Gibson’s New Tone
I don’t really have a huge schpiel about Kyle Gibson, but I felt like I needed to highlight his fantastic 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks performance against the Jays last night. It returned a 38/88 CSW…which is the highest CSW rate of the season across 85+ pitches at 43%. That’s ridiculous, even against the struggling Jays bats. The big factor today was his changeup earning the whiffs alongside his normally swing-and-miss friendly slider, each pitch getting nine whiffs on its own and tossing the changeup for righty-on-righty crimes. Thing is, this is Gibson’s fourth straight start of 2 ER or fewer, bringing his SIERA down to 3.75, WHIP at 1.19, while this outing bolstered his strikeout rate to 24.5%. Obviously a touch inflated (no other start above 6 Ks), but considering I see a 3.60 ERA with a 22% K rate from 2018 and consider that about right, this seems like things are right in line with what they should be for the most part. The great news is Gibson’s weak division (he’s on the strongest offensive squad!) plus his next start is against the Angels and you’re going to keep riding that one out.
Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:
Jerad Eickhoff – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. We’re all in this together and I don’t care what the matchups are, you’re starting Eickhoff until he tells us this is his stop. Really? Waste Center Station? Apparently, he has a friend there. Don’t talk about Pivetta that way. Your words, not mine.
Kyle Hendricks – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Save for a horrendous 7 ER game on April 26th, Hendricks last four starts have returned three 0 ER starts, games where he’s averaged 7 Ks on top of it and 8 IP. 36/95 CSW is glorious with whiffs from his changeup and a ton of well-spotted sinkers that were taken for strikes. The dude is feeling it, even if you want to discount him for pitching against the Marlins.
Brad Peacock – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. I feel like Fast and I need to take full responsibility for this start after calling him Bad Peacock on the podcast. WHAT HAVE WE DONE. I don’t trust it moving forward, it’s a Cherry Bomb situation and this will come and go. There are better arms to chase.
Robbie Ray – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks. After his last outing, I said: “…hopefully this is a start along the “great stretch” we’ll be referencing at the All-Star break.” It’s hard not to feel that way right now as he threw high heat and low slide pieces. It was GLORIOUS.
Andrew Cashner – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Sure, whatever Cashner.
Yusei Kikuchi – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. There’s a lot of talk about the substance inside Kikuchi’s hat brim and it was pretty blatant here…but the reality is that it’s done all the time, just a bit less conspicuously. I do wonder if there will be some crackdown by MLB because it’s so out in the open here, but regardless, Kikuchi did well for the second straight start as his fastball velocity…fell back down. Womp womp. It was about 94.5 mph last time out and back down to 93.1 here. That’s too bad and I’d have a little bit of caution against the A’s next time out.
Chris Sale – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 14 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I talk about the velocity, how this isn’t prime Sale, this was the Orioles, all of that. And what has Sale done? 42 strikeouts in four games. Yeaaaaaaah, it doesn’t matter, does it. Sale earned another Gallows Pole with 24 whiffs – 44/108 CSW! – and going a stupid 33% whiff rate on Four-Seamers. They were averaging just over 93 mph though! Wild. He’ll climb a little on Monday.
Jose Urena – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Y’all know I don’t like Urena – if you roster Jose, Urena boatload of trouble – and there’s no way I would endorse a start like last night’s against the Cubs. We also saw Fiers throw a no-hitter, so anything can happen in baseball. Just don’t bet on 15 Red again, feel me?
Brandon Woodruff – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. He was the secondary Call Boy and I regret not making him the primary. The Nats aren’t the strongest lineup and Woodruff is beginning to cruise. Three straight starts of 1 ER with 22 Ks between them and healthy whiff rates along the way, going an impressive 17/103 here as his slider was in top form. The question is if he’s worth it now against the Phils and I’m leaning yes – the Mets twice and now Nationals in his last three are a little worse but not that far off – and I’m hoping this is something we can ride for a bit.
Wilmer Font – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. The Mets traded for Font and put him to use right away. Those wanting a HAISTFMFWT?! should I really give it to a guy that wasn’t going to get a ton of innings anyway? Whatever, it’s there and we’re going to live with that. For Font, there may be something here in his strong breakers – 21% swinging-strike rate on curveballs this year! – and I’ll wait to see him get a full start before making true judgments. My instinct is that this Font is like Comic Sans – there was a time you liked it, but we all want nothing to do with it now. We’ll see how this plays out.
Nick Kingham – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey, Kingham is back in the rotation! If you told me in July last year that Kingham was starting in May this year, I would be so pumped, imagining his road was smooth and he deserved this spot in the rotation. How naive I would have been. But how did Kingham do? 20/78 CSW – 25% – is not what we want. He’s focusing on curveballs more than his slider and changeup, the two pitches that made me excited for him last year. That’s not a good thing. Maybe I’ll get excited again at some point but now is not that time.
Shelby Miller – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Better from Miller, and that’s just about all I can say. He’s been really really bad this year.
