I just want to take a moment to acknowledge Lance McCullers and his ridiculous 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 47% CSW performance against the Rangers last night. Here we were, wondering how many pitches he’d get and if he’d be okay after his brief pit stop on the IL and what does he do? Only earn a King Cole with one of the most dominant performances we’ve seen all year from any pitcher. Seriously, that curveball’s 55% CSW across 40 thrown was unreal and his sinker found the edges effectively to keep batters at bay. It was called strike after called strike and the Rangers had no answer.
So here’s the thing. We can look at McCullers’ season of a 4.87 ERA and 1.24 WHIP with a heavily depressed 21.5% strikeout rate and think he’s not capable of repeating this, but that’s obviously the wrong approach to take. He’s clearly in the groove, has an unreal schedule left, and let’s all appreciate those fantasy managers who stuck with McCullers through the year. It does make for an interesting 2021 discussion, though, and I’m looking forward to that one over the winter.
Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:
Kyle Gibson @ HOU (W) – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Hot DANG. This pitching duel was superb as Gibson squared off against McCullers and I could have easily focused on Gibson instead for the lead. He kept both his changeups and sliders down exceptionally well, and while his changeup only returned 2/21 whiffs, it got chases that generated a ton of outs. His sinker avoided the heart of the plate and bam, that’s a CGSHO against a strong Houston offense. He gets the Angels then the Astros one more time to end the year and while you’d think this performance warrants a start against the Angels, I can’t help but think it was a one time thing. Be careful.
Luis Castillo vs PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Aces gonna ace. That’s 16 IP across his last two starts, now boasting a 30% strikeout rate and 3.03 ERA. Hopefully that WHIP can fall under 1.20 by the end of the year.
Brady Singer @ DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 42% CSW. It’s astounding to hold a 42% CSW and not win a King Cole, but at least you earned me a Win – Streaming Record: 26-25. He gets the Cardinals next and with his rhythm of sinkers and sliders – 53% CSW on sinkers is STUPID – you should feel fine with that one.
Keegan Akin vs ATL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 35% CSW. Whoaaa, I’m Akin for Keegan! That’s a Gallows Pole as Akin command his four-seamer well to earn 11 whiffs on the pitch and mixed in changeups effectively. His slider was all over the place, though, but hey, the fast/slow ball combo worked wonders. The Red Sox are next and while that’s better than the Braves, I’m still a little cautious. It was wonderful tonight, it’s not a lock it’s the same next time out.
Brent Suter vs STL (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW. We knew he’d get pulled Suter or later as the Brewers piggy-backed Brent and Freddy Peralta, who still isn’t throwing a slider. How dare he.
Pete Fairbanks vs WSH (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Welcome to a bullpen game. Seven relievers were used and while Josh Fleming pitched 3.2 scoreless frames, you know this ain’t worth your time. I mean, Pete’s a liar ain’t he? BANKS AIN’T FAIR.
Gerrit Cole vs TOR (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 34% CSW. Aces gonna ace. I wonder why we all placed him as the #1 SP to start the year. Oh right, he has 11 starts with a 33% strikeout rate, 3.00 ERA, and 0.98 WHIP to go with six wins. It makes sense.
Mike Fiers @ COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW. Look at this, Fiers survived Coors. That’s cool, now do it again next time against the Dodgers. Seriously? Nah, you’re not doing that.
JT Brubaker @ CIN (L) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Hey, it worked! Brubaker kept his sliders down and nibbled the edges with fastballs and he survived for 5.1 strong frames. The Cubs are a bit tougher and I can’t say I’m down for that, but certainly consider him against the Indians to conclude his season.
Austin Voth @ TB (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Whoa, way to be Voth! His secondary stuff was decent today with cutters inside the zone and curveballs in the bottom third, while four-seamers were elevated and returned 10/55 whiffs. That works. He gets the Phillies next and I’m not convinced he can do this again, though. Sorry, I’m Austout.
Jake Odorizzi @ CWS (ND) – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Odorizzi came back and did his thing with fastballs at the top of the zone, but his splitters and sliders didn’t get the memo that they are supposed to boogie and get down get dooooown. It was a Still ILL and the main question was pitch count. 63 pitches here and not enough to make me consider his next start. Maybe if he gets one more before the end, though.
Trevor Rogers vs BOS (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW. Meh, he needed 76 pitches for nine outs and while there was good slider/four-seamer separation, his changeup wasn’t as good as we’ve seen and it was a pretty mediocre line. Now it’s the Braves and Yankees and nooooope.
Adrian Morejon vs LAD (L) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 26% CSW. It was a clip show of all the Padres greats, from Morejon to Lucchesi, Perdomo, and even Garrett Richards getting some time on the hill. With Paddack going tomorrow, I imagine Richards may have been skipped entirely now, or they could move him to a start over the weekend and he only tossed 22 pitches here. I really hope he gets a start against Seattle, but I wouldn’t bank on it now.
Brusdar Graterol @ SD (ND) – 1.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Yeah yeah, the real thing is Dustin May following two pitchers later with 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW and somehow not getting the Win as Adam Kolarek technically followed the start, for two outs, and got it. Unreal. UNREAL. How can you possibly score it that way? Whatever, I’m happy with this line against the Padres, even if the ERA is a little wonky as the WHIP and strikeouts were better than expected. He likely gets the A’s and Angels next and those are starts for me.
