I had Dane Dunning listed as a two-start pitcher last week, but I guess that didn’t happen for whatever reason. However, he was the headlining player of that article, and he’s back again for this week! Way back then I wrote: “I’ll give him this — the career 0.5 HR/9 over 449 professional innings will serve him well this week. Also working in his favor is he’s facing the 7th and 9th worst teams in K/rate to right-handed pitchers.” Well, he did allow a HR to the Twins last week, but still only held them to that 1 ER over 7 innings while tying his season-high with 7 K’s. JUST LIKE I TOLD YOU. So what about these Indians? They’re only hitting .230 against righties with a .373 slugging percentage. The ingredients are there for another delicious recipe for success from Dunning. I’m a little less optimistic about his start against the Cubs, although they have been middle of the road against righties with their third-highest K/rate against them. Take the risk if you can afford it. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Dane Dunning sounds like someone who should be hosting a 70’s dating show and looks like the T.A. all the young co-eds would be lusting after in Psych 101. That being said, he’s pitched pretty well in his 4 starts so far this year allowing only 6 ERs in 20 IP. If he does well against the hard-hitting Twins and the Reds at home — I’ll consider moving him up. I’ll give him this — the career 0.5 HR/9 over 449 professional innings will serve him well this week. Also working in his favor is he’s facing the 7th and 9th worst teams in K/rate to right-handed pitchers. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

I was a big Spencer Turnbull believer at the beginning of the season — but now I’m not too sure. And unfortunately, he has no one to blame but himself. He’s got the highest BB/9 in the league with a 5.97 mark. Yee-ikes! How bad is that number? Well since 2000 the worst BB/9 was Matt Clement’s 5.49 in 2000. He ended the season with a 5.14 ERA. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 1994 to find someone with a worse BB/9 than Turnbull right now. A young man by the name of Todd Van Poppel of the Oakland Athletics had a 6.87 BB/9. His ERA at the end of that year was 6.09. The Brewers shouldn’t be a tough team — they have the 3rd worst OPS vs righties in the league. However, he faced them his last start and — you guessed it — walked way too many guys (5 in 5 IP) and allowed 5 ERs. He’s never had the best control — but almost 6 per game is unprecedented. In the minors, he hovered around a 3.5 BB/9 mark. Right now he’s at the bottom of his tier and looking down because if you look through some of his previous starts this season when he keeps the walks below 4 he can have some success — but unfortunately, that often isn’t the case. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

A new king has been crowned! Shane Bieber is on some other ish right now. He has thrown at least 6 innings in all of his starts this year – he’s won 6 of those 7 starts. He’s first in K/9 among qualified starters, 12th best in BB/9, 3rd in WHIP, tied for first in ERA. Oh and he’s facing the 24th and 28th ranked offenses vs. righties. This might be the best two-start week of all time so he’s earned that #1 spot over Gerrit Cole. Plus in my hunt for a clever article headline has lead me to find out that his surname is derived from the German word beber which means beaver — the animal best known for chewing up wood. Bats are made of wood. Bieber has been chewing up wood! 

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

If you were to predict the ace of the Astros staff in April — it would’ve been the Fram-Fram man wouldn’t it? Framber Valdez’s 1.72 ERA obviously isn’t sustainable, but his 2.59 FIP is showing me that maybe it’s not TOO far off from reality. The guy has improved drastically on his control (2 BB/9 compared to 5.6 last year) and has allowed only 1 HR in 31.1 IP this year. I’m a little worried about the walks and hits returning to previous numbers — but for this week he has two relatively good match-ups (vs LAA; vs OAK) and you should ride his hot hand. He could be up in Code Blue soon. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Taking a look back at last week’s predictions I had Randy Dobnak as my two-start pitcher of the week and although we haven’t seen his second start I like the results from his first game (5 IP, 1 ER, 3 Ks.) Sure we’d all like more K’s — but I even told you that in last week’s article. What?! You didn’t read last week’s article? Here: “You’d like to see more than a 4.8 K/9 — but take that liquid gold ratio and the guaranteed wins from the Twins.” Oh yea — he got the win too baby. 

My deeper league two-start pitcher of the week was Tyler Mahle. Well, he made his first start and shutout the Indians over 6 innings allowing only 3 baserunners with 6 strikeouts. The Reds rewarded him by — removing him from the starting rotation for Wade Miley?! The same Wade Miley who has allowed 6 ERs in 3.1 IP so far this year? Yep, the very same! 

This week I’m nominating Trevor Williams and Tyler Anderson as my two-start pitcher adds of the week. Hopefully, neither of them throws a complete game shutout only to be replaced by Francisco Liriano!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Most of the starting pitchers for week 3’s games haven’t even been officially announced yet. Pair this with reports that MLB is warning television stations to get their Big Bang Theory re-runs and copies of Shawshank Redemption loaded up and it’s hard to be optimistic about the season. The chart I’m working off only has 4 starters confirmed so I had to do some diggin’, scratchin’, and prognosticatin’ to try and determine exactly who might be a two-start pitcher for this week. Below, you’ll find 4 tiers below of week 3’s two-starters. They are in order of descending disappointment. That’s not to say you can’t find any one-start gems in the lower tiers, but I just can’t recommend rolling them out for both starts. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Let me get this out of the way: some of these starts below might not even happen. Half of the Marlins are on IVs right now, COVID is about to spread like wildfire through the Cardinals locker room, the Nationals, Blue Jays, Phillies, and Brewers have also had some COVID scares themselves. 

Looking over these pitchers there’s a bunch of quality pitchers who had rough opening starts (Yu Darvish, Charlie Morton, Lucas Giolito, Carlos Martinez) that I’m willing to overlook. Some of them already bounced back in their second starts — but I’m treating these early starts as extended spring training. I know there’s a lot of anxiety and pressure since this is a short season, but just be patient with your pitchers.  

This week I’m ranking these tiers by Animal Crossing villager popularity. (Ask your kids about this one.) 

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

No Doubt

Player Team Opp. 1 Opp. 2 Player Rater ERA 2nd Half FIP 2nd Half
Justin Verlander HOU TEX LAA 39.3 1.93 1.94
Stephen Strasburg WSH @STL @MIA 23.9 3.25 3.27
Yu Darvish CHC CIN STL 8.3 2.44 3.06

Raise your hand if you passed up a Darvish trade, or even waiver wire pickup, earlier in the season. *Raises hand and puts head down in shame.*  K rate is over 36% in the 2nd half and the walk rate down at 2.4%; it’s like I don’t even know who Yu are Darvish.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Starter Notes for Week 24…

    • The Padres and Athletics are both throwing a 6-man rotation this week.
    • The Dodgers are giving Hyun-Jin Ryu a pass on his next start, but haven’t announced when he will make the next one yet, or how the rotation will work this week. While Ryu will be skipped, the Dodgers are also getting Rich Hill back this week, which could maintain the 6 man rotation.
    • How the Dodgers handle the rotation means that Walker Buehler may or may not have 2 starts this week. The good news, of course you’re starting Walker Buehler. The bad news, not sure that he’s getting 2 starts, but he’d be a ‘No Doubt’ guy if he does.
    • The Yankees Tuesday starter has yet to be announced, but should be a 2 start option whoever they throw. My best guess right now is that it’s a bullpen game with Chad Green starting.
    • Please, blog, may I have some more?