Charlie Morton (ATL) 9/11 vs. MIA 9/16 vs. COL 9/21 @ ARI
*Avoids SF 9/17-19
After inking a one-year, $20 million extension with the Braves this week, Charlie Morton has the luxury of taking on the 26th, 30th, and 27th-ranked wRC+ figures in his next three starts. It doesn’t get much better than that. Morton holds a 3.47 ERA and has tossed at least five innings in his last 15 starts.
Luis Castillo (CIN) 9/11 @ PHI 9/16 @ PIT 9/21 vs. PIT
*Avoids LAD 9/17-19
A double dose of Pittsburgh awaits Luis Castillo and they have posted a wRC+ of 81 in the past two weeks. The Phillies rank 17th in wRC+ across the whole season, but they have ranked fifth in the past two weeks and might present a tougher challenge as they push toward a postseason berth. Castillo appears primed, however, having struck out 15 in his last 12 frames.
Jake Odorizzi (HOU) 9/13 @ TEX 9/18 vs. ARI 9/23 @ LAA
The Rangers, Diamondbacks, and Angels rank a respective 28th, 27th, and 15th in wRC+ and Jake Odorizzi has allowed three earned runs across his last 10 innings. He’s coming off back-to-back starts against the Mariners and has seen Seattle in three of his past four starts, so these new opponents could be a welcome sight.
Chris Archer (TB) 9/12 @ DET 9/17 vs. DET ***9/22 vs. TOR***
Detroit holds the 21st-ranked wRC+ in baseball, which could be a perfect recipe for Chris Archer to get back to his winning ways. He’s allowed six earned runs in his last nine innings, however (vs. MIN, @ BAL), and in just five starts this year, he’s completed five innings in just one of them. His road ahead will take a sharp turn when he’s done facing the Tigers, so it could be huge for him to take advantage of a stretch on the ‘good’ list.
Paul Blackburn (OAK) 9/10 vs. TEX 9/15 @ KC 9/20 vs. SEA
*Avoids Ohtani 9/17-19
Oakland’s postseason hopes took a huge hit after a tough series against the Blue Jays, but much of their remaining fate could be in Paul Blackburn’s hands. He will look to rebound from a 3 2/3-inning, four-run showing last Saturday and will do so against a series of divisional bottom feeders. He will then face the Mariners, currently tied with the A’s in the AL West.
Ian Anderson (ATL) 9/10 vs. MIA 9/15 vs. COL 9/20 @ ARI
Three of the four worst wRC+ figures since August 27 are on Ian Anderson’s road ahead. It will be vital to getting him back on track, as Anderson has failed to complete for innings in two of his last three starts. His ERA has jumped to a still-impressive 3.61 in that time, and he appears to be in a position to contend in this upcoming stretch.
Adrian Houser (MIL) 9/10 @ CLE 9/15 @ DET 9/20 vs. STL
Adrian Houser gets some interleague action coming up as the 21st and 23rd-ranked wRC+ numbers await in his next two starts. Houser just threw a complete-game shutout in his last start (vs. STL, 9/4), so his stock is extremely high.
Eli Morgan (CLE) 9/10 vs. MIL 9/15 @ MIN 9/20 vs. KC
*Avoids NYY 9/17-19
Eli Morgan just shut out the Red Sox over 5 2/3 innings, so he’s on pace to dominate against some far easier opponents. Milwaukee is in the thick of a pennant race, however, so they could be a bit of an unknown as Morgan takes on this upcoming schedule. Meanwhile, Minnesota and Kansas City are out of contention and have posted bottom-third wRC+ this year.
Kris Bubic (KC) 9/12 @ MIN 9/17 vs. SEA 9/22 @ CLE
*Avoids OAK 9/14-16
There isn’t a whole lot of postseason aspirations on this road ahead aside from the small ray of hope for Seattle. Kris Bubic will look to capitalize on these three opponents, and as his arbitration eligibility awaits in 2023, he will look to improve his outlook and push his current ERA (5.07) into at least the fours.
Shohei Ohtani (LAA) 9/10 @ HOU 9/15 @ CHW 9/20 vs. HOU
The first, third, and first-ranked wRC+ figures await Shohei Ohtani in what is sure to make for some prime viewing. He’s coming off a seven-inning, two-run performance against Texas and has yet to pitch against the Astros this year. He faced the White Sox in his first start of the year, throwing 4 2/3 innings and allowing one earned run.
J.A. Happ (STL) 9/12 vs. CIN 9/17 vs. SD 9/22 @ MIL
All three of these future opponents are either clawing it out for a wildcard spot or leading their division. J.A. Happ will be forced to work through the ninth, 14th, and 18th-ranked wRC+ in that span—not a terrible billing—but this is the time for the Reds and Padres to separate themselves. Happ has also allowed 11 runs in his last six innings (two starts).
