As the MLB All-Star Break fast approaches, many schedules have taken a new outlook. Virtually all arms will see some form of ample rest—a blessing for some and a curse for others—but until then, here are the arms that have the best and worst road ahead:
Dallas Keuchel (CHW) 7/3 vs. DET 7/7 @ TEX All-Star Break
With the 25th and 24th-ranked wRC+ on the horizon, Dallas Keuchel will look to turn around a roller coaster of his last few outings. He last pitched on June 26th against the Mariners, a five-inning, two-run showing. Keuchel pitched a mere 2 2/3 innings against Houston before that (3 ER). One start prior, he shut out the Rays over seven frames. He has faced Detroit and Texas once this year, to the tune of a combined 12 innings and one earned run allowed.
Walker Buehler (LAD) 7/5 @ MIA 7/10 vs. ARI All-Star Break
Walker Buehler will taste a similar schedule to Keuchel but on the National League front. The Marlins and Diamondbacks rank a respective 20th and 28th in wRC+. Buehler has not faced the Marlins this year, but in two starts against Arizona he tossed a combined 14 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs.
Blake Snell (SD) 7/4 @ PHI 7/9 vs. COL All-Star Break
Fresh on the heels of five shutout innings against the Dodgers, Blake Snell will head east to take on the Phillies. Their wRC+ of 92 is far from what Snell just saw in L.A., and the Rockies’ figure after that, 79, is even further. Colorado is also 6-31 on the road this season.
Adrian Houser (MIL) 7/2 @ PIT 7/7 @ NYM All-Star Break
*Avoids CIN 7/8-11
A streak of desirable opponents will continue for Adrian Houser—but it hasn’t been great for him. In his last three starts, he faced the Rockies twice and the Pirates once, allowing a combined 11 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings. His best outing of the three was against the Pirates, and he will get another crack at them tonight before finishing up the first half in Queens. The Mets’ wRC+ ranks 19th.
Jordan Montgomery (NYY) 7/2 vs. NYM 7/7 @ SEA All-Star Break
*Avoids HOU 7/9-11
Jordan Montgomery will open up the Subway Series tonight and will close out the first half in Seattle. He will face far easier offensive teams than his recent foes (BOS, OAK, TOR, MIN), as both the Mets and Mariners rank 19th and 21st in wRC+. Montgomery allowed three earned runs to the Red Sox in his last start, but allowed one to the A’s in a start before that (5 1/3 IP)
Kyle Gibson (TEX) 7/2 @ SEA 7/7 vs. DET All-Star Break
*Avoids OAK 7/9-11
There won’t be an ample display of top offensive lineups in this road ahead for the Rangers, outside of a series with Oakland. It comes in favor of arms like Kyle Gibson that avoid their set with the A’s. While Oakland ranks ninth in wRC+ the Mariners and Tigers rank 21st and 25th. Gibson just tossed seven shutout innings against the Royals, so he could be a guy that charges full steam ahead into the All-Star Break.
Zach Davies (CHC) 7/5 vs. PHI 7/10 vs. STL All-Star Break
*Avoids CIN 7/2-4
The tough-hitting Reds are a tough offensive opponent to deal with in the NL Central; fortunately for Zach Davies, he won’t see them this weekend. Davies will instead anticipate the Phillies and Cardinals and will pitch the Saturday before the All-Star Break, meaning he could be on a six-day cycle if the Cubs wanted to expedite his spot in the rotation.
Vladimir Gutierrez (CIN) 7/5 @ KC 7/10 @ MIL All-Star Break
It was a tough showing for Vladimir Gutierrez when he last toed the rubber (vs. SD: 4 1/3 IP, 6 ER). It was the second time in three starts that he allowed five or more runs, so a brief stint on the ‘good’ schedule list could do him well. Kansas City’s wRC+ ranks 22nd in the past two weeks, although Milwaukee ranks sixth. The Brewers could cool back down to their overall 22nd, however, once Gutierrez gets his start against them.
Kyle Freeland (COL) 7/3 vs. STL 7/8 @ ARI All-Star Break
*Avoids SD 7/5-8
The Colorado lefty is currently day-to-day with a hamstring injury but is scheduled to return on Saturday in time to face his old friend Nolan Arenado. Freeland will face the 26th-ranked wRC+ in that start, only to turn around and face the 28th-ranked D-Backs to close out the first half. It has been a tough ride for Freeland in 2021, starting the year on the injured list and posting a 6.54 ERA since his return. Perhaps this will be a stretch that he can turn things around.
Alex Wood (SF) 7/2 @ ARI 7/7 vs. STL All-Star Break
It’s admittedly tough to make light of anything Diamondbacks in their recent skid—aside from an easier road ahead for opposing starters. Alex Wood will receive such fate this evening and will get the Cardinals four days after Freeland. This is an exciting road ahead for Giants fans; Wood allowed one earned run to the A’s in his last start (5 1/3 IP), and San Francisco holds a half-game lead over the Dodgers for the NL West lead.
