(Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)
I thought I was going to dive into Dallas Keuchel this morning, but nope, Seth Lugo went 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks and I know this is going to spark a ton of questions. This is particularly impressive as it came against the Yankees and came with a fantastic 36 CSW in just 84 pitches (39.5% CSW!). His deuce did the dirty work – it always does – with a 16/27 CSW itself and he carved his way through the night. What’s going to happen is people are going to see his 2018 season numbers – 1.77 ERA, 27% K rate, 5.2% BB rate, 0.85 WHIP – and wonder Why, oh why, have we not cared about Seth Lugo sooner? HOW WERE WE SO BLIND?! That’s because this was just his second start among 21 games in relief. Those numbers are great – for a reliever – and you should be taking them with a grain of salt for Lugo, The Starter. He’s been touted as a Statcast darling for that curveball over the years, but I don’t see it being the “money pitch” he needs to excel. Last year he had just an 8.6% whiff rate in 18 starts (plus one game in relief) and even though he’s turned to that deuce plenty more this year, it itself has a sub 10% whiff rate. It’s a strike getter, not a putaway pitch. His four-seamer shockingly has the highest whiff rate in his arsenal – a 14.3% mark – but among a sample larger than 119 pitches, I expect that to drop. In the end, I’m not saying he’ll be necessarily detrimental, just not a strikeout guy. This game was an exception, not the rule. I don’t have any problems picking him up and seeing if it works out, just set your expectations low.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Dallas Keuchel – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 13 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Ahhh right, the guy I was supposed to lead with. I elected not to as I kinda went over all my thoughts on Keuchel during his last start – destined for the mid-40s – and I feel bad for him here as he was Singled Out. Keuchel just isn’t getting the same chases off the plate he has in previous seasons and just look at these strikezone plots comparing last night’s game vs. how he tore up the Yankees in the playoffs this year. It’s as clear as it gets and we should be questioning if he’ll regain that ability again.
Derek Holland – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Derek avoiding the Dutch Invasion but they are still struggling to get supplies ready in time for the next siege. Spoiler Alert: He won’t be prepared.
Zack Godley – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Whoa whoa whoa! This is kinda amazing. 35 CSW – 19 whiffs and 27% with his curve! – in just 93 pitches and digestible ratios IN COORS?! Can we already get back on the Godley train? Maybe? I don’t know? I’m happy and frightened at the same time. I mean, it’s always been about consistency with Godley and he showed enough of it here. The key has been making that deuce work – it worked in a massive way in this game – and let’s hope he can do it again when he faces the Mets on Friday. Come on Godley, it’s the Mets. You can do this.
Kyle Hendricks – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Nice rebound after allowing 5 Er with 3 walks last time out. That’s still just 10 strikeouts total in four starts though. :-/
Reynaldo Lopez – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. It’s a stressful endeavor being a ReyLo owner, but his skill set does indicate that starts like these can happen. What’s crazier is that this one came against the Sawx and he did a good job with his slide piece. Changeup was terrible, however, and I’m still waiting for both of his secondary pitches to click in the same game. I want to get on board – I really do – but you just know it’s going to be a roller coaster of a year.
Ivan Nova – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Nova is back and he went SuperNova and I hate him because I miss Kingham. I’m pretty impressed with this as it was a DLH and against the Cubs, but don’t forget that he had 12 total Ks in his previous four starts combined. You’re setting yourself for a Grave Mistake if you trust him – 7 of 12 games with 4 Ks or fewer – so take that in mind if you want to play this game.
Clayton Richard – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s the wrong Clayton! I contemplated with this one as the possible Call Boy and what do you know, he took advantage of his matchup with the Marlins. Super volatile guy, though, with more blegh and disaster than success. He’s like Justin Masterson of old. Don’t let this seduce you.
Anthony DeSclafani – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Hey, Tony Disco kinda helped! I mean, that 2.40 WHIP is ghastly, but six Ks and a decent ERA! Maybe he becomes a Toby, I dunno, but I don’t want to chase that if I don’t have to.
Zach Eflin – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. You might be an Eflin believer now. I’m not, really, even after this one as I think it’s one of those games where everything went his way. 11 whiffs is good, but spread out a bit and he’s still without that mega “money pitch.” Not a bad streamer, just not a 12-team necessity.
Brandon Woodruff – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Nothing screams “whatever” like four innings of three strikeouts. Thanks, Woodruff.
Marco Estrada – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Our Call Boy was brilliant against the Orioles and suddenly you’re thinking this could be it. That’s two straight beautiful starts from Estrada and it’s possible he’s hinting at his 2015/2016 self once again. He did an excellent job of elevating four-seamers while keeping his changeup down – 16 whiffs total (33 CSW in 97) – and he did it better than I’ve seen it across the entire year. But this was the Orioles and he gets the Nationals next. Here’s how I see it. If Estrada succeeds there, you know he’s getting snatched everywhere. I don’t think he will, but there’s that chance and if you’re desperate for an SP, you may want to invest and see. He would get the Angels, Astros, Mets, Braves, Red Sox after though…yeah alright I’m passing. It’s too bad but that schedule is too rough. Streaming Record: 36-23.
