SP Future Schedules – Week 16

Justin Wick breaks down the good and bad starter schedules ahead

Great Schedules


Patrick Sandoval (LAA)   7/18 vs. SEA   ***7/23 @ MIN***   7/28 vs. COL

*Avoids OAK 7/19-20, 7/30-8/1

A seven-inning, two-run performance led Patrick Sandoval into the All-Star Break, and it was his longest outing of the year. He will see eight days between starts as he awaits the Mariners on Sunday, and his road ahead features the 24th, 7th and 30th-ranked wRC+. Minnesota’s wRC+ in the week leading up to the All-Star Break ranked 15th, so Sandoval might be catching them at a desirable time as they acclimate back to an everyday schedule. He has the luxury of facing Colorado at sea level, too, and he avoids Oaklands eighth-ranked wRC+ in two different series.


David Price (LAD)   7/18 @ COL   7/23 vs. COL

*Avoids SF 7/19-22

David Price doesn’t have such luck in avoiding Denver elevation, but he at least faces the 30th-ranked wRC+ in that start. Colorado closed out the final week of the first half with a 27th-ranked wRC+, which is far worse than the Giants that Price avoids (sixth). The Dodgers’ rotation has been battered with injury, but Price has landed himself a desirable spot in the rotation at least.


Sonny Gray (CIN)   7/18 vs. MIL   7/23 vs. STL   7/28 @ CHC

There will be 11 days in between starts for Sonny Gray, and his seven innings in his last start was tied for his season high. He’s seen Milwaukee twice this year; he allowed a combined three runs in nine innings. Gray was hit hard against the Cardinals in his lone outing against them this year (3 2/3 IP, 5 ER), but their season wRC+ ranks 27th and Gray seems to have hit his stride in his last three starts (15 IP, 3 ER).


Frankie Montas (OAK)   7/18 vs. CLE   7/23 vs. SEA   ***7/27 @ SD***

The road ahead for Frankie Montas will feature two teams with bottom-third wRC+, and it could be a solid primer leading up to some interleague action with the Padres in late July. Montas held Houston (first-ranked wRC+) to one run over 6 2/3 innings in his last start, punching out 10 batters.


Zach Davies (CHC)   7/18 @ ARI   7/24 vs. ARI  ***7/28 vs. CIN***   8/3 @ COL

Back-to-back starts with the Diamondbacks could give Zach Davies the most desirable schedule out of anybody. Arizona’s 29th-ranked wRC+ was accompanied with the 26th-ranked figure in the final week in the first half. Davies didn’t end the first half particularly strong (vs. STL: 4 1/3 IP, 3 ER), but some extended rest since then could do him well.


Johnny Cueto (SF)   7/18 @ STL   7/23 vs. PIT   ***7/28 vs. LAD***

*Avoids HOU 7/30-8/1

It’s tough to have a truly ‘good’ schedule with the Dodgers on the horizon, but Johnny Cueto avoids the league’s best wRC+ in the process. He’ll have consecutive starts against two teams with a season wRC+ rank of 27 or lower, but lest we forget the Pirates ended the first half particularly strong at the plate. Their wRC+ in the seven days before the All-Star Break ranked first, despite their season figure ranking 28th.


J.A. Happ (MIN)   7/16 @ DET   ***7/21 vs. LAA***   7/26 vs. DET   7/31 @ STL

*Avoids CHW 7/19-21

J.A. Happ finds himself in a loosely-resembled position as Cueto; he’s got one tough opponent in the near future but he avoids another in the process. Happ has allowed eight earned runs in his last 11 1/3 innings of work, however, so his start against the Tigers might be a primer of what to expect through July.


Madison Bumgarner (ARI)   7/16 vs. CHC   7/21 vs. PIT   7/27 @ TEX

*Hasn’t pitched since June 2; schedule may change

Arizona’s lefty is in line to face three teams with a wRC+ of 19th or worse. He recorded more earned runs in his last three starts than innings pitched, and also hasn’t thrown since June 2 after being placed on the injured list (shoulder). The July road ahead could be a perfect primer, not just for Madison Bumgarner but for the struggling Diamondbacks that hold the worst record in baseball.


Chad Kuhl (PIT)   7/16 vs. NYM   7/21 @ ARI   7/27 vs. MIL

*Avoids SF 7/23-25

After 10 days of rest, Chad Kuhl will return to action after holding Atlanta to one run over six frames. He posted a season-high seven strikeouts in that outing, and will soon match up with three opponents that rank 19th or lower in wOBA. San Francisco, a team he avoids, ranks fifth.


Bad Schedules


Gerrit Cole (NYY)   7/17 vs. BOS   7/22 @ BOS   7/27 @ TB

Following an astronomical pitch count in his last start (@ HOU: 9 IP, 0 ER), Gerrit Cole returns to the mound seven days later. He’s got a gauntlet of Red Sox offense ahead of him and Boston will look to preserve their 1.5-game lead in the AL East. Tampa Bay isn’t far behind; Cole will also have to work through them before the calendar turns to August.


