DAILY MATCHUPS: Greinke tops Sunday's SP options

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 NYM. The BAL at BOS, SD at PHI, and CLE at NYY matchups start the afternoon slate at 1:05 p.m. EDT, and the CHC at PIT game is the Sunday night matchup at 7:05 p.m. A chance of rain could affect the SD at PHI, CLE at NYY, MIL at WAS, and NYM at KC 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
  Zack Greinke (R) HOU @OAK 1.53 1.63 1.19 2.01 1.28 4 4 2 0 3
  Jose Quintana (L) CHC @PIT 1.52 1.35 1.50 1.99 1.24 2 2 2 5 3
  Zack Wheeler (R) NYM @KC 1.51 1.05 1.56 1.71 1.71 2 3 5 4 0
  Lance Lynn (R) TEX vMIN 1.42 2.63 0.60 1.31 1.14 3 4 5 3 2
  Matt Boyd (L) DET @TAM 1.41 2.84 1.16 1.92 -0.29 3 5 2 0 0
  Jack Flaherty (R) STL @CIN 1.37 2.73 0.70 1.73 0.33 3 3 5 5 5
  Michael Clevinger (R) CLE @NYY 1.32 2.67 0.31 1.10 1.18 4 4 3 5 3
  Wilmer Font (R) TOR vSEA 1.24 0.61 1.27 1.76 1.31 1 2 4 3 2
  Griffin Canning (R) LAA vCHW 0.99 1.43 1.10 1.22 0.19 1 1 4 4 1
  Joey Lucchesi (L) SD @PHI 0.70 1.70 0.29 0.33 0.48 0 3 1 3 1
  Diego Castillo (R) TAM vDET 0.69 0.66 1.31 0.92 -0.12 2 1 1
  Dylan Cease (R) CHW @LAA 0.59 1.75 0.57 0.73 -0.69 1 0 3 2 1
  Alex Wood (L) CIN vSTL 0.55 0.94 0.60 0.98 -0.33 1 4 0 1
  Madison Bumgarner (L) SF @ARI 0.54 0.95 0.22 1.21 -0.21 5 4 0 4 4

Jack Flaherty (RHP, STL) will look to keep up his hot streak against CIN's average offense vs. RHP. In his last five GS, the right-hander owns a 0.58 ERA with three PQS-DOM outings. In two starts vs. CIN, he has posted a PQS-4 and a PQS-3, and his 13% SwK and 10.4 Dom back some strikeouts. While he has only walked four batters in his last 18.1 away IP, his 3.8 away Ctl and 4.24 away ERA aren't as strong as his home efforts. On the plus side, he has a 65% FpK, 1.7 Ctl, and 2.97 xERA in August.  

Michael Clevinger (RHP, CLE) carries a 3.09 ERA and three PQS-DOM results in his last five GS into a matchup with NYY's top-five offense vs. RHP. He misses plenty of bats with a 16% SwK, which supports his strong strikeout rating. Although he has posted a 2.92 xERA, he will look to keep the ball on the ground with his 47% away GB% in a hitter's park. The matchup and venue carry some possible ERA risk, but his 65% FpK and 1.13 WHIP point to a favorable WHIP rating. His strong chance for a win boosts his points potential. 

Wilmer Font (RHP, TOR) has thrown 10.1 scoreless IP in his last five outings, and his matchup with SEA's top-five K% vs. RHP may help his 12% SwK. Even with a below-average FpK, his 1.5 Ctl in July and a 2.2 Ctl in August could help his WHIP efforts. While his 4.65 xERA carries some ERA risk, Seattle has been a bottom-five lineup in August. 

Griffin Canning (RHP, LAA) did not fare well in a start vs. PIT on August 13, as he struck out two and allowed three ER in four IP for a PQS-1. While a matchup with Chicago's bottom-five offense vs. RHP could help his efforts, he owns a 6.39 ERA in his last five outings. His 14% SwK should play well against the CHW's 26.4% K%, and giving up fewer home runs in home starts has contributed to a 4.53 home ERA. Outside of a six-walk outing vs. HOU on July 15, he can keep the walks under control in home outings. 

