Expected SP Schedules: Who Has the Best Matchups? – Weeks 3-5

Get an edge on your league by staying one step ahead!

Back with the second installment of our starting pitcher schedule preview, let’s get ready for May and look at the starting pitcher opponent matchups for the next few weeks. Taking a peek ahead at a pitcher’s upcoming schedule can prove to be incredibly valuable early in the season. The dust has barely settled from the draft so player’s values are still very up in the air and largely tied to who they’ve played against so far. Knowing who they have next can be a clever way to stay ahead of your league-mates on the waiver wire or in trade negotiations!

Also, depth is wearing thin for many of us already with the rash of injuries around the league. Being an effective streamer may prove to be more important this season than in recent memory and there appear to be fewer palatable options with each passing day. I used Nick’s April Preview to put together a rudimentary ranking of offenses using some of what we’ve already seen this season.

James’ Early Offensive Tiers

Knowing this, let’s go team by team checking out their next four turns through the rotation and evaluate which pitchers should be used when!


Arizona Diamondbacks


Diamondbacks’ Expected Schedule

It was amazing to see Gallen back so soon from the stress fracture in his right arm. It was even better to see him willing to use all of his pitches in his first outing back. Send him out there with confidence, even in Atlanta. Besides that series with the Braves, this schedule is pretty favorable for the D-Backs.

If they stick with a five-man rotation and this schedule holds, Luke Weaver and *gulp* Madison Bumgarner have a juicy stretch after the first turn through the rotation. Three favorable matchups in a row, hold your nose and dive into the pool.

Otherwise, Kelly and Widener are due for a few rough weeks here in Cincinnati and then the Padres. Stay away from each until the Rockies come to town. This rotation has some sneaky upside here and offers serious streaming potential with a soft spot in the schedule.




Braves’ Expected Schedule

Morton’s rough start gives me pause as he heads to the Bronx, even though he has had success versus this lineup in the past. No other matchup on this instills much fear for anyone in particular, so keep Fried and Anderson in your lineups with confidence. This rotation has been rocky thus far, but these guys are too talented to not turn it around.

The Drew Smyly news that came down Friday really stinks and leads me to believe they might use some of their off days to shuffle Wright and Ynoa around and maybe use them to piggyback one another for a turn or two. Both have looked good though in limited exposure, but still have their flaws (just two pitches for Ynoa and control for Wright).

Still, each is in line for two decent matchups with the D-Backs and Cubs off the jump and could be streamed. If either struggle, Bryse Wilson or a temporary four-man rotation are possible.

EDIT: Fried hit the IL and Bryse Wilson has been called up from the Alternate Site to take his spot. I would definitely wait to see him before dipping my toes in the water against the Blue Jays and Nationals.


Baltimore Orioles


Orioles’ Expected Schedule

The Orioles have two off-days next week opening the door for a four-man rotation that I’m guessing would skip López. If that were the case, Means could catch the Yankees at home in two weeks and the Red Sox rather than a favorable double-dip with the A’s followed by the Mariners.

All my fellow Means-stans need to stay tuned there. It would behoove the O’s the line up their best SP for their most difficult opponents, contrary to what fantasy managers might think.

Zimmerman has delivered on some preseason hype with a strong start and will catch a few favorable matchups here. Scoop him off your waiver wire for that A’s start because he won’t be available anywhere if he impresses against the Yankees.

On the other hand, Kremer’s hype has cooled significantly. Nothing a start in Miami can’t fix!


Boston Red Sox


Red Sox Expected Schedule

A pleasant surprise, this Red Sox rotation has been better than many expected pre-season.

Matchups with the White Sox and Blue Jays are rough to start the week, but I have enough confidence in both Eovaldi and Rodriguez to take a shot during a two-start week. Afterward, a series with the Mets is the only other meeting with a competent offense on the horizon.

Richards has settled down after a disastrous first start and could return some serious value against the Mariners, Tigers, and Orioles. Pivetta, fantasy’s true Jekyll & Hyde, should build upon his strong start against three bottom-tier offenses.

Lastly, I would keep an eye on Tanner Houck here, any misstep from Pérez could see him moved to the bullpen and give Houck a shot against some of the worst offenses in the AL.


