DAILY MATCHUPS: Buehler, Bieber top Sunday's ratings

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.


Today's schedule overview: Sunday's slate features seven NL matchups, seven AL matchups, and one interleague matchup, which will take away a DH position from BOS. The BOS at PHI matchup starts the afternoon slate at 1:05 p.m. EDT, and the LA at NYM game is the Sunday night matchup at 7:05 p.m. There is a chance of rain for the PIT at CHC matchup. Be sure to check updated weather forecasts closer to first pitch on Sunday. 


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

  Walker Buehler (R) LA @NYM 2.41 2.58 2.06 3.14 1.84 2 5 4 2 5
  Shane Bieber (R) CLE vMIN 2.29 2.98 1.94 3.00 1.22 3 4 5 5 4
  Johnny Cueto (R) SF vMIA 2.21 0.73 2.72 3.54 1.86 3
  Max Fried (L) ATL @WAS 1.91 1.56 2.22 1.98 1.87 1 2 4 5 2
  T.J. Zeuch (R) TOR vNYY 1.25 0.65 0.84 2.47 1.02 0
  Ryan Yarbrough (L) TAM @LAA 0.99 0.98 0.96 1.91 0.09 5 4 3 1 4
  Michael Wacha (R) STL vMIL 0.86 0.15 0.99 0.69 1.62 4 2 4 1 1
  Zac Gallen (R) ARI vCIN 0.78 2.01 0.62 0.77 -0.28 3 2 3 5 4
  Trevor Bauer (R) CIN @ARI 0.76 1.76 0.65 0.86 -0.22 4 1 1 2 3
  Jose Quintana (L) CHC vPIT 0.53 0.09 0.50 0.57 0.96 5 1 2 1 0
  Asher Wojciechowski (R) BAL @DET 0.51 0.38 0.11 0.90 0.65 0 1 1 4 1

T.J. Zeuch (RHP, TOR) gave up three ER in 4.1 IP at Boston on September 10 for a PQS-0. In 13 GS at AAA, the right-hander posted a 3.69 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP and 4.5 Dom. With an outing against New York's top-five offense vs. RHP, there is some possible ERA risk in his start. 

Michael Wacha (RHP, STL) had some success against the Brewers in his August 20th outing, as he struck out five MIL hitters in four scoreless IP for a PQS-4. In 16 IP versus MIL's above-average offense vs. RHP, he owns a 3.69 xERA and 1.13 WHIP. While his 10% SwK may cut into his strikeout potential, he owns a 12% second-half SwK. He can struggle against right-handed hitters, as they have posted a .912 OPS with 18 HR against him in 2019. 

Zac Gallen (RHP, ARI) continues to miss bats with a 14% SwK, and his four-pitch mix can provide strikeouts. Even though he finds the zone early with a 67% FpK, his 80% S% is helping his 1.22 WHIP with a 4.1 Ctl. Although he owns a 3.96 xERA, posting back-to-back PQS-DOM results vs. SD and at NYM moves him into strong start status. When matching up against RHP, CIN is a below-average offense that also has struggled on the road.

Trevor Bauer (RHP, CIN) pitched better in his September 10 start at SEA, when he struck out eight hitters and allowed two ER in 6.1 IP for a PQS-3. Posting two PQS-DIS outings in his last five GS has contributed to a 7.47 ERA during that span. His 44% FB% in the second half combining with a 41% hard-contact rate allowed hasn't done him any favors, which has led to a 4.44 xERA since July 1. Although his start may carry some ERA risk, his 13% SwK and 10.7 Dom should provide a nice strikeout total. His ratios also may benefit from an outing versus an Arizona lineup that owns a below-average OPS vs. RHP. 

