Ross Roads

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

Ross Stripling vs HOU (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 74 pitches.

I’m pretty sure you didn’t expect Ross Stripling to lead today, but I think those in deeper leagues have their eyebrows raised after he went 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks against the mighty Astros, allowing just his second earned run in as many games. Back when he was a Dodger, all we wanted was Stripling to get a regular role in the rotation, allowing him to blossom into the ace we saw at the end of 2018. Now that Stripling has a month of starts under his belt, is it time to jump back in?

Yes and no. I’m excited to see his heater gain a tick of velocity here, sitting 93 mph after sub 92 mph marks all season, and his four-seamer has been the breadwinner of the repertoire as it carries an 11% SwStr for the season. I’m also encouraged by a shift in his mechanics, keeping his glove down during his windup, creating a shorter arm-circle that can lead to more consistency. However, his curveball isn’t the pitch it was in the past, holding just a 6% SwStr rate this season – a near 10 point drop from, while holding the same called strike rate. That’s been the major secondary offering he’s leaned on and to see it fail to perform (just nine thrown here for 0% CSW!) without a proper replacement in his slider or changeup gives me pause.

Throw in a start against Boston next and it’s not the time to be turning toward Stripling. We need to see more and it’s not a streamable start next. Monitor the situation, though, as he could become a must-add as soon as the secondary stuff catches up to the improved fastball.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

 

Kevin Gausman vs CHC (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 97 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. This is getting ridiculous as Gausman has nine straight starts of 1 or fewer earned runs. Insane. 

Rich Hill @ TEX (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 59 pitches.

After tossing over 100 pitches last time, he went just 59 here. I understand it – they got five frames and wanted to give him some rest to help stretch him out as far as he can through the season. I’ve been throwing around that we have about a month left of Hill and if the Rays can treat him like this, maybe we see more than that. That would be wonderful.

Jacob deGrom @ SD (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 85 pitches.

Aces gonna ace for deGOAT. He’s just unreal and I’m still shocked he hasn’t thrown a no-hitter yet. Just 7 pitches thrown that weren’t fastball/sliders here as he averaged 100.4 mph. lol.

Joe Ross @ PHI (L) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 92 pitches.

This is pretty entertaining to me. The start after the man won a Golden Goalhe earned just 3 whiffs and a 21% CSW across 92 pitches. That’s baseball, Suzyn. He didn’t earn a single whiff on 37 sliders. And it worked. I feel like I cheated streaming him in a points league yesterday, like I didn’t deserve this in the slightest, but sure, whatever, I think it’s a major risk starting him against the Giants next with his stuff like this. So many hittable pitches that weren’t punished.

Spencer Howard vs WSH (ND) – 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 48 pitches.

Howard was pulled in the third at 48 pitches as he leaned 70% heaters. In short, I’m waiting for Howard to flex secondary stuff I care about and we’re so far away at this point.

Tarik Skubal @ CWS (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 103 pitches.

Ohhhhhh dang. We’re witnessing the breakout, aren’t we. He’s still near 60% fastball usage including his sinker and that’s completely fine as the sinker was used well (only 13% sinker usage thrown exclusively arm-side = exactly how sinkers should be used), his four-seamer was dominant up in the zone, and his slider was fantastic once again – 52% CSW across 20 thrown! He’s getting the ChiSox a second time next week and while the floor is still there, it’s hard to argue against this. He does need to be a little more efficient, though. We’ll see.

Cole Irvin @ COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 85 pitches.

The man went into Coors and got himself a well-earned dub. Even more shocking, he did so earning 11/50 whiffs on four-seamers despite sitting just 90.7 mph. Yeah, weird. The pitch returned a double-digit SwStr rate just once across his previous four games. Now he gets the Royals and I guess I’m cool streaming him there, just bring the heater with you, okay?

Brandon Woodruff vs ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 99 pitches.

Aces gonna…slightly underperform. Love the Ks, just those ratios aren’t what you were hoping for, you know? It’s about two hits away from a standard affair, that’s all it is.

Charlie Morton vs LAD (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 94 pitches.

He’s beginning to believe. Phew, I’m glad we got past the Dodgers start relatively unharmed and now we get the lovely respite that is Miami. It’s still four-seamer/curveball central and that’s totally fine with me when the deuce returns 35% CSW and his heater sits ~96 mph.

Trevor Rogers @ PIT (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 94 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Not the greatest performance we’ve seen from him – just 18% CSW on changeups – but he earned outs and the wheels haven’t fallen off yet. I hope they never do.

Yusei Kikuchi @ LAA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 64 pitches.

This was looking all kinds of lovely until Kikuchi took a comeback to the knee and was removed from the game. He’s been diagnosed with a knee contusion and given the six-man rotation, there’s a chance Kikuchi is okay to go next time out. I’m holding my breath like all of you.

Kolby Allard vs TB (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 79 pitches.

Hey, solid work Dralla! I hope you enjoyed your Birthday Partythe perfect event for a Saturday night.

Johan Oviedo vs CIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 65 pitches.

Ayyy this ain’t so bad! The stuff is good – 35% CSW on sliders should get you a little excited – and he touches 96 mph, but the main question is command. It’s not quite there yet still, but he’s a Young GunDevelopment takes time.

Tyler Mahle @ STL (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 95 pitches.

Ahhhhh, remember that time we were wondering if Mahle was going to be okay? He’s okay. fastballs were super well commanded once again and that’s everything you need to know.

John Means vs CLE (L) – 0.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 29 pitches.

