DAILY MATCHUPS: Verlander, Darvish lead Sunday's 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 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 add a DH position to PHI. The SEA at BAL and TOR at DET matchups start the afternoon slate at 1:05 p.m. EDT, and the PHI at CLE game is the Sunday night matchup at 6:37 p.m. There is a chance of rain for the STL at CHC and PHI at CLE matchups. 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
  Justin Verlander (R) HOU vLAA 4.05 4.45 3.33 4.33 4.08 3 5 5 3 4
  Yu Darvish (R) CHC vSTL 1.76 3.17 1.61 2.08 0.18 2 4 4 4 4
  Matt Boyd (L) DET vCHW 1.52 2.43 1.28 1.92 0.44 5 2 2 4 1
  Brandon Woodruff (R) MIL vPIT 1.51 0.58 1.68 1.87 1.90 5 3 4 0 3
  Hyun-Jin Ryu (L) LA vCOL 1.29 1.12 1.20 1.77 1.08 2 2 2 2 5
  Dallas Keuchel (L) ATL vSF 1.16 0.69 1.61 0.87 1.48 4 2 1 3 0
  Luis Severino (R) NYY vTOR 1.12 1.27 0.81 1.28 1.13 2
  Robbie Ray (L) ARI @SD 1.05 2.43 1.02 0.43 0.30 3 1 3 0 3
  Tanner Roark (R) OAK vTEX 0.95 1.41 0.71 1.50 0.19 3 2 5 1 2
  Miles Mikolas (R) STL @CHC 0.94 1.01 1.14 2.28 -0.68 4 3 3 2 1
  Ryan Yarbrough (L) TAM vBOS 0.86 1.03 0.83 1.27 0.31 4 3 1 4 0
  Vincent Velasquez (R) PHI @CLE 0.62 1.10 0.25 0.71 0.42 0 2 2 1 3
  Lance Lynn (R) TEX @OAK 0.58 2.11 0.15 0.76 -0.69 3 3 1 4 3
  Reynaldo Lopez (R) CHW @DET 0.55 0.92 0.47 1.31 -0.50 4 1 5 2 1
  Marcus Stroman (R) NYM @CIN 0.54 1.10 0.36 0.54 0.16 2 2 2 4 5

Luis Severino (RHP, NYY) will make his second start of 2019. In four IP vs. LAA on Sept. 17, he struck out four in four scoreless IP. The right-hander's 12% career-SwK and 9.9 career-Dom can offer strikeouts against Toronto's 25.1% K% vs. RHP. Although his pitch count could be limited, his 3.83 career-xERA and 1.15 career-WHIP should provide some ratio support. 

Robbie Ray (LHP, ARI) can provide strikeouts with his 14% SwK and 11.9 Dom. The lefty's 4.3 Ctl and 1.33 WHIP may limit his upside, and the Padres are an average club vs. LHP. In his last five tries, two PQS-DIS starts have contributed to a 5.57 ERA. In an April 3 start at SD, he struck out three hitters and allowed two ER in 5.1 IP for a PQS-2. 

Tanner Roark (RHP, OAK) carries a 4.59 ERA in his last five GS into a matchup with the Rangers' average offense vs. RHP. While the right-hander only owns a 9% SwK, Texas' 25.6% K% vs. RHP could boost his strikeout total. In a June 15 start vs. TEX, he struck out five batters and gave up two ER in seven IP for a PQS-4. While his 2.7 Ctl can keep WHIP under control, he has posted a 1.37 WHIP in 2019. 

Miles Mikolas (RHP, STL) takes the mound at Wrigley Field against a Chicago nine that has been an above-average lineup vs. RHP with a top-five OPS in September. In 17 IP vs. CHC, he owns a 2.16 ERA (4.40 xERA) and 1.26 WHIP. Although he has missed more bats in away outings, his 22% away hr/f has contributed to a 5.80 away ERA. In his last five GS, he has posted a 3.54 ERA. The right-hander's 47% GB% and 4.15 xERA contribute to a positive ERA rating, and his 66% FpK and 1.6 Ctl boost his WHIP rating.

Vincent Velasquez (RHP, PHI) carries a 7.35 ERA in his last five GS into a matchup with Cleveland's average offense vs. RHP. His 12% SwK points to some strikeouts, but his 45% FB%, 49% hard-contact rate allowed, and 4.69 xERA warn of possible ERA inflation. Throwing more first-pitch strikes (61% FpK) in the second half has helped his 3.1 second-half Ctl.

Reynaldo Lopez (RHP, CHW) moves up the ratings with an outing versus Detroit's bottom-five lineup vs. RHP. Although the last five starts have been a rollercoaster ride with two PQS-DOM results and two PQS-DIS starts, he owns a 3.76 xERA and 1.21 WHIP in 17 IP vs. DET. He backs his strikeout rating with a 96.4 mph velocity and 13% SwK in the second half. Even with a favorable matchup, his 55% DIS% and 5.26 xERA carry some ratio risk. 

