I’m a pretty big Steven Matz fan. With all his injuries and missed time, Matz still had himself a productive 2016 season, showcasing his ability to miss bats and pound the zone with each of his four pitches. However, his first start back against the Braves – even though the box score looked fine – exhibited a pitcher that still had polish left to be applied. I was hoping to see a big step forward against the Marlins in now his fourth start back and following a five walk effort against the Dodgers. Looking at his line of 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks you would think he made that step. You would think. Well, kinda, yeah. He allowed a ton of soft contact here with a 40% IFFB rate and just 4.8% line drives, and that’s great. However, there were two areas that made me a little scared. Across all 110(?!) pitches thrown, Matz accumulated a total of two whiffs. Just two. That’s a 1.8% whiff rate and that’s horrifically bad. He also was 10 for 26 in First-Pitch Strikes and had a 58.2% strike rate. That’s not good, especially from Matz who is a major “in the zone” pitcher. I’m amazed he walked so few given those two stats and he’s clearly not commanding the zone like he used to. Now, it’s not out of the question that by the next start this stuff is fixed and he’s good to go, etc., but don’t let that line make you think he’s now at the point he needs to be. He’s not.
Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:
Marcus Stroman – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. This kind of start would normally have me leading with Stroman, but then again, nothing has really changed. Remember, last time out was a 7 ER massacre against the Rangers and Stroman will bounce around all year, probably have a 2:1 ratio of good starts to bad. Maybe slightly higher, but you get my drift. He’ll help more than hurt, but I don’t see him taking that step to be a major force in the Top 25. This is ignoring the fact that this outing was just his third about 6 Ks all season.
Stephen Strasburg – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 13 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It is always so nice to see Strasburg have himself a night. What’s amazing is that he does this after a pair of 5 K starts, just like how he went from 3 Ks to 11 Ks or 10 Ks to 2 Ks earlier this year. When one side of the coin reads heads and the other reads open bar, I’d love to be flipping that coin.
Alex Meyer – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. Wait, if I’m investing in Meyer, I’m expecting strikeouts, right? If I see five walks and 4 Ks, I’m bracing for a terrible line from Meyer…and we got a 0.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Sure, like this is going to work again in the future.
Zack Godley – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. The False God Who Is Actually Real. I felt like his tagline needed a little touching up, no? His ERA is 2.67 with a 3.44 xFIP and 8.30 K/9 through 10 starts. Groundballs at 59.0%. BB/9 under 3.00. Soft contact above 20%, hard under 30%. Yes you want all of this.
Trevor Bauer – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. I’m totally cool with this, but feel weird accepting it since it came with just three strikeouts. Are you okay Bauer?
Ian Kennedy – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Don’t let this suck you in, Kennedy is way too inconsistent for you to get reasonable production from him.
Adalberto Mejia – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Here’s a fun game: 4.78. Is that Mejia’s BB/9 or FIP? Answer: neither…they are both worse. Mejia has a 4.91 BB/9 and a 5.55 FIP. Yikes.
Luis Castillo – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. Guys, GUYS, remember how I led with Castillo last time and said that I absolutely adored him? He looked even better in this one – spotting his Fastball on the corners at 99mph and Changeups for days – and I am so hyped about him now. I’m still not starting him in Coors or Arizona, but I’d consider stashing him now because the second half has potential to be massive. MASSIVE.
Adam Wainwright – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Nope. Nope nope nope, I’m done with you Waino, I’m not falling for this again.
Masahiro Tanaka – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. BUT NO HOME RUNS. Now that I made that bet with Max Eddy that Tanaka wouldn’t have an 18% HR/FB rate ROS, this is all I care about with Tanaka. Well, fine, I also hope he does super well and the HR/FB will reflect that, but you know.
Hyun-Jin Ryu – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Even with the high WHIP, I’m satisfied as a streaming pick, especially with eight Ks. Bad to the wire you go as you face the Diamondbacks next. Streamer Record 43-28-11.
Chase Anderson – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. …And Anderson left with an oblique strain, making him the latest to get SPOIL’D. Nooooooooooo
Ty Blach – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. oooooooooooo! What is it Blach, don’t you see I’m grieving over here?
Carlos Rodon – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 6 BBs, 2 Ks. What you don’t see are the three unearned runs also allowed by Rodon. Amazing to me that he was allowed to throw 94 pitches here, but the six walks sure are what we’ve seen in the past. It was a clear DLH anyway, but I think this hangover will take a little more than just a bacon egg and cheese to fix.
Yu Darvish – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace…? I think? Sure.
Felix Hernandez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. Felix with the PQS and I want better than this against the Phils. Still somewhat encouraging but as Eddy and I went over in yesterday’s Podcast, there is a ton of worry here that we’re not sure Felix will correct in the second half.
Jeff Locke – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Locke, why are you still here?
Rick Porcello – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. I’m like a man who’s worked a Luigi’s restaurant for thirty years – I’m still waiting.
Ivan Nova – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Is that what you guys want? IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?!
Kyle Freeland – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. He’s been a TEEs all year and I think you guys can all agree now with his 3.84 ERA and 4.87 FIP. There’s just nothing to like here.
Wade Miley – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Yep, that’s Miley alright.
Luis Perdomo – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. But you’re supposed to be the QS guy! And against the Braves! Blegh. Better days are ahead for Perrdomo, but not too much better.
Mark Leiter Jr. – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Ah, the smell of a fresh Cup of Schmo in the morning. I really feel like I’m in the clubhouse, taking in all the disappointment.
Blake Snell – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. Snell returned and looked like the Snell of old. I’d sit out still in a 12-teamer.
David Paulino – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Ouch, I’m sure some of you were hoping he’d be an easy stream against the A’s, but Paulino really isn’t that good. He’s no Castillo. But who is? GOOD QUESTION.
Daniel Norris – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Remember when I was so excited because he velocity peaked in September of last year? Sigh…
Bartolo Colon – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. The Giant Peach has returned! And performed just like we’d imagine. Good job!
John Lackey – 5.1 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Talk about a disappointing season for Lackey. I just can’t believe he’s this bad, but there’s no reason to invest in that feeling.
Jesse Hahn – 2.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. This isn’t the right Hahn (nor the left Hahn…) for you to be investing in. Which Hahn is the right hahn? The solo Hahn. Is that a one-armed man joke? That’s insensitive. That’s the last time I make a Star Wars joke.
Mike Montgomery vs. Cincinnati Reds – Now that Daniel Gossett got bumped up a day and is facing the Astros instead of the Braves, it’s between Monty and Folty (vs Oakland) as all the other options just don’t suit my fancy (I’m looking at you Dirkx Digglerx) and I just don’t like Folty’s unpredictability that I’m favoring Monty against a somewhat difficult matchup.