Charlie Morton – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. That WHIP is Ghastly, but you’ll lick your wounds with those eight Ks and the 2 ER won’t haunt you and make you lose sleep. It’s why we rank him highly – there’s always something to salvage without him ghosting on you – and your nights won’t be filled with terrors.
Matt Strahm – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. So the whiffs are steady – not amazing at 11/96, but fine – and his fastball is leading the charge despite its velocity falling to just over 90 mph here – we want to see ~92 consistently. It really does spell “SELL HIGH!” for Strahm, but if no one is buying, we just ride this out and see what happens. But Nick! This is YOUR guy! I know, I know, I feel dirty about it since he’s doing so well yet I don’t trust in longterm success given how he’s gotten his results. It’s not the skill set that got me excited initially. Crazy, right?
Shane Bieber – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. We like Bieber, but this line is missing the dominance we seek. Still, great overall approach and while neither changeup nor slider really took over in the whiff department (6/41 whiffs between them) but keep on keeping on here.
Jack Flaherty – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. You drafted Flaherty to be your #2 SP and his 4.32 ERA with a 1.27 WHIP sure isn’t what you ordered. We joked that as long as he doesn’t face the Brewers, Flaherty would be fine, but this is three ER in under six frames for the second straight outing and we’re a touch scared now. I’m not terribly afraid – the 1.73 HR/9 doesn’t seem right (21.6% HR/FB!) and his near .300 BABIP should come down a bit. Meanwhile, he’s still missing bats and will stick above that 25% strikeout mark. While we might not see his ERA at 3.00, Flaherty is very capable of the Robbie Ray approach – three strong starts and BAM! His season is saved in the blink of an eye. Don’t give up on this.
Sonny Gray – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. Bleeeeeegh. After a fanning nine in two straight games against the Braves and Dodgers, Gray has fanned just ten in three straight, failing to pitch more than five frames. I’m not fully out on Gray – this was the worst command we’ve seen this year save for his first game – but he gets the Cubs next and I wouldn’t be starting him there. Check the wire to see if there are alternatives.
Jeremy Hellickson – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Hellickson’s last start returned nine strikeouts and zero walks with just 2 ER. THIS IS WHY WE DON’T TRUST THE DEVIL.
Reynaldo Lopez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Hmmmm. Is a VVPQS with just two Ks worth a Streaming Win? Did he get the W? He did not. Another hockey stick it is. Streaming Record: 22-17. Surprising to see another ChiSox arm focus so heavily on their changeup – 33/92 pitches were slow balls from ReyLo! – and just 19/92 CSW is not what we’re looking for here, with his fastball not doing all that well. He gets the Indians again next week and I’m 50/50 on it. That’s the life of owning ReyLo.
Brett Anderson – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 0 Ks. What a ridiculous stat line. I’m a bit amazed he allowed just four ER with 10 baserunners and getting all his outs via balls in play. Seriously 0 Ks in eighteen outs? HAISTFMFWT?!
Clayton Kershaw – 6.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Aces gonna blegh. The strikeouts weren’t there, the ratios hurt, and I want old Kershaw back. PLEASE.
Jonathan Loaisiga – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Bleeegh. We didn’t expect many frames from Loasigia, but we expected better quality innings. Now comes the hard question. We got the first start out of the way against the Mariners, now the Orioles are next. Is that a start? I’m leaning yes at the moment
Mike Foltynewicz – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Folty is still figuring this out. It’s hard to really expect the miraculous 2018 to suddenly appear, but he’s not this bad of a pitcher. It’s just his third start back from the IL and there’s rust to shake off as he didn’t have a spring training. Sure, you can bench him against the Cards if you like, just don’t flat out drop him, okay? June 1st through the end of the year should be a strong asset for you, with a good chance of getting production a few starts earlier.
Trent Thornton – 2.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. There is some upside in the tank for Thornton, but it’s hard to expect that to come out when he faces the Twins. And it certainly didn’t as that one K deserves a HAISFTMFWT?! He gets the Giants next, though, and those in deep leagues may want to consider it.
Jorge Lopez – 2.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Sit Sit, Jorge! Sit Sit, Jorge!
Tyler Skaggs – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Hoooooo boy. The Tigers aren’t a strong offense and Skaggs did get a bit Singled Out here, but it’s hard not to get the impression that Skaggs isn’t settled in yet from returning from the IL. We saw it last year, I should have recognized that he may need a little more time to get into his groove again. It’s not a flat out drop to me – he has a TIARA in my view – but I think playing it safe against the Twins is a wise move.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my Streamer picks under the condition of sub 20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Michael Pineda vs. Detroit Tigers – It’s a double-header and all of my favorites – Tony Disco, Turnbull, Perez – are well above the 20% threshold now. Womp womp. Pineda’s slider hasn’t been terrible during his rough stretch, so I’ll take the chance it works against Detroit.
Game of the Day
(Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire)