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 10 am-12 pm ET.
Ben Lively (CIN) vs STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 103 pitches.
I could rattle off many things I didn’t anticipate writing about this year, but it absolutely wasn’t an SP Roundup focus on Ben Lively and yet here we are, after he took down the Cardinals with a wonderful line of 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 103 pitches. Yes, that’s a King Cole, a Win, it’s the obvious Gold Star, and his second straight game of eight strikeouts. WHAT IS HAPPENING. Hey, that’s my line.
After two frames of escaping from damage despite fighting for command (and a heavy reliance on four-seamers and sinkers), Raggedy Anne turned back to the slider like he did in his previous start and it was fantastic across 22 pitches – 55% CSW and a 32% SwStr rate. That’s the game for Lively: set up with the fastball, beat ’em with the slider.
We’ve seen that game plan a ton across the league. Brady Singer and Anthony DeSclafani are the first who come to mind, but is Lively able to earn this many whiffs and survive with these heaters? Entering today, Lively had a 44% hard contact rate on the four-seamer and watching this game against the Cardinals, it felt awfully susceptible to damage. I wish I could tell you that these two games have opened the door for a new “must add” arm, but instead, I see a streaming option for those who need to chase a Cherry Bomb for strikeouts here and there. The Red Sox are next and with this poor four-seamer/sinker combo at the helm (only 21% sliders here), I can’t trust it to help your fantasy team.
Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:
Michael Kopech (CWS) @ CLE (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 92 pitches.
HE DID IT AGAIN. Well mostly. Kinda. 12/62 four-seamer whiffs with a 35% CSW and 96/97 mph velocity is as good as I could have hoped for. I just wish its command was a bit better as many leaked down and dashed armside as he flew open too soon – the changeup did the same. The slider wasn’t very impressive either, but hey, it worked well enough for another stud line and a share of the Gallows Pole. Now what? Well, it’s the Angels + Tigers + Marlins next. We start him? We start him – if we don’t get him now for the Angels, you won’t have those easy matchups. I’ll see you on the other side.
Adrian Houser (MIL) vs HOU (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 73 pitches.
Oh come on, not this again. It’s just sinkers and four-seamers and they aren’t particularly great. I have to give him props for living around the edges this time, though. His four-seamer was elevated and his sinker went east-west effectively. I just don’t buy that he can execute and get the good fortune to make this a worthy dice roll. Just because you hit sevens twice doesn’t mean you need to keep playing.
Bryce Miller (SEA) vs OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches.
He can’t be stopped. Well, he likely can but the Athletics weren’t gonna do it. He’s armed with one of the best fastballs in baseball and we all know the day is coming when the heater command isn’t quite there and his secondaries can’t help him, but with the way he’s gone so far, does that really matter? Surely it won’t be a long stretch of failure when that four-seamer is so good…right?
Austin Pruitt (OAK) @ SEA (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 17 pitches.
Austin opened for Ken Waldichuk, who returned 2.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks across 77 pitches. Yup, this ain’t it.
Shane McClanahan (TB) vs TOR (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 82 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. The changeup is cooking as the curve went 50% CSW. Oh McShane…
Bryce Elder (ATL) vs LAD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 101 pitches.
I can say whatever I want and Elder doesn’t care with a share of the Gallows Pole as his slider was legit. We’re talking 12/43 whiffs with a 47% CSW as it took over his entire approach. I’m still scared of the fastballs and changeup, but if his slider is this good with consistency, well then hot dang, we’re cool. It’s a Vargas Rule at the very least these days, though I never expect him to be the hottest Bryce in town.
Zack Greinke (KC) vs DET (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 91 pitches.
Hey, Greinke has a chance was facing poor lineups. The guy throws strikes and forces his opponents to deal with it. Most can, but then there are the Tigers.
Tyler Anderson (LAA) vs BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 102 pitches.
Despite not having his signature changeup, Anderson tossed a gem for the Angels with a 44% CSW four-seamer that earned 17 called strikes. It feels weird to see this success with a floated changeup, but props to Anderson for making it work. I’m not sure how much I can buy into it, though, and I’d avoid him against the Mets next time out. This isn’t his normal path to success and that irks me.
