A Highway To Hell

Nick Pollack reviews every single starting pitcher's performances from Thursday's games.

(Photo by Juan Salas/Icon Sportswire)

Every so often we have a young pitcher that we haven’t seen much of have himself a surprising game. Brian Johnson flexed 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks against the Yankees last night and it made you look him up. After going past the AC/DC wikipedia page, you see six starts since the end of June tallying for a 2.79 ERA and a 24% K rate, making your eyes glitter. And last night was the Yankees! This won’t be long, just a simple “look kid, you think you know what you want but you don’t. It looks all shiny and beautiful, but it’s a sub 10% overall whiff rate against some questionable teams (Jays, Twins, Tigers, Angels, Nationals), a 4.26 SIERA and only 11% soft contact, and 85% LOB rate that won’t last, and would you look at the six of that 1.38 WHIP. You’re a good kid, you have a bright future, and this team of yours? Yeah, it’s got a chance this year. Don’t sacrifice all of that for a simple…B. Johnson.” Wow, what a speech. Well, I didn’t want to come across as speechless after that start. I regret everything. I regret nothing.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Hunter Wood2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Another False Start here as Jalen Beeks tossed five frames after. Not a bad outing, but I don’t want to be chasing Beeks right now. I just don’t see enough upside with a considerably low floor.

Madison Bumgarner5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Just 20/101 CSW here from Bumgarner as he labored with his heater plenty more than I’d like – just 3/25 CSW! 30 Fouls as well should tell you a lot about how he’s now overpowering batters anything like he used to. I’m still cautious but have no choice to rank him Top 30 given the dearth of sturdy options out there.

Robbie Erlin5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Rolling with Robbie will have you Erlin in a toilet later. That’s too much, Nick. YOU’RE TOO MUCH.

Pablo Lopez6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Lopez had himself a solid outing against the Phils, but unfortunately I’m not seeing enough from him to think that he’s worth your time with any consistency. Like a friend from out of town that you have nothing in common with. Maybe you actually hang one day and after the first five minutes, it’s just why did I do this. You wish him the best, though.

Miles Mikolas7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. It’s weird, you see a 4.60 SIERA and think Mikolas should be a TEEs, but you also watch his games and see that he has some very polished stuff. He’s ultimately not a sub 3.00 ERA pitcher, but 3.40 ERA sounds right and that’s great. Those Ks? Maybe one day that’s somewhat consistent. Maybe.

Mike Montgomery5.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Our Call Boy sure wasn’t seducing, but he gave you a nice ERA and that’s all we can ask for. Streaming Record: 64-37.

Antonio Senzatela6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Senz-A was a bit more masterful than usual here as he faced the Cards, it doesn’t mean you have to sign up for his class once a week, though.

Tyler Clippard1.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. The Jays tried this opener thing…with Clippard. Yeah, okay. Do I care about Mike Hauschild who followed for six shutout frames? I wish I did…I wish I did…Good slider, bad everything else for this Cup of Schmo.

Mike Foltynewicz6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Great to see Folty get back on track. That’s what the Mets do. The NL Easy is a wonderful place.

Zack Greinke6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace. He’s on a roll like a thin slab of butter.

Felix Hernandez5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Sure, that ERA is acceptable but I want more if I’m ever going to coronate you again. Until then, you’re just a prince without a path to the crown.

Brad Keller6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. So this is a clear Blame it on the ChiSox and I could just leave it at that. I don’t detest Keller completely – he throws 94mph with a decent breaker and a changeup that sometimes works – but you’re banking on everything working together on a given night for any chance of success and that’s a terrible bet to make. 

Clayton Kershaw6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s TATIAGA and while he hasn’t had that double-digit K game or a CGSHO that we expect, you might be surprised when I tell you Kersh has a 2.55 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP and 25.5% K rate. I know, I know, it’s not oh my lord he’s so handsome levels that we’re used to from him, but you pay for the floor and the dude has 3 games above 2 ER in 16 starts this season…two 3 ER and one of 4 ER. This is the beauty of Kershaw.

Reynaldo Lopez7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Blame it on the Royals. Y’all know what I’m waiting to see from ReyLo: Consistency with both his slider and changeup in a game as his fastball is legit. It’s been mostly sliders this year, this one was plenty changeups and few benders. One day…one day…

Nick Pivetta6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Ayyy he got through it! The Marlins clubbed a 2-run shot and that was about it as Pivetta threw under 90 pitches but was still pulled after six, even surviving a rain delay to start the third. Keep rolling with him y’all. Believe.

CC Sabathia3.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. CC got the Sawx and this was an easy sit. He’s a Toby moving forward and don’t let this change anything.

