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Two-Start Pitchers: Week 22 (Sept. 7-13)

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Ranking and tiering the two-start pitchers in Week 22, including Drew Smyly, Rick Porcello and Colin Rea.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

My results so far

39-42 (115 starts, 61 quality starts)
4.39 ERA
6.55 K/9
2.58 BB/9
1.32 WHIP

Start!

Clayton Kershaw: Mon-@LAA (Shoemaker), Sun-@ARI (Corbin)
Chris Sale: Mon-CLE (Anderson), Sun-MIN (Milone)
Max Scherzer: Mon-NYM (Niese), Sun-@MIA (Nicolino)
Cole Hamels: Tue-@SEA (Walker), Sun-OAK (Gray)
Masahiro Tanaka: Tue-BAL (Gausman), Sun-TOR (Dickey)
Francisco Liriano: Tue-@CIN (Iglesias), Sun-MIL (Jungmann)
Sonny Gray: Mon-HOU (Kazmir), Sun-@TEX (Hamels)

Tier 1

Scott Kazmir: Mon-@OAK (Gray), Sun-@LAA (Shoemaker)
Ian Kennedy: Mon-COL (Kendrick), Sat-@SF (Bumgarner)
Michael Wacha: Mon-CHC (Haren), Sat-@CIN (DeSclafani)
Taijuan Walker: Tue-TEX (Hamels), Sun-COL (Kendrick)
Mike Leake: Mon-@ARI (Corbin), Sun-SD (Rea)
Yordano Ventura: Mon-MIN (Milone), Sun-@BAL (Chen)
Raisel Iglesias: Tue-PIT (Liriano), Sun-STL (Lynn)
Marco Estrada: Mon-@BOS (Porcello), Sat-@NYY (Pineda)

Tier 2

Drew Smyly: Mon-@DET (Wolf), Sun-BOS (Porcello)
Lance Lynn: Tue-CHC (Hammel), Sun-@CIN (Iglesias)
Jason Hammel: Tue-@STL (Lynn), Sun-@PHI (Nola)
Taylor Jungmann: Tue-@MIA (Conley), Sun-@PIT (Liriano)
Trevor Bauer: Tue-@CWS (Rodon), Sun-DET (Boyd)
Aaron Nola: Tue-ATL (Wisler), Sun-CHC (Hammel)
Jonathon Niese: Mon-@WSH (Scherzer), Sun-@ATL (Wisler)

Tier 3

Rick Porcello: Mon-TOR (Estrada), Sun-@TB (Smyly)
Colin Rea: Tue-COL (Gray), Sun-@SF (Leake)
R.A. Dickey: Tue-@BOS (Owens), Sun-@NYY (Tanaka)
Wei-Yin Chen: Mon-@NYY (Pineda), Sun-KC (Ventura)
Dan Haren: Mon-@STL (Wacha), Sat-@PHI (Harang)
Anthony DeSclafani: Mon-PIT (Locke), Sat-STL (Wacha)
Yovani Gallardo: Mon-@SEA (Elias), Sat-OAK (Doubront)
Randy Wolf: Mon-TB (Smyly), Sat-@CLE (Anderson)
Cody Anderson: Mon-@CWS (Sale), Sat-DET (Wolf)

Not this week

Matt Boyd: Tue-TB (Ramirez), Sun-@CLE (Bauer)
Patrick Corbin: Mon-SF (Leake), Sun-LAD (Kershaw)
Zach Davies: Mon-@MIA (Nicolino), Sat-@PIT (Locke)
Aaron Harang: Mon-ATL (Perez), Sat-CHC (Haren)
Kyle Kendrick: Mon-@SD (Kennedy), Sun-@SEA (Walker)
Jeff Locke: Mon-@CIN (DeSclafani), Sat-MIL (Davies)
Tommy Milone: Mon-@KC (Ventura), Sun-@CWS (Sale)
Justin Nicolino: Mon-MIL (Davies), Sun-WSH (Scherzer)
Williams Perez: Mon-@PHI (Harang), Sat-NYM (Matz)
Matt Wisler: Tue-@PHI (Nola), Sun-NYM (Niese)

My Week 23 Picks

Drew Smyly (@DET, BOS)

Smyly headlines a group of widely available two-start pitchers in Week 22 that are, well, underwhelming. The 26-year-old gets the Tigers and Red Sox this scoring period, with the latter team swinging a hot stick. Still, both starts are on the favorable side for Smyly, who owns a 3.11 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and a 42/8 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings, while holding his opponents to a .236 batting average. Since returning from the disabled list, Smyly has made four starts – going 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and a 21/5 K/BB ratio in 21 innings. Only one of those starts has been of the quality variety, but that came in his latest performance, a seven-inning, scoreless gem against the Orioles in which he held Baltimore to four hits and struck out 10. The only reservation here is that Detroit and Boston are two of the better-hitting teams against left-handed pitching (.346 and .325 wOBA against southpaws, respectively).

Rick Porcello (@TOR, @TB)

This one is tough. On the one hand, you don’t want to start any pitcher against that ridiculously good-looking Blue Jays lineup. On the other hand, there aren’t too many available two-start pitchers this week, with all of the upper-tier options owned in the majority of leagues. I’m going to start Porcello and hide, but that second start against the Rays should give you a little more confidence. Since returning from the disabled list, Porcello has been a different pitcher. In his latest start against the rival Yankees, he allowed just one run over eight innings, striking out 13, while allowing five hits and walking one. And, since the All-Star break, he owns a sparkling 2.79 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 31/5 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. I understand if you choose to avoid Porcello this late in the season, especially with that first start against Toronto, but I don’t see many better options available.

Colin Rea (COL, @SF)

Again, Rea isn’t somebody I’d recommend in a normal week, but this is a down scoring period for two-start pitchers (Did I mention that already?). Rea owns an ugly 5.47 ERA, but looking deeper, he appears to have been a little unlucky to this point – posting a 3.51 FIP and 3.52 xFIP, along with a .333 BABIP. I’m not confident that Rea is a 3.50 ERA pitcher, even, but things aren’t as bad as they seem. Rea owns a very solid 22/8 K/BB ratio in his 24 2/3 innings of work, and his 60.2 percent strand rate also seems on the very low side (the league average is 72.9 percent). I’d never start a pitcher like Rea in Colorado, but he gets to face the Rockies in San Diego. In his second turn, Rea faces the reeling Giants, who are falling farther back in the National League Wild Card race, with the Pirates and Cubs pulling away from the field.

Stats from FanGraphs.com