Joey Lucchesi (LHP, SD) backs his strikeout rating with a 12% SwK. His poor recent form carries some ratio risk, as he has posted a 5.54 ERA with three PQS-DIS results in his last five GS. Giving up more home runs in away starts has played a role in his 6.15 away ERA, and his 42% away FB% carries some ERA risk. He can limit the walks in away starts, as he has posted a 2.4 away Ctl in 2019. Philadelphia is an average offense vs. LHP. 

Diego Castillo (RHP, TAM) is scheduled as the opener against the Tigers' 26.1% K% vs. RHP. In his three opening tries at TOR, vs. MIA, and at SD, he registered one strikeout in three scoreless innings. In 2019, his 13% SwK has contributed to a 10.1 Dom, and his 56% GB% can provide some ERA aid. Walks can be an issue, as his 54% FpK and 4.1 Ctl have contributed to a 1.38 WHIP.

Dylan Cease (RHP, CHW) matches up against LAA's above-average lineup vs. RHP. Through seven GS, the right-hander has posted a 10% SwK with an 8.1 Dom. The ratios haven't been as kind, as he has posted a 5.46 ERA with three PQS-DIS results in his last five GS. While a 60% FpK can help ratios, his 4.6 Ctl has contributed to a 1.56 WHIP. In three away GS, he has posted two PQS-2 results and a PQS-1 start. 

Alex Wood (LHP, CIN) has posted three PQS-DIS outings and a 5.59 ERA since his return from the IL. When facing LHP, the Cardinals have provided below-average production. His 65% career-FpK and 2.5 career-Ctl say he can offer a decent WHIP, but he will need to limit the home run ball at Great American Ball Park. In 11.2 home IP, he has given up four HR to ATL and WAS. 

Madison Bumgarner (LHP, SF) continues to pitch well lately, as he has five PQS-DOM outings in his last six tries with a 3.55 ERA in his last five GS. The Diamondbacks offense could provide a challenge versus the lefty, as they own a top-five OPS vs. LHP. The southpaw's 12% SwK can miss bats, but Arizona does not swing and miss that often vs. LHP. Handing out a few more walks and his 15% away hr/f have contributed to a 4.64 away ERA. In a May 18 start at ARI, he struck out six and allowed four ER in 6.1 IP for a PQS-3. 

 

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Nathan Eovaldi (R) BOS vBAL 0.30 -0.66 0.47 0.85 0.54 0 1 0 4
  Merrill Kelly (R) ARI vSF 0.24 0.32 0.27 0.59 -0.21 5 1 0 1 1
  Max Fried (L) ATL vLA 0.15 0.95 -0.14 -0.15 -0.08 3 1 3 4 1
  Dustin May (R) LA @ATL 0.03 0.31 -0.37 0.39 -0.22 2 3 4
  Peter Lambert (R) COL vMIA -0.33 -0.63 -0.47 -0.24 0.04 2 2 1 0 2
  Erick Fedde (R) WAS vMIL -0.34 -0.64 -0.33 -0.57 0.20 1 2 0 1 0
  Jason Vargas (L) PHI vSD -0.38 0.45 -0.73 -0.24 -0.98 3 1 4 2 1
  Jordan Yamamoto (R) MIA @COL -0.40 0.11 -0.89 -0.27 -0.54 0 1 2 3 1

Nathan Eovaldi (RHP, BOS) is scheduled for an outing against Baltimore's bottom-five offense vs. RHP. His SwK has fallen to 9% in 2019, and he owns an 8.9 Dom. Although he has thrown plenty of FpK, he will look to lower his 3.9 Ctl in a favorable matchup. His 50% GB% can help limit the damage, and he posted a 3.51 xERA in two GS vs. BAL in 2018. 