Corey Kluber – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Highest IPS among all starters in the bigs.
Sean Manaea – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Okay I want to buy this. I really do. But it was 21 CSW in 90 pitches and he still wasn’t great at hitting the inside corner to right-handers. Only 7 sliders thrown as well as his fastball was put in play a ton – average EV of just 82mph, though – as the Royals are that kind of offense, but his changeup got the job done too. I’m pleased, but not ready to call it a comeback.
Rick Porcello – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Ehhhh sure. I want to see a little more and 3 walks are weird from Porcello. It’s actually super weird that he’s had at least two in each of his last five and doing that just once in his first seven starts. Also, this was the ChiSox and you could do better than a 1.33 WHIP and 5 Ks, right? Whatever, you’re 8-3 now because that’s what Porcello does and you’ll keep riding it.
Fernando Romero – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Two solid rebounds from Romero after his horrific outing last weekend. I want to see more strikeouts here – under a strikeout per inning right now – but it’s nice to see that he hasn’t allowed over 2 walks in any of his last five starts. Keep the faith.
Max Scherzer – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Still #1 and probably for the rest of the year as he wins yet another Gallows Pole with 21 whiffs.
Luis Severino – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna kinda ace. For the most part. This might be enough for me to drop him below deGrom today…
Ross Stripling – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Yep, Stripling will continue to rise in the ranks as he has yet to do anything that makes me reconsider…wait, just five whiffs? Total? 19 CSW in 96?! Hmmmm, it was the Braves though…but that’s one of the lowest CSW marks I’ve seen all year…Can you please stop with the ellipses. I’M THINKING HERE. He has a pretty average schedule moving forward, but I think he’ll be slotted around the mid-40s today (moreso because guys like Smith/Buehler need to fall). I need to see him really falter first and he’s still making it work.
Nathan Eovaldi – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Eovaldi cruised through five, then allowed the first runner on + a two-run shot to Mike Zunino in a very frustrating at-bat. He just needed to throw an outside fastball, couldn’t hit the spot, then threw a horrible inside slider that was lofted over the fence. Womp womp. Eovaldi could be a Toby this year, but that’s about it.
Artie Lewicki – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. This came with just four whiffs because Lewicki went to Artie school instead of an athletic powerhouse. Seriously? That’s the best you got? I’ll do better next time, I promise.
James Paxton – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Yes I’m giving that to him despite the 3 ER because that’s a gorgeous WHIP and 10 Ks. BE HAPPY.
Jose Urena – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s a PQS for Urena but you’re overall happy with this. Still…If you roster Jose, Urena boatload of trouble. Seriously, don’t bank on this.
Kyle Freeland – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. It’s the Rocky Mountain Way…kinda as this was in Coors. We should be reconsidering Arizona as a solid offense now that Goldschmidt is back, right? But Freeland also kinda killed it with eight strikeouts and just came up short with a tough sixth inning. Keep RMW alive.
Carlos Martinez – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 7 BBs, 5 Ks. The first start was a DLH, this was…well this killed your week and I feel bad for you. It was the Reds and at least CarMart was averaging a solid 94.5mph this time around, but man was he bad. Against the Reds, too! And now he’s making you think that you shouldn’t start him against the Cubs even though he was supposed to be your SP 2. I totally understand if you want to wait just one more start, I think he’ll get it figured it out for that one.
Matt Moore – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. 10 baserunners and 0 Ks? Why haven’t they canceled this MM like it was crispy? *Suit man whispers in my ear* Wait, they brought it back?! Obligatory HAIGTFMFWT?!
Sean Newcomb – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Re-he-he-heaaaaly. On the real, I don’t want Newcomb to fail, though y’all know I’ve been a little skeptical of his early success. His changeup wasn’t working so he finally threw more curveballs (17 vs 15) and that wasn’t working either and the whole thing wasn’t working. Still six Ks though (yay!) and you’re going to keep rolling with Newcomb.
Nick Tropeano – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I often list Tropeano as a streaming option. This is why I’ve recently been a bit hesitant about it lately and I’ll keep that resistance alive. VIVA LA RESISTANCE.
Alex Cobb – 3.2 IP, 9 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Jack strolls into the kitchen before heading off the work. I wonder if those Orioles pulled it off yesterday, he asked his wife, getting settled into his chair by the table. The daily paper moments earlier was resting peacefully on the table before its current home in loose pages across the floor. Jack didn’t like the headline. “Roasted Cobb.”
Jordan Lyles vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Not much to choose from here, so why not, let’s take a chance that Lyles has a good curveball against the Cards.
Clay Buchholz vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I wrote about Bucky’s success over at RotoGraphs and there’s a chance that cutter sticks around for another start.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Tyler Mahle vs. Kansas City Royals – His fastball heavy approach may work well against the Royals, who like to be aggressive and could turn this into a quick 6.0+ start.
Game of the Day
Madison Bumgarner vs. Miami Marlins – I really want Bumgarner to dominate here as he gets a prime matchup.