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Kevin’s BACON

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Thursday 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.  

Kevin Gausman (TOR) vs BAL (L) – 2.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 53 pitches.

You’re worried about Kevin GausmanYou’re not? Why not? The man allowed 2.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 53 pitches to the Orioles today (7/12 hits on balls in play, i.e. a .583 BACON is obnoxiously high) and hasn’t been a stud for a little while now. In this one, his four-seamer came in low of all places, his splitter rarely fell under the zone, and his slider was…around like that third cousin who you’re not actually sure is related to you. This isn’t the man we signed up for.

Is something wrong? I’m not sure. His velocity was up a full tick here and would suggest good health, but maybe the blisters he’s discussed before are turning up, preventing him from locating properly. I’d imagine Gausman makes whatever tweak he needs to make and gets back on track, unless there actually is some injury hiding here. I’m not fretting and don’t think his stuff has changed enough to warrant a sell-low situation.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

 

Beau Brieske (DET) vs TEX (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 94 pitches.

I’m glad it worked against Texas, but it’s Boston next and there’s no reason to hold him for that. Seriously, it worked here but he’s not this good.

Shohei Ohtani (LAA) @ SEA (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. The slider was the main offering once again at 37% CSW and 41% usage while the four-seamer went up as high as 99.4 mph. You love to see it.

Clarke Schmidt (NYY) vs TB (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 50 pitches.

With Luis Severino scratched with a non-COVID illness, Schmidt and the Yankee bullpen stepped up for 1 ER across the game. Cool. Don’t expect to see many innings from Schmidt as a starter this year unless something major happens.

Jalen Beeks (TB) @ NYY (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 23 pitches.

The Rays went with a bullpen game and it worked out in their favor. Yay.

Martín Pérez (TEX) @ DET (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 91 pitches.

So the stat line looks like Pérez hath returned, though his cutter and sinker did get a bit more of the plate than I’d like. I can’t help but think this was a touch of Blame it on the Tigers, though the changeup was excellent and he did execute a fair amount of sinkers. It’s a real test next time against the Phils and I’m worried about it. Likely bottom of my Probable Tier given how good this run has been.

Zack Wheeler (PHI) @ WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 86 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Yes I’m upset he only earned four whiffs and three strikeouts despite the elite ratios. No we’re not going to talk about it, he’s obviously not going to do that again. But he sat 95 mph instead of 96-97. I SAID WE’RE NOT GONNA TALK ABOUT IT.

Triston McKenzie (CLE) @ COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 93 pitches.

Whoaaaa, he survived Coors?! With a share of the Gallows Pole?! I’m impressed, Triston. He did it as you’d expect in Coors via four-seamers instead of breakers, especially surprising when it sat a tick down here. I’m happy for you and your reward is a date with the Twins. Say what. I don’t make the rules, I think I’m still gonna start you, though. Don’t let us down.

Tyler Wells (BAL) @ TOR (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 86 pitches.

Sure didn’t expect this start from Wells. He avoided the center of the plate, hugged his sliders glove-side and changeups armside, and made it work. Enjoy the Birthday Party fella.

Paul Blackburn (OAK) @ BOS (W) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 98 pitches.

That WHIP buuuurns but you shockingly earned a Win against the Sawx with just 1 ER. He’s a Toby thick and thin and I’m proud of him for tonight. Normally it’s just PB & OK.

Joe Musgrove (SD) @ CHC (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 106 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I think Musgrove was a little upset he wasn’t in the top tier, so he earned himself a Golden GoalCongrats, buddy, it’s the Cubs.

George Kirby (SEA) vs LAA (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.

Ayyyy solid outing from Kirby as he earned a share of the Gallows PoleIt shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the whiffs came mostly from his four-seamer that went 12/51 whiffs, but at least the hook did a good job finding strikes at a 60% rate. The slider…did not find the zone with 3/13 for a 23% clip. We want triple that number. TRIPLE. Whatever, the four-seamer is still excellent and allows Kirby to have nights like these even when the slider isn’t what it should be. And now he gets the Athletics? Beautiful.

Chad Kuhl (COL) vs CLE (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 95 pitches.

Kuhl’s made it work with a good slider and a sinker for called strikes, though it’s a bit of a Dusty Donut with that 1.80 WHIP. Now he gets the Marlins on the road and ugggggh, I guess that’s reasonable? He feels too much like a Cherry Bomb for my liking.

Patrick Corbin (WSH) vs PHI (L) – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 84 pitches.

Lots of unearned runs here and just more disaster for Corbin. Poor guy, this is so dang rough.

Rich Hill (BOS) vs OAK (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 82 pitches.

Awwww dangit. He had some trouble in the third as his curveball returned just a 10% CSW across 29 pitches. I wish I could tell you that I’m totally out now buuuuuuuut it’s the Tigers next. The Tigers! That’s another questionable start as we all know that can work.

Aaron Ashby (MIL) @ NYM (ND) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 79 pitches.

Awwwww. The fifth frame ultimately knocked out Ashby as his command still has its wrinkles. The bad news is it’s St. Louis + Toronto across the next two starts now and the constant indecisiveness is going to hurt. I really hope he brings his best in that outing versus the Cardinals. WE NEED THIS. You can drop Ashby if you really need the spot, though I imagine the ceiling will be at least be flirted with this summer. Update: Ashby was pulled early with forearm tightness. Oh no. NO NO NO NO NO.

Matt Swarmer (CHC) vs SD (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 86 pitches.

Womp womp. I was hoping Swarmer’s slider would still be good enough and while it did its job mostly (37% CSW, 8/41 whiffs), the four-seamer is simply too dang hittable. We’re done here.

Tylor Megill (NYM) vs MIL (ND) – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 72 pitches.

Ouch. Megill at a whopping 96.6 mph and hit 99 (woot!) and he cruised through three innings before a solo shot, two hits and a walk in the fourth led to four runs (three allowed by the bullpen). Blegh. He’s stretched out further now, though, and with that velocity and a slider that does get whiffs, I’m still aboard the Megill train. Update: Megill left this game early with shoulder discomfort. NOOOOOOOOOOOO. WHAT IS THIS GAME.

 

Game of the Day 

Eric Lauer vs. Hunter Greene I hope we see Lauer with his velocity and breakers back, while I’d love for the Greene light to stay lit.

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 by Gerry Angus/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.

  • Scott Matyas says:

    No mention of Ashby or Megill both leaving in the middle of innings with injury…forearm for Ashby and shoulder for Ty-lord. Have to imagine that each of these guys hit the IL, just hope it’s nothing too serious!

  • Jeff Davis says:

    Spin rates for Gaus have been down his last two starts comparable to season average, with the split being down 165rpm last night.

    Something isn’t feeling right. Could be a blister issue, or some other small thing he has to work through but overall I think he figures it out.

  • Ben L says:

    Not sure I agree with the “Birthday Party” tag on Tyler Wells. He is clearly getting lucky and I buy that he ‘isn’t that good’ but look at his game log… 7/10 starts 2 ER or fewer and the other 3 starts 3 ER. He has been steady and it’s looking like Baltimore has a little bit of pixie dust to sprinkle on their SPs this year. It will crater at some point but the results have been good all year to this point.

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