Next week marks a first for this season in fantasy baseball: Every team is going without a day off. That makes for a lot of pitching options in setting lineups. That is 210 starts to pick through.
It makes analyzing the matchups more important than ever, and the loading up on two-start pitchers as easy as ever.
With that in mind, we decided to lead this week's Friday pitching report with in-the-tank pitchers you can probably trust this week, even though the losses (and walks) are piling up. In the week where the only 0-5 pitcher in baseball -- Francisco Liriano (9.45 ERA, 2.100 WHIP) -- was ushered to the bullpen, there are a number of slow starters who are poised for a rebound.
Buy now, or merely start them if you're hung with them and the breaking balls they have been hanging:
Liriano might be baseball's lone 0-5 pitcher, but Santana is the game's lone six-game loser at 1-6. All of those losses came in a row, too. It looks about as bad as anyone could have imagined.
Santana has posted three consecutive quality starts, though, including a 10-strikeout performance. He also won his last time out. The best news of all happens to lie in his matchups. The A's and Padres are not offensive juggernauts, and the Angels are due to string a strong stretch together.
Santana and his fantasy owners will be the beneficiaries.
With Andy Pettitte returning to the majors Sunday, Hughes picked the perfect time to start pitching like a major leaguer -- heck, even a fantasy contributor. He struck out seven this week, pitching into the seventh and posting his first quality start of the season.
He managed to save his rotation spot and has given owners a great time to buy low. There are going to be some solid pitchers sent to the waiver wire with so many two-start pitchers sitting out there as mixed-league options, so give Hughes a call to your fantasy roster, if not your starting lineup now.
If he bombs his next time out, you can rotate that roster spot to the next flavor of the week. If his recent outing is a signal of a trend, you have yourself a steal off waivers.
This writer marveled at the bargains the Red Sox pitchers were going for in drafts this March. Apparently, their low values were justified, if not
You should at least own them, if not start them, on blind faith their career numbers will win out amid their struggles.
Beckett is easier to trust in the week ahead because of his matchups and two-start status, but Buchholz is the potential buy-low gem. He looks completely worthless right now with his 9.02 ERA and 2.020 WHIP. Assume Buchholz isn't hurt, and if Beckett can play golf, he can pitch for the Red Sox and our fantasy teams.
Stick with the belief there is still value to be had with the downgraded Red Sox arms.
He is 27 years old; this was supposed to be a breakthrough year. Well, if you play fantasy long enough, you know every pitcher struggles in spurts. Danks might have gotten his struggles out of the way.
That is the great news, if you're just jumping on board and haven't had to absorb his worst. Even if you have, his best is yet to come.
Before righting himself last time out, Danks had allowed 13 runs in two starts against the Red Sox and Indians. Throw those two starts out and Danks is right around a quality start each other time out.
This is a pitcher who is a lot better than merely being owned in two-thirds of fantasy leagues. Starting him next week is easier as a two-start pitcher, even if you have to cross your fingers on him against the White Sox before he takes on the Cubs.
• David Robertson went ahead and did exactly the wrong thing: He blew a save after proving so unbelievable as a setup man. Rafael Soriano was the closer of choice last time out, albeit a fallible one, allowing a run. Stick with Robertson. He will right himself and take charge with the role.
• Chris Sale was moved to the bullpen to take the closer's role from Hector Santiago in lieu of closer-in-waiting Addison Reed. Well, Sale has an elbow issue that will limit him, if not shelve him, so finally we might be getting Reed in the role he belongs. Reed has saved two games now and has the ability to hold that role for not just weeks or months, but years, in Chicago.
• The Padres have decided to keep Luke Gregerson in the setup role and didn't want the wildness of power arm Andrew Cashner in the closer's role, so Dale Thayer has picked up back-to-back saves. Thayer can hold down that role until Huston Street (side) returns.
• The Marlins finally got a decent outing out of Heath Bell, but Ozzie Guillen is still juggling between Edward Mujica and Steve Cishek as his temporary co-closers. Guillen is leaning toward Cishek and we should do the same. It might take a few more promising outings from Bell before the $27 million man gets his job back.