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 10 am-12 pm ET.
George Kirby (SEA) vs MIN (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 99 pitches.
I’ve been yelling at George Kirby, waiting for him to find a secondary pitch to take his low ~22% strikeout rate into the 25%+ range, and at first glance, tonight was the night dreams came true: 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 99 pitches. It’s rare to see 20 whiffs from Kirby, let alone more strikeouts per innings pitched. And he did so while returning 14 whiffs on his secondaries. SIKE! That’s the wrong number. It was just six. SIX.
If you’re like me, you saw this GIF on Twitter and thought Oh dang! There’s the pitch we’ve been waiting for! Unfortunately, that was the sole whiff off his splitter across all five he threw. Whoops.
The slider returned a decent amount of whiffs at 4/22, though its purpose is to find the zone and allow the four-seamer to do its work up in the zone, and if he can execute it this well in the future, who cares about needing anything else outside of the heater for strikeouts, right? Sadly, this is the first time we’ve seen this arsenal and approach actually return this result, making me skeptical he can actually take that leap without something truly propelling punchouts outside of the four-seamer.
So in the end, this is a wonderful night without the addition I was hoping to see. It is pretty dang cool though, isn’t it?
Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:
Andrew Abbott (CIN) vs SF (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 106 pitches.
Well ain’t that pretty. The four-seamer and sweeper played super well off each other with fantastic separation in all the right places and if you locate your two best pitches consistently, you’re gonna get a lot of quick outs to go eight frames. I dig this aplenty and if this is the Abbott we see regularly, jot me down as a believer. I’d argue this was the best commanded night we’ve seen from him all season. Now we see if it sticks (likely not).
Corbin Burnes (MIL) @ PHI (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 100 pitches.
I wanna say the words, I really do. I’m just not gonna jump the gun, you know? That’s two obviously AGA-worthy starts in a row from Burnes, looking like his former Cy Young self as his curveball – a pitch that has been unreliable all year – elected to return 62% CSW on the evening. Well that’s clearly gonna work. Take that ridiculousness away and you’re left with a blegh changeup with a cutter that’s still struggling to get the whiffs it used to (just 3/55 tonight). You can’t see me right now, but you better believe I’m squinting. Squinting real good.
Michael Lorenzen (DET) @ KC (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 89 pitches.
Lorenzen has been absolute money against poor lineups. Is LAA a poor lineup? That’s a great question. I’m going to say…no. Also because Lorenzen was down a tick across the board and still has a sub 20% strikeout rate. This isn’t made to last.
Chris Bassitt (TOR) vs SD (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 92 pitches.
Atta boy Bassitt. Doing what Stroman should be doing. Keep the sails full and continue on course, sailing toward the morning sun. How, I can’t see it. Oh. Um. THAT WAY. Thanks.
J.P. France (HOU) @ OAK (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 93 pitches.
Thanks, France. Not just for the cheese, the statue, or the luscious accent, but for doing what you were supposed to do tonight. A touch of order in this weird season is awfully refreshing. I wonder if his 35% changeup usage is here to stay…
Michael Kopech (CWS) @ NYM (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 89 pitches.
I was very much out on this one and huge props to Kopech for making it work. Or maybe I should be thanking the Mets for their massive passivity – despite the four walks, Kopech still had a 23% called strike rate on four-seamers, allowing him to find strikes and better counts that he desperately needed. Seriously, that slider and changeup were like darts thrown by my nephews. Why did you give them darts? Because I’m Cool Uncle Nick and that’s what cool uncles do. They told me at the convention.
Steven Matz (STL) @ CHC (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.
Yessssss. The sinker is still at 95 mph and the changeup stepped up for 54% CSW. There is some concern, though, as despite the glistening CSW, Matz isn’t getting the pitch down, while the curve was erratic and unreliable. I think we take a break against the Diamondbacks next, but with his love for high “sinkers”, he should be good for a repeat Cubs start in two weeks.
Blake Snell (SD) @ TOR (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 7 BBs, 4 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 106 pitches.
Aces Gonna Ooooof. Good for him to make it just one earned run, but seven walks?! His heater was horribly commanded, while the curveball was bounced, the slider didn’t get strikes, and the changeup wasn’t nearly as filthy. But 18 whiffs! Because it’s still Snell and he’ll essentially toss two bad pitches and one great pitch when he’s not on point. He gets the Pirates next and if that doesn’t give him the confidence to chuck heaters down the pipe and into the zone, I’m not sure what will.
