Expected SP Schedules- Who Has the Best Matchups? Weeks 6-8

Who has the best matchups coming up?

Where does the time go? We are already on the third installment of our SP Schedule previews taking you all the way through Week 8 of the season. The 2021 season is starting to show its true form. With another few weeks of knowledge under our belt, picking out the best and worst matchups for various pitchers becomes a more exact science. Never literally exact, but more exact than even a few weeks ago.

Injuries are piling up at a record pace and it is becoming increasingly difficult to field a coherent lineup in some leagues. Thus streaming pitchers is a necessity for some owners and that is not always easy after the waiver wire has been plucked. Use this piece as a resource to plan ahead and target future streamers before your competitors! I’ve made some adjustments to my offensive tiers as we’ve learned more about certain teams and players have been lost to injury. My biggest movers are the Mets (still can’t really hit), the Brewers (Christian Yelich on the IL), and the Reds (remaining hot).

Offensive Tiers

Knowing this, let’s go team by team checking out their next four turns through the rotation and evaluate which pitchers should be used when!

Note: This will be an every other week piece moving forward rather than every third week. Keep coming back for more previews!

 

Arizona Diamondbacks

 

Diamondbacks Expected Schedule

This rotation looks a whole lot different with Bumgarner back to form. His fastball is over 90 mph after sitting 88 last year and his curve’s whiff rate is a hair below 40%. Start him confidently in every game this stretch not at Coors Field. Weaver has not enjoyed similar fortune, but this stretch is favorable enough to use him as a streamer if you’re in a pinch. Just please—not against the Dodgers.

Gallen has been good-not-great since coming off the IL, which is better than where we thought he’d be in mid-May. Still, I’d look for another option during his two-start week in Los Angeles and Colorado. Just a little too risky for my liking.

Kelly has had bouts of effectiveness in the past and streaming him against the Marlins would not be the end of the world. Smith should be far, far, faaaaar from fantasy radars.

 

Atlanta

 

Atlanta Expected Schedule

Fried returns from his IL stint and puts together a strong start just ahead of a two-step against the Jays and Brewers. Fire him up with confidence. The only other name here I trust is Ynoa, a far cry from where I was a few weeks ago. The guy continues to make hitters look silly with just two pitches (fastball and slider), Brewers and Pirates beware. That start in Fenway will tell us a whole lot about him moving forward.

Anderson has been a bit of a disappointment early on. The K-BB% is a tad worse than last season (15.9% vs 19.6%) and he is giving up much harder contact. After only allowing just one barrel in 2019, Anderson has already given up 10 this year. I’d still start him everywhere here except Boston, but not very confidently.

Lastly, the Atlanta vets have not gotten it done of late. Smyly’s 11 Ks vs 10 BBs since returning from the IL instills little confidence and makes him droppable in most leagues. Morton has been hot and cold despite his velocity being mostly back. I wouldn’t feel great about any of their matchups here besides Pittsburgh.

 

Baltimore Orioles

 

Orioles Expected Schedule

Fresh off his near-perfect game, Means gets a few games against middling offenses. Love those road starts against the Mets and Nationals. The Rays could very well find a few long balls in Camden, but that’s a juicy two-start week for an ascending star. We’ll see what happens at the White Sox though.

The Dark Knight returning to Flushing next week for a date with the Mets is the only other noteworthy part of this difficult schedule for a struggling staff. Avoid every single person here across the board, Means excluded of course. Maybe we get DL Hall in Baltimore soon, who knows.

 

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Expected Schedule

An unheralded group, this rag-tag rotation has scratched and clawed their way to the second-lowest FIP so far this season! Who would’ve thunk? Some starts, like Pivetta and Pérez, appear to be unsustainable. I would stay away from both until we get to the Marlins in a few weeks.

On the other hand, I have faith in the other three arms here. Rodríguez has bounced nicely from his scary bout with Covid and looks like the reliable arm he was a few years ago. Run him out there with plenty of confidence against every team here.

I’m still not quite ready to trust Eovaldi or Richards indefinitely even though I like their skills of late. Eovaldi more so with that BB% down below 5% and a couple of easier matchups. That bout with the Angels is the only game here that concerns me. Richards is a wait-and-see once we get around to Atlanta and the Astros, maybe find another option on your bench if possible.

