Sometimes in head-to-head leagues, the best team simply does not win. Maybe there was a key injury. Maybe there was a streak of potential wins blown by a bad bullpen. Or maybe the "worse" team had multiple two-start pitchers.
The two-start week can be an equalizer for a team without an ace. Ultimately, points are points, and a dominant outing by an ace can be beaten by two solid turns from an otherwise average starter. And if you are unlucky enough to face a two-start ace, it might seem like the week is over before it starts.
This list of two-start pitchers for week four is broken into tiers, so those looking to stream pitchers will see who is worth targeting, and who may be best left on waivers.
- Clayton Kershaw, at Mets...vs. Brewers
- Felix Hernandez, at Astros...vs. Angels
- Jon Lester, vs. A's...vs. Astros
- Cole Hamels, vs. Pirates...at Mets
- CC Sabathia, at Rays...vs. Blue Jays
- Matt Moore, vs. Yankees...at White Sox
- David Price, vs. Yankees...at White Sox
- Max Scherzer, vs. Royals...vs. Braves
- RA Dickey, at Orioles...at Yankees
(Pitchers listed in order of how I would rank them.)
There is no need to worry about matchups with this group. Lester and Hamels are ranked higher due to favorable opponents, but if you own any of them, you are starting them.
- Derek Holland, at Angels...at Twins
- Alexi Ogando, at Angels...at Twins
- Hisashi Iwakuma, at Astros...vs. Angels
- AJ Burnett, at Phillies...at Cardinals
- Shelby Miller, at Nationals...vs. Pirates
- Kyle Lohse, at Padres...at Dodgers
- Wade Miley, at Giants...vs. Rockies
- Jon Niese, vs. Dodgers...vs. Phillies
Normally, Niese would be ranked significantly higher on this list, but according to ESPN's MLB schedule, he will face Kershaw and Hamels, significantly decreasing his win probability. Both Texas pitchers are attractive, pitching in two pitcher-friendly parks and facing the deficient Twins offense. These pitchers are not in the same plug-and-play atmosphere that the aces occupy, but they will be startable in most leagues this week.
- Justin Masterson, at White Sox...at Royals
- Ross Detwiler, vs. Cardinals...vs. Reds
- Ryan Vogelsong, vs. Diamondbacks...at Padres
- Mike Minor, at Rockies...at Tigers
- Jose Quintana, vs. Indians...vs. Rays
- AJ Griffin, at Red Sox...vs. Orioles
- Patrick Corbin, at Giants...vs. Rockies
- Bartolo Colon, at Red Sox...vs. Orioles
- Wade Davis, at Tigers...vs. Indians
The spot starters are split into two groups. This is the set who will be started more often than not. The next group will be benched more often than not. It will likely be a tough week for Minor, as he faces two strong offenses, both on the road. Quintana moves up the rankings based on a favorable week facing Cleveland and Tampa Bay.
- Travis Wood, at Reds...at Marlins
- Carlos Villanueva, at Reds...at Marlins
- Tony Cingrani, vs. Cubs...at Nationals
- Bud Norris, vs. Mariners...at Red Sox
- Phil Hughes, at Rays...vs. Blue Jays
- Alfredo Aceves, vs. A's...vs. Astros
- Ricky Nolasco, at Twins...vs. Cubs
- Jason Marquis, vs. Brewers...vs. Giants
- Miguel Gonzalez, vs. Blue Jays...at A's
- Dan Haren, vs. Cardinals...vs. Reds
This group of spot starters is more likely to sit on your bench most weeks, but there are promising schedules here, including Nolasco, who gets to play at Minnesota and then host the Cubs. Of course, with Miami being what it is, he could put up great numbers and still lose both games, so beware. Haren's ranking indicates the last small bit of rope for the former ace. If he lays a duck or two this week, it will be time to officially abandon ship.
- Joe Blanton, vs. Rangers...at Mariners
- Jeff Francis, vs. Braves...at Diamondbacks
- JA Happ, at Orioles...at Yankees
- Mike Leake, vs. Cubs...at Nationals
- Jeff Locke, at Phillies...at Cardinals
- Brad Peacock, vs. Mariners...at Red Sox
- Chris Tillman, vs. Blue Jays...at A's
Something has gone wrong if you find yourself starting these pitchers over the course of the week. Sure, there are matchups that seem enticing, and one might fall behind early and be forced to throw up a Hail Mary in the form of Blanton in Seattle or Tillman in Oakland, but one can mostly avoid this group in any format. They are just as likely to hurt you as to help you.