Joe Ryan (MIN) vs SF (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 107 pitches.
Aces gonna get a little beat up. His slider was non-existent (just three thrown) while the splitter was relied upon a bit too much for just 2/36 whiffs and 22% CSW. Are you worried? I’m not.
Matthew Boyd (DET) @ KC (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 86 pitches.
I told you, I’m not considering Boyd until he earns double-digit slider whiffs. Suitman whispers into my ear. HE EARNED TEN?! AT A HARDER VELOCITY?! Suitman whispers into my ear again Okay, I’ll stop yelling, I know you’re right next to me. This is the start I’ve been waiting for from Boyd as slider whiffs are what made him legit in 2019 and it’s been missing from his approach ever since. Throwing a new slider with five inches less vertical break at a harder velocity was clearly the right call and I can’t help but wonder if this paves the way for a redemption season. But he didn’t survive five frames. That’s actually a great point. Boyd isn’t suddenly golden with a solid slider – he needs the other weapons in his arsenal to do their job as well. It’s obviously too risky to bank on this after one start (and with Texas next) but hopefully it’s the start of a major trend. Deep AL-only leagues should take note.
Marcus Stroman (CHC) vs NYM (W) – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 88 pitches.
Atta boy. You pumped sinkers and curves into the zone and the Mets allowed you to earn 22 called strikes (without a single whiff) between them. Unreal. So many free early strikes. It’s why you see just two whiffs but a super efficient day at the park from Stroman and we keep starting the man.
Martín Pérez (TEX) @ PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 95 pitches.
Yup, that was what Pérez is supposed to do against the Pirates. One more for ya with the Tigers, do your thing. Go on, get to it.
Sandy Alcantara (MIA) @ COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 90 pitches.
Coors is undefeated. BUT NOT TODAY. He didn’t get a Win. YES HE DID. Oh snap. You want to see more strikeouts and you can blame everything but the sinker for their low CSW marks, with the change and slider looking a bit off at times throughout the game. Regardless, he went into Coors and helped your teams. Atta boy Sandy, still not getting AGA back yet.
Zac Gallen (ARI) @ PHI (ND) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 100 pitches.
Aces gonna…do mediocre things. He didn’t have his changeup, so Gallen adapted to use more cutters, which returned 33% CSW, but his four-seamer was the issue as it failed to steal strikes per usual. It’s a weird patch at the moment and it is what it is, but at least the velocity is still there and the curve is still well spotted down with consistency.
Tony Gonsolin (LAD) @ ATL (ND) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 88 pitches.
That’s a Philly as he nearly gave you the PQS, and while I don’t love the sub 20% CSW on the splitter, I recognize its solid locations that helped him earn outs against a great offense. I’m still more tepid on Gonsolin than most, but he should absolutely be rostered at the moment.
Johan Oviedo (PIT) vs TEX (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 95 pitches.
I gushed about Oviedo’s command last time out and this was…not that. But hey, it’s the Giants and Oakland next, surely at least one of those games will be a stud performance if he has just decent command, right?
Trevor Williams (WSH) vs SD (W) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 94 pitches.
A Philly with a Win is all you could have hoped for from T-Dubs. Way to earn your nickname tonight.
Kodai Senga (NYM) @ CHC (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 106 pitches.
I can’t express this enough. The highs of Senga are not worth the lows. Stop doing this to yourself.
Brandon Bielak (HOU) @ MIL (L) – 6.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 90 pitches.
It almost worked, but Bielak had to go all Careful, Icarus on us and allowed 2 ER in the seventh. COME ON. The changeup didn’t dominate like before, but the WHIP was strong and he had a chance for a Win before the aforementioned seventh. So it goes, and there’s a chance he makes it work against the Twins even if this one failed. It’s not something I’m seeking out, though.
Nestor Cortes (NYY) vs BAL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 89 pitches.
