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Mo’ Shane, No Gain

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.  

Shane Bieber vs TOR (L) – 3.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 71 pitches.

It’s uncommon for me to do a second roundup on the same pitcher within the first month on the season, but it can’t be helped after Shane Bieber went 3.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 71 pitches against the Blue Jays yesterday. I can feel your anxiety right now, wondering if you missed your chance to sell high and if we’re doomed moving forward.

First things first, no. The Blue Jays are really good and while there are some legit problems here, you have to understand that the Jays take advantage of mistakes more than other teams.

That said, Bieber failed to earn a strikeout as batters sat on heaters and crushed them, while his cutter and curve failed to do much of anything. The slider had its moments, but this was a laborious time on the hill where Bieber tried to get strikes without the fastball, yet didn’t have a choice and was burned for it. Meanwhile, Bieber hovered 90 mph from the first pitch and it’s a bit scary. In his prime, Bieber was around 94 mph and this is four ticks away from that.

I’m going to cough this up to a bad day for a pitcher who is still solid, but not elite any longer. He’ll likely be in the 20s or so come Monday and I’d expect Bieber to live there for a good amount of the year — it doesn’t mean you should have traded him away last week and now you’re stuck with a poor arm. Nay, it means you have a good SP 2/3 who will have his struggles among some lovely highs. That’s okay, y’all.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

 

Clayton Kershaw @ CHC (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 81 pitches.

Aces gonna ace for TAITAGA. Just 6/42 whiffs on sliders ain’t his normal style, but whatever, you’re so thrilled you have a starter who won’t destroy your team each time he starts. That’s pretty dang cool…for now. The injury question still looms and don’t let the highs of today make you forget it (I’m so sorry).

Nick Pivetta vs CWS (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

Is this just the White Sox being really bad against right-handers? Or is it Pivetta legit earning whiffs on his four-seamer…okay wait a second. He sat 91.8 mph today?! HHHWHAT?! This is Pivetta, who’s supposed to be hovering 94/95 mph and while he was down to 93 mph across this season, it just feels so wrong to see Pivetta sit all the way down here. And yet, it was his best start of the year (no thanks to his curveball), with sliders earning whiffs and cruising to a 34% CSW on heaters. It wasn’t even stellar command with a lot of mistakes in the middle of the zone. Yeaaaah I’m not buying this.

Sonny Gray vs OAK (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 66 pitches.

Ayyy he’s back! This is one of those fun situations where you didn’t activate him knowing he wasn’t going to go five frames and just to smite you he took full advantage of his four frames by fanning seven in the process. But be happy! It gives you more confidence when you actually start him next time against the Guardians. I’d expect close to 75/80 pitches there across five frames (hopefully) and I hope we get more than 57% strikes on his curveball + nothing close to the sub 50% clip on his slider. Wait, how did he do well today then? Ah, that was a whopping 52% CSW on his sinker. That we know won’t stick. Sooooo yeah, I’d still start him against Cleveland, but Sonny hasn’t come out of the trainer’s room like Dani Rojas, ready to take down the #1 pitcher in town.

Pablo López @ SD (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 97 pitches.

That’s how you have a rebound. His changeup didn’t earn the whiffs we’re accustomed to, but he hit his spots and earned outs. He’s on the #PathToAGA, even if he doesn’t develop a legit #3 pitch.

Zach Davies vs COL (ND) – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 104 pitches.

He hosted Rockie Road and once again had his vintage changeup — 12/42 whiffs in this one. Unreal. It’s the Cubs next and maybe he can do it one more time against a meh offense. Save for NL-Only leagues, I wouldn’t chance it.

Kyle Freeland @ ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 89 pitches.

This was an outside streaming option in the most perfect scenario Freeland could hope for: on the road and against a poor offense. I’m glad this worked, but it doesn’t mean I’m cool with starting him inside Coors against the Royals next time. Don’t get cute.

