(Photo by Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire)
The All-Star Break is always a bit weird for me. On one hand, it’s nice to have a little break, but I also thoroughly enjoy writing these articles each day and removing myself from that routine for three straight days is…weird. I’m glad to be back doing it – even if it’s just two guys today – and let’s dive into what in the world is going on with Carlos Martinez after he produced a horrid line of 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks against the Cubs last night. I’ve been talking about Martinez through the year as one of those arms that will have his stumbles but will be more often good than bad. Take the start of the year, having a rough debut outing before spinning off six games of 3 ER total. However, it’s been a tough stretch since returning from the DL and I’m starting to question his repertoire. He’s introduced a cutter this season is supposed to be the solution to everything but is a 10% whiff rate 56% zone rate pitch really helping? His walk rate has climbed to 11% as his whiff rate has fallen to 11%. You would think lowering his changeup and slider usage would effectively bump their whiff rates – i.e. use them more as putaway offerings with the cutter taking the role as strike getter – yet both have come down to sub 15% levels after hinting at 20% last season. It just doesn’t add up. He only earned 3 whiffs in 90 pitches in last night’s game – 21 CSW – and I’m starting to believe that I overlooked CarMart’s questionable approach this year in my previous rankings. Expect him hovering #30 or so on Monday.
Let’s talk about the other guy:
Kyle Hendricks – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Right, Hendricks also pitched. I don’t have much to add here as I’ve been a bit down on Hendricks for a while now. All but one of his last nine games have come with five strikeouts or fewer. That’s bad. He needed 113 pitches in this effort to not even escape the fifth frame and I noticed something during this one (of course I watched it, it was the only game). The talk has been around his sinker not being consistent like last year, but it seems to me that his changeup is the real problem. Too many slow balls are bad misses where batters can elect to resist early on in the delivery. While it’s still effective when executed, it makes batters more comfortable against the sinker, more aggressive to hack at the sub 88mph “heater”. It might be the crux of the problem and I’m not sure it’s going to get fix any time soon.
Dereck Rodriguez vs. Oakland Athletics – Not too many options today, though I’m a fan of Dereck’s shtick and I think I’m cool rolling with him even against the solid A’s offense.
Nick Kingham vs. Cincinnati Reds – He’s still owned in just 12% of leagues. I’m thinking that PL readers make up half of it.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Ivan Nova vs. Cincinnati Reds – There may be a better one popping up as we get closer to it as teams are still solidifying their weekend rotations. I don’t love this one, but you could get a Super Nova and that’s cool.
Game of the Day
Noah Syndergaard vs. Domingo German – Thor is back and maybe German isn’t terrible. Also pumped to see Stephen Strasburg back in action, Dylan Bundy get a stab at redemption, and Jameson Taillon aim for another 10 strikeout game.