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Kuhl Stunnings

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Saturday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.  

Chad Kuhl vs CIN (W) – 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 83 pitches.

There’s a legendary article I wrote from 2018. I was writing for Rotographs and arrogantly put out this piece on Chad Kuhl one hour before a start against the Diamondbacks. After preaching his success, he went on to allow 8 ER and get TJS after his next start. Why am I telling you this? Because I could be making the same risk again as Kuhl went 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 83 pitches against the Reds inside Coors, one start before he faces…the Diamondbacks.

But whatever! Times are new! Times have changed! Kuhl will be on the road against the Snakes and he’s doing exactly the thing I was excited about four years ago: He’s become an ultra slider pitcher and finding success with it. He went 46% sliders in this one and has done the same for a few outings now. I wasn’t thrilled about this particular start given how Colorado affects breaking pitches and his fastball is…not great (93 mph vs the 95 mph of 2018), but the Reds are worse and the slider still shone as the sinker found the zone.

Consider it a Vargas Rule if you believe in the change in approach, but I’m still trusting him a level down from that. Take it one start at a time. The slider should perform a touch better on the road and against the poor Arizona crew, Kuhl should be in heavy consideration this week.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

 

Nathan Eovaldi @ BAL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 95 pitches.

Atta boy Eovaldi. He did what he was supposed to against the Orioles while the splitter missed bats at its best — 7/21 whiffs and 43% CSW — masking his curveball’s inefficiency. Way to adapt and conquer.

Gerrit Cole @ KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Super weird seeing 0/18 whiffs on breaking balls and just 10% slider usage. That’s not classic Cole and I hope he finds that pitch soon. No panic or whatever (still dope, duh), but not ZOMG IT’S COLE dope because of it.

Vince Velasquez vs LAA (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 86 pitches.

We got a taste of Velasquez’s vintage four-seamer here — 9/35 whiffs! — and huge props to his curveball going 14/20 (70%!) strikes. He’s needed that forever. I’m not buying that it’s anything more than a Birthday Party but I hope he proves me wrong over time.

Taijuan Walker vs PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 73 pitches.

Ha! Yes, I may be the only person that can look at this line and legitimately let out a laugh, but here we were, expecting little from Walker in a Still ILL and what did we get? Well, a low pitch count and only fanned one (HAISTBMBWT?!), but he still went five frame and helped with a 0.80 WHIP without allowing a run. The best news is the heater sitting 94 mph, which is pretty much in line with last season, and with 70+ pitches under his belt, he could become a solid Toby moving forward again. That means it’s a sit against the Phillies next, but otherwise Walker is back on the menu.

Kyle Gibson @ NYM (ND) – 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 84 pitches.

Gibson, why did you have to walk five batters? Because my stuff isn’t that great and I didn’t want to let the Mets hit those pitches in the zone. Well…um…okay fine I get it but still. Don’t do that. K, is it okay if I struggle against the Mets later this week a second time? What? No. Buuuut. Fine, I get it. I just won’t start you. And the award for the worst SP Roundup blurb of 2022 goes to…

Merrill Kelly @ STL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 97 pitches.

The dude just keeps rolling. I’m not sure if it’s a Vargas Rule or just someone you actually hold through the year quite yet — 92 mph heater and a good-but-not-great changeup doesn’t quite scream stud or anything, but don’t think about that now and just follow the rules. Cool to see his cutter work well with that heater here.

José Berríos vs HOU (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 85 pitches.

The Great Undulater strikes again. The WHIP has been an issue all year, but the stuff is still strong and you’re gonna see that 1.50+ WHIP fall down with time. Not so far down — last year was the first time we ever saw that WHIP sub 1.14 and that’s likely not going to stick — but don’t panic. You know the deal.

Chris Archer @ TB (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 79 pitches.

Blegh. Archer tossed 33 sliders and returned just 3 CSW. THREE. I think we’re done here.

Beau Brieske @ LAD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 90 pitches.

Among all the hoopla of Kershaw’s historic achievement was Beau keeping serve across five frames. Absolutely not something to chase, but good on ya kiddo.

Connor Overton @ COL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 75 pitches.

The 2,001 pounder doesn’t do a whole lot across his arsenal, but he put up a fight in Coors and that’s a cool thing. I mean, he is CO, after all. We should have seen it coming.

Spenser Watkins vs BOS (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 69 pitches.

My dear Watkins, you survived and that’s all that matters. But what about the matter of his strikeouts, will he ever open up and fan a strikeout per inning? With a mediocre 92.1 mph heater and nothing else but a decent slider I don’t believe it will. K’s closed.

Cole Irvin vs CLE (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 90 pitches.

Irvin was our streaming pick of the day and has granted me a 17-7 record on the year after this outing. Yeah, I know, that’s insane. I don’t understand it either. Anyway, as for Irvin, he’s a Toby who managed to escape for just one earned run despite a 1.33 WHIP. There’s a chance he repeats it against the Twins next time out, though it rarely gets me excited. A deeper option, not much else.

Clayton Kershaw vs DET (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 85 pitches.

That’s a King Cole for the new strikeout king in Los Angeles Dodgers history. He did so on the pitch that made him a legend: a slider down-and-in to Spencer Torkelson and everything is great for TATIAGA.

Shane Bieber @ OAK (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 105 pitches.

