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Hearning To Be Free

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

Taylor Hearn vs SEA (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 72 pitches.

It’s getting rough out there. We had a cornucopia of streaming options just a week ago and now the pool has evaporated in front of us, making us wonder when the drought will end. It’s a moment where Taylor Hearn can act like an oasis in the distance after a 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 72 pitches performance against the Mariners, but don’t be deceived. This is a mirage.

I mean, I can short-change y’all and just mention that the Red Sox and Astros are next on the schedule and you can walk away now. But there’s more to my hesitation. Hearn boasts a decent 93-mph fastball that works, but isn’t exceptional, while his slider can be found around the plate but isn’t meant to earn whiffs. And that’s pretty much it (sorry changeup, you’re not much of a factor here). It’s not an arsenal that makes me plead with the Rangers for more than 72 pitches or has me frustrated at the baseball gods for his difficult schedule. What we’ve got here is failure to communicate a Birthday Party and what an endearing time it was.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

 

Huascar Ynoa @ MIA (ND) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 80 pitches.

He’s back and still sitting 96 mph (dope) and getting slider whiffs as he kept the pitch down frequently (double dope). The bad news are his next three starts: NYY, @LAD, @COL. We waited so long for Ynoa to return and that’s what we get?! I think I’d start him for the Yanks, but oh boy, those other two are avoids. How could they do this to us.

Eli Morgan @ MIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 90 pitches.

Morgan had excellent four-seamer command and flicked his changeup + slider in there enough to carve eight strikeouts and six scoreless against the Twins. I won’t ignore the possibility Morgan does this, though I will note the super small margin for error when he sits just above 90 mph on his heater & he carries a pair of secondaries that each fail to hit a 16% SwStr on the year. But hey, he gets the Rangers next. That could work.

Luis Gil vs BOS (ND) – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 71 pitches.

Hey, that’s three straight scoreless outings to kick off Gil’s career! Atta boy. I think y’all know the story of Gil just by looking at this line — he throws hard with a 96 mph heater and pairs it with a decent slider, but the command of these pitches is a bit off. He fails to get the breaker down, keeping it a bit too elevated, leading to a high number of called strikes, but just 2/27 whiffs. I’d be really into this if I felt the slider had more consistency taking down batters once he gets to two strikes, but for now, he’s a bit too inefficient + his luck is sure to run out at some point. It makes for a tough call moving forward against the Twins and who knows if he’ll even make that start – the Yankees would have to go six-man to fit him in with Nestor Cortes. Fine, if he starts against the Twins, you can’t bench him, but I don’t believe he’s this good.

Reynaldo López vs OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 66 pitches.

He tossed 51 pitches last time and jumped to 66 here, going two-pitch with a 96 mph heater and a solid slider. I don’t think there’s enough polish on either pitch to suggest López is worth your time in a 12-teamer, but hey, 15 outs on 66 pitches is dang good. Props, ReyLó.

Drew Rasmussen vs BAL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 56 pitches.

Drew cruised through four frames before getting the hook, leaning 70% of the time on a 97 mph heater. Too bad his command of it isn’t elite, nor does he have a strong slider, but hey, keep an eye on this. I wouldn’t start him now, but if he’s able to showcase some improved skills, there could be something here.

Corbin Burnes @ STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 89 pitches.

Aces gonna…earn just three strikeouts despite trying to follow The Cardinal Rule?! Weird. I mean, it’s still great, but weird.

Tyler Anderson @ TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 83 pitches.

Tyler, you spoil me. Streaming Record: 74-53. Not much to report here, just keep him on your radar after you push him back to the wire with the Astros up next. He’ll be worthwhile in September at times, don’t ignore it.

Daniel Lynch vs HOU (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 98 pitches.

Oh Danny boy, I’m so proud of you. Your changeup is coming together (41% CSW!) while the fastball command is still solid and you’re getting those sliders down and under the zone. Why does he have to face Houston again, then the ChiSox two starts later? IT’S NOT FAIR. You’re best still avoiding it all and not taking the risk. Wake me up when September ends arrives.

