DAILY MATCHUPS: Verlander, Morton earn top tags for Wednesday's

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: All 30 teams will be in action on what is a full-slate Wednesday on the MLB schedule. Three interleague games are on the docket; they involve some high-profile clubs, with TOR at LA, PHI at BOS and CLE at NYM. Weather-wise, Wednesday sets up as a day for the hitters: there are more than a few batter-favoring winds amid warm and humid temperatures across much of the country. But the rotations tumble such that there is some major talent in play to battle the hitters. Justin Verlander and Charlie Morton head a list of top-shelf hurlers at the north end of the Matchups chart. Only five starters are rated under -.50.

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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 vDET 4.20 4.90 3.53 4.93 3.44 4 5 3 3 4
  Charlie Morton (R) TAM vSEA 3.32 3.96 3.19 3.39 2.72 5 1 3 2 5
  Walker Buehler (R) LA vTOR 2.64 3.67 1.90 2.85 2.15 5 1 4 3 2
  Yu Darvish (R) CHC vSF 2.57 2.88 2.19 2.65 2.56 2 2 2 3 5
  Patrick Corbin (L) WAS @PIT 2.21 2.51 2.65 2.22 1.47 3 4 1 3 1
  Luis Castillo (R) CIN vSD 1.93 2.88 1.90 2.22 0.70 2 5 4 4 1
  Adrian Houser (R) MIL @STL 1.07 0.79 1.49 1.57 0.42 1 4 2 3 3
  Jake Odorizzi (R) MIN vCHW 1.04 2.01 0.78 1.05 0.31 2 4 2 2 3
  Michael Montgomery (L) KC @BAL 0.74 0.63 0.66 0.71 0.96 0 2 2 5 2
  Lucas Giolito (R) CHW @MIN 0.72 2.79 0.06 0.84 -0.81 2 5 2 3 2
  Caleb Smith (L) MIA @ATL 0.71 2.10 -0.09 0.94 -0.13 5 4 0 1 1
  Mike Minor (L) TEX vLAA 0.63 1.71 0.04 0.56 0.19 2 1 4 5 3

Yu Darvish (RHP, CHC) has rallied after some early-season struggles. Darvish has pounded the strike zone with authority and velocity in garnering a 2.69 xERA over his last eight starts. He has a small-sample-but-dominant line against San Francisco.

Adrian Houser (RHP, MIL) appears to have recaptured his mojo of late. That’s amounted to a return of his strikeout stuff coupled with getting ground balls at an elite rate while limiting hard contact. Right-leaning St. Louis has struggled this month (.701 OPS, 28th--MLB) and Houser has held RHBs to a .587 OPS to go with a 4.7 Cmd.

Michael Montgomery (LHP, KC) was tremendous two starts back and has logged serviceable stuff otherwise the last few weeks. He’s worthy of a look against bottom-feeder Baltimore.

Mike Minor (LHP, TEX) has looked sharp in rebounding from a bad July. Recent turns against CLE and MIL were encouraging signs. He draws this start against an LAA squad which has continues to underperform against southpaws. Its an Angels lineup which has compiled a .716 OPS, 69% ct% this month. Minor has allowed just 6 HR in 74 home innings this season. A low zone-contact figure of late, signals some upside on an already good 9.1 SO/9 rate.

 

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Jonathan Gray (R) COL @ARI 0.49 0.94 0.60 0.10 0.32 2 4 2 0 5
  Matt Strahm (L) SD @CIN 0.40 0.06 0.86 1.84 -1.17 2 0 0 3 2
  Adam Wainwright (R) STL vMIL 0.36 1.28 0.72 0.35 -0.92 2 3 1 2 3
  Marcus Stroman (R) NYM vCLE 0.29 0.41 -0.07 -0.05 0.85 5 5 1 2 2
  Drew Smyly (L) PHI @BOS 0.17 1.25 -0.53 0.20 -0.23 4 5 3 0 2
  Rick Porcello (R) BOS vPHI -0.01 0.06 -0.45 0.57 -0.20 2 2 2 1 2
  J.A. Happ (L) NYY @OAK -0.13 0.10 -0.51 -0.38 0.26 0 0 0 1 2
  Julio Teheran (R) ATL vMIA -0.18 0.66 -0.43 -0.47 -0.49 4 3 3 4 0
  Patrick Sandoval (L) LAA @TEX -0.19 1.04 -0.58 -0.53 -0.69 0 2
  Mike Leake (R) ARI vCOL -0.26 -0.47 -0.14 0.39 -0.82 3 0 1 0 1
  Mike Fiers (R) OAK vNYY -0.43 -0.15 -0.99 -0.02 -0.57 2 2 2 5 1

Jonathan Gray (RHP, COL) is coming off eight shutout innings at MIA in his last. He draws a surging ARI offense in this start, one that has picked apart righties of late. Arizona has a nice line against Gray (.836 OPS), and the Diamondbacks do their best work against ground-ballers. The ARI lineup leans a bit left, and LHBs have become more of a problem for Gray over the last couple years (.817 OPSA, 1.9 Cmd vs. LHB in 2019; .718 OPSA, 4.0 Cmd against RHB).

