A Hill To Taillon

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Wednesday.

Jameson Taillon vs BAL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 74 pitches.

It took two years, but Jameson Taillon finally pitched in an MLB game again and for the most part, it was wonderful – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks . His slider returned a ridiculous 43% CSW, fastballs were well commanded (save for one punished by Santander), and curveballs had their place as a solid mix-up pitch. There were two changeups — one of them a ball and the other…sent into the seats. Fine, we axe the changeup and boom, one ER instead of two. This game is easy, y’all.

But seriously, Taillon will continue to stretch out moving forward and you should be encouraged by this. Yes, I want to see him sitting 94-95 as opposed to the 93 mph and change we saw tonight. I think he can get there, just give it time. At the very least, his fixed four-seamer is a better offering than the two-seamer from Pittsburgh and he still has a pair of great breakers. Once he’s able to go 90+ pitches (probably two to three starts away), you’re looking at another quality start machine with strikeout upside. What’s not to like about that?

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

 

Brandon Woodruff @ CHC (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 74 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. It was ace day, so enjoy the bevy of AGA labels in a row now. Woodruff flirted with a no-hitter and I’m so sorry you have to endure a 0.14 WHIP now. Poor you.

Jack Flaherty @ MIA (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 101 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. See? Everything’s fine…except for those four walks. Who cares, that’s still a 0.83 WHIP.

Luis Castillo vs PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 81 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I mentioned this a bit on the livestream today, but sadly we can’t make any assessments based on this one. He’s still throwing slightly softer than last year and the results? Well, Blame it on the Pirates. Next time out will be more telling against the Giants. Should be totally fine, though.

Shane Bieber vs KC (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 12 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 103 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Sorry, Cole was better but fine, here’s a Gallows PoleToo bad he couldn’t finish the seventh, and I can’t but wonder if he’s the new deGrom with how he’s somehow 0-1 after two starts.

Stephen Strasburg vs ATL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 85 pitches.

Aces gonna ace despite throwing in the lower 90s constantly. I’m pretty impressed here that he could pull it off without that major heater, but I can’t help but be a little scared. It’s like his middle name is Oscar, and he’s giving us all the warning signs. But naaaaah, he’s fine.

Kyle Gibson vs TOR (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 82 pitches.

Aces gonn—GIBSON!!! Awww Nick, please let me stay. NO. But I had my slider working better than all of last 2020 with a tick of added velocity! Okay, fine. You can stay. Really?! NO. I ain’t risking this vs. the Rays next, y’all.

Kyle Hendricks vs MIL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 85 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Yes, he still is one, especially when he’s back to 87 mph on his sinker. We can all exhale now as we followed the Hendricks rule by not overreacting to his first start of the year. Look at Hendricks, setting the example in 2020 to help us in 2021. That’s why they call him The Professor. No other reason.

Trevor Bauer @ OAK (ND) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 110 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Yeah, this is Bauer, alright. Just look at that pitch count. I can’t help but wonder that there’s a blow-up hiding around a corner somewhere but for now, I’ll nod my head in agreement, casting the occasional shifty eyes, searching for danger.

Aaron Nola vs NYM (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 92 pitches.

Aces gonna…be inefficient. Nola had a 6% CSW across 17 changeups today. SIX. PER. CENT. We also saw some new cutters as well at a 14% clip and that returned…8% CSW. Nola. Please. Just stick to the three-pitch mix. It was wonderful last year, it was wonderful in 2019, and guess what, 2018 as well. No need to fix what ain’t making weird noises and moving all over the place when it shouldn’t. That’s not how the phrase goes. YOU’RE NOT HOW THE PHRASE GOES.

Kenta Maeda @ DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 75 pitches.

Aces gonna give a good line but not really be back there yet. I was hoping he’d go seven with that low pitch count and while his slider improved as the game went on, he wasn’t as comfortable as we saw him last year with sliders and changeups. Simply put, he’s not getting the same amount of strikes with his changeup and it’s holding back his fastball’s effectiveness. Now, after getting Milwaukee and Detroit, he has to face Boston and I’m a little scared. He’s still an auto-start — duh — I just can’t ignore that he hasn’t found his stride yet.

Hyun-Jin Ryu @ TEX (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 90 pitches.

Aces gonna ace but still get the loss because of a guy named Gibson. GIBSON!!! That cutter was lovely, helping him earn a King Cole in Texas. His curveball went 8/13 as well and Ryu cruised, save for a pair of longballs. So far, so good.

Blake Snell vs SF (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 87 pitches.

Aces gonna ace, but still struggle just enough to fail at going six full frames. I’m still waiting for both his slider and curveball to land in the zone constantly, and just 4/40 called strikes isn’t going to help that walk rate and getting through six in a breeze.

Max Fried @ WSH (ND) – 2.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 49 pitches.

Aces gonna…aww, we had such a lovely streak there, Fried. He was ambushed early and hung a few pitches, but he really didn’t deserve eight hits in this one. Well, going 0/11 CSW on sliders doesn’t help. Y’all know he’s better than this so keep on starting him.

John Means @ NYY (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 93 pitches.

Means held a 20% SwStr on his fastball tonight, tossing it a full tick harder than last time out. Meanwhile, his curveball earned strikes, changeups were effective, and he quelled the Yankee lineup. Oh, and now he gets Seattle and Tex. Does this mean it’s time to celebrate? It’s time.

Kevin Gausman @ SD (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 96 pitches.

Remember last week when I expressed concern that Gausman was way below his 2020 velocity? He’s back at 95 mph and was glorious in this one. Sorry for the false alarm, y’all, I couldn’t not mention it last time, you know?

Chad Kuhl @ CIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 72 pitches.

