Fantasy Baseball: Two-Start Pitchers for Week 5

Jeff Gross

Alex Kantecki ranks the two-start pitchers for Week 5 and recommends a few, including Jason Hammel, Wade Davis, Ted Lilly and Edinson Volquez.

Unlike the week before, I was a lot more confident in my picks last week and they all came through. In five starts, Patrick Corbin, Travis Wood, Bartolo Colon and Ricky Nolasco went a combined 3-0 and spun five quality starts. Corbin, Colon and Nolasco all go for a second time today, and as I recommended last week, I'd start all three with confidence. This week's selection isn't as deep and I had to do a little more digging, but I think I found a solid group of four for you to use in Week 5.

Start!
Justin Verlander: Tue-MIN (Worley), Sun-@HOU (Humber) 
Adam Wainwright: Mon-CIN (Latos), Sat-@MIL (Gallardo)
Yu Darvish: Tue-CWS (Quintana), Sun-BOS (Lester)
Stephen Strasburg: Mon-@ATL (Teheran), Sat-@PIT (Locke)
Mat Latos: Mon-@STL (Wainwright), Sun-@CHC (Jackson)
Matt Harvey: Mon-@MIA (Fernandez), Sun-@ATL (Hudson)
Jon Lester: Tue-@TOR (Morrow), Sun-@TEX (Darvish)
Max Scherzer: Mon-MIN (Pelfrey), Sat-@HOU (Harrell)
James Shields: Tue-TB (Cobb), Sun-CWS (Quintana)
Jeff Samardzija: Mon-SD (Richard), Sat-CIN (Cingrani)
Gio Gonzalez: Tue-@ATL (Hudson), Sun-@PIT (Rodriguez)
Matt Cain: Mon-@ARI (Kennedy), Sun-LAD (Lilly)
Roy Halladay: Tue-@CLE (McAllister), Sun-MIA (Slowey)
Ian Kennedy: Mon-SF (Cain), Sun-@SD (Volquez)
Pretty, pretty good
Alex Cobb: Tue-@KC (Shields), Sun-@COL (Chacin)
Jaime Garcia: Tue-CIN (Arroyo), Sun-@MIL (Estrada)
Tim Hudson: Tue-WSH (Gonzalez), Sun-NYM (Harvey)
Andy Pettitte: Mon-HOU (Harrell), Sun-OAK (Anderson)
Yovani Gallardo: Mon-PIT (Rodriguez), Sat-STL (Wainwright)
Marco Estrada: Tue-PIT (McDonald), Sun-STL (Garcia)
Edwin Jackson: Tue-SD (Volquez), Sun-CIN (Latos)
Jason Hammel: Tue-@SEA (Maurer), Sun-@LAA (Richards)
Brandon Morrow: Tue-BOS (Lester), Sun-SEA (Saunders)
Wandy Rodriguez: Mon-@MIL (Gallardo), Sun-WSH (Gonzalez)
Wade Davis: Mon-CLE (Kluber), Sat-CWS (Axelrod)
Ted Lilly: Mon-COL (Chatwood), Sun-@SF (Cain)
Play the matchups
Jose Fernandez: Mon-NYM (Harvey), Sat-@PHI (Hamels)
Brett Anderson: Mon-LAA (Hanson), Sun-@NYY (Pettitte)
Garrett Richards: Tue-@OAK (Parker), Sun-BAL (Hammel)
Jose Quintana: Tue-@TEX (Darvish), Sun-@KC (Shields)
Edinson Volquez: Tue-@CHC (Jackson), Sun-ARI (Kennedy)
Julio Teheran: Mon-WSH (Strasburg), Sat-NYM (Niese)
Tommy Hanson: Mon-@OAK (Anderson), Sat-BAL (TBD)
Not this week
Corey Kluber: Mon-@KC (Davis), Sun-MIN (Pelfrey)
Mike Pelfrey: Mon-@DET (Scherzer), Sun-@CLE (Kluber)
Joe Saunders: Mon-BAL (TBD), Sun-@TOR (Morrow)
Kevin Slowey: Tue-NYM (Hefner), Sun-@PHI (Halladay)
Clayton Richard: Mon-@CHC (Samardzija), Sat-ARI (Corbin)
Lucas Harrell: Mon-@NYY (Pettitte), Sat-DET (Scherzer)
Philip Humber: Tue-@NYY (Kuroda), Sun-DET (Verlander)
My Two-Start Picks