 

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Trevor Bauer (R) CIN vNYM 0.47 1.87 -0.19 0.86 -0.66 1 1 2 3 5
  Nathan Eovaldi (R) BOS @TAM 0.07 0.43 0.12 0.06 -0.32 1 3 2 2 1
  Jorge Lopez (R) KC @MIN -0.06 0.20 -0.30 -0.22 0.09 2 3 4 1 2
  Adam Plutko (R) CLE vPHI -0.09 0.49 -0.67 0.73 -0.92 4 0 3 0 3
  Pablo Lopez (R) MIA vWAS -0.11 -0.28 -0.27 0.12 -0.02 1 0 4 0 3
  John Means (L) BAL vSEA -0.12 0.29 -0.85 0.06 0.02 4 3 3 4 0
  Garrett Richards (R) SD vARI -0.18 0.61 0.25 -0.70 -0.88 3
  Martin Perez (L) MIN vKC -0.27 -0.40 -0.15 -0.40 -0.14 4 0 1 0 2
  Trent Thornton (R) TOR @NYY -0.39 0.95 -1.10 0.23 -1.63 4 1 1 2 2

Trevor Bauer (RHP, CIN) supports his strong strikeout rating with a 13% SwK and 10.7 Dom. Even with a matchup versus New York's average offense vs. RHP, his 6.84 ERA in his last five GS contributes to a risky ERA rating in a hitter's park. Even with a 3.6 Ctl, his ability to miss bats and his 1.26 WHIP point to a WHIP that could help rosters. Left-handed hitters are worth a start, as they own an .814 OPS against him. 

Nathan Eovaldi (RHP, BOS) has not fared well in his last five GS, as he owns a 5.32 ERA with two PQS-DIS results during that span. Although he has posted a 4.6 Ctl in 2019, his walks allowed drop in road starts to a 3.1 Ctl. In road starts, his GB% falls to 43% and his 46% hard-contact allowed rate points to a 5.43 away FIP. When facing RHP, the Rays have provided slightly above-average production. 

Jorge Lopez (RHP, KC) faces a Twins offense that owns a top-five OPS vs. RHP. Even with a 47% GB%, his 4.60 xERA and a tough opponent contribute to a negative ERA rating. Left-handed hitters could be worth a start, as they have a .962 OPS against him. With a 31% DIS% and negative ratio ratings, he is a risky start on Sunday. 

Adam Plutko (RHP, CLE) moves down the ratings with a 5.31 xERA and 45% FB%, even though Philadelphia owns a slightly below-average OPS vs. RHP. A 9% SwK and 6.3 Dom could cap his strikeout total, but his 67% FpK and 1.9 Ctl contribute to a positive WHIP rating. His 55 BPV and 5.51 xERA in the second half may keep owners away. 

Pablo Lopez (RHP, MIA) has posted three PQS-DIS results with a 7.11 ERA in his last five outings. The right-hander's 9% second-half SwK and 6.4 second-half Dom could limit the strikeout total, and Washington owns a lower 20.9% K% vs. RHP. While his 2.0 Ctl and 1.18 WHIP can provide some ratio help, his 4.70 xERA since July and 4.95 xERA vs. WAS may not provide any ERA relief. 

John Means (LHP, BAL) gave up five ER in 5.2 IP at DET on Sept. 16 for a PQS-0. Even with the disaster rating, the lefty owns a 3.30 ERA in his last five GS with two PQS-DOM results. He will take on a Mariners club that has provided average production against southpaws. His 10% SwK can provide some punch outs, but his 51% FB% and 5.24 xERA could lead to ERA inflation. On the plus side, his 68% FpK and 1.7 Ctl in the second half have contributed to a 1.16 second-half WHIP. 

Garrett Richards (RHP, SD) struck out five Brewers and allowed three ER in 3.2 IP on Sept. 16. With mostly negative ratings, a favorable park and a matchup versus Arizona's below-average lineup vs. RHP point to a neutral ERA rating. In 116 GS, the right-hander has posted a 3.56 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP with a 7.8 Dom and 3.2 Ctl. 

Martin Perez (LHP, MIN) has lost some SwK since July, as his 9% SwK and 6.2 Dom in the second half could cap his strikeout output. While his 48% GB% can limit ratio damage, his 21% second-half hr/f and 5.32 second-half xERA warn of ratio inflation. With three PQS-DIS results and a 6.64 ERA in his last five GS, he will try to allow fewer home runs against Kansas City's bottom-five OPS vs. LHP. In 17 IP vs. KC, the southpaw has a 4.27 xERA and 1.32 WHIP with two PQS-DIS outings. 

Trent Thornton (RHP, TOR) makes a start at Yankee Stadium versus New York's top-five offense vs. RHP. Although his 10% SwK and positive strikeout rating point to some whiffs, his 5.12 xERA and 40% FB% against a tough opponent warns of possible ERA inflation. In 14 IP vs. NYY in 2019, he has posted a 5.11 xERA and 1.47 WHIP. Throwing more early strikes since July has helped his 2.6 second-half Ctl.

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Austin Voth (R) WAS @MIA -0.55 -0.10 -0.60 -1.03 -0.48 1 2 2 3 4
  Marco Gonzales (L) SEA @BAL -0.69 -0.65 -1.27 -0.31 -0.52 4 0 0 4 4
  Logan Webb (R) SF @ATL -0.95 -0.02 -0.60 -0.62 -2.57 0 3 0 2 1
  Trevor Williams (R) PIT @MIL -0.96 0.44 -1.19 -0.67 -2.40 3 4 2 2 0
  Antonio Senzatela (R) COL @LA -0.97 -0.89 -0.52 -0.64 -1.84 1 0 0 3 1
  Jose Rodriguez (R) LAA @HOU -3.44 -1.33 -3.54 -4.30 -4.58  

Austin Voth (RHP, WAS) matches up against Miami's bottom-five OPS vs. RHP. In 12 IP in September, he has struck out 16 hitters and walked four. Missing bats with a 14% SwK could help his efforts, and he owns a 4.08 xERA in 33 IP in 2019. With only three of his six starts going more than five innings, his chance for a win is at risk.

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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.