Partying With The Fratty Pirate

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.  

Ryan Yarbrough (TB) @ BAL (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 83 pitches.

With Luis Patiño heading back to the minors, it opened the door for Ryan Yarbrough to get a proper shot in the rotation once again and that man seized what was given via 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 83 pitches in Baltimore. His cutter was ridiculous, returning not just 10 whiffs, but an 84% strike rate. That’s absurd for a pitch thrown 61% of the time. Seriously. BONKERS.

It’s so “bonkers” that I can’t possibly believe The Fratty Pirate himself can repeat such an effort, especially against the dangerous Toronto lineup on the horizon. Oh, so that’s it? Don’t pick him up? Yeah, pretty much. If you’re dire for something, sure why not, the guy just did it, but I see this going poorly more often than not.

On the off chance the Rays rotation – for some reason – go six-man, well then he’d face the Tigers instead of the Jays and that’s a whole different story. So why not, there’s some hope. Monitor the situation if something wild happens over the weekend.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

 

Brady Singer (KC) @ NYY (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 99 pitches.

Sooooo Singer tossed 40% called strikes on sinkers while his slider earned a near 25% swinging strike rate en route to a King Cole in the Bronx. His command was stellar against the mighty Yankees offense and I have to hand it to the man. That strikeout plot is insanely good and absolutely shocking given the history of Singer’s volatility. He’s going to be picked up everywhere now and I don’t blame anyone for it, though it may be a trap play against the White Sox. Vargas Rule n all, but he won’t hold onto this command til the end and the wall may be hit as soon as next week.

Tyler Anderson (LAD) @ COL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 94 pitches.

All I can do is smirk and be thrilled for the majestic career season that is Tyler’s 2022. He’s going to look back on it with such a smile on his face and let’s all be happy for the dude. That changeup really is revitalizing his career.

Jameson Taillon (NYY) vs KC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 98 pitches.

Look, Taillon struggled against the Orioles, Athletics, and Tigers before this, so let me be relieved to see him excel here. He did so without earning more than three whiffs on a single pitch, though his cutters and sliders were as well placed as I’ve seen them all year + he got the feel for high heaters once again. Yep, this is the Taillon I’ve wanted to see for a while, the question is if this is a Dennis or a legit change to get that command back. I’m itching to find out.

Jordan Lyles (BAL) vs TB (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 106 pitches.

Lyles came through against the mediocre Rays, as Orioles magic lives. Somehow. There’s a chance he’s okay against the Rangers next week, though it’s a heavy gamble that I’d prefer not to take. Sorry Jordan, fourth tier for you.

Spencer Howard (TEX) @ LAA (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 76 pitches.

This is a Blame it on the Angels and nothing more. Howard is not living the “post-hype” life. The command isn’t there and neither is the stuff.

Alex Wood (SF) vs CHC (W) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.

Yep, that’ll do, Wood. He didn’t have as many slider whiffs here, preventing a legit strikeout game, but he located the breaker and the change well to earn outs and propel him nearly through seven. Now it’s the Dodgers and that’s a bench – don’t go wild, y’all. I imagine he’s more often good than better down the stretch.

Justin Steele (CHC) @ SF (L) – 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.

Steele had some poor luck on a pair of throwing errors to extend the third for three unearned runs+ returned another unearned run in the fourth, causing a date with the showers after just eleven outs. It’s too bad, he pitched well and deserved better. Not necessarily a stellar outing, just a decent five-inning affair, you know?

Kutter Crawford (BOS) vs CLE (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 69 pitches.

Ayyy it worked! The heater was magnificent at 48% CSW and the kutter was…okay. Back to the wire you go as the Astros are next.

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) vs DET (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 67 pitches.

Well look at that. I was incredibly down on this start from Kikuchi given he hadn’t pitched since the first week of July where his command was heavily off, making for a capped ceiling and questionable floor. He hit his peak here with five frames in fewer than 70 pitches, even if his heater wasn’t its hardest. The change went 14/15 strikes & slider 12/14 as his heater consistently landed armside. Encouraging stuff, and don’t just say “it was the Tigers” – they’re actually average against left-handers. It’s right-handers who mess them up.

Daniel Castano (MIA) @ CIN (ND) – 0.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 23 pitches.

