Et Tu, Lucas?

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Tuesday 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.  

Lucas Giolito (CWS) vs MIN (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

After three seasons hovering a 3.50 ERA, Lucas Giolito laughed at his 2018 season. An ERA north of 5.00?! I’ll never be that again! Well, he made sure of that today, bringing his season mark to 4.90 via 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches and while he released a sigh of relief, we all are left wondering what the h*ck happened and what’s next.

Here’s the real issue: something is incredibly wrong with his four-seamer. The pitch sat 94 mph for the past three years and averaged 92.6 in 2022, but has been around 90-93 across the last month. It returned a horrid 9.6% SwStr rate, a boatload of hard contact, a .358 wOBA, and without that pitch carrying him, it made his changeup and slider easier to adjust to and wallop. The change fell six points in strike rate and returned a horrid .375 BABIP leading to a mediocre .252 BAA, while the slider jumped over 120 points to a .288 BAA and a horrific 34.5% HC rate.

Look at me, quoting all these numbers in this roundup. It’s all to get at a simple point – Giolito has to fix himself. He’s done it before and he even quoted an early April injury messing him up for the full year. It’s possible some rest and a reset across the long winter will have Giolito pumping 94+ mph heaters once again and voila, there’s your glorious SP #2 kicking across 170+ frames. I get the feeling many are going to write him off after a season like this, but that ceiling is not gone. We just need to turn him off and back on again.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

 

Eric Lauer (MIL) vs ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 97 pitches.

Huh. He did it again. The heater earned nine whiffs and a 40% CSW…and he was a bit erratic with the pitch, featuring a ton in y-mLoc, sitting a touch over 93 mph. Are you drafting Lauer next year? I think I’m going to choose not to get on this ride (yes, it’ll be a ride) next year.

Sean Manaea (SD) vs SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 66 pitches.

There’s no way he’s going to have a 60%+ CSW on his slider again – me, foolishly, after his last game. Sure, it was just across 13 pitches, but a 62% CSW on his slider is far better than I expected, while the change worked for 5/14 whiffs. It’s too little, too late, Manaea. Sorry, that sounded like a threat, but the sentiment is there. You can’t trust the dang man in 2023.

Cole Irvin (OAK) vs LAA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 87 pitches.

Ah, the legend of Irvin grows. He worked the BSB a bit here with high heaters and low(er) secondaries, though he avoided sitting outside the zone much at all here. I don’t have much interest in chasing Irvin, even if he barely sat under a 4.00 ERA with these lovely six frames. You really can do better in drafts next year. You must.

Michael Lorenzen (LAA) @ OAK (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 95 pitches.

Ayyyy it worked out! I definitely should have given him the streaming pick of the day, shouldn’t I. Annnnnyway, I’m glad he was able to repeat his performance against the Athletics, here featuring a fantastic slider and changeup for six whiffs apiece and he may be a sneaky deep pick in leagues next year as I’d be shocked if he went inside the Top 300 overall. He’s a decent Toby at the end of the day.

Javier Assad (CHC) @ CIN (ND) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 87 pitches.

For a man that I dig because of his cutter, I’m surprised he performed this well tossing 6/10 strikes with the pitch. Assad tossed fastballs in the zone, the Reds didn’t do much with them, and voila, there’s your fortunate stream. I wonder if we’ll be streaming him at some point next year – I don’t think we’ll see him in the rotation out of the gate. You can put him Assad for your drafts.

Nathan Eovaldi (BOS) vs TB (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 64 pitches.

The heater is still mediocre at 94.3 mph, but at least the curve did its old 40% CSW thing and despite all my Chicken Little fears, Eovaldi has been alright down the stretch. I’m really worried this diminished velocity is staying down in 2023, though. Not my favorite chase in 12-teamers, but let’s see how late he goes.

Justin Verlander (HOU) vs PHI (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 77 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Do we need to even wait for the ballots to come in? He finished his return from TJS with a 1.75 ERA across…175.0 innings. Simply incredible.

Taijuan Walker (NYM) vs WSH (ND) – 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 81 pitches.

