Slippin’ Jimmy

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

James Kaprielian vs NYY (ND) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 99 pitches.

Through his first twelve starts of the year, James Kaprielian had a 2.65 ERA, 1.12 WHP, and 26% strikeout rate across 68 frames. It was wonderful, it was bliss, and it was destined to end. James has struggled in one way or another in each of his last four starts and tonight was no different: 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 99 pitches. What is going on here?

Kaprielian’s repertoire can be summed up in one word: Fine. His heater generally performs well around the zone, he flashes a curveball for called strikes, his slider isn’t a major whiff pitch, but hovers a 30% CSW, and the changeup…well that’s not something we usually discuss. Thing is, those three pitches all were better than usual against the Yankees, but his sequencing wasn’t great and a few poor pitches led to 5 ER via three longballs. Otherwise? This was prime Kap. 8/51 whiffs on four-seamers. 47% CSW on sliders. A few curveballs for strikes and solid changeups worked. I came into this expecting to be disappointed, but instead I saw a fastball at 94 mph (not 92.5!) and new hope for Jimmy James to succeed in the second half. The Tigers are next and I’d hold in hopes for his heater to dominate at 94 mph. Make it happen, Kap’n.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

 

Max Scherzer @ SD (ND) – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 104 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I feel like Scherzer steps up in these games as he feels the need to show off to Darvish in the other dugout. You wish you had that “Gallows Pole”, DIDN’T YA.

Sonny Gray @ MIL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 86 pitches.

The curveball earned a ton of free real estate with 10/27 called strikes, propelling a “King Cole” for the evening. the slider/cutter wasn’t spectacular, but it helped along the way, and he commanded the edges well with heaters. In short, Sonny is back on track and it’s delightful.

Zac Gallen @ PHI (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 103 pitches.

Gallen’s heater has been carrying him a bit too much as of late – five frames at 103 pitches and a 21% CSW should paint enough of a picture for you. Neither his changeup nor cutter exceeded a 20% CSW, while the slider and curve tallied just 15 thrown between them. I’m glad to see the fastball is doing good work, but it won’t last and it’s all for naught if the secondaries don’t come together. I’d be careful starting him for the test against the Padres next.

Jaime Barria @ BAL (ND) – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 54 pitches.

Barria got the early hook and isn’t doing enough with his slider/fastball approach to suggest fantasy relevancy that I had once hoped for. Bummer, I guess I didn’t find a pitcher named Barrriiiiiiiiiiiia.

Keegan Akin vs LAA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 92 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! The only blemish was a monstrous Shohei Ohtani blast as Akin got it done with his 92 mph four-seamer. I don’t dig his changeup/slider much, though, and that heater isn’t an elite offering. Looks like a surprise “Birthday Party” and none of us were invited.

Elieser Hernandez vs WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 83 pitches.

Ehhhh, it’s fine, but it sure isn’t something to get you excited about rostering Elieser. At least his slider was plenty better – 45% CSW and seven whiffs – but the heater is still lacking and the changeup doesn’t do enough to push the needle. But hey, it’s the Mets next, how bad could that be?

Yusei Kikuchi vs KC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 65 pitches.

Plenty of “Careful, Icarus” here as Kikuchi was clean through five frames before allowing four straight base-runners to reach in the sixth, getting the hook, then the pen allowing a grand slam. Womp womp. Now he has two dates with the Astros and I have zero interest in sticking around for the one. Happy hunting on the waiver wire.

Carlos Rodón @ TOR (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 67 pitches.

It’s good to see Rodón back on the bump, but he sat just under 95 mph in this one. It’s not terrible, just not the well-rested phenom we expected. Maybe he just needed a start to warm up. At least it’s the Pirates next and he should feast there…right? Right?!

Sam Hentges vs TEX (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 68 pitches.

I tried navigating through this Hentges maze earlier in the year, but these days? I just kick back and relax, and enjoy the time spent doing other things as the kiddos are occupied inside the grassy walls. Best decision ever.

Brad Keller @ SEA (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 79 pitches.

The man didn’t have his command, with his slider going just 3/24 CSW. Yuck. Don’t rule out a possible rebound against Cleveland next time out, but odds are that one isn’t worth it either.

Carlos Carrasco vs SF (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 78 pitches.

