(Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire)
I didn’t expect myself to lead with Matt Harvey today, but I have a feeling he might get the most questions after his line of 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks against the Phillies. Is he back? Has he made legitimate changes that will returning a Top 50 season? Harvey or Lopez? Minor? Gibson? The answer is No. Sorry. Well, like Mahle he’s worth a flier, but I actually prefer Mahle as Harvey was really blegh. Just nine whiffs on the day without a single pitch that was consistently causing havoc. Fastballs were all over the place at a mediocre 91/92, slider didn’t feature harsh break, and his changeup looked great against lefties at times, but it also found itself floating into the zone. This isn’t anything close to the precise hard heater on the corner followed by a slider in the same spot to make a batter second guess his entire being in this spacious universe. This was a meh pitcher on a good day. It’s possible he turns into a Toby, but I’m going to look elsewhere for now.
Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:
Jack Flaherty – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. I think Fast thought I was going to feature Flaherty today. NOPE. I did catch this start and it was fun watching him go while the rest of the staff on the channel got pumped at the results. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. Adam Wainwright is expected to return next week, which means Flaherty may have only start left before he heads back to Triple-A. And that’s dumb. Now, even with this stat line I don’t group Flaherty with the likes of JorMont/Clev or Castillo, but he should be considered a Spice Girl and I hope that his breaking stuff stays strong while he doesn’t mess up the command of that heater much. When it works, it clearly works, but there will be tough starts ahead. Whenever that is as I already brought up. I’M JUST REPEATING MYSELF NOW, I’M ENDING THIS. You’re breaking up with me? WE’RE NOT DATING.
Matt Boyd – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. I had the pleasure to watch this start with Brad Johnson of FanGraphs today and instead of talking about Boyd’s performance, we instead talked about many other random things instead as he pitched, because we just didn’t care. Yes, this is probably the most literal version of Boyd Watching of the year and you should join me looking through the window instead of hanging out for tea. Tea sounds much better. Shhhhhh.
Jake Junis – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. The other side of the Boyd game was Junis, the real reason Brad and I sat down to watch the Royals and Tigers go at it. I was shocked to see so much movement from his two-seamer today and I’m wildly impressed by it. What I wasn’t impressed by was the inconsistency on his slider and how the curve that was promised was more like the curve that was missed. Still, that revamped two-seamer may be enough to propel Junis into Top 50 status, as long as that slider returns to what it was last year. Streaming Record: 2-2. BACK TO .500.
Zack Godley – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Okay I love this but kinda hate this. Just seven whiffs and three Ks? Godley, I’ve been praising your name for months, don’t you think I deserve more? Why am I inside a whale now? Just 4 whiffs on 34 curves thrown is not the whiff rate you want to see, nor just 2 on 22 cutters. Velocity was also at just 90.2mph across this outing and…um…I’m slightly worried? Even after this gem? Remember, part of the reason for Godley’s 2017 breakout was that he bumped up his velocity. I hope these fears become tears next time. Why would you be crying? Of joy. OF JOY.
Cole Hamels – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks. So many interesting starts today, none more curious than Hamels, who has now totaled 18 strikeouts in his just 11.2 IP across two starts. The secret to his first outing was a ton of Curveballs – over 30% usage! – but that turned to 8% usage in this one, with his changeup getting half of his 16 whiffs. It’s weird to see a pitcher have back-to-back strikeout heavy games yet utilize a completely different approach in each. I guess you have no choice but to take a flier on Hamels now, though I’m doing it incredibly cautiously. The Vargas Rule is in effect, ya’ll.
Jordan Montgomery – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. The Bear came out of hibernation despite the weather acting very much like what would normally turn a bear around and back into the hole. Nope, it ain’t going to be today Jackie, I don’t want to be the one to tell Rizzo and Bryant. Despite the atrocity that was the Bronx, JorMont made it worthwhile and did one thing I was so happy to see: He used his changeup over 20% of the time. THAT’S WHAT’S UP. It’s a super effective pitch and riding the slow ball with his breaking stuff will make his heaters better and send him to the promise land. Fun fact: He threw just 30% fastballs today. 30 PERCENT!
Chris Sale – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. He also had a little bit of bad luck in this one, but he still had 18 whiffs and a wonderful night. Just go at least 6.0 IP next time alright? Thanks,
Jose Urena – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. First is the worst, Second is the best, the third is the one where you don’t wanna invest.
Kyle Freeland – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Oh no. No no no no. Not this again. Please don’t do this again. Like real estate in Death Valley, this Freeland is not worth your dime.
Clayton Kershaw – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. It’s TATIAGA and tonight is no exception. Just stop giving up HRs to lefties alright? And no, I don’t care about Kershaw’s lowered velocity. It’s still around 92mph and it’s having such an effect.
Ben Lively – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Raggedy Anne is back to give us a few meh starts sprinkled with hope to crush our dreams when we put in the faith. Don’t trust Anne, he’ll get ya.
