Expected SP Schedules: Who Has the Best Matchups in Weeks 3-4

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

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

(DH) indicates a doubleheader that day.


Arizona Diamondbacks


Diamondbacks’ Expected Schedule
  • The walks are problematic for Merrill Kelly, and you won’t feel comfortable starting him until Week 5 (vs. WSN). In 12-teamers, that’s a drop.
  • Drey Jameson has the same stretch, I’d hold him through the tough run. By that time, he’ll be fully stretched out and able to go deeper into games.
  • Hope everyone stuck with Gallen! He’s an elite talent, don’t worry about him!




Atlanta’s Expected Schedule
  • Welcome back, Max Fried! His welcome-back party (@SDP, HOU, then @NYM) is brutal. It’ll take him a few turns to get ramped up and back in the swing. Indeed, you’re not starting him in the first start, so patience is key.
  • Bryce Elder? Not this week, skip it (vs. HOU) and pick him up for next week (vs. MIA).
  • Even though Kyle Wright looked terrific in his previous start, Houston is not the Royals. Although, it was encouraging to see Wright toss 95 pitches and 63 for strikes. Just wait a week on him.


Baltimore Orioles


Orioles’ Expected Schedule
  • Kyle Bradish returns but for how much? Luckily, he gets a perfect matchup to ease into. However, he is a hold, at best.
  • There are a ton of decent spots to pick and choose from. Dean Kremer and Kyle Gibson probably don’t offer enough to be locked-in starters for 12-team leagues. Should you need an immediate SP, I guess they work but neither is reliable. Additionally, the same rule goes for Tyler Wells. He’s fine but not a must-get; streamers, at best.
  • Grayson Rodriguez is a must-get!


Boston Red Sox


Red Sox’s Expected Schedule
  • Brayan Bello returns, and if you want to scoop him up early wait and see. Do it. He flashed some terrific skills last season but you don’t know what you’ll get in the first start (especially vs. LAA). Maybe he’ll be ready for his start against MIL.
  • Corey Kluber and Nick Pivetta always feel like a trap. You’ll put them on your roster, they’ll shut someone down and then, boom, blow up your ratios. Pass on both.
  • Chris Sale is a rare talent you’ve just got to keep tossing out there. There is no way he’ll carry a 52.6% LOB%.
  • Against a red-hot Rays offense, Garrett Whitlock tossed 85 pitches in his 2023 debut. This time around, he gets a weaker opponent and then a favorable pitcher’s park. Scoop him up for these next two turns.


Chicago Cubs


Cubs’ Expected Schedule
  • After getting pummeled by Seattle, many want nothing to do with Hayden Wesneski. However, Oakland is an abysmal offense and this could be the get-right type of game. He should at least be on your radar for this first week because after LAD it’s a couple of easier matchups.


Chicago White Sox


White Sox’s Expected Schedule
  • Do yourself a favor and cut Michael Kopech. He isn’t the hyped-up prospect he once was. His middling fastball velocity is leading to a sub-20% K-rate.
  • Lynn, Giolito, and Clevinger get the same tough matchups. You could drop Clevinger and be fine, but the other two will be lengthy holds. Given the new run environment, don’t let them go.


Cincinnati Reds


Reds’ Expected Schedule
  • Luke Weaver is back in the fray. But he gets one of the hottest offenses at home. Nope!
  • While we hate to start Reds’ SPs at home, Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo hold far too much K upside to sit. It could come with a blowout but either is poised to strike out double-digits in that matchup. Smooth sailing for another few starts afterward.
  • If Graham Ashcraft is on the wire, scoop him up. He’s throwing the slider about two MPH harder and it’s holding the arsenal together. He’s an easy start @PIT and should get in vs. TEX.


Cleveland Guardians


Reds’ Expected Schedule
  • Without Triston McKenzie and Aaron Civale, this rotation looks quite poor. Luckily, Shane Bieber is still there!
  • The real question is, what to make of these lesser-known SPs like Peyton Battenfield or Hunter Gaddis? Against DET, everyone is in play. To make matters even more interesting, they get weak opponents in the second start.
  • Sure, Zach Plesac is an option to stream. He won’t be great but there is a chance at a win.


