Travel back in time with me if you will, to a place where fanny packs, male ponytails, and Jordache jeans were all the rage. A time when Bruce Jenner was a symbol of masculinity, and O.J. Simpson was America’s favorite star! Travel with me to the age of Nintendo, a time when video games had two buttons and you didn’t need a degree in molecular biology to play. That last sentence made me sound very old, oh well. Anyway the theme of this week’s two start pitchers soiree is Nintendo! No not Super Nintendo (which was awesome BTW, #GoldenEye4life) or Wii, just plan old “blow on the console” to clean it NES. If you were anything like me then you played your fair share of Zelda, Super Mario, Duck Hunt, Tecmo Bowl, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, RBI Baseball, Double Dribble, Blades Of Steel, the list goes on and on. [Jay’s Note: Where’s Excite Bike and Battle Toads?] Aww the good old days when video games had easily exploitable glitches, like throwing to the outside of the plate with Nolan Ryan. Or pressing the Duck Hunt gun against the screen because that damn pooch kept laughing at you. Don’t look at me swan! Anyway, this week we have one of the deeper rosters of two-start pitchers in recent memory, and arguably the four best arms in the game double dipping. Not to worry if you don’t own one of the four horsemen there’s plenty of other great options in week number 9. So get up off of that thang and take a gander at this week’s two start madness.
Super Mario Brothers (Aces) – Was this the greatest game in the history of Nintendo? Maybe, maybe not, who knows, but it was their flagship game so that wacky Italian plumber and his brother Luigi get the nod for the Aces tier. Plus they had a really bad yet amazing movie that starred Dennis Hopper (R.I.P big homie). The Ace tier is a cakewalk this week so there really isn’t much need to justify anyone’s inclusion. But because I’m a verbose windbag I’ll elaborate…The top two start pitcher for this week is Mad Max. Hell the man is back in theaters and he’s dominating the senior circuit. He gets a Toronto team at home which means Joey Bats will return to the outfield. Señor Bats has not started in the field since April 21st. So that shoulder of his will be put to the test. Max’s second start is against the strikeout happy Cubs and that’s a matchup to like…. Next up is the King, he’s going to burn til he can’t burn no more, shine til he can’t shine no more, til the earth can’t turn no more, he’s the KING! He gets the Yankees and Rays at home and I like both of those matchups for El Rey…. Chris Archer was sweet heavenly butter last time out vs the Mariners. He went 8 shutout innings striking out 12, and in the process outpitched the aforementioned King. He’s on the West Coast all week, hitting up Anaheim and Seattle while he’s there. Neither matchup scares me much, he looks as good as any two start option…. Rounding out this tier is Dodgers twin aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. They begin their week at the dreaded Coors field, but how can you drop these guys below the ace tier? Greinke has been arguably one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball and Kershaw is rebounding from a (by his standards) rough start. There second turn is against the Redbirds at home.
Zelda (Great Starts) – Everyone remembers this little guy, hell he’s in front of Razzball reader’s eyes every week as the avatar of our very own MalaMoney. It was a great game and if you were 8 in my neighborhood and hadn’t beaten Zelda you were pretty much nothing. You were equal with the kid that threw like a girl and the kid who had weird parents that wouldn’t allow anyone into their house. I always wondered what those parents were hiding….Drugs probably drugs….. Jacob DeGrom, the Mets ace. Can I say that? Or is it sacrilegious? His 9 K per, and sub 2 walk per says he is. Diggey Jake travels to San Diego, and Arizona, both good matchups. There was major consideration for the Ace tier but he just misses…. I’ll take Gerrit Cole and his starts at San Francisco and Atlanta by a hair over Jon Lester’s two. Lester heads to Miami and Washington and has a 1.76 ERA in the month of May. His 4.17 FIP over that time period doesn’t support it, and his 91% strand rate is a red flag, but as a Lester owner I’m not complaining. The Washington start worries me a bit, but there’s a lot to like with the Miami start. Then again he does have an ugly 1.32 May HR per, and he will see the two best power hitters in the game next week…. Garrett Richards is coming off his two worst starts of the season against the Red Sox and Padres. He’ll see Tampa at home and then The Yankees at the stadium…. Jordan Zimmermann was supposed to take two trips to the mound in Week 8 but they added Tanner Roark to the rotation and that meant he only had a single start. He sees the Jays and Cubbies at home, I have every confidence that Scherzer can handle these matchups, I don’t feel that way about Zimm. Something tells me one of these starts will be less then desirable, you know like a 6 innings and 4 earned kind of outing…. I struggled to choose between Carlos Carrasco and Michael Pineda next, so I went Andrew Cashner. That bearded Padre is a tough one to figure. Has he been lucky, unlucky, or is this what he is? Here’s my take, he’s been unlucky in the win – loss arena, but lucky when it comes to his ERA. His FIP/xFIP is 3.87/3.37, while his ERA is just 3.00. His K/BB is 4 which is very solid but he’s allowing too many home runs (1.29 per 9) to be fully trusted. Still a very solid fantasy 3 in most leagues. This week he eeks ahead of Carassco, McHugh, and Pineda due to the better matchups. He faces the Mets at Petco on Monday and then travels to the “Nati” to face the Reds…. I’ll take Pineda next, he rebounded nicely this week against the Royals after back to back subpar turns. On Monday he returns to the very teet that nurtured his Major League career, and then faces the Angels at the Stadium on Sunday. Both are solid matchups for the righty…. Carlos Carrasco has been much better than his 4.24 ERA suggests with a FIP/xFIP of 2.67/2.66 and a K per of 10.36 to a BB per of 2.04. Good God that’s Ace peripherals, but he faces two tough starts this week in Kansas City and Baltimore. The Royals have the 5th highest wOBA vs RHP, while the Orioles have been on cold streak the past few weeks but are still capable of an explosion at any time. Carrasco is worthy of a start against anybody but I wouldn’t go as far as to say he’s matchup proof…. Collin McHugh screws me all up with that second L in his first name. That’s weird right? Moving on, I don’t like the matchups for McHugh this week. He faces Baltimore at home and then travels to the Rodgers Centre to face the Blue Jays. I’m not a huge McHugh fan myself which explains why I don’t own him anywhere…. Lance Lynn gets no respect he’s like the Rodney Dangerfield of starting pitchers. His 9.94 K per makes me want to smoke a cigarette and cuddle, but his 3.12 BB per makes me wish I wore a condom. His first turn against the Brewers is solid, but the Dodgers against any righty scare me, and their league leading wOBA of .354 vs. RHP justifies it. The Dodgers aren’t to be played with at home either. Not sure you avoid that start but if you’re locked in a ratio battle come next Sunday I might bench him…. The Shark is getting it together lately, with three consecutive solid outings. He travels to Arlington to take on the Rangers and then has a home date against the always scary Tigers. I wouldn’t avoid the Tigers start though, Samardzija has already handled them rather well so far only allowing 3 earned over 15 total frames.
