Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Wednesday 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.
Nick Pivetta (BOS) vs HOU (W) – 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 112 pitches.
It’s been awfully difficult figuring out when to roster Nick Pivetta over the last few years and those who saw his last outing and believed despite a date against the Astros, well y’all were vastly rewarded — 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 112 pitches. Pivetta allowed a HR to lead off the game, then allowed one more hit all game including a stretch of retiring 18 straight batters. Absolutely bonkers.
I feel like this start was, oh I don’t know, four years too late. Pivetta was able to spot heaters inside the zone without hitting the heart of the plate, while his slider, changeup, and curveball constantly earned strikes at will, propelling him to the finish line. Did he get a bit of luck? Sure, you always do if you toss nine frames. But if he pitched like this next time out, would he help your teams? I believe so. The real question is his overall consistency, though, and we’ve seen the volatile nature of Pivetta throughout his career. It’s up to you if you see this + his last two outings (only 2 ER between all three!) and want to treat this like a Vargas Rule as he gets the ChiSox next. You could do far worse, especially as Pivetta deserved a lot of the success he got in this one.
Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:
Zack Wheeler (PHI) vs SD (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 97 pitches.
He’s at 96 mph with slider and fastball whiffs, helping him earn a legit share of the King Cole — that’s not a rounding tie, that’s the exact same CSW as Cole across the same 97 pitch count. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Anyway, as long as Wheeler keeps pitching like this, he’ll get his AGA label once again…but the bad news is he doesn’t get the Padres every start. If he can get close to being the same man against Atlanta & Mets next, he’ll get it for sure.
Drew Rasmussen (TB) vs DET (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 87 pitches.
Well hot dang! He had 17 whiffs with his slider and cutter again! IT WAS THE GREAT THING FROM A MONTH AGO! It lead to a Gallows Pole and a dominant five innings and…I can’t buy into it sticking after what we went through across the last three weeks. But boy do I want to be wrong. Please be dope with cutters and sliders now…PLEASE.
Marco Gonzales (SEA) @ TOR (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 86 pitches.
Are you buying now that Gonzales is a Vargas Rule now that he survived the Jays? You really should, especially with the Athletics ahead.
Max Scherzer (NYM) vs STL (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 87 pitches.
Aces gonna…take themselves out of the game with a side injury in the middle of an at-bat to Pujols. I get it Max, he was already 2-for-2 against you with a stolen base. But seriously, terrible news and we will all hold our breath until we hear more soon.
Wil Crowe (PIT) @ CHC (ND) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 33 pitches.
Looks like the Pirates are opening for Mitch Keller, who tossed 55 pitches across 2.2 frames. And none rejoiced.
Jordan Lyles (BAL) vs NYY (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 106 pitches.
Would you look at that. What’s incredibly shocking here is Lyles did this on the back of his fastballs, returning an astounding 49% CSW between 56 sinkers and four-seamers. Absolutely wild. But Nick, he only had a 35% CSW for the night. Yup. That means…His secondaries were pretty dang terrible. Oh. Yup.
Gerrit Cole (NYY) @ BAL (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 97 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. That’s a near eponymous King Cole, tied exactly with Zack Wheeler. We’d see more strikeouts here if Cole had his slider of old, but fortunately there’s a new cutter that boasted a wonderful 46% CSW and I’ll take it. He’s your clear #2 SP.
Dane Dunning (TEX) vs LAA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 90 pitches.
I’m glad to see Dunning had better sinker command in this one, though I’m not sure it means I’d spin the wheel a second time against the Angels. You don’t want to rely on 14/46 sinker called strikes to stick around — if you remember my tirade from last year, sinker called strikes are the least sticky element I see from game to game. A high number from a mediocre pitcher during a good start should scare you.
Shohei Ohtani (LAA) @ TEX (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 94 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. He keeps throwing harder, sitting 98/99 mph in this one as he hit 101 mph on the stadium gun. Madness. His slider is still excellent, while he oddly only threw two splitters in this one. Not entirely sure why (maybe he didn’t want to risk a blister? Total speculation there) but whatever, he’s dope and makes us all feel dope.
Sonny Gray (MIN) @ OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 84 pitches.
I’m glad Gray gave y’all a solid performance against the Athletics, but he earned just 2/31 breaking ball whiffs in this game. TWO. Try to tell me with a straight face that it doesn’t matter. But the line was fantas—HOW DARE YOU. But he gets Detroit next! I DON’T CA–okay, fine. You can start him. But it’s shakier than you think.
Zack Greinke (KC) vs CWS (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 100 pitches.
