(Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire)
I didn’t expect to find myself liking what I saw from Dereck Rodriguez in his start against the Phillies, but after watching his line of 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks I kinda dug it. He had no fear elevating four-seamers to get whiffs, turning to his curveball for both swings under the zone and to land for a strike, changeups that could turn into a solid strikeout option, and cutters that generated outs. Those are all generous descriptions as there were definitely times when the execution wasn’t all there and who knows what we’ll see tomorrow, but I kinda dug it. Not Top 40 Spice Girl dug, but if he gets some more time in the rotation, I think he could be serviceable in a 12-teamer. In short, not a Cup of Schmo, but not a solid Spice Girl.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Dylan Covey – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Yes Covey has a 2.82 ERA in four starts with a 2.58 FIP and 3.85 SIERA. He also comes with a 21% K rate (8.1% whiff rate) and 10.1% walk rate, 1.43 WHIP, and not a single HR allowed with 40% hard contact. Don’t Covey Thy Dylan.
Jeremy Hellickson – 0.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. Hellickson left this one after the first batter with a hamstring injury. Welp, that was fun while it lasted. Kinda. At least he didn’t demolish your team like in the past. Yaaaaay.
Matt Koch – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. A lot of people were upset that I suggested Pepsi was better than Coke last time. I sacrifice myself sometimes for a chuckle, you know? Doesn’t matter as I’ve been pronouncing Koch’s name wrong all this time, so thankfully I don’t have to put on that ruse anymore. I don’t think there will be much pushback with me saying you don’t want to own a pitcher with a 14% strikeout rate and 5.04 FIP, so let’s turn to the new catchphrase for Koch: If you add Matt to your team, I’m going to tell you right now that you already have Too Many Kochs.
Jon Lester – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. I know I hate on Lester, but it’s not like I’m not telling you to start him, especially when he’s facing the Mets. It’s just that his 4.33 SIERA is nearly two points higher than his 2.44 ERA and he’s boasting the lowest soft contact of his career with his highest hard contact…with a .254 BABIP on top of it. This just doesn’t smell right.
Anibal Sanchez – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Oh come off it Anibal. You’re one bad outing away from going back to the pen and we’re all cool about it.
Blake Snell – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It really is remarkable how locked in Snell is and just how good his breaking stuff is as he earned 17 whiffs here for yet another Gallows Pole (shared with Junis). I talk a lot about his breaking ball usage (35% here), but especially about four-seamers up and benders down. Check out his strikezone plot from yesterday. It’s a work of art.
Tyler Skaggs – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Skaggs did a great job at the aforementioned FBU/BBD approach that Snell excels so well at (I want a good term for that, FUBD? We’ll talk), but it is a little weird seeing 3 whiffs on 32 curveballs. Just a little. Whatever, keep going here.
Michael Wacha – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. The man went eight frames of no-hit ball before coming three outs short in the ninth. There are few pitchers as hot as Wacha right now – 1.60 ERA in his last 9 starts – but I’m still a little hesitant to get on board for the second half. Obviously roll with him and let him fly, but if you can sell high, I’m all for it.
Daniel Gossett – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. It’s not a Gosse Egg but a really weird line that forced me to make a stink eye as I read it. That’s what you do to me, Daniel.
Felix Hernandez – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. This Prince looked like a King, but don’t let his Burger King crown fool you.
Aaron Sanchez – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. No curveballs for strikes with one foul ball in eight thrown and I’m still a little worried about Sanchez. He needs that deuce to act as a proper strike-getter on days when his fastball just won’t listen and I’m still a bit cautious here.
Dan Straily – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. Nothing screams blegh like five walks in 4.1 innings. NOTHING.
Kyle Gibson – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. More good sliders because that’s what Gibson does as he had no hesitation being productive against the Cleveland lineup. He gets the hot-and-cold Angels lineup next and I don’t see a reason to not get back on board. Two straight great K performances after that tough three game stretch.
Steven Matz – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Is Matz finally worth the pickup? This was one of the more impressive starts I’ve seen from him as he finally broke 10% whiffs on his curveball – albeit 3 in 21 thrown, but it counts! – though even with 12 whiffs overall, it was good enough for just a 28 CSW in 100 pitches. Meh. He’s probably already gone in your league anyway and I wouldn’t be upset about it. Even cherry picking for that 2.32 ERA over his last six starts, it comes with a 93% LOB rate, .238 BABIP, 4.74 SIERA, and a measly 17.5% K rate + 10.3% walk rate. You don’t want that.
