Hey hey hey, barflys! Welcome back to the Two-Start Dive Bar, all fresh and ready, and given just a cursory once-over of “cleaning” (after all, this is a dive; the carpet still sticks to your shoes and the place smells like stale National Bohemian). It’s time for the first full week of MLB action in 2023, and that means the first installment of your favorite column!

A quick refresher for those who don’t remember, are new here or have simply blocked out all memories of this place…

The Top Shelf is this week’s cream of the crop. These are the pitchers you’d start regardless of what I told you… there’d be no reason not to outside of a ridiculously stacked NFBC50 team or some other very-deep-bench format. Play these guys with confidence.

The Well is your safe space. Generally speaking, these pitchers are good plays given they have two starts, but there’s a flaw somewhere here: either a basic, low confidence level that they’ll give you good performances, or, often, one good matchup and one rough one. I’m still basically recommending you start these pitchers this week, especially the ones in bold, but there’s a bit of caveat emptor going on here. Like drinking Malort.

The Bar Mat is gross. It’s where all the crap from every drink poured all night ends up, and while there is indeed alcohol in there, it should never be imbibed. Just don’t. Similarly, these pitchers are much more likely to double up on nightmare fuel if you run them out there. They’re probably borderline starts in a normal week, and with the double-dip, they’re full-on avoids this week.

Pretty simple system. Why don’t you and I dive right in?


Pitchers’ projected starts for the next week are sourced from Rudy Gamble’s Streamonator as of the update at 11:15am Eastern.

The bold pitchers below are the most extreme version of each section. The best of the Top Shelf, the safest of the Well, the worst of the Bar Mat.

The Top Shelf

Pitcher First Start Second Start
Nestor Cortes, NYY PHI(MO) @BAL(SU)
Drew Rasmussen, TB @WSH(MO) OAK(SU)
Charlie Morton, ATL @STL(MO) SD(SA)
Brady Singer, KC TOR(MO) @SF(SA)
Jon Gray, TEX BAL(MO) @CHC(SU)


  • No bold lines in the Top Shelf this week just means none of these pitchers crossed a particular dollar-value threshold on Rudy’s Streamonator this week. Still great plays.


The Well

Pitcher First Start Second Start
Marcus Stroman, CHC @CIN(TU) TEX(SU)
George Kirby, SEA LAA(MO) @CLE(SU)
Carlos Carrasco, NYM @MIL(MO) MIA(SU)
Freddy Peralta, MIL NYM(MO) STL(SU)
Michael Kopech, CHW SF(MO) @PIT(SU)
Tyler Mahle, MIN @MIA(MO) HOU(SU)
Reid Detmers, LAA @SEA(MO) TOR(SU)
Kutter Crawford, BOS PIT(MO) @DET(SU)
Hunter Brown, HOU DET(MO) @MIN(SU)
Matthew Boyd, DET @HOU(MO) BOS(SU)
Jose Berrios, TOR @KC(MO) @LAA(SA)
Zach Plesac, CLE @OAK(MO) SEA(SU)
Taijuan Walker, PHI @NYY(MO) CIN(SU)
Kyle Bradish, BAL @TEX(MO) NYY(SU)
Hayden Wesneski, CHC @CIN(MO) TEX(SA)
Michael Grove, LAD COL(MO) @ARI(SU)


  • After Stroman’s first start last week, you might have thought he’d end up on the Top Shelf… but he’s still Marcus Stroman, and no pitcher looks forward to road games at Great American.
  • Zach Plesac may be a controversial inclusion here… but really, there are like two hitters on the combined A’s and M’s rosters that really scare pitchers these days (and they both play in Seattle).


The Bar Mat

Pitcher First Start Second Start
Kris Bubic, KC TOR(TU) @SF(SU)
Yusei Kikuchi, TOR @KC(TU) @LAA(SU)
Johnny Cueto, MIA MIN(MO) @NYM(SU)
Connor Overton, CIN CHC(MO) @PHI(SU)
Ryne Nelson, ARI @SD(MO) LAD(SU)
James Kaprielian, OAK CLE(MO) @TB(SU)
Anthony DeSclafani, SF @CHW(MO) KC(SA)
Dylan Dodd, ATL @STL(TU) SD(SU)
Ryan Feltner, COL @LAD(MO) WSH(SU)
Johan Oviedo, PIT @BOS(MO) CHW(SU)
Jake Woodford, STL ATL(MO) @MIL(SU)
Chad Kuhl, WSH TB(TU) @COL(SU)
Trevor Williams, WSH TB(MO) @COL(SA)


  • Remember when Yusei Kikuchi was on The Top Shelf? Pepperidge Farms remembers.