Garrett Richards – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 10 Ks. Oh Garrett, how I’ve longed to see you win your first Gallows Pole via 19 swings-and-misses, 10 of which from your gorgeous 90mph slider. You even raised your curveball usage to near 25% after it has hovered 5% across your career. You are becoming the man you’re destined to be….JUST STOP WALKING PEOPLE. Ahem. Please, have no fear, your stuff dictates a man who should giveth no freebies and I would hate to see it bring you out of your games too soon. The seventh inning is yours for the taking. SIEZE IT. That went on too long, but seriously I hope you guys are loving Garrett like I am.
Marco Gonzales – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Finally we got a good look at Gonzales and I was…super underwhelmed. Nothing in his repertoire screamed major upside here, his fastball command was meh, and while I can see him missing some bats with a good changeup, there isn’t anything else telling me that he’s anything more than a streaming option. Womp womp.
Tyson Ross – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Sooooo I kinda think Ross is almost there. He’s still a two-pitch pitcher, but his velocity is nearly back to what it used to be and his slider is there. Well almost there, that’s the problem. Just 3 whiffs in total during this start, but I watched some of it and it looks closer to the old Ross than I thought I’d see. He’s not someone I’d be starting yet, but I feel like he’s going to have an 8/9 K start before the end of April. I’m most likely going to be wrong so don’t act on that – I’m sure not – but I feel obligated to tell you when that gut won’t shut up.
Justin Verlander – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Even though he was one out from a PQS and it’s one ER too many and that WHIP is meh, I’ll take my 9 Ks and go. Just be a little better next time Jimmy V, okay?
Mike Wright – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. My pick for the WHERST was not so bad today. Huh. You can’t always be Wright, can you?
Chase Anderson – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Well this sucks. A lot. Last time out, I was happy Anderson did well despite all the hate, but concerned about his velocity dip, since it was a huge reason why he was good last year. Today he allowed 2 HR in three pitches and 3 for the day, sporting fastballs around 91mph. This is bad. I’m legit worried…but if someone is selling him for peanuts I’m buying. It’s still just April 4th and that velocity could come back. We’ve seen guys add in mid-season plenty of times.
Chris Archer – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. It’s the ace that isn’t an ace but sometimes is an ace but today wasn’t an ace. There will be plenty of debate discussing Archer’s true value in 12-teamers and it’s kinda how I felt before the season began. No, it isn’t all of sudden a bigger deal because he sucked against the Sawx then on a ghastly day in the Bronx. That would be silly.
Kendall Graveman – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. You know the times when you start a pitcher who doesn’t help in strikeouts and you’re banking on getting help in the W/ERA/WHIP and it doesn’t pan out? That would be a Grave Mistake. PUT IT IN THE GLOSSARY!
J. A. Happ – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. This is a Dusty Donut and not what I expected from Happ…even though he spun this out often last year. It was weird then, it’s still weird now. I still like him for 12-teamers as a Toby.
Miguel Gonzalez – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. A WHIP of 2.00 and ERA of 9.00? Miguel……No.
Julio Teheran – 2.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Nick, why do you hate Teheran so much? Because he’s bad and should feel bad. On the latest OTC podcast, Fast wagered O/U 4.5 ER in this start for Teheran and I went under to be fun. Create an entertaining bet board, you know? Fine Alex, you win this one. I hope you’re satisfied with yourself. Sidenote: We really need to create a Big Board of Bets.
Ty Blach – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. If you had the feeling that maybe, just maybe, Blach was a legit good pitcher and deserved that excellent outing on Opening Day, I’m glad he could eradicate your notions in one swift blow. Blach is a merciful man.
Josh Tomlin – 3.0 IP, 8 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Yep, that’s Tomlin alright. Hey Nick, I still stay in the rotation when Salazar returns, right? Bwhahaha…oh you’re serious. No. The answer is no.
A. J. Cole – 3.2 IP, 10 ER, 10 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. On the day I introduced a section of this article trying to predict The WHERST, we actually have a legit contender for 2018 as Cole tallied 3 Walks, 10 Hits, and 10 ER in his STart. That’s good for a score of 23, setting the bar for others to meet. Who will make owners yell the loudest? We shall see.
Nick Pivetta vs. New York Mets – I thought suggesting Jake Odorrizi would work, but he’s owned in a ton of leagues now (and so is Sean Manaea), so I’m stuck with Pivetta. I don’t love his overall approach, but he has solid breaking balls that can make this work. Nope, Pivetta has been moved to Thursday so this is going to super reluctantly be Doug Fister against the A’s. No I do not expect good things.
Caleb Smith vs. Philadelphia Phillies – This is a crazy one and I know I really should be picking Kyle Gibson against the Mariners, but after getting 15 whiffs against the Cubs last week, I get the feeling that Smith could pull this off and I want to have fun with this. I know I just said Gibson is the real one, but the real real choice is Homer Bailey against the Pirates. But for the record, it’s Smith against the Phillies. This is confusing. Yeah, I know. It’s Smith, okay? Gibson is the better choice but I’m doing Smith because I want to have a little fun.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
CC Sabathia vs. Baltimore Orioles – The D’Ohs are bad and CC has a long-time track record of doing well against them + a decent chance at a Win.
Game of the Day
You Are The WHERST
Ivan Nova vs. Minnesota Twins – I had a tough time with this one today, I’m going with Nova and his no Ks attitude.