SP Future Schedules – Week 1

Justin Wick breaks down the good and bad starter schedules ahead

The MLB schedule features a handful of off days for several teams throughout April, so we are bound to see several starters take some additional rest as they ease their way back into a 162-game season. There is also the chance that big league managers will skip an off day to keep their top arms on a five-day cycle; this article takes it all into account, on top of some Opening Day cancellations that have already altered some routines.


Great Schedules


Blake Snell (SD)

4/2 vs. ARI       4/7 vs. SF

Tonight will be Blake Snell’s regular season debut with the Padres. He faces the Diamondbacks, a team projected near the bottom of the NL West. He will look ahead to the Giants, a tougher offensive opponent but another team the Padres will look to quickly separate themselves from in the divisional standings. Both outings for Snell are scheduled at home; the first 14 games on San Diego’s schedule are against sub-.500 teams from last year.


Shane Bieber (CLE)

4/7 vs. KC       4/12 @ CHW       4/17 @ CIN

Shane Bieber took the ball on Opening Day against the Tigers; his next start will come against a Royals lineup that showed for a .711 OPS last season, ranking 20th. Cleveland has three days off in their first eight days of the regular season, which will allow Bieber an additional day of rest for his second start–against a White Sox gauntlet, yes, but he will then look ahead to the Reds, a team with a .715 OPS a year ago.


Luis Castillo (CIN)

4/6 vs. PIT       4/11-12 @ ARI or SF

Luis Castillo awaits the Pirates after taking the ball for Opening Day. Pittsburgh ranked 30th in the league in wOBA last year. His next outing will look to be on the road against the Diamondbacks, and they ranked 25th in 2020. Cincinnati has a few off-days early in the year which may alter Castillo’s five-day rotation; there is a chance he will see the Giants on the road instead of Arizona.


Brad Keller (KC)

4/7 @ CLE       4/12 or 13 vs. LAA

After opening the season against the Rangers on Opening Day, Brad Keller will look ahead to the Indians, a team that tied for the lowest wOBA in the AL Central last year. His next start against the Angels appears to be a bigger challenge, but he will be pitching on more rest than usual; Kansas City has five days off in April.


Kenta Maeda (MIN)

4/6 @ DET       4/11 vs. SEA

He opened the season with the Brewers on Thursday; if manager Rocco Baldelli keeps him on a five-day cycle between two off days, Kenta Maeda will face the Tigers and the Mariners. Both teams are projected by FanGraphs to finish at or near the bottom of their respective divisions. 


Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

4/6 @ OAK       4/11 vs. WAS

Clayton Kershaw got his Coors Field opener out of the way but after a 5 2/3 inning, five earned run performance, he hasn’t quite eased his way out of a spring ERA in the 10’s. He will look ahead to a start in Oakland next week. The A’s were the two seed in the AL last year but their wOBA ranked 10th out of 15 in the AL.


Ryan Yarbrough (TBR)

4/2 @ MIA       4/7 @ BOS       4/12 @ TEX

The Rays open with a three-game set against the Marlins, and Ryan Yarbrough will start today. He will look ahead to the Red Sox next week, and if he follows a standard five-day schedule, he will miss a series against the Yankees and instead face the Rangers later in the month. Two of his next three presumed opponents—Miami and Texas—ranked in the bottom five in batting fWAR last year. Boston ranked 14th.


Logan Webb (SFG)

4/3 @ SEA       4/9 vs. COL

The Giants will face the Padres in San Diego early next week, bookended by off days on Sunday and Thursday. Logan Webb will pitch Saturday against the Mariners, and will miss the Padres series to instead face the Rockies at Oracle Park next week.


Jake Arrieta (CHC)

4/3 vs. PIT       4/8 @ PIT

A double-dose of Jake Arrieta early in the season will do the Bucs no favors, and projections across the board in Pittsburgh aren’t speaking too well. Arrieta’s next outings look to be tougher, however, with either the Mets or Braves on the horizon.


Bad Schedules


Zach Eflin (PHI)

4/4 vs. ATL       4/9 @ ATL

Atlanta led all of baseball in wOBA last year. Zach Eflin will get no favors to start off the year, facing them in consecutive outings.


Austin Gomber (COL)

4/4 vs. LAD       4/10 @ SFG       4/14-15 @ LAD

The Rockies will begin the regular season with Kyle Freeland on the injured list, and AustinGomber will join the Rockies’ rotation after his acquisition from St. Louis. His first outing will come on Sunday against the Dodgers — at Coors Field — with another outing at Dodger Stadium on the horizon. Gomber will likely face the Giants in between those two outings.


Merrill Kelly (ARI)

4/2 vs. SD       4/7 @ COL       4/12 vs. OAK

Merrill Kelly will open the season with a tough Padres lineup followed by an outing at Coors Field. His last outing in the Denver altitude came on August 12, 2019, where he allowed six earned runs in five innings.


Shohei Ohtani (LAA)

4/4 vs. CHW       4/9 “@“ TOR

Shohei Ohtani will get the White Sox in his first regular season start, after pitching a mere 1 2/3 innings last year. The south siders led all of baseball last year in batting fWAR. Ohtani will then look ahead to an ‘easier’ outing against the Blue Jays (19th in 2020 offensive fWAR), but depending on how the Angels pitch around some off days, he may see the Twins instead of the Royals down the road.


T.J. Zeuch (TOR)

4/4 @ NYY       4/9 “vs.” LAA       4/14 “vs.” NYY

T.J. Zeuch will miss the Rangers by one day, instead squaring off against the Yankees in the Bronx on Sunday. He will then take on the Angels in Dunedin before facing the Yankees again. The Blue Jays don’t have any days off during this span, but should Zeuch be pushed back a day, he will instead face the Royals in his third start of the year.


John Means (BAL)

4/2 @ BOS       4/7 @ NYY

The Orioles and Red Sox were postponed due to rain on Thursday; John Means will face the inconvenience of a start pushed back a day, only to turn around with the Yankees next week. He will look to face the Mariners and Rangers later in the month, however, so we will soon see Means on the other side of this list.


Any Starter for the Mets or Nationals

Due to COVID-19 complications within the Nationals’ traveling party, both they and the Mets will have to wait until at least Saturday to begin the season. All starters will thereby see their routines delayed at least two days after fine-tuning their schedules in the last week of spring training.


Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)

Justin Wick

Justin Wick is the communications supervisor for MLB's Arizona Fall League. He pitched collegiately at Creighton University (B.A. Journalism) and South Mountain Community College, and is a three-year veteran of the Northwoods League with the St. Cloud Rox. More of his work can be found on Purple Row covering the Colorado Rockies, and on Twitter @justwick.

One response to “SP Future Schedules – Week 1”

  1. TommyBoy1189 says:

    How does Kikuchi’s schedule look? SEA going 6-man?

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