Lucas From A Rose To A Thorn

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

Lucas Giolito @ DET (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 102 pitches.

It’s not every day that you see a pitcher destroy your ratios while they earn a Gallows Pole, but Lucas Giolito did just that via 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks (22 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 102 pitches) against the Tigers on Sunday and we’re in a weird spot. His spin rates have plummeted (186 rpm drop on his four-seamer and 273 rpm drop on his slider in this one) and while he was alright against the Pirates the day after the new rule was enforced, he fanned just one last time out and this…seems damning.

I’m not entirely sure. His four-seamer and slider? They actually performed great in this one, tallying 18 whiffs between them. In fact, the pitch that didn’t change spin rates was the one that disappeared: the changeup as it returned 18% CSW and floated into the zone constantly, allowing Detroit to smack it around a bit. Now, foreign substances aren’t just for increasing spin – at their root, they help pitchers grip the ball and it could be a case where Giolito simply doesn’t have that feel for the slow ball without the extra wacky tacky. Maybe it’s true and I’ll likely lower Giolito a hair on Tuesday (yes, I’m updating The List on Tuesday this week as we celebrate the holiday on Monday), but those running to sell Giolito for dimes to the dollar will be kicking rocks in August. He’s still pretty dang good.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

 

Kenta Maeda @ KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.

HA! After hitting rock bottom once again versus the White Sox, Maeda responded with the best slider and splitter combination I’ve seen from him all year + he was able to throw decent fastballs around the zone. It was a glimpse into the past, pitching like a carbon copy of his 2020 self for a day of bliss. So the answer those asking “Is Maeda back?!” I say…I dunno. He certainly pitched up to the elite level – you don’t need me to see that – but will it stick? Your guess is as good as mine. At the very least, this the first outing of a possible trend and you have to start somewhere.

Nick Pivetta @ OAK (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 101 pitches.

Ohhhhh MY! I really want this to be the start of a legit Pivetta run. He did his best Jake Odorizzi impression with how many four-seamers sat in the upper third of the zone, while he was able to keep the curveball in the bottom half plenty, returning 36% CSW. His slider and changeup found the zone and did what they were supposed to (just 15 thrown between the two of them) and in the end, Pivetta simply wasn’t wild. That’s it, just not chaotic and all over the place like we’re used to. This is what happens when he’s mostly in control. I just don’t know if he’s suddenly grasped the ability to keep this command start-to-start, though, and I guess we’re crossing our fingers against the Phils next time. You have to, right?

Blake Snell @ PHI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 81 pitches.

Sure, it’s zero earned runs but at what cost?! That’s a 1.50 WHIP and just three strikeouts as he couldn’t even survive five frames. The madness continues and while I eventually believe it’ll work out, it’s so hard to grasp when that will be. I’m holding but I really don’t blame a desperate team needing more from the roster spot.

Tyler Anderson vs MIL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 93 pitches.

Hot dang! Sure, the Brewers aren’t great, but Anderson has been less great and I’m glad to see him be more great. Nick, you’re more articulate than this. Please, for all of us. Sorry, sorry. Anderson’s cutter was great superb as it mixed with his four-seamer well for outs and strikes, while his changeup…well, let’s not talk about that. Let’s be glad your desperate Sunday stream worked and carry on. Don’t roster him.

Garrett Cleavinger @ WSH (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 19 pitches.

Yes, yes, I know, you did a double-take when you saw his name. What a moment that was. Anyway, this was a bullpen game for the Dodgers and Cleavinger did his job. Atta boy, GC.

Nestor Cortes vs NYM (ND) – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 59 pitches.

I got a text from staffer Max Posner suggesting Cortes is the Yankees’ best pitcher now. Obviously in jest, but he certainly earned his numbers today with all of his five offerings earning at least a 33% CSW. Cool stuff bud, this was just for a doubleheader, but cool stuff.

Ryan Yarbrough @ TOR (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 71 pitches.

Hey, this worked! I’m a bit shocked “The Fratty Pirate” was able to succeed against a fantastic Jays squad, but here we are, as his changeup earned a ton of outs and his cutter stole strikes. When that’s cooking, Yarbrough can cruise through any lineup. Sadly, it’s not there very often and doesn’t make for a consistent play, not to mention that when it does work, it’s not for very long and doesn’t come with a ton of strikeouts (see above). It’s not for me.

