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The Strip Stakes

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

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 9 am-11 am ET.  

Ross Stripling (TOR) @ DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 74 pitches.

I wanted to give some love to Ross Stripling today as he likely helped many of you as you streamed him for his two-start week, ending the event with a 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 74 pitches outing against the Tigers. The changeup found the zone, the four-seamer elevated, and his breakers were good enough to get the job done in just 74 total pitches for the day.

I just wanted to make a note to those curious if there’s more. Hey, these were two good starts, maybe I don’t throw him back! Nah, swap him out. He’s just a streamer and gets the Yankees next where you don’t want to stash him for the Pink Laundry (White Sox, then Red Sox) after. And that’s okay. Send off a canoe and lit it on fire with an arrow if you must, but just understand that Stripling likely isn’t destined to carry more performances like this across the next few weeks. That’s the nature of the game.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

 

Robbie Ray (SEA) vs BOS (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 93 pitches.

Well I just don’t know how to feel about this. I initially wrote FINALLY, but at the same time, he went nearly 50% sinkers and I think that’s why you see the low whiff and strikeout totals. So at heart, Ray got lucky and didn’t have it paired with his normal strikeout total. Is this truly the answer? A sinker-focused approach that pounded armside? Ehhhhhhhhh, it did stop the longball…but still! I dunno, I’m cautiously happy this worked out and I so hope my assessment of Ray’s sinker is way off.

Justin Verlander (HOU) vs MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. See? That’s two starts now removed from the six earned run game. He’s right as The French Queen rain.

Carlos Rodón (SF) vs LAD (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 98 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Four-seamers confidently elevated + sliders down and inside the strike zone. It’s so nice to have the real Rodón back.

Jeffrey Springs (TB) @ MIN (W) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 94 pitches.

The dude is still killing it with four-seamers up and changeups down + sliders all around. The Orioles are next and you gotta keep going.

Kutter Crawford (BOS) @ SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 83 pitches.

Huh, well this is something. Crawford chucks four-seamers at 94.3 mph with a good cutter at 88 mph, making up about 85% of all his pitches. There was a curveball that was good early and unable to find the zone later, a slider he couldn’t command, and a rare changeup. I don’t think the four-seamer command is all that great, but the kutter did a wonderful job of staying mostly down-and-armside, allowing him to get a whole lot of outs on the pitch. It’s a little too risky with only the kutter really being a strong offering here + the Cardinals next, but I’m keeping my eye on him. Hopefully I see something taking a step forward next time that gets me excited.

Kyle Nelson (ARI) @ PHI (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 13% CSW, 15 pitches.

The dude opened for Luke Weaver who went just three frames and isn’t ready. What? HE ISN’T READY. It was still four-seamer/changeup, in case you’re curious.

Michael Kopech (CWS) vs TEX (ND) – 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 13 pitches.

Kopech left this one early with a knee injury. UUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHHH. The White Sox ran out of arms so Johnny Cueto had to toss 77 pitches, removing him from tomorrow’s outing. He gave them a chance, props to Cueto.

Cal Quantrill (CLE) vs OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 90 pitches.

It’s pretty dang hilarious how consistent Quantrill is at going six frames and 3 ER or fewer, without any legit excitement along the way. Unreal.

Jon Gray (TEX) @ CWS (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 102 pitches.

I deserved this. After his slider was meh and fastball velocity declined last time, Gray had both working here — 10/47 slider whiffs for 40% CSW and sat 96.3 mph on the heater — leading to a near King ColeOkay! Great! Now please be consistent and thrive against the Tigers next now. PLEASE. I don’t want to have to call you a Cherry Bomb.

Dean Kremer (BAL) @ KC (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 80 pitches.

Oh cool, he survived and sat a tick higher than we normally see him. I still think it ain’t enough. Soooooo yeah.

Jason Alexander (MIL) @ WSH (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 83 pitches.

I still get a kick out of the ridiculous movement on his sinker and changeup, but guys like these normally put their fates in the hands of BABIP with a high propensity for walks. So, he’s a torn piece of leather — a terrible WHIP? Yep. You don’t want that.

Paolo Espino (WSH) vs MIL (L) – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 53 pitches.

Oh dang, Paolo is back, splitting a game with Evan LeeHe had moments last year when he served as a streamer and I wonder if he can get back there. At some point, of course, because this sure ain’t it.

Taijuan Walker (NYM) @ LAA (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 97 pitches.

I sure didn’t have faith in Walker for this outing and boy did he show up. His four-seamer returned the hardest velocity of the season at 94.6 mph and his splitter went 9/31 whiffs. Even the slider was trusted for 17/22 strikes and it all went Walker’s way. I was really out on Taijuan before this one but a ten strikeout night before a start against the Marlins does make one interested again…Ugh I guess I’m okay starting him there. I still don’t trust this through the summer.

Patrick Sandoval (LAA) vs NYM (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 87 pitches.

THE CHANGEUP HATH RETURNED. Finally. Yeeeeesh, he sure made us wait a long time, but the slow ball was fantastic as the slider was still the pitch that developed across the first two months of the year. The result is a Golden Goal and you should be thrilled about it. If he has his changeup and slide piece, our Irish Panda is going to soar.

Germán Márquez (COL) @ SD (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

Ayyyy it worked! This was the start that seemed most obvious for Márquez to succeed and yet, the slider that got me intrigued from last start went just 1/15 whiffs. Nay, it was the curve that killed it, while the Padres didn’t take advantage of his heater. But who cares, rejoice! It was a somewhat predictable Márquez beneficial start and now we return to pulling our hair out trying to figure out when to start him. Or not, just don’t do it. Yay! Not doing things!