Jose Quintana (LHP, CHC) will try to reverse his poor recent form (three PQS-DIS outings in his last four GS) against a Pittsburgh nine that owns the worst OPS in MLB vs. LHP. With three PQS-5 results, a 3.30 xERA, and a 0.93 vs. PIT in 27 IP, he has the matchup to post stronger ratios. Although his 9% SwK could limit his strikeout potential, the lefty has 30 punch outs in four GS vs. PIT. His positive chance for a win could also boost his final line. 

Asher Wojciechowski (RHP, BAL) matches up against Detroit's bottom-five offense vs. RHP. While he could benefit with a matchup versus a favorable opponent, his 6.86 ERA with four PQS-DIS results in his last five GS may inflate a roster's ERA. His 53% FB% with a 16% hr/f adds to his ERA risk. The right-hander's 12% SwK should play well against the Tigers' 26.9% K% vs. RHP, and his decent chance for a win moves him up the ratings. 


Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  Justus Sheffield (L) SEA vCHW 0.29 0.60 0.27 0.11 0.16 1 2 3 1
  Patrick Sandoval (L) LAA vTAM 0.29 0.58 0.55 0.61 -0.59 2 1 4 2 0
  Lance Lynn (R) TEX vOAK 0.25 1.98 -0.63 0.29 -0.64 2 3 3 1 4
  Jose Berrios (R) MIN @CLE 0.16 1.27 0.23 0.85 -1.72 1 1 3 1 4
  Wade Miley (L) HOU @KC 0.05 -0.93 0.50 0.03 0.60 2 1 3 0 1
  Sean Manaea (L) OAK @TEX 0.03 0.12 -0.07 0.48 -0.43 3 4
  Elieser Hernandez (R) MIA @SF -0.05 0.51 0.44 1.23 -2.36 2 3 1 0 3
  Cal Quantrill (R) SD @COL -0.17 -0.18 -0.89 0.04 0.36 2 3 0 1 1
  Ivan Nova (R) CHW @SEA -0.25 -0.39 -0.28 0.20 -0.54 1 2 0 0 2
  Rick Porcello (R) BOS @PHI -0.33 -0.01 -1.41 0.16 -0.06 2 1 3 1 0
  Jason Vargas (L) PHI vBOS -0.49 0.03 -1.21 -0.65 -0.13 0 2 1 3 1

Justus Sheffield (LHP, SEA) draws a White Sox lineup that has been average against LHP. The lefty enters the matchup with a 4.44 ERA and two PQS-DIS starts in his last five appearances. In 22 IP, he has provided 22 strikeouts, but issuing twelve walks during that span has contributed to a 1.75 WHIP. Although his 56% GB% can keep ERA in check, he has posted a 4.64 xERA. 

Patrick Sandoval (LHP, LAA) carries a 5.16 ERA in his last five GS into a matchup with Tampa Bay's slightly below-average offense vs. LHP. The lefty's 14% SwK can provide strikeouts, and his 3.90 xERA supports a positive ERA rating. Cutting down on his 21% hr/f and 44% hard contact allowed rate would help his efforts. Even with a positive WHIP rating, his 5.2 MiLB Ctl and 53% FpK in six GS could add possible WHIP risk to his outing. 

Lance Lynn (RHP, TEX) supports his strong strikeout rating with a 13% SwK and 10.3 Dom. Unfortunately, the strikeouts come with ratio risk with a visit from Oakland's above-average lineup vs. RHP, and the Athletics have been a top-five offense in September. The right-hander owns a 4.70 ERA in his last five GS and a 4.05 second-half xERA. In 15 IP vs. OAK, he owns a 6.46 ERA, 3.99 xERA, and 1.57 WHIP.

Jose Berrios (RHP, MIN) has not fared well recently, as he has earned five PQS-DIS ratings in his last seven GS with a 4.57 second-half xERA. Even with a 63% second-half FpK, his 3.4 second-half Ctl and a 34% second-half H% have contributed to a 1.45 second-half WHIP. In 25 IP against Cleveland's average offense against RHP, he owns a 4.12 xERA and a 0.89 WHIP. 

