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Understanding The Grayscale

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

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

Jon Gray (TEX) @ CLE (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 97 pitches.

2022 has not been kind to Jon GrayI held excitement for him entering the season, but injuries mixed with inconsistent performances have led to today’s 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 97 pitches outing against the Guardians and we don’t know what to do. His velocity was a little down from last time (0/41 whiffs on four-seamers!) and his slider wasn’t nearly the effective breaker we’ve seen flashes of in previous starts. This wasn’t pretty.

It’s starting to feel like a coin-flip each start and despite two good matchups ahead — White Sox & Tigers — Gray couldn’t come through here against Cleveland, making him incredibly risky in both ahead. I guess I led with him today to say it’s not a lock for failure as I can imagine Gray having himself a grand day at the park for both, but if you want to pass outright, by all John means. It’s up to you to spin the wheel or not.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

 

Yu Darvish (SD) vs NYM (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 100 pitches.

Darvish does whatever he wants, regardless of the opponent. That’s just the way it is. Yu do Yu. I’m super happy this one worked, though. Good Darvish is a great thing.

Jeffrey Springs (TB) vs STL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 92 pitches.

I was worried about the Cardinals, but still placed Springs in the second tier and it worked out well. He executed the BSB a bit and let’s hope it sticks for the Twins next.

Alek Manoah (TOR) @ KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 90 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Absolutely not the prettiest start from Manoah — two whiffs?! ZERO on 34 four-seamers?! — but the man found a way to give you six scoreless. Sorry about your WHIP, though. It didn’t make it.

Graham Ashcraft (CIN) vs ARI (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 76 pitches.

Ayyyyy it worked! Ashcraft went about 55% strikes with his slider with some whiffs along the way, paired with a cutter that sat 98 mph. He’s Rasmussen 2.0 if he can keep tossing strikes with the breaker…but can you throw just a few more next time? K thx. I’d be careful trusting him against the Cardinals next time out.

Michael Kopech (CWS) vs LAD (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 98 pitches.

Whoaaaaa I can’t say I expected this. Kopech sat a tick harder and overwhelmed with his four-seamer, ditched the curveball, and got his slider over the plate a decent amount of the time. That four-seamer though, man, the guy just reared back and chucked it over the plate as the Dodgers simply couldn’t do anything about it. I’m not kidding, this is insaneI think I’m okay with this version of Kopech and I’m crossing my fingers it sticks against the Rangers.

Mitch White (LAD) @ CWS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 69 pitches.

I had some hope for White here, but I was too scared of his four-seamer to make a move here. The pitch ended with a paltry 19% CSW after all, but was able to find gloves instead of grass as the strong breakers carried the load, creating a productive outing despite a limited pitch count. I applaud Mitch, but it’s the end of the line with Clayton Kershaw’s return on the horizon. What a glorious sight it is. Sorry Mitch, it ain’t your time.

Dakota Hudson (STL) @ TB (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 94 pitches.

The great coin-flip actually returned some strikeouts for once, thanks to his slider waking up for 8/34 whiffs. Wild (he wasn’t). He gets the Reds next and I guess we’re letting this ride.

Justin Verlander (HOU) vs SEA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 108 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. The curveball really took a step forward here with 30% usage and a 44% CSW, allowing Verlander to be a bit more aggressive with the slider. You love to see it.

Edward Cabrera (MIA) vs WSH (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 99 pitches.

You picked up Cabrera for this start and I’m glad it worked out. It wasn’t the ideal version of Cabrera with just 24% CSW on the slowball and his curveball is still struggling to find the zone…and so was his four-seamer…and sinker…Cabrera, I think you have a command issue that you need to iron out pretty quickly — THE ASTROS ARE COMING.

Jason Alexander (MIL) vs PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 78 pitches.

This dude and his ridiculous sinker movement still blows my mind. The HAISTBMBWT?! is no shock to me, but the 1.80 WHIP and just 1 ER? Now that’s just some good ole sinker movement earning outs. Don’t expect to see him back for a good while.

Kyle Wright (ATL) vs OAK (W) – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 105 pitches.

That’s a Golden Goal for Wright as his curveball carved up the Athletics lineup via 44% CSW and 10/39 whiffs. Far better curveball and four-seamer command here, but the changeup and sinker were a bit…fortunate. Maybe it’s his stuff, maybe it’s the Athletics, maybe I don’t care because the Pirates are next.

Ranger Suárez (PHI) @ MIL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 92 pitches.

Say what now. Suárez finally came through for fantasy squads despite his changeup still failing to get whiffs. I’d say he commands his stuff decently well, though, living on the edges and keeping batters off-balance. It could be the start of a trend, making his next start against the Sneks a decent play.

Chris Flexen (SEA) @ HOU (L) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 103 pitches.

I guess this helps? It’s a Dusty Donut without a Win, a rough WHIP, and just two strikeouts, but the ERA is good? Yay? Why am I upspeaking?

Cole Irvin (OAK) @ ATL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 83 pitches.

Whoa, Irvin elevated with four-seamers and earned seven whiffs on the 90/91 mph fastball. Huh, didn’t expect that. I wonder if he’s a solid play for the Guardians next because of it. Something to consider.

Kyle Bradish (BAL) vs CHC (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 105 pitches.