Julio Urías (LAD) @ SF (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 87 pitches.

Say whaaaaaaaaat. I didn’t think Urías had it in him anymore, but here we are, earning ten punchouts and a share of the Gallows PoleHis four-seamer and curve each returned nine whiffs, which is kinda odd given how much he floated the hook and lowered his four-seamer velocity to just 91.8 mph. I really hope this is the start of a trend and regardless of your thoughts on that possibility (it’s not super high in my book), he does get the Guardians next and that’s a clear start.

Blake Snell (SD) vs COL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 94 pitches.

Atta boy Snell, even if the WHIP is a touch high. This was a four-seamer + breakers start with a sprinkle of changeups…which returned just 1/12 CSW. Maybe that’ll teach him. It was close to the BSB of old with how well he placed four-seamers into the zone & both curve and slider each returned a 40%+ CSW. But this was Rockie Roadof course, and the same team in Coors sure isn’t the same team. Yes, I’m not editing that. I think that’s a little too risky for me, even with this encouraging outing.

Ranger Suárez (PHI) vs ARI (L) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 88 pitches.

I was thinking this could be the time that we start caring about Suárez again. It was not. Just 1/17 changeup whiffs is all you need to know. It’s baaad out here.

Kyle Wright (ATL) vs PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 79 pitches.

Hmmmm I guess a PQS isn’t so bad when it comes with a Win and seven strikeouts, but you wanted a little more against the Pirates. The curveball command wasn’t as good as he floated it and the changeup a bit too much. Come on Wright, get those secondaries like the third input of the Konami Code — DOWN.

Jameson Taillon (NYY) vs CHC (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 95 pitches.

He had a moment in the fifth with two outs where it was clear it was his final batter. I’m proud of him for getting that final out and securing the Win as Boone wasn’t going to let him go over 100 pitches, even if they had a 10-3 lead. I’m glad the four-seamer got whiffs again, but I think y’all see Taillon as someone who likely won’t land inside the Top 30 or even Top 40 this year. And that’s fine — he’s a solid Win play who shouldn’t destroy your ratios. That works.

Keegan Thompson (CHC) @ NYY (L) – 0.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 37 pitches.

Yikes. Thomspon simply didn’t have it and it made for a rough first inning. I know some are into Keegan and I’m not saying he can’t be productive in the right setting, but he generally doesn’t do enough to consider him over other options in 12-teamers or even 15-teamers. He should change his last name to Simpson, that may help.

Cole Irvin (OAK) @ CLE (L) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 80 pitches.

Awww dangit. I thought this one would work, but the Guardians had different plans. It doesn’t mean Irvin isn’t a terrible choice against the Royals next and the slight Careful, Icarus of the sixth is shifting our perspective a touch. Up to you if you want that stream later in the week.

José Quintana (PIT) @ ATL (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 92 pitches.

We didn’t expect much from Quintana against Atlanta, but I am shocked his curveball returned 10/30 whiffs. That’s a cool thing. But it didn’t matter. No. It didn’t. Sigh.

Graham Ashcraft (CIN) @ STL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 99 pitches.

Blegh. I was worried about this start against the Cardinals, but I didn’t expect Ashcraft to completely shift his approach. You see, this was a man tossing cutters and sinkers at 97 mph, with a hope that the slider would show up enough inside the zone. What we got here was a complete abandonment of the sinker, going cutter/slider instead. That doesn’t work. You need the sinker to go the opposite direction, otherwise everything goes the same way and you’re only relying on the change of speed, for the most part. I’m clearly missing something here as to why Smokey Cheese here elected to go this route, but I personally hope he reverts it next time. On the plus side, the slider did find strikes a ton so that could be something that sticks if he does.

Tarik Skubal (DET) vs TOR (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 76 pitches.

Skubal. This was supposed to be your AGA game. But nooooooooo, you just had to throw far too many pitches in y-mLoc (middle height, not low or high) and the Jays pounced like cats whenever I try to do anything productive. I’M TRYING TO WRITE THE ROUNDUP OVER HERE. Brush it off and I’ll give you another two chances for that label, but you have to be better than this — it wasn’t just the opponent that brought Skubal down here.

Cole Sands (MIN) vs TB (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 101 pitches.

Please Cole, excuse me for what I’m about to say. I never really liked Sands. It’s off course and gets you nowhere.

Edward Cabrera (MIA) @ HOU (L) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches.

Womp womp. It was the Astros, though! We had concerns after his command was wonky last time out and it didn’t seem like he’d get it together in this one. And now we have the Mets, what do you do? Hope for the best and hold for Rockie Road after? Yeah, that seems like the best plan.

Brad Keller (KC) vs BAL (L) – 1.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 58 pitches.

Oh look, another BK Whopper on your ERA. He’s a desperate streamer, nothing more.

Dakota Hudson (STL) vs CIN (L) – 7.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 95 pitches.

Hudson is coin flip regardless of opponent — it’s all about if the balls in play find gloves or like a desperate Willie Nelson, they find grass — but it’s still tough to see a six run clunker against the Reds. Two came in the seventh inning (Careful, Icarus) if that makes you feel better. It doesn’t. I know.

 

Game of the Day 

Lance Lynn vs. Detroit Tigers – I’m so glad he’s coming back. We’ve missed him.

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.

Photo from Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire | Adapted 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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