Gio Gonzalez (@STL, vs. ATL)
Although it might seem too risky to pitch Gonzalez next week considering his largely disappointing 2015 campaign, the veteran southpaw does have the luxury of a pair of favorable matchups. The Cardinals and Braves rank 11th and 15th, respectively, in the National League in runs scored and OPS this season. Perhaps even more importantly, in two combined starts against these two clubs this year, Gonzalez has allowed just two runs across 13 innings. Also worth noting is that Gonzalez's career-high 10.0 H/9 can be at least partially attributed to an unusually high .353 BABIP, so poor luck has played a role in his struggles. Gonzalez owners in 12-team mixed leagues can go ahead and start him next week, but if he continues to underwhelm, it might be time to think about dropping him.
Chris Bassitt (vs. LAA, vs. SEA)
Bassitt's streak of seven consecutive quality starts came to an end on Wednesday, but he faced a Mariners lineup that ranked fourth in the AL in runs scored this month. While he does have to face the Mariners again next week, Bassitt will also go up against an Angels club that ranks last in the Majors in runs scored in August. The 26-year-old righty has also been a far more effective pitcher at home (1.83 ERA) than on the road (4.34 ERA) this season, a fact that bodes well for next week.
Joe Ross (@STL, vs. ATL)
Since making his big league debut back in June, Ross has been one of the more consistent hurlers in the game, allowing three or fewer runs in eight of his first 10 starts while posting an exceptional 58-to-9 K/BB ratio across 60 2/3 innings. Following two straight mediocre performances, Ross got back on track against the Brewers last week, limiting Milwaukee to one run over seven innings. He gets the same set of favorable matchups next week as his teammate, Gonzalez, so owners should start him with confidence.
Deeper mixed leagues
Jimmy Nelson (vs. PIT, @CIN)
An outstanding month of July (3-1, 1.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) followed by a strong start to August vaulted Nelson into the 12-team mixed league conversation. But his rough outing on Wednesday, in which he allowed five runs over 3 1/3 innings while issuing eight free passes, could have resulted in many of his fantasy owners cutting ties with him. If Nelson is indeed available in your league, regardless of size, strongly consider adding him, though I would play it safe and bench him in 12-team mixed leagues for next week, as the Pirates rank third in the NL in runs and second in OPS since the All-Star break. In deeper formats, however, he might be worth the risk, being that the Reds have scored the fewest number of runs of any NL club this month.
Bartolo Colon (vs. PHI, @MIA)
Over the past month, Colon has alternated strong outings with mediocre at best outings, so he is tough to fully trust. That said, coming off Wednesday's gem in Philadelphia, the 42-year-old has a good chance to make it two or maybe even three straight strong outings. Colon will again face the Phillies before going up against a Marlins club that he has dominated this season to the tune of a 2.83 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in four starts.
Colby Lewis (@SD, @LAA)
Speaking of trusting a pitcher, I've had a hard time trusting Lewis this year despite his respectable stat line, mostly due to his uneven big league track record. But even I will be tempted to pitch him next week, as the Padres and Angels rank 19th and 27th, respectively, in the Majors in runs scored since the All-Star break. Another reason for optimism is that both of these starts will be on the road, where Lewis has pitched to a 3.71 ERA, this compared to a 5.11 ERA in Arlington.
All statistics are accurate through the completion of Wednesday's games.