Taylor Widener vs PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 68 pitches.

Hey, that’s pretty dang good Taylor. The man went ultra heater, turning to the pitch 3/4 of the time and it worked out in the end. Weird to see that success with his slider and changeup essentially doing nothing. I don’t buy this.

Sandy Alcantara vs ATL (L) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 105 pitches.

Not only did Sandy cruise through eight frames (even a Careful, Icarus as he allowed the sole run in the eighth), but he also earned his third Gallows Pole of the year, as 22 whiffs marked his season-high. The slider was as good as I’ve ever seen it with 12 whiffs to its name, leading to fastballs and changeups taking a bit of a backseat. He does have another pair of tests now, though, as he faces the Reds twice in a row across the next two weeks. It’s not a fun call, but yeah, after his last two starts, he’s ready.

Matt Strahm @ COL (L) – 1.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 44 pitches.

What?! Strahm is starting?! Nah duder, it was a bullpen game. Oh. Yeah, I remember being so amped for Strahm back in 2019. Sigh. Those were some different times.

Kyle Hendricks @ CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 94 pitches.

Hey, this is an impressive one from Hendricks. No, not because of his changeup, that thing earned just a 9% CSW and made me more disappointed than the recent Star Wars film, not because he allowed just one ER despite a date in Cincy. That park is rough for pitchers and Hendricks hasn’t been at the top of his game lately. Seeing that changeup flounder as much as it did still makes me a bit skeptical of Hendricks, but hey, this was cool and Rockie Road should some welcome respite.

David Price vs PIT (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 67 pitches.

Blegh. Sure, it’s not destructive, but I wanted more from Price after being granted the gift of Pittsburgh. Is that a plaque of a penguin with an eye patch. No, but now I really wish that was a thing. Anyway, Price does have a nice schedule ahead – NYM + Rockie Road — so let’s hope he gets a longer leash over time and capitalizes in both.

Wil Crowe @ LAD (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 85 pitches.

We’ve seen a few starts here and there where Crowe looked fantasy relevant and those came with legit changeup and slider whiffs. Those two pitches combined for just four swings-and-misses here and even if he faced the Dodgers, this start doesn’t breed confidence moving forward. 85 pitches for just four frames ain’t it, chief.

Logan Webb vs NYM (W) – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 83 pitches.

Don’t stop starting Webb. Just don’t. DON’T. Until he does something to suggest otherwise. Well, yeah. So for now, DON’T STOP. It really is wild how good of a roll he’s on. I can feel the Top 30 SP ranking next year from across the industry and boy, that ain’t gonna fly with me. We’ll talk in a few months.

Bailey Ober vs CLE (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 69 pitches.

Hey, that’s pretty solid from Ober. His heater wasn’t the story like last time, not when he’s 14 whiffs short of last week’s start. No that would be his combined 11/28 CSW across sliders and curveballs. I’m glad it worked here, I’m not sold Ober without his best heater is truly worth it, kinda like the extra $10 to get a Lyft sent to you in the next five minutes. And the one I just ordered will be here in six. MY MINUTE ISN’T WORTH TEN DOLLARS! Huh, when I type it that way, why isn’t a minute of my life worth ten dollars?

Casey Mize vs LAA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 88 pitches.

The Tigers are allowing Mize to go over 85 pitches as he pitches once a week through the end, but for that to help Mize, he needs to, you know, be productive. That’s going to be tough with a pair of starts against the Jays up next. Yeaaaaah, that’s a no from me.

Adam Wainwright vs MIL (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 97 pitches.

It’s not the sexiest Waino start we’ve seen this year — the cream soda of AW’s campaign — but the curveball and cutter did enough for six frames and now he gets the Pirates twice. That’s the life for me.

Dylan Bundy @ DET (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 63 pitches.

Oh hey it’s Bundy. Did he do anything interesting? Looks down at my notes. No.

Tanner Houck @ NYY (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 58 pitches.

It was just 58 pitches as the Sawx elected to pull him early in this seven-inning game for their bullpen, but he wasn’t at his best. The slider went just 21% CSW, while the heater didn’t fare a whole lot better, and I’m a little sad about it. He should bounce back next time out against the Twins.

