Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Sunday 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.
Merrill Kelly (ARI) vs BOS (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 108 pitches.
This is getting ridiculous. Merrill Kelly, the Toby poster boy is absolutely killing it this season, continuing his phenomenal 2023 campaign with 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 108 pitches against the Red Sox. That’s now a 2.83 ERA on the season, improving on his already fantastic 26% strikeout rate, and keeping his WHIP near 1.05. It can’t last forever, his walk rate is near 10%! His BABIP is .252! I know, and yet here we are.
Once again, I’m loving his changeup command, opening the door for cutters and four-seamers to skirt into the zone for 17 called strikes. That’s been the gameplan all year (well, the cutter moreso being a .190 BABIP and 15% hard contact offering) and you should be thrilled to see that it came with more punchouts than usual tonight.
I feel weird calling it Vargas Rule as Kelly should be fine at the backend of your staff once this all slows down, but we should all be on the same page that it’s highly unlikely Kelly performs at this level for the next four months. Hey, it could happen. No, not really. But still.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
José Berríos (TOR) @ MIN (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 94 pitches.
Ohhhhh dang, he’s legit found the groove. Once again, it’s sinkers for called strikes (31% clip), curves (and now changeups, too!) for whiffs, and four-seamers in the upper half at times when they won’t do a lot of hurt. But he had five walks. Yeah, I see that. I think Berríos is doing a good job of not giving in with fastballs now, which means there will be a bit of a learning curve that will increase the walks just a bit. But this is a much better man than we saw last year and in April. I’m starting to believe The Great Undulator is losing the wind in its banner. I’ve jinxed him, haven’t I? You’ve definitely jinxed him. Welp, it’s been fun.
Eury Pérez (MIA) @ LAA (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 79 pitches.
His 97 mph velocity turned into 98.3 mph in this one as everything was up over a tick. Sadly, it didn’t come with precision as I saw him lose batters with curves and changeups, while the fastball was hyucked around the zone. This wasn’t the Pérez we dream of and we should be thankful it wasn’t rougher than this. The good news: Oakland + ChiSox are next. Let’s go.
MacKenzie Gore (WSH) @ KC (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 106 pitches.
HOT DANG, LOOK AT YOU! That’s a Gallows Pole and tonight’s clear Gold Star despite the luscious matchup – we knew there was a chance for a solid outing, but not this. As we got a hint of last time, Gore has found his slider, going 11/29 whiffs and 45% CSW, while the four-seamer pounded the zone and the curve was near 60% strikes. I’m so very here for this iteration of Gore, but I can’t help but feel like I’m a broken record. There have been multiple roundups where I’ve said the same thing, only for him to regress in his very next outing. Oh and look, it’s the Phils + Atlanta + Astros + Cardinals up next. If he pitches like this, he’ll succeed. If he relapses at all, it’ll be rough. I so hope this is the breakout, just pound the zone with heaters and get that slider down-and-gloveside regardless of handedness.
Kyle Bradish (BAL) vs TEX (ND) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 85 pitches.
Oh sweet, he had a decent curveball and earned ten outs with his breakers. There’s some temptation to start him against the Giants and Royals next, but I encourage you to reconsider. The stuff just isn’t that good.
Eduardo Rodriguez (DET) vs CWS (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 100 pitches.
The cutter is back and things are fine again. Phew. Doesn’t mean he’s a lock for dominance against Atlanta in ten days, but we should be fine against Arizona next time out.
Marco Gonzales (SEA) vs PIT (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 90 pitches.
Ayyyyy it worked! Now ignore him as he gets the Rangers. But yay! Streams!
Cristian Javier (HOU) @ OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 88 pitches.
Oh dear. I know, it wasn’t bad, but this was the Athletics. Javier struggled mightily with the slider (45% strike rate is terrible with so many wasted breakers) and the fastball needed the extra help. So it goes.
Ken Waldichuk (OAK) vs HOU (ND) – 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 44% CSW, 16 pitches.
Waldy has been converted to opener for Luis Medina, who went 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks across 86 pitches. Womp womp. He was a desperate PQS play and the slider + curve let him down with sub 50% strike rates on both. He’s worth consideration against the Brewers + Marlins next as a deep option as I’d anticipate the breakers to be better.
Patrick Sandoval (LAA) vs MIA (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 89 pitches.
Despite getting the Marlins, you got a 1.67 WHIP and just two strikeouts. Four whiffs total?! 0/11 changeup CSW?! There has to be a better way.
Spencer Strider (ATL) vs PHI (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 102 pitches.
Aces gonna ace and earn a Golden Goal because of course he did. The man is something else and it’s so wonderful.
Daniel Lynch (KC) vs WSH (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 95 pitches.
You’re back! With a new slider! It’s more of a sweeper now with less drop and more horizontal movement, but just 23% CSW should tell you that there’s still work to be done. I don’t hate this, even if I don’t trust the changeup to keep earning a 33% CSW, and there may be some streaming value with Rockie Road next. Let me be clear – it’s a gamble and not one I’d take in 12-teamers. I do recognize that there is upside in that slider and change if he’s suddenly consistent with them both.
Jordan Montgomery (STL) @ CLE (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 91 pitches.