Chicago Cubs


Cubs’ Expected Schedule

There could be some movement here after Mills filled in for Hendricks last Tuesday and Adbert Alzolay was sent to the alternate site. The current plan is for Hendricks to stay on schedule and pitch Sunday.

With an off-day Monday, they will not need a fifth starter until the second game against the Brewers and I would bet that it is Mills who gets the call. Either he or Alzolay will stick there because the Cubs have 15 games in 15 days.

This stretch is downright brutal for three turns though. Until a date with the Pirates at home, it will be difficult to trust anyone here besides Hendricks (health permitting). All those who streamed Davies and Arrieta early can feel very very comfortable dropping them now.


Chicago White Sox


White Sox Expected Schedule

Wheeewwww nelly, do we have some good matchups here. Rodón catches the Sox in Fenway on Monday before smooth sailing for the better part of four turns through.

Fire up Lynn, Keuchel, and of course Giolito with the utmost confidence. I would go as far as to say the Rangers, Cleveland, and Royals are on no-hit watch for those Giolito starts.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, Dylan Cease is having command issues. He is the only member of this rotation I would stay away from during this stretch. Luckily for him, the White Sox do not have an obvious 6th starter to give his spot to at the moment, so the leash remains long while Michael Kopech builds up in the pen.


Cincinnati Reds


Reds’ Expected Schedule

Even with off days, the Reds have stayed true to a five-man rotation in the early going this season. I am anticipating that to continue while Hoffman and Miley are pitching well enough to keep their team in the game.

If either flounder, Tejay Antone worked three innings out of the pen last week and seems to be knocking on the door for a rotation spot. He is worth a speculative add in most leagues just for that shot, his value would soar if he slotted into Miley’s spot and drew the Cubs, Cleveland, and Pirates.

I, for one, am ecstatic Castillo gets to miss both the Dodgers and White Sox. His early struggles have been worrisome so far and matchups with two of baseball’s best offenses could exacerbate them. Besides an ugly outing in LA, Mahle has a pretty nice stretch here too, and could find a nice groove.

José De León was bounced for Gray’s return and he is greeted with the Cardinals, Dodgers, and White Sox. I would want to see him take the hill a time or two before including him in my lineup.




Cleveland’s Expected Schedule

Cleveland has been treating McKenzie with kid-gloves so far this season. I doubt he sniffs the fifth inning against either the Yankees or Twins and may be piggy-backed with Allen against Minnesota with an off-day immediately following the series.

Civale has two starts against the White Sox and one against the Twins, but you would not have drafted him if you weren’t planning on throwing him in games like this. The same goes for Plesac with the Yankees rather than Twins. Cannot discount the legitimate bust potential for both, though.

Bieber has proven his ace-hood and then some early on. After the Yankees and White Sox, there are two gifts with the Royals and Cubs, potentially coming in a two-start week. Drafting him in the first round is looking like a slam dunk.


Colorado Rockies


Rockies’ Expected Schedule

The Rockies’ rotation is usually an always fade situation besides Márquez (who has not had it so far), but back to back road series in San Francisco and Arizona create some interesting streaming opportunities.

Gray looks to have rediscovered his mojo and catches three consecutive starts outside of Coors. Keep tabs on his velocity over the next week or so. If it continues to climb, he may be a slick waiver wire add.

Gomber is becoming interesting as well. His velocity plays and the curveball should snap away from home. Games against the Giants, Diamondbacks, Cardinals (revenge game!) on the road might just be enough to give him a look in deeper leagues.

Otherwise, Stay away from González and Senzatela at all costs always. Personally, I’m avoiding Márquez at home until we see some consistency out of him.


Detroit Tigers


Tigers’ Expected Schedule

Ahhhhh all my Boyd Boys stand up! The hard part is over (sort of) and he’s looking at a Kansas City Sandwich here. He’s been so good I wouldn’t have an issue throwing him in there in Chicago or Boston, either.

Trepadatiously, I’m confident in Mize as well. He’s gained the most velocity on his fastball in the league and is commanding his breakers better. The whiffs haven’t come yet so hold off in Chicago and Boston, but the Royals at home is juicy next week.

Skubal has not enjoyed the same success as his teammates. Two very favorable matchups with the Pirates and Royals may be enough to right the ship. Still, proceed with caution. The same goes for Michael Fulmer, who I am trying to remain optimistic about while not ready to trust.