Rick Porcello – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. This was against the Astros and you better be happy about it. Porcello went through a rough patch but looks like he’s on the other side of it as he’s found his slide piece again. Feel confident.
Tyson Ross – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Come on Ross, you gave us just four Ks against the Marlins, now only three against the Reds? Are you trying to warn us that things are going to get worse before they actually do? You get the Marlins next and I’m ignoring your words of caution. I DO WHAT I WANT.
Brent Suter – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. This is the fourth straight starter that Suter has collected six strikeouts. That’s really impressive when he hasn’t seen six frames the entire year…then again the last three teams he faced were the dBacks, Cards, and ChiSox here. This will hurt Suter or later.
Doug Fister – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Fister with the sole PQS of the night because who else was it going to be, really. Oh, and just one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?
Jake Junis – 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. This was the best I’ve seen Junis all year as his slider was dope, curveballs were trusted for strikes – six called strikes! – and his sinker did goo work. Good enough to earn a share of the Gallows Pole with 17 whiffs. There was a bit of Careful Icarus at play here as two of those ER came in the 8th, but Junis is holding a 3.62 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 23% K rate right now. Maybe that drops to 1.20/1.25 WHIP and 3.80 ERA, but that works. That helps a 12-teamer. I’m in.
Nick Kingham – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. After allowing a grand slam to Marcell Ozuna on the fourth batter of the game, Kingham gave you five frames of 0 ER, 1 Hit, 1 BB, and 5 Ks. I know, you can’t erase the start of the game, but it was an error on a double-play ball and this game is completely different. Trust in Kingham, for real. Streaming Record: 33-22.
Luis Castillo – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. This is super disappointing against the Padres and he will fall today – I have no choice – but his velocity was up to 96+ on his four-seamer and that’s incredibly encouraging. I still believe, but I trust someone like Fulmer a little more to return on the investment sooner.
Mike Clevinger – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Clev, nooo. It’s weird seeing 15 whiffs but few strikeouts – just 11 called strikes will do it – as the batted balls didn’t go his way. I’m still a fan and I’d buy low if someone is selling.
Michael Fulmer – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Man this is frustrating. The dude was cruising through five frames, looking wonderful and dope and everything. Then he allowed a 2-run shot on a terrible 3-2 fastball, then had both inherited baserunners score to start the 7th. I hate this. I’m doubling-down here because I’m not watching a man who’s laboring each outing. I see someone that is dominating and then blinks and it’s gone. This may be a Verlander situation on both sides where he picks it up in the second half + a trade could do him wonders. He’s going to be around 35-40 today as mentioned last time as I still believe it’s in there.
Jake Arrieta – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. No walks is a good thing, the rest is a bad thing. Arrieta isn’t the Top 20 pitcher that can avoid these starts. So it goes, keep starting him.
Chad Bettis – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. The Rocky Mountain Way is about the long game and there will be bumps along the path. This is one of them, though Bettis has allowed 5+ ER in three of his last five games…you may way to exclude him from the options.
Charlie Morton – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Morton had the tough task of dealing with the Sawx and while 7 Ks are great, he made some bad pitches that were punished. Today was the day of “nothing too concerning, but that kinda sucks” for a lot of guys and Morton is no exception.
Alex Wood – 2.0 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. That’s back-to-back clunkers from Wood, while this time didn’t come with the 7/1 K per BB that soothed the pain. Before we all go crazy, note this was Coors and give the kid a break.
Nick Tropeano vs. Kansas City Royals – Just five games are being played including a NYY/DET double-header, which means it’s slim pickings. Luckily we’ve got Tropeano and he’s the only real choice.
None – Seriously, there are zero options today as guys are all owned or have terrible matchups. The closest is Nathan Eovaldi but he gets the Nationals and that’s a clear stay-away.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Clay Buchholz vs. San Francisco Giants – I don’t love this one – if you did that would be a little weird – but there aren’t many options here.
Game of the Day
Luis Severino vs. Detroit Tigers – Only a few games to choose from so let’s watch the best pitcher do his thing.