Means left this game with shoulder soreness. Yeah. I’m terrified too, but the recent report is that it was “more of an annoyance” rather than a legit sharp pain. Hopefully that, um, means he’s okay. Fastball was 93.8 mph, a tick above season average, FWIW.

Eduardo Rodriguez @ NYY (ND) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 88 pitches.

The ERA is still an issue, but I will say that this start was the best I’ve seen from him for a bit. His fastball/changeup pairing was a bit steadier while his cutter/slider earned a good amount of strikes. There’s hope here, just not enough to start him against Toronto next.

Jameson Taillon vs BOS (ND) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 76 pitches.

So we’re making some progress, but we’re not there yet. Taillon’s slider was better but the curveball was missing. Seriously, 0/8 CSW here. It’s frustrating as he had the pitch weeks ago as we waited for the slider, now he has the slider but not the hook. One day, we’ll get there.

Kohl Stewart @ SF (L) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 79 pitches.

They don’t call him the Kohl Yard for nothing, amiright?

Joe Musgrove vs NYM (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 99 pitches.

He allowed a pair of longballs, then got into trouble in the sixth before getting pulled. It’s not what you wanted from the ratios and I think it’s because he pitched a little too passively, leaning slightly too much on chases out of the zone on breakers instead of getting more called strikes with fastballs. I know, I know, that seems weird to say with my “anti-fastball” love (and Musgrove has the breakers to do it!), but there were many situations where counts got deeper as Musgrove focused too much on the chase, which is why you see 21 whiffs yet a 34% CSW and nearly 20 pitches per inning (the goal is ~15, average ~17). All I’m saying is 29% fastballs could be 35%+ and he’d be a-okay.

Aaron Civale @ BAL (W) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 100 pitches.

Ehhhhh, this was the Orioles and we want better than this. His cutter earned a ton of strikes, but the deuce was featured just seven times. Seven! That’s what I consider his best pitch! The other two secondaries – slider and changeup – went 2/25 whiffs and I’m sitting here wondering what is going on. I feel like he can be a fastball/cutter/curve guy and it’s just not working right now. He’s a tinkerer, though (after all, he throws six pitches) and I have to imagine he’ll adjust.

Jose Berrios @ KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 99 pitches.

In short, Berrios’ fastballs aren’t quite where we need them to be. This wasn’t as bad as the ratios will tell you and I’m thrilled he’s tossing 95 mph, but he’s not hitting the edges and making too many mistakes, while his curveball is good, but not the savior. He gets the Astros next and that feels like a coin-flip. I’m probably starting him, but it’s close.

Merrill Kelly @ MIL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 85 pitches.

His heater was at 92.2 mph (love that), but his curveball and cutter were pretty meh. Changeup showed up, but it wasn’t enough and we’re back to placing Kelly in the “Do Not Start” tier until he gets a luscious matchup. Like Milwaukee? Yeah, I feel like if we could hit the reset button on this start, it would be a 50/50 shot at proper fantasy production.

Lucas Giolito vs DET (L) – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 102 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Look, I know, you wanted a better ERA, but that’s a King Cole with nine strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP. The dude is legit again.

Mike Minor vs MIN (L) – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 90 pitches.

He got burned by the longball, which isn’t too shocking when his velocity has dropped to 90.3 mph. The good news is the changeup was working + his knuckle-curve was able to steal strikes, but the fastball was blegh and his slider is still highly questionable.

Chase De Jong vs MIA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 84 pitches.

This is not worth the Chase.

Clayton Kershaw @ ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 95 pitches.

It may be time to move on from Kershaw’s TATIAGA nickname and grant it to deGrom. I will say, though, you still salvaged nine strikeouts here and this was a product of a walk + a string of hits (including two doubles and two infield singles) in the third frame for all five runs. That isn’t very typical.

Kyle Freeland vs OAK (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 80 pitches.

Yeaaaaah, this was Coors and Freeland hasn’t returned anywhere close to his 2018 self. But seriously, five frames and just one strikeout?! HAISTFMFWT?! 

Alex Cobb vs SEA (W) – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 98 pitches.

Streaming is the worst. Streaming Record: 39-25. This may be the first time I’ve seen a pitcher allow more earned runs than walks + hits. It all came during a horrible fourth inning involving two singles (one infield), a walk, a HBP, and a grand slam, ruining what had all the makings of a fantastic outing. Seriously, six perfect innings, one disaster. I’d still start Cobb next time out as “The Thing” returned eight whiffs and 42% CSW + his curve earned plenty of passive strikes. He’s in a good place.

Jose Urquidy @ TOR (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 74 pitches.

It’s wild seeing two pitchers from the same game sandwich all other pitchers in the roundup but here we are. Urquidy demanded our attention and love as he demolished the Red Sox in his return from the IL, but he didn’t hold up his end of the bargain as he was simply too hittable against the Jays. The appeal of Uruqidy is a deep four-pitch mix which…wasn’t there here as he tossed just ten curveballs and changeups for 0% CSW combined, the latter of which I’ve considered Urquidy’s best pitch since his call up. This isn’t the man we signed up for and I’m willing to believe he’ll be different moving forward. I’m still starting him against the Twins next.

Game of the Day 

 

Trevor Bauer vs. Max Fried – Bauer hasn’t been quite as sharp as we’ve seen, while Fried gets a tough challenge against the Dodgers.

 

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

 

Photo from Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Avatar Matt J. says:

    Would you drop Spencer Howard in a deep keeper league? Been keeping him in NA for over a year, but he’s so disappointing right now and causing roster issues trying to hold him.

  • Avatar mik3brooks says:

    “Rossroads, Raggy—reehee hee hee”

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