DAILY MATCHUPS: Wednesday's best are Scherzer, Maeda, Paxton, and Cole

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: A trio of interleague matchups (ATL-TOR, BOS-COL, BAL-WAS) dots Wednesday’s 14-game slate. The Diamondbacks and Giants are idle. The baseball weather map calls for warm weather in the East and cooler, drier weather in the Midwest. Rain showers could be an issue for CHC-NYM. Double-digit, wind-out conditions could impact the MIN-CHW and CLE-DET contests. Wednesday’s Matchup Ratings are especially top- and bottom-heavy without much in the middle. Max Scherzer (RHP, WAS), Kenta Maeda (RHP, LA), James Paxton (LHP, NYY), and Gerrit Cole (RHP, HOU) are the top four plays of the day.

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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
  Max Scherzer (R) WAS vBAL 2.51 2.03 2.11 2.87 3.04 5 4 5 3 1
  Kenta Maeda (R) LA @SD 2.36 2.60 2.02 2.32 2.51 2 1 5 2 3
  James Paxton (L) NYY @SEA 2.30 3.03 1.72 2.17 2.28 2 4 3 1 5
  Gerrit Cole (R) HOU vTAM 2.16 3.46 1.83 2.43 0.93 5 3 3 3 5
  Jack Flaherty (R) STL @MIL 1.87 2.88 1.29 1.98 1.31 5 5 5 2 4
  Noah Syndergaard (R) NYM vCHC 1.60 1.83 1.69 2.15 0.74 5 4 2 4 4
  Jake Odorizzi (R) MIN @CHW 1.45 2.08 0.98 1.23 1.49 4 2 2 3 3
  Anthony DeSclafani (R) CIN @MIA 0.74 0.58 0.66 0.72 0.99 2 2 0 0 2
  Patrick Sandoval (L) LAA vTEX 0.64 1.42 0.20 0.44 0.51 0 2 1
  Tanner Roark (R) OAK @KC 0.59 0.68 0.56 0.78 0.33 1 3 4 1 3

Jake Odorizzi (RHP, MIN) owns a sub-3.10 xERA in 26 IP vs. the White Sox, 2018-19. Chicago batters own a whiff-heavy .512 OPS, .018 ISO against the Twins veteran hurler. The White Sox own a paltry .689 OPS against right-handed pitching.

Tanner Roark (RHP, OAK) owns a 2.63 ERA/4.06 xERA over four August starts, and that includes turns against NYY and HOU. Yes to this turn against the Royals, a club languishing with a .651 OPS and 0.31 Eye since the break. Roark owns a 2.45 ERA over his last four road starts not at Coors Field.

Patrick Sandoval (LHP, LAA) is a decent under-the-radar play after getting banged around by TEX in his last start. Sandoval faces the same Rangers—a struggling second-half lineup—at home this time. Including that start at TEX, Sandoval has been hit-rate bludgeoned over his first few weeks in the Majors. The Rangers own a .563 OPS and 72% Ct over their last 14 road games.

 

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Mitch Keller (R) PIT @PHI 0.39 1.19 -0.43 0.13 0.67 1 4 1 1 2
  Mike Foltynewicz (R) ATL @TOR 0.31 1.78 -0.71 0.15 0.02 0 3 3 1 4
  Eduardo Rodriguez (L) BOS @COL 0.27 0.82 -0.35 -0.29 0.90 3 1 1 3 5
  Kyle Hendricks (R) CHC @NYM 0.25 0.35 0.55 1.34 -1.24 4 3 0 3 5
  Ryan Yarbrough (L) TAM @HOU 0.22 0.65 0.49 1.36 -1.61 2 4 5 5 4
  Aaron Civale (R) CLE @DET 0.12 -0.01 -0.30 0.45 0.35 3 4 4 1 3
  Jakob Junis (R) KC vOAK 0.01 0.76 -0.20 0.30 -0.83 4 2 2 4 0

Mitch Keller (RHP, PIT) has carded a 4.70 ERA/4.14 xERA since returning to the PIT rotation on Aug. 18. Keller has kept his walks in check while getting an uptick in GB% in three starts since his return. The right-hander is facing a Philadelphia club swinging it better of late (.792 OPS last 11G), but he’s still worth a look.

Mike Foltynewicz (RHP, ATL) faces the Blue Jays on Wednesday. Toronto has bounced (.633 OPS last 8G) after an early-August surge. Foltynewicz has been solid but not great—and against a tough schedule—since returning to the Atlanta rotation on Aug. 6. The right-hander is coming off a fine PQS-4 at Citi Field in his last.

