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Oh Wells!

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

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

Tyler Wells (BAL) @ MIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 90 pitches.

Okay okay okay, it’s time to talk about Tyler Wells after he faced a mighty challenge against the Twins and soared via 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 90 pitches, earning a W for the O’s. He did an amazing job elevating four-seamers, catalyzing a 38% CSW on the pitch, while his slider wasn’t stellar, but fell in the zone enough for 61% strikes as the changeup was mixed in well to keep the Twins on their toes.

I’ve been pretty reluctant to chase Wells thus far, rooted in two factors: a low 15.5% strikeout rate entering yesterday + a four-seamer that even after this outing holds a 45.5% hard contact rate. Those marks are terrible and speak to Wells’ 4.78 xFIP, exposing the 3.08 ERA. I know, I’m using the dreaded xFIP, but it quickly contains all the issues with Wells. I find it awfully hard to believe he can keep this up given the sub .230 BABIP despite the heater’s poor track record.

But maybe this is a different man. It’s a 2.09 ERA and 0.86 WHIP across his last eight starts after all…but a .180 BABIP, 5% HR/FB rate, and 86% LOB rate as this is his first start above four strikeouts all year. I guess I’m saying feel free to Vargas Rule if you want, but I’m not buying into Wells suddenly becoming a stud for your fantasy teams.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

 

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) vs SD (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 98 pitches.

Aces gonna ace for TATIAGA(I apologize, but the shirt we made of TATIAGA is sexy). Speaking of sexy, his slider was seductive at 14/40 whiffs while his four-seamer did its job with 15/43 called strikes. What a guy.

Charlie Morton (ATL) @ CIN (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 94 pitches.

Phew. After last week’s mediocrity, it’s serene to see Morton return with ten strikeouts, his best curveball, and even a phenomenal cutter to boot. The four-seamer wasn’t all too great, but with the rest cooking like an egg on the windshield of a car parked in Death Valley, Morton soared to the finish line. I am worried about 2023, though. This marks two years of a slow start and picking it up as the season goes on, but it was a month later this year. I don’t know if we can hold Morton until July 15th next year. Are you serious. No, please don’t DM me about this.

Triston McKenzie (CLE) vs NYY (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 92 pitches.

Huge props to McKenzie for quickly rebounding off his atrocious outing against the Twins to dominate the Yankees. He did a much better job of landing breakers down, and while he did get away with some heaters in this one, he did elevate effectively when he needed to. You’ve earned a more confident start against the Royals now and if you benched Triston, no worries. Now you feel confident and get a great matchup. Life is still good.

Zack Wheeler (PHI) vs STL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 108 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I know, it’s weird to see just a 19% CSW, you can blame the 32 foul balls here that helped Wheeler get ahead in counts — 0/14 CSW on the sinker but 10/14 strikes tell a different story, for example. He’s really good, y’all.

Brandon Woodruff (MIL) @ PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 94 pitches.

Yesssssss. Aces gonna ace. The velocity was over 96 mph again (not the 97, but still up!), he earned nine fastball whiffs and a staggering 8/19 on his changeup, and life is wonderful. I’m very willing to say he’s returned as he has his AGA label back and you should expect Woodruff to soar back up the list tomorrow.

John Brebbia (SF) vs CWS (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 14 pitches.

Oh, it’s a bullpen game. My favorite part of baseball.

Luis Castillo (CIN) vs ATL (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 103 pitches.

Ayyyy he did it without a WHIP over 1.00! I love Castillo focusing more on four-seamers than sinkers, even if these came in the middle of the zone a whole lot. Honestly, his whole plot looks kinda terrible but he sat 97/98 mph on those heaters and held a 40% CSW so what do I know. He should be solid against the Rays, too.

Robbie Ray (SEA) vs OAK (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks – 27 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 107 pitches.

Okay, I said it would feel wrong to give him AGA after a start against Oakland…but come on, right? FINE, it’s Toronto next. Survive that and you have it. That’s a Gallows Pole as Ray has obviously found the right concoction of sinkers, four-seamers, and sliders, though he went 50% breakers in this one and you see the results. Thanks so much, Robbie.

Lucas Giolito (CWS) @ SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 102 pitches.

Mmmmm that’s the good stuff. It’s been interesting to see Giolito keep his changeups down these days: He used to move that thing all across the zone, leaning on called strikes up in the zone. Now he’s heavy on the loLoc% (low/bottom-third location) and returned 52% CSW on changeups. His slider was decent, too, but I wish it was a little higher than a 58% strike rate. Anyway, he’s far better than the terror of his five-start stretch and I’m so glad we’re past that.

Shane Baz (TB) @ TOR (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 94 pitches.

Do we really need to see anything else from Baz to believe in this anymore? Sure, a 1.50 WHIP ain’t what we want, but the slider and four-seamer are stupid good and Baz is set to cruise for 100 frames of dominance the rest of the way. H*ck, THAT’S SIX INNINGS.

MacKenzie Gore (SD) @ LAD (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 100 pitches.

