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Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Madison Bumgarner vs PHI (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 105 pitches.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’ve been skeptical of Madison Bumgarner — aka the wonderful man of the rodeo, Mason Saunders — since his return from the IL. Before his injury, the southpaw sat 91/92 mph and finally became a true Toby that we could rely on and since recovering from shoulder inflammation, we’ve seen him sit at 89/90 mph on his heater. I had my doubts, but the man has only performed, leading to an impressive 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 105 pitches outing tonight in a win against the Phillies.

It’s not like his four-seamer/cutter are all that great. You see the 23% CSW above, but neither pitch hit that mark and this Vargas Rule has a TEEs written all over it. Don’t most Vargas Rules act like a TEEs? Well, kinda. Yeah, mostly. BUT YOU GET THE POINT. Fortunately, you can keep riding this in good conscience as he gets the Pirates next, but when that dismay arrives, be ready to make a swap. This isn’t destined to last.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

 

Corey Knebel vs NYM (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 16 pitches.

The Dodgers went full bullpen and Knebel did his part. Yay.

Chris Flexen @ TEX (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 105 pitches.

Atta boy Flexen. The Rangers are no match for your four-seamer/cutter combination, which returned a combined…24% CSW. Oh boy. Look, he’s a Toby who could survive against the Athletics next time out. Up to you if you want to flip that coin.

Luis Castillo vs MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 99 pitches.

Atta boy Castillo. Oddly enough, none of his sinker, slider, nor changeup earned 30%, but they earned outs (along with a touch of Singled Out) and that’s what matters. This should continue against the Brewers and I hate that I have any worry about Castillo in that matchup. It’s just been that kind of year.

Shane McClanahan vs BAL (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 79 pitches.

Look at McClanahan, earning a Golden Goal as he soared through five frames, making us all McClanafans. The heater has continued dropping in velocity, now down to an average of 94.5 mph, but the breakers were unreal (48% CSW between them both!) and you have to still believe in him despite the velocity dip. Keep it coming, Shane.

Matt Manning vs LAA (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 96 pitches.

Womp womp. Streaming Record: 75-54. It’s just two earned runs, but he failed to go a full five frames despite tossing 96 pitches + that WHIP is more harmful than watching the Avatar movie on repeat. How could they do that to Ang?! I didn’t even want to stream him in the first place, Huascar you know. He’ll get the Cardinals next and I don’t know why I even mentioned it, you don’t want that.

Mike Minor vs HOU (ND) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 94 pitches.

It was Houston, so let’s give Minor some slack. On the other hand, there was nothing here for me to pull to suggest Minor can be legit in, guess what, another start against the Astros next week. Life ain’t fair, y’all.

Jameson Taillon vs MIN (W) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 81 pitches.

Meh, it feels like we’re back in the purgatory days of May where Taillon felt destined to allow exactly three ERs in every start. His curveball was thrown just nine times here, leaning more on the slider and changeup in this one. I’m not sold those pitches are the answer and I’m a little worried about Atlanta on the horizon. This isn’t peak Taillon.

Luis Garcia @ KC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 70 pitches.

Ehhhhh, Garcia is better than this. His cutter was phenomenal — 8/24 whiffs! — but nothing else stepped forward in his four-seamer and curveball and his slider wasn’t turned to enough despite 7/8 strikes on the pitch. We also saw a full tick drop on his four-seamer and it’s a little concerning, but since the slider and cutter were still performing and their normal levels, I’m willing to shrug this off and continue starting Garcia with confidence. That schedule is way too good, and he’ll take proper advantage with a better approach in the future.

Dylan Cease vs OAK (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 102 pitches.

Ehhh, a PQS with a meh WHIP and just five strikeouts ain’t enough for me if I’m rostering Cease. You know the drill, the slider was still fantastic, but there wasn’t enough from the rest of the arsenal to make this a legit start. That’s our Cherry Bomb poster boy for you.

Cole Irvin @ CWS (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 87 pitches.

Are we okay with a — checks notes — VVVPQS and a HAISTBMBWT?! against the White Sox? yeah, definitely not. Even in a QS league, those are terrible ratios and it’s one strikeout. I’m even getting sympathy for it. It’s just so dang alone out there.

Jorge López @ TB (L) – 2.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 48 pitches.