Jacob DeGrom, (@San Diego, @Arizona); Gerrit Cole, (@San Francisco, @Atlanta); Jon Lester (@Miami, @Washington); Garrett Richards, (vs. Tampa Bay, @NYY); Jordan Zimmermann, (vs. Toronto, vs. CHC); Andrew Cashner, (vs. NYM, @Cincinnati); Michael Pineda, (@Seattle, vs. LAA); Carlos Carrasco, (@ Kansas City, vs. Baltimore); Collin McHugh, (vs. Baltimore, @Toronto); Lance Lynn, (vs. Milwaukee, @LAD); Jeff Samardzija, (@Texas, vs, Detroit)
Mike Tyson’s Punchout (Good Starts) – I probably could have done the whole post on Mike Tyson’s Punchout but I didn’t even think about it until just now. Damn I missed the boat on that one. This game was awesome, say what you will but no boxing game has ever come close. If you disagree I will have you immediately blocked from the site. I have that power. Seriously I’m very powerful! This tier is shorter (Like Mac!) then usual and it’s mostly because the great starts were aplenty this week. Clay Buchholz kicks us off just missing out on the great starts. He’s been very good of late and his stats have been skewed by the 9 run diarrhea episode against the Yankees on April 12th. He gets two very startable turns against the Twins and A’s at Fenway…. Alfredo Simon isn’t going to win you strikeouts in any given week, but he can help with the wins and won’t kill your ratios, he gets the A’s at home to start the week and finishes against the White Sox. I don’t love the White Sox start but I don’t think it’s a must avoid…. It’s going to come crashing down to earth for Mike Pelfrey eventually but I’m willing to stream him until it does. He’s at Boston and then at home against the Brewers. Neither start scares me but you’re playing Russian Roulette with your ratios each time you start him. It’s mostly paid off so far though…. I consdiered Alex Wood and Phil Hughes for this tier but Hughes has been iffy and Wood faces a Diamondback team that crushes LHP…. Archie Bradley is having major control issues, but his matchups are tasty as he draws two home starts vs the Braves and Mets. I’d start him and hope that he worked out the kinks since returning from being hit by a comebacker…. Josh Collmenter is historically better at home but that’s not the case this season. He has no strikeout upside, and he hasn’t been unlucky he’s just been bad. I’m willing to throw all that out the window this week and live dangerously. Take a shot on him as a streamer if you’re looking for starts in a H2H league.
Clay Buchholz, (vs. Minnesota, vs. Oakland); Alfredo Simon, (vs. Oakland, @CWS); Mike Pelfrey, (@Boston, vs. Milwaukee); Archie Bradley, (vs. Atlanta, vs. NYM); Josh Collmenter, (vs. Atlanta, vs. NYM)
Multi-Cart (One Good Start/One Bad Start) – Everyone had a few of these, the cartridge that came with one good game and one (maybe multiple) bad or mediocre games. These pitchers are sort of the same. Some are the matchups (Alex Wood @Arizona, Kyle Hendricks @Washington, Ubaldo Jimenez @Cleveland), others just aren’t to be trusted each time out (Phil Hughes, Jaime Garcia, Alex Colome, Ryan Vogelsong). As always green means go and red means run away, very fast. Or you could just drop/bench them, I know most of our readers are sweat adverse.
Alex Wood, (@Arizona, vs. Pittsburgh); Ubaldo Jimenez, (@Houston, @Cleveland); Kyle Hendricks, (@Miami, @Washington); Phil Hughes, (@Boston, vs. Milwaukee); Jaime Garcia, (vs. Milwaukee, @LAD); Alex Colome, (@LAA, @Seattle); Ryan Vogelsong, (vs. Pittsburgh, @Philadelphia)
Deadly Towers (Stay Away) – Truthfully I never player this game but I Googled Worst NES games and this came up. It also had the perfect name for this tier. Just avoid these starts no ifs, ands, or buts.
Colby Lewis, (vs. CWS, @Kansas City); Mike Wright, (@Houston, @Cleveland); Rick Porcello, (vs. Minnesota, vs. Oakland); R.A. Dickey (@Washington, vs. Houston); Scott Feldman, (vs. Baltimore, @Toronto); Eddie Butler, (vs. LAD, vs. Miami); Jason Vargas, (vs. Cleveland, vs. Texas); Severino Gonzalez, (vs. Cincinnati, vs. San Francisco)
As always Two-Start Pitcher are subject to change. If the roster changes we’ll discuss in the comments.