Two-start pitchers to pick up in fantasy for Week 20
By Zach Steinhorn
Need to upgrade your fantasy starting staff? Or are gaining points in wins and strikeouts your primary goals? Then consider these pitchers, who are in line to make two starts each in Week 20.
12-team mixed leagues
Taijuan Walker (@TEX, vs. CWS)
Walker has been far from consistent in his first full season in the big leagues. However, the 23-year-old righty has registered a 2.86 ERA, a 0.88 WHIP and 28 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings in his past four starts. The White Sox rank last in the American League in runs and OPS, while the Rangers rank 11th in the Junior Circuit in runs scored at home. Plus, in Walker's lone start against Texas this year, he allowed only one unearned run over seven innings. If for some reason he's still on your league's waiver wire, now might be your final chance to add him.
Nathan Eovaldi (vs. MIN, vs. CLE)
Since allowing eight earned runs without making it through the first inning against the Marlins on June 16, Eovaldi has gone 6-0 with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in nine starts. So by now, it's unlikely that he's available in any league. But check just in case, and if you are already an Eovaldi owner, start him with confidence next week. Eovaldi's ERA at home (3.41) is more than a full run lower than his road mark (4.80), and the Twins and Indians rank last and next to last, respectively, in the AL in runs scored on the road.
Chris Heston (@STL, @PIT)
Following two straight shaky outings, Heston rebounded nicely on Wednesday with 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball against a potent Astros lineup. One legitimate concern regarding next week is that Heston has been much more effective at home (2.48 ERA) than on the road (4.45 ERA) this season, so he's a borderline call in 12-team mixed leagues. But the Cardinals and Pirates both rank in the bottom third of the National League in runs scored this month, and Heston's exceptional July (3-0, 1.57 ERA, 0.96 WHIP) should not be overlooked.
Deeper mixed leagues
Chris Tillman (vs. OAK, vs. MIN)
Coming off two consecutive stellar 200-plus inning seasons in 2013 and '14, Tillman had been expected to pitch in solid fashion this year. Instead, the O's righty sports his highest ERA and WHIP since 2011. He's also fresh off one of his worst outings of the year (2 1/3 IP, 8 H, 5 ER @SEA on 8/11). But prior to his most recent start, Tillman had pitched at least six innings while allowing two or fewer runs in four straight starts, including a dominant performance against the Braves in which he finished one out shy of a shutout. As for his opponents next week, the A's and Twins both rank in the bottom third of the AL in runs on the road and total runs since the All-Star break.
Kevin Gausman (vs. NYM, vs. MIN)
Although there is risk attached to Gausman due to his uneven big league track record, with three quality starts in his last four outings, the 24-year-old righty is certainly worth considering for those in deep mixed leagues. The Mets have been swinging the bats well of late, but they still rank last in the Majors in runs scored on the road. The Twins have scored the fewest runs on the road of any AL club.
Matt Garza (vs. MIA, @WAS)
Garza is tough to fully trust considering his overall numbers this season. That said, the veteran righty has turned things around since returning from the disabled list following the All-Star break, posting a 2.56 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in five starts. The Marlins are the lowest-scoring team in the Majors, and the Nationals, despite being a dangerous lineup, have struggled at home this year, ranking 25th in the Majors in runs and batting average.
All statistics are accurate through the completion of Wednesday's games.
Zach Steinhorn is a fantasy writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.