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He’s Back Flaherty

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Wednesday.

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.  

Jack Flaherty (STL) vs PIT (ND) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 60 pitches.

Wednesday marked the second time this week we had a season debut from a Top 20 SP in Jack Flahertywho produced 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 60 pitches in his return against the Pirates. Not the fanfare you were hoping for, was it.

We knew he would be limited to about 60 pitches, but we didn’t expect his heater to sit 1.5 ticks down and feature mediocre command in the middle of the zone. His slider was good, not great, and he fought the curve to flip it over the plate. Overall, this was…meh. Like Lynn, I’m giving Flaherty a bit of a pass and expect this to be part of the process of shaking off rust, but I can’t sit here and tell you Flaherty is all good and ready to go, especially with just 60 pitches to his name Wednesday evening. It spells out a 4-5 inning start of ~75 pitches against the Brewers next and given how Flaherty isn’t quite at full strength yet, you may want to consider keeping him in your IL spot one more week if you can.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

 

Daniel Castano (MIA) @ PHI (ND) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 105 pitches.

Say whaaaat. And he would have had a Win too if it weren’t for a walk-off three-run shot. His cutter messed up the Phils all start, hanging glove-side for the night and finding outs. This was a Birthday Party and nothing more, y’all. As a fill-in for Pablo López, he shouldn’t even be here today.

Tyler Anderson (LAD) vs LAA (W) – 8.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 123 pitches.

Last night we had Mikolas going one strike away from a no-hitter, here we had Anderson lose it to Ohtani with one out in the ninth. Unreal. The changeup was magic (9/41 whiffs, 37% CSW), the four-seamer and cutter got outs, and he even spooked Trout with a slider at the top of the zone for a called strike three. Props to Anderson and I’m stoked this ride is still continuing. Will it last the full year? Probably not. I doubt you’d get a whole lot on the trade market for him, though, so just let it ride, let it ride.

Sonny Gray (MIN) @ SEA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 65 pitches.

This was a Still ILL in my book as we had no idea how long the Twins would allow Gray to go for, let alone how his breakers would look after his absence. Well, I’m glad to report I was wrong as Gray excelled in five frames against the Mariners and earned 35% CSW on his curveball. That said, curves + sliders returned just 16/32 strikes (50% = bad) and I’d have a touch of concern against the Guardians next time out — he’s not even fully stretched out yet!

Josh Winckowski (BOS) vs OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 79 pitches.

I bet the Sawx wish they had forty Wincks on their roster. I kid, the man tosses a 94/95 mph sinker and a decent slider, but not a whole lot else and it’s destined to fall apart…but he does get the Tigers next…nah, I don’t think I’d even do that.

Sam Long (SF) vs KC (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 44 pitches.

Oh hey, it’s Long again. Remember his moment in the spotlight last season? So wild. Anyway, everyone is ignoring and, well, pointing at his stat lineyou can see why. Why? He only tossed 44 pitches, yeeeesh. IT’S RIGHT THERE.

Vince Velasquez (CWS) @ DET (ND) – 2.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 41 pitches.

Ah, a bullpen game by design, with Davis Martin following for an uneventful…5.1 IP on just 58 pitches?! Seriously?! Crazy to see 16 outs on five whiffs, but here we are. Props to ya, I guess? These aren’t the arms you want.

Kyle Gibson (PHI) vs MIA (ND) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 89 pitches.

What a stellar performance from Gibson, once again on the back of his slider going 38% CSW. This is what Gibson can do against poor offenses and he may be able to pull it off against the Rangers next time, too.

Marco Gonzales (SEA) vs MIN (L) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 90 pitches.

Great bounce back here from Gonzo in a start I didn’t expect to go well, especially with the Twins swinging a mighty stick. The changeup was everything — six whiffs, 33% CSW, 9/10 outs in play — though he did a solid job spotting cutters and sinkers as well. This was good Marco and you’d think it would carry well into a start against Oakland. You would think.

Luis Garcia (HOU) @ TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 92 pitches.

The velocity didn’t return for Garcia’s fastball and he tossed just seven sliders. That’s disappointing to me…but the changeup showed up in a major way — 38% CSW! — and the cutter was as brilliant as ever while the four-seamer was still a great offering. So I guess this is still fine n all, I just wish it was in a way that I WANT IT TO BE. Is that so much to ask? Yes, obviously. FINE.

Shane McClanahan (TB) @ NYY (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 98 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. So this isn’t entirely fair as he allowed a two-out three-run shot in the sixth, but it was unearned and who cares, I guess. NOT ME. His stuff is still so legit — 11/33 called strikes on his curve is WICKED — and he even pushed up his four-seamer velocity to 97.4 mph here. Amazing.

Nestor Cortes (NYY) vs TB (W) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 91 pitches.

Hmmmmm. This really wasn’t all that great from Cortes, leaning awfully heavily on his four-seamer in the zone to get outs and we’re all glad it did. The cutter and slider left a bit to be desired and I need help to shake the feeling that the magic wearing off. Is the fastball actually that good?

Zac Gallen (ARI) vs CIN (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 104 pitches.

It’s about dang time we had a start where the changeup, curve, and four-seamer all worked in tandem. I still want the cutter to do better than, oh I don’t know, zero for sixteen whiffs, but steps, not leaps.

Corbin Burnes (MIL) @ NYM (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 97 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. That’s why you’re SP #1. Not to be the absolute best every night, but to always provide a fantastic outing. That’s what’s up.

