Charlie Crown

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

Charlie Morton @ BOS (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 103 pitches.

I think it’s time we focus our discussion again on Charlie Morton, who put managers in a tussle through the first six weeks of the season but has since shown signs of life. Last week, he took full advantage of the injured Mets squad, but in a real test today against Boston, he came out blasting — 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks with 16 Whiffs and 29% CSW across 103 pitches. That. Will. DO. His curveball was fantastic as he sat that hook in the zone and just underneath, while his heater earned 7/40 whiffs at 95 mph and his cutter found the zone enough to earn a fair share of outs. This works.

It’s not even Morton at his best — I’m hoping for 96 mph on a given night and that cutter earning more than one whiff — but Morton’s four-seamer/curveball should perform well enough to warrant success each night he’s out there. Did he deserve this good a result? No, not really. But he he also didn’t deserve to get beat up as badly as he did across the last month, either. Morton gets the Nationals, Dodgers, and Marlins ahead and while we’ll likely be wary of that Dodgers match-up, he’s at the very least safe for the other two, even if it is just two solid starts now. This is more like the Morton we should be expecting with his repertoire.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

 

Joe Musgrove @ MIL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.

I mean, I’m not complaining because this is obviously helpful, but you couldn’t get one more out? You really needed 84 pitches to get bounced in the fifth? Against the Brewers?!

Vince Velasquez @ MIA (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 93 pitches.

Look at me, acting all smart and suggesting Velasquez wouldn’t be able to go deep in this game as his last start was skipped due to finger numbness. They’ll play it safe! I said, stupidly. There wasn’t anything special here with his repertoire, just Velasquez shooting fish in a barrel.

Tyler Mahle @ WSH (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 94 pitches.

Are we all cool now? Nick, that’s just four whiffs and a 23% CSW. Okay, that’s pretty concerning. And 1/37 whiffs on sliders. And four-seamers failing to land at the top of the zone. The good news is I’m not too scared of the Cubs/Cards/Brewers next and I’d be willing to champ it out as he figures this out, but yeah, this is a bit concerning. Remember, it ain’t about the results, it’s about the pitches themselves.

Kevin Gausman @ ARI (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 97 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Just five frames but who cares, you got all the goods. He’s stupid right now and in the very best way. I can’t say I expect it to stick like this all season, but let’s not overthink that.

Lucas Giolito vs STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 92 pitches.

He sat 95 mph on his heater and while his changeup wasn’t it’s magical self, he stepped it up with his slider to get the whiffs he needed. I love seeing that breaker finally take a good shape and hopefully that sticks around moving forward. Meanwhile, Giolito, get that changeup back in order, okay? It isn’t like you to earn just two whiffs on it.

Clayton Kershaw @ HOU (W) – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 81 pitches.

Aces gonna ace for TATIAGA. That’s a 2.94 ERA for Kershaw on the year, sitting well under a 1.00 WHIP. Yeah, that’s exactly what we envisioned while drafting him and to see him keep it up against a strong Houston lineup is oh-so-sweet.

Logan Gilbert @ OAK (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 78 pitches.

I’m still not seeing enough from his breakers to make me confident in any way and he’s still at sub 80 pitches, but at least it wasn’t terrible? Yay?

José Berríos vs BAL (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 106 pitches.

Ahhhh, it’s all coming together now. His curveball is still fantastic and fortunately his fastball has recovered. This is what Berríos is supposed to do during periods of strong breakers; let’s just hope it lasts for long enough to make up for lost time.

Brad Keller @ TB (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 95 pitches.

Whoooa, you did the thing! Your slider was legit good! And you went seven strong with seven strikeouts! It’s a Birthday Party and you certainly shouldn’t trust this for the Twins 2x ahead. Sorry, Keller, hope you had fun.

Aaron Civale @ DET (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 104 pitches.

You love to see it as Civale was gifted a start against Detroit and did everything you’d want him to do. He’s still not killing it with one sole pitch — no offering earned more than three whiffs — but he had all the weapons working: cutter, four-seamer, slider, curveball, sinker, splitter. Yeah, six pitches, that mad man. He has a difficult test ahead against the Jays, though, and while I’m starting him there, it’s coming with plenty of anxiety. Bring it on. 

