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Pitching Primer: Week 13

Sat Jun 15 10:21pm ET
By MIKE BARNER
Contributing Writer

There is no shortage of two-start pitchers for Week 13. Whether it is big-time aces or streaming options, there are a lot of players who could provide significant value. However, there are also a few to stay away from based on their matchups. Let’s break down what the schedule looks likes for five starters and discuss whether they should be started or benched in most fantasy formats.

Mike Clevinger, Cleveland Indians: at TEX, vs. DET

After not doing much to help their lineup during the offseason, the Indians were clearly planning to lean on their starting rotation to get them back into the playoffs. Several key injuries have dealt that strategy a serious blow, one of which was to Clevinger (back). Even though they might have dug themselves a hole that they can’t climb out of, they will at least get Clevinger back Monday.

The bad news for Clevinger is that his first start comes at hitter-friendly Globe Life Park in Arlington. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him on a limited pitch count considering he’s been out for over two months and made only two rehab starts. Luckily his second outing is about as favorable as it gets against a Tigers team that has scored the second-fewest runs (233) in baseball. If you’ve waited this long to get him back into your lineup, that game against the Tigers alone probably makes him worth starting.

Cole Hamels, Chicago Cubs: vs. CWS, vs. NYM

As bad as the Yu Darvish acquisition has been for the Cubs, their addition of Hamels has proven to be huge. He’s loving his time back in the National League, recording a 2.98 ERA that is supported by a 3.43 FIP across his first 14 starts. Even though his 23.6 percent strikeout rate is nothing to write home about, he’s done a tremendous job of keeping hitters inside the park by allowing seven home runs over 84 2/3 innings. That shouldn’t be a big surprise, either, since he’s allowed 1.0 HR/9 for his career.

Hamels will look to keep things rolling with a two-start week that includes a matchup against the White Sox, who are in the bottom third of the league in both runs scored and OPS. Tipping the scales even more in Hamels’ favor is that they have struck out the ninth-most times (620). The Mets have a much tougher lineup, but a lot of their best hitters are left-handed. That’s key for Hamels, who has allowed a .252 wOBA against lefties this season. Make sure he’s locked into your lineup.

Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers: at SD, vs. CIN

After spending most of his time in the majors last season as a member of the Brewers’ bullpen, Woodruff has been given an opportunity to start this year. He’s taken the job and run with hit, posting a 3.87 ERA and an even more encouraging 3.06 FIP. Add his 28.9 percent strikeout rate with the fact that he’s allowed 0.9 HR/9 and he’s proven to be a gem for those who drafted him.

His strikeout upside should be off the charts in his first start considering the Padres have struck out the second-most times (674) in baseball. The Reds haven’t been nearly as strikeout prone, but they do have the fifth-lowest wRC+ (81) against right-handed pitchers. Look for Woodruff to continue to provide significant fantasy value based on these matchups.

Brad Peacock, Houston Astros: at CIN, at NYY

Another pitcher who was mainly a reliever last year and is now starting is Peacock. He’s excelled in his new role, posting a 3.53 FIP and a 1.08 WHIP. His strikeout rate has fallen from 35.3 percent last year to 24.4 percent this season, but no one expected him to keep punching out hitters at such a lofty pace now that he is starting. The one concern with him is that he’s already thrown 71 innings after logging just 65 innings last year. It seems unlikely that the Astros will push him to pitch anywhere near 200 innings as a result.

His first start against the Reds is definitely favorable, especially with it being in Cincinnati and their being no DH. However, his second start against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium is very worrisome. They already have Aaron Hicks and Didi Gregorius back from injury and there is a chance that Giancarlo Stanton (shoulder) could also be activated by the time this game rolls around. As good as his matchup with the Reds is, benching him this week might be correct route to take.

Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks: vs. COL, vs. SF

Kelly has had his share of rough outings this season, which included allowing four runs across 1 2/3 innings against the lowly Padres less than a month ago. He followed that up with a tough start in Coors Field, bringing his ERA all the way up to 4.83. Luckily for the Diamondbacks, he’s rebounded to allow two runs and record 18 strikeouts across 22 1/3 innings in his last three starts.

Now the question is, can he keep things rolling? He dodges a bullet by facing the Rockies at home. As potent as their lineup has been at Coors Field, they have the second-lowest wRC+ (72) on the road. The Giants are near the bottom of the league in most major offensive categories, leaving Kelly as one of the top streaming options to target.

Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.

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