Max Fried (LHP, ATL) has displayed sharper control at SunTrust Park, where he has posted a 1.8 Ctl and 4.5 Cmd. The lefty's 11% SwK and 9.0 Dom back a decent strikeout rating, and his 53% GB% has helped his 3.53 home ERA (3.63 home FIP). Although the Dodgers own an average OPS vs. LHP, they have a top-five away OPS. On May 7, the southpaw allowed four ER in one IP at LA for a PQS-1. 

Dustin May (RHP, LA) is coming off of a PQS-4 outing at MIA on August 13 when he struck out five and allowed one ER in 5.2 IP. The Braves lineup could present more of a challenge, as they are an above-average offense vs. RHP. His 10% SwK can offer some whiffs, and his 1.1 Ctl has contributed to a 1.12 WHIP in three GS. While his 3.69 xERA is a positive sign, facing a top-five home offense in Atlanta carries some ERA risk.

Peter Lambert (RHP, COL) has a favorable matchup versus MIA's 25% K%, but his 7% SwK and 6.3 Dom may cap his strikeout total. His 5.14 xERA carries ERA risk at Coors Field, where he has a 6.80 FIP. In home starts, his 1.5 Cmd and 39% hard-contact allowed rate have contributed to a 1.59 home WHIP. Even though the Marlins are the worst team in the majors vs. RHP, his 58% DIS% and ratio risk illustrate the possible downside in starting him.  

Erick Fedde (RHP, WAS) toes the rubber against a Milwaukee club that has struggled in August with a bottom-five OPS. His poor recent form adds risk, as he earned a PQS-DIS rating in six of his last seven GS. Owners shouldn't count on many strikeouts with his 8% SwK. Handing out more free passes in home starts lowers his WHIP rating, and his 5.59 home ERA (5.76 home FIP) adds some ERA risk on Sunday. 

Jason Vargas (LHP, PHI) takes on the Padres, who have been an above-average lineup vs. LHP. In three starts for PHI, he has struck out seven batters and allowed eight ER in 17.1 IP for a PQS-4, PQS-2, and PQS-1. His 5.29 xERA and negative ERA rating claim that he could inflate ratios, and his 3.7 Ctl and 38% hard-contact allowed add to the risk. With a low chance for a win, there are better options on the slate. 

Jordan Yamamoto (RHP, MIA) has posted an 8.28 ERA with three PQS-DIS results in his last five GS. A trip to Coors Field against a Colorado offense that hits well at home may not help his 4.71 xERA. In away matchups, he has missed more bats with a 28% K% and 10.0 Dom. A start at Coors Field adds to his ERA risk, and he has struggled at times (5.40 FIP) when facing a lineup for the second time through the order. His 50% FpK and 3.8 Ctl contribute to possible WHIP inflation on Sunday. 

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Chase Anderson (R) MIL @WAS -0.51 0.06 -0.99 -0.40 -0.70 3 2 2 1 1
  Brett Anderson (L) OAK vHOU -0.57 -1.20 0.08 0.01 -1.15 1 2 2 1 2
  Gabriel Ynoa (R) BAL @BOS -0.62 -1.17 -0.60 0.33 -1.04 0 0 2 0 1
  Yusei Kikuchi (L) SEA @TOR -0.72 -0.25 -0.78 -0.38 -1.47 1 2 0 2 1
  Mitch Keller (R) PIT vCHC -0.77 0.30 -0.73 -0.67 -1.97 2 1 4 1
  CC Sabathia (L) NYY vCLE -0.86 0.00 -1.31 -0.74 -1.37 3 3 3 0 1
  Martin Perez (L) MIN @TEX -1.09 -0.33 -1.38 -1.19 -1.44 0 1 1 2 1
  Glenn Sparkman (R) KC vNYM -1.18 -1.28 -1.05 -0.16 -2.21 0 1 0 1 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 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.