DAILY MATCHUPS: Cole takes pole position among Friday SP

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: All 30 teams are in action on Friday, all night starts, with an interleague matchup which has the Rangers traveling to Cincinnati, where they will be minus a DH. The weather forecast looks good, though early indications are that the wind could be blowing out to LF for NYY-CHW, out to RF for STL-NYM, and in from RF for CLE-DET.

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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 vTOR 3.34 3.79 2.91 3.67 3.00 3 2 3 1 4
  Max Scherzer (R) WAS vARI 2.70 3.92 2.31 3.20 1.35 1 4 3 5 5
  Rich Hill (L) LA vCHC 2.31 3.17 2.25 2.30 1.53 4 3 2 5 1
  Andrew Heaney (L) LAA @TAM 1.56 2.67 1.61 2.26 -0.30 3 3 2
  Kyle Gibson (R) MIN vKC 1.49 1.34 1.42 1.24 1.95 2 2 4 2 2
  Blake Snell (L) TAM vLAA 1.41 2.63 1.66 1.54 -0.20 3 3 1 2 4
  Steven Matz (L) NYM vSTL 1.33 1.58 1.12 1.03 1.60 2 3 2 1 3
  Eduardo Rodriguez (L) BOS @BAL 1.11 1.90 0.54 1.29 0.69 3 1 4 2 2
  Lucas Giolito (R) CHW vNYY 0.67 2.27 0.00 0.92 -0.50 2 5 4 5 5
  Trevor Richards (R) MIA vPIT 0.55 0.94 0.09 0.52 0.64 2 3 4 4 4
  Nick Pivetta (R) PHI @ATL 0.52 1.56 0.18 0.90 -0.58 2 0 3 4 5

Gerrit Cole (RHP, HOU) has a disappointing 3.72 ERA, but that can be blamed on a 22% hr/f that is both well over league average and Cole's career rate of 11%. Many of his underlying skills are the best of his career: a 13.8 Dom, 6.5 Cmd, 17% SwK, 2.62 xERA, 211 BPV. The Blue Jays are dead last in the majors in runs scored, and sport a .645 OPS so far in June. While there's no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to SP matchups, this might be as close as you can get.

Despite a 5.40 ERA, Andrew Heaney (LHP, LAA) has been outstanding in his first 3 GS since coming back from elbow inflammation that caused him to miss the start of the season, posting a 15.1 Dom, 9.3 Cmd, 20% SwK, 3.04 xERA, and 232 BPV. He's been undermined by a 3.2 HR/9 and 27% hr/f, as well as a 60% strand rate. The Rays have hit a little bit worse against LHP, going from an overall .775 OPS and .168 Isolated SLG to .738 and .147 vs. lefties.

Steven Matz (LHP, STL) has been terrific in home starts so far in 2019, posting a 1.80 ERA, 10.5 Dom, and 3.5 Cmd over 5 GS at Citi Field, and he has an 11.1 Dom, 3.1 Cmd, and 3.51 xERA over his last 5 GS. The Cardinals have been struggling in June, with a .627 OPS, and sport a 72% contact rate in away games, compared to 77% at home.

Lucas Giolito (RHP, CHW) has six PQS-DOMs in his last seven starts, though it's worth noting that he faced CLE, KC, and TOR twice each during that stretch. The Yankees should present a tougher test of his newfound skill growth (10.7 Dom, 4.0 Cmd, 3.39 xERA), and they've hit better on the road (.805 OPS, 111 PX), plus the wind is forecasted to be blowing out to left in homer-friendly Guaranteed Rate Park.

Trevor Richards (RHP, MIA) may have a 1.74 ERA over his last 5 GS, but he can credit much of that to a 21% hit rate and 88% strand rate; his xERA during that time is 4.08. And while PIT has been a lackluster opponent most of the year, they've been improving of late (.790 OPS so far in June).

Whatever was ailing Nick Pivetta (RHP, PHI) in March/April seems to have been helped by his return to Triple-A; since coming back to the majors, he has a 1.80 ERA, 9.5 Dom, 10.5 Cmd, 13% SwK, and 2.73 xERA over 3 GS. He gave up 4 ER over 4.2 IP when he faced the Braves back on March 30th, and ATL has been very tough at home (.822 OPS, 117 PX), so this start should be a good test of Pivetta's progress.

 

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50):

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Kyle Hendricks (R) CHC @LA 0.44 1.21 0.23 1.14 -0.81 0 2 5 4 3
  Robbie Ray (L) ARI @WAS 0.30 2.05 0.55 0.02 -1.43 3 3 2 4 4
  CC Sabathia (L) NYY @CHW 0.24 0.90 0.32 0.68 -0.94 1 0 2 2 2
  Cal Quantrill (R) SD @COL 0.18 0.32 -0.36 0.42 0.35 2 2 0 3 2
  Tyler Mahle (R) CIN vTEX 0.16 0.73 -0.67 0.02 0.54 4 3 2 2 1
  Chris Bassitt (R) OAK vSEA 0.13 0.33 -0.24 0.09 0.34 5 2 0 1 3
  Zachary Davies (R) MIL @SF 0.10 -0.34 0.14 -0.03 0.64 3 0 2 3 1
  Max Fried (L) ATL vPHI 0.04 0.72 0.16 -0.44 -0.27 3 2 2 0 2
  Adam Plutko (R) CLE @DET -0.43 -0.09 -1.42 -0.12 -0.07 1 1 2

