I’m just curious: Do Colorado pitchers stink because half of their games are played in the equivalent of the Space Stadium in “Triple Play 2001”, or do they stink because no one wants to pitch there, so the Rockies just end up with the garbage juice at the bottom of the pitching scrap heap? Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Either way, the poor, battered Rockies pitchers will get out of Coors next week and into some fun in the sun in San Diego for a series that is the definitive fantasy baseball crossing of the streams: [Jay's Note: Don't cross the streams.] Offensive-minded team with horrendous pitchers that play in a batter’s park visit a pitching-minded team with absolutely zero offense in their pitcher’s park.
So what does this mean for fantasy purposes, and specifically Two-Startapalooza purposes?
Well, it means we get to mention an out-and-out schlub like Yohan Flande in the lead of the column, and that will never happen any other time unless he tosses an out-of-nowhere no-no. But Flande just gets a mention, because pitching in Petco is not enough to make him anything more than a dude with a name that sounds like that spongy cake thing no one really likes to eat. But Jordan Lyles, on the other hand, might be worth a play this week. We all know Petco’s the “Power of Love” for crappy MLB pitchers: “Make-a bad one good, make-a wrong one right.” And we know the Padres do their thang to help the fools on the hill look not so foolish wherever they play. Plug those two variables in with Lyles, who has been kind-of OK in three of his last four starts, and he should be good to go. He kept the Braves down in Atlanta, K’ing 6 in 6 IP; he was wild but pitched well in Philly, giving up 2 runs in 5 IP; and delivered the quality-start win against the Cubs at home last Wednesday.
Then there’s the inevitable question: What’s the flip side of the two-start coin for Lyles? Well, it’s the punchless Cincinnati Reds, who are 26th in runs scored and 24th in batting average. They’re coming to Coors, but I wouldn’t let that scare me. WARNING: Note the tier ranking. I’m not recommending Lyles as a must-grab, two-start pitcher. If he’s out there, and you’re feeling a little lucky and/or find yourself in need of a big score as the season rounds the corner toward the finish, go ahead and snag him. But if you’re watching the game, and you see Lyles getting the butt sweats out there on the mound in Petco, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Here’s some more (better) two-start pitchers for the week:
Felix Hernandez (TOR, @DET)
It’s good to be da king. It’s also lonely, at least this week.
You don’t have to start them, but I strongly recommend that you do. Gray and deGrom are both gonna have big bounce-back weeks.
Jesse Hahn (COL, @STL), Hyun-Jin Ryu (@ATL, MIL), Julio Teheran (LAD, OAK), Justin Verlander (@PIT, SEA), Yordano Ventura (OAK, @MIN), Jake Arrieta (MIL, @NYM), Doug Fister (@NYM, PIT), Mat Latos (BOS, @COL), Yovani Gallardo (@CHC, @LAD), Shelby Miller (@MIA, SD), Rick Porcello (@PIT, SEA)
Solid group, should be started, but I wouldn’t nod my head feverishly like Chris Farley as the Partridge Family’s manager in that old “Saturday Night Live” skit. I’m finding it hard to trust Teheran right now, but that could be because he’s been blowing up my team. Also, Hahn is really underrated this week, as he is every week. It’s like fantasy writers are mad at him because he’s on an innings limit.
Kyle Hendricks (MIL, @NYM), Wily Peralta (@CHC, @LAD), Jonathon Niese (@PHI, CHC), Drew Hutchison (@SEA, @CWS), Tom Koehler (STL, ARI), Collin McHugh (MIN, @BOS), Odrisamer Despaigne (COL, @STL), Jeff Locke (DET, @WSH), Drew Smyly (@TEX, NYY), Dan Haren (@ATL, MIL)
Last week, it was announced that they found some of the remains from the Jonestown Massacre in some bins in an abandoned funeral home in Dover, Delaware. When he saw the news on TV, Locke said, “Those are mine!” On the cereal, I like Hutchison this week. In fact, I’ve liked him all year. Picked him as a sleeper in the Razzball pre-season predictions. Sure, he’s 8-9 with a 4-plus ERA, but he’s had some real gems.
Craps, Blackjack, slot machines, the Fourth Tier of Week 20 of Two-Startapalooza. If you split this tier in half you’d have the good, safe bets (Lyles, House) and the not-so-safe bets (Minor, Young).
Not quite Russian roulette. More like the last straggling chicks at closing time. Buchanan is now the third best pitcher on the Phillies staff, hands down, no question. Read that again and try not to vomit. OK, now clean it up. Actually, he hasn’t been pitching that badly of late, but I see a major embarrassment in the get-away game against the Mets and then another disaster out in San Fran. But hey, at this point you might have pitcher beer goggles on, and if so be my guest, take him home tonight.
I’m putting Peacock last, not just because he looks like a dopey henchman from the old “Batman” show (Thwap! Pow! Bam!), not just because his name is too dumb to even fall into the Official Razzball Encyclopedia of Phallic Names That Make Us Giggle (Wood, Dickey, Leake, Reddick, etc.), but because he’s that bad. Not even a match-up with the Twins saves him from this fate.