DAILY MATCHUPS: Buehler and Woodruff headline Sunday's starts

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 as identified by 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: Sunday's slate features seven NL matchups, seven AL matchups, and one interleague matchup, which will add a DH position to COL. The BOS at BAL and COL at NYY matchups start the afternoon slate at 1:05 p.m. EDT, and the WAS at ATL game is the Sunday night matchup at 7:05 p.m. Record-high temperatures are sweeping across the country on Sunday, and there is a chance of rain for the STL at CIN, KC at CLE, TOR at DET, SD at CHC, and PHI at PIT matchups. Be sure to check updated weather forecasts closer to first pitch on Sunday. 

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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
  Walker Buehler (R) LA vMIA 2.98 3.39 2.57 3.14 2.81 5 4 2 3 2
  Brandon Woodruff (R) MIL @ARI 1.87 2.03 1.91 1.97 1.58 2 3 5 3 4
  Blake Snell (L) TAM vCHW 1.75 2.57 1.91 2.04 0.49 0 1 3 1 1
  James Paxton (L) NYY vCOL 1.64 2.83 1.14 1.73 0.86 2 0 0 3 2
  Dylan Cease (R) CHW @TAM 1.02 2.45 1.12 1.44 -0.92 2 2
  Lance Lynn (R) TEX @HOU 0.88 1.73 0.30 1.03 0.46 4 5 3 5 2
  Jack Flaherty (R) STL @CIN 0.70 2.08 0.16 0.70 -0.13 4 2 1 4 4

Lance Lynn (RHP, TEX) owns strong skills (143 BPV) with a 3.78 xERA through 20 GS. Even though the Astros are an above-average offense vs. RHP, the right-hander has a 3.12 xERA and 1.07 WHIP in 14 IP vs. HOU. His 12% SwK can add strikeouts to a roster, and his 2.0 Ctl can keep WHIP in check. While he allows more fly balls in away starts, he has posted a 3.45 away ERA with a 2.95 away FIP. 

Jack Flaherty (RHP, STL) can add strikeouts to a roster with his 13% SwK and 10.0 Dom. With a 19% hr/f and 5.96 away ERA, home runs can drive up his ERA. His 3.0 Ctl has improved in 2019, but his walks increase to a 4.6 Ctl in away matchups. In a home start vs. CIN on April 28, he struck out four Reds in seven scoreless innings. When facing RHP, the Reds have posted a below-average OPS. 

 

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Michael Pineda (R) MIN vOAK 0.49 0.98 -0.24 0.99 0.21 4 2 4 3 2
  Kyle Hendricks (R) CHC vSD 0.46 0.91 0.04 0.87 TBD 3 0 2 2 2
  Anthony DeSclafani (R) CIN vSTL 0.40 1.14 0.01 0.83 -0.37 2 2 4 2 2
  German Marquez (R) COL @NYY 0.17 1.58 -0.28 0.72 -1.34 4 0 2 2 1
  TBD SF vNYM TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD 0
  TBD SD @CHC TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD 0
  Steven Matz (L) NYM @SF -0.06 -0.16 0.01 -0.07 TBD 3 0 0 2 0
  Zach Plesac (R) CLE vKC -0.19 -0.50 -0.29 -0.38 0.40 3 2 0 2 2
  Alex Young (L) ARI vMIL -0.24 -0.11 0.23 0.62 -1.69 3 3 2
  Kevin Gausman (R) ATL vWAS -0.31 -1.24 -0.14 0.03 0.11 1 4 1 1 1
  Daniel Mengden (R) OAK @MIN -0.47 -0.53 -0.91 0.27 -0.71 1 4 2 0 3
  Asher Wojciechowski (R) BAL vBOS -0.47 0.30 -1.28 -0.51 -0.38 3 2 2
  Yusei Kikuchi (L) SEA vLAA -0.48 0.12 -0.72 -1.16 -0.14 1 1 2 4 1
  Rogelio Armenteros (R) HOU vTEX -0.50 -0.10 -0.69 -0.24 -0.96 0

Michael Pineda (RHP, MIN) faces an Oakland offense that has provided average production vs. RHP but has been an above-average lineup in July. He backs his strikeout rating with a 13% SwK, and his ability to limit walks (1.5 Ctl) can provide a helpful WHIP. While his hr/f has dropped from 22% to 13% in 2019, his 4.31 xERA and 4.36 home xFIP may cap his ability to lower ERA. 

Kyle Hendricks (RHP, CHC) has earned three-consecutive PQS-DEC ratings, and he owns a 4.44 ERA in his last five GS. Luckily, a home start against San Diego's below-average lineup vs. RHP could help his efforts. The right-hander's control sharpens to a 1.2 Ctl at Wrigley Field, where his hard-contact allowed rate falls to 29%, and his 45% GB% has contributed to a 2.89 home FIP. 

