DAILY MATCHUPS: Cole headlines Sunday's slate

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 take away a DH position from KC. The TEX at BAL matchup starts the afternoon slate at 1:05 p.m. EDT, and the NYY at BOS game is the Sunday night matchup at 8:05 p.m. There is a chance of rain for the CLE at MIN matchup. 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
  Gerrit Cole (R) HOU vSEA 4.24 5.05 3.73 4.40 3.76 3 3 5 4 3
  Max Scherzer (R) WAS @ATL 2.21 2.92 1.69 2.51 1.70 5 3 1 2 3
  Noah Syndergaard (R) NYM vPHI 1.81 2.02 1.69 2.24 1.28 2 4 4 2 5
  Michael Clevinger (R) CLE @MIN 1.70 3.28 1.56 1.95 TBD 3 4 4 5 3
  Jack Flaherty (R) STL @PIT 1.44 1.95 1.17 1.78 0.84 5 2 4 3 5
  Dylan Cease (R) CHW vLAA 1.22 1.89 0.95 1.33 0.69 1 2 3 1 4
  Michael Montgomery (L) KC @MIA 0.72 1.13 0.84 0.49 0.42 5 2 0 4 3
  Adrian Houser (R) MIL vCHC 0.62 1.01 0.56 0.73 0.17 3 3 3 1 3
  Masahiro Tanaka (R) NYY @BOS 0.61 0.36 0.25 0.99 0.84 4 2 2 5 1
  Mike Minor (L) TEX @BAL 0.52 1.12 -0.01 0.65 0.30 5 3 3 3 5

Dylan Cease (RHP, CHW) earned his first PQS-DOM result of 2019 with an 11-strikeout and four-ER performance at CLE on September 3. His 11% SwK can add some strikeouts, but he will need to work on his 3.8 Ctl for WHIP support. In an August 18 start versus the Angels' above-average vs. RHP, he struck out six and allowed five ER in five IP. 

Michael Montgomery (LHP, KC) draws a favorable matchup against Miami's bottom-five offense vs. LHP. The lefty posted a 2.45 ERA (3.51 xERA) in five August starts, and his 66% FpK led to a 2.8 Ctl for the month. While he has allowed more away home runs, Miami's spacious park could help his ERA efforts. Although he owns a 10% SwK in 2019, his 13% SwK contributed to a 9.5 Dom in August.

Adrian Houser (RHP, MIL) carries a 1.63 ERA in his last five GS into a matchup with Chicago's top-ten lineup vs. RHP. When the right-hander matched up against the Cubs on August 4, he struck out five batters and allowed two ER in five IP for a PQS-2. Keeping the ball on the ground has helped his home runs at Miller Park, and he owns a 3.55 home FIP. With an 11% SwK, he can add some strikeouts, and he has a 1.27 WHIP in the second half. 

Masahiro Tanaka (RHP, NYY) toes the rubber in a tough matchup against Boston's top-five offense vs. RHP. His 11% SwK and 7.3 Dom may not provide many punch outs against Boston's 20.9% K% vs. RHP. Even though the right-hander owns a 4.70 xERA in the second half, he has posted a 13.84 xERA with two PQS-DIS outings versus Boston. His 69% FpK and 2.2 Ctl can still help WHIP, and a decent chance for a win moves him up the ratings. 

Mike Minor (LHP, TEX) recorded a PQS-5 in at September 2 outing at NYY with five strikeouts in 7.1 scoreless IP. The lefty takes on a Baltimore lineup that owns a below-average OPS versus LHP. In a June 5 start against the Orioles, he struck out seven in 5.2 scoreless IP. His 12% SwK backs a decent strikeout rating, and his 61% FpK and 1.19 WHIP support a positive WHIP rating. While his 4.30 xERA and ERA rating aren't as positive, a favorable matchup could help his final line. 

 

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Anthony DeSclafani (R) CIN vARI 0.47 1.04 -0.12 0.60 0.35 0 0 2 5 4
  Sean Manaea (L) OAK vDET 0.30 -0.05 0.38 0.48 0.40 3
  Eric Lauer (L) SD vCOL 0.26 0.73 -0.04 0.01 0.34 0 0 1 1 2
  Kyle Hendricks (R) CHC @MIL 0.22 0.56 0.02 0.96 -0.67 0 3 5 1 4
  TBD MIN vCLE TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD 0
  Julio Urias (L) LA vSF -0.07 -0.22 -0.47 -0.01 0.41 1 4 4 2 2
  Sandy Alcantara (R) MIA vKC -0.10 0.67 0.06 -0.27 -0.87 5 2 5 2 3
  Mitch Keller (R) PIT vSTL -0.19 0.70 -0.22 0.10 -1.34 1 1 2 2 3
  Jaime Barria (R) LAA @CHW -0.19 0.57 -0.26 0.12 -1.19 1 1 1 2 1
  Vincent Velasquez (R) PHI @NYM -0.27 0.52 -0.19 0.39 -1.78 2 3 0 2 2
  Asher Wojciechowski (R) BAL vTEX -0.36 0.37 -0.86 -0.09 -0.84 2 0 1 1 4
  Tyler Glasnow (R) TAM vTOR -0.40 -0.76 -0.25 -0.74 0.17 3 2 4 5 4

Anthony DeSclafani (RHP, CIN) has increased his velocity to 94.9 MPH, and finding the strike zone early with a 65% second-half FpK and 2.9 Ctl can keep WHIP in check. While Arizona is a slightly below-average lineup vs. RHP, his 48% home hard-contact allowed rate and 4.67 home FIP carry some ERA risk. Left-handed batters are worth a start, as they have posted an .867 OPS with 16 HR against him. 