Steven Matz @ NYY (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 112 pitches.

Hot dang! Matz not only earned ten strikeouts, but was able to nearly finish the seventh as he tossed 112 pitches. So what was it, his slider? Changeup?! Naaaah, those pitches were actually pretty mediocre. His curveball was decent, but not overwhelming either. Nope, the main ticket was his sinker, earning 43% CSW as the Yankees just couldn’t handle the pitch at 95.3 mph. I don’t really buy this long-term from Matz, but we’ve seen him go on these stretches before and I guess I’m in at the very least for Cleveland next. HOU + @BOS is after that, though, and I’m pretty skeptical he can pull it off against both of those squads, too.

Kyle Freeland @ NYM (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 74 pitches.

Look at Freeland. He was in a clear Still ILL situation and out of fantasy relevance since 2018 and the Mets’ “lineup” still made it look worthwhile. Madness. He gets @PIT next and I don’t think you should consider this. He’ll throw few pitches and he’s not very good.

Jacob deGrom vs COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 44% CSW, 63 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. It’s so wonderful to see you back and still failing to get a Win. Sure, the Mets won, but they scored one inning too late, because of course they did.

Sandy Alcántara vs PHI (L) – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 93 pitches.

I’m going to wait for one more outing to give back the label as he gets the Red Sox next, but do yourself a favor and watch this outing if you can. The man is just so dang good peppering the zone with fastballs and changeups — he even touched 99.8 mph in this one…which landed in the seats as the only blemish of the night. Stupid Hoskins sitting dead red on 100 mph… Just four strikeouts is weird, but the man churned outs with ease — this wasn’t purely fortunate BABIP, Sandy deserved this.

Max Scherzer vs CIN (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 107 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Look at those innings. That’s why Scherzer is a lock for the Top 10. You just don’t get that volume and this performance from many.

Rich Hill vs KC (L) – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 13 Ks – 27 Whiffs, 46% CSW, 99 pitches.

I made him the lead last time and what does he do? Go off and earn himself a Golden Goal while fanning 13 batters across eight frames. Absolutely ridiculous. TWENTY-SEVEN WHIFFS. 18/54 whiffs on a 89.5 mph four-seamer. IT MAKES NO SENSE. Whatever, you just keep starting him and don’t think twice. He’ll succeed for as long as his body lets him.

Jake Arrieta @ PIT (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 79 pitches.

I was skeptical Arrieta could perform well enough to take advantage of this match-up and look at him, earning a wonderful 50% CSW of sliders. He even earned 4/17 whiffs on curveballs because why not, it was a Birthday Party. Yeah, sadly that’s all this was. No way you’re trusting him against Cincy, San Francisco, and San Diego next.

Tarik Skubal vs CLE (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 93 pitches.

Well this went beautifully. Streaming Record: 35-16. Skubal had an effective slider last time out and it carried over here with 42% CSW on the pitch, pairing it with four-seamers and decent curveballs. Sadly, he goes back to the waiver wire now with NYY, and 2x CWS next, but hey, this was cool.

Corey Kluber vs TOR (L) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 58 pitches.

One start after tossing a no-hitter, Kluber struggled and left the game with shoulder soreness. Oh no. Yeah, this isn’t what you want after finally feeling confident in the man. Monitor what’s going on; the likely scenario is he misses his second start this weekend and could hit the IL. I really hope I’m wrong.

Garrett Richards vs ATL (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 97 pitches.

Yeaaaah, he still doesn’t have his slider and it’s killing me. The worse news is his schedule is rough and there’s little reason to chance this one now. Hopefully the slider returns during this gauntlet, giving us the confidence to start him when the sky clears.

Jack Flaherty @ CWS (L) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 91 pitches.

91 pitches. For eleven outs. It just didn’t go Flaherty’s way here, and while he’s shockingly able to hold a 2.84 ERA despite his horrific opening day outing, it’s hard not to feel a small haze after this one. Don’t let it get in the way — his slider and four-seamer each were solid offerings, it just didn’t all come together in the right way here. He’s still an ace.

