The user’s guide to two-start pitchers, Week 21

Scott Pianowski

We've replaced Andy's usual fine content here with Folgers Crystals. Let's see what the patrons say.

National League

Cookie Monster
Matt Cain -- at HOU, vs. CHC
Stephen Strasburg -- at MIA, vs. STL
Wade Miley -- vs. CIN, vs. LAD

It's going to be a fun Rookie of the Year chase between Miley and Todd Frazier, unless Dusty Baker pulls the plug on his candidate.

The Amazing Mumford
Paul Maholm -- at SD, vs. PHI
Yovani Gallardo -- at CHC, vs PIT
Kyle Lohse -- at PIT, at WAS
Bronson Arroyo -- at ARI, at HOU
A.J. Burnett -- STL, at MIL

Maholm has worked into the seventh inning over eight straight starts, and seven of them were quality turns (the odd start was an acceptable four-run outing). Great play, Atlanta. … Arroyo isn't the most trustworthy arm in general, but we have to pick on the Astros whenever we can.

Oscar the Grouch
Jake Westbrook -- at PIT, at WAS
Tyler Skaggs -- vs. CIN, at LAD
Vance Worley -- vs. NYM, at ATL
Marco Estrada -- at CHC, vs. PIT

Westbrook matches up with Strasburg on the weekend, which pushes him down a level. That said, Westbrook has been a very steady pitcher since the beginning of June.

Cranky Bert
Josh Beckett -- at COL, vs. ARI
Travis Wood -- vs. MIL, vs. SF
Chris Young -- at PHI, at MIA
Casey Kelly -- vs. ATL, at COL

Beckett might be worth a grab in medium and deep mixers, but you can't trust him in Colorado. The Rockies can't hit on the road, but they're still formidable in the thin air.

Tickle Me Elmo
Bud Norris -- vs. SF, vs. CIN
Joe Blanton -- at COL, vs. ARI
Jeff Francis -- vs. LAD, vs. SD
Justin Germano -- vs. MIL, vs. SF

American League

Van Morrison
Felix Hernandez -- at MIN, vs. LAA
Justin Verlander -- at KC, vs. CHW
Chris Sale -- at BAL, at DET
Jered Weaver -- vs. BOS, at SEA

The only thing keeping Sale from the Cy Young argument is a low innings count. His fastball, slider and change are all plus pitches for him. … The Tigers have flipped Verlander and Anibal Sanchez in the rotation, which lines up Verlander to work in the Chicago series.

Van Halen
David Price -- at TEX, at TOR
Clay Buchholz -- at LAA, at OAK
Hisashi Iwakuma -- at MIN, vs. LAA
Brett Anderson -- at CLE, vs. BOS

It's come together nicely for Iwakuma in the rotation. He's a 3.02/1.29 arm as a starter (46 whiffs in 53.2 innings), as opposed to a 4.75/.1.42 option in the bullpen. Eric Wedge didn't help the cause early on, with an inconsistent usage pattern.

Van Hagar
Derek Holland -- vs. TB, at CLE
Zach McAllister -- vs. OAK, vs. TEX
Scott Diamond -- vs. SEA, at KC
Tommy Milone -- at CLE, vs. BOS
David Phelps -- vs. TOR, vs. BAL
James Shields -- at TEX, at TOR

Shields actually has better numbers away from the catwalk this year, but he's heading to a pair of run-scoring amusement parks (the red light has been flashing in Arlington all summer, crooked numbers almost every night).

Van Benschoten
Francisco Liriano -- at BAL, at DET
Wei-Yin Chen -- vs. CHW, at NYY
Luke Hochevar -- at BOS, vs. MIN
Chris Tillman -- vs. CHW, at NYY
J. A. Happ -- at NYY, vs. TB
Daisuke Matsuzaka -- vs. KC, at OAK
Miguel Gonzalez -- vs. CHW, at NYY
Liam Hendriks -- vs. SEA, at KC
Luis Mendoza -- vs. DET, vs. MIN
Aaron Laffey -- at NYY, vs. TB
Roberto Hernandez -- vs. OAK, vs. TEX

  • Giants finally release Josh Brown, John Mara cites team's 'misguided' actions

    Brown was left home from the Giants’ game against the Los Angeles Rams in London in Week 7 and was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list by the NFL, granting the team a roster spot to replace him. Giants co-owner John Mara explained (via ESPN) why the team released Brown now and not when the allegations of abuse first surfaced, or after the shocking documents in which Brown admitted he abused his wife were released by the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office.

    Shutdown Corner
  • Bruins' David Backes to miss at least 2 games after elbow surgery

    The injuries affecting the Boston Bruins isn’t only limited to their crease. Aside from being without their top two goaltenders they were also missing Frank Vatrano, Kevan Miller and David Backes. Backes is the newest member of the Bruins’ injured list and his situation was clarified a bit by the team on Wednesday morning.

    Puck Daddy
  • Kyle Schwarber shows why he's a freak of nature who can do some World Series damage for the Cubs

    Kyle Schwarber is a freak of nature, a hitter with the hand-eye coordination, explosiveness and guts to do what should be impossible. Now you know why the Cubs always believed Schwarber could help get them that championship parade down Michigan Avenue — and how the Cleveland Indians won’t just fade into history’s background as The Other Team. “No, not right now,” Schwarber said.

