DAILY MATCHUPS: Best of Weds are Cole, Paxton, Clevinger

As a way to preview the day's games, the 2019 Daily Matchups column will provide a list of all SP scheduled to start that day. The Daily Matchups column works hand-in-hand with the HQ Pitcher Matchup tool (also available as an 8-day scan). It will group the day's SP into strong starts, judgment calls, or weak starts and will provide an analysis of the most noteworthy SP along the way. Tips on how to best use these SP tools can be found in this 2019 GM's OFFICE column.

For additional DFS coverage collected in one place, see our Daily Dashboard page. Also reference our three-year ballpark factorsteam indicator pages, and SP Buyers Guide columns to help you optimize your SP utilization.

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Today's schedule overview: Wednesday’s slate is comprised of 14 games. The Angels and Reds will be idle on a day that includes four interleague games (COL-at-HOU, ATL-at-MIN, OAK-at-CHC, SD-at-SEA). Most of Wednesday’s games will be daytime affairs. A little bit of wet weather could be in the offing for games at CLE (vs. TEX), BAL (vs. NYY), and PIT (vs. MIL). Notable elsewhere on the baseball weather map is a strong hitter’s breeze (out to left) at Fenway (KC-BOS). Gerrit Cole, James Paxton and Michael Clevinger head a Matchups chart a bit low on easy choices at the top.

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Strong Starts (top tier starts rated >1.0; starts in 0.50-0.99 range also favorable)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Gerrit Cole (R) HOU vCOL 2.92 4.06 2.20 2.90 2.51 3 3 5 3 3
  James Paxton (L) NYY @BAL 2.74 3.23 2.08 2.74 2.89 3 2 1 2 2
  Michael Clevinger (R) CLE vTEX 2.31 3.51 2.28 2.41 1.02 3 3 4 4 3
  Brendan McKay (L) TAM vTOR 1.37 1.76 1.28 1.56 0.86 3 1 4 2 2
  Joey Lucchesi (L) SD @SEA 1.27 1.66 1.22 1.17 1.02 3 1 0 3 1
  Jack Flaherty (R) STL @LA 1.24 2.56 0.47 1.20 0.74 4 4 3 3 5
  Lance Lynn (R) TEX @CLE 0.94 2.73 0.94 1.62 -1.52 5 2 3 4 5
  Eduardo Rodriguez (L) BOS vKC 0.92 2.02 0.53 0.47 0.64 4 2 4 1 3
  Steven Matz (L) NYM vMIA 0.71 0.43 1.04 1.36 TBD 2 0 3 5 2
  Drew Pomeranz (L) MIL @PIT 0.59 0.47 0.73 0.35 0.80 1 2 3 0 3

Joey Lucchesi (LHP, SD) has logged a few second-half missteps, but against tougher teams than the struggling Seattle unit (.706 OPS second half) he’ll see on Wednesday. The Mariner lineup leans left, and that plays into some nice same-side numbers (career .659 OPSA with a 33% hit rate) for the 26-year-old Padre hurler.

Steven Matz (LHP, NYM) owns a 3.47 ERA/3.86 xERA over his last 23 IP. Miami batters own a .602 OPS against the Mets southpaw. The game is at Citi Field, where Matz has registered a 2.06 ERA this season.

Drew Pomeranz (LHP, MIL) returns to the rotation for the first time since July 16, and the landing is a soft one. The Pirates continue to scuffle against port-siders—they own a .670 OPS, 0.21 Eye against lefty pitching. Pittsburgh has batted just .249/.311/.384 in the second half. Pomeranz has registered six straight scoreless appearances out of the pen.

 

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Ivan Nova (R) CHW @DET 0.37 0.20 0.49 0.84 -0.05 1 1 4 3 0
  Zac Gallen (R) ARI vPHI 0.31 0.85 0.12 0.01 0.25 0 2 3 5 3
  Joe Ross (R) WAS @SF 0.08 0.58 0.03 -0.26 -0.03 2 2
  Martin Perez (L) MIN vATL -0.09 0.32 -0.28 -0.20 -0.19 1 2 0 1 1
  Wilmer Font (R) TOR @TAM -0.12 -0.12 -0.11 0.63 -0.88 1 0 1 2
  Max Fried (L) ATL @MIN -0.14 0.47 -0.37 -0.34 -0.31 3 2 3 1 3
  Homer Bailey (R) OAK @CHC -0.20 0.39 -0.65 -0.31 -0.24 0 3 0 4 3
  Tyler Alexander (L) DET vCHW -0.28 -0.91 -0.16 0.71 -0.74 1 3 3 1
  Shaun Anderson (R) SF vWAS -0.34 -0.17 -0.27 -0.43 -0.47 2 0 2 2 0
  Trevor Williams (R) PIT vMIL -0.38 0.57 -0.68 -0.11 -1.30 0 0 2 4 1
  Jose Quintana (L) CHC vOAK -0.38 -0.20 -0.76 -0.25 -0.32 5 1 2 2 2
  Jason Vargas (L) PHI @ARI -0.39 0.42 -0.58 -0.43 -0.95 0 2 3 1 4

Ivan Nova (RHP, CHW) will be at Comerica on Wednesday afternoon. Nova’s road numbers are a bit inflated by a 34% hit rate, and his figures from two (July 27) and three (July 22) starts back provide enough ammo for defending a start against the light-hitting Tigers.

Zac Gallen (RHP, ARI) is lined up to make his first start for the Diamondbacks after being acquired from Miami on July 31. The 23-year-old owns a 2.72 ERA/4.29 xERA through seven starts. He’s logged a 13% SwK en route to striking out 10.7 batters per nine. He draws a Phillies offense that can disappear at times on the road, and which has batted just .238/.306/.403 (.709) overall in the second half.