 

Chicago Cubs

 

Cubs Expected Schedule

Jake Arrieta’s injury leaves a vacant spot in this rotation that is likely to be skipped this week thanks to some off-days. Just a thumb abrasion, he could be back in time to face off with the Cardinals and then the Pirates. If not, maybe Alec Mills or Keegan Thompson get another shot. Regardless, none should be considered anywhere except Pittsburgh. And that’s if you’re desperate.

The most interesting name here is Alzolay, getting a two-start bump against Cleveland and the Tigers thanks to an apparent four-man rotation. He’s missed plenty of bats since returning to the rotation three turns ago, striking out 20 in 15.2 innings against just four walks. Get him now if he’s on your waiver wire because he will be snatched up soon.

Hendricks is not facing Atlanta over the next three weeks which is a great sign. As of Saturday, he has allowed 14 runs in 7.2 innings against Atlanta on the season and six in 22 against everyone else! The velocity nor projections look great, but I’m still in on the Professor and see him as a sneaky buy-low.

Otherwise, Davies and Williams are blah. The soft schedule gives them minimal appeal with matchups against Cleveland and Detroit this week. Use them if you must. Just be ready for the possible implosion that soft-throwers who don’t strike anyone out are prone to.

 

Chicago White Sox

 

White Sox Expected Schedule

Just a month in and Cease and Rodón are already aces. What a year it’s been. Seriously though, I am completely prepared to start both of them in Yankee Stadium and borderline excited about it. I would’ve looked at you like a crazy person if you told me that in March, but that’s baseball. Cease has 3 BBs and 20 Ks over his last 13 innings while Rodón is pumping 98 from the left-side along with complete command of his changeup and slider. Giddy up.

Giolito is the guy who’s starting to worry me. Still a top-20 type guy, the control has not been great and his stuff appears less electric than in 2020. A bad start against the Royals will give me pause for that game in Minnesota.

Lance Lynn is once again on pace for a career-high K% and career-low BB%. Ho-hum. Shame on us in the fantasy community for not giving this man his due, he’s an ace and matchup proof. On the other hand, Keuchel has nearly walked the same amount of batters he has struck out. Still winning with soft contact, the veteran is toeing a very dangerous line. A line I would not be comfortable walking against the Twins or Yankees.

 

Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds Expected Schedule

What a weird run for the Red-Legs. Some soft competition over 12 days without a day off with and a trip to Coors right in the middle of it. Hoffman returns to the park that chewed him up and spit him out for the back end of a two-start week. Scary, but the start in Pittsburgh is just too good to pass up. Hold your breath and let it ride.

Mr. No-Hitter Wade Miley is the only Red lucky enough to miss out on Coors and it gives him a beautiful cushion here to parlay his momentum into a decent little stretch. Grab him off your waiver wire and have fun with the Pirates, Giants, Brewers, and Cubs.

Separate from Colorado, this stretch feels tailor-made to get Castillo back on track. Just putting good vibes into the air, everyone with me PLEASE let’s get Castillo back on track.

Now for a couple of guys who are very on track, Gray and Mahle are to be trusted almost indefinitely. I’m comfortable with both in Coors (famous last words) and Gray has that juicy game in Pittsburgh first on Tuesday.

Quick side note, 20 games in 21 days will tax even a strong rotation like the Reds. José de León and Tejay Antone are both likely going to receive significant work over these next few weeks as bulk relievers. Both have been strikeout kings this year and could be savvy lineup plug-ins with such a nice run of matchups.

Note: Sunday’s rainout pushes everyone here back a day. Gray misses out on Coors now, not Miley, getting him set for a very nice string of matchups.

 

Cleveland

 

Cleveland’s Expected Schedule

The meat of this rotation is finally rounding into form. Our talented colleague Michael Ajet0 recently identified how Plesac could get his groove back, and voila! He has with 13 Ks and zero ERs over his last two starts. This matchup against the Angels gives me slight pause, but you’re not skipping a two-step that includes a game in Detroit as Plesac heats up.

I am much less confident in Civale and McKenzie moving forward. Not that they have been poor, just still not consistent enough to contend with the Angels, Twins, or Blue Jays. McKenzie has walked exactly four batters in four straight starts; it’s impossible to give length with that kind of command. While Civale has provided the length we’re used to, his strikeout totals are not where they once were and show no signs of returning. Leave both on the bench until they get on track.