Adam Wainwright @ MIL (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Man, Wainwright is the unsung hero of many a fantasy team this year, cruising with his curveball once again – 37% CSW – and hitting the edges with sinkers and cutters. That’s a 2.87 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP across 53 innings now, sporting the first double-digit SwStr rate of his career at 11%. And here we thought he should step aside to let Alex Reyes start.
Tarik Skubal vs KC (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW. Hot dang! Skubal had some brilliant pitches here at 97+ mph and featured the best four-seamer command I’ve seen all year, earning 39% CSW on the pitch. I didn’t love his secondary stuff, though, and that’s a major issue with Skubal in the short term. I’m not sure we’ll see this same command on his heater and his changeup/slider/curveball aren’t polished enough to save him when it fails him. Proceed with caution this year, but mark him as an upside play if necessary.
Aaron Civale @ CHC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW. We want a bit more as this was one run away from a VPQS, but I was impressed with his cutter nibbling the glove-side edge constantly, while his curveball stayed down often. Changeups stole some strikes but didn’t overall impress me, and his sinker wasn’t quite the precision pitch that makes us giddy. It’s all fine, I just think there’s another level here with Civale that I hope to see against the White Sox and Pirates next.
Jon Lester vs CLE (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 15% CSW. Have you ever
had a dream that you could so much that seen a more boring stat line? One strikeout seems in line with Lester (HAISTFMFWT?!), and at least it worked if you took the shot. Don’t gamble with Jonny again, though.
Caleb Smith @ LAA (ND) – 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW. Caleb needed 61 pitches for just six outs. Yikes. His command was way worse than last time and yeah, we’re out like a runner getting hit by the catcher’s throw to first. It happens like every time, that rule makes no sense to me. Maybe next year…
Zack Wheeler vs NYM (ND) – 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 18% CSW. So Wheeler returned and that’s cool, but just two strikeouts and an 18% CSW is bad. 0/17 whiffs on sliders as he pummeled the zone with four-seamers and brute-forced his way through his former team. We’ve seen him fluctuate all year and I think he can improve against the Nationals next time out, but I have to wonder if his fingernail issue made him cautious putting too much pressure on that slider, preventing him from getting the depth it normally gets. Just something to think about.
Brandon Woodruff vs STL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW. It’s not the overwhelming strikeouts you want, but a 1.00 WHIP and decent ERA are fine with me. Just give me slightly better next time, okay?
German Marquez vs OAK (L) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW. Coors is a dangerous place and let’s be happy it was just 3 ER, even if that WHIP is atrocious. His slider was cruising, though, it was really his heater finding the heart of the plate that hurt the most, paired with moments of erratic command. I think you’re okay starting Marquez in San Francisco + Arizona now to end the year.
Lucas Giolito vs MIN (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 25% CSW. It’s a PQS with only a handful of strikeouts, but the Twins are good and at least it’s a 1.00 WHIP. I feel for you who wanted more, but this is pretty neutral. Nothing really abnormal across the board, repertoire wise.
Drew Smyly @ SEA (ND) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 40% CSW. This was a deep streaming option and honestly, even with those ratios, you have to be a little happy with eight strikeouts in eleven outs. That’s kinda awesome. His curveball is down and doooope and he’s sitting 94/95 mph. Welcome to your 2021 ultra sleeper pick. Now he hosts Rockie Road and that may be something to note after throwing 78 pitches in this one.
Cole Hamels @ BAL (L) – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Hamels finally returned in this Still ILL situation and tossed 52 pitches of blegh. Can’t wait for 67 pitches of blegh next time out.
Jacob deGrom @ PHI (ND) – 2.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW. Aces gonna get a “hamstring spasm” that pulled him out of this one early and not pitching at his best. He should be okay to start the rest of the year but monitor this. So sorry for those that needed him this week in particular.
Johan Oviedo @ MIL (L) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW. The stuff is better than the line suggests, but the command is exactly what you’d expect – the feral kind. If he gets more chances, I’m avoiding despite the matchups.
Ljay Newsome vs SF (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW. He ain’t so bad, but this performance certainly was, serving a HAISTFMFWT?! along with destructive ratios. Fortunately y’all didn’t do this, but hey, I want every pitcher to be dope, okay?
Dylan Bundy vs ARI (L) – 2.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Oh no. Bundy, this was the Diamondbacks. You’re not supposed to throw 40% fastballs and make it easier for them. His slider wasn’t nearly as good as we’ve seen, his changeup was blegh at 23% CSW and he had to resort to those heaters too often for strikes. Fortunately, he gets the Rangers next and that’s the perfect matchup to rebound.
Tanner Roark @ NYY (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW. It’s the wrong Tanner! I can actually say that, thank you Houck.
Mike Kickham @ MIA (L) – 2.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Yeah, sorry Mike. That slider needs to be the dopest for you to thrive and it wasn’t here.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
Dean Kremer vs. Tampa Bay Rays – I could understand going Griffin Canning against the Diamondbacks instead, but I feel his volatility is way higher than Kremer’s and it makes for a questionable choice. I mean, Kremer is too, but Canning is a little moreso.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
John Means vs. Tampa Bay Rays – There isn’t a clear pick, so I’ll go with the recent hot streak of Means.
Game of the Day
(Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire)