DAILY MATCHUPS: Thursday is a lefty bonanza

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 eight games on the schedule today, with four in each league. No rain is forecast. For the Royals at Tigers, wind is forecast to be blowing out toward left field at 11 mph, while for the Phillies at Giants it is forecast to be blowing out toward left at 14 mph.


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

  Chris Sale (L) BOS vLAA 2.55 3.26 2.32 2.18 2.45 2 4 3 2 1
  Matt Boyd (L) DET vKC 2.07 3.71 1.87 2.71 TBD 4 2 3 5 2
  Aaron Nola (R) PHI @SF 1.56 2.36 1.92 1.43 0.51 3 1 5 2 5
  Michael Clevinger (R) CLE @MIN 1.37 2.61 1.00 1.42 0.44 3 3 4 4 3
  Domingo German (R) NYY @TOR 1.23 1.89 0.46 1.61 0.97 4 2 0 3 4
  Madison Bumgarner (L) SF vPHI 1.22 1.98 1.47 2.11 -0.68 3 5 5 4 0
  Dallas Keuchel (L) ATL @MIA 1.15 0.83 1.38 0.78 1.59 3 1 3 1 3
  Cole Hamels (L) CHC @CIN 0.76 0.93 0.92 1.00 0.17 5 5 2 1 4
  Jonathan Gray (R) COL @SD 0.64 1.40 0.48 0.19 0.47 4 0 2 4 2

Madison Bumgarner (LHP, SF) was riding a streak of three consecutive PQS-DOM starts until he threw a forgivable clunker in Colorado. He'll try to get back on track against the Phillies in San Francisco. Bumgarner has been at his best at home, with a 3.35 ERA, compared to 4.64 on the road. The Phillies have been average against lefties, with a .761 OPS that ranks 9th, but they have struggled on the road, where their .716 OPS ranks 12th.

Dallas Keuchel (LHP, ATL) has been solid in his nine starts for the Braves, with a 4.03 xERA and 75 BPV. He has a chance to excel in this start against the Marlins in Miami. Keuchel faced the Marlins on July 7 in Atlanta and had his best start thus far, a PQS-4 in which he allowed 2 ER in 7.3 IP. Keuchel has been better in Atlanta (2.96 ERA) than on the road (4.71 ERA), but the Marlins are the NL's second-worst home team with a .658 OPS, and are the league's worst team against LHP. 

Jonathan Gray (RHP, COL) will make his fourth appearance and third start against the Padres, as he faces them in San Diego. Overall, Gray has a 3.72 ERA in 19 IP against the Padres this season. On April 16, he made his only start in San Diego and allowed 1 ER in 7 IP in a PQS-3 performance. The Padres have been below average at home, where their .713 OPS ranks 12th in the NL. 


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

  Alex Wood (L) CIN vCHC 0.30 0.95 0.41 0.50 -0.67 1 4
  Kyle Gibson (R) MIN vCLE 0.00 0.48 0.14 0.32 -0.94 2 4 0 3 4
  Eric Lauer (L) SD vCOL -0.26 0.19 -0.30 -0.10 -0.84 2 4 1 1 3

Alex Wood (LHP, CIN) has thrown one PQS-DIS and one PQS-DOM in his two starts, but he's gotten solid results, allowing only 2 ER in each. He'll next face the Cubs in Cincinnati. The Cubs have been below average against LHP, with an OPS that ranks 11th in the NL, but they have been strong on the road, where their .763 OPS ranks 4th. Given Wood's small sample size thus far, there is definite risk here.

Kyle Gibson (RHP, MIN) has been solid thus far in the second half, with a 3.57 ERA in 7 starts since July 1. In those starts, he's allowed more than 2 ER only twice. He'll next face the Indians in an important matchup in Target Field. Gibson has faced the Indians only once this season and allowed 1 ER in 3.7 IP. Cleveland has been surging since the All-Star break, with a .799 OPS that ranks 6th in the AL. 

Eric Lauer (LHP, SD) has struggled in five appearances since July 1, with a 5.58 ERA, although a 99 BPV and 4.68 xERA show some bad luck. He's been at his best at home, with a 2.60 ERA, and it's at home that he'll take on Colorado. The Rockies have hit LHP well, with an OPS just under .800 that ranks 5th in the NL. But they have struggled on the road, where their .669 OPS ranks 14th. The worst sub-score in this matchup is Lauer's Win score. There is some upside here, especially if a win is not important in your scoring system.


Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  Thomas Pannone (L) TOR vNYY -1.06 0.39 -1.91 -0.89 -1.83 3 0 0 3 3
  Dillon Peters (L) LAA @BOS -1.36 -0.83 -1.21 -0.44 -2.95 2 0
  Elieser Hernandez (R) MIA vATL -1.47 -0.44 -1.61 -1.43 -2.38 3 3 2 2 0

Thomas Pannone (LHP, TOR) has a "streak" of two consecutive PQS-3 outings as he faces the Yankees in Toronto. Pannone has been at his best at home, with a 4.50 ERA, compared to 7.48 on the road. But the Yankees have been the AL's hottest team since the All-Star break, with a .891 OPS, and they rank 4th in the AL against LHP, with an OPS above .800. This is a start to avoid.

Dillon Peters (LHP, LAA) has made three appearances over the past month and compiled a flashy 2.70 ERA in 17 IP. But a 68 BPV and 4.79 ERA should give us pause as he prepares to face the Red Sox in Boston. The Red Sox have hit lefties well, with a .789 OPS that ranks 5th in the AL, and they are the league's best home team, with an OPS above .850. If you need another reason to avoid this matchup, Boston has been the AL's third-best hitting team since the All-Star break, trailing only the Yankees and the Astros.



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.