Zac Gallen (ARI) 9/13 @ LAD 9/18 @ HOU 9/23 vs. ATL
Two division leaders and the Dodgers are on the horizon for Zac Gallen. The D-Backs could have a lot to do with the playoff picture down the stretch as they face a lot of strong opponents, but Gallen will be run through a gauntlet to close the season. His current 4.32 ERA is the worst of his career.
Max Scherzer (LAD) 9/12 vs. SD 9/17 @ CIN 9/22 @ COL
The Padres and Dodgers will square off again this weekend and Max Scherzer gets the series finale. San Diego will need to hold their ground in a tough stretch in order to keep their postseason hopes alive; if they are to make it in, they will likely face the same Dodgers they see this weekend (pending any switch with the Giants). Scherzer will then roll through a wildcard-contending Reds squad before paying a visit to Coors Field.
Taijuan Walker (NYM) 9/11 vs. NYY 9/17 vs. PHI 9/22 @ BOS
Taijuan Walker allowed six runs in his last start, tying his season-high. It came against a Nationals squad that hasn’t quite posted the offense that the Yankees and Red Sox have, two opponents on his future schedule. All three of Walker’s next presumed opponents are making wildcard pushes and the Mets have lost a bunch of that momentum.
Kolby Allard (TEX) 9/11 @ OAK 9/16 vs. HOU 9/21 @ NYY
After facing the Angels and Astros, Kolby Allard finishes his grand tour of the AL West with the A’s and Astros again. He allowed eight earned runs in his last two starts (a combined 11 2/3 IP) and is forced to work through the eighth, first, and 13th-ranked wRC+ down the stretch.
Casey Mize (DET) 9/11 vs. TB 9/16 @ TB 9/21 vs. CHW
Tampa Bay is ahead in the AL East by a wide margin, and about the only relief for Casey Mize down the stretch is on whether the Rays step off the gas a little bit. He will double up against the fourth-ranked wRC+ figure, only to follow it up with the third-best.
Tarik Skubal (DET) 9/12 vs. TB 9/17 @ TB 9/22 vs. CHW
Due to an untimely off day, Tarik Skubal’s schedule lines up exactly with Mize but one day later. He’s allowed eight runs in his last eight innings, so this could be dangerous. Skubal has thrown a combined 11 innings against the White Sox this year, allowing four runs.
John Gant (MIN) 9/13 @ NYY 9/18 @ TOR 9/23 vs. TOR
*Avoids CHC 9/21-22
The Twins are headed to the Bronx for one singular game on 9/13 in between two home series. John Gant drew the extreme short straw on this one, avoiding some easier matchups along the way. He will instead take on the Yankees in the middle of a serious wildcard push, only to face the second-best wRC+ figure in the Blue Jays—twice.
Soon To Be A Bad Schedule
Marco Gonzales (SEA) 9/10 vs. ARI 9/15 vs. BOS 9/20 @ OAK
Future wRC+ figures in succession: 28th, fifth, eighth. The Mariners can gain some ground this weekend as they face the D-Backs, but it could soon be on guys like Marco Gonzales to lead them into the postseason territory. Seattle recently caught up with Oakland in the wildcard hunt.
Kyle Freeland (COL) 9/11 @ PHI 9/16 @ ATL 9/21 vs. LAD 9/26 vs. SF
The Phillies have the 17th-ranked wRC+ right now but their postseason hopes could make them a tougher opponent than what is on paper. Kyle Freeland will then pay a visit to Atlanta as they lead their division, only to get some Coors Field action against the two frontrunners in the NL West.
We Don’t Know What Schedule This Is
These all depend on what version of the Padres will close out the season:
TBD (SF) 9/10 @ CHC 9/15 vs. SD 9/21 @ SD 9/26 @ COL 10/1 vs. SD
The Giants have yet to announce their starter for this evening, which could mean manager Gabe Kapler is giving this one to the bullpen. This slot in the rotation gets some serious action against the Padres, and the rigor is entirely dependent on what kind of the Padres we see down the stretch. Offseason spending suggests this is a tough road ahead, but the cumulative record suggests this one could be easier.
Kevin Gausman (SF) 9/11 @ CHC 9/16 vs. SD 9/22 @ SD 9/28 vs. ARI 10/3 vs. SD
Kevin Gausman finds himself in a similar Padre position, taking three projected starts against them over his next five. His last start came in his hometown of Denver, Colorado, tossing seven innings of three-run ball to the Rockies and working his season ERA to a 2.58.
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