Is Bieber even worth mentioning? A bonafide ace, there’s no doubt about him anymore (as if there was). Three juicy matchups here will make you happy for drafting him in the first round.

A generally unknown commodity, Hentges is mildly interesting. Standing 6’8″ with a 65-grade fastball, there’s definitely something to work with here. He struggled with control through the minor leagues, which is bound to happen when you’re NBA-size. He is worth monitoring out of respect for Cleveland’s development staff and that fastball.

Note: Sunday’s rainout pushes everyone back a day. Big adjustments are Civale and Hentges missing the Angels (Plesac now has the honor) while Bieber no longer getting a shot at the Tigers.

 

Colorado Rockies

 

Rockies Expected Schedule

A rotation that was expected to be poor has turned out to be worse in Colorado with Márquez struggling mightily out of the gate. Avoid at home vs the Reds and in San Diego, but a two-start week on the road against the Mets and Pirates is worth a shot. Maybe he can figure it out away from Coors.

Inversely, Gray has been a pleasant surprise. Back to form after a disastrous 2020, he’s limited hard contact effectively and has a 22.8 K%. That was his recipe when things were going well, even though his velocity has not returned to pre-2020 levels. Tread lightly.

Antonio Senzatela hit the IL last week and it sounds like Jhoulys Chacin will fill his spot in the rotation. Not that there’s any fantasy relevance to that statement, though. The same goes for González. Don’t even think about it. Well, maybe against the Pirates…

 

Detroit Tigers

 

Tigers Expected Schedule

I hope you’re not like me and dropped Skubal in every league last week because something may have clicked. He was throwing fewer sliders in favor of more splitters and fastballs en route to his only good best start of the year against the Twins. Not quite ready to start him yet, another strong showing or two could have him trustworthy by the time he faces Cleveland.

Otherwise, a weak stretch of games can help you find value in a few middling starters. Turnbull can be cautiously trusted everywhere except against the Yankees. Mize and Boyd both miss the Yankees, thankfully, and have been getting decent results without the Ks many of us hoped for. Boyd better than Mize, sure, but both have a weak stretch of games ahead.

What does Nick always say about Ureña? Yeah, that holds true.

Note: Sunday’s rainout pushes everyone back a day. Boyd now has a nice two-step against the reeling Royals and Cubs. I love both those matchups at home. The only other change of note is Mize slotting in against the Yankees. Avoid that game.

 

Houston Astros

 

Astros Expected Schedule

Back-to-back starts against the Rangers have García and McCullers looking like great options moving forward. Both should be trusted for two-start weeks, despite matchups with the Angels. We can cross that Padres’ bridge when we get to it.

Urquidy has been riding a soft-contact hot streak of late. The Ks are not there, but changeup-first pitchers who don’t throw particularly hard will always be 7ishK/9 guys anyway. Treat him like the best version of Aaron Civale at the moment.

Javier and Greinke have by far the worst schedules on the board. Figure it’s two of the guys going the best here. Greinke is probably a start throughout and Javier has been building towards such, but consecutive games against the Dodgers and Red Sox is downright brutal.

 

Kansas City Royals

 

Royals Expected Schedule

Plenty of off-days gives the Royals an opportunity to work with a four-man rotation for a few weeks, but they’ve shown no inclination to do so and have not made a similar adjustment so far when the opportunity has presented itself. So, more rest for this staff is in the offing.

Again, we are in a landmine situation with two-start weeks for Singer containing one favorable (@DET) and one unfavorable (@CHW) matchup. Set it and hope for the best. The same goes for Duffy the next week, just reversed. They’ve been good enough to take the leap.

Keller has been a disaster this season and I’m hoping that his spot eventually goes back to Jakob Junis, who has not taken very well (six ER, 2.2 IP) to his bullpen assignment. Minor has been disappointing as well, albeit not to the same degree. I’m already holding my breath for that two-start week against the Rays and Angels on the road.

All signs point to Lynch sticking in the rotation for the time being. His stuff looked electric in his debut and then he got knocked around by the White Sox on Saturday. I can see the Royals not wanting to expose him to that lineup again this week but monitor his progress. When it clicks, it’s really going to click.

 

Los Angeles Angels

 

Angels Expected Schedule

Ah, the six-man rotation, welcome back! There’s an off chance the Angels briefly turn to a seven-man rotation to cater to that double-header against the Twins which would push every start on this table back one afterward. I hope that doesn’t happen though because there are some pretty juicy matchups after a rough week here for the Halos.