Colorado Rockies


Rockies’ Expected Schedule
  • The best K-BB% on the rotation is Germán Márquez at 17.5%. Except, he’s out with an injury. That means the leader, by default, would be Kyle Freeland and his 8.6% K-BB%. Yes, skip this rotation as much as possible.


Detroit Tigers


Tigers’ Expected Schedule
  • Due to bad weather, Matthew Boyd pushes back from a soft matchup against the Giants to one vs. CLE. He is still allowing too many free passes and it’s probably best to pass on him too.
  • The intriguing arm of the start is Spencer Turnbull, who just carved up the Toronto lineup. He appears to be fully ramped up and could finally get starts vs. weaker opponents.


Houston Astros


Astros’ Expected Schedule
  • Boy! Very tough matchups for a bit. These will all be gut-calls.


Kansas City Royals


Royals’ Expected Schedule
  • Sorry, everyone, Kris Bubic isn’t in here. Conversely, the likely candidate to fill his role is Ryan Yarbrough.
  • With Brady Singer not doing enough, the most intriguing arm is Brad Keller. After cutting back the slider, and leaning on a fastball/curveball approach, Keller is finding a groove. Unfortunately, he’s missing the zone a little bit more than we like. Still, he could be a viable option on the wire for an immediate impact.


Los Angeles Angels


Angels’ Expected Schedule
  • The six-man rotation is always a challenge to navigate but the next two starts are fairly straightforward.
  • Outside of the obvious calls, José Suarez and Griffin Canning should get the most attention. Neither should get starts @NYY but vs. OAK is a must and Suarez gets @MIL. These could be solid streaming options if you can hold them on your bench for a week.


Los Angeles Dodgers


Dodgers’ Expected Schedule
  • Most of this staff is rostered. But, perhaps, not Michael Grove. After a disappointing first couple of starts, he led with the slider and it produced great results vs. CHC. He’ll get them again and then follow up @PIT. Get him where you can.
  • The rest of the staff you’re starting/holding, depending on your league and depth…besides Noah Syndergaard. If you can, take the first start(vs. NYM) off and hold him until the following. Don’t get cute with him, or it’ll backfire.


Miami Marlins


Marlins’ Expected Schedule
  • Sandy Alcantara is fine. Jesús Luzardo is on cruise control.
  • Trevor Rogers and Edward Cabrera are starting vs. SFG but both are sitting ATL. You’ll be rewarded with an easier double-tap matchup vs. CHC afterward.
  • Braxton Garrett is in a really tough place. He’s been terrific against some tough opponents(NYM and ARI). Perhaps, only in a 15-team league should we consider this one.


Milwaukee Brewers


Brewers’ Expected Schedule


Minnesota Twins


Twins’ Expected Schedule
  • The rotation is healthy (knock on wood) and shoving. Just keep plugging any of them in.


New York Mets


Mets’ Expected Schedule
  • The entire staff has struggled with command. Every single starter boasts a walk rate north of 10%.
  • Even with problematic walks, you’re starting most of these guys on most nights. The one to avoid is Carlos Carrasco. Even though he’s got an amazing string of suitable matchups, the fastball velocity is way down. If you want to stash him and hope the velocity returns, be my guest.


New York Yankees


Yankees’ Expected Schedule
  • Clarke Schmidt continues to scuffle. With the rough starts ahead, sending him back to the wire is completely viable, if you’ve got better options. The same goes for Jhony Brito.
  • Domingo Germán has been good enough to earn a little leash. However, I’d suggest skipping the first start vs. TOR and looking at @MIN or CLE for your spot.


Oakland Athletics


Athletics’ Expected Schedule
  • JP Sears has been the pick of the litter. Except none of them are particularly useful for fantasy. Pass and look elsewhere.


