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Pitching Primer: Week 11

Wed Jun 7 11:01am ET
By MIKE BARNER
Contributing Writer

Week 11 brings an interesting mix of two-start pitchers. Some have considerable upside, while others could do plenty of damage to fantasy squads. Let’s discuss five of them and what their matchups could mean for their production.

Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays: vs. HOU, vs. MIN

Talk about a fall from grace. Manoah couldn’t have been much better for the Blue Jays last year, posting a 2.24 ERA and a 3.35 FIP. His WHIP was a sparkling 0.99 and he only allowed 0.7 HR/9. He has been at the opposite end of the spectrum this season, recording a 5.46 ERA and an even worse 6.27 FIP. His WHIP has ballooned to 1.77 because of his 15.0 percent walk rate, and he has allowed 1.6 HR/9.

As good as Manoah was last year, he’s not worth deploying in fantasy for this two-start week. These aren’t two terrible matchups, but Manoah can’t be counted on with his lack of control right now. Don’t drop him just yet, but make sure that he’s anchored to your bench until he shows signs of turning things around.

Hunter Brown, Houston Astros: at TOR, at CLE

Brown is coming off his worst start of the season. He only made it through 4 2/3 innings against the Twins, allowing eight baserunners and five runs. If there was a bright side, it’s that he posted eight strikeouts. Even with that poor outing, he has a 3.61 ERA and an even better 2.90 FIP this season. He has also missed plenty of bats, generating a 28.8 percent strikeout rate.

With how well Brown has pitched, he could provide significant returns for fantasy managers with a two-start week. The Blue Jays will be a tough matchup, but the Guardians is about as good as it gets. They have the worst OPS, have scored the third-fewest runs and have hit the fewest home runs in baseball.

Braxton Garrett, Miami Marlins: vs. KC, at CWS

Garrett’s 4.22 ERA doesn’t tell the entire story. Most of the damage was done against him during one start against the Braves in which he allowed 11 runs over 4 1/3 innings. In his other 10 outings, he allowed two or fewer runs nine times. In his last four starts, he has a 1.66 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP. That included a matchup against the Padres and an outing against the Rockies at Coors Field.

Garrett will be presented with two favorable opportunities in Week 11 to continue improving on his ERA. The Royals have the fourth-worst OPS and have scored the sixth-fewest runs in baseball. The White Sox haven’t been much better, posting the seventh-worst OPS. Be sure to have Garrett locked into your starting lineup if he’s on your roster.

Louie Varland, Minnesota Twins: at TB, at TOR

Varland has stepped up in a big way for a Twins team that has dealt with plenty of injuries to their starting rotation. He has a 3.51 ERA over seven starts and has used a 4.8 percent walk rate to produce a 1.15 WHIP. If there is an area for concern, it’s that his FIP sits at 4.89. Also, he has given up 2.0 HR/9. If his WHIP were to increase, his inability to keep hitters inside the ballpark could do a number on his ERA.

With these two matchups on tap, it might be wise to stay away from rolling with Varland in fantasy. Not only have the Rays scored the second-most runs in baseball, but they have hit the most home runs. The Blue Jays have a potent lineup, as well, recording the eighth-highest OPS in baseball.

Kyle Gibson, Baltimore Orioles: at MIL, vs. KC

The veteran Gibson has provided some stability for the Orioles, recording a 3.89 ERA and a 4.07 FIP over 12 starts. While his 1.31 WHIP is nothing to write home about, he has allowed just 0.8 HR/9. From a fantasy perspective, his upside is limited, given his career 18.5 percent strikeout rate. That mark is even worse this season at 15.9 percent.

With his lack of strikeouts, Gibson is only worth deploying when he has favorable matchups. That’s the case this upcoming week. We already mentioned the Royals’ offensive futility and the Brewers haven’t been much better, recording the fifth-worst OPS in baseball. They Brewers and Royals have also struck out the fifth-most and seventh-most times in the league, respectively. For those who need a streaming option, taking a chance on Gibson could prove to be worthwhile.

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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