Anthony DeSclafani (RHP, CIN) draws the Cardinals, who have struggled vs. RHP. His 11% SwK and 9.2 Dom back a decent strikeout rating, but his 42% FB% can leave him susceptible to giving up more home runs at Great American Ball Park. While his FpK has dipped to 58%, his 2.6 Ctl can help a roster's WHIP. In 15 IP vs. STL, he has posted two PQS-DEC outings and a PQS-DIS result with a 4.54 xERA. 

German Marquez (RHP, COL) did not fare well in his last outing, as he gave up 11 ER in 2.2 IP vs. SF on July 15. While leaving the thin air and his 3.33 away ERA could help his chances, a matchup against the Yankees' top-five offense vs. RHP presents a challenge. His 5.6 away Cmd boosts his strikeout and WHIP ratings, and he will look to carry over his 51% GB% into another hitter's park. His lower chance for a win could limit his value.  

Steven Matz (LHP, NYM) enters a matchup with San Francisco's below-average lineup vs. LHP with three PQS-DIS results in his last five GS. While Oracle Park could help his 25% away hr/f, fewer ground balls, harder contact, and more walks in away starts have led to a 7.41 away FIP. Without a PQS-DOM start in 2019, he takes on a Giants offense that owns a top-five OPS in July. 

Zach Pleasc (RHP, CLE) shut out Detroit over three innings on July 16 before rain cut his outing short. The right-hander takes on a below-average Royals offense vs. RHP, and he gave up two ER in 2.2 IP at KC on July 4 for a PQS-2. His 9% SwK and 6.4 Dom may leave owners short on strikeouts, and his 4.85 xERA contributes to his negative ERA rating. In 22.1 home IP, he has allowed five HR. 

Alex Young (LHP, ARI) has thrown three PQS-DEC starts in his first three tries, and he has 12 strikeouts in those 16.1 IP. Even though he has only allowed two ER in three GS, good fortune has been his friend in a small sample size. The southpaw has only handed out three walks in 16.1 IP after posting a 4.3 Ctl in 54.2 AAA IP, and Milwaukee has been an above-average lineup vs. LHP in 2019. 

Kevin Gausman (RHP, ATL) is slated to return from the IL against the Nationals. Four PQS-DIS outings and a 9.75 ERA in his last five GS point to negative ratio ratings against Washington's slightly below-average lineup vs. RHP. While his 14% SwK and 63% FpK have improved in 2019, his 3.5 Ctl and 4.58 xERA point to possible ratio inflation. 

Daniel Mengden (RHP, OAK) limited SEA to one ER in seven IP on July 16 for a PQS-3, but a matchup with Minnesota's top-five lineup vs. RHP may not provide the same ratio support. In 5.2 IP vs. MIN on July 2, he gave up two HR and five ER. He can find the zone early with a 62% FpK, but his 5.28 xERA and 41% FB% move him down the ratings. 

Yusei Kikuchi (LHP, SEA) moves down the ratings with a 5.67 ERA and three PQS-DIS outings in his last five GS. Although the Angels are an average offense versus southpaws, the lefty has posted four PQS-DIS results with an 8.28 xERA in 16 IP vs. LAA. His 5.12 xERA and 1.46 WHIP contribute to possible ratio inflation on Sunday. 

Rogelio Armenteros (RHP, HOU) is scheduled to make a start against Texas' above-average lineup vs. RHP. In nine IP at HOU, the right-hander has struck out nine hitters while walking two and allowing two ER. In 57 IP at the AAA-level in 2019, he has 63 strikeouts and owns a 5.05 ERA with a 1.51 WHIP. 

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Joe Ross (R) WAS @ATL -0.56 -0.91 -0.65 -0.08 -0.61 0
  Andrew Cashner (R) BOS @BAL -0.60 -0.54 -1.07 -0.68 -0.12 2 3 5 4 0
  Jacob Waguespack (R) TOR @DET -0.62 -0.55 -1.02 -0.98 0.09 0
  Tyler Alexander (L) DET vTOR -0.71 -1.47 -1.03 -0.08 -0.26 1
  Drew Smyly (L) PHI @PIT -0.75 -1.39 -1.09 -0.87 0.36 2 2 1 0 0
  Glenn Sparkman (R) KC @CLE -0.82 -1.04 -1.25 -0.09 -0.90 3 0 0 0 5
  Dillon Peters (L) LAA @SEA -1.00 -2.03 -0.89 -0.73 -0.36 0
  Jordan Yamamoto (R) MIA @LA -1.35 0.66 -1.50 -1.25 -3.31 5 3 2 3 2
  Dario Agrazal (R) PIT vPHI -1.58 -1.83 -2.09 -1.53 -0.86 2 1 1 2

Andrew Cashner (RHP, BOS) posted a PQS-0 by allowing five ER in five IP vs. TOR in his first start in a Red Sox uniform. The right-hander draws his old team on Sunday, and Baltimore has been a bottom-five offense vs. RHP. While he is inducing more ground balls, his 54% FpK and 4.85 xERA claim that ratio risk is present in a favorable matchup. 

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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 10 p.m. 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.