Dealing With The Rob

It’s time for a check in on Robbie Ray who couldn’t stop ballooning his ERA even against the middling Giants offense with a line of 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks on Sunday. That’s 15 ER across his last four games and while the strikeouts are still flowing overall – 30.5% strikeout rate – is it worth it? I’ve been preaching that Ray is going to be this pendulum all year between poor stretches of damaging ratios and golden months of bliss and we’re getting to the point where we’re wondering if we should be holding out or jumping ship with his current 4.10 ERA. My gut says yes. And that’s really all we can play on. Is he still missing bats? Plenty – 16/81 whiffs here. Has he recently gotten unlucky with the longball? Just a 27.3% HR/FB over his last six games. Does this feel more like a 3.60 ERA arm with a 30% strikeout rate? Yes it does. It’s not easy to stick with a guy that feels like he’s pulling you down into the abyss and there’s a good chance he does that. I’d lean that he’ll help more than hurt through the final three months. Make sure you’re assessing the risks and rewards properly before making that move.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Shane Bieber8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks. That’s 2 ER or fewer in five and the man is cruising. 30% strikeout rate. 5% walk rate. A 3.54 ERA with a 3.21 SIERA. It’s all coming up Bieber.

Anthony DeSclafani6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Huge props to Tony Disco here, staving off the Cubs with 34% CSW. I want to say that his secondary stuff did the trick, but 7/24 CSW is fine, not great. His heater simply did its thing and the Cubs weren’t able to do much. So times, you just gotta let the dance take over.

Lucas Giolito5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Giolito has been through the gauntlet of teams – Yanks, Cubs, Red Sox, Twins – and he’s survived. Now it’s time for…the Cubs?! OH COME ON.

Steven Brault4.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. I know many of you want me to validated a 2.01 ERA across six starts for Brault, but it comes with a 4.94 SIERA given the 3% HR/FB and 86% LOB rate. He just isn’t this good and it’s a TEEs.

Madison Bumgarner7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Huh. That’s 20 strikeouts in two starts where he’s lowered his cutter usage in favor of more curveballs – a hook that hasn’t been its old self for years. Whiff rates are going up a bit and maybe this is Bumgarner pushing ahead again and finally getting back into the old groove. Maybe.

Gerrit Cole7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s so hard not to love this man.

Zach Davies5.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Just two strikeouts on sixteen outs really showcases how much Davies is playing with fire as his SIERA and ERA divide further. HE CAN’T KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH IT!

Max Scherzer8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 14 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Nothing quite like 24 whiffs for yet another Gallows Pole from Scherzer. Think he’s still #1?

Gabriel Ynoa5.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Whoa, Gabriel got it together for a day. Clearly, Ynoa nothing.

Jordan Zimmermann6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Nice of Jay-Z to step it up against his former squad, it’s not nice that we cannot trust him to do it again on any given night. He just doesn’t have a proper blueprint for sustained success.

Chris Bassitt5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. I saw the line and so badly wanted to turn back into a Bassitt Hound…but I can’t. He’s not getting the same whiffs on his heater – just 2/26 here – and while his cutter is working well, it’s not enough for me to buy into a big swing in favor of Bassitt. First seven K game since May 16th and just the second sub 3 ER in those eight games as well. I think you’re fine sending him out there next time against the Mariners.

Joey Lucchesi5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Meh, I guess this fine. It’s what I feel saying with a lot of Lucchesi’s outings. The strikeouts are still there but he doesn’t go deep into games and the ratios will be…middling.

Kenta Maeda4.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Maeda went to Coors and gave us one of his classic “not enough volume but this doesn’t hurt us so whatever” outings. Classic.

Eduardo Rodriguez5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. The London Games are weird and Eduardo was able to survive for the most part. That WHIP does hurt, though, and this start does absolutely nothing to sway us one way or another moving forward. I feel like that’s just what it is with Edu. Forever.

Blake Snell6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks. Ahhhhhh, see? Everything is fine. Like really fine. 47% CSW across 80 pitches fine. I think we can all exhale and carry on happily after this.

Lewis Thorpe5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Thorpe made his MLB debut, tossed 70 pitches and called it a wonderful day. He’s a little bit of a Cup of Schmothough he is armed with a strong slider – 7/15 whiffs – that he kept down in the zone very well. Not a whole lot else to offer, though, and that makes me hesitant to chase + I wonder how much time he sees. Still, keep this in the back of your mind if you need punchouts – that slider should make it work from time to time.