Kyle Hendricks (RHP, CHC) sports a spiffy 3.00 ERA on the year, while looking nearly untouchable at home, but far more mortal on the road (4.89 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 1.3 HR/9 over 6 GS). His platoon split steers right into the teeth of the Dodgers lineup (2019: .750 oOPS vL, .574 vR; career: .689 vL, .615 vR). In short, this one falls into the "danger zone" quadrant of his splits. Tread carefully in this one.

One of the day's worst Win ratings—courtesy of squaring off against Max Scherzer—has pushed Robbie Ray (LHP, ARI) down into the Judgment Calls section, but his K rating (backed by an 11.9 Dom and 14% SwK) is actually 7th-highest for the day. But he's had some walk issues in away starts (5.0 Ctl, 1.43 WHIP over 9 GS), and the Nationals have been warming up so far in June (.810 OPS).

C.C. Sabathia (LHP, NYY) has been turning back the clock of late, with a 9.8 Dom and 15% SwK over his last 5 GS. But his 46% fly ball rate remains a problem, he's been lousy on the road this year (5.68 ERA, 3.2 HR/9 over 5 GS), and homer-friendly Guaranteed Rate Park is an especially bad match on a night when the wind could be blowing out to LF. That said, the White Sox lineup has been consistently punchless everywhere (89 PX at home, 87 on the road).

Cal Quantrill (RHP, SD) has pitched better than his 4.85 ERA would indicate—he has a 3.93 xERA and 122 BPV, along with a 9.0 Dom that his 14% SwK suggests could be even higher. On the flip side, his 2.4 Ctl rate has not been supported by his 54% FpK, the Rockies own a 10% walk rate at Coors Field, along with the usual strong hitting splits (.885 OPS, 123 PX, .275 xBA), and Quantrill has been getting lit up by LHB (1.051 oOPS over 71 PA). COL could stack their lineup with as many as six lefties.

Tyler Mahle (RHP, CIN), with a 9.4 Dom on the year, could have some strikeout upside against the Rangers, who bring a 68% contact rate in away games, and Great American Ballpark has a +11% K park factor. In three home starts this year, Mahle has an 11.3 Dom.

After some early—and uncharacteristic—strikeout prowess, Chris Bassitt (RHP, OAK) has reverted to form lately, with a 7.0 Dom, 1.7 Cmd, 8% SwK, and 5.08 xERA over his last 5 GS. And the Mariners have been more dangerous on the road, with an .827 OPS and 131 PX in away games.

Zack Davies (RHP, MIL) is still holding off regression despite a 4.69 xERA that is almost double his 2.41 ERA. However, the Giants aren't a likely candidate to turn luck against him, as they remain one of the worst offenses in the league, and even worse at home (.602 OPS, 74 PX, .234 xBA).

Max Fried (LHP, ATL) has been knocked around a bit of late (4.55 ERA L31, though xERA is just 3.61 in that time). His strong platoon split (.556 oOPS vL this year, 0 HR allowed) should help him contain Bryce Harper and Jay Bruce, but RHers have been doing damage against him, especially in his last few starts. Rhys Hoskins and the other Phils' RH bats might be the best plays in this one.

It's a battle of weaknesses between Adam Plutko's (RHP, CLE) 52% fly ball rate and 3.1 HR/9 and Detroit's power outage in home games (36% fly ball rate, 81 PX). A forecast that calls for wind blowing in from RF could be the difference-maker in this one.

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below):

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Jeff Hoffman (R) COL vSD -0.61 0.44 -1.26 -0.78 -0.85 3 0 2 2 2
  Drew Pomeranz (L) SF vMIL -0.63 0.39 -0.75 -1.29 -0.88 0 2 2 0 4
  Marco Gonzales (L) SEA @OAK -0.74 -0.55 -1.10 -0.31 -1.01 0 2 1 0 2
  Andrew Cashner (R) BAL vBOS -1.14 -0.66 -1.21 -1.19 -1.48 3 1 2 0 3
  Ryan Carpenter (L) DET vCLE -1.18 -1.51 -1.68 -1.10 -0.41 1 3 1 2 0
  Steven Brault (L) PIT @MIA -1.23 -0.27 -1.20 -1.92 -1.52 2 0 3 1 3
  Shelby Miller (R) TEX @CIN -1.32 -0.86 -1.93 -1.44 -1.04 1 1 1 2 1
  Daniel Poncedeleon (R) STL @NYM -1.48 -1.38 -1.48 -1.04 -2.00 2
  Brad Keller (R) KC @MIN -1.53 -0.38 -1.70 -1.58 -2.45 1 3 2 4 3
  Aaron Sanchez (R) TOR @HOU -1.92 -0.80 -1.27 -2.11 -3.50 1 3 1 0 0

 

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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.