DAILY MATCHUPS: Woodruff, Flaherty among Tuesday's top SP

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 have a game on the schedule today, with first pitch coming at 7:05pm when the Nationals host the Phillies. There are three interleague games on the day, with the Pirates hosting the Tigers, the Reds hosting the Astros, and the Cubs hosting the White Sox. Light rain looks probable for the Rays-Yankees and Phillies-Nationals games, but not enough to put those games in jeopardy.

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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 @CIN 2.94 4.33 1.99 3.76 1.66 4 4 4 5 4
  Clayton Kershaw (L) LA vSF 2.36 2.09 2.42 2.61 2.33 5 2 5 4 2
  Brandon Woodruff (R) MIL @SD 1.79 2.33 1.41 1.87 1.53 4 4 2 3 4
  Jacob deGrom (R) NYM @ATL 1.39 2.17 0.64 1.68 1.08 2 0 5 3 4
  Cole Hamels (L) CHC vCHW 1.08 1.20 1.09 0.69 1.34 3 1 3 5 5
  Jack Flaherty (R) STL vMIA 1.02 1.42 0.98 1.23 0.45 2 4 3 0 2
  David Price (L) BOS @MIN 0.53 0.18 0.69 1.37 -0.14 1 4 4 4 1
  J.A. Happ (L) NYY vTAM 0.52 0.95 0.19 0.98 -0.06 1 3 2 3 0

Brandon Woodruff (RHP, MIL) comes into this start in fantastic form, as he has thrown a PQS-DOM in three of his last five starts. He is enjoying a breakout season, and his skills have backed up the results (3.43 xERA, 10.6 Dom, 4.2 Cmd, 142 BPV). Right-handed batters have been limited to a .211 BA and .548 OPS against him this season. The opposing Padres have a poor .679 OPS at home, which is in the bottom five of MLB. 

Cole Hamels (LHP, CHC) is in fine form, as he has thrown a PQS-5 in each of his last two starts. He has not allowed an ER over his last three starts, over which time he has a 23/4 K/BB. This season he is putting up a career best 53% GB%, which in turn has helped him allow no HR across his last five starts. 

Jack Flaherty (RHP, STL) owns a strong 23/5 K/BB over his last four starts, but has thrown a PQS-DOM in just two of his 14 starts this season. While he is holding right-handed batters to a .622 OPS, left-handed batters have hit him well with a .822 OPS. Fortunately, he draws the Marlins today, who average just 3.5 runs per game and have a .644 OPS which is the worst in MLB. 

J.A. Happ (LHP, NYY) has yet to take on the division rival Rays this season, however, in three starts against them last season, he had a 5.19 xERA. In seven starts at home this season, he is 3-3 with a 5.35 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 35 IP. He has yet to throw a PQS-DOM in 14 starts this season. The long ball has been a big problem, as he is allowing 2.0 HR/9 and has a 18% hr/f. 

 

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

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Merrill Kelly (R) ARI vCOL 0.34 0.17 0.06 0.42 0.72 1 3 4 2 5
  Zach Pleasac (R) CLE @TEX 0.33 0.61 -0.05 0.34 0.41 2 4 4 3
  Ryan Yarbrough (L) TAM @NYY 0.25 0.63 -0.07 0.88 -0.44 4 2 4 2
  Tyler Skaggs (L) LAA @TOR 0.22 1.16 -0.28 0.10 -0.10 3 4 4 1 2
  Daniel Norris (L) DET @PIT 0.20 0.53 -0.03 0.44 -0.14 2 1 1 2 3
  Brett Anderson (L) OAK vBAL 0.17 -0.73 0.41 0.26 0.74 2 2 0 3 3
  Yusei Kikuchi (L) SEA vKC 0.05 0.49 -0.11 -0.19 0.00 4 0 0 0 0
  Jordan Yamamoto (R) MIA @STL -0.10 0.32 0.11 0.12 -0.95 4
  Zach Eflin (R) PHI @WAS -0.11 0.33 -0.70 0.17 -0.22 2 1 1 3 5
  Michael Pineda (R) MIN vBOS -0.11 0.39 -0.38 0.62 -1.06 4 1 4 2 2
  Mitch Keller (R) PIT vDET -0.20 0.66 -0.38 -0.57 -0.50 2 1
  Homer Bailey (R) KC @SEA -0.32 0.01 -0.47 -0.37 -0.43 0 4 0 2 3
  Adrian Sampson (R) TEX vCLE -0.37 -0.01 -1.00 0.46 -0.91 0 0 3 4 2
  Marcus Stroman (R) TOR vLAA -0.42 -0.47 -0.29 -0.67 -0.25 1 0 2 0 3

Merrill Kelly (RHP, ARI) has earned the victory in each of his last three starts, over which time he has a 18/2 K/BB in 22 IP, and two of those three have resulted in a PQS-DOM. Despite the recent hot streak, he still owns a mediocre skill set (4.60 xERA, 6.9 Dom, 2.5 Cmd, 71 BPV). The Rockies lineup has been outstanding at home, but on the road they own just a .226 BA and .663 OPS, which is second-worst in MLB. 

