SP Future Schedules – Week 22

Justin Wick breaks down the good and bad starter schedules ahead

Great Schedules


Aaron Nola (PHI)   8/27 vs. ARI   9/1 @ WAS   9/6 @ MIL   9/11 vs. COL   9/16 vs. CHC

It’s an easy road ahead for Aaron Nola if he stays true to this schedule; only one of his next five presumed opponents is ranked higher than fourth in their division. Nola tossed 8 2/3 innings last Saturday, allowing two earned runs to the Padres and striking out 11. It was a sharp contrast to a four-run, 4 1/3-inning performance against the Reds in his last start, and he’ll roll into this next stretch with the D-Backs and the worst record in the National League.


Wade Miley (CIN)   8/27 @ MIA   9/1 vs. STL   9/6 @ CHC

Wade Miley’s 2.88 ERA on the year is getting ready to face the 25th, 22nd, and 24th-ranked wRC+. The Cardinals are swinging it better as of late (see Corbin Burnes, Bad Schedules; Will Crowe, Soon To Be Bad), but Miley has allowed two combined runs in his last two starts (11 2/3 IP). He also has 19 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings this month.


Jake Odorizzi (HOU)   8/27 @ TEX   9/1 @ SEA   9/6 vs. SEA

The Mariners are sitting 6 1/2 games behind the Astros right now in the AL West. The upcoming head-to-head matchups could either put the M’s back in the running or out of it entirely. Jake Odorizzi holds a lot of that fate in his hands, with two presumed starts against Seattle in his next three outings. He will first take on the Rangers’ 28th-ranked wRC+ and is riding high after allowing one run to the Mariners in his last start (8/21, 5 2/3 IP).


Rich Hill (NYM)   8/27 vs. WAS   9/1 vs. MIA   9/6 @ WAS

Rich Hill is six starts into his Mets campaign and has posted a 5.06 ERA in 26 2/3 innings over that time. He’s got the Nationals with an even 100 wRC+ and the Marlins with a dismal 88, but their lack of postseason momentum could soon put Hill back on the right track. He tossed five innings to the Dodgers in his last start (8/21), allowing three runs over five frames.


Steven Matz (TOR)   8/27 @ DET   9/1 vs. BAL   ***9/6 @ NYY***   9/11 @ BAL

*Avoids OAK 9/3-5

Steven Matz has been carving, and his future schedule won’t look to throw that off very much. Detroit and Baltimore rank a respective 23rd and 18th in wRC+ this month, and Matz has given up one run in his last two starts (a solo homer). The Orioles just snapped a 19-game losing streak and did so against Shohei Ohtani, but that’s been one of their few highlights this month. Matz will anticipate the Yankees in the Bronx, which will likely be his toughest ticket.


Humberto Mejia (ARI)   8/28 @ PHI   9/3 vs. SEA   9/8 vs. TEX

*Schedule may change (season debut was Monday)

After making his season debut on Monday, Humberto Mejia awaits the 21st, 19th, and 29th-ranked wRC+ figures from this month. He allowed two runs to the Pirates in his only outing this year (5 IP). The Diamondbacks have ample reason to play it safe with Mejia (as their win-loss record will show), so the 24-year-old may have some additional rest in between these projected starts. 


Paolo Espino (WAS)   8/27 @ NYM   9/1 vs. PHI   9/6 vs. NYM   9/11 @ PIT

*Avoids ATL 9/7-9  

The Mets are on the heels of a 2-8 dry spell and Paolo Espino will go to work against them this evening. He has failed to reach the five-inning mark in his last three starts, allowing a combined nine runs in 9 1/3 innings, but he also shut out the Mets over five innings on June 28. He’ll look ahead to the 28th, 21st, 28th, and 30th-ranked wRC+ in August.


Carlos Hernández (KC)   8/28 @ SEA   9/2 vs. CLE   9/7 @ BAL

All three of Carlos Hernández’s presumed opponents rank 17th or lower in wRC+. He carries the momentum of a seven-inning, one-run performance against the Cubs into his next start, and previously held the Yankees to one run over 6 2/3 innings (8/9). The Royals may be well out of postseason contention, but Hernandez has plenty to prove with just 10 big league starts to his name.


Bad Schedules


Corbin Burnes (MIL)   8/29 @ MIN   9/3 vs. STL   ***9/8 vs. PHI***

Equipped with a 2.30 ERA, Corbin Burnes will stare down some teams that have posted some surprising offensive figures in August. Minnesota holds the eighth-best wRC+ this month while St. Louis ranks 10th and is in relative striking distance of an NL wildcard spot. The Phillies are the closest remaining threat to the Braves in the NL East, but their 21st-ranked wRC+ this month suggests an easier road into September.


Max Scherzer (LAD)   8/31 vs. ATL   9/5 @ SF   9/10 vs. SD

*Avoids STL 9/6-9

Get your popcorn ready.


Jon Gray (COL)   8/28 @ LAD   9/2 vs. ATL   9/7 vs. SF

Jon Gray has expressed an interest in remaining with the Rockies as he enters the offseason as a free agent. There is a lot for him to prove over these next three starts, as all three are against either a division leader or the reigning champs. Two of those next three outings will be in mile-high elevation, but Gray seems to enjoy pitching in Denver a lot more than other big leaguers.