Yesssss! Cookie began the day leaning on his slider, which led to a Kris Bryant two-run homer, so he pulled out the changeup and curveball and they worked. Seriously, the slider was bad with 0/10 CSW and it may be a blessing in disguise given how it forced Carrasco to find the feel for his changeup once again. Hopefully he’ll carry this new appreciation against the Marlins next time out. I’m all for it.

Alex Wood @ NYM (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 82 pitches.

Wood made easy work of the Mets, save for a Pete Alonso bomb in sixth on a slider that just didn’t do enough down-and-in. No Win, no QS, no celebration. The cushy schedule continues next week as he hosts the Brewers in Oracle Park and I’m all for that.

Chris Sale vs MIN (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 80 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. What, why does he earn it today? Because he sat 94/95 mph on his heater and earned 43% CSW on his slider with seven whiffs. HE’S BACK BAYBEEE.

Miles Mikolas @ PIT (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 76 pitches.

Yeah, that ain’t what you want. Streaming Record: 78-58. Jeez, I’m batting .500 for what feels like two weeks – this is when streaming is supposed to be easy. Anyway, Mikolas’ stuff is pretty pedestrian, but I imagined it would be enough to deal with the mediocre Pirates a second time. It wasn’t. Definitely avoid the Reds in Cincy next.

Brett Anderson vs CIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 70 pitches.

I don’t know what else we could have expected. Seriously.

John Gant @ BOS (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 68 pitches.

Remember when Gant was boasting a ridiculous ERA at the beginning of the year? Welp, now he’s switched teams and everyone forgot. You Gant win em all.

Matt Moore vs ARI (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 70 pitches.

What happened to no-hit Moore? At least he was interesting, you know? Did he have a goatee or something? Yeah, that was it.

Yu Darvish vs LAD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 102 pitches.

We didn’t really know what we’d get in Darvish’s return from the IL and this was…satisfactory. Sure, the 4 ER ain’t great, but he pitched pretty dang well outside of the two-run shot by Austin Barnes. His velocity was down about 1.5 ticks, though, but who cares, it’s Arizona next. Yu should be fine. Me? Yeah, I guess you, too. Like the pokemon? There’s a second Darvish? Nope, I’m walking away from this.

Jameson Taillon @ OAK (ND) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 78 pitches.

Bleggggh. The run has come to a close. Taillon didn’t have his fastball command and without that, he doesn’t have enough to get the outs comfortably. It’s not typical in the slightest for Taillon and I’d imagine he’ll make the adjustments for the Angels next time out.

Patrick Corbin @ MIA (L) – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 58 pitches.

No. No no no no no. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I went to the Mets game tonight with some wonderful people and after I expressed my dismay about Corbin, all said the same thing. What are you doing still chasing Corbin? THE MAN JUST SAT 94 MPH WITH SLIDER WHIFFS. But they’re right. I led y’all astray, I shouldn’t have played with fire. I’m so sorry to those that fell on this one with me. Let’s please move on and NEVER AGAIN.

Mitch Keller vs STL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 90 pitches.

Womp womp. Keller had his moment of bliss last time out and came crashing down like an air conditioner from the sixth story. Be careful on the streets in the summer, y’all.

Hyun Jin Ryu vs CWS (L) – 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 66 pitches.

Oh no. After having his changeup return last time out, it acted like a groundhog and went back underground in hiding. Stupid shadow. We’re getting close to the moment where we question if Ryu is truly worth our roster spot, but this was the White Sox and the Orioles are next. Let’s at least wait until after that one.

Jordan Lyles @ CLE (L) – 3.2 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 87 pitches.

Lyles didn’t have his slider and that heater ain’t prepared to handle the burden of a major leaguer. Despair Jordan.

 

Game of the Day 

 

Kevin Gausman vs. Max Fried – I hope the splitter returns for Gausman + Fried can survive a tough offense.

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 Kamp Fender/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx 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.

3 responses to “Slippin’ Jimmy”

  1. Jon says:

    Nick you are great at what you do. I enjoyed this writeup, happy Friday cheers man!

  2. Josh says:

    Darvish looked like he was shaking off some rust early on, but his stuff really improved as the game progressed:
    – Innings 1-3: 3 ER, 3 hits, 1 BB, 1 K
    – Innings 4-6: 1 ER, 2 hits, 0 BB, 5 K

    Was also hurt by some shoddy defense. Seager’s RBI double was certainly catchable… looks like Tatis may have played it easy because of his shoulder. And Pollock’s triple (he came around to score) was horribly misplayed by Grisham in center.

  3. Jared says:

    Great roundup art today Nick

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