There are a handful of aces who are scheduled to be on the mound twice this week — Gerrit Cole, Shane McClanahan, Zack Wheeler, Corbin Burnes, Walker Buehler, etc. — so congrats to the fantasy managers with those arms. You already know to set it and forget it with those guys, but some other hurlers aren’t as automatic. Here are four such two-start pitchers who do belong in your lineups this week.
Nick Pivetta, Boston Red Sox (at CWS, vs. BAL)
I’ve made the case for why you should add Pivetta in your league right now, and yes, you should try to get some early returns on your investment this week when Pivetta faces the Whtite Sox and Orioles. Pivetta shut out Chicago over six innings with five hits, no walks and eight strikeouts back on May 7. There’s a little concern about the White Sox getting a second look at Pivetta in a fairly short time span, but considering how dominant the right-hander has been over his past three starts (0.81 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 20:1 K-to-BB ratio, CG versus Astros), he’s earned the benefit of the doubt.
Sonny Gray, Minnesota Twins (vs. DET, vs. KC)
Gray may now be rounding into form after spending some time on the injured list last month and then returning for a couple of short outings earlier in May. He did pitch six innings his last time out, allowing two runs and striking out five. That may portend that good things are ahead for Sonny — or it could have just been the A’s. But hey, credit to the righty for taking advantage of a soft matchup. He has two more on deck this week with home dates versus the Tigers and Royals, two teams that rank 30th and 27th, respectively in runs scored. He’s still getting hit pretty hard, but Gray is definitely worth using when he has a cake matchup.
Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals (vs. TOR, vs. MIL)
Mikolas ranks second in the National League in ERA (1.68) and sixth in WHIP (0.99) through 48.1 innings. And that success hasn’t all come against a bunch of cellar-dwellers; he performed well in two starts against the Mets and at San Francisco. This week’s schedule looks daunting, but consider that the Blue Jays have scored three runs or fewer in five straight games. Amazingly, that offense has hit only 11 homers in May, the second-fewest in baseball. And the 26-15 Brewers have been mediocre against actually good teams; 14 of their victories have come against the Orioles, Reds, Pirates and Nationals. Expect Mikolas to keep putting up stellar numbers this week.
Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies (at PIT, at WSH)
Trusting Freeland is always a risky proposition. After a solid four-start stretch into early May, he got hit all over the yard by the powerless Royals a couple of turns ago. He did rebound his last time out with a quality start and eight K’s over six innings versus the Giants. Now he gets a two-start week against the Pirates and the Nationals. That’s tasty. The Pirates have scored a total of 14 runs over their past six games, and the Nats had scored just nine runs over a six-game span before breaking out for eight runs in a victory Sunday. Freeland is widely available in fantasy leagues and although that Royals blowup should not be forgotten, two starts away from Coors Field against two of the most impotent offenses in MLB looks too good to pass up.