Tyler Glasnow (TB) vs BAL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 93 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. The curve was legit at 9/28 whiffs and the slider got strikes. It’s all I ever wanted.
Hogan Harris (OAK) vs HOU (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 74 pitches.
I had few expectations for Harris here and a King Cole with 16 whiffs and a brilliant line is the clear Gold Star of the night (just 74 pitches for six frames, too). I’m still in a bit of shock about this one, as Harris didn’t do it with phenomenal command, nor was his fastball any different (in fact, down 1.4 ticks in velocity!), but it earned 7/40 whiffs and 38% CSW, while the decently located changeup returned a fantastic 50% CSW. In short, this is a very strange outing that somehow had ridiculous results and I’d caution y’all from latching on. This could be a trap play for the Giants up next.
Pablo López (MIN) @ SEA (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 98 pitches.
The WHIP ain’t what you want, but the velocity was up to nearly 96 mph on the heater, his pitch separation was fantastic, and the sweeper did good work. If only that changeup were its former self…
José Quintana (NYM) vs CWS (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 77 pitches.
This was a Still ILL, especially in Quintana’s case where his success was heavily reliant on command over stuff. And yet, he commanded well enough with solid pitch separation and a plan of attack, and it allowed him to survive against the White Sox. For a Loss (it is the Mets, you know). I’m hesitant to buy in here as Quintana was a tick down and didn’t overwhelm batters here, though the Yankees are next and that offense has seen far better days.
Zack Greinke (KC) vs DET (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 62 pitches.
Welcome back Greinke, I’m so glad your shoulder injury wasn’t the last of your time playing baseball. I feel bad that I have to say this though, so I’ll do it in a whisper. HAISTBMBWT?!
Zac Gallen (ARI) @ ATL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 99 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. Save for a solo shot in the sixth and a two-run shot in the seventh (Careful, Icarus), Gallen deftly avoided the Atlanta thump in this one. I’m still concerned about his curveball locations, but it did return a 43% CSW in the end, and apparently Savant is calling his cutter a slider these days? That can’t be right. He got the thing down along with his changeup, helping him do a bit of the BSB as the four-seamer did all the work up in the zone. You know Gallen, here I go making a blueprint for your four-seamer/secondary approach and now you’re off using someone else’s. What a weird six weeks it’s been with you.
Kyle Gibson (BAL) @ TB (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 91 pitches.
A VPQS with eight strikeouts against a team like the Rays is acceptable, especially when it came with skills like 19 whiffs and 38% CSW. In other words, it was Gibson being his best version and the Ray were like “nah”. It was all about the secondaries – sweepers at 50% CCSW, changeups at 43% CSW, and 6/18 curveball whiffs – and if that sinker can go 40% called strikes all the time, society would look like this. Sadly, he’s still the volatile self we know and choose to ignore.
Spencer Strider (ATL) vs ARI (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 13 Ks – 26 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 100 pitches.
Aces gonna toss six shutout frames with a Gallows Pole firmly locked in and somehow lose a Quality Start. Careful, Icarus was very much in play as he got to 0-2 in the seventh before hitting the batter, then allowing a three-shot, followed by another homer after six innings of pure Strider bliss. Whatareyagonnado.
Taijuan Walker (PHI) vs MIL (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 102 pitches.
This was a PQS until he allowed an infield single to start the seventh, was pulled, and of course, saw his bequeathed runner come around to score on a longball. I’m not sure if this is still Taijuan Magic with a 35% CSW sinker and a splitter that somehow went 67% strikes + a cutter that was…meh. I’m not sure I want to chase that against the Orioles.
Marcus Stroman (CHC) vs STL (L) – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 99 pitches.
Bleeeeeegh. The sinker fell too much armside in this one, preventing Stroman from doing his Neckbeard approach that has worked so well this season. He’s been struggling a lot more lately than early in the year, but I’d still press on with him against the White Sox next. This isn’t him.
Alex Cobb (SF) @ CIN (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 85 pitches.
Ugggggh. I really didn’t want to see this, but we’re waiting for the old skill to return (splitter whiffs) and hoping the new skill sticks around (sliders for strikes) and what we normally get is the new skill disappearing before the old skill returns. It happened today with the splitter at just 2/29 whiffs and the slider shelved with just six on the night. Cobb, you have the Athletics up next. Get it together in your bullpen before it. Yes, I’m still holding here.
Game of the Day
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