Nathan Eovaldi (BOS) 4/30 @ TEX 4/5 @ DET 5/10 @ BAL
The Rangers and Tigers currently rank 1st and 3rd in strikeout percentage, and Nathan Eovaldi will have a prime opportunity to raise his K% out of the 41st percentile. He has shown for eight earned runs in his last two starts (11 1/3 IP), but the 14th and 29th-ranked wRC+ will give him a favorable means to better his 3.77 ERA. Eovaldi also holds a 1.94 FIP on the year, so predictive metrics and future scheduling looks to be on his side.
Zac Gallen (ARI) 5/1 vs. COL 5/6 @ MIA 5/11 vs. TOR
A Saturday start against the 30th-ranked wRC+ will kick off a stretch for Zac Gallen where he won’t see a wRC+ above 19 until the middle of May. He will take on the Rockies at home, followed by the Marlins (5th-worst K%) and Blue Jays (9th-lowest BB%).
Adam Wainwright (STL) 5/2 @ PIT 5/7 vs. COL 5/12-13 @ MIL
*Avoids NYM 5/3-6
The two worst projected standings by FanGraphs belong to the Pirates and Rockies. Adam Wainwright will take on both in his next two starts, fresh on the heels of three earned runs in his last 16 innings pitched. He also threw a complete game against the Phillies on Monday, so the 39-year-old doesn’t seem to be slowing down any too fast.
Alex Wood (SF) 5/4 @ COL 5/9 vs. SD or 5/10 vs. TEX
This schedule will be largely dependent on how Giants manager Gabe Kapler handles a Thursday off day, but there is a chance that Alex Wood could miss six games with the Padres in the next 10 days, instead facing the Rangers on the backside. A start at Coors Field could be a minor challenge, but the Rockies’ bats haven’t exactly been dominant as of late.
Tyler Mahle (CIN) 5/2 vs. CHC 5/7 @ CLE 5/12 @ PIT
There hasn’t been much offense posted in Cleveland or the north side of Chicago this year (26th, 25th in wRC+) and Tyler Mahle gets the luxury of facing both in his next two starts—and then the Pirates (23rd). The Reds have next Monday and Thursday off, which may push him out of his start with Pittsburgh and into a start against the Rockies (30th).
Corey Kluber (NYY) 5/2 @ DET 5/7 vs. WAS
Detroit and Washington currently have wRC+ figures below 90, and Corey Kluber allowed a single run to Baltimore in his last start (6 2/3 IP). Both the Tigers and Nationals are at the bottom of their respective divisions, which may further fuel the Yankees to pull themselves out of a tough start in 2021. Kluber’s schedule shows the Rays after that, however, and their wRC+ ranks 8th.
Julio Urías (LAD) 5/2 @ MIL 5/7 “@“ LAA 5/12 vs. SEA
The Angels will look to be Julio Urías‘ toughest foe in his next three starts (6th in wOBA), but it is bookended by the 25th and 28th-ranked wOBA in the Brewers and Mariners. His road start with the Angels will also be a glorified home game, as he won’t be forced into the standard travel rigors of a normal road trip.
John Means (BAL) 4/30 @ OAK 5/5 @ SEA
Now would be the best time to buy John Means stock before Baltimore closes out May with a tough slate of opposing lineups (BOS, NYM, NYY, TB, MIN, CHW). Oakland and Seattle, despite holding their own in the AL West, have ranked 15th and 28th in wOBA. The A’s were also shut out on Wednesday and have lost three of their past five, so Means is facing a team with different momentum when he toes the rubber tonight.
Sean Manaea (OAK) 5/1 vs. BAL 5/6 vs. TOR
Now would also be the time to jump on the Sean Manaea train for two starts, as Oakland will soon round out May with the Red Sox, Twins, Astros and Angels, all holding a top-10 wRC+. Manaea will pitch Saturday against the Orioles (28th in wRC+) and will later see the Blue Jays (20th). He has allowed one earned run in his past 12 innings against some tough lineups in the Rays (8th in wRC+) and Twins (9th).
Casey Mize (DET) 5/4 @ BOS 5/9 vs. MIN
The only relief for Casey Mize in early May looks to be a start with the Cubs on the 14th. They rank 24th in wOBA while his next two opponents, the Red Sox and Twins, rank 1st and 9th. Mize also allowed six earned runs to the Royals in 4 2/3 innings a week ago, and allowed three earned to the White Sox on Thursday, going six frames.