Sean Manaea (LHP, OAK) struck out five Yankees in five scoreless innings on September 1 for a PQS-3. While his innings could be limited in his second start of 2019, the Tigers' bottom-five lineup against LHP could help his efforts. 

Eric Lauer (LHP, SD) has not fared well in his last five tries, as he owns a 5.04 ERA with four PQS-DIS results in his last five GS. Colorado enters the contest at PETCO Park as a top-ten offense against southpaws, and the lefty's 7.33 xERA in 10 IP vs. COL lowers his ERA rating. In home outings, he has a 2.7 Cmd with a 4.19 FIP. He owns a 2.48 ERA when facing the order for the first time, but giving up more home runs during the second time through the order has contributed to a 6.24 ERA. 

Kyle Hendricks (RHP, CHC) has not found the same results in away starts, as his 3.2 Cmd, 14% hr/f, and 40% FB% have contributed to a 4.85 away FIP. In two starts at MIL, the right-hander posted a PQS-3 and a PQS-1 with a 5.52 xERA and 1.44 WHIP. His poor results at Miller Park and the Brewers' above-average offense vs. RHP carries ERA risk. His precision in the strike zone can help WHIP, but a lower chance for a win could cap his points total. 

Julio Urias (LHP, LA) makes his second start of September after striking out three and allowing one ER in three IP vs. COL on September 3. With more innings in the bullpen, his 95.3 MPH velocity and 14% SwK have contributed to an 8.9 Dom. Trading some ground balls for a 40% FB% and his 4.34 xERA point to a lower ERA rating, but San Francisco is a bottom-five lineup versus southpaws. In 12 IP vs. SF, he owns a 3.28 xERA and 0.94 WHIP with two PQS-DOM results. 

Sandy Alcantara (RHP, MIA) has posted a 3.37 ERA in his last five GS with two PQS-DOM outings. Throwing more first-pitch strikes in August led to a respectable 3.3 Ctl, but his 4.2 Ctl and 1.36 WHIP in 2019 contribute to a negative WHIP rating. Although the Royals can struggle vs. RHP, his 5.24 ERA against the second time through the order tempers expectations, and his lower shot at a win could cap his value. 

Mitch Keller (RHP, PIT) is scheduled to take the mound, but he left his last start with a right wrist contusion. In his last five GS, he has shown better skills with a 12.4 Dom, 2.6 Ctl, 13% SwK, and 69% FpK. Even with some poor fortune and a matchup versus the Cardinals' below-average offense vs. RHP, his 4.33 xERA points to a lower ERA rating. Check on his status before Sunday's start. 

Jamie Barria (RHP, LAA) has handed out more free passes in the second half, and his 23% second-half hr/f has led to a 6.70 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. With a 46% second-half FB%, his negative ERA rating isn't hopeful in a favorable matchup with Chicago's bottom-five offense vs. RHP, as his 4.2 away Ctl and 6.31 away FIP add ratio risk. 

Tyler Glasnow (RHP, TAM) is slated to make his first start since May 10, as he has been out with a right forearm strain. In 48 IP, his strong skills were supported with a 12% SwK, 62% FpK, and 52% GB%. While he had posted a 1.7 Ctl in eight GS, he owns a 4.4 career-Ctl. Toronto has provided below-average production against RHP. 

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Mike Leake (R) ARI @CIN -0.51 -0.72 -0.98 0.53 -0.85 0 1 1 3 1
  Daniel Norris (L) DET @OAK -0.52 -0.37 -0.49 -0.31 -0.90 0 2 2 2 0
  Rick Porcello (R) BOS vNYY -0.61 -0.07 -1.33 0.31 -1.34 1 2 1 3 1
  Jacob Waguespack (R) TOR @TAM -0.74 -0.45 -0.87 -0.97 -0.67 3 4 5 0 1
  Peter Lambert (R) COL @SD -0.89 -1.11 -0.89 -0.90 -0.67 2 1 0 1 0
  Michael Soroka (R) ATL vWAS -0.92 -0.23 -0.83 -0.43 -2.20 5 1 5 1 2
  Dereck Rodriguez (R) SF @LA -0.93 -0.33 -1.48 -0.68 -1.21 0 4 0 1 4
  Felix Hernandez (R) SEA @HOU -1.73 -0.13 -1.40 -1.11 -4.26 0 0 1 1 2

Mike Leake (RHP, ARI) carries a 6.99 ERA with four PQS-DIS results in his last five GS into a hitter's park at CIN. Giving up more hard-hit balls in away outings with a 36% away FB% points to a 6.69 away FIP. His favorable WHIP rating stems from his 64% FpK and 1.3 Ctl. Although the Reds have been a below-average offense vs. RHP, his negative ratings may keep owners away on Sunday. 

Michael Soroka (RHP, ATL) faces a Nationals offense that owns a top-ten OPS vs. RHP. Although the right-hander owns a 2.84 ERA in his last five outings, he has posted two PQS-DOM starts and two PQS-DIS outings during that span. While his 7.0 Dom is below average, his 65% FpK and 2.1 Ctl have helped his 1.10 WHIP. In 15 IP vs. WAS, his 4.53 xERA and 1.20 WHIP move him down the ratings. 

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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.