The Mets were so far in the lead and want to have Walker available over the weekend if possible as he dominated the Nationals with splitters and heaters. I undervalued Walker a fair amount this year (3.49 ERA!) and I’m not sure where to rank him next year. I still have trouble leaning into a heater that dropped in velocity, an inconsistent splitter, and a slider that is far from elite. I’ll take some time this off-season to scrutinize Walker some more.

Alex Cobb (SF) @ SD (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 73 pitches.

Surprise! Cobb started today without warning and I feel horrible for all of y’all who didn’t have him in your lineups. That’s baseball, Suzyn. Cobb had his redemption with, oh I don’t know 15/33 whiffs on the splitter (yes, that’s downright madness) and despite getting Singled Out a bit, it’s the start that you’ve been chasing for the better portion of the season. Sure, there was a basketful of poor fortune that will get plenty of attention in the off-season, but I kinda think he’s destined for some of that with a splitter as his main weapon + an affinity for the grounder. This may be who he is.

Jake Odorizzi (ATL) @ MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 72 pitches.

Ayyyyy way to come through Odorizzi! I had lost faith after his disaster in Philly + his highly questionable performance against Natty Lite, but the fastballs were up, the splitters were down, and the Marlins played their part juuuuust right. Props to all of y’all who went for this one. Sorry again about Hudson. We haven’t gotten down to that one yet. Well, he was a Questionable Start for a reason. NICK. PLEASE.

Luis Cessa (CIN) vs CHC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 61 pitches.

I heavily debated putting Cessa in the third or bottom tier and I’m shocked it actually came through, especially when he failed to earn a single whiff on a secondary pitch. This was an odd moment in time to see Cessa starting with such frequency, I don’t think we get a whole lot more in the future.

Cal Quantrill (CLE) vs KC (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 78 pitches.

Yep, there’s your Toby of the Year. I still can’t believe it works as much as it does.

Jeffrey Springs (TB) @ BOS (L) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 46 pitches.

Ahhhh, right. The last few days of the year are the time when pitchers randomly go 46 pitches instead of a full start. Cool cool cool, totally fine with me. Yep. No, I’m not resentful at all. NOPE. NOT ME. Sidenote: Did you realize Springs ended the year with a 2.46 ERA? Crazy, eh? He’s gonna get some ridiculous love in drafts next year because of that changeup and I can’t but wonder if it’s too high of a peak to reach again.

Jésus Tinoco (TEX) vs NYY (ND) – 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 23 pitches.

It’s 2022 and we need a bullpen game every day. Them’s the rules. This included a trio of Dralla, Hearn, and Matty Moore. What a crew.

Will Vest (DET) @ SEA (ND) – 0.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 28 pitches.

I still think this is one of the better names out there. Is it a vest that has the final wishes of the deceased inside it? Is it a promise of venture capital? Or is it just some guy with a fantastic name? WHO KNOWS.

Gerrit Cole (NYY) @ TEX (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 103 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and earn a Golden GoalThat’s over 250 strikeouts on the year, #1 in the majors. Say whatever you want about being disappointed by his 3.50 ERA (stupid 1.5 HR/9) and only 13 Wins, the man gave you the strikeouts and a 1.01 WHIP, strengthened by 200+ frames. Be happy.

Ryan Feltner (COL) @ LAD (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 90 pitches.

Come on Feltner, you’re not fooling anyone. But it was against the Dodgers! Yes, yes, and you’re still on the Rockies without a legit pitch in the arsenal. FINE.

Julio Urías (LAD) vs COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 83 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Be happy you got a full five frames as many aces are not getting the same leash. Also be happy about his 2.16 ERA across 175 innings this year despite velocity concerns in the first half. Obviously I’m happy about that. Okay good, just checking.

Braxton Garrett (MIA) vs ATL (L) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.

Atlanta had their full lineup, which meant this was a start to avoid. The slider went 1/20 whiffs and it’ll likely take a significant injury next year for us to see Garrett again as the Marlins will have a rotation brimming with talent in the spring. Until then, it’s been real, Braxton.

Carlos Carrasco (NYM) vs WSH (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 73 pitches.

Meh. The slider did work but the Nats were able to foul it off a ton, while the changeup failed to earn a single whiff, going 1/13 CSW. But hey, good on him to keep his ERA just under the 4.00 mark. That’s what truly matters.