Spencer Strider (ATL) @ WSH (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 24 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 106 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! We were banking on Isildur’s heir succeeding against the Pirates, but 11 strikeouts and a Gallows Pole against the Nationals?! Both his heater and slider earned double-digit whiffs, plus he even went 2/4 whiffs on the slowball because why not. The stat that matters most for Strider is strike rate and a 67% strike rate on four-seamers +  a 68% rate on his slider is everything you want. It’s kinda hard to hate on this at all and you have no choice but to start him against the Giants and hope he keeps it going. This is all kinds of fun.

Konnor Pilkington (CLE) @ COL (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 69 pitches.

I guess that’s okay? I expected the worst from Pilkington with a start in Coors where he’d act like a dunce abroad and the fact he allowed only two earned runs is a marvel. Still, it doesn’t do a whole lot for us to buy into Pilkington in any way and starting him against the Twins seems like masochism.

Jonathan Heasley (KC) @ SF (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.

After seven innings of dominance, sadly Heasley didn’t continue the trend against the Giants. The 95 mph velocity is still down to 93.7 and there ain’t much else to enjoy. I wouldn’t start him against the Angels.

José Berríos (TOR) vs BAL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 86 pitches.

HE IS THE GREAT UNDULATER. That’s a King Cole with a lovely WHIP and eight strikeouts, lowering his season ERA to 4.65 and WHIP to 1.24, if you can believe it. He’s beginning to believe. There’s a chance the ERA is too shot to make it back to sub 3.90 levels, but it wasn’t about that. It was about Berríos being the same guy we expected him to be after his rough start against the Yankees on May 11th. Since then? About a 3.60 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. Yep, that’s the man we’ve been looking for.

Luis Castillo (CIN) @ ARI (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 110 pitches.

Ayyy a game with a sub 1.00 WHIP for Castillo! Sure, the ERA is one run too many, but he elevated four-seamers again and rained changeups and sliders across the zone. I really hope that four-seamer approach sticks for the future — it’s awesome and with better secondary command, it could spell dominance.

Erick Fedde (WSH) vs ATL (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 111 pitches.

Remember kids, Don’t Trust The Feddes.

Roansy Contreras (PIT) @ STL (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 85 pitches.

Blegh. That’s a pair of rough outings for Contreras and you’re beginning to doubt. His four-seamer was terribly commanded, while the slider simply couldn’t hit its spot down-and-gloveside. Nevertheless, it’s the Cubs next and I’d give him another shot there. Sure, if the command is this bad again, that’s not a recipe for success, but he’s been better than this and the Cubs shouldn’t punish him dearly for his mistakes.

David Peterson (NYM) vs MIL (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 73 pitches.

Womp womp. I had an inkling of hope Peterson would have his slider working here, but it didn’t do enough with just 25% CSW and 50% strikes. That ain’t it. He gets Miami next and that seems like far too much of a risk.

Ryan Weathers (SD) @ CHC (ND) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 89 pitches.

Despite being stretched out in the minors, Weathers wasn’t sharp in Triple-A and it carried over in his return to the majors. I’m shocked to see the slider get as many whiffs as it did — 7/28 is a major improvement from last year — but I wouldn’t lean on this in any way, even with the “improved” breaker.

Reid Detmers (LAA) @ LAD (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 83 pitches.

The dude actually got some slider whiffs. FINALLY. He tossed it 26 times for 31% usage, when he normally just goes four-seamer/curve. Huh. It wasn’t stellar locations for the sweeper and the four-seamer got smacked around and the curveball didn’t do a whole lot, but…huh. If Detmers can experiment a few more games with that slider, Carl Weathers would say we may have ourselves a stew going.

Austin Gomber (COL) vs CLE (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 89 pitches.

Gomber has been in a funk and a start at home wasn’t destined to fix it. Maybe he should be a little more extreme to get the funk out. Those of you who get that joke, I like you. Those of you who didn’t, don’t worry, you’re cool, too.

Caleb Kilian (CHC) vs SD (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 0 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 86 pitches.

Yikes. I watched his MLB debut and thought his command was kinda wonky, but I wanted to believe it was because of jitters as his minor league command was apparently a major skill of his. Welp, this was all kinds of atrocious and you should likely cross Kilian off your watch list. what about Rolex? Nah, they’re cool.

James Kaprielian (OAK) @ BOS (L) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 6 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 94 pitches.

He’s a Toby and friends don’t let friends start Tobys against the Red Sox.

Bruce Zimmermann (BAL) @ TOR (ND) – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 80 pitches.

Well, yeah. BZ ain’t gettin’ Biz-zee with, I dunno, stuff and it meant the Jays would run all over him. Not sure what else you want from me.

Tyson Miller (TEX) vs HOU (L) – 0.2 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 39 pitches.

Miller is a low arm-angle, cross-body chucker who has oh-so-little command of his stuff. He’s more like PSYCH Tyson.

Alex Faedo (DET) vs CWS (L) – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 80 pitches.

Oh dear. I didn’t think Faedo carried this kind of floor, but this was bad as he made a whole lot of mistakes inside the zone and his slider went just 3/33 whiffs. Sigh. At least it’s Boston next so you have zero temptation to start him there.

Game of the Day 

Aaron Ashby vs. Tylord Megill – Well ain’t this a fun mash of two of my favorite gents.

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.

  • Francis says:

    I really don’t get how you are so excited about guys like Strider — who looks great, but you are a wet blanket when talking about Tyler Anderson. Anderson’s statcast is better in every regard except for fb velo. LAD are equal if not better than ATL in terms of win prob. Anderson will not have limits on his use. It’s a head scratcher.

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