Castano had a terrifying moment as he took a comebacker to the head and it led to a concussion. Yeeeeeeesh, I hope only the best for him. It’s absolutely horrible to see.

Zack Wheeler (PHI) @ PIT (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 97 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and make me GASP as I saw the 95 mph average heater – it’s the low velocity we saw at the beginning of the year and it makes me scared. It fell to as low as 93 mph in this one, with his slider dropping consistently as well through the outing. Something may be up here, or it could be like his June 16th start where he bounced back up to 96+ five days later. Let’s hope it’s that. Please.

José Urquidy (HOU) vs SEA (ND) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 106 pitches.

Urquidy is leaning into the heater even more with 73% usage here and it worked. I’m still super weirded out by it – he’s held a .155 BABIP during his six-game stretch of success and this seventh game came with a .200 clip – and I can’t say I expect it to stick much longer. But hey, Vargas Rule it, which may seem insulting to some, but it’s a case where I just don’t buy the stuff equating to a ~2.40 ERA and 0.80 WHIP over the last seven.

Logan Gilbert (SEA) @ HOU (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 98 pitches.

Yep, I’ll absolutely take this. The bad news here is that the curve took a step back from his last start, sitting at just 16% usage and 1/16 whiffs, but at least the slider was solid enough to let the four-seamer soar. I’m going to have so much difficulty ranking Gilbert next year, aren’t I? He’s going to survive this year without the significant regression I’ve been expecting (it’s a 2.78 ERA after this start), many will rank him highly since “he just did well AND he could get better!” and I’m going to be going against the grain saying I don’t believe the stuff will get better and regression that should have arrived this year will hit next year. Uggggggh, this isn’t going to be fun. Gilbert, can you please showcase something more in the secondary stuff for me to come around on you? I hate being that guy. Am I missing something? He has a 33% Hard Contact rate, ranking 176th among all starters and his xERA is 3.71. NOPE. UGH.

Shohei Ohtani (LAA) vs TEX (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 98 pitches.

A 3.00 ERA with an 11-0 K-BB ratio, a Gallows Pole and a Loss for Ohtani. Sigh. What a rough time to be an Angels fan, but aces gonna ace, Ohtani. Aces gonna ace.

Tyler Alexander (DET) @ TOR (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 69 pitches.

T-Lex faced the Jays and I’m impressed he allowed just 2 ER, honestly. Good job…? Oh and just one strikeout? HAISTBMBWT?!

Graham Ashcraft (CIN) vs MIA (ND) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 100 pitches.

It’s close to a VVPQS and I guess that’s improvement…? He’s now going back to an even split of cutters, sliders, and sinkers (it lives!) and there’s some hope here. The command is getting a little better, but there are plenty more kinks to work out with nailing the edges with authority. If he can do that…there’s something legit there. I really hope he tweaks something at some point. I don’t think I’d bank on it happening next time out or even in August.

Triston McKenzie (CLE) @ BOS (L) – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 91 pitches.

The slider command was an atrocity (5/17 strikes. I’m shocked he threw so many), but the curve was incredibly effective and his four-seamer found the zone enough to return a 1.00 WHIP and six strikeouts. Sure, the ERA ain’t it, but I think what we saw was McKenzie for the most part. The scales tipped the wrong way here, but it could have gone his way.

Zach Thompson (PIT) vs PHI (L) – 5.2 IP, 7 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 99 pitches.

I feel like this was a dream where the wrong Zac(k/h) Thompson pitched and all the embarrassing things happened because your brain is actively trying to give you pain FOR NO REASON. It makes no sense, doesn’t it know we’re on the same team? Annnnyway, the point is, this was a fever dream of a start that you didn’t experience because why would you have? Let’s move on, I don’t know why I’m still typing. I don’t get paid by the word, you kno—

José Ureña (COL) vs LAD (L) – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 85 pitches.

I find it a little entertaining how regression elects to hit all at once instead of proportionally through the year. Like it’s the random guy on the roof with a gun coming for Ureña after granting him those early season gifts. WHERE’S MY MONEY DENNY JOSÉ. Sorry for the violence, I just have a soft spot for The Room. It’s wonderful.

 

Game of the Day 

 

Chris Bassitt vs. Sandy Alcantara – I think Bassitt is underrated and finally people are seeing the light that is Sandy.

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 Mark Goldman/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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