Jon Gray (TEX) vs NYY (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 79 pitches.

You likely had hesitations starting Gray here, but a PQS with a 0.67 WHIP is pretty dang good. Let’s be happy he sat 96.5 mph in his final start (not 95!) and this could have been great if he had a sharper slider. I believe health is the only thing holding back Jon from a legit breakout 2023 season and that may mean he’s drafted everywhere by me next season – it all depends on the ADP.

Eduardo Rodriguez (DET) @ SEA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 98 pitches.

PQS with a decent WHIP and seven strikeouts? Yep, I’ll take that all day. I’m still heavily skeptical of Erod but his four-seamer performed well at 42% CSW (like 2021!) and he spotted his changeup down-and-armside with consistency. He is showing a bit of the skill we envisioned in the off-season, hinting that a redemption is still a possibility next season and if everyone is giving up on it, sure, why the h*ck not in deeper leagues?

Zac Gallen (ARI) @ MIL (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 102 pitches.

Blegh. We needed just one more for the Gallen Gals. ONE MORE. The changeup was pretty rough here and I won’t let this deter me for next year – I doubt it’ll have any impact in the end given his 2.54 ERA – all coming after his shoulder stiffness in March. Aren’t you glad you ignored that for him and Wheeler?

Cory Abbott (WSH) @ NYM (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 88 pitches.

You didn’t actually start Cory, did you? I don’t want to talk Abbott it. DID YOU?!

Chris Flexen (SEA) vs DET (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 71 pitches.

This wasn’t meant to go long and I’m sorry Chris wasn’t able to go Flexen on the beach. Just the mirror for you today.

JT Brubaker (PIT) vs STL (ND) – 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 47 pitches.

It’s nice to see Coffee Cakes again, but like eating them as a lunch, you knew you weren’t going to get what you actually wanted.

Jameson Taillon (NYY) @ TEX (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 97 pitches.

Blegh. A disappointing outing from Taillon, though I liked that I saw his slider return to its prime locations and earn some whiffs. He got a bit unlucky with Adolis scoring on some smart baserunning, but it still wasn’t the best version of Taillon. I think he gets put in the Toby tier past the cliff of upside starters next year and I don’t think y’all with have any problems with that.

Josh Winder (MIN) @ CWS (L) – 2.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 69 pitches.

1/29 CSW on the four-seamer will do that to ya. But hey, the slider wasn’t bad! I wonder what the Minnesota rotation looks like at the start of next year (Maeda, Mahle, Sonny, and Paddack are all on the IL) and it’s a pretty safe bet to expect Winder out of it. There’s hope in the slider, but that’s about it.

Justus Sheffield (SEA) vs DET (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 99 pitches.

Oh hey, it’s Sheff! And there’s nothing new to regain our interest in the man. Womp womp.

Daniel Lynch (KC) @ CLE (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 92 pitches.

One day, Lynch. One day…when you get traded to another organization. One can hope…

Ranger Suárez (PHI) @ HOU (L) – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 67 pitches.

Phillies fans, welcome to your Wild Card Game #3 starter. Oh no. Oh no indeed. Nola and Wheeler better make quick work of it.

Dakota Hudson (STL) @ PIT (ND) – 2.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 67 pitches.

Yiiiiiiiiiikes. Look, I didn’t want to stream Hudson, but it seemed like a decent gamble given the circumstance and boy did this coin flip fail – remember, the nickname I gave him was The Dime. My bad, y’all, I feel for everyone who went after it. After boasting 99 streaming Wins after Saturday, I’ve since gone 0-3 and now need to rely on Adrian Sampson to get me to triple digits on Wednesday. Wish me luck, if you still have a heart.

Paolo Espino (WSH) @ NYM (L) – 0.1 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 13% CSW, 32 pitches.

Wow. Hey, I didn’t suggest streaming him, that counts for something, right?

 

Game of the Day 

Adrian Sampson vs. Graham Ashcraft – Look, everything is decided in the playoff picture, Judge hit his #62, and Pujols is far past #703, why not root for little ole me getting my #100 streaming victory of the year with Sampson? Please?

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.

Featured image 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.

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