Zach Pleasac (RHP, CLE) has been impressive through his first four MLB starts, as he has thrown a PQS-DOM in two of them. He has allowed five HR in his four starts and draws a tough assignment today as he pitches in Texas. The opposing Rangers average 5.8 runs per game at home, where they have a strong .795 OPS.

Ryan Yarbrough (LHP, TAM) is making just his fifth start of the season, but has also served in the bulk role on a number of occasions. Two of his four starts have resulted in a PQS-DOM. His ERA is at 5.59 due to a 48% S%, however, his 4.14 xERA is more in line with league average. Limiting walks (1.7 Ctl) has certainly helped this season, and he will need to continue that as his fastball tops out at 88 mph.  

Zach Eflin (RHP, PHI) will be taking on the Nationals for a third time already this season, with the previous two resulting in a PQS-4 and PQS-3. Pitching on the road has been a nightmare for him, as five of his seven starts have resulted in a PQS-DIS. His strong-looking 2.81 ERA has been the result of having an 83% S%, as his 4.39 xERA is more indicative of his performance. He has limited right-handed batters to a poor .582 OPS. 

Michael Pineda (RHP, MIN) is one of the rare pitchers who has reverse splits, as he is holding left-handed batters to a .637 OPS while right-handed batters have a .870 OPS against him. Some of his skills are strong, such as his 4.4 Cmd and 101 BPV, however, he is putting up a career-worst 4.51 xERA. The visiting Red Sox have a .810 OPS against right-handed pitching, which is fourth-best in MLB. 

Adrian Sampson (RHP, TEX) is an interesting play today, as he has put up a 23/2 K/BB over his last three starts, where he has a 3.90 xERA and 159 BPV. The issue over his last three starts has been the long ball, as he has allowed six. The opposing Indians own just a .230 BA and .708 OPS against right-handed pitching. He has allowed 10 HR to right-handed batters this season, and they have hit him extremely well with a .890 OPS. 

Marcus Stroman (RHP, TOR) does not have a PQS-DOM to his credit across his last nine starts. His start against the Angels back on May 1 resulted in a PQS-1. Right-handed batters have had a tough time when facing him, as they have a poor .609 OPS. He is flashing a strong 3.18 ERA on the surface, yet underneath that are skills that are not inspiring (4.10 xERA, 7.0 Dom, 2.4 Cmd, 83 BPV). 

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below):

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Anthony DeSclafani (R) CIN vHOU -0.62 -0.15 -0.34 0.17 -2.16 1 0 1 3 2
  Erick Fedde (R) WAS vPHI -0.62 -0.63 -0.73 -0.84 -0.28 2 2 0 3 0
  Gabriel Ynoa (R) BAL @OAK -0.88 -0.98 -0.97 -0.18 -1.37 2 0 1 0
  Logan Allen (L) SD vMIL -0.91 -1.20 -0.50 -0.18 -1.74  
  Julio Teheran (R) ATL vNYM -0.91 0.31 -1.24 -1.12 -1.58 3 2 3 4 2
  Ivan Nova (R) CHW @CHC -1.01 -0.54 -1.08 -0.34 -2.09 2 1 3 3 1
  Shaun Anderson (R) SF @LA -1.11 -0.26 -0.80 -0.57 -2.82 2 0 3 0 3
  Antonio Senzatela (R) COL @ARI -1.32 -1.04 -1.38 -1.65 -1.22 0 0 2 1 0

Julio Teheran (RHP, ATL) has allowed just four ER over his last eight starts, however, only one of those has resulted in a PQS-DOM. Luck has been on his side, as a 79% S% has led to him having a 2.92 ERA despite also owning a 4.62 xERA. Over his career, he has made 25 starts against the Mets, going 10-7 with a 2.35 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. His lone start against them this season resulted in a PQS-2 back on April 14. 

 

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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.