Expected SP Schedules: Who Has the Best Matchups in Weeks 1.5-2

EVERY starter on EVERY team broken down!

With not even a week into the season, we’ve got a special piece for you. Say you whiffed on pitching, or the injury bug stung you after the draft. I’ve broken down every MLB team’s starting rotation and forecasted them with each team’s upcoming schedule. You may ask, why would you do this? The most straightforward answer is finding the best upcoming matchups for the lesser-known starting pitchers.

This way, we can maximize the end of our rosters and try to squeeze every last ounce of value that might be available on a waiver wire. Or, perhaps, drop a fringe-worthy pitcher early due to horrendous matchups. Churning your roster at the correct times is key to late-season management. Think about it this way: do you really need to hold onto that pitcher if you’re not going to start him in these key weeks?

Indeed, we are ranking these matchups based on the opponent’s offense, and here are my offensive tiers to do so. Also, please don’t get too held up on the offensive ranks… it’s early and there are always surprises.

Dave Swan’s Offensive Tiers




  • The Angels added some firepower(Hunter Renfroe) to the dynamic 1-2-3 of Taylor Ward, Shohei Ohtani, and Mike Trout. While it may only be less than a week into the season, they’ll bump up.
  • Along with LAA, the Rays jolt up a tier. They continue to play the matchup game and put runs on the board.



  • The Cincinnati Reds aren’t a stout offense. However, they get a slight bump whenever they play at home as Great American Ballpark is a haven for HRs.



  • There is some real potential here, but in terms of a dangerous offense; not yet.



  • No changes here, these offenses are flat-out bad, right now.


(OFF) means the team has an off-day before they play that team.

(DH) indicates a doubleheader that day.


Arizona Diamondbacks


Diamondbacks’ Expected Schedule
  • Madison Bumgarner is experiencing issues with arm fatigue. As we await more details, consider stashing Brandon Pfaadt or Drey Jameson. Nope, Madbum is OK, and will remain in the rotation.
  • Zac Gallen just needs to skip past SDP and gets a favorable set against MIL and MIA. Be patient; however, the rest is probably worth sending back to the waiver wire. You could hold Merrill Kelly and see if he can build upon his first outing which only lasted 77 pitches.




Atlanta’s Expected Schedule
  • You should be starting Strider against everyone, as he’s looking pretty darn elite again. However, the same can’t be said for Jared Shuster, who couldn’t find command of his pitches and let things get out of hand early. Shuster’s second start against CIN is a juicy one, and if you’ve already invested in him, feel free to wait and see how he performs vs. SDP.
  • Deep leagues need to put Bryce Elder on their watch list. With Max Fried’s injury, Elder will get a look at the rotation. Maybe he can toss a gem against CIN, as he did last year at the end of September (9 IP, 6 K, 0 ER).


Baltimore Orioles


Orioles’ Expected Schedule
  • Dean Kremer and Cole Irvin could ride the bench and find a couple of viable spots afterward. Although, both are coming off of lackluster performances, so, buyers beware!
  • The remaining trio (Bradish-Wells-Gibson) is likely available in your league and doesn’t have the worst matchups ahead. Keep tabs on these three and scoop someone up if you need some depth in the reserves.


  • After Kyle Bradish took a liner off his leg, Tyler Wells made an impromptu lengthy relief appearance. He was slated to start on Tuesday but we are still waiting on an announcement. Bradish will hit the IL.
  • The announcement was made, and Grayson Rodriguez will shuffle into the rotation. He’ll get a start on Wednesday(4/5).


Boston Red Sox


Red Sox’s Expected Schedule
  • Searching for immediate help? Start with Boston, however, you’ll want to churn them after the first go.
  • Kutter Crawford is keepable for PIT and @DET; and so is Chris Sale (obviously). But the rest of the rotation needs to go back to the scrap heap for better options.


Chicago Cubs


Cubs’ Expected Schedule
  • Drew Smyly has looked solid at times, and starting him in Cincy probably isn’t the worst option. Additionally, it’s worth scooping Wesneski up for a start against the Reds, in case he lives up to the hype.
  • Tough early sailing for Stroman, Taillon, and Steele as they don’t get anything easy for another two weeks. Still, you’re probably not dropping them unless your team context dictates it. Just make plans to stream someone while they sit on your bench.


Chicago White Sox


White Sox’s Expected Schedule
  • The schedule is favorable for everyone in this rotation but gets ugly toward the end. Furthermore, most of these SPs are widely rostered, so start ’em if you’ve got them. Otherwise, you’ve got time to find out if Clevinger’s performance against HOU was real, or how Kopech looks for his season debut.


