Eric Mack
Friday May 6th, 2011

Welcome back to fantasy prominence, Francisco Liriano. Now, get this, his fantasy owners: Sit him.

That's right, put the author of Tuesday's no-hitter on your bench for Fantasy Week 6 (May 9-15).

While you're at it, bench Brett Anderson, another fantasy ace, this upcoming scoring period (see reasoning below). Yeah, despite the bad advice of advising to sit Kevin Correia earlier this season -- and Ian Kennedy in Fantasy Week 4 (ouch!) -- we are going to stay bold with our pitching recommendations.

Liriano has been an unmitigated disaster in four of his six starts this season. And, despite no-hitting the White Sox, he did walk six and strike out just two.

He was tentatively slated to start Monday against the Red Sox, a team he is 1-3 against with a 7.78 ERA in four career starts. He is also starting at his personal house of horrors in Fenway Park, where he is 0-2 with a 12.46 ERA (12 runs, nine hits and seven walks in 8 2/3 innings).

Liriano is coming off a 123-pitch outing, though, and the Twins might move him off that Monday start to Tuesday. That would cost him a two-start week and leave his fantasy owners hoping he can overcome his wildness and struggles against the Red Sox, especially at Fenway.

Also, pitchers don't tend to be on top of their game after the extended work in a no-hitter. There were six no-hitters last season -- one in the postseason -- authored by Ubaldo Jimenez, Dallas Braden, Roy Halladay (twice, once in the playoffs), Edwin Jackson and Matt Garza. Of those starters, Jimenez and Halladay were the only ones really on a roll.

Liriano most certainly is not on a roll like Jimenez and Halladay were a year ago. The next start results after Braden, Jackson and Garza's no-hitters were of the non-quality start variety.

Braden allowed four runs in eight innings. Jackson allowed four runs in five innings and was 1-4 with a 7.24 ERA in his five July starts after his no-hitter. And Garza allowed four earned runs in seven innings.

None of the starts were really that disastrous, but if you couple Liriano's career splits against the Red Sox and at Fenway, you have a legit pair of reasons to sit you're no-hitting fantasy ace.

Most owners will ignore this advice, but you cannot say you weren't forewarned.

Now onto the rest of our weekly report, where we break down all the two-start pitchers and some of the fringy one-start matchups:

Outside of the obvious pitchers, here are some matchups to capitalize on this week and some to avoid, with the pitcher in question identified in italics.

Monday, May 9

Matchup to exploit: Max Scherzer, DET (5-0, 3.15) at Brandon Morrow, TOR (1-1, 3.06)

It is time to jump on the Morrow bandwagon in all leagues, regardless of the matchup. Morrow has proven healthy and dominant off the DL and gets a two-start week. He is currently active in only 67 percent of leagues. That number should be 90 or higher. It certainly helps he gets two starts and has a 1.69 ERA against the Tigers in his career.

Matchup to avoid: Francisco Liriano, MIN (2-4, 6.61) at Jon Lester, BOS (4-1, 2.33)

You get a no-hitter out of him and now you have to sit him? Yeah, you probably should. One, he could be moved back to Tuesday and lose a two-start week. Also, the recent history of the next outing after a no-hitter isn't great. And, perhaps the clincher, Liriano has 7.78 ERA in his four career starts against the Red Sox. Most of his issues come at Fenway Park, too, where he has that 12.46 ERA in his career.

Tuesday, May 10

Matchup to exploit: Homer Bailey, CIN (1-0, 1.50) at Brett Myers, HOU (1-2, 4.47)

Bailey was surprisingly great in his return from the DL and draws the lowly Astros lineup against a somewhat scuffling Myers in this matchup. Bailey also has a 2.31 ERA in two starts against the Astros in his young career. It is time to buy back into the burgeoning sleeper Bailey.

Matchup to avoid: Brett Anderson, OAK (2-2, 2.77) at Colby Lewis, TEX (2-4, 5.21)

You won't find too many leagues where you will want to sit an ace like Anderson, but here is a word of warning: Anderson is worse than bad against the Rangers in his career with a 6.44 ERA in six career starts. He is also a one-start pitcher. This is reason enough to sit him if you have a viable two-start sleeper to use over him this one week.

