Two-Start Pitchers: Week 22 (Sep. 2-8)

Ronald Martinez

Alex Kantecki ranks the two-start pitchers for Week 22 and recommends a few worth using, including Ian Kennedy, Jose Quintana, Erasmo Ramirez and Danny Duffy.

Week 22 offers another lackluster selection of two-starters, with not a whole lot of options that are widely available. Last week's selection's were a mixed bag, with Jon Niese (W, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) continuing his hot streak, Tyson Ross (6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) just missing out on a quality start and Jarred Cosart (6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 4 K) taming the White Sox. Niese and Ross both go today, while Cosart's second start was pushed back to Tuesday.

Start!

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Mon-@COL (Bettis), Sun-@CIN (Bailey)
Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Mon-@PHI (Hamels), Sun-@MIA (Alvarez)
Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Mon-@KC (Duffy), Sat-TB (Archer)
Mat Latos (CIN) -- Mon-STL (Wainwright), Sat-LAD (Greinke)
Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Mon-WSH (Strasburg), Sun-ATL (Maholm)
Homer Bailey (CIN) -- Tue-STL (TBD), Sun-LAD (Kershaw)
Adam Wainwright (STL) -- Mon-@CIN (Latos), Sat-PIT (TBD)
Chris Sale (CWS) -- Tue-@NYY (Kuroda), Sun-@BAL (Tillman)
Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Tue-@SD (Erlin), Sun-ARI (Miley)
Derek Holland (TEX) -- Mon-@OAK (Straily), Sun-@LAA (Vargas)

Pretty, pretty good

Justin Masterson (CLE) -- Mon-BAL (Norris), Sun-NYM (Matsuzaka)
Travis Wood (CHC) -- Mon-MIA (Alvarez), Sun-MIL (Gorzelanny)
Wade Miley (ARI) -- Tue-TOR (Rogers), Sun-@SF (Bumgarner)
Chris Archer (TB) -- Mon-@LAA (Richards), Sat-@SEA (Hernandez)
John Lackey (BOS) -- Mon-DET (Fister), Sat-@NYY (Pettitte)
Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Tue-@CLE (Jimenez), Sun-CWS (Sale)
Doug Fister (DET) -- Mon-@BOS (Lackey), Sun-@KC (Chen)
Jon Lester (BOS) -- Tue-DET (Scherzer), Sun-@NYY (Kuroda)
Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) -- Tue-CWS (Sale), Sun-BOS (Lester)
Matt Moore (TB) -- Tue-@LAA (Vargas), Sun-@SEA (Ramirez)
Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Mon-SF (Petit), Sun-COL (Bettis)
Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Mon-@NYY (Pettitte), Sat-@BAL (Norris)
Erasmo Ramirez (SEA) -- Tue-@KC (Chen), Sun-TB (Moore)
Danny Duffy (KC) -- Mon-SEA (Hernandez), Sat-DET (Verlander)
Paul Maholm (ATL) -- Mon-NYM (Matsuzaka), Sun-@PHI (Hamels)
Charlie Morton (PIT) -- Mon-@MIL (Gorzelanny), Sun-@STL (TBD)

Play the matchups

Bruce Chen (KC) -- *Tue-SEA (Ramirez), Sun-DET (Fister)
Andy Pettitte (NYY) -- *Mon-CWS (Quintana), Sat-BOS (Lackey)
Andrew Albers (MIN) -- *Mon-@HOU (Clemens), Sun-TOR (Redmond)
Dan Straily (OAK) -- Mon-TEX (Holland), *Sat-HOU (Oberholtzer)
Bartolo Colon (OAK) -- Tue-TEX (Perez), *Sun-HOU (Clemens)
Bud Norris (BAL) -- Mon-@CLE (Masterson), *Sat-CWS (Quintana)