After throwing in a few sim games, Spencer Turnbull looks about ready to rejoin this rotation. Lucky for him, the White Sox and Yankees await! Leave him alone for a few weeks.


Houston Astros


Astros’ Expected Schedule

With 13 games in 13 days, the Astros pitching depth will be tested over the next couple of weeks. You hate to see McCullers and Urquidy draw the Rockies in Coors, but that matchup doesn’t come with the same fear this season as years past.

There are maybe five major league hitters on that roster and early season plate discipline trends lead me to believe it could be the worst offensive output ever in Coors for the home team. Each should still be trusted moving forward.

Otherwise, that Angels series is looking much more dangerous than we thought just a few weeks ago. Odorizzi and Javier probably can’t be trusted there in 10 or 12 team leagues, especially if Anthony Rendon returns. Greinke gets a great draw here coming off a not-so-great start. Get that geezer in your lineups.

An interesting play next week is Luis García. He seems to be ahead of Brandon Bielak for most trusted long reliever and was sensational last week in mop-up duty after Greinke was chased in the 5th inning.


Kansas City Royals


Royals’ Expected Schedule

Oh, here come the first-place Royals! Many thought their lineup could fight for a few surprise wins, but this rotation has been a revelation. Besides the Twins, they’re looking at three turns through with favorable matchups.

Keller righted the ship this week after a disastrous start to the season and can be trusted for a double-dip with the Rays and Tigers. I’d hold off against the Twins, though.

Same deal for the ascendant Junis. Wielding a brand new cutter, he has earned my trust against the Rays and Tigers. Always tread lightly with two-pitch pitchers, though, and take a wait-and-see approach for the Twins and White Sox.

Minor, one of the darlings of spring training, has not carried the same bump velocity into the regular season. Luckily, he has a three-game stretch against the Rays, Pirates, and Tigers and has tremendous streaming appeal in each matchup.

The same goes for Singer, who has also been a mild disappointment. Be careful with Duffy, his sterling 0.75 ERA is sure to regress, but that two-start week against Cleveland and the Tigers on the horizon is worth a speculative add.


Los Angeles Angels


Angels’ Expected Schedule

This schedule is subject to change depending on where and when Ohtani slots back in. After a more intense bullpen session and another to follow, he is lining up to return for next weekend’s series in Houston. It’s a good thing too since the Angels have just two off days in the next 24 days and will need all hands on deck.

Bundy should be locked into lineups for a two-start week, even with the second coming in Houston. Canning and Heaney will enjoy back-to-back games against the Rangers.

Quintana should be left alone at all costs, even with a start coming in Arlington. The idea of him making two starts in Houston sends a shiver down my spine.

Cobb has been awesome so far this year. He relies on his splitter and it has been very effective for him. He’s a sit in Houston, start in Seattle, and then owners will have a very fun decision to make for a potential two-start week against the Rays and Astros.

EDIT: With their cancellations in Minnesota, we’re waiting on the Angels’ availability to play this week and then set a rotation. Check back with an update.


Los Angeles Dodgers


Dodgers’ Expected Schedule


After some deliberation regarding roles and a six-man rotation, the Dodgers have settled in with what is arguably the best batch of starters in baseball. No one on this list is pitching poorly, and they’ve mostly been dominant. How many other teams could shrug off 14 games in 14 days?

After a weekend tilt in San Diego, they don’t see an upper-echelon offense for weeks. Urías and Buehler’s NL Central double-dip should be fruitful and there’s nothing else on this schedule that should scare you off them.

Truthfully, Buehler, Kershaw, and Bauer are matchup-proof at this point. May and Urías are certainly on their way there as well. Keep everyone here in your lineups.


Miami Marlins


Marlins’ Expected Schedule

Boy oh boy, does Alcántara look like a bonafide stud in the early going. With games against the Giants, Brewers (without Christian Yelich), and Diamondbacks in the offing, he could be pushing top 10 status this time next month.

With Sixto Sánchez continuing to rehab at the Marlins’ Alternate Site, Rogers has stepped up and become the clear #2 guy here. He gets a soft matchup at home versus the Orioles this week before a two-start week against the Brewers and Nationals. He’s becoming a very trustworthy option.