Cortes went 50% called strikes on the slider (YES!) and the four-seamer earned a 31% CSW. And everything was just fine through six frames…but then the seventh happened. The Orioles scored eight runs, with Cortes allowing a walk, single, and three-run shot as he was pulled before earning an out. Careful, Icarus. He was right there, y’all. So dang close. Feels like a proper buy low for that reason, especially with the breaker back, but I also have that same gut feeling that you have of “hey Nick, maybe Cortes just isn’t that good.” Nah, we ignore it and trust the numbers.
Ryan Weathers (SD) @ WSH (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 93 pitches.
He nearly pulled off the VPQS against the Nationals but it was worse. Don’t put your team at risk with Weathers on the chain.
Anthony DeSclafani (SF) @ MIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 97 pitches.
Blegh. I haven’t seen the best command from Tony Disco across the last few weeks and his breakers (a lot more curves here, by the way) weren’t all too special. We hold for one more against the Pirates at the very least and if that’s rough, I think we’re sending him back to the wire with the schedule ahead of BAL + CHC.
Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) @ TB (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 86 pitches.
Tyler Wells (BAL) @ NYY (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 95 pitches.
Eight strikeouts are eight strikeouts as Wells has done the wise thing of ensuring his four-seamers stay elevated and missing more up-and-out of the zone rather than letting it leak down. It does leak down sometimes, but not nearly to the extent that it’s severely detrimental. No, that would be the cutter as he laid ’em up in the middle of the zone and they were promptly swatted. Kinda interesting to say that Wells pitched pretty well save for those few pitches and the Vargas Rule continues on, especially with CLE + @SFG + KCR up next.
Ranger Suárez (PHI) vs ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 85 pitches.
Blegh. The third inning messed up Suárez, but otherwise, this was a solid affair with decent cutters, sinkers, and changeups. The ERA looks bad because of that four-run third, but he may be close to that stretch we see from him once a year.
Karl Kauffmann (COL) vs MIA (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 82 pitches.
I feel like Karl won’t succeed unless he pitches for Kansas City. This is likely the only time I’ve ever said this. What about regarding Greinke? Okay FINE.
James Paxton (BOS) @ LAA (L) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 59 pitches.
Noooooooo. Paxton had been so effective with his heater inside the zone in his first two games, but his four-seamer dropped a tick to 95/96 instead of 96/97 as it went 0/35 whiffs. He wasn’t as “hey, hit THIS” as he was in his previous games, though he actually avoided the heart of the plate super well. The curve and cutter let him down once again, though, and this time it actually hurt with the fastball failing to overwhelm on its own. Blegh. I’m not giving up here at all, though, and I imagine the fastball feel will return as he gains confidence against the Reds (in Fenway) and the Guardians. I’m still very much in here.
Cal Quantrill (CLE) vs CWS (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 64 pitches.
Ouch. It was the same Quantrill we know and forget about and say “Oh right, him” but the ChiSox were able to tag him and lay off the inside pitches. So it goes. If you’ve had him rostered, I don’t think you’re letting go now, but I would only consider him as a streamer. You don’t need to hold on.
Steven Matz (STL) @ CIN (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches.
WE WANT LIBERATORE. He’s already here. WE WANT HIM TO STICK AROUND. Okay, but isn’t he kinda…middling? WE WANT LIBERATORE TO PITCH EVERY FIVE DAYS AND BE A LITTLE BETTER THAN HE HAS BEEN. Sure.
Game of the Day
JP Sears vs Logan Gilbert – I want the whiffs from both of these guys. Gonna be wonderful.
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
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Nick hitting us with the Gonsolin cliffhanger 😩❤️
I’m going to be waiting all morning until the PPP for the conclusion of that thought.
1.97 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 75ks, 8 wins; it’s time to make Shane #1
Thought the same thing, Nick I hope you’re reading this. McShane ready to elevate. Don’t forget that he has 8 QS as well.
Only ONE start all year in which he didn’t get a QS or a win and that was back on May 19. Ranked #10 overall compared to #37 for Cole as of today.