Just skip those games on Houston and Boston (besides for Bundy and maaaaaaybe the new and improved Heaney) and gear up for a run of weak opponents ahead. Cobb is a go against Cleveland and Oakland at home, as is the marvelous Ohtani. Who knows how long he’ll start with these very clear command issues, but boy is it fun to watch him pump 98 with that splitter for multiple innings.

As I referenced, Heaney has finally clicked. Switching over to four-seamers from sinkers last season has helped propel him to a 36.4 K% so far in 2021, one of the highest marks in baseball. He’s bordering on matchup-proof.

Calling my shot, Canning is ascending similarly. 89th percentile in Whiff%, he has been doomed by bad luck and subpar defense so far. More of the same will have us seeing him as a top-30 guy before long. Have locked and loaded for those matchups with the Rangers and Giants.

What can we say about Quintana at this point? He’s missing plenty of bats while struggling with command. Every time he pitches the announcers bring up the Eloy-Dylan Cease trade, the most interesting thing about his profile until those walks are cut down.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Dodgers Expected Schedule

If there is a rotation equipped to handle sustained hardship, here it is. Injuries to David Price and Dustin May have zapped the depth from what many called the deepest staff we’d ever seen. Tony Gonsolin’s return is near, but shoulder issues are fickle and may take longer than we think.

Bauer may actually get his wish and pitch every fourth day. They’re scheduled to skip the fifth spot this week with two off days and there’s another opportunity to do so in two weeks, easing the load on everyone here. Bauer has previously expressed a willingness to do so himself, though. Time will tell as to whether or not he gets that chance.

Otherwise, this schedule is soft and the only times you should even consider sitting any one of these guys are those two games in Houston. Tensions will be high, as it is the first time the two teams face off since the Astros were exposed as cheaters. Appointment television.

The guy to watch here is top prospect, Josiah Gray. He dazzled in his first start at AAA (five IP, two ER, 10 Ks) and appears ready to handle the majors. The AAA assignment means the Dodgers’ brass might think so too.

 

Miami Marlins

 

Marlins Expected Schedule

A strength on Opening Day, this staff is an unmitigated disaster at the moment. Everyone still pitching is doing a fantastic job. Rogers, Alcántara, and López are all aces and can be treated as such: even in Los Angles and Boston.

On the other hand, those are the only three Marlins starters. They’ve been getting by with Campbell, Nick Neidert, Daniel Castaño, Ross Detwiler, and Jordan Holloway giving them some length. They’ll need a herculean effort out of that group with 20 games in 21 days and none should be anywhere near your consideration in fantasy. Sixto Sánchez nor Elieser Hernández look to be returning before June either.

 

Milwaukee Brewers

 

Brewers Expected Schedule

Burnes’ status is still very much up in the air. He intends to throw a bullpen later today and if all goes well, there is an open spot in the rotation for him to slot in Wednesday against the Cardinals. He’s instantly a must-start upon return. The same goes for Woodruff. These two might be my favorite 1-2 punch in the league right now.

Peralta gets a dangerous two-start week starting tomorrow against two of the better teams in the NL. He’s been far too good to sit, but this will be a test for the young hurler.

I can’t be convinced Houser’s hot streak is legit. The Brewers perform some sort of voodoo with pitchers, but the lack of Ks lead me to believe a blow-up is coming.

Please don’t stream Anderson. Not even against the Tigers.

 

 

Minnesota Twins

 

Twins Expected Schedule

The Twins have been a colossal disappointment early on. Their rotation has been unexpectedly adequate, though. Pineda and Happ have been fine, but are due for some serious regression. Ride them against Cleveland, Oakland, and Baltimore. Avoid everywhere else. I shudder thinking about Pineda against the White Sox for consecutive starts.

Shoemaker offers little hope. Maybe that Cleveland start because who can’t shut them down? That 15.1 K% will catch up to him eventually.

Now for the Twin Aces (see what I did there?) Maeda and Berríos. Yeah, Maeda is still an ace. There is nothing in his profile that suggests any dramatic reduction of skills like we’ve seen so far. Monday marked his best start of the year and I trust him indefinitely. The same goes for Berríos, who’s looked good. They’re matchup-proof fingers crossed.