Joe Ross (RHP, WAS) is in line for his third start since July 21. He gets the Giants at Oracle Park, where they bat .225/.291/.357 (.647). Coming off usable road starts at Atlanta and Arizona, Ross is a decent below-the-radar play in this one.

Martin Perez (LHP, MIN) faces a down-trending Atlanta offense which has logged a near-MLB-average .769 OPS since the break. But can Perez conquer a recent case of gopheritis (8 HR allowed over his last 4 GS)?

Wilmer Font (RHP, TOR) is tabbed for this start at Tampa Bay. Previous starts for the Toronto swingman have been in the 2-to-4-inning range.

Max Fried (LHP, ATL) is tabbed for Wednesday’s afternoon game at Minnesota. Fried continues to be a consistent source of fantasy production; he totes a fine 3.65 xERA into this start. But the Atlanta left-hander has posted better starts at home than abroad, and this turn will mark his toughest foe since facing LA (with a PQS-0) on May 7. Righty bats have gotten to Fried at times; the Twins RHB contingent owns a blistering .926 OPS against southpaws. Fine starter, shaky slot.

Homer Bailey (RHP, OAK) is held down by a low ERA mark in his rating for Wednesday’s start at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are at their best against RHPs (.796 OPS), and current CHC bats own a robust .898 OPS against Bailey.

Tyler Alexander (LHP, DET) was solid over his first two Major League starts, but he’s scuffled in two turns since. On Wednesday afternoon, he draws a Chicago White Sox nine he faced on July 3. The White Sox have been woeful since the break (.599 OPS, 0.19 Eye, 70% Ct).

Shaun Anderson (RHP, SF) isn’t likely being considered in many formats, and it’d be wise to avoid the Nationals, who have posted an .819 OPS since July 23.

Trevor Williams (RHP, PIT) is rated underwater for his home start against Milwaukee. The Brewers are a below-average group on the road; Williams has an abbreviated-but-effective line (.372 OPSA, .047 ISO allowed) against them. Wednesday is getaway day winding up a Milwaukee-to-Oakland-to-Chicago-to- Pittsburgh road trip that has seen MIL bat .247/.288/.377 (.664).

Jose Quintana (LHP, CHC) is rated in the negatives across the board for his home start against Oakland. Quintana makes hay against LHBs, but the Athletics offer none up (just 9% of their PA vs. LHP). Port-siders bring out much the best in Oakland’s platoon splits (.820 OPS, 81% Ct). So do fly ball pitchers (.790 OPS and that’s with a 26% hit rate); Quintana’s FB rate has been notably higher over recent months.

Jason Vargas (LHP, PHI) was sharp in his Philadelphia debut. But that was against the White Sox, a different kind of attack against lefties compared to the Arizona Diamondbacks. ARI leads the NL in OPS vs. LHP (.843).

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Glenn Sparkman (R) KC @BOS -0.52 -0.66 -0.68 0.15 -0.89 0 5 0 1 0
  Yusei Kikuchi (L) SEA vSD -0.58 -0.17 -0.41 -0.21 -1.52 4 1 1 2 0
  Dustin May (R) LA vSTL -0.80 -0.49 -0.91 -0.54 -1.24 2
  Peter Lambert (R) COL @HOU -1.45 -0.69 -1.53 -0.56 -3.01 0 2 2 2 1
  John Means (L) BAL vNYY -2.01 -0.69 -2.62 -1.35 -3.39 4 4 1 1 0

Yusei Kikuchi (LHP, SEA) has run into a lot of baseball bats and big flies in accumulating an 8.24 ERA over his last four starts. Kikuchi has notched a 5.72 xERA over that quartet of starts; his last was a four-home run disaster at HOU on Aug. 2. His opponent Wednesday is the San Diego Padres, a club that posts above average numbers against lefty pitching. The Padre offense is an overlay on a few indicators. Among them is a .685 OPS in high-leverage situations, a figure out of line with other situations (.774 OPS in low-leverage for example) and one tamped down by a 27% hit rate.

 

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There are roughly 150 starting pitchers in MLB rotations at any given time. For different league sizes, we can estimate the number of SP in the useable pool, and then determine the overall ratings that correspond to worst, 25th percentile, median, and 75th percentile SP.

                               Overall SP Rating

                   SP       by SP league percentile

League size       Pool*     .00    .25    .50    .75|
==============    =====    ====   ====   ====   =====
12-team “only”     120     -.73   -.22   +.22    +.74
10-team “only”     110     -.54   -.11   +.30    +.79
20-team mixed      110     -.54   -.11   +.30    +.79
15-team mixed      105     -.46   -.05   +.34    +.82
12-team mixed       80     -.07   +.22   +.55    +.97
10-team mixed       60     +.22   +.46   +.74   +1.12

So, if you’re in a 12-team “only” league, the median start should have a rating of about 0.2. The 120th start is around -0.7. In a shallower, 15-team mixed, the median start is 0.34 and a top pitcher +0.82.

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EDITOR'S NOTE ON DEADLINES AND ACCURACY: The writer deadline on these articles is noon before the publish day, with a goal to have the column available for subscribers by 10pm ET that evening. There will be instances when weather, managerial decisions, or other factors will take place after the piece is published that will affect the accuracy of the above information. In those instances, we strive to manually update the article by mid-morning at the latest. However, the HQ Pitcher Matchup Tool page is updated automatically and may have the correct data (scheduled starter, all the same component scores in a sortable chart) sooner than this column. Thanks for your understanding. 


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.