Note: Don't whiff on this special FanDuel offer. Win your first contest or get your money back (up to $10) to keep playing. Try FanDuel now!
As I noted in this week's two-start pitcher rankings, it could be a tough week for getting production out of two-start pitchers, whether they're the ones already on your roster or the ones you pick up on waivers. That doesn't mean you are without options for upgrading your rotation this week.
There are several one-start pitchers who are benched in a large swath of leagues who appear ripe for a good week, but none with high activation rates who look doomed due to their matchups or venues. If you are lucky enough to have any of the one-start pitchers with a favorable week ahead, you won't need to force the issue by picking up a two-start pitcher you're not sure about. If you do need to add a pitcher with two starts, there are a few who should be available and not too risky.
The two-start landscape
It's not unusual for the two-start pitcher pool to change over the weekend, but there are a couple of specific situations that bear watching. Matt Cain (hamstring) may be ready to return from his DL stint to start Monday against the Brewers. If so, he would also face the Rays at Tropicana Field on June 19, giving him two very favorable matchups.
Also, the Athletics announced that prospect Daniel Mengden will make his major league debut this Saturday at the Reds, so manager Bob Melvin will need to juggle his rotation. If everyone gets pushed back a day to accommodate Mengden, that would make Sean Manaea a two-start pitcher. He would face the Rangers and Angels at home, which aren't bad matchups for a lefty, and while Manaea has a 4.58 ERA at O.co Coliseum, his 3.84 FIP there suggests he could be good enough this week.
Martin Perez (39 percent owned; at OAK, at STL) and Brandon Finnegan (37 percent owned; at ATL, at HOU) also have decent matchups for lefties. Though far less available, Jerad Eickhoff (62 percent owned) would be a superior option. Even though the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks could be imposing matchups, Eickhoff should be able to handle them. After all, he has a 2.76 ERA over his last five starts, and two of those outings have been against the Cubs.
Matchups that matter
With a strong four-start run that has produced a 2.37 ERA, 37 strikeouts and no walks (I repeat, no walks), Matt Shoemaker has been understandably gaining in popularity. Still, it appears that many of his owners are looking for an excuse not to start him, as he is benched in 23 percent of CBSSports.com's leagues. That excuse arrives in Week 11 with a scheduled start at Oakland. The Athletics are a hard bunch to strike out, but Shoemaker is coming off a six-strikeout performance against a similarly good contact-hitting team in the Yankees. Meanwhile, the A's have the lowest wOBA against right-handed pitching of any American League team.
What's even better than a start against the A's? How about a start against the Padres or Braves? Tanner Roark will visit PETCO Park, and between that and this weekend's outing against the Phillies, owners will soon forget the three-inning clunker he put up in Cincinnati last Sunday. If all goes well for Anthony DeSclafani in his season debut on Friday night against the A's, it will be a good idea to get him active for next week's start at the Braves.
The Twins have shown a bit of pop against lefty pitchers (.163 Iso), but all in all, they should be a good matchup for CC Sabathia. Adam Wainwright could continue his recent strikeout resurgence (20 Ks in his last 20 innings) against the Astros, who now lead the majors in strikeout rate. Nearly half of Jaime Garcia's owners are benching him, but even though he also gets an Astros matchup, you're best off to keep him stashed. Garcia has struggled to get swings-and-misses lately, even in last week's outing at the whiff-happy Brewers.
Despite his souped-up heater, James Paxton is starting in only 11 percent of our leagues. That's how it should stay in Week 11, as he will have to contend with the Red Sox, who are punishing lefties to the tune of an .850 OPS. Jimmy Nelson may be starting in more than four times as many leagues, but he's doubly dangerous. He has two starts, and his opponents -- the Giants and Dodgers -- feature lefty-laden lineups. Nelson may be holding lefties to a .208 batting average, but it's built on a highly suspicious .214 BABIP. His 4.6 BB/9 and 1.7 HR/9 ratios against lefties are major red flags.
Extreme park factors
It's the usual drill for Jon Gray. You may use him for some starts at Coors Field, but once he hits the road, it's time to activate him. Marlins Park is an especially attractive venue for Gray (or any pitcher), and that's where he will ply his trade this week.
It's the reverse for Matt Wisler, who has been far less prone to allowing the long ball at pitcher-friendly Turner Field in his two years as a Brave. He has put up a quality start in every home start this season that wasn't against either the Red Sox or Cardinals, so if you're hard-pressed for even a good one-start pitcher, Wisler is one to consider, even in standard mixed leagues. The Reds are merely a middle-of-the-road power-hitting lineup when they're away from Great American Ballpark, so Wisler should be able to handle them.
Josh Tomlin has issues with allowing homers as well, so you might think that a start at the Royals would make him worthy of using. Given that Tomlin has allowed three home runs in 36 2/3 career innings at Kauffman Stadium, that's not a bad assumption...so why does he have a 5.65 career ERA there? The Royals' park is a great place to hit the other varieties of extra-base hits, and Tomlin has allowed 12 doubles and seven triples there. If you want to gamble on a fly-ball pitcher with one start, make it Wisler, not Tomlin.
As mentioned above, Matt Cain may be activated in time to rejoin the Giants' rotation to start Monday versus the Brewers. Even if he makes a rehab start before getting activated, he could still be back by next weekend.
Rich Hill (groin) was placed on the disabled list on Thursday and was scheduled to receive an MRI. The results are not yet known, but because his DL stint was made retroactive to May 30, he could potentially be activated to start Tuesday against the Rangers.
Yovani Gallardo (shoulder) is scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday. He may return to the Orioles for a June 18 start against the Blue Jays.