Note: Not a certainty, but the Twins will likely call up an additional arm for their doubleheader with the Angels pushing everyone back one day afterward. Lewis Thorpe got the call last week for a twin bill, he will be similarly uninteresting if he does again.

Note #2: Sunday’s rainout pushes everyone back a day. Maeda a nice two-start week with a dicey game to kick it off against the White Sox. That’ll be a good test to see whether he’s really back on track. Berríos also trades a matchup against the Angels for one with the Orioles, great news for all fantasy managers.

 

New York Mets

 

Mets Expected Schedule

Never one to mince words, Lucchesi has been awful with the Mets. He continues to get ’starts’ despite his sheer ineffectiveness. Sean Reid-Foley, Robert Gsellman, and Jordan Yamamoto are better options and I predict they will see more bulk work than Lucchesi moving forward. A few off-days this week gives the Mets the opportunity to ride with a four-man rotation though, something they’ve done more often than not this season.

Stroman and Walker have been revelations in their own right thus far, each putting together what may be the best seasons of their respective careers. Besides one start against Atlanta for each, they’ll enjoy a favorable run of opponents. Fire them both up with confidence.

On the other hand, Peterson has not been able to find any consistency. His stuff is likely better suited in a depth role anyway and he will find himself in one when Syndergaard and Carrasco work their way back. He can’t be trusted besides for that home start against the Rockies.

Mets fans and fantasy owners alike are waiting on bated breath for deGrom’s injury diagnosis. He remains on the schedule until further notice, but I would be shocked if he didn’t miss a turn or two. The Mets would be reeling if this injury turns out to be serious.

 

New York Yankees

 

Yankees Expected Schedule

Well, the Yankees have gone from the ‘worst team in baseball’ to one of the best in a few weeks’ time. Who could’ve guessed that? This rotation has been surprisingly consistent now that Kluber and Taillon have found a little groove. Both seem to getting more and more comfortable each time out and the ‘buy’ window on each is closing quickly. It will no longer exist after those starts in Texas.

Germán and Montgomery have had inverse trajectories this season. First Montgomery was good and Germán was bad. Now Germán is rolling while Montgomery struggles. Neither of these trends are certainties, but both will continue to get every opportunity as the Yankees don’t have clear replacements. Those road starts against the Orioles, Rays, and Rangers look pretty good. The home ones against the White Sox and Blue Jays do not.

It’s a beautiful thing when players at the top of their game continue to refine their craft and Cole has done just that. He’s throwing a changeup 15% of the time after barely using one for a handful of years. An ace improving, beautiful. He has two very real no-hit opportunities in Texas and Detroit coming up.

 

Oakland Athletics

 

A’s Expected Schedule

Settling down after their torrid stretch, the A’s are in for a rough go. 15 of their next 20 games come against teams who rank in the top six in wRC+, including all members of the top three (BOS, HOU, LAA). It is hard to trust any member of this rotation for the foreseeable future.

Irvin has been a nice story so far and is getting enough Ks to make his strong play seem sustainable, he gets out of the woods sooner than anyone else here. Manaea is in the same boat with a 26.2 K% on the season and his usually strong command, but I’m not going anywhere near him in Boston. Maybe home against the Astros. Maybe.

Word to the wise, use this month to let your league mates get down on Montas before buying low. He’s been so-so this season with a few gems and duds sprinkled in. I expect him to struggle against at least two of the Twins, Astros, Mariners, and Angels. If the stuff, velo, and command are all still present this time next month, pounce.

Bassitt is blah, which often plays. Just not against the best offenses in baseball. Leave him on the wire for a bit.

Fiers hit IL last week leaving a vacant spot in this rotation. Luzardo is still out after “bumping” his hand on his desk while playing video games. Who among us hasn’t been there? Nevertheless, the A’s will need to fill it with their need for a fifth starter.

 

Philadelphia Phillies

 

Phillies Expected Schedule

Velasquez has impressed during his return to the Phillies rotation (writing this a few hours before he takes the mound against Atlanta on Saturday) and will likely stick around unless he implodes. There’s an opportunity to skip him in two weeks, but I’m assuming the Phillies would rather have Nola face the Red Sox instead of the Marlins.

That’s a shame for us fantasy owners because back-to-back starts for Nola against the Fish would be a godsend. We’ll have to settle for a relatively difficult stretch, though. No matter, he’s an ace.

