SPs With Good And Bad Schedules Ahead – Week 8

Justin Wick forecasts the easier and tougher roads ahead for starters

We have a mere 16 days left in the 2020 regular season, and three starts remain for most starting pitchers. With over half of baseball making the postseason in 2020, the playoff seeding can rely heavily on the final stretches of several key starters. Here’s the Week 9 schedule outlook for many of those arms, beginning with the good roads ahead: 


Great Schedules


Zac Gallen (Arizona Diamondbacks)


Gallen has thrown at least six innings in seven of his nine starts this year, and has allowed two or fewer runs in all but one of those outings. His last start was the outlier, however, as the Giants chased him after five innings and four earned runs. He will look to get back on track with the Mariners (9/12), Angels (9/17), and Rangers (9/22).

All three opponents rank at the bottom of the AL West, and they rank a respective 21st, 11th and 30th in wOBA. There is a chance that Gallen could face the Astros (9/18) instead of the Angels, but Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo may elect to stick with Gallen on a true five-day cycle.


Carlos Carrasco (Cleveland Indians)


Carrasco’s September schedule remains desirable, even after his start against the Royals on Wednesday. The toughest of his next three starts looks to be his next one against the Cubs (9/15), but starts against Detroit (9/20) and Pittsburgh (9/25) are how he will round out the regular season. He is in line to avoid a four-game set with the White Sox from September 21-24.


Jack Flaherty (St. Louis Cardinals)


The Brewers (9/14), Pirates (9/19), and Brewers (9/24) are what Flaherty will go to work with to close out the regular season. Milwaukee and Pittsburgh rank 20th or worse across all three batting slash figures.


Dylan Bundy (Los Angeles Angels)


After his start against the Rangers on Thursday, Bundy will see the Diamondbacks (9/16) and Rangers again (9/21). Both teams rank fifth in their divisions, and separately rank 28th and 29th in wOBA.


Dinelson Lamet (San Diego Padres)


Lamet’s next outing will be against a hot-hitting Giants lineup (9/12), but it gets him out of a series with the Dodgers. He will instead look to face the Mariners (9/18) and potentially the Angels (9/23). The Mariners rank 26th in OPS this year, while the Angels rank 14th. 

There is a chance he faces the Giants again instead of the Angels, depending on how manager Jayce Tingler handles an August 21st off-day. Lamet could either jump a day or slip back to the road matchup in San Francisco (9/25).


Zack Greinke (Houston Astros)


Greinke will go to work against the Rangers (9/15), Diamondbacks (9/20), and Rangers again (9/25). Simply put: the two teams rank 28th or worse in OBP, slugging, wOBA and wRC+.


Jose Urquidy (Houston Astros)


With a similar schedule to Greinke, he substitutes the Diamondbacks with the Mariners. Urquidy will see Texas at home (9/17), followed by Seattle on the road (9/22) and Texas on the road (9/27). 

Seattle ranks 15th in wOBA while Arizona ranks 28th. Urquidy’s road ahead is thereby a little tougher than Greinke’s.


Brad Keller (Kansas City Royals)


Keller looks ahead to the Pirates (9/12), Brewers (9/19), and Tigers (9/24). All three rank 21st or worse in wOBA, and none are on pace to make the postseason.

Nick Pollack addressed on Tuesday, however, that Keller is “trending down with his velocity while his new breaker was super effective just once.”


Yu Darvish (Chicago Cubs)


Darvish has the Indians (9/15) and Pirates (9/21) on the horizon, and while Cleveland’s postseason push could potentially fuel their bats, both teams have been below-average at the plate (Cleveland has a wRC+ of 86; Pittsburgh has a 71.)

Darvish will look to close out the regular season with the White Sox (9/26), which certainly looks like the most challenging of the three starts. He held them to one run over seven innings earlier this year.


Tyler Anderson (San Francisco Giants)


After six shutout innings against the Mariners on Wednesday, Anderson carries that momentum into a start in Seattle on Tuesday (9/15). He’ll see the Rockies at Oracle Park after that (9/21).