The velocity was just 90.8 mph, but the curveball finally got the results we’ve been waiting for, while the slider continued to miss bats and the cutter earned strikes. So yeah, I have Bieber right inside the Top 15 and I think that’s where he stays as he sits at this velocity — the days of him as a Top 5 guy are in the past, but he’ll take full advantage of teams like the Athletics and you won’t be upset with him on your roster in the slightest. We cool with that? Cool.

Eric Lauer vs CHC (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 96 pitches.

Mmmmmmm. That’s back-to-back 11+ strikeout games from Lauer as he earned a Gallows Pole at 21 whiffs. His four-seamer is CRUSHING at 94.1 mph and 14 whiffs here, while the cutter/slider/curve are doing their part in the zone and out. I hope the velocity and command will last as we’re all holding on tightly like my Curious George when I was four. You’re auto-starting him against Atlanta.

Dane Dunning vs ATL (W) – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 98 pitches.

I feel like Joey Lawrence when I say WHOA. The slider was legit, his sinker did its part in the zone, his cutter did a phenomenal job stealing a strike when needed, and his changeup was a useful asset. He struck out the side to kick off the game, freezing both Acuña and Olson as Dunning was a man in command of his stuff. I can’t help but be a bit enamored by it as Dunning is a legit 12-teamer arm if he keeps pitching like this. That’s the thing, though, this was the best I’ve seen him. Sure, he’s had glimpses of this so far through the year, but not a start like this from start to finish. He gets the Yankees later in the week and if he repeats, he’ll be an easy add for the Royals after. If you’re desperate for something new on the wire, sure, take a shot. Keep in mind: this is more command focused than I’d like (the slider is good, but the other offerings aren’t spectacular), which may make this a Vargas Rule ultimately.

Jesús Luzardo vs SEA (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 91 pitches.

Just five whiffs is a bit sketchy, but he’s still at 97 mph with 40%+ curveballs. I couldn’t ask for anything more. All four of his pitches returned 30%+ CSW as well. I’m so glad this is working out.

Carlos Hernández vs NYY (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 90 pitches.

He’s a Frozen Banana that won’t cost $10 when he unthaws at some point in the not-near future. Okay maybe, with the way inflation is right now.

Justin Steele @ MIL (L) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 74 pitches.

Blegh. We’re absolutely done with any hope for Steele now — it’s time for Aluminume.

Luis Garcia @ TOR (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 86 pitches.

The velocity…fell back down to the normal 93/94 mph, but the cutter performed well while he sprinkled in effective curveballs and changeups. This is more of the Garcia I’m used to, though I’m still waiting for that slider to return. Any day now. PLEASE. Keep starting, of course.

Miles Mikolas vs ARI (L) – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 98 pitches.

After that first outing, Mikolas has plowed through his outings, albeit against some comfortable lineups including the Snakes here. He gets the Giants next and you gotta Vargas Rule that. It could be a splash of cold water, though.

Sean Manaea @ PIT (ND) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 110 pitches.

It wasn’t the overwhelming start we wanted from Manaea against the Pirates, but the fact we’re expecting greatness from Manaea is a wonderful thing + he went 110 pitches. 110! There’s something to be said about being a legit workhorse these days with strikeout upside. That’s pretty dang cool.

Logan Webb vs WSH (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.

Webb got Singled Out by the Nationals, which will happen from time-to-time in the life of an extreme groundballer. It happens, you move on.

Robbie Ray @ MIA (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 87 pitches.

The good news: Ray held a 42% CSW on his slider while sitting a tick higher at 93/94. Just one tick away from last year’s mark now. The bad news…his four-seamer failed to find the zone like it normally does. It wasn’t erratic or scattered, just a bit shifted glove-side more than usual. Don’t worry about it and be glad to see the velocity steadily rising.

Shane McClanahan vs MIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches.

Sure, he allowed a pair of longballs, but come on. You’re a McClanafan and proud of it. He’s figured out his pitch usage — 30% heaters instead of 40% — while relying on three legit pitches to get things done. Across 39 breakers, he returned a 46% CSW. EMBRACE HIM.

JT Brubaker vs SD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 66 pitches.

It ain’t the worst, but Coffee Cakes needs a bit more than his slider to become someone worthy of consideration for your 12-teamers.

Bryce Elder @ TEX (L) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 69 pitches.

This is the last we’ll see of Elder as Kyle Muller will be slotting in moving forward. I’m pretty curious to see how that goes — Muller could be a pickup against the Athletics later this week. Come on Nick, respect your Elder! Sorry, sorry. I’ll kiss the Elder ring as I wish him all the best, but seriously. One strikeout?! HAISTBMBWT?!

Joan Adon @ SF (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 86 pitches.

Simply put, he’s not doing enough to warrant your roster spot. It’s a Frozen Banana.

José Suarez @ CWS (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 83 pitches.

Suarez is a debatable streamer, who went against a lefty-mashing team. Yeah, this wasn’t Bon Suarez. Maybe down the road we’ll consider him for a stream.

 

Game of the Day 

Josh Winder vs. Tampa Bay Rays – Look, I know it’s Logan vs. Sandy and hey, there’s also Kyle Muller returning! But keep an eye on Winder — if he looks great, he may be a pickup for a start against the Athletics later this week.

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 ET Monday through Friday.

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.

  • Brian Quinlan says:

    Could you list the starting pitcher’s team? It would help me greatly. Thank you.

  • Ben Chang says:

    Kershaw has to be the best pitcher of this millennium, right? (if we only focus on production in the 2000s)

    • amaizenbluee says:

      “if we only focus on production in the 2000s”

      So…like, the ’00s and ’10s?

      millennium. Wow. so big.

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