Philadelphia Phillies


Phillies’ Expected Schedule
  • Bailey Falter is barely throwing 90 mph and giving up worlds of hard contact (36.1%). Luckily, he’s been able to induce a ton of groundballs (52.9%) but it’s likely not going to stick. Against tough opponents, sit him. Against weaker opponents, start him. Against middle-of-the-road opponents like CHW and BOS, that’s your call.
  • The Matt Strahm experiment has been fun but not with your time in a 12-teamer. He’s yet to throw 70 pitches in a start and that’ll make it nearly impossible for him to pick up a win. Pass!


Pittsburgh Pirates


Pirates’ Expected Schedule
  • Johan Oviedo is turning some heads but matchups @COL and LAD mean you’ll be way too early if you pick him up now. Wait a couple of weeks for the one-start turn @WSN.
  • Besides Oviedo, Mitch Keller has been stellar. Start him vs. CIN, wait a couple of turns, then start COL. I’d almost be tempted to toss him out @TBR but he is still walking batters at a 10% clip.


San Diego Padres


Padres’ Expected Schedule
  • This is an excruciatingly painful rotation to forecast. The first week appears very simple, however, the following is nearly impossible. Due to the six-man rotation, the two extra days off will mean either someone is skipped or something like a Nick Martinez/Michael Wacha piggyback situation is in the making. And then, they’ve got another day off shortly thereafter. My advice would be to try and stay away from looking too far down the road.


San Francisco Giants


Giants’ Expected Schedule
  • Thanks to the weather, Logan Webb is pushed back to Monday. The rest of the rotation follows suit.
  • The SP this greatly affects is Sean Manaea, who goes from an easy start (@ MIA) to a sit (vs. NYM). While the added fastball velocity is nice, dropping him in favor of something else is plausible, given his next three matchups.


Seattle Mariners


Mariners’ Expected Schedule
  • Chris Flexen has not been good, don’t fall victim to the light-green MIL stream. The same goes for Marco Gonzales, who returns from the Paternity List. Congrats.
  • The rest are auto-starts for a bit. Although, we’d love to see George Kirby find his strikeout mojo. A K-rate under 18% is a little worrisome.


St. Louis Cardinals


Cardinals’ Expected Schedule
  • Jack Flaherty carries a walk rate of over 20%. Regardless of the matchup, he can’t get the nod vs. ARI. I understand he’s managed to keep things together but it will eventually blow up. Maybe not against ARI, but SEA/LAD/LAA are too good.
  • At least for the next two starts, Jordan Montgomery and Steven Matz are currently the only two SPs to consider starting. Yes, @SEA is a stretch but Matz tossed 110 pitches and could pull that one off.


Tampa Bay Rays


Rays’ Expected Schedule
  • Injuries have us all with our hands up in the air wondering who’ll get the next few starts. Will it be Taj Bradley to piggyback off of Beeks? Or will he go Tuesday? Your best bet is to keep an eye out for more updates.
  • Yeah, that’s a tough stretch for Drew Rasmussen. However, he did get up to 93 pitches and rarely gives up hard contact (15.4% HC/8th best in MLB). Don’t give up on him.


Texas Rangers


Rangers’ Expected Schedule
  • Walks are hurting Martín Pérez, Jon Gray, and Andrew Heaney. Well, HRs are too. For that reason, starting them @KCR and vs. OAK is a no-brainer. However, Heaney rides the pine vs. NYY. Would you start someone with walks and HRs in Great American Ball Park? The answer is no.


Toronto Blue Jays


Blue Jays’ Expected Schedule
  • Oof. The wheels are falling off of Alek Manoah. Furthermore, it won’t get any easier to decide his fate as he gets tough matchup after tough matchup. Honestly, I wish I had the answer. Let’s hope he figures things out.
  • While Kevin Gausman is a sure-fire start @HOU, José Berríos is not. The same goes for Chris Bassitt. In 12-teamers, you’ll need to find someone else.


Washington Nationals


Nationals’ Expected Schedule
  • There is just nothing here worth holding onto for a week. MacKenzie Gore is still a work in progress and can’t be trusted. Maybe he makes adjustments and gets things fixed for the CHC start. But you can wait.
  • The rest is an easy pass.


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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