Anderson is set to finish the season with San Diego (9/26). In his only start against the Padres this year, Anderson shut out their tough lineup for 3 2/3 innings.


Poor Schedules


Charlie Morton (Tampa Bay Rays)


The divisional standings may not suggest it, but Morton’s next three opponents are hitting the ball well. He has the Red Sox (9/12), Orioles (9/17 or 9/18) and Mets (9/22 or 9/23) coming up, and they rank third, eighth and ninth in wOBA. None of the three are currently in line to make the postseason, but the Orioles are within relative striking distance of the Yankees for a wild card berth.


Kyle Freeland (Colorado Rockies)


Freeland will look ahead to the World Series-favorite Dodgers (9/19) and hot-hitting Giants (9/24) over his next three starts. He’ll take on the Angels first (9/13) in likely the easiest matchup of the three. The first two games in that stretch are scheduled at Coors Field.


Tanner Roark (Toronto Blue Jays)


Roark is set to see the Yankees in consecutive outings (9/17 and 9/22) after having already faced them on Wednesday. The Yankees could very well be playing for their lives with the Orioles on their heels for the final AL wild card spot.


Spencer Turnbull (Detroit Tigers)


This could be less of a tough schedule based on the opposing lineups, and more of a tough one based on the race in the AL Central. Turnbull will take on the White Sox in Chicago (9/13), followed by the Indians at home (9/18 or 9/19) and potentially the Twins in Minneapolis (9/23). Detroit trails the division lead by seven games, while Turnbull’s three opponents are battling it out at the top.

Turnbull shut out the Brewers over six frames in his last start, but in his start prior to that, the same Milwaukee lineup chased him in the fifth after scoring five earned runs.


Sonny Gray (Cincinnati Reds)


Gray’s schedule will get far more difficult after his upcoming start against Pittsburgh (9/15), as he will presumably face the White Sox (9/20) and Twins (9/25-27). The White Sox have been swinging the best out of all three teams, holding the fourth-best wOBA in all of baseball. Over the past week, the Twins have ranked 11th. 

The White Sox and Twins are 7-3 in their last 10 games, but there is also a chance Gray will swap his White Sox start with the Brewers (9/21; 5-5 in their last 10). Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has MLB’s worst wOBA this year, along with the least amount of wins. 


David Peterson (New York Mets)


With potential starts against the Blue Jays (9/13)  and Braves (9/22), Peterson is looking at consecutive postseason lineups in his next two starts.

Due to a series of off-days, there is a chance Peterson will be pushed back to accommodate the schedule of Jacob deGrom. Peterson already looks to avoid a series with Philadelphia, and the Phillies rank 18th in wOBA. Atlanta ranks first.


Andrew Heaney (Los Angeles Angels)


Heaney has a roller coaster of bad and good over his next three starts; he’ll look to face the Rockies at Coors Field (9/13), followed by the Rangers at home (9/18 or 9/19) and the Dodgers in L.A (9/25).

Heaney has struggled against Texas this year. He faced them in his last start, allowing three earned runs over five innings. In his only other start against the Rangers in 2020, he was chased in the fourth and allowed five earned.


Rich Hill (Minnesota Twins)


The Twins, White Sox, and Indians are within 1.5 games of each other for the AL Central lead. Minnesota is in a prime position to separate themselves from the pack with so many divisional matchups looming, but it could easily require a solid finish from Hill (9/12 vs. CLE, 9/17 at CHW). The White Sox have the best wOBA in the American League.


Julio Urías (Los Angeles Dodgers)


Tony Gonsolin was set to close the season with the Astros at home (9/12), the Rockies in Denver (9/17), and the A’s at home (9/23), but after he pitched in relief on Thursday night, Urías will take over the schedule. The Dodger-resented AL reigning champs, a visit to Coors Field, and the AL West leader pose a unique set of challenges.

In his lone 2020 start against Colorado, Urías allowed four earned runs in 4.1 innings—at home. His upcoming start against the Rockies will be his first in Denver this year.


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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