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It’s time that we had a chat about John Lackey who went 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks last night against the Red Sox and now holds...

It’s time that we had a chat about John Lackey who went 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks last night against the Red Sox and now holds a poor 5.10 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. Thing is, his K/9 and BB/9 are both solid – 9.00 and 2.70 – and his 3.56 xFIP seems very reasonable given a 23.3% HR/FB and horrible 66.2% LOB rate. At the same time, his hard contact is soaring at 36.3% with just 14.3% soft as batters are pulling him nearly 10 points more than last year at 47.3% – another sign that batters are making much better contact and deserve the HR/FB spike. It comes down to his Fastball command, which has found the center of the plate a lot more than it should and has already earned a -5.0 pVal for the season. Yikes. All in all, I think this is a rough stretch for Lackey that he’ll sort out and bring those scary numbers down as he tweaks his heater. If someone is selling for cheap, I’m buying.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Ivan Nova – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m sure some were hoping for a Nova focus today, but there really isn’t much to say. He’s killing it right now and has a solid schedule for the first half. He’ll be one of my favorite sell highs in June and I will not have him in the Top 25 this year. His overall stuff just isn’t that good and it’s not like he’s become an elite batted ball guy – 16.5% soft, 30.3% hard. This isn’t your Kyle Hendricks play given, nor is it something like Danny Duffy since he’s averaging 4.5 Ks per start. Expect some bumps, be happy to own him, and unless someone is paying top dollar, hold him until June when his schedule gets rougher.

Andrew Triggs – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Triggs had a wonderful time messing up right-handers in the start, using his slide piece a ton to get batters swinging at pitches well off the outside corner as his body slings the pitch from behind their backs. This was the best I’ve seen him through the year and I’m definitely encouraged to own him if he’s still out there. 

Yu Darvish – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace, even with the walk total. Please stay healthy. Please please please.

Zach Eflin – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. That’s just 4 ER total in his three starts this season and I’m sure some are considering giving Eflin an add. DOn’t do that with his .132 BABIP and 92.6% LOB rate that are leading a 4.64 xFIP. This won’t end well and his 5.21 K/9 is going to make his starts tough to salvage.

Joe Musgrove – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I watched a good amount of this one and what I liked was Musgrove attacked the zone once again. What I didn’t like is that his Slider was good but not great. He doesn’t have that “wow” pitch like Cotton’s Changeup, Richards’ Cutter, Ross’ Slider, etc. and that makes me wonder if his reward is work the risk on most nights. Entering the year I thought his breaking pitches were better, but I’m pulling back a little now. In my mind he’s a great streaming choice + possible rosterable in deep 12 teamers, just take this game with a grain of salt against the A’s.

Michael Pineda – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. I’m sure many of you are pumped about owning Pineda thus far. And why not! Dude has been killing it. The question is what to expect moving forward and…I just don’t see enough to overturn his Schrodinger nickname. Sure, he’s throwing more Sliders when ahead in the count and at two strikes, but he’s also faced poor offenses the entire year and I just can’t say he’s past his issues just yet. Same line drives rates, much less soft contact…be wary.

Danny Salazar – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Good amount of Ks, at least 3 walks and a touch more ER than you want? Yep that’s a Salazar start.

Matt Cain – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. So…um…Cain now has four straight starters of 1 ER or fewer. With a 3.94 xFIP, .254 BABIP, and 92.6% LOB rate, but you know. He heads to Cincy next and I’m still not buying. I just can’t.

Derek Holland – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Don’t fall in love with this. The invaders are coming and Dutch will be overthrown.

Francisco Liriano – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Lots of walks? Check. Strikeouts? Sure. 1 ER? Oh yeah. This reads like a start that you can’t really enjoy since that 1.60 WHIP is so frightening but that 1.80 ERA is so beautiful…Keep rolling with Liriano.

Jaime Garcia – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. I was once on a date that was going great – I was telling jokes, she was laughing, asking questions, the whole shebang. How did it end Nick? I stood up and left when she told me “I allowed five walks last night.” I just can’t have that in my life.

Stephen Strasburg – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Well this is odd. Two strikeouts? From Strasburg?! Let’s just forget this happened.

Matt Andriese – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s hard to love Andriese, but that’s 8 ER across four starts and a serviceable 3.86 ERA thus far that plays in deep leagues.

Zack Greinke – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Sure, that’s the standard disappointment of a 4.50 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, but at least the strikeouts are there and this was the Rockies. It’s interesting, since his .323 BABIP leads to a great 3.21 SIERA, but at the same time his 84.2% LOB rate and whopping 38.5% Hard Hit rate make me scared. He gets the Nationals next, which I’m still starting him against, but after that it’s easy coasting including starts against the Mets, Padres, White Sox. I’m into buying him after his next start, especially if he performs poorly.

Michael Fulmer – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Ehhhhh the WHIP is still low, it’s a Quality Start, but that 4.50 ERA and just 3 Ks is not what I want. YOU CAN DO BETTER FULMER.

Dan Straily – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Okay, we’re back to normal with Straily. And all is right in the world…

Jhoulys Chacin – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. This isn’t nearly as bad as we’ve seen from Chacin. It’s all about positivity, you know?

Yovani Gallardo – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Wow 7 Ks, YoGa, I’m sure you’re so proud of yourself.

Zack Wheeler – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. I really don’t like seeing the four walks from Wheeler, but I have to admit that a 1 ER performance, albeit in just 4.2 innings, is good from Wheeler. I am leaning away from him though given how he can’t end at-bats early and that pitch count keeps knocking him out early, which ties in to his four walks. Meanwhile, I really want to believe he can harness his walk rate but is that a bet that you should take now? Not really.

Steven Wright – 6.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Steven told me his name was “Craig”. Pfffft, we all know it’s “Danger”. Don’t Trust A Knuckleballer.

Jesse Chavez – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Chavez just isn’t the best option when diving into your fridge at midnight for just a little something to get you through the night. I’d rather be reaching for the questionable cheese than Chavez.

Brandon McCarthy – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Bleeegggggh. That’s a loss Nick. Another stupid Loss. Streamer Record 11.5-9-3.

Tyler Anderson – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I know 2016 was an intriguing year for Anderson, but it all went exactly right for him to barely have 12 teamer value. Don’t bank on that returning again.

Jimmy Nelson – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. That’s 15 ER in his last three starts now as this one came against the Braves…yeah.

Ubaldo Jimenez – 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. There’s the Ubaldo we know and hate.

Today’s Streamer

JC Ramirez vs Texas Rangers – Yep this is a gamble, but I think the Rangers aren’t as good of an offense as we think they are and Ramirez is lighting it up right now. If this goes well, I might be all on the JC train.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Brett Anderson vs. Philadelphia Phillies – This is if you feel like you want to gamble for a Win as that’s what Anderson is good for. Stupid cheap wins.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Charlie Morton vs. Texas Rangers – The Rangers aren’t the fearsome team they were prior and Morton is looking great.

Game of the Day

JC Ramirez vs. Texas Rangers I’m really intrigued by Ramirez and will be watching to see if this is the waiver wire answer we’re looking for.

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.

  • Chucky says:

    Drop Davies for Folty?

  • stu says:

    Kinda hard hearing your take on Nova, but you may be right in the long wrong. It’s just he passes the eye test for me everytime I watch him. Such great control.

  • Grind_Crunch says:

    Triggs or Urias?

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