SP Future Schedules – Week 23

Justin Wick breaks down the good and bad starter schedules ahead

Bad Schedules


Taijuan Walker (NYM)   9/5 @ WAS   9/10 @ NYY   9/15 vs. STL   9/21 @ BOS

After one of the toughest stretches in the entire league (LAD, LAD, SF), Taijuan Walker finds himself remaining on the bad schedule list with minimal relief. The easiest opponent on the horizon for him is the Nationals. They have posted the 12th-best wRC+ in the past two weeks, however, and retain the 12th-best across the entire season. Meanwhile, the Yankees, Cardinals, and Red Sox are all clawing it out for wildcard berths in their respective divisions. Walker has posted a 3.38 ERA in his past three starts (a combined 18 2/3 IP). 


Chris Paddack (SD)   9/5 vs. HOU   9/10 @ LAD   9/15 @ SF

The Padres are hanging alongside Cincinnati for the final wildcard spot in the NL. Their month ahead could be as tough as anybody, however. The Astros, Dodgers, and Giants rank first, fourth and seventh in wRC+ and Chris Paddack gets to see them in succession. He just allowed one run to Arizona in his last start (4 2/3 IP), and will look to develop some serious momentum as he hopes to lead his team into the postseason.


Sean Manaea (OAK)   9/3 @ TOR   9/8 vs. CHW   ***9/14 @ KC***   9/19 @ LAA

Sean Manaea is scheduled to roll through the third, second, 26th, and 13th-ranked wRC+ figures over his next four starts. He has failed to complete five innings in four of his past five starts, posting a 9.90 ERA in that span. The fate of the A’s could largely fall upon Manaea in this upcoming stretch as Oakland is currently the first team out of the AL wildcard picture.


Walker Buehler (LAD)   9/5 @ SF   9/10 vs. SD   ***9/15 vs. ARI***   9/21 @ COL

This schedule could be as tough as any. Walker Buehler will be forced to work through a San Diego squad with their backs to the wall and a Rockies squad that has relished Coors Field and has shown an astonishing home/road split. He has not allowed more than two runs in his last 10 starts and has allowed four runs in 13 innings at Coors Field this year. He will cap off the all-important San Francisco series first on his road ahead.


Alek Manoah (TOR)   9/3 @ OAK   9/8 @ NYY   9/13 vs. TB   

Manaea will square off against Alek Manoah tonight, and a challenge will persist for Manoah into his next three starts. He gets the eighth, 10th, and fifth-ranked wRC+ in this upcoming stretch. While he hasn’t faced Oakland this year, he has fared well against the Yankees (6 IP, 0 R) and Rays (10 2/3 IP, 2 ER) in three combined starts.


Miles Mikolas (STL)   9/6 vs. LAD   9/11 vs. CIN   9/17 vs. SD

The NL wildcard picture will be largely dependent on Miles Mikolas down the stretch. He is scheduled to make his fifth start of the season on Monday against the Dodgers, followed up by a Reds squad that got the best of him in his last start (3 IP, 4 ER). 


Anthony DeSclafani (SF)   9/3 vs. LAD   9/8 @ COL   9/13 vs. SD   9/18 vs. ATL

Anthony DeSclafani gets one last grand tour of the NL West this year. He will pitch a few days ahead of Buehler and on the other side of the divisional race, making his visit to Denver a few days earlier. DeSclafani will mix in the current leader in the NL East at the end of the month. He has pitched fewer than five innings in four of his last five starts, and just allowed three runs to the Braves in three innings.


Justin Steele (CHC)   9/6 vs. CIN   9/11 vs. SF   9/16 @ PHI

More NL wildcard implications: Justin Steele gets a similar lineup as Mikolas but will see the Giants instead of the Dodgers. The Phillies are putting a valiant effort together to overtake the Braves in the NL East too, and Steele might have to face them during an intense part of the season. He just shut out the Twins over five innings, however. After moving from the bullpen to the Cubs’ rotation on August 10th, Steele may finally be establishing some routine norms at this point in the season.


Keegan Akin (BAL)   9/5 @ NYY   9/10 vs. TOR   9/15 vs. NYY

*Avoids KC 9/6-9

Keegan Akin has settled in over his past two starts, tossing a combined 12 innings of two-run ball after allowing 12 earned runs in his previous three outings (12 IP). He will anticipate the Yankees twice this month and they have posted the seventh-best wRC+ in the past two weeks. Toronto’s bats have cooled in that span (19th), but they also hold the third-best figure across the entire season.


Taylor Hearn (TEX)   9/5 @ LAA   9/10 @ OAK   9/15 vs. HOU   9/20 @ NYY

*Avoids ARI 9/7-8

The Rangers kick off the month with a load of divisional matchups. They will toss Taylor Hearn for a presumed three of them. He’s allowed seven runs in his last three starts (16 2/3 IP) and was previously working out of the bullpen for Texas, converting from a short reliever to a long reliever to a starter. As Oakland, Houston and New York anticipate a push toward postseason action, each team could look to their Texas matchups as some of their most desirable on the September schedule. (Texas has the second-worst record in baseball.)


Casey Mize (DET)   9/5 @ CIN   9/10 vs. TB   ***9/15 vs. MIL***   9/20 vs. CHW

Cincinnati has the ninth-best wRC+ in the league and will fight to retain a marginal lead over the Padres for the final NL wildcard slot. Casey Mize will anticipate the fifth, 18th, and second-best wRC+ after that. He took on the 11th-ranked Oakland A’s in his last start (6 IP, 3 ER) and has not faced the Reds, Rays, or Brewers this year.


Great Schedules


Corbin Burnes (MIL)   9/5 vs. STL   9/10 @ CLE   9/15 @ DET

St. Louis has a 112 wRC+ in the last two weeks but their season figure ranks 20th and Corbin Burnes is also a Cy Young candidate. He will take on 21st and 22nd-ranked Cleveland and Detroit beyond that, looking to lower his already-immaculate 2.27 ERA. The Brewers will look to substantiate their 10-game lead in the NL Central during this stretch.


Antonio Senzatela (COL)   9/3 vs. ATL   9/8 vs. SF   9/14 @ ATL

Atlanta’s bats have cooled to the 24th-ranked wRC+ figure over the past two weeks. Their season figure ranks 14th, and they might need to catch fire again if they are to hold their ground in the NL East. Antonio Senzatela also just tossed seven shutout innings at Dodger Stadium and his momentum is primed to quiet some postseason hopes of opponents if he keeps doing what he’s been doing.


Patrick Corbin (WAS)   9/6 vs. NYM   9/11 @ PIT   9/17 vs. COL   9/22 @ MIA

The Mets have sharply fallen to third in the NL East, while the Pirates hold the second-worst record in the NL and the Rockies struggle mightily on the road. Patrick Corbin has a desirable road ahead of him, but he also has allowed 12 earned runs in his last eight innings, and 24 in his last 25. This stretch on the good schedule list could be much needed.


Steven Brault (PIT)   9/3 @ CHC   9/8 vs. DET   ***9/14 vs. CIN***   9/19 @ MIA

With five starts on the year, Steven Brault has settled into routine starter work with the Pirates. He’s collected a 4.57 ERA in 21 2/3 frames and has worked through the Cardinals in three of his five starts. He’ll finally see some variety and just one of his next four presumed opponents are in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Cubs have posted the 11th-worst wRC+ in the last two weeks while the Tigers have posted the fourth-worst.


Vladimir Gutierrez (CIN)   9/3 vs. DET   9/8 @ CHC   9/14 @ PIT

The road ahead for Cincinnati is favorable as they look to stay ahead of the Padres in the wildcard picture. Vladimir Gutierrez will be called upon to take on the league’s 22nd, 24th, and 30th-ranked wRC+ figures. He also just allowed five runs to the Marlins in three innings. He posted a 1.86 ERA in six starts before that, however. His schedule is a prime one for him to get back to that form.


Mike Minor (KC)   9/7 @ BAL   9/12 @ MIN   9/17 vs. SEA   9/22 @ CLE

*Avoids CHW 9/3-5, OAK 9/14-16

Kansas City will soon square off against the White Sox and A’s but Mike Minor doesn’t look to be lining up with those series. He will instead await the 19th, 11th, 23rd, and 21st-ranked wRC+ figures. Minor has also allowed three or more earned runs in his last five starts, however. He could benefit drastically from some time on the good schedule list.


Bailey Ober (MIN)   9/6 @ CLE   9/11 vs. KC   ***9/17 @ TOR***   9/22 @ CHC

Bailey Ober will have his hand at the 21st, 26th, third and 24th-ranked wRC+ down the stretch. He will look to close out his rookie year with a sub-four ERA (currently 3.98), and he’s carried some momentum through his past two starts (11 IP, 2 ER).


Soon To Be A Great Schedule


Ryan Yarbrough (TB)   9/6 @ BOS   9/11 @ DET   9/16 vs. DET

*Avoids TOR 9/13-15

Tampa Bay is now well ahead of the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East, and Ryan Yarbrough will look to substantiate that lead against the tough-hitting Red Sox on Labor Day. He will follow it up with back-to-back starts against the Tigers; their wRC+ has ranked in the bottom third across the whole year and across the last two weeks.


Chris Sale (BOS)   9/6 vs. TB   9/11 @ CHW   9/17 vs. BAL   9/22 vs. NYM

Since his August return from Tommy John surgery, Chris Sale has posted a 2.53 ERA and has rolled through the Orioles, Rangers, Twins, and Rays. He will square off against the Rays for the second start in a row, followed by the White Sox and the toughest wRC+ on the schedule so far. Mid-September will take a sharp turn for Sale, however, as the Orioles and Mets rank a respective 19th and 17th in wRC+.


Soon To Be A Bad Schedule


Madison Bumgarner (ARI)   9/3 vs. SEA   9/8 vs. TEX   9/13 @ LAD   9/18 @ HOU   9/23 vs. ATL

If the Dodgers take the lead in the NL West and the rest of the standings stay put, that will mean Madison Bumgarner has to face three divisional leaders in three consecutive starts. He’s allowed nine runs in his last 11 innings, so a brief stint on the good schedule list could do the lefty well before a tough stretch.


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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