Chase De Jong (PIT) 7/3 vs. MIL 7/8 @ NYM
Avoids ATL 7/5-7
This one could be a bit of a red flag, being that the Brewers have the sixth-best wRC+ in the past two weeks. Six of their games in that span also came against the Rockies, however (22nd in xFIP), so perhaps those offensive numbers are a little misleading. Chase De Jong will take the Saturday start against the Brewers, only to finish the first half with the Mets. They have posted the worst wRC+ in baseball over the past two weeks.
Anybody for Atlanta through the All-Star Break
*Marlins for three, Pirates for three, Marlins for three
Miami and Pittsburgh haven’t posted great offensive figures over the whole season or the past two weeks, ringing in with bottom-third wRC+ in each. The Braves could have as desirable of a team schedule as any through the All-Star Break, but will run into a tough lineup after the break with the Rays and Padres.
Frankie Montas (OAK) 7/2 vs. BOS 7/7 @ HOU All-Star Break
Oakland is fighting their way near the top of the AL West, just 1 1/2 games behind the Astros. Now could be a prime indicator of where the A’s are headed, as they get both the Red Sox and a pivotal series with the Astros before the break. Frankie Montas will take a start in both series, having last worked five innings of two-run ball against the Giants. His start before that in Texas was a different tale, however (5 2/3 IP, 8 ER).
Kwang Hyun Kim (STL) 7/5 @ SF 7/10 @ CHC All-Star Break Post-ASG: vs. SF
*Avoids Coors Field 7/1-4
San Francisco has posted the 13th-best wRC+ in the last two weeks and the fourth-best overall. Meanwhile, the Cubs have the 16th-best overall and the second-worst since June 18. Kwang Hyun Kim gets an interesting mix of offense, but at least he gets familiar elevation as he avoids the thin Denver air. He will look to start the Saturday before the All-Star Break, meaning he could stay in a six-day cycle if the Cardinals wanted him to.
Shane McClanahan (TB) 7/3 @ TOR 7/9 vs. TOR All-Star Break
*Avoids CLE 7/5-7
The road ahead for Tampa Bay pitchers could be strenuous, as the tough-hitting Blue Jays (second in wRC+) stand in their way for six games. Shane McClanahan has allowed four runs in his last 12 innings (vs. LAA, @ SEA) and has one start against Toronto on the year, allowing one run in five frames.
Ryan Yarbrough (TB) 7/4 @ TOR 7/10 vs. TOR All-Star Break
*Avoids CLE 7/5-7
In an identical road ahead, Ryan Yarbrough is set to follow McClanahan by one day. Yarbrough has seen the Blue Jays twice, allowing a combined three earned runs in 11 2/3 innings. Both he and McClanahan have the tough fate of avoiding Cleveland, but they could soon get their crack at them after the All-Star Break.
Tarik Skubal (DET) 7/3 vs. CHW 7/8 @ MIN All-Star Break Post-ASG: vs. MIN
*Avoids TEX 7/5-7
Detroit’s lefty just can’t catch a break with his late June/early July schedule. Tarik Skubal gets the White Sox and Twins immediately after facing the Astros—but that Houston start was a gem. He allowed one run in seven innings, lowering his season ERA to a 4.06 (4.43 xFIP). Skubal will start the Thursday before the All-Star Game, meaning he could very well see extended rest after his start with the Twins.
Brady Singer (KC) 7/2 vs. MIN 7/7 vs. CIN All-Star Break
*Avoids CLE 7/8-11
Brady Singer will cross into interleague land for his last start of the first half. He draws the eighth-best wRC+ right after facing the ninth-best. His following start on a five-day cycle would come on the day of the Home Run Derby, so Singer could be looking at extra rest before starting back up with what could be the Orioles.
Caleb Smith (ARI) 7/4 vs. SF 7/9 @ LAD All-Star Break
*Avoids COL 7/6-8
The Diamondbacks aren’t getting much help within their division until the break, squaring off against the two hottest teams in that division. Caleb Smith doesn’t get a crack at the Rockies’ lower offensive figures, and instead gets a taste at the toughest-hitting lineups in the NL West before some All-Star rest.
Joe Ross (WAS) 7/4 vs. LAD 7/9 @ SF All-Star Break
Joe Ross gets a similar NL West fate but as an outside divisional opponent. He is riding a hot streak of 13 1/3 innings and two runs allowed, however, so at least he carries some form of strong momentum into a tough stretch. Ross has fared well against the Giants and Dodgers, too; he faced San Francisco in early June, holding them scoreless over eight innings. He also opened the year with the Dodgers, tossing five scoreless frames, so this could be a misleading ‘bad’ schedule.
Framber Valdez (HOU) 7/6 vs. OAK 7/11 vs. NYY All-Star Break Post-ASG: @ CHW
*Avoids CLE 7/2-4
Houston and Oakland will throw down in what is sure to make for a great series; both teams are separated by a mere 1 1/2 games in the AL West. Framber Valdez will anticipate a start on Tuesday in that set, only to follow it up with the Yankees as they look to hold a winning record into the break. The Yankees hold the seventh-best wRC+ over the past two weeks.
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