Jesse Chavez6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. So a PQS, but Chavez brought the Ks like an indifferent friend. As much I love chasing sneaky value, I really just don’t see this being something you want to trust. That fastball/cutter combination simply isn’t this good.

Max Fried5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Fastballs were located up – nice – and his sliders and curveballs were also up – not nice. He even mixed in a few surprise changeups, which I wouldn’t expect to return much at all, but as long as he’s not feeling his deuce, things are going to be a little shaky. He really needs that ball down to properly tunnel with the high heat and I’m still holding my breath for a strong second half with proper command of the hook.

Marco Gonzales5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Marco needed 104 pitches to get through five frames and did so with just six whiffs. I just don’t see how this is the guy you want to spend your time on.

Chi Chi Gonzalez4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Nope, this just isn’t going to cut it. 

Jon Lester5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Eight strikeouts is cool. A Philly is not. But hey, a Toby gave you more strikeout production than you expected, so that’s all cool with me.

Miles Mikolas6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Mikolas was on the road, which apparently means this was supposed to be terrible. And wasn’t great, but a PQS is alright and his slider was around 87 mph with 11/28 CSW, helping him soar to a 34% overall mark. If you want to take this start-by-start, by all Johns. 

Trevor Richards5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s all about that slow ball and that pitch was hung a good amount here, though I will give him some props for trying his best to pair it with high heat. He has introduced a cutter this year and at times it’s worked well, though he didn’t have a feel for it in this one. So it goes.

Noah Syndergaard5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. 17 whiffs if you can believe it, though his slider was still rarely thrown as it sat under 90 mph, which I’m sure is weighing on him as teammates Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler have each figured out how to get the pitch back up to 92mph range. What do we do now with Thor? We can give him a little bit of a break here as it technically was a DLH, but he still seems a little lost his approach. The talent is certainly there and we’re twiddling our thumbs, waiting for him to figure it out. Hopefully he will, but we might need to adjust to the idea that it may never come.

Jake Arrieta6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Sure, you got your six strikeouts, but this Toby is just not doing enough on the ratio front to make him worth your while.

Stephen Tarpley1.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. Imagine our surprise when Luis Cessa took over in the second frame and produced four shutout frames. Huh. Baseball is a weird, weird game.

Andrew Heaney6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Man, Heaney is infuriating. Is he my new Pivetta? On one hand, he earned 20 whiffs as his CHANGEUP RETURNED – 8/29 whiffs! 24/29 for strikes! – but he also allowed a three-run bomb in the fifth that killed his evening…on a hung changeup. Life is pain. It’s amazing how one pitch in this game destroyed everything, but it’s been multiple pitches over multiple games at this point. No his stupid high HR/9 is not going to stick around. Yes, he should be a strikeout fiend. Yes, he’ll probably have a few more frustrating outings like this. Yes you should keep holding him everywhere.

Brad Keller5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I took a chance on Keller among a sea of blegh and he burned me badly. Streaming Record: 53-34. I really hope I never have to do that again.

Aaron Sanchez3.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Well, yeah. He’s one of the top starters in WorstBall and there’s no indication that it’s going to change.

 

Today’s Streamer

 

For those unaware, I’m forced to make my Streamer picks under the condition of sub 20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.

 

Logan Allen vs. San Francisco Giants – On a day with just six games, I’m happy to have Allen to pick.

 

Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

Matt Strahm vs. San Francisco Giants – Strahm is back on the menu and his velocity was a little up with more whiffs with curveballs and sliders last time out. Now it’s the Giants? Yeah, I’m in.

 

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

Danny Duffy vs. Cleveland Indians I’m tempted to take the chance on Bryse Wilson against the Phils, but this is a little safer.

 

Game of the Day 

 

Adbert Alzolay vs. Trevor WilliamsJust six games today, so let’s see how the youngin’ Alzolay develops + maybe Williams can win me over. Maybe.

 

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)

Nick Pollack

Founder of PitcherList.com. Rotographs and Washington Post contributor and has worked with CBS Sports, Grantland, and SB Nation. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum.

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Comments


Jim

For the record, Maeda was great @Coors. Roberts was the one guilty of doing a classic Roberts move. Maeda was visibly bummed not being able to stay in the game.

Mike

Hey Nick,
Great write up as always. You have the wrong opponents on your match up of the day. It’s Cin home vs Mil and CHC at Pit.

theKraken

You may have missed that Thorpe’s day was shortened by a huge delay. If he logged one more IP we might all be more excited. I didn’t watch but Thorpe is really interesting – Australian and missed two whole years – there could be a lot of development ahead of him… or he could just be a lefty RP – I don’t know. In the minors he consistently improved his command and posted good K rates.

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