Sat Jun 8 9:20am ET
By MIKE BARNER
When Week 12 is complete, we will already be half way through the month of June. Injuries continue to mount across the pitching landscape, including Carlos Carrasco hitting the IL for an indefinite period of time due to a blood condition. In terms of two-start pitchers, there are a few this week who could provide some relief, so let’s get right to breaking down the matchups.
Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox: vs. TEX, at BAL
Talk about a turnaround. In his first four starts of the season, Sale allowed 17 runs and recorded just 14 strikeouts across 18 innings. While some fantasy managers might have been hitting the panic button, those who stayed the course have been rewarded by him allowing 20 runs (16 earned) and recording a whopping 96 strikeouts over 59 1/3 innings since. His last start against the Royals was maybe his most impressive with him recording 12 strikeouts and allowing only three hits over nine scoreless innings.
With Sale now firing on all cylinders, he’s set to provide tremendous value for his two-start week. First, he gets to face a Rangers team that is loaded with left-handed hitters and is missing their best player in Joey Gallo (oblique). Then he’ll face the Orioles, who are in the bottom third of the league in runs scored and OPS. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
James Paxton, New York Yankees: vs. NYM, at CWS
Paxton is one of the many players on the Yankees who has been forced to spend time on the IL. He didn’t make any rehab starts after sitting out over three weeks, which resulted in him being limited to 66 pitches in his first start back. He was certainly dominant, recording seven strikeouts over four hitless innings against the Padres. He list start against the Blue Jays didn’t go as well, but at least he threw 83 pitches.
With Paxton likely back to his normal pitch count, he has the potential to be an anchor for any fantasy staff with two starts on tap. He could especially thrive in the strikeout department with the Mets and White Sox striking out the seventh-most and fourth-most times in baseball, respectively. If you had him on your bench last week due to pitch count concerns, make sure to activate him again.
Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs: at COL, at LAD
Up to this point, the Cubs signing of Darvish has been a disaster. Injuries limited him to just eight starts last year and he didn’t pitch well even when he was able to take the mound. He hasn’t been any better this year with a 5.13 FIP and a 1.52 WHIP. He’s had serious command issues, leaving him with a 14.9 percent walk rate.
Even though Darvish has allowed three earned runs or fewer in five of his last six starts, his inability to control the strike zone makes him very risky. As far as matchups go, his two starts this week are about as bad as it gets. Not only will he have to try and navigate the Rockies lineup at Coors Field, but he also has to face a Dodgers team that is inside the top three in the league in both runs scored and OPS. Make sure he’s anchored to your bench.
Martin Perez, Minnesota Twins: vs. SEA, vs. KC
After a disastrous 2018 campaign with the Rangers, Perez latched on with the Twins during the offseason. He's added a cutter to his arsenal, which has proven to be a tremendous asset for him in the early going. Not known for his ability to compile strikeouts, he’s at least made it so he’s not a liability in that department with his 21.1 percent strikeout rate. Add in the fact that he’s only allowed five home runs across 65 1/3 innings and he checks in with a very respectable 3.72 ERA that is supported by a 3.74 FIP.
Still out there in a lot of leagues, this could be an excellent two-start week to exploit. The Mariners are in a freefall right now and dealt away one of their better power hitters in Jay Bruce as they enter fire sale mode. His second start comes against a Royals team that has the third-worst wRC+ (69) against left-handed pitchers.
Spencer Turnbull, Detroit Tigers: at KC, vs. CLE
The Tigers didn’t enter this season with quality depth for their starting rotation, so things really took a turn for the worse when they suffered a few key injuries. For all that has gone wrong, a bright spot has been the performance of Turnbull. After getting his feet wet with four major league appearances last year, Turnbull has recorded a 3.01 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP through 12 starts. His FIP is a little higher at 3.82 and his 21.9 percent strikeout rate isn’t great, but it’s very encouraging that he’s only allowed six home runs across 71 2/3 innings.
If you’re looking for a streaming option, Turnbull might be your man. There is a chance that Hunter Dozier (side) will still be on the IL for his first start of the week against the Royals, which would compromise their already subpar lineup. The Indians are more dangerous with Francisco Lindor back in the fold, but the struggles of his Jose Ramirez and their lack of talent has contributed to them scoring the fifth-fewest runs (252).
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.