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Hoping For A Smooth VerLanding

Well this is awkward. I’ve been an open Justin Verlander fan this year and his last four starts just have not bee what we’ve wanted, concluding with one of his worst outings...

Well this is awkward. I’ve been an open Justin Verlander fan this year and his last four starts just have not bee what we’ve wanted, concluding with one of his worst outings of the year with a 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks line against the Astros. Now his BB/9 is up to a horrendous 4.28 BB?9, 4.57 FIP isn’t much better than his 4.87 ERA, and hard contact is a poor 34.8%. Jeeeeeeez. If you’re an owner, you want to hear that he’s going to figure it out and to hold and all that jazz. I want to say that – I truly do believe that Verlander is a much better pitcher than this and he will take a step forward at some point. Problem is that we don’t know when that will be. It could be next week, it could be June, it could be August. I really don’t believe Verlander has just “lost it”. Velocity is still up a ton since last year – 95.0mph! – but it’s for some reason corresponding with a drop in whiff rate, down from 12.0% to 9.0%. He’s going to take a major hit on Monday down to the 20s – I just don’t see why you wouldn’t take someone like Lance McCullers or Jon Lester at this point – but if you’re looking for a pitcher in the second half that could make a big impact that doesn’t cost a pretty penny, I’d be talking to the JV owner in your league. There’s still plenty of time for him to recover.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Robbie Ray – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Whoa, two straight shutout starts from Ray! And 15 Ks and just seven total baserunners in 14.2 innings! That’s studly and I’m not going to say it isn’t. What I am going to say is that we saw this kind of stretch last year across three starts when he faced the Mets twice and then the Padres, two outside of Arizona. These two recent outings? The Brewers and the Padres…outside of Arizona. Ray demolishes bad offenses, good offenses demolish him. He still has 44.8% hard contact (30.8% last night) and I’m not going to let these two great outings make me overlook that I don’t feel comfortable starting Ray in any questionable matchup.

Matt Andriese – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. The legend of Andriese continues as he lowered his ERA to 3.24 on the year. In the pre-season, you might recall me proclaiming my love for his Changeup and its massive vertical differentiation from his Four-Seamer. Looks like Andriese got the message and bumped the pitch’s usage from 16.6% to 29.6% this season. The result is a 3.9 pVal thus far for the pitch after last year’s -0.9 mark. Problem is that the walk rate has risen as well, from 1.76 BB/9 to 3.24 BB/9. That mark right there makes me a bit concern for what’s ahead, especially when his 82.3% LOB rate should dip a little…and oh my lord, is that a 41.5% hard contact rate?! Bigger Changeup focus aside, there’s too much here for me to trust majorly. Sorry Andriese, that 4.20 SIERA looks like it’s going to catch up to you unless you fix that Fastball command.

Drew Pomeranz – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. The Dirty Cheerleader lived up to his name last night as his Curveball was as legit as we’ve ever seen it. His K/9 is now at 11.45, xFIP 3.40, 21.8% soft contact, BABIP at .324, and six of his last seven starts have been 2 ER or fewer…but three of those were 3 and 4 IP. The biggest knock is about those limited innings as he’s his 6 IP just three times and has never gone deeper. That’s bad. His IPS is under 5.0. This could go either way ROS, where I can see Pomeranz giving you a 5.75 IPS or so rest of the way, or he could teeter and rack up the pitch count too fast for the Red Sox to leave him in the game. Don’t get too excited by this start.

Tyler Anderson – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. With the Cleveland rainout, Anderson was the sole Call Boy for yesterday’s game and it was fantastic. These Colorado pitchers are pretty good when they face a bad team outside of Coors. It’s like someone starved for food and they claim the Deny’s burger they just had is the best burger in the state. Sure buddy, whatever you say. Streamer Record 23.5-16-7.

Dinelson Lamet – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. I watched a good amount of this one and I totally understand how he struck out eight Mets batters. I could also see why his walk rates were terrible in the minors. His Changeup doesn’t have the polish, his Fastball was whizzing around with a good amount of mistakes, and you have to expect that 95mph+ heater that hinted at 98mph will come down once the adrenaline isn’t present. I think he’ll be good for a stream here and there if he sticks around, but not a “must add” that we’ve seen in the past. That command is just too scary.

Jeff Samardzija – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. This kills the Buy Low. Good to see Loose Lips (have we officially moved him to Braces now? I think so) Braces express his upside that we were seeing under the hood for the first month. Against the Cubs too! Ride this one out all year.

Gio Gonzalez – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. I’m still way off the Gio bandwagon with his 4.85 BB/9, 4.98 FIP and 4.60 xFIP. Yikes. Keep in mind, even with this stellar strikeout game, his K/9 is still 7.84 K/9. Doesn’t even break the “solid” threshold of 8.00.