Yusei Kikuchi (SEA)   7/17 @ LAA   7/22 vs. OAK   7/27 vs. HOU

*Avoids COL 7/20-21

Seattle’s All-Star will take on a tough lineup of divisional opponents over his next three starts. All three of them hold a wRC+ of eighth or better, and he avoids a two-game set with Colorado. Yusei Kikuchi allowed five runs to the Yankees in five innings when he last took the mound, but he allowed one run to the Rays in seven frames in a start before that.


Dylan Cease (CHW)   7/16 vs. HOU   7/21 vs. MIN   ***7/26 @ KC***

Dylan Cease will see some relief with the Royals at the end of the month, but he will first take on the best wRC+ in baseball followed by the best wRC+ in the AL Central. The White Sox hold an eight-game lead in the AL Central, and the end of July could be a big opportunity for the club to surmount that lead. Cease can help set the tone this evening with a strong start against the Astros.


Mike Foltynewicz (TEX)   7/18 @ TOR   7/23 @ HOU

*Avoids DET 7/19-22, ARI 7/27-28

Somebody for the Rangers was going to draw the short straw; it appears Mike Foltynewicz is that guy, dancing around the Tigers and Diamondbacks. He’ll instead face the fourth and first-ranked wRC+, and will look to chip away at his 5.11 ERA on the year. It marginally lowered in his last start (vs. OAK: 6 1/3 IP, 3 ER)


Chi Chi González (COL)   7/17 vs. LAD   7/23 @ LAD   7/28 @ LAA

*Avoids SEA 7/21-21

As was mentioned in last week’s Starting Pitcher Schedules, the Rockies’ pitchers have as tough a schedule as any through the end of July. Chi Chi González is one of the unfortune arms that will avoid a two-game set with the Mariners, and he will instead face some Dodgers bats that have done plenty to continue their fight against the Giants in their division. There is a chance González won’t stay in this slot, however, as Austin Gomber could soon force him to the bullpen as a long reliever.


Kyle Freeland (COL)   7/18 vs. LAD   7/24 vs. LAD   7/30 @ SD

Another arm for Colorado sees a similar fortune: Kyle Freeland will look to chip away at a 5.48 ERA this year as he also sees the Dodgers in consecutive starts. He did settle in quite a bit leading into the All-Star Break, however, allowing just three earned runs in his last 16 innings.


J.C. Mejia (CLE)   7/19 @ HOU   7/24 vs. TB   7/30 @ CHW

It isn’t a good schedule when Tampa Bay is the most desirable team on it for the rest of the month. The Rays have the worst wRC+ of J.C. Mejia’s next three opponents, but they rank a commendable 12th and are 1.5 games out of a divisional lead. Meanwhile, the Astros and White Sox have the top two wRC+ figures in all of baseball.


José Suarez (LAA)   7/19 or 20 @ OAK   7/25 @ MIN   7/30 vs. OAK

While Patrick Sandoval finds himself on the good schedule list, his teammate Jose Suarez drew an Oakland start and is in line to face them twice before August. Those outings bookend a start against the Twins and the 7th-ranked wRC+; despite Minnesota’s record, they have continually shown well at the plate.


Garrett Richards (BOS)   7/19 @ TOR   7/24 vs. NYY   7/29 vs. TOR

There are plenty of division rivals chasing the Red Sox right now, and it could be do-or-die for the Blue Jays and Yankees as they are eight games back. Garrett Richards will have a lot to do with those divisional ranks, as he will record three starts within the division before August. Richards has allowed 10 earned runs in his last three starts (15 2/3 IP).


Soon To Be A Great Schedule


Yu Darvish (SD)   7/19 @ ATL   7/24 @ SEA   7/29 vs. COL

*Avoids OAK 7/27-28

It will be interesting to see how Yu Darvish takes the mound on Monday after his left hip forced him on the 10-day injured list. He’s got Atlanta and the 13th-ranked wRC+ out of the chute, but follows it up with the 24th ranked Mariners and 30th-ranked Rockies after that. If his hip and his pitches show well on Monday, it could be dangerous for his future opponents.


Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU)   7/16 @ CHW   7/21 vs. CLE   7/26 @ SEA

Houston will claw it out for offensive supremacy this weekend with the White Sox. Lance McCullers Jr. finds himself on the opposite side of that offensive battle, but will find himself on an easier quest after that with some bottom-third wRC+ for the rest of the month.


Unannounced Tuesday Starter (LAD)   7/20 vs. SF   7/25 vs. COL   7/30 @ ARI

*Avoids SF 7/27-29

The Dodgers’ rotation has been battered by injuries, and Dave Roberts has yet to announce a starter after David Price on Sunday. One of their arms will have a relatively prime schedule after this weekend, at least, taking on the two worst records in the NL West.


Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)

Justin Wick

Justin Wick is the communications supervisor for MLB's Arizona Fall League. He pitched collegiately at Creighton University (B.A. Journalism) and South Mountain Community College, and is a three-year veteran of the Northwoods League with the St. Cloud Rox. More of his work can be found on Purple Row covering the Colorado Rockies, and on Twitter @justwick.

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