DAILY MATCHUPS: Kershaw heads shallow pool of strong Saturday plays

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 will be in action. The Reds and Cardinals will play two in a day-night doubleheader at Busch Stadium. Weather-wise, Saturday sets up as one devoid of any rain showers to worry about. The weekend’s interleague action is comprised of just one series (CHW at ATL). The Matchup Ratings bell curve is heavy in the middle. Clayton Kershaw, Sonny Gray, and Dallas Keuchel are the only three starters tagged with a rating over 1.00.

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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
  Clayton Kershaw (L) LA @ARI 1.85 2.22 1.77 2.37 1.02 1 5 5 1 4
  Sonny Gray (R) CIN @STL 1.26 2.52 1.13 0.51 0.87 4 3 4 3 2
  Dallas Keuchel (L) ATL vCHW 1.24 0.81 1.48 0.87 1.80 3 1 4 2 4
  Steven Matz (L) NYM @PHI 0.90 1.35 0.69 0.83 0.73 2 3 4 4 3
  Domingo German (R) NYY vOAK 0.84 1.93 -0.22 1.12 0.52 4 1 4 2 2
  Matt Boyd (L) DET vMIN 0.75 2.25 -0.07 1.07 -0.27 2 0 0 5 2
  Joe Musgrove (R) PIT @COL 0.56 0.43 -0.24 0.77 1.27 2 2 5 0 3
  Diego Castillo (R) TAM vCLE 0.56 -0.06 0.72 0.98 0.58 2 1 1 0 1

Joe Musgrove (RHP, PIT) has been quite good in several hitter’s-park starts this season. Colorado owns a sub-.700 OPS over its last eight games. Worth a look.

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Cole Hamels (L) CHC vMIL 0.47 0.43 0.40 0.22 0.83 4 0 0 2 1
  Jorge Lopez (R) KC vBAL 0.37 -0.14 0.47 0.33 0.80 0 2 1 0 2
  Joey Lucchesi (L) SD @SF 0.33 0.34 0.47 0.27 0.25 1 3 1 2 1
  Robbie Ray (L) ARI vLA 0.20 1.98 0.28 0.07 -1.52 2 3 3 2 3
  Framber Valdez (L) HOU @TOR 0.00 0.77 -0.01 -0.85 0.07 4 0 0 1 2
  Joe Ross (R) WAS vMIA -0.12 -0.26 -0.05 -0.24 0.09 2 3 3 2 1
  Martin Perez (L) MIN @DET -0.15 0.15 -0.05 -0.48 -0.23 1 2 1 1 4
  Logan Webb (R) SF vSD -0.31 -0.43 -0.03 -0.16 -0.63 3 0
  Pablo Lopez (R) MIA @WAS -0.32 -0.15 -0.53 -0.01 -0.59 3 4 4 3 1
  Tyler Mahle (R) CIN @STL -0.32 -1.30 -0.31 -0.06 0.38 0 3 1 1 3
  Dillon Peters (L) LAA vBOS -0.36 -0.18 -0.91 -0.33 -0.02 0 3 4 0 0
  Michael Wacha (R) STL vCIN -0.39 0.23 -0.31 -0.10 -1.37 0 0 1 4 2
  Zach Plesac (R) CLE @TAM -0.40 0.10 -0.38 -0.24 -1.08 0 4 0 2 3
  Jason Vargas (L) PHI vNYM -0.49 0.11 -0.63 -0.19 -1.23 4 2 1 0 2

Cole Hamels (LHP, CHC) has been away from the team due to the birth of a child, but he’s still making this start on normal (five-day) rest. Hamels might wish he was going Sunday – he likely wants to put August behind him. The veteran lefty has posted a 7.29 ERA/5.45 xERA over 5 GS (21 IP). Upside? Hamels’ last solid start was on Aug. 3, against these Brewers. In fact, the southpaw has faced MIL three times this season. Over those starts (18 IP), he’s carded a 3.30 xERA and a 5.3 Cmd. Milwaukee’s lineup leans left, and that plays into Hamels’ platoon numbers that heavily meetings against lefty bats.

Jorge Lopez (RHP, KC) hops back into the KC rotation to face the Orioles, a team he handled in his last starting assignment, on Aug. 19. But the Baltimore attack has had a pulse of late (.762 OPS since Aug. 5). And Lopez is coming off an awful relief stint on Monday.

Joey Lucchesi (LHP, SD) draws Saturday’s turn at Oracle Park. The foe and the way the Giants hit (or don’t) at home put this one in the yes column. SF batters own a .524 OPS against Lucchesi.

Robbie Ray (LHP, ARI) has a good strikeout history against the Dodgers. LA has struggled of late, and the Dodgers are at a platoon disadvantage in this matchup.

Framber Valdez (LHP, HOU) walked five in his Aug. 25 return to the Astros rotation. Valdez did face the Blue Jays earlier this season. He registered a PQS-4 in a six-inning home start against TOR on June 15. The Blue Jays have managed a mere .699 OPS over the last two weeks.

Joe Ross (RHP, WAS) is rated just under water for his Saturday night start against the Miami Marlins. Keep an eye on any notes regarding a lingering leg injury, but sans any negative notes, Ross is a solid play in this one.

Martin Perez (LHP, MIN) draws Saturdays turn against the Tigers and their amazing .661 home OPS. For Perez, the meeting is a return engagement – he tosses a PQS-4 against DET on Sunday. The Tigers have scored 16R over their last eight home games.

Logan Webb (RHP, SF) is tabbed for Saturday night’s home turn against the Padres. Webb is a rookie making his third start and his first at home. He has thus far gotten a lot of ground balls, and GB types give the Padres fits (.662 OPS, 71% Ct). He also catches a slumping San Diego offense (.697 OPS, 71% Ct in August, .552 OPS last 10G).

Pablo Lopez (RHP, MIA) is making his second start off the IL (shoulder). His foe – the Nationals – owns MLB’s third-best OPS (.887) this month. And WAS beat Lopez up in a meeting on May 24. Avoid this one with prejudice.

Tyler Mahle (RHP, CIN) is returning to the Cincinnati after making three starts (one solid, two iffy) at Triple-A Louisville. Mahle was beaten up around the margins in posting a 4.93 ERA, 1.32 WHIP in 19 starts from April-July. The landing is not a soft one: St. Louis is batting .292/.382/.492 (.874) since Aug. 16, and the Cardinals have an impressive aggregate line (.879 OPS) against Mahle.

Dillon Peters (LHP, LAA) heads into this home start off back-to-back PQS-0s. The Red Sox have smashed their way to a high-contact .937 OPS since Aug. 9.

Michael Wacha (RHP, STL) is tabbed for game one in the Cardinals’ home double-dip against the Reds. Wacha has been giving STL mostly short stints over the last couple months. He’ll be asked for more than that as the first bullet fired Saturday, but can he give more in coming off a 113-pitch effort (in just 4.2 IP) in his last? Look elsewhere.

Zach Plesac (RHP, CLE) is still walking the Earth with an xERA (4.87) nearly a run-and-a-half higher than his surface ERA (3.40). He faces a Tampa Bay club which has rallied a bit from a mid-August downturn. The Rays are at their best against righties and Statcast figures join xERA in signaling a regression for Plesac.

Jason Vargas (LHP, PHI) catches his old mates on a week that has them slumping but also suffering the business end of a 25% hit rate. New York is solid against southpaws (.795 OPS), and this particular lefty owns a 5.70 xERA, 1.5 Cmd over his last 5 GS.

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Homer Bailey (R) OAK @NYY -0.55 0.31 -1.37 -0.10 -1.02 3 0 5 2 1
  Matthew Wisler (R) SEA @TEX -0.57 -2.71 -0.19 0.84 -0.22 2 1 2 1 2
  Brock Burke (L) TEX vSEA -0.68 0.34 -0.91 -1.38 -0.75 2 3
  Clay Buchholz (R) TOR vHOU -0.70 -0.53 -1.12 -0.12 -1.02 0 0 0 0 2
  John Means (L) BAL @KC -0.84 -0.52 -1.01 -0.53 -1.28 0 2 0 2 4
  Zachary Davies (R) MIL @CHC -0.88 -0.54 -1.14 -0.70 -1.14 2 1 0 2 1
  Brian Johnson (L) BOS @LAA -0.99 -1.00 -1.26 -1.22 -0.48 0 1 1 1 0
  Daniel Poncedeleon (R) STL vCIN -1.11 -1.42 -1.25 -0.89 -0.88 4 4 0 1 1
  Reynaldo Lopez (R) CHW @ATL -1.13 0.74 -1.33 -0.74 -3.20 1 3 2 1 4
  Timothy Melville (R) COL vPIT -2.01 -1.22 -2.73 -2.33 -1.77 2 2

 

 

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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.