Andrew Heaney vs TEX (W) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 105 pitches.

See? Everything was…wait. No. This isn’t fine at all. That’s a poor ERA and WHIP and five strikeouts aren’t enough for me to forget it. Bleggggh. He’ll take a bit of a dip on The List as he’s a Cherry Bomb who isn’t showcasing the good quite enough these days. At the same time, he did earn 16 whiffs and there’s clearly something there, but the four walks tell you all about that inconsistency even during the start itself. That doesn’t make for a fun fantasy manager experience.

Cole Irvin vs SEA (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 73 pitches.

Irvin was granted the gift of Seattle and couldn’t take advantage in the slightest. He’s a Toby and if you can’t trust him against Seattle, can you trust him against the Angels? I didn’t think so, and I didn’t even bring up Coors after.

Zack Greinke vs LAD (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 88 pitches.

Blegh. Sure, this was a questionable start given it was the Dodgers and all, but I wanted Greinke to come out of it soaring in the face of all the haters. And now he gets BOS, @TOR, MIN. I feel for the brave soul starting Greinke for all of it — this will be stressful.

Corbin Burnes vs SD (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 95 pitches.

Whoaaa, three walks from Burnes as he didn’t trust much in the repertoire outside of his world-renowned cutter. Sure, the Padres are tough, but we expect a little better from Burnes, you know? Whatever, he has a lovely schedule now and should get the AGA to start his blurb next time out.

Cody Ponce vs CHC (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 87 pitches.

We had no expectations and I’m still sad. A 2.00 WHIP was a tough evening for Sir Ponce and who knows when they’ll get easy again.

Dean Kremer @ MIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 94 pitches.

I miss those September days when Kremer was, you know, good. Now he’s just battling himself in this terrible modern remake of that Dustin Hoffman/Meryl Streep film.

Corbin Martin vs SF (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 78 pitches.

Yikes. We aren’t treating Martin like a legit young arm, but I haven’t forgotten about his impressive moments with the Astros back in the day. Hopefully he can give us a glimpse of the past sometime soon.

Hyeon-Jong Yang @ LAA (L) – 3.1 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 60 pitches.

Remember that time when he fanned eight batters? That was wild. Just like his pitches today. Ayyyooo.

 

Game of the Day 

 

Alek Manoah vs New York Yankees – Andy Patton will be writing the GIF Breakdown of this Wednesday evening and I’m excited to see what he’s got.

 

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

 

Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

  • Avatar BP says:

    Feeling pretty smart about grabbing Rich Hill of the Waiver Wire a few weeks ago.

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      Nice timing.

      • Avatar BP says:

        Nick should hire me as “Traditional Analyst” wherein I just rate pitchers based on gut instinct and TWTW

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      Compare Burnes line to that of Greinke. Not a big difference and one is an ace. I really don’t think there should be so much movement based on the extended strong training which we are calling the MLB season. People like big swings though.

  • Avatar Mike says:

    Let’s also mention that Narváez let the Padres go 6-for-6 on steals which didn’t help Burnes.

    • Avatar Floyd says:

      They had 2 strikes on Profar with runners on 1st & 3rd & 2 outs and Narvaez tried to throw out the attempted steal at 2B resulting in a run scoring. That sequence/interruption of concentration may have led to the Profar hit. It was a dumb move IMHO. Let one of your aces mow down the hitter.

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    C’mon Nick you know what pitching is. Rich Hill is a good pitcher. So is Ryu. So is Lynn. There are a handful of them. It is sad to think of how many young players that probably can pitch and probably don’t get opportunities in this era. If you take guys that can pitch and guys that have stuff it will be a bloodbath in favor of guys that can pitch. Sometimes they are both, but its not prerequisite. This dude has done nothing but put up elite everything except IP ever since his revival. What doesn’t make sense is begin obsessed with measurable but I know that you get that. Pitches in a vacuum are close to meaningless – it is about execution and how the pitches play off of each other. There are a ton of big stuff pitchers that understand nothing about actual pitching.

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