It was an atrocious first frame, and to his credit, he did settle in after that. But man, that was really bad. Funny story that really isn’t funny and I shouldn’t be wasting your time with this in any sense why is this sentence still going I’M SORRY, after watching Castillo rock the first and Kuhl struggle, I predicted an 11-1 score on the Twitch stream. So close y’all, so close.

Matthew Boyd vs MIN (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 96 pitches.

It got a little worse at the end, but Boyd cruised through most of this one, boasting a 38% CSW by the end and lasting nearly 100 pitches. You’re probably expecting me to be in full Boyd Boiz mode and…I’m not. Think of it this way — his changeup was excellent (it was in 2020, too!), his fastball hovered 92 mph (matched his 2020) and his slider…went 3/27 on whiffs. Sure, it landed for called strikes aplenty, pushing it to 37% CSW, but with Boyd’s slider specifically, he won’t be that darling until it’s returning a 20%+ SwStr rate again. I just don’t buy that Called Strike stickiness on his breaker. Trust me, I want to be all gung-ho here, but that would be if he has 92 mph + the new changeup + slider whiffs and I’m still waiting on that last one. I understand completely if you’re starting him against Houston — I think I am too — but I have my concerns. Please prove me wrong, Matthew.

Jakob Junis @ CLE (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 58 pitches.

Look at Junis do things. Pretty dang impressive, especially when you see the low pitch count as well. Thing is, what Junis brought to the table really isn’t anything new. He’s always been a one-pitch guy with a 91 mph fastball, and in this one that one pitch was his cutter. Or at least that’s what Savant is calling it. This is a Blame it on the Indians and nothing more. Sorry.

Nathan Eovaldi vs TB (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 91 pitches.

I’m stunned. He held a 20% SwStr across his curveball and slider and a 46% CSW between them. Wat. Usually those aren’t strong pitches. At all. His cutter — ah yes, the good pitch! — wasn’t effective and he adapted. Huh. Well, he gets the Twins and White Sox next so I’m still letting him go but yeah, that was weird.

Huascar Ynoa @ WSH (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 68 pitches.

Ynoa, what? His slider looked nasty today, backed up by a 35% SwStr rate across 34 thrown — that’s 50% of his pitches! His fastball also spiked to 96 mph and…am I legit warming up to Huascar? He would get Miami next and suddenly I’m wondering if that’s a stupid sneaky stream…

Jesús Luzardo vs LAD (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 104 pitches.

Hey, I think I’ll take this against the Dodgers, even with that poor WHIP. The fact that Luzardo is trusted for 100+ pitches is already enough, but he’s also got his breaker working. The main hesitation is overall fastball command as Luzardo doesn’t quite have the elite ability to control an at-bat with heaters. I hope he can get there as he can pump it 97+, but without that ability, he should be turning to curves and changes more than 25% of the time. Let them eat.

Pablo López vs STL (L) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 99 pitches.

This was a strange one. López’s changeup — the breadwinner of the arsenal family — returned just a 13% CSW as Cardinals batters continuously fouled off the slowball. I don’t think it’s something to be worried about, but it did prevent López from getting into his standard rhythm. But that line! Yeah, his fastball command is on point right now and even with a few experiments with the cutter and curveball not doing a whole lot, it didn’t matter with those heaters. It may be tougher against Atlanta next time, though, and let’s hope he can get a bit more success on those changeups.

Dallas Keuchel @ SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 93 pitches.

Ehhhhh I need more, Keuchel. He’s close to a proper Toby line, but it needs another inning and one fewer ER. Seriously, that’s it. The line between what you wanted and disappointment is thinner than you think.

Antonio Senzatela vs ARI (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 96 pitches.

No. No no no no no. The man had three strikeouts on 24 outs in Coors. How. HOW. Nick, he is clearly placing his fastball along the edges to earn all his outs on 14 fastballs in play. THIS IS HIS FOUR-SEAMER CHART. Oh…um…HOW. I DON’T KNOW.

Justin Dunn vs CWS (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 1 Hits, 8 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 93 pitches.

I felt cornered into this or Peterson and…I guess I chose this one? Man, this is just like his MLB debut where he walked the farm and the chickens, too (NO, NOT THE CHICKENS!) but don’t fret — he had his increased velocity from the spring and his breaker looked filthy at times. There’s still hope…just not right now. Streaming Record: 3-4.

Madison Bumgarner @ COL (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 99 pitches.

He went to Coors and sat 89/90 on his heater. Ehhhh, I wanted to see 90/91 as we properly ignored Bumgarner for this atrocious matchup. Nah, I’m not starting him against Oakland.

Ryan Yarbrough @ BOS (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 89 pitches.

Bleeeegggh. This doesn’t change anything if you roster the Fratty Pirate — this was an expected tough outing. He should get Texas now and you don’t want to miss that one.

David Peterson @ PHI (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 78 pitches.

Awwww dang. Peterson ran into plenty of trouble in Philly, though that’s a lovely CSW and I can’t help but wonder if he’s still somewhat viable if he gets the Marlins next. I can’t help myself, I guess I’m going fishing.

Erick Fedde vs ATL (L) – 1.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 13% CSW, 45 pitches.

Remember kids, don’t trust the Fedde.

 

Game of the Day 

 

Corbin Burnes vs. St. Louis Cardinals – After a day of some incredible arms, we have…very few on Thursday. At least we have Burnes, hot off last week’s stellar performance.

 

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Nick Pollack

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

  • Avatar J says:

    Amazing recap as usual. Grabbed Taillon everywhere thanks to how bullish you were on him.

  • Avatar NV says:

    Are you putting Taillon ahead of Kluber, now?

  • Avatar Connor says:

    Early contender for SP Roundup Title of the Year

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