Max Fried vs MIL (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Once again, Fried struggled early in the year (5 ER in his first game) and has since been amazing, including four straight of at least six frames and only 4 ER allowed. His new changeup went 5/11 whiffs while he commanded his slider well. He’s looking phenomenal.

Corbin Burnes @ ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 98 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and earn a Gallows PoleIt’s lovely to watch the SP #1 act like the SP #1.

Drew Rasmussen @ SEA (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 88 pitches.

We didn’t see the return of the cutter and slider (just 4/51 whiffs between them) but the heater did its normal thing and it worked. What we’ve got here is failure to communicate essentially a Toby when he pitches like this and I don’t have a problem holding onto Rasmussen when he attacks mostly with his four-seamer. I wouldn’t expect the strikeout totals to soar without those sweepers working.

Eduardo Rodriguez @ HOU (ND) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 99 pitches.

HUGE props to Erod for this one. I think managers really needed him to come around for a start once to show what he’s capable of and now with the Athletics next, you’re feeling good about Erod for the first time this season…kinda. The four-seamer was great, but that’s nothing new. Instead, I’ve been waiting for the changeup to show up in a big way and that pitch was thrown just nine times for four strikes. That’s rough. He’s still good enough for the A’s, but the line is a mask for the struggling repertoire underneath. That’s baseball, Suzyn.

Kevin Gausman @ CLE (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 104 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. He walked a guy?! Welp, pack it up boys. He’s done. On the real, I’m sad his splitter earned just 4/28 whiffs here, but he’s still so obviously dope and that’s great.

James Kaprielian @ MIN (L) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 99 pitches.

Ayyyy he’s waking up. I normally group Kap in the Mize/Quantrill/DeSclafani crew of fastball/slider with chances to constantly go six frames given their team. James tossed 99 pitches in this one and he seems ready to become a strong streamer for you through the year moving forward. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to jump on it against the Tigers, but he should be in your toolbox moving forward.

Dylan Cease @ BOS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 101 pitches.

That’s close to a Gallows Pole for Cease and it’s a product of earning strikes with his curveball (65% rate!) and consistency locating his four-seamer glove-side as the slider was once again a strong offering. I can’t say I’m thrilled to see his pitch inefficiency giving us a 1.40 WHIP with 101 pitches across just five frames as it speaks to more Cherry Bomb-esque days ahead. But hey, this year has gone better than I’d expected already and I’m here for it.

Framber Valdez vs DET (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 96 pitches.

Yup, that’s Valdez alright — gonna have a decently high WHIP but his HR suppression allows him to keep the ERA down while he always has a chance to fan more than a strikeout per inning. The curveball returned in this one (PHEW!) and the FV is somewhere around 55 for the year. I thought he was 28. …he is. That’s Future Value. Ohhhhhhh. I know it’s often uneasy rostering Framber, but in the end, he’s better than the wire and will give you plenty of win chances & volume strikeouts along the way. He’s worth it.

Connor Overton vs PIT (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 77 pitches.

The 2,001 pounder strikes again, earning called strikes galore with fastballs and sliders enough to earn a King Cole and I really don’t buy that he’s nearly as good as the line suggests. It’s essentially a Birthday Party with a few party blowers — yes, that’s legit what they’re called after I sat for legit a full minute trying to figure out what I’d call them. When I finally figured it out, my mind went FWWWWWAHHHHHH. What a celebration.

JT Brubaker @ CIN (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 83 pitches.

Coffee Cakes was our backup callboy and he did everything you want him to do. Fastballs for strikes? Sure thing. Dominant sliders? You know it. Sprinkled in curves for called strikes? NO PROBLEM. Sadly, this was a 2-2 game until the 8th where Josh VanMeter had to suddenly catch for the first game of his life and the Pirates allowed 7 ER. Unreal. Annnyway, Brubaker will get another date with the Reds later in the week and I think you’re okay with that one. The Reds are not great, y’all.

Drew Smyly vs LAD (L) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 94 pitches.

I miss soggy arm Smyly. Those were days filled with hope and excitement.