Eflin and Wheeler have answered any previous questions about their game and turned in strong seasons as the 2 and 3 in this staff. Both are matchup-proof for me over this stretch, even when Wheeler gets the Red Sox.

Don’t start Anderson. Just don’t do it. The chance for a blowup looms even though he’s looked borderline decent at times.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates

 

Pirates Expected Schedule

Huh, what’s that? A mediocre Pirates rotation you say?? Not one, not two, but THREE Pirates starters have been competent over the last few weeks and I am here for it. Brubaker recently broke his streak of three consecutive starts without allowing a free pass and gets a two-start week against the Reds and Giants at home. Let’s ride.

Keller gets a two-step as well. Full disclosure, I can’t get a grasp on this guy: be it his current value or future value. He has literally alternated good and bad starts all season, so I hope you own him in a daily league and can adhere to this statistically sound, highly predictive model.

The last useful arm here, Anderson has been a pleasant surprise this season. Utilizing three pitches at a 27% rate or higher (fastball, cutter, changeup), he’s been able to keep hitters off-balance all season. Decent shapes on each in addition to plus command make me think it’s here to last. Avoid him in Atlanta, but have no fear against the Giants, Cubs, or Royals.

Don’t give Crowe or Cahill the time of day. Not that you were going to, but it still needed to be said.

 

San Diego Padres

 

Padres Expected Schedule

Ryan Weathers had been bumped from the rotation to be Lamet’s personal piggybacker (that felt weird to type out) and assumed that role for Paddack on Sunday. Neither of those two has much value for the time being working in a tandem role. However, maybe the training wheels will be taken off Lamet in Coors of all places. This situation is one to monitor closely.

A soft stretch for the three marquee acquisitions is on the way. Would never have thought Musgrove would be the best of the bunch so far and as the only one to miss Coors, he’s a must-start until we get to Houston. Snell has been a mild disappointment, not being able to shake his control or pitch mix issues thus far. Maybe avoid him in Coors. Darvish, on the other hand, probably has new pitches he’s designed specifically for the altitude.

 

San Francisco Giants

 

Giants Expected Schedule

Oh! Don’t look now but here come the FIRST PLACE GIANTS led by their vaunted rotation. I’m having my fun now because this all might feel different with seven games against the Dodgers over 10 days in two weeks.

We’re all well aware of Gausman’s breakout as he borders on matchup-proof, but their best offseason acquisition may have been Anthony DeSclafani. A shrewd move pulling him for just $6 million, Tony Disco is working with a formidable 16.0 K-BB%. Throwing more sliders than fastballs for the first time in his career, this seems sustainable. He’s an easy start against the Pirates and Reds. Those Dodgers games will act as a barometer for his improvements.

Wood and Webb go from ‘heck yes’ to ‘please no’ with games against the Rangers, Pirates, and Reds before both meeting the Dodgers twice. Plan your matchups accordingly.

Cueto returned from the IL Sunday to take Aaron Sanchez’s spot in the rotation, who has begun his own IL stint. Not very sharp (three IP, five ER), I’d say he’s still worth a shot against the Pirates.

 

Seattle Mariners

 

Mariners Expected Schedule

Is stubborn the word for sticking with a six-man rotation when you have maybe four decent starters? Or does that constitute as process? No matter, the Mariners are committed to sticking with this plan for the time being. Or maybe not since they don’t have a starter named past Wednesday as of late Sunday night. Check back here for an update.

Dunn and Sheffield both seem to be on the precipice of figuring it out without just getting over that hump. The stuff looks better than the results for both and each still struggles with walks, Dunn more so. Neither is worthy of a start in most situations, games against the Tigers, Rangers, and Cleveland notwithstanding.

Kikuchi benefits from the schedule and avoids the Padres and Angels. His inconsistency is a killer, but I’m comfortable with him for every matchup here that isn’t the Dodgers. The same goes for Flexen besides the game in San Diego.

You should never even consider considering Newsome. I know what I said there.

 

St. Louis Cardinals

 

Cardinals Expected Schedule

I’m sure no one in St. Louis wants to see John Gant get another turn in this rotation. The Cards will need a fifth starter this week, but off-days over the next few weeks will give them an opportunity to roll with four starters. I expect them to do so.

