Crazy to think we are already approaching the third week of the season and the 2014 National League MVP Clayton Kershaw has an ERA at 4.42 and a WHIP over 1.500.
Then again, he won the MVP after missing all of April last year, so I guess it is not quite time to panic.
In addition, who would have thought Jordan Zimmermann would have posted a 1-2 record with an ERA over 6.00 through three starts?
In saying that, the third and fourth week of the season can be a fairly crucial one, especially in H2H formats. With players like Hunter Pence, Kenley Jansen, among others nearing returns in early to mid-May, Homer Bailey activated yesterday, as well as the promotions of Danny Salazar and Kris Bryant, now is the time we must tread water, hang in there, and ensure that we do not get buried in the standings before it is too late for those players returning from injury to make an impact.
And, as in most H2H formats, knowing which Fantasy Baseball pitchers to start, and which pitchers to sit, can be key to taking home the victory in week 3. While Madison Bumgarner vs. Kershaw may be the matchup of the week, we will not be targeting such obvious choices for our 5 starters.
5 Pitchers to Start in Week 3
1. Dillon Gee, New York Mets
Gee has had a terrible start to the 2015 season, and his days in the Mets’ rotation may be numbered with New York having Rafael Montero stretched out in Triple-A, but he has always pitched well at Citi Field, and in particular against the Atlanta Braves, who he draws on Wednesday.
He has posted a 2.25 ERA over the course of 48 innings in seven starts against Atlanta entering 2015. Despite a rough start against the Braves to start the 2015 season, I like him to bounce back at home this time around.
2. Joe Kelly, Boston Red Sox
I heard someone mention Kelly as a potential Garrett Richards of 2015, and he is certainly showing why the optimism was there.
Kelly is off to a great start, with a 2.13 ERA and 11 strikeouts in his first two starts. I think the success continues against the Tampa Bay Rays lineup that he faces on Wednesday.
3. Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
Teheran gets the New York Mets on Thursday, and in his young career, he has greatly enjoyed that match-up. Teheran holds a 2.72 career ERA against the Mets entering the 2015 season, and allowed only one earned run in six innings against them in his start this season.
In addition, aside from a rough start against Toronto, which could deter some owners, he has been his usual dominant self all season, and the pitching match-up is favorable against Bartolo Colon.
4. Kyle Lohse, Milwaukee Brewers
Lohse is off to a brutal start, there’s no denying that. However, two things work in his favor for his start on Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds: he loves pitching at Miller Park, and loves facing the Reds. In 12 starts over the last three years against the Reds, he holds a 5-2 record with a 1.88 ERA. He is also 11-7 with a 2.86 ERA at Miller Park over that same time frame.
5. Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox
Buchholz has either been dominant (2 earned runs in 13 innings pitched over two starts) or disgusting (9 earned runs in 3.1 innings against the New York Yankees) this season, however I like targeting the Rays lineup, and that’s who he gets on Thursday.
In addition, he holds a 2.91 ERA in 10 starts against Tampa Bay since 2012, and a 1.67 ERA at Tropicana Field in 5 starts during that same span. I like Thursday to be a dominant start for Buchholz this week.
5 Pitchers to Sit in Week 3
1. James Shields, San Diego Padres
Shields has had a great start to his Padres career, but the Colorado Rockies are on an absolute tear to start the 2015 season, and I do not want any part of Shields at Coors Field.
The Rockies generally play well on their home ground, and they have averaged nearly 5 runs per game, despite only three home games thus far.
2. Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals
Ventura has yet to leave a start this season on his own, or simply due to the Manager’s decision. He has exited with a hand cramp, a calf cramp/strain and an ejection. I think he leaves his start against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday without injury or ejection, but I still envision a shortened start.
Ventura has a 5.57 ERA against the White Sox in 4 career starts, and 9.00 ERA in 2 starts at U.S. Cellular Field. On top of that, he draws Chris Sale. Good luck.
3. Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians
Salazar draws the Detroit Tigers in his second start as part of the Indians’ rotation on Friday, and it seems like a “trap” game.
He will obviously be a major “free-agent” target this week given his promise, but I don’t like the spot against the Tigers lineup that is really clicking. Detroit’s 4-1 at home this season and averaging over 5 runs per game.
4. Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays
Archer has not enjoyed his time facing the Boston Red Sox in his career, and he gets the AL East rival on Tuesday opposing Wade Miley. In 7 starts against the Red Sox he has a 1-4 record with a 6.03 ERA.
Given that Boston is averaging just under six runs per game to start the 2015 season, I don’t imagine Archer’s current 1.37 ERA remaining under 2 following Tuesday’s outing.
5. Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians
Bauer has finally cut down on his walks, which in turn, has shown the dominance he flashed throughout his minor league career. Unfortunately, that does not negate the fact that he is 1-7 career away from Cleveland, and has a 6.14 career ERA against the Chicago White Sox, the team he faces on Tuesday.
While his matchup with Hector Noesi is nothing to be scared of, I would not be shocked if neither starter made it through five innings.
Clay Buchholz Photo Credit: Keith Allison
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