Vladimir Gutierrez vs CHC (L) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 80 pitches.

Did you pick up Gutierrez? No? Why not?! His schedule is going to continue to be a cakewalk through the end — yay Cincy! — and he’s a Toby’s Toby. Ain’t nothing wrong with that, especially if you’re earning a King Cole that easily.

Nathan Eovaldi @ NYY (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 83 pitches.

It wasn’t a win and the WHIP was meh, but he had some excellent tunneling with four-seamers and curveballs akin to the BSB and if his splitter was just a hair better, I think this could have turned out even more in his favor. Enjoy Texas next time out.

Marcus Stroman @ SF (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 114 pitches.

Whoaaaaa. Stroman earned a combined 47% CSW on his slider + cutter, while his splitter managed to earn seven whiffs across 34 thrown. That’s right, 34 splitters! 30% usage! Crazy. I very much welcome Stroman tossing just 30% sinkers as it clearly helped him out, even if a 3.86 ERA isn’t glistening (hey, it’s the Giants!). Stroman has been one to pitch on way on an evening then completely differently the next, but I do hope something has clicked here for the long haul. It’s exciting stuff.

Erick Fedde vs TOR (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.

I hope you enjoy that win, because that’s all you got from this one. Don’t Trust The Feddes.

Jordan Montgomery vs BOS (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 78 pitches.

It ain’t easy making your return from the COVID-IL, and The Bear did his best as the curveball and changeup were wonderful once again, combining for 18/44 CSW. That’s the good stuff. There’s still a touch of room left in those pitches to nail called strikes a bit more and make for an easier job with his cutter and sinker, and I wonder when he’ll see peak JorMont. Let’s hope it’s some time this season.

Germán Márquez vs SD (W) – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 83 pitches.

It was the Padres. In Coors. And Márquez still gave you a better than PQS with a sub-1.00 WHIP. You gotta respect the man. I am shocked he did so well without his primo slider or curveball, but who cares, he heads to Wrigley next. Awwwww yeah. 

Chris Bassitt @ CWS (L) – 1.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 23 pitches.

Bassitt took a comebacker to the head in a terrifying moment and was carted off the field. He’s was conscious and aware as he went to the hospital (phew), but man, that was absolutely scary. Baseball is just a game, y’all. Treat people well and be grateful for what we have. I’m so happy he seems to be alright, but keep him in your thoughts.

Framber Valdez @ KC (L) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 99 pitches.

Hmmmm. It looks like a VVPQS but slightly better as Valdez took his shockingly high 1.30 WHIP and made it worse. I still blame the sinker for not being all that great, and it seems like 2021 Valdez is the middle ground of 2019 and 2020 that feels oh-so-right. The man is a glorified Toby and we have to accept that.

Kyle Gibson @ ARI (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 91 pitches.

It’s a VPQS for Gibson and I guess that’s okay? Honestly, not really, even in QS leagues. This doesn’t help a ton and seeing just two whiffs on 91 pitches — two! TWO! — is absolutely ridiculous. I’d be awfully careful starting him moving forward, especially with the Padres next.

John Means @ TB (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

The good news: The fastball was back to 92.8 mph instead of 91 mph and change + he earned seven whiffs as the pitch tallied nine whiffs. The bad news: His locations were terrible in the middle of the plate and he allowed two more HRs. I’m still conflicted about what to do with Means moving forward, but the upside is still intact. With the fastball working well again, you have to think he can get the changeup back and BAM! He’s back. Let’s hope so.

Alek Manoah @ WSH (L) – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 53 pitches.

Wait, no. This isn’t what I signed up for. The fastball that earned 19 whiffs last time out earned just two here as nothing seemed to get into a rhythm here. Blegh. I wouldn’t about it long-term, but yeah, this was tough. I feel y’all.

 

Game of the Day 

 

José Berríos vs Josiah GrayHow cool would it be if Josiah was flat-out dope against the mighty Jays? That would be so awesome.

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

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Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns 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.

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