The second half is upon us, and it is crunch time heading into those fantasy playoffs. Not a big week for two-start pitchers, as the Sunday slate had an arms race going. There are still a few aces with two-start weeks, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Gerrit Cole all make two starts this week. The Red Sox are calling up another rookie lefty, Brian Johnson, who will make two starts this week. He will face average to above average offenses this week, with the Angels and the Tigers. He is a talented prospect, but asking for an Eduardo Rodriguez start to your career is a lot.

Pitchers

Starts

Michael Lorenezen (CIN)

CHC, @COL

Odisramer Despainge (SD)

SF, MIA

Clayton Richard (CHC)

@CIN, PHI

Matt Garza (MIL)

CLE, @ARI

Brian Johnson (BOS)

@LAA, DET

Matt Moore (TB)

@PHI, BAL

Nathan Eovaldi (NYY)

BAL, @MIN

Matt Shoemaker (LAA)

MIN, TEX

Kendall Graveman (OAK)

TOR, @SF

Alex Wood (ATL)

LAD, @STL

Kyle Gibson (MIN)

@LAA, NYY

Jeremy Hellickson (ARI)

MIA, MIL

Gio Gonzalez (WAS)

NYM, @PIT

Andrew Heaney (LAA)

BOS, TEX

Rubby De La Rosa (ARI)

MIA, MIL

Ian Kennedy (SD)

SF, MIA

Yordano Ventura (KC)

PIT, HOU

Jason Hammel (CHC)

@CIN, PHI

A.J. Burnett (PIT)

@KC, WAS

Gerrit Cole (PIT)

@KC, WAS

Danny Salazar (CLE)

@MIL, CHW

Matt Harvey (NYM)

@WAS, LAD

Jacob deGrom (NYM)

@WAS, LAD

Tier One

Both the Mets' arms face the Nationals and the Dodgers. Both offenses sound like big name threats, but that is not the case. The Nationals are battered with injuries, while the Dodgers bats have slowed from early in the season. I am a big fan of both of them, as always, and have to say I trust deGrom more than Harvey. He has a 2.14 ERA, 2.61 FIP, and a 11.7% swinging strike rate. The Nationals have a 22% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching in the last 30 days, and Harper is the only real threat they have in that lineup at the moment. The Nats will face plenty of quality arms this week, going to Pittsburgh later in the week to face A.J. Burnett and Gerrit Cole. Jason Hammel will not need a DL stint with the time off he had, and will have two excellent matchups this week. We always worry about the Salazar blowups, but this week he looks to be in good shape. Both offenses are in the bottom of the league.

Tier Two

There are no clear cut favorites in this tier, which is disappointing to open up the second half. A lot of these arms are risky, as well as strictly one start guys. Starting with Yordano Ventura, he has yet to put any sort of run of good pitching together this season. He faces two solid offenses this week, which is concerning for him to get any sort of momentum going. I am starting him, both games are at home, and the Houston matchup has strikeout upside potential. I am staying away from the Ian Kennedy, Rubby De La Rosa, and Jeremy Hellickson in the games they don't face Miami this week. So one-and-done pitchers for me there. The rest are options that are risky, but I don't see a massive reason to skip their starts this week.

Tier Three

Yuck... Odisramer Despaigne is the only arm in this tier with a decent start this week against Miami. Marlins have an 84 wRC+ in the last 30 days, with a 21% strikeout rate. You can skip his start against the Giants, they eat up right-handed pitching this year. If you want the risk of a young prospect, Johnson from Boston is in play. The Angels and Tigers are sort of boom or bust against left-handed pitching this season.