DAILY MATCHUPS: Kershaw returns on Sunday

As a way to preview the day's games, the 2020 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.

Beginning-of-season note on our matchup tool: These scores do not use prior-year data for the first month of the season. This algorithm relies on projected data for now, and will incorporate in-season data immediately. There is one limitation with using projected data: the strikeout sub-component is running too low. That will wash out quickly as each SP makes their 2nd and 3rd start of the season. It may not even prove to be inaccurate, since SP tend to not pitch as deep into games early in the year, and typically don't get to peak velocity in their first few starts. But if you notice that the Strikeout sub-score is running negative for most pitchers, this will correct soon.​


Today’s schedule overview: Sunday's slate features 26 teams in action, with the WAS at MIA and TOR at PHI matchups PPD due to COVID-19. As of Saturday morning, STL and MIL are scheduled for a doubleheader of two seven-inning games on Sunday, which could feature previously scheduled SP, Jack Flaherty and Brett Anderson (though schedules are changing quickly).  There are interleague matchups between the Rangers and Giants and Reds and Tigers, and the Sunday evening matchup between BOS and NYY starts at 7:08 PM EST. The TAM at BAL matchup starts the slate at 1:05 PM EST. There is a chance of rain for the CIN at DET, CHW at KC, and BOS at NYY matchups. Check weather forecasts closer to first pitch on Sunday.  


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

  Trevor Bauer (R) CIN @DET 1.84 2.72 1.53 1.83 1.29 4
  Clayton Kershaw (L) LA @ARI 1.16 -0.66 1.98 1.82 1.50 0
  James Paxton (L) NYY vBOS 0.77 0.92 0.51 1.01 0.65 1
  Shohei Ohtani (R) LAA vHOU 0.70 0.79 0.57 0.53 0.89 1

Shohei Ohtani (RHP, LAA) did not display his 2018 velocity in his first outing, as his velocity dropped to 92.9 MPH. In a small sample size, the Astros have been a top-ten offense vs. RHP in 2020. In 27 home IP, he owned a 2.33 ERA (2.38 FIP) and 1.00 WHIP. In his July 26 start at OAK, he allowed five ER on three walks and three hits without recording an out. Although his career numbers earn him a "strong start" rating, proceed with caution as he ramps up for the season. 

James Paxton (LHP, NYY) will try to bounce back from giving up three ER in one IP at WAS on July 25. In his first outing, his velocity dropped from 95.5 MPH in 2019 to 92.4 MPH. In 25 IP against the Red Sox in 2019, the lefty posted a 3.28 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with two PQS-DOM results and two PQS-DEC outings. He posted a 3.35 home ERA at Yankee Stadium in 2019 while the Red Sox have been a productive offense against southpaws to start 2020. 


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

  Chris Bassitt (R) OAK @SEA 0.30 0.47 0.16 0.12 0.45 3
  Aaron Civale (R) CLE @MIN 0.30 0.42 0.04 0.72 TBD 2
  Yonny Chirinos (R) TAM @BAL -0.05 -0.09 -0.34 0.02 0.22 1
  Merrill Kelly (R) ARI vLA -0.09 0.53 0.28 0.56 -1.73 4
  David Peterson (L) NYM @ATL -0.14 0.16 -0.24 -0.35 -0.12 1
  Dylan Cease (R) CHW @KC -0.18 -0.08 -0.06 -0.30 -0.29 0
  Tyler Clippard (R) MIN vCLE -0.24 -0.34 -0.31 0.21 -0.50 0
  Jakob Junis (R) KC vCHW -0.34 -1.39 0.00 0.25 -0.21 0
  Anthony DeSclafani (R) CIN @DET -0.45 -1.35 -0.39 0.04 -0.10 0
  Kyle Wright (R) ATL vNYM -0.45 -0.18 -0.35 -0.94 -0.33 1
  Kolby Allard (L) TEX @SF -0.49 -1.73 -0.08 -0.12 -0.04 0

Aaron Civale (RHP, CLE) struck out nine White Sox hitters and allowed two ER in six IP on July 28. In the start, his cutter and curveball both earned at least a 20% SwK. In 11 IP versus MIN in 2019, he posted a PQS-4 and a PQS-1 with a 1.64 ERA (4.82 xERA) and 0.91 WHIP. His strong WHIP rating is backed by a 63% career FpK and 2.4 career Ctl. When facing RHP in 2020, Minnesota has produced a top-five OPS with the second-most HR. 

Chris Bassitt (RHP, OAK) earned a PQS-3 versus LAA with five strikeouts in four scoreless innings. In two 2019 starts against the Mariners, he posted a PQS-2 and PQS-1 with a 7.36 ERA and 1.64 WHIP. The Mariners have had early success versus RHP in 2020, as they own a top-five OPS vs. RHP. While he had more strikeouts in his first start, he owns a 7.8 career Dom with a 9.3% SwK in 2019.

