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Is there a 40-strikeout week ahead for Max Scherzer? That's pretty unlikely, but after giving owners a 20-K performance on Wednesday, he will give the gift of two starts in Fantasy Week 7 (May 16-22). That's a bummer for those who have to oppose him, unless you happen to be lucky enough to have Clayton Kershaw leading your staff. He is far out in front of the starting pitcher rankings for both Head-to-Head and Rotisserie value, and he, too, has a two-start week in store.
The rest of us will have to get by with lesser talent (though I don't feel too bad for owners getting two starts from Noah Syndergaard, Madison Bumgarner or even David Price). For that little extra edge that many of us will need, help could be as close as your bench or the waiver wire. As has been the case for the last few weeks, the best upgrades may actually come in a one-start package.
The Two-Start Landscape
The selection of two-start pitchers on waivers is limited in many leagues, as 23 of the 40 pitchers on the list are already owned in at least 70 percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com. One of the projected two-start pitchers available in a majority of leagues in Sean Manaea, but after his eight-run debacle in Boston, it's hard to see owners making a run for his services. It's just as well, as the potential return of Henderson Alvarez (shoulder), could mean the end of Manaea's tenure in the Athletics' rotation anyway.
If you plan to take a dip into the two-start pitching pool on waivers, the safest option is Wade Miley. He may look anything but safe with a 4.91 ERA and a Tuesday assignment against the slugging Orioles. However, the O's haven't been all that potent against lefties, and after getting hit with a .480 BABIP over his first three starts, Miley has settled in nicely. Over his last four outings, Miley has a 3.18 ERA and five walks in 28 1/3 innings.
Fellow southpaw Robbie Ray lacks Miley's control and efficiency, but a home start against the Yankees looks to be his best matchup of the season to date. It should be sufficiently productive to at least neutralize the impact of his second start at the Cardinals.
Matchups that Matter
There are a number of lefties with one start who could provide a rotation upgrade this week. J.A. Happ is too heavily owned to be available on waivers, except in the shallowest of leagues, but if you think he is only worth using with two starts, this week's matchup could change your mind. Happ is set to face the Twins, who own the lowest wOBA against left-handed pitchers in the American League and have scored only 10 runs more than the bottom-dwelling Braves.
Wei-Yin Chen gets to follow up his 12-strikeout performance against the Brewers with a start at the Phillies, who have been one of the weakest offenses against lefties. Unlike Chen, Alex Wood is likely to be available in the vast majority of standard mixed leagues. As Scott White recently pointed out, Wood has made some mechanical adjustments that appear to be paying dividends. It won't hurt Wood and his owners that he will face the Padres in Week 7.
If if you need to dig really deep for a lefty with a plum matchup, go get Adam Morgan. He is still available in 93 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, and if you own him, you probably picked him up for his two starts in Week 6. Don't toss him back, because he will face the same Braves squad he silenced on Tuesday. That was a 27-point performance in standard points leagues, in case you were wondering.
Matchups have worked in Kevin Gausman's favor so far, but even if you are not buying into the righty's early success, he can remain on a roll with a start at the Angels. Given that they don't strike out much, an Angels matchup may not make Gausman the best choice in Roto leagues, but he should rack up innings for points league owners.
The Red Sox and Orioles have complied the highest wOBA marks against right-handed pitchers in the American League, and that makes Ian Kennedy and Nathan Karns risky choices for the coming week. Bear in mind that Karns is continuing his long-standing pattern of posting reverse splits, which could make it difficult for him to successfully run the gauntlet of Manny Machado, Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo.
Extreme Park Factors
Patrick Corbin has had his troubles with the long ball, but it's worth noting that seven of the eight homers he has allowed have come at hitter-friendly Chase Field. Even though he will face the fearsome Cardinals in his lone start, he will do so at homer-squelching Busch Stadium. The Cardinals also sport a relatively modest .154 Isolated Power against lefties.
Jake Odorizzi has been a far better pitcher at home than on the road in his career, and his only good road start this season has come against the punchless Angels. The Blue Jays have not been the offensive juggernaut many expected, but their lineup could still be plenty dangerous for Odorizzi at Rogers Centre.
Eduardo Rodriguez (knee) will make what could be his final rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday night. He could replace Sean O'Sullivan in the Red Sox's rotation in Week 7.
Joe Kelly (shoulder) may not need to spend much more time on the disabled list, but when he is ready to return from his rehab stint, there won't necessarily be a rotation job waiting for him. According to MassLive.com, if Kelly does supplant someone in the Red Sox's rotation, it could be Clay Buchholz.
Henderson Alvarez (shoulder) may only have one more rehab start to make, and then he could make his season debut at home against the Yankees this coming weekend.