Cincinnati Reds


Reds’ Expected Schedule
  • Note: The Reds are taxed one tier anytime they are home. Hence, different shades for games vs. CHC, PHI, and TBR.
  • I’m not touching Overton or Cessa, even against the Cubs’ offense. No need to be that brave, this early in the season.
  • Some brutal upcoming matchups for the team’s intriguing arms (Greene-Lodolo-Ashcraft). You could dump Ashcraft for a few turns and scoop him back up in a few weeks, but Greene and Lodolo will get plucked from the wire if you cut ties. Instead, you’ve got to hold for a while.


Cleveland Guardians


Guardians’ Expected Schedule
  • I’m still not buying into Zach Plesac or Hunter Gaddis… but they do have some very nice matchups.
  • Unfortunately, Cal Quantrill is rostered in over 70% of Yahoo leagues. So, the market is on him already and it’ll be challenging to get him early for the @WSH and @DET matchups.
  • The big question here: Would you start Aaron Civale in his first two matchups (vs. SEA and vs. NYY)? Probably not, so I’d send him back to the wire; especially in ten and 12-team leagues.


Colorado Rockies


Rockies’ Expected Schedule
  • Note: The Rockies are taxed one tier anytime they are home. Hence, different shades for games vs. WSN, STL, and PIT.
  • Don’t do it. Even with easy matchups at home, it’s not worth the headache.


Detroit Tigers


Tigers’ Expected Schedule
  • Joey Wentz, come on down! After a meh performance against the Rays (5.1 IP, 3 ER) that also showcased an increase in velocity. Wentz becomes interesting in deeper leagues with a string of weaker opponents. Finally, with next to no roster%, he’ll be there if you’re looking for a cheap streamer.
  • There’s no solid reasoning for starting anyone else the next two starts. Ten and 12-teamers can cut them if you need the space, and jump back in after the second starts.


Houston Astros


Astro’s Expected Schedule
  • The only piece of this rotation potentially available is Hunter Brown (22% rostered on Yahoo). Part of the reason he’s available could be the poor command in Spring Training paired with a nagging back issue. Houston may handle him with kiddie gloves and limit some of the early-season innings.  However, the upside is immense so he’s worth a priority pickup.


Kansas City Royals


Royals’ Expected Schedule
  • Overall, this is not a strong rotation to pluck SPs from. Additionally, they don’t have too many favorable matchups. Maybe Brady Singer against SFG? But he’s rostered on nearly two-thirds of Yahoo leagues, so skip this rotation, for now.


Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim


Angels’ Expected Schedule
  • With OFF days in the first two weeks, the Angels won’t need a sixth starter. Tucker Davidson tossed 40 pitches out of the pen recently, but the team could also look to promote Chase Silseth for a spot start.


Los Angeles Dodgers


Dodgers’ Expected Schedule
  • If you roster Julio Urías, you’re grinning from ear to ear. Great matchups for quite a while.
  • Dustin May, Kershaw, and Syndergaard are easy starts, but what about Michael Grove? Well, it’s been reported that Grove should get at least three starts. Throughout Grove’s time in the Minor Leagues, he touted over a strikeout per inning. While his success didn’t translate as well during last year’s six MLB starts, he’s worth streaming for the early season.


Miami Marlins


Marlins’ Expected Schedule
  • Johnny Cueto rostered at 45% is a trip. Don’t take it. Sandy? Yeah, he gets every start possible.
  • The other three(Luzardo, Cabrera, and Rogers) are more matchup-dependent. Unfortunately, Cabrera draws the short end of the stick and isn’t viable until his third start. Sit him till then.


  • Well, Cueto’s roster% will be dropping as he hits the IL. Braxton Garrett likely jumps into the rotation, however, if they Marlins use the OFF days then Garrett may not get another start. Expect another update on this situation.


Milwaukee Brewers


Brewers’ Expected Schedule
  • OOF! No easy ones for the Brew Crew. Burnes, Woodruff, and Peralta are locks but Wade Miley and Eric Lauer need to hit the waiver wire as soon as possible. You can find better options in the next four weeks.


Minnesota Twins


Twins’ Expected Schedule
  • From this rotation, you’ll really only be able to find Kenta Maeda on the wire. And should you need an upside play with a decent pair of matchups, it’ll be tough to find better. However, it’s been a long while since he’s thrown a ton of innings. So, we should temper our expectations.


New York Mets


Mets’ Expected Schedule
  • Tylor Megill and David Peterson are must-adds for this week. Both are readily available in Yahoo leagues and get winnable matchups. Unfortunately, they’ll run into the Padres and Dodgers afterward. Should you start them against either? No, but holding onto them for a couple of weeks José Quintana and Justin Verlander are saddled with IL tags.