Dylan Cease (RHP, CHW) allowed four ER on seven hits in 2.1 IP at CLE on July 28 for a PQS-0. Although he did not issue a walk in his first start, his 4.2 career Ctl and 1.59 career WHIP carry WHIP inflation risk. Kansas City has been a below-average offense against RHP in 2020, and the right-hander struck out seven KC hitters and allowed four ER in six IP for a PQS-2 vs. KC in 2019. 

Yonny Chirinos (RHP, TAM) had success against Baltimore in 2019, as he posted a 2.33 ERA (3.55 xERA) and 0.72 WHIP in 19 IP. In a July 28 outing against Atlanta, he struck out four batters with one unearned run in four innings. The Orioles have been an average offense vs. RHP in 2020 while displaying better plate discipline (20.6% K% vs. RHP). He enters the matchup with a 7.7 career Dom and 2.2 career Ctl.

Merrill Kelly (RHP, ARI) started the 2020 season with a PQS-4 that featured seven strikeouts and one ER in 7.2 IP at TEX. A matchup with the Dodgers moves him down the ratings with a low chance for a win, and he posted a 5.40 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in ten IP vs. LA in 2019. He displayed better control of the zone in 2019 home starts, as he posted an 8.8 home Dom, 1.8 home Ctl, and 4.9 home Cmd. The Dodgers have been a top-ten lineup vs. RHP in 2020. 

David Peterson (LHP, NYM) toes the rubber against an Atlanta lineup that owns a bottom-five OPS vs. LHP in 2020. In the lefty's July 28 outing at BOS, he struck out three and allowed two ER on seven hits in 5.2 IP for a PQS-1. In 116 IP at AA in 2019, he posted a 4.19 ERA with a 9.5 Dom, 2.9 Ctl, and 52.6% GB%. 

Kolby Allard (LHP, TEX) makes his 2020 debut versus a San Francisco offense that owns a below-average OPS vs. LHP during the first week of the season. The lefty's 8.2% SwK and a 6.6 Dom from 2019 don't point to many strikeouts, and his 5.37 xERA contributes to his negative ERA rating. The southpaw did fare better in away starts in 2019, as he posted a 2.60 ERA (3.47 FIP) with a 2.0 away Cmd and fewer hard-hit balls allowed. 

Anthony DeSclafani (RHP, CIN) is scheduled to return from the IL to square off against Detroit. With a 2.4 career Ctl and a 1.27 career WHIP, he can post a decent WHIP. Detroit's 33% K% vs. RHP is the highest in the majors, and he posted a 9.0 Dom in 2019. When facing right-handed batters, he owns a 4.7 career Cmd, but his command falls to a 2.6 career Cmd against LHH. 

Kyle Wright (RHP, ATL) gave up five ER on three walks and four hits in 2.7 IP at TAM for a PQS-1. In a 2019 outing vs. NYM, the right-hander allowed six ER in 3.2 IP for a PQS-0. With a 52% career FpK and 7.0 career Ctl, he could inflate a roster's WHIP on Sunday. His negative ERA rating also carries ratio risk, as he owns a 5.99 career xERA. 


Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below):

  Daniel Norris (L) DET vCIN -0.66 -1.40 -0.55 -0.31 -0.36 0
  Jon Lester (L) CHC vPIT -0.67 -0.78 -1.13 -0.65 -0.12 2
  Tommy Milone (L) BAL vTAM -0.67 -0.20 -1.09 -0.62 -0.76 2
  Zachary Davies (R) SD @COL -0.68 -0.75 -1.26 -0.88 0.19 3
  Austin Brice (R) BOS @NYY -0.78 -0.81 -0.72 -0.15 -1.45 0
  Rony Garcia (R) DET vCIN -0.80 -0.50 -0.40 -0.51 -1.79 1
  Joshua James (R) HOU @LAA -0.82 1.14 -1.02 -2.01 -1.39 1
  Jeff Samardzija (R) SF vTEX -0.83 -0.92 -0.83 -0.81 -0.77 0
  Kendall Graveman (R) SEA vOAK -0.84 -0.83 -0.82 -0.77 -0.95 1
  Steven Brault (L) PIT @CHC -1.04 -0.89 -1.34 -1.54 -0.38 2
  Antonio Senzatela (R) COL vSD -1.50 -1.21 -1.99 -2.12 -0.69 1

Zachary Davies (RHP, SD) travels to Coors Field to take on the Rockies, and he posted two PQS-2 results against Colorado in 2019. In his July 28 start at SF, he struck out five and allowed two ER in five IP. His 8.2% career SwK and 6.4 career Dom contribute to a poor strikeout rating. The park factor and his 4.53 career xERA carry ERA risk on Sunday. 

Joshua James (RHP, HOU) walked five, struck out five, and gave up three ER in three IP versus Seattle on July 27. His 16% career SwK and 13.8 career Dom contribute to a strong strikeout rating, but it comes with risk. His 4.8 career Ctl and negative WHIP rating point to WHIP inflation risk. In nine IP against LAA in 2019, he owned a 1.00 ERA (4.09 xERA) and a 1.00 WHIP. The Angels posted a slightly above-average OPS vs. RHP through Thursday. 


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.