López has had his ups and downs this season but has a very good-looking month ahead of him matchup-wise.

Injuries to the aforementioned Sánchez and Elieser Hernández have tested the Marlins’ depth early and given Neidert and Castano unexpected opportunities. Needing five starters for a little while here, we will see them each make at least a couple of starts.

Neither have real swing and miss stuff and should not garner much attention, but Neidert has a dream two-start week home versus the Orioles and in San Francisco. There are worse places to turn this week…hold your breath if you take the plunge.


Milwaukee Brewers


Brewers’ Expected Schedule

Not many teams have a better top two right now than the Brew Crew. Those matchups against the Padres and Dodgers are going to be a ton of fun to watch with Woodruff and Burnes on the hill. Take the meetings with the Cubs and Marlins in between as a little consolation prize.

Peralta, a pretty spectacular third banana, is fortunate to miss the Padres. He is another few starts away from becoming matchup-proof and I’ll be running him out there against the Dodgers.

The excitement ends there, as Houser and Anderson instill no confidence. They could each be an OK desperation play against the Marlins, but please exhaust all other options first.


Minnesota Twins


Twins’ Expected Schedule

A potential Covid outbreak sends this entire schedule out of whack. We don’t know when the Twins will play next or if any member of this rotation will be placed on the Covid list. Check back here when we have a better understanding of the Twins’ situation.


New York Mets


Mets’ Expected Schedule

What are the chances the Mets can play even one consecutive week of baseball? Cancellations have kept their offense from finding a rhythm, but this rotation is proving to be one the best in baseball.

deGrom is not human and laying the foundation for another Cy Young campaign. No-hitters are hot right now and the Cubs are a fine candidate to be next.

Stroman and Walker have each been very solid so far this season and should be trusted moving forward. Walker against the Red Sox scares me a little and I’d probably sit him if it were in Fenway, but that is neither here nor there. The Cardinals bats are heating up too and perhaps you can cross that bridge when you get to it.

The Mets have stuck with a four-man rotation this season when applicable and I expect that to continue with three off-days in the next two weeks. That knocks Lucchesi out of the rotation for the time being with Peterson remaining the #4.

Effective so far, his lack of swing and miss stuff still worries me and I’d be hesitant to use him against the Nationals, Phillies, or Cardinals. The Mets will need a fifth starter soon and there is growing optimism that Carlos Carrasco will be ready by then.

He threw five innings last week in a simulated game and is on track to do so again during the next few days. If he does not have a setback, I predict he makes his Mets debut in St. Louis.


New York Yankees


Yankees’ Expected Schedule

Maybe the Yankees can invite some of those fans who were throwing balls on the field last Friday to try their hand at doing so from the mound because this rotation needs a serious boost.

Besides Cole, it is really hard to trust anyone right now. Taillon and Kluber both exist in this weird nebulous right now where you see stuff that’s encouraging without being necessarily effective. Definitely leave them alone against the Braves and Astros and tread lightly with the Orioles, Tigers, and Cleveland.

Montgomery is the only member of this rotation who has been better than expected so far. That hook is something special and matchups with Cleveland, Baltimore, and Detroit in succession will add a lot more helium to his already rising stock.

With only two off days in 22 days, the Yankees will need a fifth spot. Who is going to occupy said spot is anyone’s guess. Domingo Germán was ineffective and sent down when the team didn’t need the spot filled.

Rather than call him back, the Yankees opted for a bullpen day last week headed by Nick Nelson and Michael King. Neither fared well versus the Rays and are largely uninteresting. Maybe King in the deepest of leagues if you need to snipe a win.

Deivi would immediately be more interesting than either if he were to get the call.


Oakland Athletics


A’s Expected Schedule

The A’s have been weird this season. Opening the season with a six-game skid and currently in the midst of a seven-game win streak makes for an exciting April.

With the Twins uncertainty, there is no way to know whether that series will be played as scheduled. I’m sure the A’s want to get back on the field ASAP while they’re not, but a few days off could be a blessing in disguise ahead of 17 games in 17 days.

The jam-packed schedule will work this staff. Two starts against the Orioles is a god-send for the struggling Luzardo and could serve to get him back on track if the schedule holds.

Manaea has been good enough to trust in all three of his matchups even though his profile just does not excite me very much. Inversely, Montas finally put it all together in his last start versus the Tigers and I am in on him full speed ahead as he tours the AL East.

