, 6.75 K/9, 3.00 BB/9, 4.50 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

Milone gets the perfect storm of opponents -- a good thing, in this example -- with a Monday home tilt against Houston and a Sunday matchup at Tampa (two teams with defunct offenses). Milone's not a strikeout pitcher, but he should be able to take advantage of an Astros team that has struck out a league-high 26.7-percent. In his last start Milone struck out five Angels in five innings, so a strikeout per inning is expected against Houston. Only the Brewers, Pirates and Marlins have scored fewer runs than the Rays, who are averaging 3.3 runs a contest. Milone had a much harder time of it on the road last season, as batters hit .312/.352/.503 away from O.co Coliseum (compared to .239/.274/.345 at home), but Tampa's park is favorable for fly-ball pitchers like Milone.

Chad Billingsley (16.8% ESPN; 25% Yahoo!)
2013: 1-0, 6 IP, 4.50 K/9, 1.50 ERA, 3.54 WHIP

Billingsley came off the disabled list on Wednesday and picked up the win in his 2013 debut, throwing six innings of one-run ball against the Padres. Yes, it was the Padres, at pitcher-friendly Petco Park, but it was still nice to see Billingsley start off on the right foot (and now especially with the Zack Greinke injury). I'm not a fan of the Buzzsaw, personally, but he was a very useful starter when he was on the field last year. In 149.1 innings, Billingsley finished with his best ERA (3.55) and best K:BB ratio (2.48) since 2008. He gets a Monday home start against the Padres, and if he could avoid the Carlos Quentin fireworks, I like him to pitch deep into the game.

Jake Westbrook (8.5% ESPN; 9% Yahoo!)
2013: 1-1, 15.2 IP, 2.30 K/9, 5.74 BB/9, 0.00 ERA, 1.34 WHIP

Westbrook has given up only one run (unearned) in two starts and is coming off a complete game shutout against a strong Cincinnati offense. I don't believe in Westbrook's hot start -- and looking at his strikeout and walk rates, how could you? -- but he gets a couple of favorable starts in Week 3, starting with a Tuesday matchup against Jonathan Sanchez and the Pirates. How bad has the Pirates offense been? Try this bad:

Ride out the hot streak and start Westbrook with confidence.

Erik Bedard (2.3% ESPN; 5% Yahoo!)
2013: 0-0, 7.1 IP, 6.14 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, 0.00 ERA, 0.55 WHIP

One thing I've learned in fantasy baseball: If you own Bedard, start him. He's going to get hurt sooner or later, so you might as well use him while you still can. Bedard gets two away matchups in Week 3 -- one against Milone and the Athletics on Monday and one against the Indians on Sunday -- and while the matchups might not seem great on paper, I say, "Who uses paper anymore?" In four career starts at O.co Coliseum, Bedard is 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA. He's catching the A's at the right time with Yoenis Cespedes landing on the DL, which leaves a big hole in the middle of Oakland's lineup. On Sunday, Bedard faces a Cleveland offense that's hitting a collective .241/.318/.435 and is middle of the pack in runs. If Bedard can keep the Indians in the yard, he has a great shot at picking up a win opposing Ubaldo Jimenez.

Alex Kantecki is a contributor at Fake Teams, Big Leagues Mag, Dobber Baseball and Vigilante Baseball. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotodealer.

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