SP Future Schedules – Week 6

Justin Wick breaks down the good and bad starter schedules ahead

Great Schedules


Justus Sheffield (SEA)   5/9 @ TEX   5/14 vs. CLE   5/19 vs. DET

*Avoids LAD 5/11-12, SD 5/21-23

Texas, Cleveland and Detroit. All three rank 20th or lower in wOBA this year, and Justus Sheffield rides the hot hand having just shut out the Angels over six innings. The Mariners will take on the Dodgers in a two-game interleague set next week, but Sheffield is not in line for action at Dodger Stadium. Cleveland could instead pose the biggest challenge on Sheffield’s horizon as they stand near the top of the NL Central, but much is to the credit of Cleveland’s pitching (9th in xFIP) and not so much their hitting. Sheffield’s season ERA, FIP and xFIP are all marginally higher than his 2020 figures, but it could be a matter of time before he catches and surpasses those previous numbers. He’s had the tough task of dealing with the Angels, Astros, Dodgers and White Sox in four of his five starts this year.


Huascar Ynoa (ATL)   5/9 vs. PHI   5/14 @ MIL   5/19 @ NYM

*Avoids TOR 5/11-13

As he currently holds a 14-inning scoreless streak, Huascar Ynoa will soon face off against the league’s 25th and 22nd-ranked wOBA. He will miss the Blue Jays, ranking 19th, but will anticipate a start with the Mets after he takes on Milwaukee. The Mets currently have the 18th-ranked wOBA, which is far different than their figure from a year ago (3rd).


Domingo Germán (NYY)   5/9 vs. WAS   5/14 @ BAL   5/19 @ TEX

Domingo Germán gets a taste of the 22nd, 24th and 14th-ranked wRC+ in his next three projected starts. His best outing of the year thus far came against the Orioles on April 28th, working seven shutout frames. Germán currently holds the lowest strikeout percentage of his career (23.4%), but it could soon jump as he faces some ‘easier’ opponents. In his last start (5/4), he struck out out six Astros in five innings.


Madison Bumgarner (ARI)   5/11 vs. MIA   5/16 vs. WAS   5/21 @ COL

*Avoids LAD 5/17-20

It’s advantageous for any starter in the NL West to avoid the Dodgers when they get the chance. Madison Bumgarner will look ahead to next Tuesday with the Marlins, followed by the Nationals and Rockies. Each team ranks 17th or lower in wOBA this year. While a looming start in the Denver air can always pose a challenge, Bumgarner is no stranger to pitching in altitude having spent his entire 13-year career in the NL West.


Kyle Hendricks (CHC)   5/9 vs. PIT   5/14 @ DET   5/19 vs. WAS

Pittsburgh and Detroit are seeing some ongoing struggles in the win column; the Tigers have the worst record in all of baseball, and the Pirates have the third-worst record in the NL. Kyle Hendricks will ride his hot hand into his next start after pitching seven innings of one-run baseball against the Dodgers (5/4); he was chased around previously against the Braves, however (4/28; 3 2/3 IP, 7 ER), and in his one start against the Pirates this year, he allowed three runs in three innings (Opening Day).


Wade Miley (CIN)   5/7 @ CLE   5/12 @ PIT   5/17 vs. SF

*Avoids Coors Field 5/13-16

Wade Miley will also take on the Pirates, but will first face off against Cleveland and the 21st-ranked wRC+. Things will get a little tougher as he looks to face the Giants near the end of April (15th-ranked wRC+), but he also looks to avoid the hitter-friendly Coors Field under his current rotation.


Blake Snell (SD)   5/7 @ SFG   5/12 @ COL   5/17 vs. COL

The left-hander has been pretty consistent in his last three starts; Blake Snell has pitched either 5 or 5 1/3 innings in each of them, allowing one or two earned runs to the Giants and Dodgers (twice). His streak of NL West opponents will continue as he faces the Giants tonight, followed by the Rockies in consecutive outings. San Francisco has taken the division by storm, but their 15th-ranked wRC+ suggests it has been more their pitching that has put them atop the standings. Colorado is far from the top of the division, ranking 29th in wRC+. One start will be in Colorado, however—a place Snell is largely unfamiliar with after five years in the AL.