Oh, just walk five batters now, too. Bradish, I really want to be excited in some way about you, please, GIVE ME THE REASON. You’re just a Frozen Banana now as I stare at the freezer, hoping I’m allowed to pull the handle.

Carlos Rodón (SF) vs COL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 98 pitches.

Okay now this is getting frustrating. I’m loving Rodón’s four-seamer command, but something is off and I simply don’t know what. He’s not missing bats like he normally does (3/57 whiffs), but sitting 95/96 mph should be fine and while his slider command isn’t incredible, it’s still good enough that it shouldn’t dampen the heater. I don’t know, I’m at a loss and figure you just keep starting Rodón, hoping it will correct itself. Those 20 four-seamer foul balls were a death sentence and I can’t tell you how they’ll go away. Who knows, that could just be weird variance.

Tarik Skubal (DET) @ PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 92 pitches.

For a man who wasn’t going to pitch today, Skubal sure did a dandy job against the Pirates. His curve + changeup combined for a whopping 15/21 CSW, though the slider was a bit…meh. I don’t think he’s commanding it quite right and while I’m obviously happy with this start, I want that outing where I get charged by that sweeper, you know? Whatever, the changeup went 9/13 whiffs and that’s dumb. PARTY TIME. Do it against the White Sox and you have your AGA label.

Cal Quantrill (CLE) vs TEX (W) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 90 pitches.

The man is like a frustrated mechanic yelling at a grandfather — CLOCK! WORK! — as Quantrill can’t be stopped from going at least six frames and 3 ER or fewer. It comes at a cost, of course, but you know what you signed up for.

Brad Keller (KC) vs TOR (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 79 pitches.

That’s a VPQS and honestly, you should be thrilled with that from Keller against the mighty Jays. Happiness is all relative.

Taylor Hearn (TEX) @ CLE (W) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 84 pitches.

I really feel like Taylor Hearned a PQS here, but in the end it was just a PhillyAnd all of us in standard leagues have little sympathy. His four-seamer found some whiffs in this one, but it’s far from enough to make me reconsider him in 12-teamers.

Germán Márquez (COL) @ SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 105 pitches.

With how poorly this season has gone for Márquez so far, a PQS with seven strikeouts feels like a Win. That slider was as good as we’ve seen at 54% CSW as well, so hey, I’m happy he has that to hang his hat on.

José Suarez (LAA) vs BOS (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 91 pitches.

Oh hey, it’s Suarez again. Welp, see ya later.

Taijuan Walker (NYM) @ SD (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 103 pitches.

I can’t say I expected to see a day where Walker would favor splitters and sliders more than his four-seamer, but here we are and we hate it. The Padres aren’t great against right-handers, but Walker’s four-seamer isn’t great at the moment and the splitter that has saved him recently simply wasn’t as good. I’d chase other options instead of Walker.

Jameson Taillon (NYY) @ MIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 87 pitches.

Nooooo. I’ve had my concerns about Taillon but I was holding out that he was able to still squeeze all he can out of his breakers. Sadly, even with many called strikes with the slide piece, the rest of the kitchen sink weren’t clicking, especially the command of his four-seamer, which is normally the rock in his arsenal. I’d still start him against the Cubs next, expecting that four-seamer to get better.

Kirk McCarty (CLE) vs TEX (L) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 70 pitches.

He was called up as the extra-man in the doubleheader to make his first big league start and…we don’t need to say a whole lot more. Sorry, Kirk.

Garrett Whitlock (BOS) @ LAA (ND) – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 71 pitches.

At least he earned a strikeout or five this time around, but I think it’s time for us to go chasing something else, yeah? Maybe the man just needs more time on the hill, but I’m just not digging what he’s putting out there.

Cole Sands (MIN) vs NYY (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 89 pitches.

This is what it’s like when a team doesn’t have an ace like Gerrit. They are Cole San(d)s. I’LL BE HERE TIL MONDAY. ENJOY THE BUFFET.

José Quintana (PIT) vs DET (L) – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 74 pitches.

Annnnnd that’s why we avoid Quintana. I hope you didn’t fall for it, even if Quintana did elevate his four-seamers super well while keeping curves down. Sometimes even with a good approach, your stuff just isn’t that great.

Tyler Gilbert (ARI) @ CIN (L) – 1.2 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 55 pitches.

Gilbert is like the wrapped muffin at the cafe. Just cause it’s there doesn’t mean you should get it.

Keegan Thompson (CHC) @ BAL (L) – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 18% CSW, 50 pitches.

Ouch. I can understand why some were high on Thompson here, but for me, his repertoire speaks to a Toby at best without a major whiff pitch and not a whole lot of upside and all the downside you want to avoid. Like this! I can’t say I expected it to be this bad, though, and there are crazier things than anticipating a bounce-back against the Padres. I still wouldn’t do it.

Joan Adon (WSH) @ MIA (L) – 3.0 IP, 8 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 58 pitches.

Oh dear. The Marlins got to Joan, too. Three. For what reason would—oh. Wow. I WAS CONFUSED. Just like I am seeing people start Adon tonight. Touché.

Game of the Day 

Sandy Alcantara vs. Washington Nationals – Sandy is must-see TV. Y’all know it’s true.

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 Frank Jansky/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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