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As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

The story of Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto is the Tale of Two Reds.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times to have Dusty Baker as a manager. It was the age of the possibility, with two pitchers on the same team going after the Cy Young every year. It was the age of those two hurlers sharing an apartment and duking it out on PlayStation. It was the epoch of mid-90s fastballs, it was the epoch of a Cincinnati team that never made it, it was the season of 2008… It was the season of throwing way too many pitches, but it was the spring of hope …

That year was technically the rookie season for both Cueto and Volquez, who had a few stints in the bigs with Texas before being shipped to Cincy for Josh Hamilton. At the time, it was Volquez who seemed to have the brighter future, as he posted a 17-6 record en route to an All-Star nod and a fourth-place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting even though he wasn’t eligible to win it. Cueto, on the other hand, pitched like a rook, going 9-14 with a 4.81 ERA. An eerily prophetic article from May 14, 2008 observes how Baker managed the arms off of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, and would probably do the same thing to Cueto and Volquez. And, of course, 196 innings later, Volquez was off to Tommy John surgery and out for the 2009 season. He was never the same as he bounced from the Padres to the Dodgers to his current squad, in Pittsburgh.

Cueto held up for a few mediocre and weird years before breaking through in 2012, when he won 19 games and finished fourth in the Cy voting. But he too was about to be Dusty-ed. He pitched 217 innings that year and reaggravated an old back injury in the playoffs. The next year, more injuries. And that brings us to 2014, where Cueto has returned to health and dominance. Sure, he got bombed by the Nats earlier this week, but that was after the best nine-game run for a starter in 105 years. Read that again.

Volquez had a promising start to 2014, and his ownership spiked early before he fell back to Earth. After a rough patch where he was getting knocked around pretty good, he rebounded with a winning effort in which he went six innings and only gave up one run against … the Nats. And so the stars are aligning again for these two one-time Reds, who both have two starts next week. And, oddly enough, I like them both. Cueto should get back on track with favorable matchups in Dodger Stadium and in Arizona against the weak D-Bags. I like Volquez based on matchups alone: He also has the Dodgers on the road as well as a trip to Citi Field. Join me now as we wade through the rest of this week’s two-start pitchers, only I’ll be doing it using the video for Michael McDonald’s “Sweet Freedom” as inspiration.

 

mcdonald

Must start

Max Scherzer (@OAK, @SEA), Yu Darvish (@MIN, @WSH), Sonny Gray (DET, LAA)

Some guys have checklists of hot chicks they want to bag. Me? I’m just happy to say that as of this year I have owned all three of these studs. Max is going out to those caverns in Oaktown and Seattle, Yu should blow the Twinkies away and Sonny will just be Sonny.

First Tier

Hyun-Jin Ryu (CIN, PIT), Zack Greinke (CIN, PIT), Johnny Cueto (@LAD, @ARI), Jeff Samardzija (@SF, @MIL), Lance Lynn (NYY, SF), Mark Buehrle (TB, KC), Cole Hamels (COL, NYM)

Hamels has had three straight strong outings, but he’s been awful at home, as have the Phils. Buyer beware on that one. And now I will beat the Buehrle drum yet again: He’s 8-1. With a 2.16 ERA. And Hamels is still more owned in Yahoo? Wha?

Second Tier

Michael Wacha (NYY, SF), Kyle Lohse (BAL, CHC), Tim Hudson (CHC, @STL), Drew Hutchison (TB, KC), Alfredo Simon (@LAD, @ARI), Drew Smyly (@OAK, @SEA), Tanner Roark (MIA, TEX), Yordano Ventura (HOU, @TOR), Tyson Ross (@ARI, @CWS), Jered Weaver (@SEA, @OAK), Nathan Eovaldi (@WSH, ATL), Ervin Santana (BOS, @MIA), Matt Cain (CHC, @STL), Josh Tomlin (@CWS, COL), Phil Hughes (TEX, @NYY), Jonathon Niese (PIT, @PHI), Jon Lester (@ATL, TB),  Chris Tillman (@MIL, @HOU), Tommy Milone (DET, LAA), Tyler Skaggs (@SEA, @OAK), Aaron Harang (BOS, @MIA)

At some point this year I might share the secret formula I used to pick Drew Hutchison as my pick for Sleeper of the Year, but only if he keeps it up and only if I can figure it out myself. Meanwhile, fantasy ballers were falling all over themselves to grab Tyson Ross all week after the billy goated Padre beat four straight weak opponents handily. Well, he’s got two more patsies this week. Note: It’s possible Cain could be out with a hammy injury, but not the kind of hammy injury he suffered a few weeks ago when he cut his finger making a hammy and cheese sandwich.

Third Tier

Edinson Volquez (@NYM, @LAD), Wade Miley (SD, CIN), Brandon McCarthy (SD, CIN), Nick Tepesch (@MIN, @WSH), Roenis Elias (LAA, DET), Jacob deGrom (PIT, @PHI), Erik Bedard (@TOR, @BOS), Clay Buchholz (@ATL, TB), Collin McHugh (@KC, BAL), Jose Quintana (CLE, SD), Chase Whitley (@STL, MIN), Chris Young (LAA, DET), Jarred Cosart (@KC, BAL), Jeremy Guthrie (HOU, @TOR), Kyle Kendrick (COL, NYM), Brandon Cumpton (@NYM, @LAD), Jhoulys Chacin (@PHI, @CLE)

I’ve been a big Roenis Elias guy this year. I mean how could you not root for a Cuban lefthander with a name that combines the names of two cops on “The Dukes of Hazzard”? But he’s been walking too many people – and, frankly, striking out too many people if there is such a thing – to get deep into games. This is not the week for him to get on track, but if he survives the Angels and Tigers brighter days could be ahead.

