I prepared this week's two-starter piece two days in advance as I am getting up super early on Sunday -- yes, I most times write these in a daze on Sunday morning -- to cheer on a friend who is racing in a triathlon while I calmly sip my coffee on the sideline. The point of telling you all of this is that I can only tell you how my Week 12 recommendations have performed through Friday's games, meaning none have pitched their second game. I do know that Jason Vargas has an armpit injury, which is both odd and unfortunate. Everyone but Dan Straily pitched well in their first start of the week, and I obviously predict three perfect games from Straily, Dillon Gee and Jordan Lyles in their second turns.
Cliff Lee: Mon-@SD (Stults), Sat-@LAD (Ryu)
Yu Darvish: Tue-@NYY (Kuroda), Sun-CIN (Latos)
Gio Gonzalez: Tue-ARI (Cahill), Sun-@NYM (Wheeler)
Chris Sale: Tue-NYM (Wheeler), Sun-CLE (Masterson)
Madison Bumgarner: Mon-@LAD (Ryu), Sun-@COL (Nicasio)
Hyun-Jin Ryu: Mon-SF (Bumgarner), Sat-PHI (Lee)
Ervin Santana: Tue-ATL (Medlen), Sun-@MIN (Correia)
Hiroki Kuroda: Tue-TEX (Darvish), Sun-@BAL (Tillman)
Pretty, pretty good
Eric Stults: Mon-PHI (Lee), Sun-@MIA (Eovaldi)
Zack Wheeler: Tue-@CWS (Sale), Sun-WSH (Gonzalez)
Rick Porcello: Tue-LAA (Wilson), Sun-@TB (Moore)
Kyle Kendrick: Tue-@SD (Marquis), Sun-@LAD (Capuano)
Chris Tillman: Tue-CLE (Masterson), Sun-NYY (Kuroda)
Ryan Dempster: Tue-COL (Nicasio), Sun-TOR (Buehrle)
C.J. Wilson: Tue-@DET (Porcello), Sun-@HOU (Lyles)
Kyle Lohse: Tue-CHC (Jackson), Sun-@PIT (Morton)
Kevin Correia: Tue-@MIA (Fernandez), Sun-KC (Santana)
Edwin Jackson: Tue-@MIL (Lohse), Sun-@SEA (Bonderman)
Trevor Cahill: Tue-@WSH (Gonzalez), Sun-@ATL (Maholm)
Matt Moore: Tue-TOR (Buehrle), Sun-DET (Porcello)
Play the matchups
Justin Masterson: Tue-@BAL (Tillman), *Sun-@CWS (Sale)
Esmil Rogers: *Mon-@TB (Hellickson), Sat-@BOS (Doubront)
Jeremy Hellickson: *Mon-TOR (Rogers), Sat-DET (Verlander)
Mark Buehrle: *Tue-@TB (Moore), Sun-@BOS (Dempster)
Not this week
Zach Britton: Mon-CLE (Jimenez), Sat-NYY (Sabathia)
Ubaldo Jimenez: Mon-@BAL (Britton), Sat-@CWS (Axelrod)
Juan Nicasio: Tue-@BOS (Dempster), Sun-SF (Bumgarner)
Eric Stults (24.8% ESPN; 34% Yahoo!)
2013: 6-5, 97 IP, 5.85 K/9, 1.86 BB/9, 3.25 ERA, 1.09 WHIP
I discussed Eric Stults in my weekly Risers and Fallers on Tuesday, and the Friars' vet made me look good by pitching 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball against the Giants the very next day. He didn't earn the win because he's not named Jason Marquis -- seriously, what the hell? -- and he only had three strikeouts, but it marked the fifth straight start of going six innings or more and surrendering two runs or less. Over his last five turns, Stults is 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and a 25:3 K:BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings. San Diego pitchers in general are a wise streaming option at home, and Stults has made good at Petco with a 2.90 ERA over 40 1/3 innings of home cooking. He has one at home and one on the road in Week 13, but the latter is in yummy Miami. No reason to over think it here: Stults is a solid two-starter and should be started in all formats.
