DAILY MATCHUPS: Kershaw, Giolito start the week on top

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.


Today's schedule overview: There's a seven-game slate on tap for today, including three games in the AL and four in the NL. From a pitching perspective, we have eight right-handed pitchers and six southpaws, with five of the top seven starters on the slate being left-handed. The Royals at Indians contest is the lone game with a risk of a delay or postponement. Be sure to check the latest forecast prior to setting your lineup(s). 


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

  Clayton Kershaw (L) LA @ARI 1.57 1.40 1.69 2.19 0.98 2 5 4 2 5
  Lucas Giolito (R) CHW @BOS 0.99 2.68 0.71 1.01 -0.45 4 5 5 2 2
  Eduardo Rodriguez (L) BOS vCHW 0.94 1.53 1.00 1.21 0.00 4 2 2 3 3
  Jonathan Gray (R) COL @SF 0.88 1.03 1.12 0.36 0.99 2 4 1 2 1
  Jon Lester (L) CHC vATL 0.73 0.95 0.16 0.74 1.07 0 5 3 2 2

Jonathan Gray (RHP, COL) finds himself in the Strong Start tier based on his matchup against the stagnant Giants offense in pitcher-friendly Oracle Park (-40%/-26% LHB/RHB HR). Gray logged a PQS-3 in his lone start against them on April 11th, but in six career starts at SF he’s compiled a 4.55 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, and 7.9 Dom. The SF offense has been subpar of late and ranks 28th in wRC+ against RHP. Gray is a good bet for strikeouts based on his rating and his 10.6 Dom this month (16% SwK). He’s also demonstrated solid skills (3.75 xERA, 103 BPV) despite registering a PQS-DIS in three of his last four road outings.

Jon Lester (LHP, CHC) has been a much pitcher at home (2.76) than on the road (5.82), tallying a 38/0% DOM/DIS in eight GS at Wrigley Field this season. He also owns a 9.3 Dom at home (8.2 on the road), resulting in a positive K rating for today; however, the Braves offense does a great job of making contact against LHP and rank third in wRC+ over the last seven days. The ATL offense does fare much worse on the road (4.8 RPG) than at home (5.8 RPG), but Lester’s 4.0 Cmd and 118 BPV or better in three straight months, paired with his results at home, make him a worthwhile option. In his lone matchup against the Braves on April 3rd (SunTrust Park), he logged a PQS-1.


Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  Steven Matz (L) NYM @PHI 0.34 1.33 -0.22 0.03 0.22 2 1 3 3 0
  CC Sabathia (L) NYY vTOR 0.26 0.87 -0.73 -0.04 0.94 2 2 2 0 3
  Zack Greinke (R) ARI vLA -0.25 0.10 -0.11 0.77 -1.74 3 0 4 4 1
  Brad Keller (R) KC @CLE -0.26 0.00 -0.46 -0.58 0.01 2 4 3 4 1
  Adam Plutko (R) CLE vKC -0.26 -0.11 -0.84 0.43 -0.51 1 1 2 3 2
  Jake Arrieta (R) PHI vNYM -0.48 0.37 -0.90 -0.65 -0.72 4 1 0 2 2

Steven Matz (LHP, NYM) owns a 6.62 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, and 5.1 Dom over 17.2 IP (three GS) at Citizens Bank Park in his career. He posted a PQS-0 in PHI on April 16th, and has a 6.21 ERA on the road (2.25 ERA at home) over eight GS (0/62% DOM/DIS). His K rating is keeping him afloat, as he’s delivered a 9.0 Dom with a 10% SwK this season, however, the Phillies makes tremendous contact against LHP (79%, top-10). The PHI offense has been a bottom-tier performer over the last seven days, but their RHB-heavy lineup could bode a massive problem to Matz. He’s allowed a 3.1 hr/9 to RHB on the road this season, and Citizens Bank Park offers a 25/24% HR boost to LHB/RHB over the last three years.

C.C. Sabathia (LHP, NYY) is currently in the midst of his best month of the season from a skills perspective—compiling a 5.40 ERA (3.93 xERA), 1.57 WHIP, 3.3 Cmd, and 116 BPV—resulting in a three PQS-DEC and one PQS-0 outing in four GS. The TOR offense has performed slightly better on the road against LHP, but they still remain among the worst overall. Sabathia’s Win and K scores make him a possible option, as he’s generated a 13% SwK and 9.6 Dom this month (best of the season) and the Blue Jays have the fourth-worst record in baseball. He’s also posted better results at home (2.18 ERA) versus on the road (6.30 ERA), and accrued a 3.86 ERA (4.75 xERA), 1.23 WHIP, 6.3 Dom, and 1.9 Ctl spanning four GS against the Blue Jays last season. All in all, Sabathia’s elevated hr/9 (2.1), combined with Yankee Stadium’s park factors (38/22% LHB/RHB HR), make this a risky spot regardless of the opponent. There’s an avenue for success if he gets some hr/9, H/S% luck (38/70% this month), and maintains his Ctl (2.9, 61% FpK in June).