    Yahoo Sports
  • Experienced Cup drivers limited to 17 Xfinity and Truck Series races a year starting in 2017

    Kyle Busch will only be able to make 10 Xfinity Series starts in 2017. A rule limiting Sprint Cup drivers in NASCAR’s No. 2 and No. 3 series is official. NASCAR said Wednesday that Cup drivers with five years full-time experience in the series will be limited to 10 Xfinity races and seven Camping World Truck Series races a season starting in 2017.

    From The Marbles
  • David Toms Enjoying His Transition to Champions Tour

    You should make a note that Sonya Toms, wife of golfer David Toms, will celebrate her birthday on Jan. 4. "The nice thing is, I don’t forget her birthday," David said Wednesday on the eve of the Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi. Since he won 13 tournaments, including the 2001 PGA Championship, they were frequent Kapalua visitors.

  • Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly disappointed in AD's vote of confidence

    Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday he was disappointed that athletic director Jack Swarbrick had to give him a vote of confidence last Friday. Notre Dame started the season ranked in the top 10, but are now 2-5 coming off a bye week and the groans about the coaching situation have been persistent. “Brian will lead this team out of the tunnel opening day next year,” Swarbrick said.

    Dr. Saturday
  • EFL Cup QF draw: Man United-West Ham; Arsenal-Saints in all-PL ties

    Following the conclusion of Wednesday’s Manchester derby in the fourth round of the 2016-17 EFL Cup, the draw for the quarterfinal round presented a pair of all-Premier League clashes. Manchester United will take on West Ham United at Old Trafford, while Arsenal will welcome Southampton to the Emirates Stadium. All quarterfinal fixtures will be played the week commencing Nov. 28. As for the other two matchups, Liverpool host Leeds United at Anfield, and Hull City will face one of the three clubs they replaced in the PL this season, recently relegated Newcastle United, at the KCOM Stadium. Full EFL Cup quarterfinal draw Liverpool vs. Leeds United Manchester United vs. West Ham Hull City vs. Newcastle

  • Report: Mets seem convinced Yoenis Cespedes will leave via free agency

    The Mets "seem pretty convinced" OF Yoenis Cespedes will leave via free agency this offseason, Adam Rubin of ESPN tweeted Wednesday night. Rubin noted the team felt the same way last year, when Cespedes eventually re-signed. Cespedes, 31, has an opt-out clause in his contract that he can exercise three days after the conclusion of the World Series. He has two years and $50 million left on the three-year deal he signed with the Mets last offseason. Cespedes hit .280 with a .354 OBP and .530 SLG with 31 HR and 86 RBI in 132 games this past season. Since being acquired by the Mets on July 31, 2015, he has hit .282 with a .348 OBP and .554 SLG with 48 HR and 130 RBI.

  • Tim Tebow answered Stephen A. Smith's dumb question with a riveting inspirational speech

    Hate on Tim Tebow all you want, but there’s no denying he’s one of the most motivational guys in sports — period. On Tuesday he appeared with Stephen A. Smith on First Take and dropped the best speech you’ll hear all week. When he was criticized for taking a long shot at making an MLB roster, Tebow dropped the hammer.

    SB Nation
  • Don't panic, fantasy hockey owners!

    Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski offers early fantasy hockey advice including a Maple Leafs forward to grab off the waiver wire and a goalie to ship out while the going is good.

    Yahoo Sports Videos
  • Video: Pastrnak penalized for illegal check to head

    Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak has had a busy night on Wednesday. After opening the scoring just 10 seconds into their game against the New York Rangers, he might have brought some unwanted attention upon himself when he was given a two-minute minor penalty for an illegal check to the head of Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi in the second period. It all happened as Girardi was attempting to knock a puck down out of mid-air when Pastrnak came in with a crushing high hit. Girardi was shaken up as a result of the hit and briefly exited the game before later returning after missing a couple of shifts. The Bruins ended up successfully killing the two minute penalty to Pastrnak, but quickly gave

  • Kyle Schwarber added to Cubs' World Series roster

    For a team that’s supposed to be cursed, everything seems to be coming up in the Chicago Cubs’ favor right now. The Cubs will not only enter their first World Series in 71 years as the overwhelming favorite, but they’ll also do so with a player who was expected to miss the entire season. Joe Maddon then said Kyle Schwarber would be the team’s DH in Game 1. Relief pitcher Rob Zastryzny who hadn’t appeared thus far for the Cubs this postseason.

    Big League Stew
  • Why Tony Ferguson doesn't care for UFC gold: 'Belt is tarnished'

    Tony Ferguson continues to rack up wins in the UFC, and he keeps getting passed over for title shots. Tony Ferguson may be the most underrated, underappreciated fighter in the UFC. Six of his last eight wins have come by finish, and he’s bested a series of elite opponents, including Edson Barboza and Josh Thomson.