Wade Miley (LHP, HOU) will try to rebound after allowing seven ER in 0.1 IP vs. OAK on September 10. The Royals may provide a softer landing spot, as they own a bottom-five OPS vs. LHP. With a 3.7 second-half Ctl and 4.81 second-half xERA, his start does carry some possible ratio risk. Even with a positive chance for a win, earning three PQS-DIS results in his last four GS may have owners looking for safer options on Sunday.

In his third start of 2019, Sean Manaea (LHP, OAK) takes on a Texas club that has a below-average OPS vs. LHP. The southpaw has struck out 15 hitters while only allowing one ER (3.93 xERA) in 12 IP for a PQS-4 and a PQS-3. 

After consecutive PQS-DIS outings at WAS and at PIT, Elieser Hernandez (RHP, MIA) struck out seven MIL batters and gave up three ER in five IP for a PQS-3 on September 10. His 65% FpK and 2.9 Ctl back a favorable WHIP rating, and a matchup with San Francisco's bottom-five offense vs. RHP could help with ratios. While he has allowed more away home runs, a start at spacious Oracle Park may help limit the damage.  

Cal Quantrill (RHP, SD) makes his second Coors Field outing of 2019, as he registered one strikeout and allowed four ER in five IP for a PQS-0 on June 14. Earning three-consecutive PQS-DIS ratings with a 10.48 ERA in his last five GS does not bode well for a thin air start. While his SwK has dipped to 9% since July, he is finding the zone early with a 60% FpK and 2.0 Ctl in the second half. 

Ivan Nova (RHP, CHW) continues to outperform his second-half skills, as an 81% S% has helped keep his 3.22 second-half ERA below his 4.99 second-half xERA. His 9% SwK and strikeout rating don't point to many punch outs, and three PQS-DIS starts and a 5.76 ERA in his last five GS add some ERA risk. A start against Seattle's below-average lineup and his 2.2 Ctl point to a decent WHIP rating, but a lower chance for a win makes him a risky play. 

Rick Porcello (RHP, BOS) has not thrown more than five innings in each of his last four GS, and three of the outings were PQS-DIS starts. His 8% SwK and 7.0 Dom point to a below-average strikeout rating, and his 5.47 xERA points to a negative ERA rating. Even with his 66% FpK and 2.5 Ctl against the Phillies' slightly below-average offense vs. RHP, his 6.75 ERA in his last five GS carries ratio risk.  


Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  Zack Wheeler (R) NYM vLA -0.57 0.69 -0.52 -0.11 -2.34 2 0 1 1 4
  Trevor Williams (R) PIT @CHC -0.68 0.23 -1.21 -0.48 -1.26 0 3 4 2 2
  Anibal Sanchez (R) WAS vATL -0.69 1.12 -0.90 -0.28 -2.70 2 5 2 0 4
  Jakob Junis (R) KC vHOU -0.83 0.19 -1.24 -0.79 -1.47 4 0 2 3 1
  Nestor Cortes (L) NYY @TOR -0.84 -0.08 -0.89 -0.69 -1.70 1
  Edwin Jackson (R) DET vBAL -1.17 -0.61 -1.20 -1.72 -1.15 2 1 1 1 0
  Chase Anderson (R) MIL @STL -1.40 -0.46 -1.70 -1.31 -2.12 0 3 0 0 2
  Alex Gonzalez (R) COL vSD -1.68 -1.45 -1.88 -2.53 -0.86 1 1 0 3 3

Zack Wheeler (RHP, NYM) slides down the ratings with a difficult matchup against the Dodgers' top-five lineup vs. RHP. Although he owns an 11% SwK, the Dodgers' 20.5% K% vs. RHP may cap his strikeout potential. With a 4.57 second-half xERA and a tough matchup, his negative ERA rating warns of ratio inflation risk. His 2.5 Ctl and 1.31 WHIP contribute to a negative WHIP rating, and a tough mound opponent could limit his chance for a win. 


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.


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.