Bad Schedules


Dylan Bundy (LAA)   5/8 vs. LAD   5/14 @ BOS

*Extra day off (5/13)

In successive road starts in Houston and Seattle, Dylan Bundy threw 12 combined innings of four-run ball. He will return home, but only to face the Dodgers in essentially a home game for both teams. Bundy will then journey to the east coast to take on Boston, the current team leader in both wRC+ and wOBA. Cleveland will await after that (5/19), so his schedule will soon be a little more desirable.


Griffin Canning (LAA)   5/7 vs LAD   5/12 @ HOU   5/17 vs. CLE

*Avoids BOS 5/14-16

Griffin Canning will anticipate an identical schedule to Bundy but will swap the Red Sox with the Astros. Houston holds the 5th-ranked wRC+ and will look to bolster their record in the AL West against a division rival. Canning shut out the Mariners over 6 1/3 innings in his last start, but allowed six earned runs to the Astros in his start prior (2 1/3 IP).


Jorge López (BAL)   5/10 vs. BOS   5/15 vs. NYY   5/20 vs. TB

After a cold start to the season, the Yankees bats are beginning to catch up to their 2021 projections. They now rank 8th in wRC+ and before Jorge López faces them, he will face the Red Sox who stand atop the wRC+ list. The Rays will also be tough after that, ranking 10th, and all three teams are intra-division opponents with Baltimore.


Nathan Eovaldi (BOS)   5/11 vs. OAK   5/16 vs. LAA

Nathan Eovaldi, just one week removed from the feature graphic on the ‘good’ schedules, has now found himself on the bad schedule list—after Oakland has posted a 126 wRC+ in the past week. Eovaldi held the Rangers to one run in six innings in his last start, striking out five. He will share a similar schedule to Urquidy with the A’s and Angels coming up, each with a top-six wRC+ this year.


José Urquidy (HOU)   5/7 vs. TOR   5/12 vs. LAA   5/18 @ OAK

*Avoids TEX 5/13-16

Rather than taking on the Rangers in the middle of May, José Urquidy will take on the Angels and Athletics. Oakland is atop the AL West right now, and while the Angels are last in their division, their collective offensive figures are extremely strong (3rd in wRC+). Urquidy has faced Oakland twice in 2021, pitching 10 1/3 combined innings and allowing four earned runs. He has yet to face the Angels this year.


Mike Minor (KC)   5/9 vs. CHW   5/14 @ CHW

Back-to-back starts against the White Sox can be a tall task, especially when the Royals stand in a three-way deadlock atop the AL Central with Cleveland and Kansas City. The next 10 days could see any of them make a statement, and Mike Minor will have plenty to do with Kansas City’s ensuing stretch. He will look to face the Brewers in his third projected start, however, and Milwaukee ranks 22nd in wOBA.


Mike Fiers (OAK)   5/11 @ BOS   5/16 @ MIN   5/21 @ LAA

If the A’s are to remain atop the AL West, they will need to pitch well through a difficult stretch of May lineups. The Red Sox, Twins and Angels rank a respective 1st, 7th and 3rd in wRC+. Mike Fiers will be thrown into the, um…. fire.


Ross Stripling (TOR)   5/7 @ HOU   5/12 @ ATL   5/18 vs. BOS

*Avoids PHI 5/14-16

Houston and Atlanta are both hanging around the .500 mark and are projected highly in 2021, which could do little favors for Ross Stripling in his next two starts as his opponents look to get hot. His third projected opponent, the Red Sox, are already hot at the plate. Stripling last pitched against the Braves on Sunday, allowing two earned runs and exiting with one out in the fifth inning. His tough opponent streak continues: in three starts this year, he has faced the Braves (11th in wRC+), Angels (3rd) and Yankees (8th).