Max Fried (ATL)   8/27 vs. SF   9/1 @ LAD   9/7 vs. WAS

The NL West gauntlet awaits Max Fried and even the Nationals have an above-average wRC+ this month. Fried just tossed a complete-game shutout in his last start, however (8/20 @ BAL), so he seems primed to take on anybody he faces. He’s allowed two earned runs in his last 27 innings.


Jon Lester (STL)   8/30 @ CIN   9/4 @ MIL   9/9 vs. LAD

This schedule features three teams that are in the thick of some playoff races, and all of them have posted wRC+ figures that rank ninth or better in the past month. Jon Lester is holding onto a career-high 5.27 ERA this year and it’s been a roller coaster of good or bad over his past four starts. He allowed four or more runs to both the Brewers and Royals but allowed one run to the Tigers and Royals.


Paul Blackburn (OAK)   8/29 vs. NYY   9/3 @ TOR   9/8 vs. CHW

With only two starts on the year, Paul Blackburn will look to push his ERA beneath four in this tough stretch. He gets the 11th, second and third-ranked wRC+ figures in his next three projected outings while his A’s look to claw their way back into a wild card berth. Oakland’s road to October could feature the toughest schedule in the league, so it’s not just Blackburn with a tough pitching schedule out there.


Eli Morgan (CLE)   8/29 vs. BOS   9/3 @ BOS   9/8 vs. MIN

*Avoids KC 8/31-9/2

Eli Morgan’s rookie season has featured an ERA pushing six, and his future opponents are not forgiving. Boston is uncomfortably seated in the second AL wildcard spot and will look to capitalize against Cleveland. Even the Twins have shown some surprising offense this month despite their record (103 wRC+).


Jordan Lyles (TEX)   8/27 vs. HOU   ***9/1 vs. COL***   9/6 @ LAA   9/11 @ OAK

Jordan Lyles gets one last grand tour of the AL West this year, squaring off against three divisional opponents that rank 12th or better in wRC+. The minor relief will come against a Rockies squad that has the worst road record in baseball. Lyles’ road ahead is an extension of an already-tough stretch; he just faced the Red Sox, A’s (twice), and Angels, posting a 6.75 ERA in that time (24 IP).


Matt Harvey (BAL)   8/27 vs. TB   9/1 @ TOR   ***9/6 vs. KC***   9/11 vs. TOR

It’s time for Matt Harvey to roll through the fifth, second, 26th, and second-ranked wRC+ in the league. He’s given up 14 earned runs in his last 19 innings and while the Orioles just snapped a 19-game losing streak, their morale can’t be too high this month.


TBD (SF)   8/29 @ ATL   9/3 vs. LAD   9/8 @ COL   9/13 vs. SD

The Giants haven’t announced a starter for this set, but manager Gabe Kapler has sometimes rolled out a bullpen day in the place of a starter. This spot in the rotation could have serious implications in the coming weeks as San Francisco looks to stay atop the NL West. Even the lightest-hitting opponent coming up, the Rockies, have hit particularly well at home.


TBD (SD)   8/28 @ LAA   9/3 vs. HOU   9/8 vs. LAA   9/13 vs. SF

*Avoids ARI 8/30-9/1

The Padres have also not announced this spot in the rotation but it isn’t Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell, or Ryan Weathers. San Diego saw the departure of their pitching coach this week. This rotation spot could therefore be a sizable schedule to look towards as the squad doesn’t have the backing of one of their premier starters.


Soon To Be A Good Schedule


Wil Crowe (PIT)   8/28 vs. STL   9/2 @ CHC   9/7 vs. DET

Wil Crowe was about to make consecutive appearances on the good schedule list, but the Cardinals’ offense this month has made it a little tougher. St. Louis has the 22nd-ranked wRC+ over the entire year but they rank 10th in August. Crowe faced them on August 11 and allowed zero earned runs in 4 2/3 innings, but he allowed four runs in five frames to them on June 25. After his Saturday start, Crowe will look ahead to the 25th and 23rd-ranked wRC+ figures in the past month.


Soon To Be A Bad Schedule


Dallas Keuchel (CHW)   8/27 vs. CHC   9/1 vs. PIT   9/7 @ OAK   9/12 vs. BOS

A brief stint on the good schedule list will do him well after allowing 12 earned runs in his last 16 innings. Dallas Keuchel is coming off a stretch of facing the A’s and Rays, and he will see the A’s on the road and a little deeper into their presumed playoff push. Boston has the second-best wRC+ this month and they can’t afford a losing streak if they are to keep their October chances alive.


Logan Gilbert (SEA)   8/27 vs. KC   9/1 vs. HOU   9/6 @ HOU

This schedule will be a good one in later September, as Logan Gilbert has the Diamondbacks and Royals after a double dose of the Astros. He will have to get there first, and the rookie just allowed nine earned runs to those same Astros in his last start (4 2/3 IP). He’s posted a 9.82 ERA in his last three outings.


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.

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