Dauri Moreta vs PIT (L) – 0.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 10 pitches.

Because Nick Lodolo wasn’t ready to come back from the IL quite yet (his back was still slightly bothering him), the Reds turned to an opener who…didn’t fare well. Welcome to 2022 baseball.

Triston McKenzie vs TOR (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 102 pitches.

Would you look at that. McKenzie earned whiffs across all his trio of pitches against Toronto yesterday and I’m impressed — you saw how they messed up Bieber. In short, he was able to throw more strikes than usual and when McKenzie throws strikes, generally good things happen. It seems like Triston is a bit like Yu Darvish in that his opponent doesn’t matter so go out there, start the man, and take it from there.

Marco Gonzales vs TB (L) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 98 pitches.

Sure it’s only two earned runs, but a single strikeout?! HAISTBMBWT?! It may be more of the same against the Mets (okay, maybe not just two whiffs) and if that’s your jam, go for it.

Tyler Anderson @ CHC (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 80 pitches.

Ayyy this worked. Anderson was the streaming pick of the day and did what a Toby does: a 3.60 ERA and a Win. We’re lucky it came with a good WHIP and…seven strikeouts?! Yeah, don’t get used to that.  His changeup was bonkers with 9/31 whiffs here and not to say that it never earns whiffs, but it won’t do this on the regular. He gets the Phillies next and I’d be cautious there.

Sean Manaea vs MIA (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 99 pitches.

Sure, you wanted better than a PQS and a 1.33 WHIP against the Marlins, but at least he gave you eight strikeouts along the way. He earned 12 whiffs on his 91.5 mph heater and there’s nothing wrong at all here. Keep on keepin’ on.

Josiah Gray @ LAA (W) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 83 pitches.

Blegh. Save for the Win, there’s nothing to be excited about here. Gray is still searching for consistency across his pitches and simply can’t find the groove that we’re looking for. He’s a Cherry Bomb because of it and it makes for a potential disaster against the Astros. I guess he’s kinda a Frozen Banana for this reason as I don’t want to involve myself with Josiah until I feel better about his command.

Daniel Norris vs LAD (L) – 1.1 IP, 3 ER, 0 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 32 pitches.

He opened for Keegan Thompson, who followed for 2.2 innings, if you can even call that “following.” Let’s move on.

Logan Webb vs STL (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 84 pitches.

Oh jeeeez. Webb is getting Singled Out a bit more than we’d like to see lately and while we all know he’s going to be just fine (that is so close to a King Cole after all), I can imagine some antsy fantasy managers feeling like they’re regretting their draft pick. Don’t be that manager, Webb is still really good.

Ross Stripling @ CLE (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 78 pitches.

Blegh. Strip doesn’t have secondaries doing great things (1/16 CSW on his slider) and I’m not in unless I see it.

Michael Lorenzen vs WSH (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 89 pitches.

Nooooooooo. At least we got seven strikeouts out of this as his changeup was super well commanded down, but the other pitches didn’t come through perfectly. This one didn’t go his way ultimately and now is when you brush it off and embrace a start against the Athletics next time out.

Mitch Keller @ CIN (ND) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 86 pitches.

But it’s the Reds, you thought. He did well recently, you thought. HIS FASTBALL IS BETTER, you screamed. Until I see Keller dominate with his slider or curveball, I will not join this train. I suggest you do the same.

Steven Matz @ SF (L) – 2.0 IP, 8 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 57 pitches.

Womp womp. The giants are notorious lefty-killers and with a start up next against the Orioles, don’t judge him too harshly. He’s worth your roster spot for that start.

 

Game of the Day 

Trevor Rogers vs. Joe Musgrove – It’s a joy watching Musgrove pitch these days and I’ll always root for the best version of T. Rogers to appear.

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 Frank Jansky/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.

  • LeftyNation says:

    I know this is the round up but had a question about kopech and Whitlock. Would you consider dropping kopech for Whitlock? Would that be beneficial? Your insight would be much appreciated.

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