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Two-Start Pitchers: Week 17 (Aug. 3-9)

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Ranking and tiering the two-start pitchers in Week 17, including Patrick Corbin, Jimmy Nelson and Mike Fiers.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

As we get deeper into the season, it's getting harder and harder to put a dent into the overall numbers (thanks to an atrocious start), but we're steadily climbing down the ladder. Kyle Hendricks provided one good start and one bad start, while Nathan Karns and Robbie Ray each earned victories and quality starts in their first turn. Karns faces the Red Sox in Boston, and Ray travels to Houston to take on the Astros on Sunday.

My results so far

28-35 (85 starts, 45 quality starts)
4.52 ERA
6.61 K/9
2.49 BB/9
1.33 WHIP

Start!

Max Scherzer: Tue-ARI (Corbin), Sun-COL (Butler)
Corey Kluber: Mon-@LAA (Richards), Sun-MIN (Hughes)
Felix Hernandez: Mon-@COL (Butler), Sun-TEX (Lewis)
Francisco Liriano: Mon-CHC (Lester), Sun-LAD (Wood)
Jake Arrieta: Tue-@PIT (Burnett), Sun-SF (Peavy)
David Price: Mon-MIN (Santana), Sat-@NYY (Nova)
Jon Lester: Mon-@PIT (Liriano), Sat-SF (Cain)
Masahiro Tanaka: Tue-BOS (Porcello), Sun-TOR (Estrada)

Tier 1

Jake Odorizzi: Mon-@CWS (Quintana), Sun-NYM (Colon)
Garrett Richards: Mon-CLE (Kluber), Sun-BAL (Tillman)
Jose Quintana: Mon-TB (Odorizzi), Sun-@KC (Duffy)
Shelby Miller: Tue-SF (Peavy), Sun-MIA (Nicolino)
Tyson Ross: Mon-@MIL (Peralta), Sat-PHI (Nola)
John Lackey: Tue-@CIN (DeSclafani), Sun-@MIL (Nelson)

Tier 2

Patrick Corbin: Tue-@WSH (Scherzer), Sun-CIN (DeSclafani)
Mike Fiers: Mon-@TEX (Lewis), Sat-@OAK (Chavez)
Lance McCullers: Tue-@TEX (Gallardo), Sun-@OAK (Bassitt)
Marco Estrada: Tue-MIN (Hughes), Sun-@NYY (Tanaka)
Jimmy Nelson: Tue-SD (Cashner), Sun-STL (Lackey)
Alex Wood: Tue-@PHI (Morgan), Sun-@PIT (Liriano)
Bartolo Colon: Mon-@MIA (Koehler), Sun-@TB (Odorizzi)
Andrew Cashner: Tue-@MIL (Nelson), Sun-PHI (Morgan)
Jesse Chavez: Mon-BAL (Tillman), Sat-HOU (Fiers)

Tier 3

Tom Koehler: Mon-NYM (Colon), Sat-@ATL (Foltynewicz)
Matt Cain: Mon-@ATL (Foltynewicz), Sat-@CHC (Lester)
Justin Verlander: Tue-KC (Duffy), Sun-BOS (Porcello)
Ervin Santana: Mon-@TOR (Price), Sat-@CLE (Bauer)
Chris Bassitt: Tue-BAL (Gonzalez), Sun-HOU (McCullers)
Wily Peralta: Mon-SD (Ross), Sat-STL (Garcia)
Jake Peavy: Tue-@ATL (Miller), Sun-@CHC (Arrieta)
Danny Duffy: Tue-@DET (Verlander), Sun-CWS (Quintana)
Justin Nicolino: Tue-NYM (Niese), Sun-@ATL (Miller)
Phil Hughes: Tue-@TOR (Estrada), Sun-@CLE (Kluber)

Not this week

Eddie Butler: Mon-SEA (Hernandez), Sun-@WSH (Scherzer)
Anthony DeSclafani: Tue-STL (Lackey), Sun-@ARI (Corbin)
Doug Fister: Mon-ARI (Godley), Sat-COL (Flande)
Mike Foltynewicz: Mon-SF (Cain), Sat-MIA (Koehler)
Zack Godley: Mon-@WSH (Fister), Sat-CIN (TBD)
Colby Lewis: Mon-HOU (Fiers), Sun-@SEA (Hernandez)
Adam Morgan: Tue-LAD (Wood), Sun-@SD (Cashner)
Rick Porcello: Tue-@NYY (Tanaka), Sun-@DET (Verlander)

My Week 17 Picks

Patrick Corbin (@WAS, CIN)
2015: 2-3, 3.21 ERA, 5.80 K/BB, 4.08 FIP, 1.00 WHIP

Corbin has been great in his return from Tommy John surgery, posting a 3.21 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over five starts for the Diamondbacks. The 26-year-old left-hander has allowed 1, 1, 2, 4, and 2 runs in his five turns, and he finally got over the five-inning hump in his last start, posting quality starts against the Brewers and Mariners. His velocity (92.7 mph) is higher now that it was in 2013 (92.1), and he's generating a career high 11.8 percent swinging strike rate so far (albeit in just five starts), including a 37.1 percent swing rate on pitches outside of the strike zone, thanks to a more whiff-friendly slider and change. The Nationals are middle of the pack with a .301 wOBA against southpaws, lessening concerns about Bryce Harper and Washington's lineup.

Jimmy Nelson (SD, MIL)
2015: 8-9, 3.76 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 2,34 K/BB, 1.26 WHIP

Nelson has been superb in the second half, posting a 1.33 ERA and 21/9 K/BB ratio in 20 1/3 innings. Over his last 33 frames, he's allowed only six earned runs (1.64 ERA), while striking out 8.73 batters per nine.  Nelson seems to be putting it together after his worst month in June (5.56 ERA). He threw four quality starts in five turns in July, striking out 32 batters in 33 innings and holding opponents to a .211 average, leading the 26-year-old right-hander to his best month of the season (1.64 ERA, 3.20 FIP). Better yet, five out of the last seven games have resulted in a win for Nelson. In Week 17, Nelson gets a couple of home matchups against the Padres and Cardinals. While St. Louis looks like its coming out of an offensive funk, San Diego was one of the worst offensive clubs in July, scoring the second fewest runs (74) in baseball (Atlanta; 72). Nelson has also been at his best at home, recording a 3.54 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 61 innings (compared to a 3.95 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings on the road).

Mike Fiers (@TEX, @OAK)
2015: 5-9, 3.89 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 2.81 K/BB, 1.36 WHIP

While Carlos Gomez was the headliner of the Houston and Milwaukee trade, Fiers is going to be a very valuable piece down the stretch for the Astros. The 30-year-old right-hander isn't on pace to top his breakout 2012 campaign in terms of fWAR or FIP, but he'll fit in nicely as a No. 3 after Dallas Keuchel and Scott Kazmir. While Fier's walk rate has climbed above eight percent, he's still generating plenty of whiffs, leading to a K/9 rate over nine for the second straight year. Texas has caught fire and is a risky play, but Fiers has a chance to have a monster game against the Athletics in Oakland in his second turn. The Athletics hit just .224 during the month of July with 76 runs score (third fewest) and 15 home runs (last in baseball). While a switch to the American League is usually a bad thing, Fiers should be owned in far more leagues (28 percent in ESPN). In his last five starts (Reds, Braves, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Giants), Fiers has posted a 3.19 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and a 28/10 K/BB ratio in 31 innings.

Stats from FanGraphs.com