SPs With Good And Bad Schedules Ahead – Week 6

Justin Wick forecasts the easier and tougher roads ahead for starters

With just over a month remaining in the 2020 regular season, the divisional records and team batting statistics are taking shape more than ever. This Week 6 analysis takes it all into account, from divisional standings, to team offensive figures, to the hot teams over the past week.


Great Schedules


Lucas Giolito (Chicago White Sox)


Fresh on the heels of 2020’s first no-hitter, Giolito will look ahead to the Twins in his next start (8/30). The White Sox are half a game behind the Twins in the AL Central standings, and Giolito has more momentum than any pitcher going into that series. It isn’t to say the Twins are an easy opponent, but Minnesota currently ranks 14th or below in all three slash line figures.

He will look to face the Royals after that (9/4). While Giolito’s White Sox lead all of baseball in wOBA, wRC+ and slugging, the Royals rank 20th or below in all of those figures. Kansas City has lost seven of their last 10, while the White Sox have won nine of 10.


Dustin May (Los Angeles Dodgers)


In his last start, May held the Rockies to one run and two hits over five innings. He will carry that momentum into his start with the Rangers this evening; Texas currently holds the worst wOBA in the American League, and the worst wRC+ in all of MLB.

After that, May is set to face off against the Diamondbacks in consecutive outings (9/2 and 9/8). Arizona has the third-worst wOBA in the National League.


Blake Snell (Tampa Bay Rays)


With his start against the Marlins on Saturday night (8/29), Snell will miss facing the Yankees in the following series. He will presumably face the Marlins again next week (9/4), pushing him out of a two-game set with the Nationals. Miami currently ranks 27th in slugging percentage and 21st in wRC+.

*Snell has not yet been confirmed for Saturday’s start, but it would be his turn in the rotation.

Yu Darvish (Chicago Cubs)


Darvish has the Reds on Saturday (8/29), followed by the Pirates (9/3) if an off-day keeps him on a five-day cycle. If he goes to a six-day routine, he will instead face the Cardinals (9/4). Cincinnati and Pittsburgh rank in the bottom third in both wOBA and wRC+, while the Cardinals rank 16th and 14th.

Rich Hill (Minnesota Twins)


The Twins take on the Tigers this weekend and Hill has the Sunday game. His following start will look to be against Detroit again (9/4), which pushes him out of a three-game set with the White Sox. The Tigers rank 27th in on-base percentage, while Hill featured a 1.20 WHIP in his last start against Cleveland.

Kenta Maeda (Minnesota Twins)


Maeda will follow a similar schedule to Hill but one day earlier. He has allowed six hits in his last 13 innings, which matches up well against Detroit’s on-base percentage. Minnesota will call upon José Berríos and Randy Dobnak for the series against the White Sox.

Dylan Cease (Chicago White Sox)


Like Hill and Maeda, Cease is not in line to throw in that series. He will instead look to face the Royals on Saturday (8/29) and next Thursday (9/3). Kansas City is last in the division and ranks 22nd in wOBA.

Cease will likely pitch against Pittsburgh after that (9/8 or 9/9), which would mean three consecutive starts against a divisional bottom dweller.


Johnny Cueto (San Francisco Giants)


Cueto will start Sunday in Phoenix, rather than next week in Denver. His Diamondbacks opponent hasn’t been hitting quite like the Rockies have inside Coors Field; he looks ahead to consecutive starts against the sixth-worst wOBA, avoiding the 13th-best.

Alex Young (Arizona Diamondbacks)


Arizona looks ahead to the Dodgers next week, but Young’s start on Sunday against the Giants looks to push him out of that series. He will instead face the Giants again (9/4 or 5).

He likely won’t avoid the Diamondbacks’ next set against the Dodgers, however. Young will at least be able to make that start at home (9/9 or 9/10).

Corbin Burnes (Milwaukee Brewers)


Burnes will go to work against a Pirates lineup this evening, and they currently hold the lowest wOBA and second-lowest wRC+ in baseball. He will have the Tigers in back-to-back starts after that (9/2 and 9/8), and their wRC+ and wOBA ranks in MLB’s bottom third.


Poor Schedules


Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees)


Cole won’t throw in a series against the hot-hitting Rays, but his opponents are still challenging. He has the Mets on Sunday (8/30), followed by the Orioles (9/4), Blue Jays (9/9), and Blue Jays again (9/15). All three are in the top-10 in wOBA.


Zack Greinke (Houston Astros)


Saturday will feature Greinke taking on an Athletics lineup that has helped Oakland to a 4.5 game lead in the AL West. Greinke will have it easier with the Rangers in his next outing (last in wRC+; 9/3), but he will have the A’s again (9/8) and Dodgers later (9/13). Three of his next four outings are set to be against a divisional leader.


Sean Manaea (Oakland Athletics)


Sunday action will feature Manaea taking on the Astros. He will then have the Padres (9/4 or 9/5) and the Astros again (9/9 or 9/10). Houston and San Diego are currently second in their respective divisions and riding a bit of a hot streak, but Oakland does remain atop the AL West with a commanding lead.


Germán Márquez (Colorado Rockies)


With the Padres twice (8/30 and 8/9) and Dodgers once (8/4), Márquez’s next three starts will be against the two teams ahead of Colorado in the NL West standings. Both opponents are in MLB’s top-six in wOBA and wRC+.


Danny Duffy (Kansas City Royals)


Duffy will face the hot-hitting White Sox tonight and look ahead to the Indians on Wednesday (9/2). While Cleveland’s offense (26th in wOBA) hasn’t performed to the level of the White Sox (1st), both teams are within a game of Minnesota for the NL Central lead. Kansas City has lost seven of their last 10.


Derek Holland (Pittsburgh Pirates)


Holland’s next three starts look to progressively get more difficult. He has the Brewers this evening, followed by the Cubs (9/3) and White Sox (9/8). Milwaukee ranks 28th in wOBA; the Cubs rank 14th, and the White Sox rank 1st. 

Holland does carry some forward momentum with him; he has allowed one earned run over his last seven innings.


Zach Davies (San Diego Padres)


Davies will toe the Coors Field rubber this evening. In his next three starts, two of them (8/28 and 9/7 or 9/8) appear to be against Colorado. Tonight will end a seven game road trip for the Rockies, and they have snapped a seven game losing streak with three straight wins in Arizona, scoring a combined 18 runs.

Davies will have the Angels (9/2 or 9/3) in between starts against Colorado, and they rank in the bottom half across all batting slash figures.

Casey Mize (Detroit Tigers)


Mize will have the AL Central-leading Twins on Saturday, followed by the Twins again (9/4 or 9/5). He was chased in his last start after allowing three earned runs over 3.1 innings but in his two games thus far, both opponents (the Cubs and White Sox) have shown for a better wOBA than the Twins. 

The Tigers have two off-days next week, so the young right-hander will have some additional rest.


Luke Weaver (Arizona Diamondbacks)


Weaver will take on the Giants this evening; while San Francisco rivals Arizona at the bottom of the NL West, they do have above-average wOBA and wRC+. 

Depending on how manager Torey Lovullo decides to work around an 8/31 off-day, Weaver will either see the Dodgers and Giants (9/2 and 9/7), or the Dodgers twice (9/3 and 9/8). The Dodgers are currently second in the NL in wOBA and wRC+.


Nathan Eovaldi (Boston Red Sox)


Boston will take on Washington over the weekend and Eovaldi has the Sunday start. He will look ahead to the Blue Jays (9/4) and Rays (9/10). All three of those opponents rank 11th or better in wOBA.



Graphic by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter)

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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