Don’t start

Kevin Correia (TEX, @NYY), Bruce Chen (@MIL, @HOU)

I’m gonna shave your nose hairs with a razor blade or staple your toe nails to your toes.

  1. malamoney

    malamoney says:
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    What’s your take on Jimmy Nelson? Will he be sent back down? And if so, what do you see for him the rest of the season?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @malamoney: They say Gallardo won’t be out long but obviously if Nelson dominates you can’t send him down.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @malamoney: Nelson sent back down. Too effective.

  2. malamoney

    malamoney says:
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    Better stash: Eddie Butler or Jon Gray?

    Do you see either making a fantasy impact this season?

    • Jiggy Nits says:
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      @malamoney: I think Gray is the better stash but Butler will have a bigger impact this year.

  3. Buge hoobs says:
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    Sit one for a weekly start…
    Cobb, eovaldi, cingrani, Anibel
    (SON has Cobb the lowest?)

  4. Big Al says:
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    I hear the Dust Man got a job testing pitching machine arms. They haven’t come up with a machine that passed yet… Maybe he’ll buy a minor league team and only pitcher’s who have had 2 or more Tommy John surgeries will be able to pitch. Minimum start on old Dusty’s team is 9 innings or a 200 pitch count before you come out. I can hear the Dust Man chuckling now as he clicks off another pitch on his pitch counter.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Big Al: could be the next Troma flick

  5. picard56 says:
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    I have to choose one last pitcher to round out my rotation for my weekly league, who do I choose?

    Jesse Chavez (@ Detroit)
    Scott Kazmir (@Detroit)
    Tony Cingrani (@Arizona)
    Trevor Bauer(Colorado)

    Which one I choose?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @picard56: Cingrani

  6. Tulogit says:
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    Nice writeup. Thanks. Is it ok to finally drop Masterson? Been brutal…

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Tulogit: Someone canned him in my 12-teamer. He’s just so up and down. Yea why not.

  7. Ante GALIC says:
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    Hey, Pete! Nice article. Good piece on Volquez. I remember a time I think it was fantasy playoffs 2009 when he was relevant. I might pick him up when Abreu comes off the DL in a couple of leagues. Thanks for the heads up. Facing a team this week with 14 starts against my 5 starts (no good 2-start options) and Street and Uehara. Am afraid, but maybe some of his 2-starts get shredded, SON doesn’t like 3 or 4 of his matchups. Will let you know. Question, sit Cobb @ TOR this week over Cingrani @ARI?

    Thanks,
    Ante

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Ante GALIC: na I’d go Cobb

  8. Need advice for today, start Wolf? Stream-o-nater says yes, but it’s the Brewers…

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Steve: Brewers have a lot of right handed bats…I’d pass

  9. Allan says:
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    who would you sit this week…

    Brett Lawrie or Juan Fransisco…I:’m going with sit Fransisco.

    Seth Smith, Charlie Blackmon or George Springer….Tough call

    Tough time sitting 1 pitcher as well between Lester, Chavez, Simon, Keuchel, Pomeranz, Sale and Buehrle. Only 1 sits was gonna sit Lester cause hes been cold.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Allan: Francisco, Smith, Lester

  10. Allan says:
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    Is Smyly still going to start this week? They brought him out of the bullpen a few days ago.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Allan yep it looks like he’s on for Memorial Day.

  11. Brad Davis says:
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    I can have Pomeranz or Alfredo Simon? Which one.. It’s a head to head league.. I like using my 3rd RP for pitchers who are starters.. Roark can fit too.. I’m disappointed and concerned after Pomeranz only going 4 innings and yet to make it out of 5th.. Help.. I whiffed and took Pomeramz over Kuechel and feel Foolish

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Brad Davis: I wouldn’t feel foolish, I mean we all see the promise but he just can’t seem to wade out into the deep end of the game. I’d say if you’re in a position to be patient wait on Pomeranz. But Simon is already ripe.

  12. Edward says:
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    I like Hutchison this week with the double start, but would need to cut Liriano…thoughts on bailing on Frankie this early? I hate to do it, but he’s so unpredictable; not only start to start, but season to season.

    • Crapshoot Kershaw says:
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      @Edward: this dude hates Liriano, he’d probably tell you to buy any of his “2nd tier” guys over him.

  13. Crapshoot Kershaw says:
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    Lynn over hutchison/ventura/ervin/wacha? do you work for lynn? ok’y dokey.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Crapshoot Kershaw: So Wacha was ok but how did those other guys do?

  14. DiRo says:
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    For my last pitching spot should I go with Homer Bailey or Jenrry Mejia?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @DiRo: Mejia

  15. Joe says:
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    Pete who you like better lance lynn, hisashi iwakuma or michael wacha? In what order

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Joe: ROS I like Iwakuma, Lynn, Wacha.

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