Irvin is a sneaky play, especially in leagues where you can sub RP eligible starters in to get a few extra innings. The Orioles and Rays are fine matchups for him despite his lackluster peripherals. The same goes for Chris Bassitt, who again is proving to be back of the rotation oatmeal.


Philadelphia Phillies


Phillies’ Expected Schedule

A story of two rotations, Eflin, Wheeler, and Nola have all (expectedly) been solid while Anderson and Moore (also expectedly) have struggled.

Moore’s worst outing to date came last Saturday against the Cardinals and could mean the end of his time in this rotation with Spencer Howard waiting in the wings. I’m sure we see Howard in some capacity without many off days on the horizon for Philadelphia.

Otherwise, all three horses should be trusted moving forward. Nola in Coors is pretty scary, but you have to ride with him. Wheeler has great matchups with the Giants and Brewers sandwiched around the Cardinals and Mets.

Eflin catches the Giants too but sees the Braves rather than the Brewers. Nevertheless, I am setting and forgetting those two (and Nola).


Pittsburgh Pirates


Pirates’ Expected Schedule

It’s been uh, a fun ride in the early going for this rotation. They could drop any of their struggling arms like Keller, Cahill, or Kuhl with a smattering of off days ahead. They’ve stuck true to a five-man thus far though and that most likely continues.

Brubaker is the only guy here who you should consider in a lineup and I would advise against both the Tigers and Royals. There might be some football scores put up during that series in San Diego against this group.


San Diego Padres


Padres’ Expected Schedule

If this weekend was any indication, these Padres-Dodgers games are going to be appointment television. The Friars have their four best (healthy) arms lined up to go at it next weekend in LA, which will be a treat. Besides Paddack, there’s no reason to avoid Musgrove, Snell, or Darvish against the best team in the league.

Paddack gets a gift afterward with back-to-back meetings with the Giants. Hopefully he can right the ship between those games and the Brewers on Tuesday. The big three can be trusted indefinitely and all three get a crack at BOTH the Giants and Pirates in a couple of weeks. Giddy up.

The big story here is the apparent return of Dinelson Lamet. Weathers is still on the schedule and an off day after the four-game set in LA allows the Padres to ride with a four-man rotation if they want to be careful, but Lamet may be making his season debut ahead of schedule. This is something to monitor.


San Francisco Giants


Giants’ Expected Schedule

Two nice turns here for an unheralded rotation. Series at home against the Marlins and Rockies make every pitcher stream-able, in my opinion. Maybe see what else you’re working with before rolling with Sanchez, Wood, or Tony Disco, but you could do worse.

Webb is returning to the rotation after he was yanked last week following Johnny Cueto’s lat injury and catches a formidable two-start week. With the same matchups, Gausman is one of the most exciting options heading into next week.

Things change in a hurry with two Padres series sandwiched around a trip to Coors. Avoid everyone here except Gausman once we get there.

EDIT: Webb hit the IL Sunday with an undisclosed injury. The streamer is still unknown, but two starts are two starts.


Seattle Mariners


Mariners’ Expected Schedule

One of the few teams that have stuck with a six-man rotation in the early going, there are not many exciting matchups coming up. It’s hard to ride with anyone here for two solid weeks.

Maybe Flexen at home against the Angels? Even that doesn’t give much confidence. Shame on Major League Baseball for sending them to Boston and Houston after the Dodgers come to town. Absolutely brutal.

Series with the Orioles and Rangers make Kikuchi, Flexen, and Sheffield stream-worthy. Same with Cleveland the week after.

It’s a shame Gonzales catches just the Orioles once over this stretch. He has not looked sharp so far and he becomes borderline droppable with this schedule. Really, I just hope we see Logan Gilbert soon.


St. Louis Cardinals


Cardinals’ Expected Schedule

A relatively easy string of opponents is made more difficult by a lack of days off. This rotation is not very good its depth will be tested over the next month.

Martínez and Gant should not be trusted in any situation unless you are in dire straits. Kim looked decent in his season debut and prove usable in all four of his starts coming up. All at home, no prolific offenses, he’s worth a shot.

