SPs With Good And Bad Schedules Ahead – Week 9

Justin Wick forecasts the easier and tougher roads ahead for starters

Ten days remain in the 2020 regular season. Some teams can breathe easy with pitching decisions after already clinching a postseason berth, while other teams may work their best pitchers heavily in hopes to even get there. Two starts remain for most starters, and here’s how many of them will close out the regular season:

*Postseason percentages listed are from FanGraphs.


Great Schedules


Kenta Maeda (Minnesota Twins)


Maeda will work around a three-game set with the Cubs, instead facing the Tigers in the middle of next week (9/22 or 9/23). Minnesota can plan ahead for their postseason slate with two days off next week, and Maeda could thereby make his final start of the regular season on Tuesday or Wednesday. 


Adrian Houser (Milwaukee Brewers)


With a 46.4% chance to make the postseason, the Brewers have plenty to prove as the regular season closes. Hauser will face the Royals tonight followed by presumably the Reds (8/23); both teams rank 20th or worse in wOBA.

Kansas City is nearly eliminated from postseason contention (0.3 percent), while the divisional-rival Reds (54.9%) could make for an intense series.


Kyle Hendricks (Chicago Cubs)


Hendricks will pitch against the Twins tonight, followed by the Pirates (9/23). This pushes him out of a regular season closing series with the White Sox, instead giving him additional rest going into the Cubs’ first postseason matchup.

Minnesota holds the 15th-best wOBA in baseball, while the Pirates rank 30th.


Jose Urquidy (Houston Astros)


With the Diamondbacks on Sunday (9/20) and the Rangers late next week (9/25 or 9/26), Urquidy looks ahead to the 28th and 29th-ranked wOBA.


Jacob deGrom (New York Mets)


It could be a better schedule, but deGrom will likely face Tampa Bay on Monday (9/21) instead of Atlanta in a weekend series. The Rays rank 10th in wOBA, while the Braves rank second.

His workload could depend on the Mets’ postseason chances: they currently sit at 27.7%. He will look to face the Nationals in his final regular season start (9/26 or 9/27); Washington has less than a one percent chance of making the postseason, and their wOBA has ranked 25th over the past week.


Carlos Martinez (St. Louis Cardinals)


After facing the Pirates today, Martinez will likely face the Royals on Wednesday (9/23). This could mean he will avoid five games with the Brewers in four days, instead ending his regular season campaign in the middle of next week to remain fresh for a postseason start. The Cardinals currently hold a 57.3% chance of making the postseason, so they still have some work to do.


Charlie Morton (Tampa Bay Rays)


Tampa Bay will close out the regular season at the Orioles, at the Mets, and at home with the Phillies. Morton will look to pitch Saturday in Baltimore (9/19) and the following Friday against the Phillies (9/25), missing the Mets in the process. Baltimore’s wOBA has been the fifth-worst in baseball over the past week, while the Mets have ranked first over the whole season.


Matthew Boyd (Detroit Tigers)


Detroit will finish their season with the Indians, Twins and Royals. Boyd’s two presumed starts will come Sunday against Cleveland (9/20) and next weekend in Kansas City (9/25-9/27). Both opponents rank in the bottom third in wOBA and wRC+.


Kyle Freeland (Colorado Rockies)


After facing the Dodgers on Thursday night, Freeland will look ahead to the Giants (9/22) and potentially the Diamondbacks in the regular season finale (9/27). San Francisco’s lineup will prove to be a test (7th in wOBA), but meanwhile, Arizona ranks 28th in wOBA.


Any Pitcher for the Dodgers


As the Dodgers have officially clinched the first postseason berth of 2020, they can begin stacking their postseason deck accordingly. They will face the Rockies in Denver through Sunday, followed by the A’s and Angels for three games a piece. Two days of rest are scheduled between the Dodgers’ regular season finale and their first game of the postseason.


Poor Schedules


Chris Bassitt (Oakland Athletics)


With his start this evening against the Giants and another start against the Dodgers (9/23 or 9/24), Bassitt is in line to face the seventh and sixth-best wOBA figures in baseball. He has yet to face either opponent in 2020.

Oakland is out to a commanding lead in the AL West, and they are likely to remain one of the top three seeds in the AL.


Shane Bieber (Cleveland Indians)


After facing the Twins and Tigers, Bieber will look ahead to the White Sox (9/22). He would presumably get a start against Pittsburgh after that (9/27), but it could be a short outing to close the regular season should Cleveland remain in playoff position. The Indians hold a 99.7% chance of making the playoffs, which could mean Bieber might not even pitch in that regular season finale with Pittsburgh.


Madison Bumgarner (Arizona Diamondbacks)


Bumgarner allowed eight earned runs over 5.1 innings in his last start against the Angels; it was his third start since returning from the injured list. He’ll see the Astros on Sunday (9/20). 

Arizona has an off-day on the 21st, and Bumgarner will miss a two-game set against Texas (9/22-23). He will instead face the Rockies at Chase Field (9/25 or 9/26).


Max Fried (Atlanta Braves)


The Braves and Mets have the two highest wOBA figures in baseball this year. Both will face each other this weekend, and Fried will take the start for Atlanta this evening. He will look ahead to the Marlins next week (8/23 or 8/24); Miami is currently neck-and-neck with Philadelphia for second in the NL East.


Antonio Senzatela (Colorado Rockies)


Sunday will pit Senzatela against the Dodgers for the third time this year. He faced them in late August, allowing six earned runs in 5.1 innings, and early September, allowing two earned over another 5 1/3. He will look beyond to the Diamondbacks at Chase Field (8/26), so he’ll have a good schedule for his final regular season start.

Should Colorado pull off a postseason berth (7%), they would likely face the Dodgers again.


Griffin Canning (Los Angeles Angels)


Canning will get the Padres in his next start (9/22), and will look to pitch in the Angels’ season finale with the Dodgers (9/27). Both games are road games, and both teams currently hold the best records in the National League.


Pablo López (Miami Marlins)


López will face the Nationals on Saturday, but will promptly return with the Braves (9/23 or 9/24). Miami will also close the season with 12 games in 10 days, so Lopez may have to work deeper into games than he otherwise would. Washington ranks 13th in wOBA, while the Braves rank second.


Chris Paddack (San Diego Padres)


Paddack will pitch the bottom of the first at Petco Park tonight, as the Seattle-scheduled matchup has now been moved to San Diego. He’ll potentially see the Angels after (9/23), but Padres manager Jayce Tingler could space out Paddack’s starts with two days off next week. 

San Diego is in desirable playoff position, and with those off-days, they can begin planning their rotation for a desired postseason order. They have a 98.5% chance of finishing second in the NL West.


Tanner Houck (Boston Red Sox)


Coming off five shutout innings in his MLB debut, Houck will now face the surging Yankees. In the past seven days, the Yankees have generated a whopping .470 wOBA, which is nearly 100 points ahead of the second best over that span.

If Houck is to make another start after the Yankees one, it would likely come next weekend against Atlanta (9/25-9/27). The Braves’ wOBA in the past seven days ranks 17th, but over the whole season it ranks second.


Any Pitcher for the Reds


With postseason odds set at 54.7%, Cincinnati will close the season against the similarly-positioned Brewers, the AL-leading White Sox, and the 31-win Twins. The Reds have not announced a probable starter for any of their future matchups, but they could easily go to their top guys heavily as they work toward a playoff berth.

The White Sox and Twins rank fifth and eighth in wOBA over the past seven days, and the Brewers have high urgency to win.



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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