Not this week

Henderson Alvarez (MIA) -- Mon-@CHC (Wood), Sun-WSH (Strasburg)
Chad Bettis (COL) -- Mon-LAD (Kershaw), Sun-@SD (Kennedy)
Paul Clemens (HOU) -- Mon-MIN (Albers), Sun-@OAK (Colon)
Tom Gorzelanny (MIL) -- Mon-PIT (Morton), Sun-@CHC (Wood)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (NYM) -- Mon-@ATL (Maholm), Sun-@CLE (Masterson)
Brandon McCarthy (ARI) -- Mon-TOR (Redmond), Sat-@SF (Petit)
Yusmeiro Petit (SF) -- Mon-@SD (Kennedy), Sat-ARI (McCarthy)
Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Mon-TB (Archer), Sat-TEX (Blackley)
Todd Redmond (TOR) -- Mon-@ARI (McCarthy), Sun-@MIN (Albers)
Jason Vargas (LAA) -- Tue-TB (Moore), Sun-TEX (Holland)

My picks

Ian Kennedy (31.9% ESPN; 62% Yahoo!)
2013: 5-9, 153.2 IP, 7.91 K/9, 3.87 BB/9, 5.10 ERA, 1.42 WHIP

For Kennedy, it's all about the (home) matchups. Since coming over to the Padres, the former 21-game winner is 2-1 with a 4.55 ERA and 27:18 K:BB ratio in 29 2/3 innings. No, that's not great, but he has tallied both wins in Petco Park, where he's posted a 3.65 ERA in three home starts while with the Padres. That's important because Kennedy faces a couple of familiar opponents when the Giants and Rockies visit San Diego in Week 22. San Francisco is a complete mess right now and Kennedy has fared well against Colorado in his career -- he's 3-3 with a 2.96 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 85 innings. I'm staying far, far away from Kennedy on the road, but I'll roll with him in San Diego, where he's 5-2 with 2.72 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in nine career starts.

Jose Quintana (16.3% ESPN; 24% Yahoo!)
2013: 7-4, 164.2 IP, 7.54 K/9, 2.62 BB/9, 3.66 ERA, 1.23 WHIP

Quintana may be the most underrated starter going in baseball right now -- his 3.4 fWAR is tied with Hiroki Kuroda and Justin Masterson for 19th best among starters -- yet he's still available in over 75 percent of leagues. I understand part of that is because Quintana's White Sox teammates aren't very good, but he's succeeded all year despite a bad team in Chicago. I won't say much more about Quintana because I've recommended him twice before, but he's already dominated his Week 22 opponents, the Orioles (7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K) and Yankees (6.2 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K), earlier this season.

Erasmo Ramirez (1.8% ESPN; 7% Yahoo!)
2013: 5-1, 48.2 IP, 7.77 K/9, 2.59 BB/9, 5.18 ERA, 1.34 WHIP

Ramirez has been a lot better than his 5.18 ERA indicates, with a 3.96 xFIP that's over a full run better. In eight starts, the 23-year old has struck out 42 batters and walked 14 in 48 2/3 innings, and he was even better in August, posting a 3.90 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 28:6 K:BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. You can attest a lot of the bad luck to nine home runs and an awfully low 67.4 percent strand rates (the league average is 73.4 percent). I expect some of that unluckiness to even itself out over the course of the final month. While his matchups aren't the greatest on paper (at Royals; vs. Rays), the pickings are slim in Week 22. Ramirez has won five out of his last seven decisions.

Danny Duffy (6.6% ESPN; 9% Yahoo!)
2013: 2-0 16.1 IP, 9.37 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 1.10 ERA, 1.04 WHIP

Duffy is coming off a pair of strong performances against the Twins and Tigers, allowing no runs with 10 strikeouts and three walks in 12 2/3 innings. In his first three starts back from Tommy John surgery, the 24-year old has looked sharp with 17 strikeouts and five walks in 16 1/3 innings, in addition to a first-pitch strike rate of 63.1 percent -- up from 53 percent in his career. Duffy gets two home starts in Week 22, starting with the Mariners and ending with the Tigers. Seattle can't hit a lick against southpaws and Duffy has already shown he can beat a strong Detroit lineup. His velocity isn't all the way back (95.3 mph in 2012; 93.8 in 2013), but he's looked completely healthy for a Royals team making a push for the playoffs.

Alex Kantecki also writes for Vigilante Baseball and The Dynasty Guru. You can poke him on Twitter at @rotodealer.

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