Kyle Hendricks @ CIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 93 pitches.

After failing to succeed against the Brewers, of course he cruises against the Reds. We need more chaos in this world, obviously. Just 5 Whiffs and a 20% CSW should scare you, though, and to see his changeup get this much contact is unsettling. He’s such a Toby.

Carlos Martinez @ COL (ND) – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 43 pitches.

CarMart left this one with a bruised thumb as we clearly couldn’t let those with the guts to make this start get away with it.

Chris Flexen vs TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 81 pitches.

After showcasing the ability to have success without the cutter working, Flexen went back to the four-seamer/cutter approach and cruised through this one. It was the Rangers, let’s not freak out or anything, and I’d resist temptation against the Angels. I just don’t see it working out.

James Kaprielian vs BOS (L) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 97 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! The four-seamer was stupid as it earned 17/57 whiffs, while the changeup and slider were afterthoughts as he attacked the Red Sox with heater after heater. Great command along the edge and avoiding the heart of the plate, elevating in the zone, and jamming when appropriate. He’s earned his third start against the Rangers in four starts next weekend. Keep on holding, of course.

Brad Keller vs MIN (L) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 96 pitches.

Keller talked about how difficult it was to grip the ball in the downpour last time out against the Red Sox and on a pleasant afternoon, Keller was able to grip his slider (15/53 whiffs) and sneak sinkers over the plate for strikes. It’s great to see it and there’s a chance he repeats it against Cleveland next. It’s a deeper stream, but don’t rule it out. He’s clearly found the feel of that breaker.

Robbie Ray vs TB (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 104 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Oddly, his slider was great– That’s not odd Nick. Let me finish. His slider was great BUT he threw just 15 of them. Oh. Yeah, and as I ignore accidentally summoning a giant anthropomorphic red pitcher into my room, I want to talk about how his fastball wasn’t as great as we’ve seen in the past. Not that it was terrible, just not as overpowering as before. Why he didn’t turn to his slider to help is beyond me (47% CSW!) and I wouldn’t be worried about the low CSW mark. The game went well and that’s all that matters.

Patrick Sandoval vs BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 101 pitches.

The Panada strikes again. Streaming Record: 52-40. For those unaware, I spelled “The Irish Panda” like Panada and Twitch chat won’t let me forget it –> he’s now the Panada. Just roll with it. ANNNYWAY, I’m sad to see the five walks, but his changeup was unreal once again – 12/42 whiffs – and now his curveball elected to be a thing on top of his slider. I just wish his fastball was a touch better and we’d legit have a Top 20 SP contender. Until then, just hold and keep starting against these weak offenses, like the Mariners, the team he earned 32 whiffs against. Get. Pumped.

Wade Miley vs CHC (ND) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

Talk about getting Singled OutThis is just cruel, but hey, Miley worked around it and survived for a Dusty DonutThat’s just one area where he helped you but hey, that’s why you got him.

Matt Manning vs CWS (ND) – 2.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 60 pitches.

Blegh. After a disaster last week, Manning was more of the same against a tough White Sox crew, returning a HAISTFMFWT?! in the process. If you haven’t moved on yet, why not?

Anthony DeSclafani @ ARI (W) – 8.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 107 pitches.

Funny story, Tony Disco himself said he “did not feel good whatsoever.” This certainly felt like a start where he was pretty normal – not exceptional, but not terrible either, and things worked out for him. In essence, it’s likely a Blame it on the Diamondbacks and that’s fine with me. It’s not like we’re not starting him against the Nationals next time out or anything. Because we definitely are starting him.

German Marquez vs STL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 95 pitches.

It was a whole weekend of The Cardinal Rule despite pitching in Coors and I gotta say, it’s wonderful to see Márquez earn a King ColeIt was on the back of sliders in this one (17/39 whiffs!) while fastballs earned a whopping 13/42 called strikes. Thanks boids, hope to face you again soon. Now he gets a bit of a challenge on the road in San Diego, but I feel like you have to keep starting him when he’s this hot, right?

Freddy Peralta @ PIT (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 96 pitches.

Aces gonna ace while giving you five walks that hurt your WHIP. The man is the new Professor Chaos and I’d be shocked if he loses that moniker. Stupid sexy Flanders cross-body mechanics.

Joe Ross vs LAD (L) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 101 pitches.