Jason Hammel (10.1% ESPN; 44% Yahoo!)
2013: 3 W, 4.70 K/9, 2.93 BB/9, 3.82 ERA, 1.14 WHIP

If you drafted Jason Hammel hoping that his outlier 22.9 percent strikeout rate from 2012 would carry over to 2013, you've probably been disappointed at the early season results. Hammel's current strikeout rate of 12.5 percent is easily worse off than his career rate of 16.6 percent, but on a good note, Hammel has picked up three wins in five starts with three quality starts. He's pitching way over his head right now (5.24 xFIP; 5.07 SIERA), but his matchups in Week 5 don't scare me one bit. In his first game on Tuesday, Hammel faces a Mariners team that is 23rd in runs and 24th in batting average. In his second matchup on Sunday, he faces an Angels' team that has limited experience against him, as only four Angels' regulars (Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo) have faced Hammel. I don't think Hammel can sustain success all season long with his current ratios, but doing it for one more week with good matchups wouldn't surprise me.

Wade Davis (7.3% ESPN; 16% Yahoo!)
2013: 2 W, 7.78 K/9, 3.20 BB/9, 3.20 ERA, 1.68 WHIP

After a successful year in the pen last season (70.1 IP, 87:29 K:BB, 2.43 ERA), Wade Davis is making the transition to starter with the Royals and so far the results have been mixed. He's really only had one awful start and that came against a Detroit team that's leading the league with a .279 batting average. Davis has two quality starts in four starts this season, and his 7.8 percent walk rate represents a career best. Davis gets two home starts in Kansas City against the White Sox and Indians in Week 5, and he's 5-1 in six starts combined against the two teams. Both Cleveland and Chicago rely on the home run to generate a lot of their offensive production, so if Davis can keep the ball in the park, he could sneak out of the week with two wins.

Ted Lilly (1.9% ESPN; 5% Yahoo!)
2013: 0 W, 12.60 K/9, 3.60 BB/9, 1.80 ERA, 1.60 WHIP

Making his first start since September shoulder surgery, Ted Lilly held the Mets to one run in five innings with seven strikeouts and two walks on Wednesday. In his last full season in 2011, Lilly made 33 starts and went 12-14 with a 3.97 ERA and a 158:51 K:BB ratio in 192.2 innings. He's the owner of a 20.1 percent career strikeout rate and 7.9 percent walk rate, but in limited action last year, those numbers were 15.1 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively. Lilly gets Colorado in his first start on Monday, and he's 10-2 with a 3.92 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 14 starts against the Rockies in his career. His second matchup is a friendly one against the Giants in San Francisco. The Giants are 24th in home runs with 15 and they are currently on a four-game slide.

Edinson Volquez (1.3% ESPN; 6% Yahoo!)
2013: 1 W, 5.33 K/9, 3.55 BB/9, 6.39 ERA, 1.74 WHIP

It's not often that I recommend Edinson Volquez for anything, but a limited selection of two-starters this week has my hands tied. Volquez gets a pair of favorable starts in Week 5, starting with a meeting in Chicago where the Cubs don't like to walk. Chicago's 5.9 percent walk rate is the lowest in the majors, and their 22.1 percent strikeout rate is sixth worst. In six career starts against Chicago, Volquez is 4-0 with a 2.21 ERA, including 2-0 at Wrigley. His second start against the Diamondbacks would worry me if it were in Arizona, but Volquez gets the snakes in San Diego, where he is 8-7 lifetime with a 3.04 ERA. I recommend Volquez for both starts this week, but I'll be watching with my hands close to my eyes.

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

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