Ehhhhh, did you really have to give us a 1.60 WHIP against the Guardians? The Bear has failed to cruise with his curve and change in a given night for a bit and it’s all kinds of annoying. You get the Pirates + Reds next, get it together.
Bailey Ober (MIN) vs TOR (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 95 pitches.
Yeah, we love this. Oberizzi had his four-seamer cruising at 12 whiffs while he splattered the top third of the zone and the Jays didn’t have a good answer for it. There’s another level to hit once the slider and changeup become super reliable (at least it was 9/14 CSW on the change here!), but as long as that four-seamer cooks, he’ll eat.
Cody Bradford (TEX) @ BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 78 pitches.
Hey, this had some pretty cool pitch separation from Bradford, but at the end of the day, it’s 90 mph heaters relying on spotting his slider and change to get by. You should be chasing someone else, who doesn’t have three first names.
Graham Ashcraft (CIN) @ CHC (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.
Ehhhhhh, I guess I’ll take the Win and six strikeouts? Ashcraft has completely axed the sinker over his last few starts and I can’t say it’s been the best of changes. Until he’s able to wield his cutter like Burnes, Ashcraft is going to make managers very frustrated.
Luis Ortiz (PIT) @ SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 99 pitches.
Blegh. The slider was great overall at 47%, but he couldn’t execute when it mattered. I’m more intrigued than I thought I’d be and I wonder if he can learn from Velasquez and turn that 36% slider up to the 50% mark. Be careful against the Cardinals and Mets next.
Hunter Gaddis (CLE) vs STL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 76 pitches.
For some starts, things go exactly as they should. This is the story of one of those starts.
Colin Rea (MIL) vs SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 90 pitches.
I had a small hope this one would work out and if you streamed Rea, you’ll take that rough ERA for a Win and sub 1.00 WHIP. I still don’t like what Rea brings to the table and @CIN + BAL has me turning away. But hey, this was decently cool. Like someone randomly wearing a Lei at the gym. I guess that’s kinda cool.
Tylor Megill (NYM) @ COL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 81 pitches.
Coors + Megill, name a more predictable duo.
Dylan Cease (CWS) @ DET (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 102 pitches.
The Tigers. Really. His slider wasn’t there once again and he’s a cat in water wishing there was a fish out of water when that happens, forcing him to rely too heavily on his four-seamer and curve. He gets the Tigers again + Miami, surely he’ll get the slider back…right? It feels like a proper buy-low as he’s gotta get that signature pitch back.
Tanner Houck (BOS) @ ARI (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 76 pitches.
Womp womp. I don’t think the command was that far off from the bliss we saw last time out, but he didn’t trust the splitter and his sinker feel wasn’t there. It could have gone in his way, though, and he got beat up early before settling down for nine straight retired batters. Can’t say I love the Rays + Yankees next, though, and treat him as a Cherry Bomb play with a little more emphasis on the bomb.
Gerrit Cole (NYY) vs SD (W) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 100 pitches.
Oh great, add another pair of home runs to the list. At least the 1.17 WHIP, the nine strikeouts, and the Win are all welcome, but I hate seeing that 2.01 ERA climb to 2.93 in two starts. The pain.
Drew Smyly (CHC) vs CIN (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.
Noooooooo. He executed the BSB to near perfection, but the hung curveballs and low sinkers got him good. It may be a bit of bad luck, but then you notice the six whiffs and you know his stuff was lacking. Was it a Vargas Rule and we deny him against the Padres? Nah, I let him fly. The overall command was still pretty fantastic.
Dylan Covey (PHI) @ ATL (L) – 0.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 13% CSW, 30 pitches.
Ah. More interesting was Jeff Hoffman making an appearance for 41 pitches after Covey’s disaster. At least he still has a good slider after all these years. Good for him.
Austin Gomber (COL) vs NYM (ND) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 69 pitches.
Gomber has a touch of intrigue if he were to ever leave Colorado and you can absolutely ignore him otherwise.
Alex Cobb (SF) @ MIL (L) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 95 pitches.
Oh dear. His splitter went 50% strikes, resulting in more sinkers and curveballs than usual and he left plenty of his pitches thigh-high that got clobbered by the Brew Crew. If Cobb isn’t going 30%+ CSW on the splitter, it’s gonna be a bad time. Up to you if you want to keep flipping that coin.
Yu Darvish (SD) @ NYY (L) – 2.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 63 pitches.
Darvish literally used nine different pitches according to Savant and it just didn’t matter. Kinda like how Darvish performs as he does regardless of opponent. He can make them go this way and that way at different speeds and at the end of the day, he leaves too many pitches over the plate and bad things happen. It’s what makes him the premium Cherry Bomb and likely never to get the AGA label again.
Gavin Stone (LAD) @ TB (ND) – 2.0 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 57 pitches.
All I see is Bobby Miller getting a longer leash. Maybe one of those cool blue leather ones.
Josh Fleming (TB) vs LAD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 8 ER, 12 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 86 pitches.
We’re done now, yeah? No more of this. Also, I can’t remember the last time I saw a pitcher allow 14 baserunners in a game. That’s gotta wear down Fleming’s soul and I feel for him.
Game of the Day
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
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