Okay, I’m stunned. Ross increased his velocity to 94/95 from 93/94 while featuring one of his better sliders of the year. He even went elevated four-seamers to great effect (5/14 whiffs!) and I don’t see a reason to not start him in Oracle Park next. The dude is pitching at his peak, jump on board.

Marcus Stroman @ NYY (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 87 pitches.

While all the focus was on Cole, it’s not like Stroman was a delight. Sure, he had some poor defense behind him, but not a single strikeout?! HAISTFMFWT?! He had zero support from his secondaries, which returned 4/34 CSW between them (12%?!) and just one whiff. The most egregious was the changeup against Higashioka that I still don’t quite understand but whatever, Stroman isn’t back into the groove yet and while I had hoped he’d return by now, I’d imagine a calm day with the Pirates can be the antidote. Stick with it.

Zach Thompson @ ATL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 87 pitches.

Atlanta is a solid lineup and I’ll take a PQS with a solid WHIP and six strikeouts from Thompson, who we barely knew two weeks ago. His changeup was way better here as the cutter took a bit more of a backseat. Cool to see him show off more tricks and figure out a different path toward victory without his premier offering. Hopefully it doesn’t mean his cutter will underperform constantly, though. He’s going to avoid the Dodgers and get Atlanta one more time before the break and it’s the same feeling as before: Maybe we’re game…?

Corey Oswalt @ NYY (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 65 pitches.

Oh hey, it was The False King as he was completely forgettable against the Yankees. If only he pitched like this in the first game – he’d possibly have grabbed a Win instead.

Zack Greinke @ CLE (ND) – 7.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 100 pitches.

Look at this, it’s the opposite Miley! Greinke carved up Cleveland and while the ERA isn’t ideal, you’re gonna take this. Great to see the strikeouts return in some fashion as he got whiffs from all the secondaries – 13/60 works for me – and we’re just going to keep starting him without asking questions.

Cal Quantrill vs HOU (ND) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 94 pitches.

Blegh. Why can’t you be more like Greinke and go two more innings with a better WHIP and five more strikeouts? Is it really that hard?! Oh. It is? I see. My b, Quantrill. My b.

Thomas Eshelman @ LAA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 54 pitches.

Thomas, you didn’t stand a chance against Ohtani’s bat and that’s okay. Even just one strikeout (HAISTFMFWT?!is okay, too. You did what you could.

Gerrit Cole vs NYM (ND) – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 80 pitches.

Oh dear. Cole tossed just five sliders, tried to do too much with heaters and changeups, and while he was still pumping 98 cheddar (and 8/47 fastball whiffs), he needs the breaker to devastate batters. I don’t quite understand why he elected to turn away from it and it ultimately burned him as Mets batters looked for the heater and adapted. Yes, Cole will drop on The List on Tuesday (not Monday, holiday n all) but not outside the Top 10. Y’all know he’s not this bad – this wasn’t a product of losing spin.

Charlie Morton vs MIA (ND) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches.

Blegh. This was Miami, Morton, and you’ve acted like a legit ace since the start of May. You’ve also, shockingly, allowed at least four earned runs in each of the three starts you’ve had this year against the Marlins. Weird. I don’t get it, but I can certainly brush off this One Night Bland for you.

Mike Foltynewicz @ SEA (L) – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.

Blegh. Be glad Folty pushed it to seven frames to soften the ERA blow and hey, that WHIP/strikeouts aren’t bad. But yeah, it’s hard to trust him when the stuff isn’t amazing and a game against the Mariners is kinda underwhelming. He gets the A’s next and that’s not for me.

Vince Velasquez vs SD (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 112 pitches.

Yikes. VV giveth, VV taketh. In short, only consider him against the weakest of offenses and don’t break the rules.

Caleb Smith vs SF (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 99 pitches.

Blegh. 91 mph velocity isn’t 92 and while we finally saw a secondary pitch do things, it was just called strikes on his slider, albeit 11/32. I’m not against the sweeper getting a ton of called strikes, but it needs to come with one of his pitches earning whiffs to make it work. We’re not there yet.

 

Game of the Day 

 

Walker Buehler vs. Trevor Rogers – One classic stud versus the newest stud in town.

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 EST Monday through Friday.

Photo by Nick Wosika/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 pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Avatar MM says:

    Do the Brewers need to win 20 games in a row for you to respect them? Their offense is way better than you like to advertise

  • Account / Login
    >