DAILY MATCHUPS: Scherzer soars on Thursday

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.


Today’s schedule overview: There are only nine games on Thursday, with three day games in the NL and six night games in the AL. There are no weather issues in the forecast.


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

  Max Scherzer (R) WAS vCOL 4.09 4.41 3.67 4.47 3.79 4 5 5 4 5
  Jacob deGrom (R) NYM vSD 2.23 3.43 1.77 2.42 1.31 3 2 4 2 5
  Jose Suarez (L) LAA vBAL 1.73 2.13 1.34 1.69 1.75 2 1 3 0 2
  Joe Musgrove (R) PIT vSTL 1.25 0.98 1.37 2.02 0.64 3 3 3 1 4
  Matthew Wisler (R) SEA vDET 0.86 -0.18 0.08 1.00 2.54 1
  Jose Berrios (R) MIN @CHW 0.83 1.41 0.49 1.02 0.38 3 3 0 2 2

Jose Berrios (RHP, MIN) has faced the White Sox twice this season, with solid results. The first outing came in Minnesota on May 24, and it was a PQS-3 in which he allowed 1 ER in 6.7 IP. The second outing was in Chicago on June 28, another PQS-3 with 3 ER in 7.3 IP. His third test against the White Sox will be in Guaranteed Rate Field. Berrios has not been at his best on the road, where he has a 3.72 ERA, compared to 2.10 at home. The White Sox have struggled a bit against RHP, with an OPS just above .700 that ranks 12th in the AL, but they have hit well at home, where their OPS ranks 8th.   


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

  Masahiro Tanaka (R) NYY @BOS 0.35 0.07 0.05 0.58 0.68 0 0 3 3 1
  Brett Anderson (L) OAK vTEX 0.24 -0.86 0.27 0.60 0.96 0 3 3 2 1
  Lucas Giolito (R) CHW vMIN 0.09 1.53 -0.36 0.08 -0.88 1 3 2 3 3
  Miles Mikolas (R) STL @PIT -0.09 -0.22 0.30 0.69 -1.14 1 1 2 4 0
  Eric Lauer (L) SD @NYM -0.40 0.47 -0.11 0.14 -2.10 1 4 2 4 1

Brett Anderson (LHP, OAK) is scheduled to return from paternity leave and face the Rangers in Oakland. Anderson has faced the Rangers twice this season in Texas and allowed 5 ER in 12.3 IP. He's been more vulnerable at home, where he has a 4.28 ERA than on the road (3.49 ERA). Texas has been below average against LHP, with an OPS under .720 that ranks 12th, and below average on the road, where their .733 OPS ranks 10th.

Griffin Canning (RHP, LAA) has three PQS-DIS in his past five starts, but is coming off his first PQS-DOM in over a month as he faces the Orioles in Angel Stadium. Canning has been at his best at home, with a 4.04 ERA, while the Orioles are the AL's worst road team, with an OPS near .675. Note the negative sub-score for ERA, but the strong positive sub-scores for K and Win in this matchup.

Masahiro Tanaka (RHP, NYY) has struggled over the past month, with a 6.84 ERA and a 60 BPV. His Dom has dropped from 8.9 in May to 6.4 in June and July, and only 5.0 in the past month. His SwK% is down from 11% for the season to 6% in his past five starts. He'll next face the Red Sox in a night game at Fenway Park. Tanaka has been at his worst on the road with a 5.40 ERA, and at night with a 4.45 ERA. The Red Sox have the AL's second-best home OPS. This is another high-risk start. 

Lucas Giolito (RHP, CHW) has been brilliant at times, as shown by his 42% PQS-DOM rate, but he can also implode, as shown by two outings (both against the Cubs) in his past six where he allowed six earned runs in each. He has been at his worst at home (3.61 ERA, compared to 2.76 road) and at night (4.03 ERA, compared to 1.77 day), and now faces the Twins in a home night game. Minnesota is the AL's best road team, with an OPS above .850. Lots of risk in this start.

Matthew Wisler (RHP, SEA) worked as an opener, going one inning in his last start, and that will probably be the case again as he faces the Tigers in Seattle. Wisler's longest stint of the season came as a 3 IP relief outing in May, and he has not worked more than 1 IP since June 2. Detroit ranks 13th in the AL, with a road OPS barely above .700.

Miles Mikolas (RHP, STL) has been solid over the past month, with a 3.30 ERA and 110 BPV, but a 4.01 xERA says that he's been a bit lucky. He'll next face the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Mikolas pitched a complete game shutout against the Pirates in St. Louis on July 15, and he'll try to repeat his feat. But Mikolas has struggled badly on the road, where he has a 7.04 ERA compared to 2.15 at home. The Pirates have been solid at home with a .785 OPS that ranks 7th in the NL. 

Adam Plutko (RHP, CLE) was outstanding in his last start, allowing only 2 H and 1 ER in 7 IP against the Royals in Cleveland. He'll face the Royals once again, this time in Kansas City under the lights. Plutko has struggled both on the road (5.40 ERA, but a small sample of only 15 IP) and at night (5.65 ERA). The Royals rank 13th in the AL with a home OPS under .740.


Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  Adam Plutko (R) CLE @KC -0.54 -0.85 -1.01 -0.18 -0.11 3 2 2 0 3
  Rick Porcello (R) BOS vNYY -0.77 -0.06 -1.31 -0.54 -1.18 1 0 2 0 1
  Michael Montgomery (L) KC vCLE -0.94 -1.33 -0.83 -1.46 -0.13 0
  Jimmy Yacabonis (R) BAL @LAA -1.14 -0.52 -1.45 -1.21 -1.38 2 0
  Ariel Jurado (R) TEX @OAK -1.17 -0.64 -1.52 -0.96 -1.57 1 4 2 1 1
  Jeff Hoffman (R) COL @WAS -2.37 -1.84 -1.62 -1.74 -4.29 2 2 2 1 2
  Drew VerHagen (R) DET @SEA -3.60 -3.98 -5.31 -2.06 -3.04  


Eric Lauer (LHP, SD) has struggled on the road with a 6.15 ERA, and it's on the road that he'll face the Mets. The Mets have pounded lefties, with an OPS at .800 that ranks 3rd in the NL. They have been solid at home, where their OPS ranks 8th. For Lauer, it's been all-or-nothing in his past five starts, with three starts in which he allowed only 1 ER and two with 5 ER. Given the Mets prowess against LHP, this start carries high risk.

Rick Porcello (RHP, BOS) has four PQS-DIS and a 10.57 ERA in his past five starts. He's not likely to improve facing the AL's second-best road team in Fenway Park. The Yankees boast an OPS of .830 on the road and could be ready to feast in this matchup.



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 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.