Eduardo Rodriguez (LHP, BOS) is coming off his best back-to-back starts of the season. This one comes at Coors Field, against a Colorado Rockies club that owns an .897 OPS in its thin-air environs. Rodriguez’s form of late has included a slew of ground balls. Recent (second-half) missteps have involved trouble putting batters away with two strikes, and the lefty continues to be a hit-rate rag doll (35%) in such situations.

Kyle Hendricks (RHP, CHC), like many of his teammates, has pitched significantly worse on the road than at the Friendly Confines this season. He draws this one at Citi Field in New York on what figures to be a warm, humid evening with a 40% chance of rain. The Mets have been better against RHPs than what some early-season numbers would’ve pegged.

Ryan Yarbrough (LHP, TAM) has been tremendous in the second half, posting a 1.57 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, .447 OPSA, 23.0 Cmd. The Astros have also had a good second half (.882 OPS), although against a relatively easy collection of SP foes. Houston does have a good aggregate line against the Tampa port-sider, but in a small sample. Yarbrough’s recent 5-5-4 PQS log was filed against SEA, DET, and BAL. Look elsewhere for this one. Let’s see how Yarbrough handles HOU and a tougher slate the rest of the way.

Aaron Civale (RHP, CLE) draws this road start at Comerica. Civale owns a 1.82 ERA/4.21 xERA over his 5 GS. He tossed a PQS-3 against DET in his first MLB start on June 22. The Tigers have logged 10.5 SO per game this month.

Jakob Junis (RHP, KC) has a nice set of numbers against OAK batters (.692 OPSA, .188 ISO allowed, 22% SO), and the Athletics’ lineup helps Junis avoid a trouble spot against LHB. The Royal right-hander owns a consistent sub-4.25 xERA over his last 10 GS. Oakland bats have kicked things into gear and against good pitching of late. But against right-handers especially, the Athletics are a second-division offensive club, and Junis is worthy of the turn.

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Jordan Lyles (R) MIL vSTL -0.60 0.55 -0.76 -0.38 -1.81 2 1 4 0 3
  Jordan Zimmermann (R) DET vCLE -0.60 -0.38 -1.19 0.03 -0.85 1 1 2 4 2
  Jacob Waguespack (R) TOR vATL -0.62 -0.30 -1.11 -0.56 -0.52 1 1 3 4 5
  Sandy Alcantara (R) MIA vCIN -0.77 0.36 -1.07 -0.88 -1.49 1 2 5 2 5
  Vincent Velasquez (R) PHI vPIT -0.79 0.59 -1.88 -0.68 -1.17 2 3 2 3 0
  Ariel Jurado (R) TEX @LAA -0.96 -0.86 -0.88 -0.66 -1.44 0 3 1 0 1
  Ross Detwiler (L) CHW vMIN -1.39 -1.11 -1.55 -0.88 -2.02 0 3 1 0 3
  Peter Lambert (R) COL vBOS -1.46 -1.59 -1.80 -1.26 -1.18 1 0 2 1 0
  Justus Sheffield (L) SEA vNYY -1.69 -0.22 -1.86 -1.89 -2.78 1
  Jacob Nix (R) SD vLA -2.01 -1.95 -1.83 -1.24 -3.01 0
  Asher Wojciechowski (R) BAL @WAS -2.22 -0.31 -2.92 -2.10 -3.54 1 1 2 0 1

Jordan Lyles (RHP, MIL) goes Wednesday afternoon against the Cardinals, a club that has given him trouble this season and in the past. Recently, Lyles has faltered on both sides of the command equation while posting a 5.16 xERA over his last five starts.

Jordan Zimmermann (RHP, DET) has pitched well of late, but he draws the steady road offense of the Cleveland Indians in this one. Cleveland is at its best against RHP, and the Indians have mauled this particular righty in the past (.975 OPS, .267 ISO). Inexplicably, Zimmerman has been woeful at Comerica this season (8.18 ERA, 1.97 WHIP).

Jacob Waguespack (RHP, TOR) has gone back-to-back with PQS 4-5 in his last two starts, but that’s been with some fortunate rates around the margins. The Atlanta Braves are in town for this one.

Sandy Alcantara (RHP, MIA) is coming off a nice start against ATL. But the Marlin right-hander owns a 5.70 xERA with a dwindling GB rate over his last 5 GS. He’ll face a Cincinnati squad which has batted .283/.347/.483 (.830) over its last 42 games.

 

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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.