Ariel Miranda – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I have to say, not bad against the Nationals. No I don’t like Miranda – I led with him last time he pitched – and I wouldn’t like to be getting these kinds of starts regularly unless I’m in a deep league.

Eddie Butler – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Butler is stepping in for Brett Anderson and providing exactly the same value – cheap win potential and not much more.

Vince Velasquez – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Good to see the strikeout rate being steady after a poor three game stint at the end of April. Do I want to own Velasquez? Ehhh, his IPS is about 5.40 this season and I wonder if we’ll ever get to a point that we don’t feel stressed rolling with VV. This was against the Rockies though, so I’ll give credit where it’s due.

Ivan Nova – 8.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. I know some of you might think this is good. It’s not. Here’s some fun stats for y’all. First month of the season: 5 starts, 1.50 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 4.4 Ks per start. His last 5 starts: 4.24 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 3 Ks per start. So what you’re telling me is that Nova isn’t nearly as good as some were claiming during April. That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Zach Davies – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Are there people still waiting for Davies to “flick the switch”? Because he’s fanned a total of seven batters in his last three starts, walk rate is at 3.61 BB/9, xFIP at 4.81 with a 5.40 FIP…don’t bother.

Kenta Maeda – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. This has been quite the ride, eh? His first four outings were horrendous, then Maeda bounced back with three superb starts – albeit against the Phillies, Padres, and Pirates. Now he got the Cards and it was…pretty blegh. I’m not loving his schedule – Cards, Nationals, Reds x2 –  but I think you need to keep rolling with him if you own him. I’m fine dealing him as well.

Daniel Wright – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Daniel is a Cup of Schmo that I wouldn’t be touching. Wait, so I shouldn’t be adding him to my teams? DAN WRIGHT!

Rafael Montero – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. There really isn’t a clear path to upside here as Montero has too many issues to fix first. Yes, he’s a Cup of Schmo as well.

Nick Martinez – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Oh Nick. Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick…BOOM DYNAMITE. Just like your ERA and WHIP if you keep starting Martinez.

Mike Fiers – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Yup, that’s a Fiers start.

Michael Wacha – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I really wanted Wacha to be able to take on the Dodgers and say “my stuff is good enough to take down any offense!” But unfortunately this isn’t some sappy 90s film and Wacha didn’t get to be the hero. He gets the Cubs next and this sequel isn’t going to redeem the series just yet. But part three (against the Phillies), that’s when it gets good…

Bartolo Colon – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. There’s a reason Roald didn’t have The Giant Peach go to Pittsburgh.

Today’s Streamer

Zack Godley vs. Milwaukee Brewers Even with his struggles against the Brewers last time out, I think this start is worth your while.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

JC Ramirez vs Miami Marlins – He’s pitching well and the fish don’t scare me. I’d also consider Scott Feldman against the Phils if you need to chase a cheap win over the weekend.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Joe Ross vs. San Diego Padres How is he owned in under 25% of leagues?

Game of the Day

Aaron Nola vs. Cincinnati Reds Y’all know I love Nola and I just want to watch him over and over again.

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.

13 responses to “Hoping For A Smooth VerLanding”

  1. Fletch47 says:

    Nova have thrown (I think it was) 75 pitches through 8 innings!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Doesn’t really change anything in my view. His stuff just isn’t that good.

      • Fletch47 says:

        Not trying to change your opinion on Nova – he’s just bleh – just saying that is pretty ridiculous. I was watching the game and thought he had a change for a CGSO in under 85 pitches. Which would’ve been damn remarkable.

      • Zach says:

        Definitely agree on the Nova not being very good. He went from 8 innings of basically worthless innings except for the QS to 8.1 innings of negative pitching. Who is a buy low that you think would be a good target? Unfortunately the Loose Lips owner won’t budge. I also need another closer so I was thinking maybe Odor and Nova for Nola and Bush??? Thanks

  2. Jimmy Two-Times says:

    If you had Travis, would you drop Odor? I want him to get hot so bad but I really shouldn’t carry to 2Bs.

  3. Tim says:

    Quit making excuses against Rockies pitchers. They are here and now. Call Anderson’s May 6th performance against the Diamondbacks a fluke, Marquez’s May 10th performance against the Cubs another one. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Right? They have a legit staff and it’s super painful that they have to endure such a bad disadvantage by pitching in Coors.

      Unfortunately, we have no choice but to succumb to the numbers that tell us they can’t consistently be productive with the odds stacked against them.

  4. Tabernathy says:

    should i startt Lance lynn at coors or manaea at yankee stadium?

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