Max Scherzer6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace as Scherzer cruised to 19 whiffs and another Gallows Pole. Because duh.

Andrew Heaney6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. It was a stressful fourth frame that led to all of the damage, but overall, Heaney still pitched great here. Remember, WHIP counts too.

Jason Vargas5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Soooo Vargas’ 17 whiffs were just two off the Gallows Pole today. Yeah, I know. Baseball is weird.

Yovani Gallardo5.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Imagine signing up for some YoGa and getting this slap in the face instead. *THWACK*. What was that fo—NAMASTE!

Tyler Mahle1.2 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Mahle has been in a terrible funk and it’s just not worth it to invest in a rebound.

Jhoulys Chacin4.1 IP, 8 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Chacin will do well when Jhoulyst expect it. Here was the Dodgers and he had a terrible inning that led the charge of destruction. Still someone to own in 12-teamers, surprisingly.

Andrew Cashner1.2 IP, 10 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Well, yeah. It’s Cashner. Obligatory HAISTFWMWT?! but that’s like expecting to pick berries for dinner (already a terrible plan) and heading to the sole tree planted in the middle of your town’s one roundabout.

Today’s Streamer

German Marquez vs. Milwaukee Brewers – He’s been killing it and pitches out of Coors.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Mike Minor vs. Baltimore Orioles – Minor is looking solid these days and gets the Orioles who will cool down as their current hot offense is hilarious.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Trevor Cahill vs. Detroit Tigers – I like Derek Holland against the Diamondbacks as well, but the Tigers are the Tigers, y’all.

Game of the Day

Luis Severino vs. Rick Porcello – After last night’s bombardment, I’m curious if Severino can withstand the Sawx, especially given his recent struggles. Oh and Porcello, too, I guess.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Ryan says:

    Marquez or Odorizzi the better streamer today?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’d favor Odorizzi slightly.

      (For those wondering, he’s owned in over 20% of leagues, making him ineligible for my streamer pick.)

  • Chris says:

    Nick, Pivetta or Quintana ROS? More concerned about wins and ratio categories than I am Ks.

  • Molina Bros BBQ says:

    Would you trade Yates for Godley if I need Ks? I have 6 closers and 5 SPs so I can spare a reliever at the moment. You feel like Godley has a decent ceiling ROS?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think that’s a good roll of the dice. May not work out, but the ceiling is still there.

      • Molina Bros BBQ says:

        Thanks Nick. “Roll of the dice” is a good description… Looking at the free agent pool is very discouraging. Feeling like I have to move a closer for a pitcher who is at least a step up from the guys who are available for pick up. Not getting a lot of other bites so it might be Godley or bust… with bust being a very real possibility! Here goes nothing… Thanks again!

    • Slothrop says:

      Yes, now

  • Theo says:

    Hey Nick,
    Semi-finals are next week (we wrap mlb a few weeks early b/c it’s a 3 sport league and want finals done before nfl starts & also to avoid hassle of dealing w/ Sept roster expansion).

    This is a QS league. I’m considering adding Chase Anderson (2 starts next week – SD and @ATL) and dropping Stripling (@COL coming off the DL and dealing w/ all this 6 man rotation/rest stuff). If I made it through semis Stripling would have @SEA which is less concerning than @COL of course but not exactly a walk in the park. I’m less concerned w/ @SEA and more concerned that he gets skipped, or LAD DL10’s him again to limit IP.

    It’s a keeper league too but the odds of me keeping Strip are pretty low. I dunno, would you do it?

    Woulc

    • Nick Pollack says:

      If you’re not keeping Stripling and the season will end after @COL and @SEA, I think it’s a good move as next week Chase Anderson is a better play.

  • RyanF says:

    Im looking to round out my roster with one more starting pitcher…

    I have Maeda, Taillion, Cahill(used in relieft spot), Buehler(also has RP eligibility) and Pivetta as my staff. Darvish and Carlos Martinez in my DL spots.

    Currently, Bundy, Gibson, Jon Gray, Velasquez are all available on the wire.

    Im leaning towards Gray or Velasquez because they are on better teams.

    Who would you grab off the wire?

    Thanks for your help!

  • Max says:

    In terms of keeper value would you have the following guys like this? or some other order?

    Snell, Fulmer, Castillo, Mikolas, Fulmer, Stripling, Gausman?

  • Glenn says:

    I share your concerns about Bumgarner. I was offered Rich Hill for him. Judging from your rankings, you’d stick with MadBum. Is that correct. I’d lean that way too, though I’d think Hill would pull down more wins — if he can stay healthy. And given it’s Hill, that’s a big question.

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