I can’t help but have sympathy for López as he continues his 2021 with a 6.35 ERA on the season. Yeah, that’s rough. Like Batman & Robin rough.

Nick Neidert @ CIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 71 pitches.

Sup Neidert. I didn’t expect to see you much at all the rest of the way and tough noogies about that fourth frame. But hey, you “survived” five frames while earning one strikeout (HAISTBMBWT?!) and you know I don’t have much of a choice but to ignore ya. I’ll see ya at the monthly Nick meetings, though. Don’t forget the brownies.

John Gant @ NYY (L) – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 61 pitches.

This was a bullpen game, and I’m honestly shocked Gant lasted as long as he did. Remember when he had a stupid good ERA back in May? Wild times. Wild times.

Jon Lester vs MIL (ND) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 89 pitches.

Oh hey, it’s Lester, who feels like a guy who got promoted for accidentally sending an email that the CEO liked. I really shouldn’t be here. I mean, that’s zero strikeouts in 12 outs. I don’t even want to entertain that with the term, it’s just so…why. Yeah, why?!

Taijuan Walker @ LAD (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 99 pitches.

The Dodgers are no joke, but I am happy to see Walker continue his 95+ mph habits, even if the rest of his start was as pedestrian as always. There’s a shot that extra tick will make all the difference against the Giants next time out. Good luck.

José Quintana @ DET (ND) – 1.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 29 pitches.

What did we expect? Nothing! What did we get? DISASTER! Why am I making a cheer out of this, it was so sad.

Spencer Howard vs SEA (ND) – 2.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 52 pitches.

Why did the Ranger acquire Howard only to toss him for ~50 pitches a start like the Phillies did? IT MAKES NO SENSE. He’s a Young Gun as we wait for the secondaries to show up and, you know, he throws 80+ pitches with consistency.

Zack Wheeler @ ARI (L) – 6.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 100 pitches.

Say what. Wheeler has been called many names — The Re-inventor, The German Estate, ask on Twitch if you’re curious — but a disappointment isn’t one of them. This was a Careful, Icarus as he struggled to get his third out in the seventh, leading to five runs coming in on his name. It was one of the times where baseball just didn’t go his way and it’s gonna happen. Don’t judge him harshly for it.

Brandon Woodruff @ STL (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 86 pitches.

Aces gonna…ugh, not you too. It’s rare to see Woodruff stumble and against the Cardinals of all teams is even stranger. Whatareyagonnado. Keep starting Woody because duh. Nothing super alarming here, the man just didn’t have it.

 

Game of the Day 

 

Elieser Hernandez vs Sonny GrayI’m curious if Elieser can legit step up to the occasion + Sonny has all the advantages in the world to figure out his breakers.

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

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch Livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am EST Monday through Friday.

Photo by Daniel Gluskoter/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx 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 college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • sean says:

    Zack Wheeler has had some of the most horrific defense behind him that I’ve ever seen. His last start, v Cincinnatti… Ground ball to Brad Miller at first who didn’t get back to the bag in time… Goes down as a hit. Two batters later, Votto Bomb.

    Last game (and I’m from Philly, rooting for them) he’s got a guy on third. Hard ground ball to Ronald Torreyes. He fields it clean and tags out the guy taking a lead on third, right? WRONG. He fields it clean then gets juked out by Christian Fn Walker! Now we have runners on the corners with one out—instead of, at worst, a guy on first and two outs (Should have been a tag him out, throw him out double play). Next batter doubles. Two runs score. The guy on first base, who was there with a “fielders choice” … his run scores. Should it be Earned? Aapparently so. Next guy strikes out. So if you’re keeping track at home, the strikeout should have been the third out. Thru seven, 2 earned. But it wasn’t the third out. The ‘fielders choice’ doesn’t count as a ‘would be out’ like an error is. And then FOUR more runs score?! When your defense is so bad they don’t even qualify for errors… woof.

  • DB says:

    I’ve been worried about Woody hitting a wall for quite a while now, but when they pulled him the start before this one, he shifted from “set-and-forget” to “should I be starting this guy?”

    I expect that they’ll be piggy-backing or limiting him from here on out. He’s dozens of innings beyond the most he’s ever pitched as a pro in a season, and it’s clear he’s losing his edge.

    I love the guy, and I’ll be drafting him again next season, but I saw this coming and I have very little faith in him ROS.

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