Carlos Rodón (CHW)   5/7 @ KC   5/12 vs. MIN   5/17 @ MIN

His team is in line for some exciting baseball in the coming weeks. The White Sox, Royals and Indians were all tied for the AL Central lead just one day ago, and Carlos Rodón will see the two competitors quite a bit this month. Following his no-hitter on April 14, Rodón has allowed two earned runs in his last 11 innings. He could easily be the guy the White Sox want on the mound against the toughest divisional foes.


Soon To Be a Great Schedule


Michael Pineda (MIN)   5/11 @ CHW   5/16 vs. OAK   5/21 @ CLE   5/26 vs. BAL  5/31 @ BAL

*Avoids DET 5/7-9

Opposing wRC+, in succession: 2nd, 6th, 21st, 24th, 24th. Michael Pineda drew a tough break in not facing the Tigers this weekend, but he will soon pitch against some desirable opponents one he gets past Oakland. His last start came on Thursday against the Rangers, so his next few starts will be a brief transition to the ‘bad’ schedule list before returning to the ‘good’ list.


Soon To Be a Bad Schedule


Kenta Maeda (MIN)   5/9 @ DET   5/14 vs. OAK   5/19 vs. CHW

After tossing 5 1/3 innings of scoreless work against Texas, Kenta Maeda will look ahead to the worst wRC+ in baseball this year. After he sees Detroit on Sunday, things will ramp up: Oakland ranks 6th in wRC+ and the White Sox rank 2nd. Maeda has faced the A’s once already; he allowed seven earned runs in three innings (4/21).


Jordan Lyles (TEX)   5/11 @ SF   5/16 @ HOU   5/21 vs. HOU   5/26 @ LAA   6/1 @ COL

Opposing wRC+, in succession: 15th, 5th, 5th, 3rd, and Coors Field. Even June will look to begin with an outing at Coors Field if Jordan Lyles stays on this rotation. It’s tough to forecast any starter five starts out so there is a chance Lyles won’t perfectly align with these dates, but it looks like all starters for the Rangers could have their hands full with these future opponents. Lyles allowed five earned runs to the Red Sox in his last start (5/1), tossing four innings. His start with the Giants could be a prime one to build his momentum back before he faces a gauntlet of offense.


Chi Chi González (COL)   5/8 @ STL   5/13 vs. CIN   5/18 vs. SD

Colorado’s rotation remains battered with injuries to Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela, so it appears Chi Chi González will stay in the rotation at least through May. His next opponent, the Cardinals, rank 18th in wRC+. He will also face Nolan Arenado’s new club—in St. Louis—so the added intensity could be a tougher chore than the Cardinals’ offensive stats suggest. González will then take on the 9th-ranked wRC+ inside Coors Field, and the Padres will follow; they might pass the Giants in the NL West by then.


The Unknown


Shane Bieber (CLE)   5/11 vs. CHC   5/16 @ SEA   5/21 vs. MIN

*Avoids CIN 5/7-9, LAA 5/17-19

The Cubs have posted a 127 wRC+ in the past week, but their season figure is still below average (98). After Shane Bieber faces them on Tuesday, he will take on the Mariners; they have posted the 4th-worst wRC+ in the past week, the 5th-worst all year, they were also just no-hit, but they are also near the top of the AL West (and looking to hold their ground above Houston). Bieber will have a presumably tough outing with the Twins after that, but his schedule is largely dependent on what version of the Cubs or Mariners he will face. His schedule favors the ‘good,’ however, as he appears to avoid the hot-hitting Reds and Angels this month.


Tuesday Starter for LAD – Unannounced   5/11 vs. SEA   5/16 vs. MIA   5/21 @ SF

*Avoids LAA 5/7-9

This unknown schedule is more dependent on the loss of Dustin May (Tommy John surgery) and not so much a schedule that is ‘good’ for the next two starts. Two of the next seven days for the Dodgers are off days, which will preserve their rotation for now. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will have some decisions to make after that, however, which could mean converting David Price back to a starter or making a minor league transaction just days into the Triple-A schedule. The future outlook depends on how a ‘different’ starter will acclimate in an otherwise dominant rotation.


Photo by Ken Murray/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.

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