The White Sox aren’t great against right-handers and Greinke nearly made it through six full frames with a decent ERA and blegh WHIP. If that’s what you want (I’m not sure why you would), then Greinke will be your guy through the full year. For those of us who don’t like pitchers who are a Toby at best, go grab Chase Silseth or Alex Faedo or Jakob Junis instead.
Kevin Gausman (TOR) vs SEA (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 85 pitches.
Aces gonna face a team ready to attack his heater while the splitter only went 5/37 whiffs. A rare off night for Gausman and yet it was still just a 3.60 ERA. I take full blame for this after I placed Gausman inside the top tier. My bad, ya’ll.
Walker Buehler (LAD) vs ARI (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 91 pitches.
Aces gonna be AVG (The Ace of Very Good). I think this was a step in the right direction for Buehler, featuring 6/29 four-seamer whiffs, while his cutter and curve each did good work inside the zone. I dig this three-pitch mix with a rare slider or changeup and if he can keep missing bats with fastballs while throwing strikes with the other two, Buehler will be primed to go deep into games once again.
Lucas Giolito (CWS) @ KC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 92 pitches.
I’m thrilled to see Giolito once again, but his velocity sat at a paltry 92.8 mph and I want to see him live around 94 mph at least moving forward. This was his first game back, so fiiiine, but get it together Gio.
Jordan Hicks (STL) @ NYM (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 82 pitches.
There aren’t many more Hicks up his sleeve and I wonder why you’d choose to roster Jordan over someone like Alex Faedo these days.
Logan Webb (SF) @ COL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 97 pitches.
Let’s be happy Webb didn’t meet the same fate as Alex2 the last two nights, and be thrilled to see his slider show up as it earned seven whiffs and 32% CSW. It’s the biggest part of his game missing this year and doing that in Coors should hopefully suggest greater success at home next time out against the Mets.
Josiah Gray (WSH) @ MIA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 95 pitches.
I’d absolutely take this if I ran with Gray against the Marlins. Sure, it’s a PQS, but more like a Dusty Donut with those strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP. This was all slider — 15/45 whiffs! — as the four-seamer and curveball watched, like they were turning to their older brother to beat that Super Mario Bros. level. We all need someone to carry us at times.
Max Fried (ATL) @ MIL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 94 pitches.
Aces gonna VPQS and you better be happy with it. Nothing startling to report outside of a heater that didn’t steal strikes per usual. It happens.
Kyle Freeland (COL) vs SF (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 103 pitches.
A VPQS with eight strikeouts inside Coors? Yep, that’s a lovely night from Freeland as he earned 8/36 slider whiffs. He may be ready to be a streamer as he faces the Pirates in PNC park next.
Drew Smyly (CHC) vs PIT (L) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 89 pitches.
I get a feeling there will be a single start from Smyly that will hint at days of old with curveball whiffs galore and a heater that steals a ton of strikes. This was not that start.
Luis Garcia (HOU) @ BOS (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 81 pitches.
Fastball dropped back to down to sub 94 mph levels and the cutter was good but not great. Why must you toy with us Luis?! WHY?!
Blake Snell (SD) @ PHI (L) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 84 pitches.
Hey, he’s back! And only tossed 8 changeups! With a 44% CSW on his slider! Sadly, the heater didn’t get enough of the plate as just 53% strikes on 43 four-seamers are far from enough. It does feel like a small adjustment, though, and akin to shaking off rust in his first start of the year. I’d expect improvement against the Brewers next week.
Pablo López (MIA) vs WSH (ND) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 82 pitches.
This is because I gave you the label, isn’t it. López did the thing we feared — he didn’t have his changeup for a night (8% CSW?!?!) and everything fell apart because of it. He does this at times and let’s be glad it was only 3 ER — he always bounces back and don’t get too distraught by this. He’s still phenomenal.
Eduardo Rodriguez (DET) @ TB (L) – 0.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 23 pitches.
Eduardo left this one early with a side injury after a laborious 23 pitches. The dude just can’t catch a break.
Corbin Burnes (MIL) vs ATL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 105 pitches.
Aces gonna earn a share of the Gallows Pole and allow 2 HRs to mess up his ERA. Whatever, you’re still #1 on Monday.
Zach Davies (ARI) @ LAD (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 74 pitches.
He went against the Dodgers, did not feature his vintage changeup, and is dealing with a heavy personal matter. Not the recipe for success.
Daulton Jefferies (OAK) vs MIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 78 pitches.
Daulton, I had small hopes you were ready to be a proper Toby like your buddy Kaprielian. I guess we’ll have to wait a little longer.
Game of the Day
Zac Gallen vs. Marcus Stroman – Is it time to award Gallen the AGA? Will he have his changeup earning whiffs once again? And how will Stroman look returning from the COVID-IL? All that and more, at 7:40pm, ET.
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
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Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)