Matt Strahm (LHP, SD) returns to the San Diego rotation after a month of good work in the bullpen. Wednesday’s outing figures as an opener start – against a relatively hot Cincinnati nine which owns the league’s best first-inning numbers (101 R, .962 OPS).

Adam Wainwright (RHP, STL) has a solid history against Milwaukee, and the veteran right-hander gets this game at Busch Stadium where he has been tough to beat. Wainwright owns a 3.50 ERA/3.57 xERA over three starts this month. He’s allowed just 2 ER over his last 18.2 IP at home.

Marcus Stroman (RHP, NYM) draws a home start against Cleveland. Stroman has experienced some control problems over his last couple starts, and CLE is getting its second look at him inside a month (although CLE bats own a .656 OPS against him). The Indians are at their best against right-handed pitching, and this particular righty might be feeling some Big Apple pressure if this turn doesn’t roll well from the outset.

Drew Smyly (LHP, PHI) has been spilled for 14 ER over his last 15.2 IP (3 GS). Smyly has yielded missile after missile over that span. It’d be wise to avoid Fenway on a warmed-up-humid-wind-out evening in Boston.

Rick Porcello (RHP, BOS) owns a shaky line against Philadelphia batters. The Phillies aren’t going great (below-average .750 OPS in August), but throw that factor out with Porcello’s recent track record. He’s had July-August struggles against DET, KC and BAL. Lately, the right-hander’s velocity has been down a click. And he’s allowing more contact while getting fewer ground balls.

J.A. Happ (LHP, NYY) draws an Oakland nine which hits lefties at a nice clip (.823 OPS, 0.41 Eye). Happ’s form has been out of whack for most of the season, save for a few weeks in May. Steer clear of this one.

Julio Teheran (RHP, ATL) is coming off a 1.3-inning disaster in his last, and the right-hander’s xERA is now up over 5.00. He’s worth starting on Wednesday, though – this start is a tonic turn against the Miami Marlins. Teheran has solid numbers against MIA this season and a decent PvB line going back over his career. The start is at Sun Trust, where other than last time out, he’s posted credible numbers.

Patrick Sandoval (LHP, LAA) will be at TEX for career start No. 3. Rightfully so, Sandoval is well rated for strikeouts. And he is drawing a slumping Rangers ballclub (.716 OPS in August—26th, MLB). But that OPS is drowned out by a low hit rate, and a game in that yard is still a game in that yard. Keep an eye on the 22-year-old southpaw; but the problem is LAA’s remaining schedule strength.

Mike Leake (RHP, ARI) faces a surging Colorado offense (.877 in August, fourth—MLB). COL batters own a high-contact .860 OPS against the veteran righty, and Leake’s peripherals have been on a slide of late.

Mike Fiers (RHP, OAK) continues to scuffle with an xERA close to 5.00. Skip this turn against the righty-bashing Yankees, a team that ranks second in road OPS with an .850 mark. Current NYY bats own an .809 OPS, .278 ISO against the OAK right-hander.

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Joe Musgrove (R) PIT vWAS -0.61 0.26 -0.37 0.49 -2.80 0 2 2 2 5
  Aaron Brooks (R) BAL vKC -0.96 -0.86 -1.06 -0.42 -1.48 1 2 0 1 1
  Adam Plutko (R) CLE @NYM -1.07 -0.84 -1.74 -0.34 -1.35 3 0 3 1 1
  Jacob Waguespack (R) TOR @LA -1.27 -0.45 -1.33 -0.64 -2.65 2 1 1 3 4
  Matthew Wisler (R) SEA @TAM -1.39 -2.54 -0.19 0.38 -3.22 2 2 2 1 2
  Daniel Norris (L) DET @HOU -1.51 -0.59 -1.00 -0.67 -3.76 4 3 0 0 2
  Dereck Rodriguez (R) SF @CHC -1.67 -0.73 -1.67 -1.22 -3.06 0 1 4 0 4

 

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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.