Two-Start Pitchers: Week 24 (Sep. 16-22)

Thearon W. Henderson

Alex Kantecki ranks the two-start pitchers for Week 24 and recommends a few worth using, including Andrew Cashner, Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir.

I can sum up my Week 23 recommendations in one word: Ubaldo! Jimenez made my suggestion to start the erratic right-hander a very good one, as he went 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 18 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings. Dillon Gee was average in his first start against the Nationals while Jhoulys Chacin continued his breakout season against the Giants. Both starters are on the bump for start No. 2 today.


Cliff Lee (PHI) -- Mon-MIA (TBD), Sun-NYM (Gee)
Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Tue-@ARI (Corbin), Sun-@SD (Ross)
Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Tue-SEA (Maurer), Sun-CWS (Sale)
James Shields (KC) -- Mon-CLE (Kazmir), Sun-TEX (Tepesch)
A.J. Burnett (PIT) -- Mon-SD (Cashner), Sat-CIN (Arroyo)
Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- Tue-LAD (Greinke), Sun-@COL (Nicasio)
C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Mon-@OAK (Gray), Sun-SEA (Maurer)
Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) -- Mon-@ARI (Cahill), Sat-@SD (Cashner)

Pretty, pretty good

Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Mon-@PIT (Burnett), Sat-LAD (Ryu)
Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Mon-LAA (Wilson), Sat-MIN (Hernandez)
Scott Kazmir (CLE) -- Mon-@KC (Shields), Sat-HOU (Clemens)
A.J. Griffin (OAK) -- Tue-LAA (Richards), Sun-MIN (Hendriks)
Alex Cobb (TB) -- Mon-TEX (Garza), Sat-BAL (Gonzalez)
Rick Porcello (DET) -- Mon-SEA (Saunders), Sat-CWS (Rienzo)
Andy Pettitte (NYY) -- Tue-@TOR (Dickey), Sun-SF (Petit)
Matt Garza (TEX) -- Mon-@TB (Cobb), Sat-@KC (Guthrie)
Yusmeiro Petit (SF) -- Tue-@NYM (Wheeler), Sun-@NYY (Pettitte)
Mike Leake (CIN) -- Mon-@HOU (Bedard), Sun-@PIT (Locke)
Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Tue-@KC (Duffy), Sun-HOU (Bedard)
Scott Feldman (BAL) -- Tue-@BOS (Dempster), Sun-@TB (Hellickson)
Tyson Ross (SD) -- Tue-@PIT (Locke), Sun-LAD (Greinke)
Dan Haren (WSH) -- Mon-ATL (Minor), Sat-MIA (Koehler)
Tanner Roark (WSH) -- Tue-ATL (Wood), Sun-MIA (TBD)

Play the matchups

R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- *Tue-NYY (Pettitte), Sun-@BOS (Dempster)
Joe Kelly (STL) -- Tue-@COL (Nicasio), *Sun-@MIL (Peralta)
Jeff Locke (PIT) -- *Tue-SD (Ross), Sun-CIN (Leake)
Edwin Jackson (CHC) -- Mon-@MIL (Peralta), *Sun-ATL (Teheran)
Trevor Cahill (ARI) -- *Mon-LAD (Ryu), Sat-@COL (De La Rosa)

Not this week

Erik Bedard (HOU) -- Mon-CIN (Leake), Sun-@CLE (Kluber)
Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Mon-STL (Lynn), Sat-ARI (Cahill)
Ryan Dempster (BOS) -- Tue-BAL (Feldman), Sun-TOR (Dickey)
Jeremy Hellickson (TB) -- Tue-TEX (Tepesch), Sun-BAL (Feldman)
Liam Hendriks (MIN) -- Mon-@CWS (Johnson), Sun-@OAK (Griffin)
Lance Lynn (STL) -- Mon-@COL (De La Rosa), Sat-@MIL (Gallardo)
Brandon Maurer (SEA) -- Tue-@DET (Sanchez), Sun-@LAA (Wilson)
Juan Nicasio (COL) -- Tue-STL (Kelly), Sun-ARI (Corbin)
Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Mon-CHC (Jackson), Sun-STL (Kelly)
Joe Saunders (SEA) -- Mon-@DET (Porcello), Sat-@LAA (Williams)
Nick Tepesch (TEX) -- Tue-@TB (Hellickson), Sun-@KC (Shields)

My picks

Andrew Cashner (11.8% ESPN; 33% Yahoo!)
2013: 9-8, 159 IP, 6.45 K/9, 2.66 BB/9, 3.40 ERA, 1.21 WHIP

Still available in about 90 percent of ESPN leagues, Cashner hasn't allowed more than three runs in 10 straight starts, posting a 2.78 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings since July 10. He's gone seven innings or more in six out of his last seven starts while striking out seven batters in four out of his last five. On paper, Cashner's Week 24 opponents aren't the most attractive (at Pirates; Dodgers), but he faced both offenses in August and had success (1.29 ERA; 10 strikeouts in 14 innings). The Padres starter has a 2.72 ERA and 19.4 percent strikeout rate in the second half, compared to a 3.81 ERA and 16.2 percent strikeout rate in the first half. He just needs San Diego's offense to support him a little more. Cashner did lose his two-starter status a week ago as the Padres attempt to limit the young starter's innings, but he's expected to go twice in Week 24.

Sonny Gray (44.4% ESPN; 39% Yahoo!)
2013: 3-3, 48 IP, 9.56 K/9, 2.63 BB/9, 2.63 ERA, 1.04 WHIP

Gray's big league career is off to an extraordinary start, as the 23-year old rookie has posted a 2.63 ERA/2.34 FIP/2.83 xFIP through his first seven starts for the Athletics. The right-hander is getting it done with a 52 percent ground ball rate and 28.3 percent fly ball rate, which has led to only two home runs allowed in 48 innings. Outside of one bad start in Baltimore, Gray has pitched sensationally against all other competition, going 3-2 with a 1.77 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings. He's struck out seven or more in five out of his last six turns, and he's averaged over six innings per start since joining Oakland's rotation. Gray faces the Angels and Twins at home in Week 24, where he's holding opposing batters to a .171/.209/.238 slash. Start Gray in all formats.

Scott Kazmir (5.5% ESPN; 17% Yahoo!)
2013: 8-8, 140 IP, 8.68 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 4.24 ERA, 1.34 WHIP

It's been an up-and-down year for Kazmir, but the high points have outweighed the low points. While he's posted a 4.24 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 26 starts, his 3.87 FIP and 3.57 xFIP show he's been much better than that. Kazmir has limited the damage with a 41 percent ground ball rate and 36.2 percent fly ball rate, which are both better than his career numbers of 39.1 percent and 42.2 percent, respectively. But probably the biggest improvement for the 29-year old is a 7.2 percent walk rate, which represents the lowest walk rate of his career. Striking out nearly a batter per inning, Kazmir should help you out in the K column in Week 24 when he faces the free-swinging Astros (25.3 percent team strikeout rate) in his second start of the week. Over his last 15 starts, Kazmir has a 3.18 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 85 innings.

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

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