This is a pretty hilarious rotation otherwise, for lack of a better term. Wainwright is currently putting up a 25.0 K%, the best mark of his career. That number vaults him into a marginally trustworthy category, even against the Padres or White Sox if you’re in a bind or hunting a cheap W.

Like Waino, Kim is striking out hitters at a decent rate (23.7%) against all odds. A good ol’ fashioned junk baller, I’m riding with Kim in the soft starts (@MIL, CHC), but avoiding him against the boppers (@SDP, @CHW). Martínez is in the same boat without the Ks. His 13.5 K% is far and away a career-low as he continues to get outs. The bottom will fall out of here eventually, probably not against the Pirates though.

Flaherty may be the most boring ace in baseball. Fire him up without fear.

 

Tampa Bay Rays

 

Rays Expected Schedule

Sheesh, I hope everyone was quick enough to scoop McClanahan because the hype train stormed out of the station on Monday night. Piggybacked with Luis Patiño was goose-bump fuel. What an electric young duo. I’d have no fear running out either over this stretch.

Now for the old, soft-tossing, boring part of this preview. Fleming, Hill, and Yarbrough are all massive risks against the Yankees and fine plays everywhere else. Who knows, the Rays have had the Yanks’ number lately.

In the midst of his worst start of the season in Oakland today, Glasnow is still an ace and should be treated as such. Have no fear until we get to the Bronx. Then have only a little bit of fear.

 

Texas Rangers

 

Rangers Expected Schedule

Gross on paper but OK in practice, this rotation has kept their team in the game all season. That doesn’t mean anyone should be counted on for fantasy purposes though.

Dunning has looked great all season and asserted himself as the alpha of this staff. I still have no desire to use him against the Astros, Yankees, or Angels. Gibson has looked fine too and can be basically dropped with those three on the horizon plus a game in Coors. Arihara is the third member of this ‘fine’ trio, the two-start week here is enticing with the Giants and Astros. I’d advise against it, but you could do worse.

Folty and Lyles are simply not very good. Don’t get it twisted. Hyeon-Jong Yang looked pretty good in a spot start last week against the Twins, don’t be surprised if he usurps one of these vets in the near future.

 

Toronto Buffalo Blue Jays

 

Blue Jays Expected Schedule

Imagine if Ray wasn’t an ace? This rotation would be a catastrophe. Ride him until the wheels (hopefully don’t) fall off. A two-start week against Atlanta and the Phillies will be a great indicator as to what we have moving forward. Not the same situation at all, but Matz has already returned to earth with 14 ER in his last 13.2 innings. Again, they’re very different and Ray’s showed a material change in command, just a lesson as to how quickly things can change with pitchers who have a poor track record.

Ryu is stalwart, the only saving grace on this staff. Health, as we know, is the only thing that can stop him. Full steam ahead, even against Atlanta and Boston.

Pearson made his long-awaited season debut on Sunday and did not look great needing 64 pitches to get through just 2.1 innings. The talent is immense, but stay away from the young fire-baller until he shows some consistency.

 

Washington Nationals

 

Nationals Expected Schedule

Some consistency out of the Nationals’ staff. I certainly (not sarcasm) did not see this coming. Scherzer is an ace once again (DID see that coming) and seems to be hitting a new gear pumping 96 in the Bronx with 10 Ks in the fifth innings as I write this. No fear with Mad Max.

Corbin has looked OK too as of late. I’m not ready to dive back in the pool with 9/7 K/BB and five HRs allowed over his last three starts, but not getting shelled is a start. Imagine the day when Ross and Fedde are more trustworthy than Corbin? Crazy how quickly things change. Not saying either are to be trusted per se, though. The matchups for both are just middling, so I wouldn’t recommend using either.

Lester? That’s all I have for him. It’s honestly impressive to watch him go out there with sub 90 heat, below-average stuff, and just figure it out for a few innings. You could convince me to get him in a deep-league lineup against the Orioles and Brewers if nothing more than just old time’s sake.

 

(Photos by Tony Quinn & Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Design by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter @ IG)

James Schiano

Graduate of The Ohio State University and New York City dweller, I am a die-hard Mets fan who can generally be found screaming at the TV or making wise-cracks to anyone who'll hear them. Follow me on Twitter @JeterHadNoRange

  • Avatar Joe says:

    Small thing — if you’re right that LAD is skipping the 5 spot this week, then Buehler’s 2nd start would be MIA on Sunday instead of ARI on Monday.

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