Wednesday, May 11

Matchup to exploit: Phil Coke, DET (1-4, 4.50) at Scott Baker, MIN (1-2, 3.16)

The Twins might be struggling without Joe Mauer, but Baker is pitching far better than his record right now. He has had three consecutive quality starts and a home matchup. He is 8-4 at Target Field in the past year-plus. Baker is honestly a better option this week than the no-hitting Liriano.

Matchup to avoid: Jonathon Niese, NYM (1-4, 4.71) at Ubaldo Jimenez, COL (0-2, 7.20)

Niese has turned his season around in his past three quality starts (2.79 ERA), but throwing him back in your fantasy lineup this week is not advisable. He is 0-2 with a 5.55 ERA against the Rockies in his young career. This start is also at Coors Field, where he has a 9.00 ERA.

Thursday, May 12

Matchup to exploit: Jason Vargas, SEA (2-2, 4.68) at Zach Britton, BAL (5-1, 2.63)

If it isn't blatantly obvious now, Britton is a must-start in all leagues this week. The fact he is active in just 56 percent of leagues is unjust. He is 3-0 with a 2.50 in his past three starts and is 5-for-6 in quality starts. He has had a decision in every start and the decision he gets against the Mariners this week should be on the plus side. Pick him up in the 14 percent of leagues he is available and start 'em if you got 'em.

Matchup to avoid: Sean O'Sullivan, KC (1-1, 3.43) at Ivan Nova, NYY (2-2, 5.14)

You obviously don't want to purposely start a Royals pitcher against the Yankees, but you just might be lured in by O'Sullivan's sudden effectiveness. He has a 1.59 ERA in his past three starts against the Mariners, Indians and Twins. Those offenses aren't close to that of the Yankees', clearly.

Friday, May 13

Matchup to exploit: James McDonald, PIT (2-2, 6.75) at Yovani Gallardo, MIL (2-2, 6.10)

This is a vote of confidence for Gallardo, our preseason NL Cy Young award winner. Gallardo's ERA is over six for the season and is 8.44 in his past three starts. This is the Pirates, though -- at home, no less. Gallardo is 6-2 with a 2.15 ERA in 11 career starts against the Pirates. Don't dare sit your struggling ace this week.

Matchup to avoid: Clay Buchholz, BOS (2-3, 4.81) at Bartolo Colon, NYY (2-1, 3.00)

A few things are combining to get us to warn against using Buchholz this week: A blister issue, a start against the Yankees on the road and a 6.25 ERA against this opponent in six career games. Buchholz is a one-start sit in mixed leagues if you have a viable alternative. He is not worth the risk.

Saturday, May 14

Matchup to exploit: Jeff Karstens, PIT (2-1, 4.05) at Chris Narveson, MIL (1-2, 4.64)

Narveson's full-season numbers don't look great, but if you can throw out his one bad start, he would have a 2.93 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings. He draws the Pirates, too. The Cubs are the only other opponent he has more career victories against.

Matchup to avoid: Aaron Harang, SD (4-2, 4.37) at Jhoulys Chacin, COL (4-2, 2.85)

Harang's rebound season has hit a serious snag. His ERA is 9.82 in his past two starts and he is going at the Rockies in Coors Field. He isn't bad there in his career, relatively speaking (4.43 ERA), but he isn't worth the risk as a one-starter.

Sunday, May 15

Matchup to exploit: Michael Pineda, SEA (4-2, 2.58) at Josh Tomlin, CLE (4-1, 2.43)

Pineda is good, real good, but Tomlin has proven to be as well -- and he gets the luxury of facing the Mariners offense in this one. Tomlin is 6-for-6 now in quality starts this season. He might have allowed a season-high three runs in his past start against the Mariners, but he hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his other starts this season. Consider Tomlin a two-start pitcher worth starting in all leagues. Less than 50 percent of leagues agree with us, currently.

Matchup to avoid: Chris Carpenter, STL (0-2, 4.19) at Travis Wood, CIN (1-3, 6.21)

Wood clearly was overrated on draft day this spring. He now could be removed from the Reds' rotation. Homer Bailey has already return from a shoulder injury and Johnny Cueto should be next. Wood has likely pitched his way to the bullpen or Triple-A. He is a two-start pitcher who could be a no-start pitcher. Don't use him in any league, especially with the difficulty of this second matchup.

Eric Mack helps you plan your pitching staff every Friday at SI.com. You can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice on Twitter @EricMackFantasy. Hit him up. He honestly has nothing better to do with his free time.

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