Rick Porcello (29.1% ESPN; 28% Yahoo!)
2013: 4-4, 76 IP, 7.46 K/9, 1.54 BB/9, 4.74 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
About a month ago, I jumped into Rick Porcello waters for the very first time. Not being a strong swimmer, I decided to get out at the first hint of danger. But as I initially doggy paddled to avoid sinking to the bottom, Porcello Bay became a pool of ease and relaxation. I no longer had to obsessively kick myself to the surface and I even caught a glimpse of Kate Upton -- most likely on her departure from Justin Verlander Island -- in mermaid form. From previous swimmers, I had heard of how wavy and rocky Porcello Bay could be, but my experience was nothing of the same. It was the complete opposite. I didn't need to get out. I could stay in forever and never prune. Then on Wednesday, it happened: I got my first prune. Kate Upton disappeared; Mike Ilitch appeared, also in mermaid form. As I sunk farther and farther down, I desperately reached for the surface, but it was no use. Porcello Bay had me in its unforgiving grasp, in a purgatory between ecstasy and terror. I had a choice: I could sink to the bottom and become fish food for a school of Jose Valverde piranhas, or I could continue to kick and scream my way to the top and hope to see her again. I'm choosing the latter. If you saw Kate Upton as a mermaid, you would too.
Bottom line (as I'm sure I've lost most of you): stick with Porcello, at least for one more week. And be sure to read Daniel Kelley's unfortunately-timed Porcello piece here at Fake Teams.
Kyle Kendrick (35.3% ESPN; 48% Yahoo!)
2013: 6-4, 98.2 IP, 5.66 K/9, 2.37 BB/9, 3.56 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
In between beach day and a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Kyle Kendrick gets to play baseball in the comfy digs of Petco and Dodger Stadium, homes of broken dreams and offenses. OK, so there are a couple of threatening bats -- like the soon-to-regress Yasiel Puig and the monster-sized Kyle Blanks -- but on the whole, the Padres and the Dodgers are generally considered below-average offenses. Kendrick has slipped from his early-season awesomeness, pitching with a 4.74 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and an underwhelming 4.74 strikeouts per nine over his last 38 innings. His plunge to mediocrity in Philly has been reflected in his ownership rates, especially in ESPN leagues, where he's being dropped like a bad cheese steak habit. While he's probably closer to a pitcher with a skill set of a 4.00 ERA -- his FIP is 3.94 and his xFIP is 4.10 -- Kendrick has shown that he can take advantage of mediocre lineups. You can take advantage, too. He's probably not one to keep in leagues smaller than 12, but he's a pretty reliable streamer in obvious plus matchups (minus one bad start at Washington on May 24).
Kevin Correia (3.0% ESPN; 8% Yahoo!)
2013: 6-4, 88.1 IP, 4.89 K/9, 1.32 BB/9, 3.87 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
Everyone's favorite whipping boy, Kevin Correia brings a string of three consecutive quality starts into Week 13. Though not quite as bad as Jeremy Bonderman, Correia's 4.89 K/9 rate leaves a lot to be desired among fantasy baseball enthusiasts. But there is some positive news on the strikeout front: the
hard-throwing right-hander has collected 19 punch outs over his last 18 innings of work, including two games of six (White Sox; Phillies) and one game of seven (Nationals). It is hard recommending Correia, it really is, but on deck for the Minnesota starter is an away start against the Marlins and a home start against the Royals. Correia has allowed 15 home runs in 88 1/3 innings, which has led to a career-worst 15.0% HR/FB rate, so you kind of expect a Giancarlo Stanton blast or two coming in Game 1. Given Correia's strong performance in his last three outings, I'm willing to roll the dice in some fantastic matchups. I have Correia ranked ahead of Edwin Jackson and Matt Moore (!), both of whom carry some scary WHIP downside. Correia's a smidge safer right now, so he's my man for one week (fingers crossed).
Alex Kantecki is a fantasy baseball writer for Fake Teams. He also writes the "Closer Chronicle" for Vigilante Baseball every Thursday, ranking and tiering all 30 MLB closers. You can follow Alex on Twitter at @rotodealer.