Don’t look now, but Wainwright has put up his best K% in nearly eight years over his first three starts. Sure it’s a small sample, but I’m pretty in on him against the Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, and possibly Mets if they don’t heat up.

Flaherty is a set-and-forget sans Dodgers, play him with confidence.


Tampa Bay Rays


Rays’ Expected Schedule

Predicting the Rays’ schedule is a futile endeavor, but here we are! One off-day in three weeks is truly brutal and I have no doubt they’re going to find some creative ways to fill these innings that make my schedule projection completely obsolete in the near future.

Yarbrough’s struggles make me think the Rays move him back to his traditional role as a follower in the near future, which I think makes his matchups more appealing looking ahead. The same goes for Fleming as he builds back up. Trevor Richards will mix in soon, as will Brent Honeywell Jr., so who really knows what’s going to happen.

Glasnow is the only guy here to trust and he has ascended into elite status. After watching his dice up the Yankees in the Bronx I have no doubt in him getting the better of anyone anywhere.

Hill and Wacha have each had their moments as well. Ride with them both in Kansas City if need be. Maybe in Oakland too, but definitely not against the Astros. Again, all of this is subject to change at any given moment.


Texas Rangers


Rangers’ Expected Schedule

Categorize the Rangers rotation as ‘Maybe Not as Bad as we Thought’ so far. Do I trust it? Not a chance and am anxiously waiting for them to get exposed over the next few weeks. The Angels, White Sox, Red Sox, and Twins should feast on this staff.

The only guy you can maaaaybe throw out there is Dunning, and that’s a strong maybe. His results have been strong while the whiffs lack, save him for that home game against the Angels and proceed with caution.


Dunedin Toronto Blue Jays


Blue Jays’ Expected Schedule

This rotation is a mess right now. Kay and Zeuch were inserted last week after Ross Stripling was scratched and Tanner Roark moved to the bullpen. Moving back and forth between four and five starters early on, the Jays are fortunate that their dysfunction is being met by a rash of off days over the next two weeks mitigating their need for a fifth starter.

They may get creative and piggy-back Kay with Zeuch trying to mask each of their deficiencies, but neither are worth your time of day with some tough games coming up.

Speaking of those tough games, we’re going to get to see what Steven Matz is really made of next week in Fenway Park. I’m staying away from him there but awaiting the results anxiously.

The same goes for Ray in Tampa Bay. Good performances from either will give me much more confidence ahead of matchups with the Nationals, Braves, and A’s.

It is time to start respecting Ryu on a broader scale. You can set your watch to him, projections be damned! I’m throwing him out there game in and game out moving forward, even in Houston versus the Astros.


Washington Nationals


Nationals’ Expected Schedule

Yikes. Corbin and Strasburg both getting lit up in a two-day stretch has to be a scary sight for anyone who drafted them. I’m keeping Corbin on the bench until further notice and giving Stras this matchup with the Mets to see what he has. Not saying trust can’t be earned back, but each has some work to do.

Funny that Joe Ross has been steady so far, more so than such accomplished vets, and is in a spot where you can feel comfortable with him going against the Cardinals and Mets before a meeting with the Marlins.

The Nationals have not had a problem moving to a four-man rotation in the past when suitable and expect them to do so despite Fedde putting together one of the best starts of his career Saturday against the Diamondbacks. Four off-days in three weeks means they don’t need him and could use a trustworthy bullpen arm with length in case there are any more blow-ups here.

Ol’ reliable Max Scherzer has shrugged off a so-so start to turn a 34.8 K% through three starts. There is a long way to go, but his draft slide might make us feel pretty stupid in a few months. He’s still a high-end SP and have no fear against the Cardinals, Blue Jays, or Yankees.

EDIT: Stras hit the IL with shoulder inflammation Sunday. I guess we’re going to do Austin Voth again?


(Photos by Nick Wosika & Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire | Design by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter @ IG)

James Schiano

Graduate of The Ohio State University and New York City dweller, I am a die-hard Mets fan who can generally be found screaming at the TV or making wise-cracks to anyone who'll hear them. Follow me on Twitter @JeterHadNoRange

One response to “Expected SP Schedules: Who Has the Best Matchups? – Weeks 3-5”

  1. J.C. Mosier says:

    This is great, but it would be really great if it included a rough ranking of strength of schedule, perhaps by tier.

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