Hoping For A Smooth VerLanding

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Well this is awkward. I’ve been an open Justin Verlander fan this year and his last four starts just have not bee what we’ve wanted, concluding with one of his worst outings of the year with a 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks line against the Astros. Now his BB/9 is up to a horrendous 4.28 BB?9, 4.57 FIP isn’t much better than his 4.87 ERA, and hard contact is a poor 34.8%. Jeeeeeeez. If you’re an owner, you want to hear that he’s going to figure it out and to hold and all that jazz. I want to say that – I truly do believe that Verlander is a much better pitcher than this and he will take a step forward at some point. Problem is that we don’t know when that will be. It could be next week, it could be June, it could be August. I really don’t believe Verlander has just “lost it”. Velocity is still up a ton since last year – 95.0mph! – but it’s for some reason corresponding with a drop in whiff rate, down from 12.0% to 9.0%. He’s going to take a major hit on Monday down to the 20s – I just don’t see why you wouldn’t take someone like Lance McCullers or Jon Lester at this point – but if you’re looking for a pitcher in the second half that could make a big impact that doesn’t cost a pretty penny, I’d be talking to the JV owner in your league. There’s still plenty of time for him to recover.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Jose Berrios’ Curveball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Wednesday’s Games

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Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the First Half Contest. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Jose Berrios’ Curveball – Berrios was looking all kinds of filthy against the Orioles on Wednesday, with his crazy good breaking ball stealing the spotlight. There were plenty to choose from, but this strikeout pitch to Caleb Joseph looks just like a wiffleball.

Trying Not To Be Bleake

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I haven’t given much airtime to Mike Leake this season and I’ll admit, I expected Mike’s pipes to Leake a bit as he faced the Dodgers Wednesday night, but he dazzled with a line of 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks.  He’s now sporting a low 1.91 ERA despite a 3.78 SIERA and 3.47 xFIP. Maybe he’s really good at surpressing HRs? He holds a 8.5% HR/FB rate this year after holding a 13.0%+ every season in his career except one where he had a 11.5% in 2013. Oh, and then there’s his .236 BABIP despite being a heavy groundball pitcher who is inducing 17.2% soft contact (average, but it doesn’t speak to an elite BABIP inducer) and an 85.6% LOB rate that is far from sustainable. So let’s say this regresses to around a 3.60 ERA arm. Well, then you’re left with his 6.16 K/9 that has given you 4.5 Ks per start, but that has required a near 7 IPS to render that kind of production. With a worse ERA comes shorter starts and we’re left with about 4 Ks per start. That’s not good and a bit risky on a given night as a start that doesn’t go his way will given you little to salvage. So what, drop Leake? Ha, definitely not. Ride this one out for all it’s worth. All I’m saying is don’t fall in love with him, listen to offers, and don’t wait too long to call the plumber when it starts dripping.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Batter’s Box: HR to the Izzo

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If you own Anthony Rizzo in an OBP league, then you’ve been perfectly happy with him so far, in fact you’ve probably been thrilled. He’s had great power, the runs and RBIs have been there, and his OBP is at .376, he’s what you wanted. But if you own Rizzo in a standard league, you’ve been understandably somewhat disappointed by the .238 batting average. Well Rizzo certainly helped you out on Wednesday night, going 3-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI and he’s going to be fine the rest of the season. The big thing to point to for that poor batting average is a .221 BABIP. Otherwise, he looks great. His strikeout rate is down, his walk rate is up, his whiff rate is down, the home runs are good, he’s fine, and he’ll be fine, so if someone is trying to buy low and you on Rizzo, don’t sell for anything less than what you expected from him initially. And if someone in your league wants to give up on Rizzo, go grab him fast.

Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:

The Hold Up 5/25: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week

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Not a whole lot of change this week on The Hold Up, as the injury bug took it easy on many bullpens across the league for once. We did lose Ryan Dull to a knee strain, but it’s not exactly like he was setting the world on fire to begin with. The biggest beneficiary could be Frankie Montas, who should begin to be trusted late in games more. It’s not like the A’s have anything to lose trusting a young prospect like Montas in that role to gain valuable experience.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

Batter’s Box: Bour Score and Seven Starts Ago…

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So, beyond the Gettysburg Address and puns pertinent to it being awesome, Miami 1B Justin Bour is legitimately becoming a fantasy success story over his past seven games starting for the Marlins. He has gone 13-28 since May 15—I’m omitting a single 0-1 pinch-hit outing on the 16th—and has blasted five homers during that span. During the month of May as a whole, he’s batting .348 and has 14 runs and 15 RBI. Season long, his average is still a robust .280 despite a feeble start, and his 30 RBI are tied with Aaron Judge, Eugenio Suarez, Jay Bruce, Joey Gallo, and Yonder Alonso for the 11th highest tally in the league. He could very well be an unexpected answer to some struggles you may have experienced at the position with Mike Napoli, Tommy Joseph, Anthony Rizzo and Adrian Gonzalez each underachieving in their own ways.

Let’s take a lot at what else hitting-wise happened notably around the league:

Tyler Glasnow’s Curveball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Tuesday’s Games

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Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the First Half Contest. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Tyler Glasnow’s Curveball – We’ve heard plenty about Glasnow’s massive breaking ball, but this might be the best look we’ve had at it thus far with the great camera angle in Atlanta. Our favorite of the night was this Curveball to Rio Ruiz in the second that started in the middle of the plate before diving into Ruiz’s shins. Straight up nasty.