    Yahoo Sports
  • HSBC Champions: Tee Times, TV Schedule, Prize Money

    (c) 2016 Time Inc. Star-Studded Field for First WGC Event of the Season Russell Knox looks to defend his 2015 WGC-HSBC Champions title against a star-studded field that includes Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler.Russell Knox

  • Mike Zimmer used bloody interesting tactic to try to keep Vikings focused

    Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is a bit of an odd duck. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune beat writer Matt Vensel, before sending his then-undefeated team off for its bye, Zimmer massacred some poor stuffed animals. The message was meant to remind players to not take anything for granted, even as they were the NFL’s last undefeated team, a surprise given that the Vikings lost starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater before the regular season began and All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson in Week 2.

    Shutdown Corner
  • Man United beats City in EFL Cup Manchester derby, easing pressure on Mourinho

    Juan Mata scored the winning goal for Manchester United in the 54th minute. For an October game in the lamentably irrelevant League Cup, now for some reason renamed as the English Football League Cup, this one actually mattered. Because it was a Manchester derby, of course.

    FC Yahoo
  • New starter Dennis Schröder signs a multi-year extension with the Atlanta Hawks

    The Atlanta Hawks did as they had to. Fourth-year guard Dennis Schröder was signed to a four-year, $70 million contract extension on Wednesday, ESPN’s Marc Stein and Zach Lowe were the first to break the news. The move came on the eve of Schröder’s debut as a (hoped-for) season-long starter as Atlanta starting point guard, with the Hawks opening their 2016-17 campaign at home against Washington on Thursday night.

    Ball Don't Lie
  • Welcome to the Tim Tebow baseball and PR Experience

    In the last seven days, I've talked to a handful of Mets insiders, none of whom believe Tim Tebow will be with the team next spring in Port St. Lucie. I've heard several different reasons behind their thinking. But, in the end, everyone agreed that -- if he's still with the organization -- he's more likely to show up in St. Lucie when minor-league camp starts, as opposed to when big leaguers arrive in February. This is good news ... if you ask me. It's nothing against Tebow, who has every right to pursue a career in baseball. It's just, the Mets have real goals, and real business at hand, as they try to right their ship and get back to the World Series. I expect Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah

  • Jonathan Bernier exits Ducks game at Sharks with upper-body injury

    Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonathan Bernier exited his team’s Tuesday game against the San Jose Sharks with an upper body injury. It’s unclear when exactly Bernier was hurt. It was just the second game for Bernier with his new team this season.

    Puck Daddy
  • Golf's Superheroes launch WGC Shanghai event

    Some of the stars of golf were turned into superheroes to promote the launch of the WGC HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

    Omnisport Video
  • Why Ty Montgomery isn’t RB eligible on Yahoo (for now)

    Green Bay Packers wide receiver Ty Montgomery pushes Chicago Bears free safety Adrian Amos away as he carries the ball. There have been numerous tweets and questions about whether Ty Montgomery would become eligible at running back in Yahoo Fantasy after getting a chance to line up in the backfield after a rash of injuries for the Green Bay Packers. After much consideration, Yahoo Fantasy Sports has decided to leave Montgomery as receiver only at this time.

    Roto Arcade
  • Olympic boxing gold medalist Claressa Shields turning pro

    Claressa Shields celebrates after winning her second Olympic gold medal. There will be no third gold medal for Claressa Shields. The only American to win a boxing gold medal since Andre Ward in 2004 is turning professional and will make her pro debut on Nov. 19 in Las Vegas on the undercard of the Ward-Sergey Kovalev pay-per-view show.

    Yahoo Sports
  • Column: Should NHRA get with the times to grow sport?

    Drag racing has been one of the biggest motorsport passions of my life. Ever since the first time I went to the now-defunct U.S. 30 Dragstrip in northwest Indiana – with the famous loud and echoing radio liner, “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, at beautiful U.S. 30 Dragstrip, where the GREAT ONES Runnnnnnn!” – in the early 1970s, I’ve been a big fan of the quarter-mile. (By the way, for those in the Midwest who remember U.S. 30, which closed nearly 30 years ago, efforts are under way to bring it back. But I digress.) As a reporter, I’ve covered drag racing since the early 1980s. I still get as excited today following the sport as I did back then. But … and you probably figured a but was coming. While

  • Unhappy 49ers fan edits Trent Baalke's Wikipedia page

    The San Francisco 49ers might be the worst team in the NFL. Yes, the Cleveland Browns are winless, but taking a glance at the 49ers roster, there’s not a lot there. As The Mercury-News discovered on Monday, someone did some … creative editing to Baalke’s Wikipedia page.

    Shutdown Corner
  • The Oilers are off to their best start since the Gretzky era

    The Edmonton Oilers just keep on winning. Thanks to their 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, the Oilers are now 6-1-0 through their first seven games, have the best record in the Western Conference, and the second best record in the NHL behind only the Montreal Canadiens. To find the last time the Oilers won six of their first seven games, you have to go all the way back to the 1985-86 season when Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, and Paul Coffey still played for them and their dynasty was just starting to take shape. Their best start since then was a 5-1-1 start during the 2000-01 season. The recipe on Wednesday was similar to the one we have seen from the Oilers