I’ve been writing these roundups since 2014 and I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever led with Clayton Kershaw. Maybe once last year because of his injury or after his 1.2 inning disaster in 2015, but I rarely lead with the studs because there’s nothing new to say. BUT NOW THERE IS after Kershaw had another rugged outing, going 6.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks against the Mets of all teams, raising his ERA to…wait, 2.61? I need to talk about Kershaw when his ERA is 2.61? And 10.02 K/9? 1.48 BB/9? Near 7 IPS? Well Max Scherzer should be #1. Ohhh I see. Yeah, no. There’s no denying that Scherzer has fanned more with a lower ERA thus far, but let’s be real here. Kershaw is still the greatest pitcher on the planet and we know the phases Scherzer goes through. Even in this “slump” (why am I even saying this) Kershaw hasn’t had back-to-back starts above 2 ER. In fact, it’s 1 ER or fewer every other start outside of one instance. Scherzer already has two instances of back-to-back starts of 3 ER or more this season and while his current 10+ K streak is phenomenal, The List isn’t about now. It’s about ROS. It would be wrong to bet against Kershaw’s floor and unreal upside and favor the hot streak of Scherzer instead.
Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:
Corey Kluber – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. LIKE A NORMAL ACE WOULD. I’m not actually mad at Kershaw, he just gets more scrutinized when he doesn’t do well because we forget it can happen.
R.A. Dickey – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Dickey told me that he created a new pitch today. I asked what it did, he said it “gets outs.” Thanks Dad. Don’t Trust A Knuckleballer.
Gerrit Cole – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Hmmmmmm. That’s two straight 1 ER starts after two horrendous 7 ER games. I watched a bit of this and it seemed he was locating his Four-Seamer well while holding back his Sliders a bit – just 8.7% thrown after averaging 18.2% thrown the rest of year. I think you’re safe throwing him out there until another major obstacle and who knows, this could be a Top 30 arm again. I’m a bit cautious though and wouldn’t be running after him in a buy low situation.
Brad Peacock – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. It’s pretty remarkable how Peacock has fanned at least eight batters in five of his six starts…but has an IPS under 5. You shouldn’t believe it’s the Astros limiting him as he went 99 pitches in this one and 96 in the last one. I hope Peacock keeps getting more time even when McCullers, McHugh, Morton, and Keuchel return (I’m looking at you Fiers…) as there’s clear upside here. He gets Seattle next, which I’d ride him for, though the Yankees after might give him a tough time. Streamer Record 38-25-10.
Johnny Cueto – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I guess this is a step in the right direction, but it was the Braves and he had such a horrendous outing last time against the Royals. I need more before believing in Cueto again.
Daniel Gossett – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Aha! Like Pivetta, I liked the stuff Gossett brings to the table but considered him a Young Gun that might have more trouble than he should in the early goings. I’m not ready to jump all over this in 12-teamers, but he got 14 whiffs spread across all his pitches against the Astros and touched 94mph with his heater. There’s something here and I’ll be watching…
Jon Lester – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Lester, you know just how to seduce a man. Please don’t stop.
Jason Hammel – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Looks like Hammel has improved the command of his Two-Seamer, allowing him to earn five Quality Starts in his last six starts. Still don’t love him, but if you’re in a QS league I can understand rostering Hammel. Other leagues, I’m still passing here.
Scott Feldman – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Feldman Schmeldman. Three of his last five outings have been 4 ER on the dot, four of the last seven have been 4 ER+…He’s way too much of a Rubber Ball as he falters, rebounds, hits the wall again, etc.
Jake Odorizzi – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Yeah, this is why I don’t like Odorizzi much. It’s…okay.
Clayton Richard – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s the wrong Clayton! Wait, is this the second time this season Richard has pitched on the same night as Kersh and outperformed him? 2017, go home. You’re drunk.
Hector Velazquez – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Velazquez is a Cup of Schmo and this does little to remove the label.
Anibal Sanchez – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey, it’s Anibal! What have you been up to? You know, living in the basement still, but I got some leads for a job or two through some friends in Montana. Just trying to make it happen with my band. …Cool man.
Sam Gaviglio – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks. I’m not sure how someone can see this and think I WANT ALL OF THIS. Blegh ERA, blegh WHIP (four walks!), and one strikeout. No way.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. The Digglerx just isn’t somehow you want to deal with. Ever.
Justin Nicolino – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Same goes for Nicolino. He’s such a Marlins pitcher in that you wouldn’t even know about him if you weren’t a Marlins fan.
Dylan Bundy – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. And now we get to the disappointing four – a quartet of horrible starts from pitchers that usually perform much better. With Dylan we’ve been hoping either he can avoid the wrath of the regression gods or simply live up to his upside that dictates a higher strikeout total and fewer extra-base hits. Welp, the latter hasn’t happened and a man can only run for so long. I think he’s better than the last starts have dictated, but I totally get if you want to drop him if the Brew-Two are available (Jimmy Nelson and Chase Anderson) or The Bear (Jordan Montgomery…JorMont) or Muggly (???). You needed a fake nickname and you came up “Muggly”. It’s hard being anti-creative!
Marco Estrada – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. And after a super hot start to the year, Estrada has just been terrible across his last four starts, allowing 23 ER in just 16.1 innings. He stopped throwing his Curveball in this start at least, but his FB/CH is simply getting laced right now. It’s a situation where you can wait and hold as I think he will recover, but I’m not starting him until a start shows up where that combo is working again. I see this as a situation where’s it’s believable that this is a funk that he’ll erase after one good start. It’s also believable that Estrada is going to be the latest to get SPOIL’D and like Bundy, if there’s someone who can help now, you’re fine dropping Estrada.
Tanner Roark – 2.2 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. Oh Roark, unlike the others, you’re actually not very good. Drop Roark and don’t think twice. Just 13.9% soft contact this year after 23.1% last season that let him outperform his FIP/xFIP.
Zack Wheeler – 2.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. I’m most sympathetic with this one from Wheeler as it wasn’t a good matchup against the Dodgers and you could have avoided it. Just be smart with Wheeler’s starts and he’ll still provide value.
Mike Montgomery vs. San Diego Padres – I smell a Quality Start…it actually smells like sulfur and a pretty repulsive. But Monty isn’t and he gets the Padres. Do that.
Joe Biagini vs. Texas Rangers – I know if you’re scared after his horrendous start over the weekend, but I feel like he should rebound given his generally high floor repertoire. A safer choice is probably Junior Guerra against the Pirates if you’re not into this.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Mike Clevinger vs. Baltimore Orioles – I’m not sure why there’s confusion about this start, it seems pretty clear it’s Clevinger and not Danny Salazar, right? Anyway, roll with Clev as he would be owned in all 12-teamers if there were more clarity about his security in the rotation. I’d also consider Sean Newcomb against the Giants, but there is a lower floor there.
Game of the Day
Matt Strahm vs. Chris Sale – This just seems like a super fun game to watch as two southpaws clash. How many strikeouts will Sale tally against the Royals? Will Strahm be able to survive the Sawx offense?