Zack Greinke (RHP, ARI) looks to rebound against a Dodgers team that he tallied a PQS-0 against on March 28th. His Win score is tied for the worst on the slate, and is a big reason for his overall rating. Outside of that category, Greinke boasts one of the slate's best WHIP ratings—he currently owns a career best 1.2 Ctl with a 67% FpK—and sits slightly positive in the K and ERA categories. There isn’t immense strikeout upside based on his 7.7 Dom and 9% SwK this season, but his floor is fairly safe when you factor in his 56/19% DOM/DIS, 3.60 xERA, and 126 BPV. The LA offense is second in wRC+ against RHP this season, and are a Top 10 unit over the last seven days. They’re more potent at home (5.6 RPG) than they are on the road (4.8 RPG), and Greinke himself has tallied five straight PQS-DOM outings at home before his last two, which resulted in a PQS-DIS (3.06 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 0.7 hr/9, 7.3 Dom, 0.8 Ctl at home). There’s certainly more risk tied to Greinke than usual today, but he’s a usable option today even in a less favorable matchup.

Brad Keller (RHP, KC) will head out on the road for the seventh time in his last eight GS as he takes on a CLE team that he tallied a PQS-3 against on April 12th. He’s upped his FpK to 62% in June, netting a 2.1 Ctl, his best of any month. Despite the improvement, he still owns one of the worst WHIP scores on the slate due to his past results in that category and the Indians Top 7 BB%. Keller has also posted his best month to date from a skills perspective, as his 10% SwK (6.9 Dom), 3.92 xERA, 52% GB, and 98 BPV are all his best of any month. The CLE offense has turned things on of late, sitting fourth in wRC+ over the last seven days. They’ve performed worse at home this season (4.4 RPG, 20th) and rank 22nd in wRC+ against RHP, so despite the meager ERA and WHIP scores, Keller could find some success today if he continues his positive trend in the skills department.

Adam Plutko (RHP, CLE) makes his fourth home start of the season, after posting a PQS-3 and a PQS-2 against the Tigers and Rangers his last two times out. He’s having problems in the home run department, as he’s yielded nine in 28 IP (2.9 hr/9, 21% hr/f), resulting in one of the worst ERA ratings on the slate. His best trait is his ability to limit free passes; his three walks in 28 IP is being fueled by a 69% FpK, resulting in a 1.0 Ctl. The Royals sit league average against RHP, but rank in the bottom tier in BB%, and have been rather mediocre of late. Plutko has amassed an 8.3 Dom with an 11% SwK this month with a 4.43 xERA (3.33 ERA) and 136 BPV. There’s some upside here based on the opponent and his recent success, but the floor is low if he starts to unravel.

Jake Arrieta (RHP, PHI) is opposed by a NYM offense that struggles at home (4.4 RPG, 22nd) and sits league average against RHP. In two GS against them this season, he’s registered a pair of PQS-2s, resulting in a 3.21 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 10 K and 3 BB in 14 IP. His lone positive score comes in the K category, despite only generating a 7% SwK and 5.9 Dom in three GS this month. That dip in Dom has come with a similar drop in FpK (53%) and Ctl (5.4), also his worst of any month this season. As we said in Matz’s write-up, Citizens Bank Park promotes home runs, and Arrieta currently owns a 1.5 hr/9 with a 20% hr/f. At home however, he’s only yielded a 0.8 hr/9. Arrieta has a nice GB% (51%), but even with a 25% H in June he’s compiled a 4.86 ERA (5.16 xERA) and 1.50 WHIP with a -7 BPV. His results this month, paired with his 13/27% DOM/DIS and negative ratings, make this a very risky proposition.


Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  Drew Pomeranz (L) SF vCOL -0.72 0.21 -0.45 -1.18 -1.47 2 0 4 2 1
  Julio Teheran (R) ATL @CHC -0.97 0.31 -1.84 -1.53 -0.82 2 3 4 2 0
  Aaron Sanchez (R) TOR @NYY -1.99 -0.75 -2.74 -2.93 -1.54 1 0 0 0 0

Julio Teheran (RHP, ATL) suffered his first PQS-DIS since April 20th in his last outing against the Mets. Prior to that, he had yielded 1 ER or fewer in eight straight GS, but with only one PQS-DOM. His 5.06 xERA and 30 BPV in June thus far is actually better than his May results, but a 1.6 Cmd, 56% FpK, 9% SwK, and 21% LD are not optimal considering he has a 0.4 hr/9 and 27/77% H/S%. The Cubs offense has been struggling of late, but they’re a Top 10 unit against RHP and sit league average at home. Teheran owns negative ratings across the board with the exception of the K category, and since he has a subpar SwK, the risk isn’t worth the possible reward.    


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 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.