New York Yankees


Yankees’ Expected Schedule
  • Nestor Cortes finished his Spring Training strong and hurled four innings to quiet down the talks about his preseason injury. He should be all set for a tough matchup against the Phillies.
  • Clarke Schmidt will lock down the rotation until the injured arms return. Schmidt is appealing as he flexes two solid breakers (slider: 5.47 PLV, curveball: 5.3 PLV).
  • Jhony Brito was optioned to Triple-A to stay stretched out as the Yankees use the OFF day to maintain a five-man rotation. Surely, this situation is worth monitoring as changes may come.


Oakland Athletics


Athletics’ Expected Schedule
  • If you want to know everything about Shintaro Fujimani’s debut, check out the GIF Breakdown by Ben Palmer.
  • This is yet another rotation to avoid.


Philadelphia Phillies


Phillies’ Expected Schedule
  • When you see a block of matchups like this you wish you had more of them on your roster. Surely, Nola and Wheeler aren’t possibly on the wire. Even, Taijuan Walker is rostered in nearly 70% of leagues. But wait! Bailey Falter and Matt Strahm could be available.  The one you should target is Falter, as he’s got a string of good matchups, with CIN and COL on the road. Lastly, Strahm is simply a placeholder for Ranger Suárez.


Pittsburgh Pirates


Pirates’ Expected Schedule
  • This is a staff we are still avoiding. Feel free to drop anyone as it’ll be a few weeks until you’re able to start any of them.


San Diego Padres


Padres’ Expected Schedule
  • A six-man rotation will be implemented until Joe Musgrove gets back from the IL, and Ryan Weathers has been informed he will start in his place.
  • Seth Lugo looked terrific in his outing yesterday. Will this make him a streamer against ATL? No, but getting ahead for MIL, @ARI, and SFG would work for me.
  • Lastly, Nick Martinez and Michael Wacha are useful streamers. If you have the room on your bench, set them until the matchup against the Brewers.


San Francisco Giants


Giants’ Expected Schedule
  • Anthony DeSclafani will open Monday’s game, and Sean Manaea will piggyback. If you’re looking for a sneaky play to vulture a win, Manaea would be in line for the bulk RP work. At the moment, there is no news on how long the two work in this tandem.


Seattle Mariners


Mariners’ Expected Schedule
  • Outside of the early LAA starts, it’s still all systems go in Seattle!
  • Chris Flexen slots into the hole left by Robbie Ray. Flexen tossed 66 pitches in a relief appearance on Saturday, so he’ll be good to go as a starter.


St. Louis Cardinals


Cardinals’ Expected Schedule
  • Jack Flaherty’s last start vs. TOR was an interesting one. He didn’t allow any hits but walked seven(!!!) batters. However, he’ll get an easier matchup against the Brewers before a road trip to Coors Field, where you’re sitting him.
  • Wait! Miles Mikolas is still rostered in 76% of Yahoo leagues. He got rocked in his first start then gets Atlanta and Coors Field? No, thank you!
  • Oddly, Jordan Montgomery, who was also 76% rostered in Yahoo was dropped in 6% of leagues. But look at his upcoming schedule. Perhaps, take a look and see if someone in your league made a mistake, or doesn’t look ahead.


Tampa Bay Rays


Rays’ Expected Schedule
  • Everyone in the rotation has a great matchup in the first two starts. Heck, Zach Eflin gets a really solid string of winnable matchups. However, the Rays still do what the Rays do, and pull starters early. He’s basically rostered in less than 10% of leagues, so get Eflin while he’s still out there and hope they give him more leash.
  • Josh Fleming is only an option in the deepest of leagues. I would assume he never sees an offense more than twice in an outing.


Texas Rangers


Rangers’ Expected Schedule
  • Outside of the series at Houston, everyone in this rotation should be in play for starts.
  • deGrom managers, stop drooling!
  • Also, it’s worth noting that Martín Pérez’s fastball velocity was way down.


Toronto Blue Jays


Blue Jays’ Expected Schedule
  • Only Yusei Kikuchi might be available on your wire. He was a strikeout machine (31 K in 20 IP) in Spring Training but it remains to be seen if he’ll ever translate to a full-time starter. Either way, getting in early on an SP with a winning team can work out well. At the very least, put him on your watch list.


Washington Nationals


Nationals’ Expected Schedule
  • You’ve made it this long; wish the payoff was better. Unfortunately, the Washington rotation won’t bare much fruit.


Dave Swan

Dave Swan is an avid Chicago Cubs fan that enjoys all aspects of fantasy baseball-especially DFS. He would trade his right arm for a GIF library of Greg Maddux pitches. Swan's baseball thoughts are available at @davithius.

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