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Two-Start Pitchers: Week 21 (Aug. 18-24)

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Ranking and tiering the two-start pitchers for Week 21, including Trevor Bauer, Jason Vargas and Kyle Hendricks.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Week 20 recommendations produced five wins: two from Collin McHugh and Tom Koehler, and one from Kyle Hendricks, whose second start was pushed back a day by the debut of Dan Straily. The threesome tossed four quality starts in five turns, recording a combined 2.08 ERA with 26 punch outs in 30 1/3 innings. (Pats back.) Week 21 has a midwestern theme, with two AL Central starters and one from the NL Central.

Results (through Week 20)

48-31
7.31 K/9
2.59 BB/9
3.53 ERA
1.19 WHIP

Start!

Max Scherzer: Tue-@TB (Archer), Sun-@MIN (Pino)
Chris Sale: Mon-BAL (Norris), Sun-@NYY (Capuano)
Stephen Strasburg: Tue-ARI (Anderson), Sun-SF (Vogelsong)
Jordan Zimmermann: Mon-ARI (Nuno), Sat-SF (Lincecum)

Tier 1

Ervin Santana: Mon-@PIT (Worley), Sat-@CIN (Leake)
Chris Archer: Tue-DET (Scherzer), Sun-@TOR (Hutchison)
Ian Kennedy: Tue-@LAD (Hernandez), Sun-@ARI (Anderson)
Jered Weaver: Tue-@BOS (Webster), Sun-@OAK (Lester)

Tier 2

Trevor Bauer: Tue-@MIN (Pino), Sun-HOU (Oberholtzer)
Kyle Hendricks: Mon-@NYM (Colon), Sat-BAL (Jimenez)
Bartolo Colon: Mon-CHC (Hendricks), Sun-@LAD (Hernandez)
Jason Vargas: Mon-@MIN (May), Sun-@TEX (Tepesch)
Chase Anderson: Tue-@WSH (Strasburg), Sun-SD (Kennedy)
Ryan Vogelsong: Tue-@CHC (Wada), Sun-@WSH (Strasburg)
Vance Worley: Mon-ATL (Santana), Sun-@MIL (Peralta)

Tier 3

Roenis Elias: Mon-@PHI (Williams), Sun-@BOS (Webster)
Nate Eovaldi: Tue-TEX (Mikolas), Sun-@COL (Flande)
C.J. Wilson: Mon-@BOS (Workman), Sat-@OAK (Gray)
Alfredo Simon: Tue-@STL (Lackey), Sun-ATL (Harang)
Roberto Hernandez: Tue-SD (Kennedy), Sun-NYM (Colon)
Tsuyoshi Wada: Tue-SF (Vogelsong), Sun-BAL (Gausman)
Brett Oberholtzer: Tue-@NYY (Capuano), Sun-@CLE (Bauer)
Aaron Harang: Tue-@PIT (Liriano), Sun-@CIN (Simon)
Mike Leake: Mon-@STL (Masterson), Sat-ATL (Santana)

Not this week

Chris Capuano: Tue-HOU (Oberholtzer), Sun-CWS (Sale)
Justin Masterson: Mon-CIN (Leake), Sun-@PHI (Williams)
Trevor May: Mon-KC (Vargas), Sat-DET, Gm. 2 (TBD)
Vidal Nuno: Mon-@WSH (Zimmermann), Sat-SD (Despaigne)
Yohan Pino: Tue-CLE (Bauer), Sun-DET (Scherzer)
Allen Webster: Tue-LAA (Weaver), Sun-SEA (Elias)
Jerome Williams: Mon-SEA (Elias), Sun-STL (Masterson)
Brandon Workman: Mon-LAA (Wilson), Sat-SEA (Young)

My Week 21 Picks

Trevor Bauer, Indians
2014: 4-7, 107.2 IP, 8.44 K/9, 3.43 BB/9, 33.4 GB%, 4.35 ERA, 1.42 WHIP

Bauer had his best outing of the season his last time out against the Diamondbacks, twirling eight innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out nine. Bauer didn't earn the win, but the 23-year-old right-hander gets two winnable starts in Week 21: at Minnesota and versus Houston. Both the Twins and Astros have been better in the second half, but the opportunity for a double-digit strikeout game is there. Houston owns the third highest strikeout rate at 23.1 percent, and Minnesota isn't far behind at 21.2 percent (seventh highest). Bauer has shown improvement with better control and his velocity is back up to 94 mph (up from 92). In most weeks Bauer is a risky proposition, but two ideal matchups make him a smart two-start add.

Jason Vargas, Royals
2014: 9-5, 143.1 IP, 6.03 K/9, 1.82 BB/9, 40.3 GB%, 3.45 ERA, 1.21 WHIP

It's been awhile since I've included Vargas in the two-start column, but the Royals are on fire and so is the underrated veteran lefty. Vargas is doing Vargas things, inducing weak contact, commanding the strike zone and pitching quality innings. Fifteen of 22 starts have been of the quality variety, including seven out of his last ten. Over the last 30 days, Vargas has a 2.95 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 14 strikeouts and no walks in 18-plus innings. He gets the Twins and Rangers on the road in Week 21, which makes Vargas an easy call in the two-starter universe.

Kyle Hendricks, Cubs
2014: 4-1, 41.2 IP, 5.62 K/9, 1.94 BB/9, 51.2 GB%, 1.73 ERA, 1.01 WHIP

Hendricks was a recommendation last week, but his two-start status was foiled by the Cubs debut of Dan Straily. That makes Hendricks a two-starter again, with matchups against the Mets on the road and the Orioles at home. In Hendricks' one start last week, he continued an impressive run with seven-plus shutout innings against the Brewers. Hendricks has made five straight quality starts and has walked only six batters over his last 35 2/3 innings. The second matchup against Baltimore isn't ideal, but Hendricks is a ground-ball pitcher who doesn't figure to give up many big flies (two home runs in 41 2/3 innings so far).

Stats from FanGraphs.com.