Hyun Jin Ryu (TOR) 5/1 vs. ATL 5/5 @ OAK 5/11 @ ATL
Atlanta will look to stay atop the NL East and the A’s will look to remain one of the hottest team in baseball when Hyun Jin Ryu takes them on at the beginning of May. Atlanta ranks 4th in wOBA and Oakland ranks 10th in wRC+ (but their wOBA ranks a mere 15th—see John Means/Good Schedule).
Shane Bieber (CLE) 4/30 @ CWS 4/5 @ KC
*Day off on 4/10–extra day of rest?
The White Sox and Royals are clawing it out atop the AL Central and Shane Bieber will have a front-row seat for each of them in his next two starts. He’s allowed five runs in his last two starts (15 IP), facing the Yankees and Reds, and also shut out the White Sox in a complete game on April 13. Kansas City was held to just two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in Bieber’s first start against them this year (4/7). It’s hard to label this a ‘bad’ schedule with Bieber as a top-tier arm, but the White Sox may be eager to avenge their struggles against him earlier and the Royals could make a statement in the standings against a marquee pitcher.
José Ureña (DET) 5/2 @ NYY 5/7 vs. MIN 5/12 vs. KC
*Avoids BOS 5/4-5/6
The Yankees are looking to make their way out of the cellar in the AL East and their wRC+ now ranks 12th, which suggests they could be getting there. José Ureña will face them on Sunday, followed by the Twins and the 9th-ranked wOBA. He will then take on the division-leading Royals; their team wRC+ is below average (95), but they will look to cement their divisional lead with the Tigers at the bottom. Ureña is coming off a seven-inning start against the White Sox, however, and allowed a single run.
Zach Eflin (PHI) 5/2 vs. NYM 5/7 @ ATL
The Mets’ bats have cooled (18th in wRC+) and now could be one of the most desirable times to face them, but they will still be clawing it out with both Atlanta and Philadelphia near the top of the NL East. Zach Eflin just allowed five runs to the Cardinals in his last start (6 2/3 innings). The Braves will be up on the 7th, which doesn’t seem to do many favors (6th in wRC+).
Josh Fleming (TB) 4/30 vs. HOU 5/5 @ LAA 5/11 vs NYY
The Astros and Angels rank 6th and 7th in wOBA and are currently in a tight-knit AL West, with four teams within 2.5 games of first place. Josh Fleming will be forced to deal with two of those divisional foes as they look to surmount themselves in the early-season standings, and there is a further chance that the Yankees will turn things around in time for one of Fleming’s later starts. The Yankees currently rank 16th in wOBA but they don’t seem projected to stay there.
Carlos Rodón (CHW) 5/4 @ CIN 5/9 @ KC
*Avoids CHC 5/11-12
Cincinnati’s record may have cooled off, but they still hold the 7th best wRC+. Carlos Rodón will face them before a start in Kansas City against the leaders in the AL Central, with his White Sox looking to cover some ground as they loom in second. Rodón has allowed two earned runs in four starts so far, but his two previous starts were both against Cleveland, ranking 25th in wRC+. He will look to the Cubs after his Kansas City start (5/14), and could find himself on the ‘good’ schedule list soon.
Joe Ross (WAS) or other starter 4/30 vs. MIA 5/5 @ ATL or 5/7-9 NYY (?)
The Nationals have not been particularly quick in announcing their starting pitchers other than Max Scherzer; as of Friday morning, only Scherzer’s start on Sunday was announced for their games from Thursday-Monday. Joe Ross was finally tabbed as their starter this evening, and should he stay on a five-day cycle, he will soon match up with the 13th and 6th-best offensive fWAR. If the Nationals opt to shake up their rotation, there is a chance he will see the Yankees instead (April 7-9).
José Berríos (MIN) 5/2 vs. KC 5/7 vs. DET 5/12 @ CHW
It’s tough to have a truly ‘bad’ schedule when the Twins play seven straight against the Rangers and Tigers next week, but José Berríos drew the short straw and only gets one start over that span. He will see the Royals and White Sox before and after that stretch, ranking a respective 15th and 1st in wRC+.
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