Ehhhh that WHIP hurts, but 1 ER against the Dodgers is swell. That command was pretty erratic, though, and we haven’t seen a proper “oh daaaang” start from Gore for a bit. I think I’d still start him against the Giants, but yeah, I don’t like this uneasiness.

Carlos Carrasco (NYM) vs TEX (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 102 pitches.

Phew. It’s great to see Carrasco return value when he should return value, you know? Sure, the Astros were tough, but you got the Rangers now and earned 20 whiffs via 11/34 on the ridiculous changeup. He gets the Marlins next and that should be more of the same.

Jordan Montgomery (NYY) @ CLE (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 94 pitches.

Whoa, eight strikeouts?! You see 30%+ CSW on his sinker, you’re going to see success from The Bearbut he normally doesn’t follow through like this in the strikeout department. It’s a welcome sight, don’t get used to it.

Connor Seabold (BOS) @ CHC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 74 pitches.

It’s not 20+ whiffs like last time, but his four-seamer did return for 7/41 whiffs and I wonder if there is anything to pull from that moving forward. …nah. His other stuff is just so blegh.

Frankie Montas (OAK) @ SEA (L) – 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 13 pitches.

Montas left this one early with shoulder tightness after featuring depressed velocity. Terrible news all around as Montas was the hot topic as we near the trade deadline and, of course, your fantasy teams n whatnot. Hope he’s okay.

Pablo López (MIA) @ WSH (ND) – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 102 pitches.

That’s seven starts of either five or six strikeouts from PabLó. That’s not bad, it’s just not an ace, you know? But hey, the ratios are still intact as he boasts a 2.97 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 25% strikeout rate for the year. We keep rolling.

Erick Fedde (WSH) vs MIA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 106 pitches.

Remember kids, Don’t Trust The Feddes Unless he faces a team that rhymes with Farlins.

Framber Valdez (HOU) vs LAA (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 13 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 107 pitches.

Ahhhh that curveball came back in a major way with 10/41 whiffs and a 39% CSW as his sinker dominated, propelling a King Cole and hoooo baby THIRTEEN STRIKEOUTS. It literally rose his strikeout rate two ticks from 21% to 23%. Oh, baseball. Don’t expect that mark to stick, of course.

Brady Singer (KC) @ DET (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 97 pitches.

The man had 20 called strikes on his sinker and earned nine strikeouts, yet that’s a near 2.00 WHIP without surviving five frames. Remember, called strikes on sinkers = the worst form of high CSW marks.

José Suarez (LAA) @ HOU (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 79 pitches.

Honestly, this was a great start from Suarez squared up against the Astros. He does get Baltimore later this week and it makes y’all in AL-Only leagues wonder…Hey, it could happen.

Zach Thompson (PIT) vs MIL (L) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 67 pitches.

Oh hey, the real Zach Thompson hath returned! The cutter was…meh. The curveball was horrendous, and this is not the hawt Thompson of 2021. That’s a Frozen Bananaalright.

Keegan Thompson (CHC) vs BOS (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 86 pitches.

Sure, this was Thompson against the Sawx, not the Pirates. I’m an emotional man, not a blind man. Gotta stay grounded. And guess what? It’s the Dodgers next. Yeaaaah no.

Devin Smeltzer (MIN) vs BAL (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 85 pitches.

Sure, I think anyone who streamed Smeltzer would be happy with a PQS and a 1.17 WHIP here. Blame the changeup not falling as much as you want it to + his curveball being a little off as well. I think I’d dip in another time against the Rangers as well.

Zac Gallen (ARI) @ COL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.

Honestly, a PQS with a 1.00 WHIP in Coors is cool with me if you were daring to do this. His fastball was spotty, but he did locate curves and changeups down effectively. He’ll get them a second time, this time in Arizona, though, and that should be even better.

Jon Gray (TEX) @ NYM (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 102 pitches.

Yeah, he’s still dope. Sure, it’s an extra ER and baserunner than you want, but seven strikeouts with 17 whiffs was delightful as his heater is still 96 mph with a fantastic slider. He’s really good.

Ross Stripling (TOR) vs TB (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 86 pitches.

Blegh. The man survives the tough teams, then struggles against the Rays. That’s baseball, Suzyn. His stuff isn’t immune to outings like this and it’s up to you if you want to chase the start against the Mariners next. He’s a Tobyreally.

Adam Wainwright (STL) @ PHI (L) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 103 pitches.

Ugh. 23 called strikes on sinkers and curves does point this in the direction of “one of those days”, though, and even against the Phils a second time on the horizon could be very different. Don’t change anything.

Chad Kuhl (COL) vs ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 81 pitches.

That Kuhl WHIP hurts and we’re a country away from trusting Chad again.

Tarik Skubal (DET) vs KC (L) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 89 pitches.

Oh Tarik. Velocity was down a tick across the board, command was…meh, and he’s just not the man we saw earlier this year, even serving a HAISTBMBWT?! I don’t know where to rank him tomorrow, but it’s awfully hard to even start him at this point.

 

Game of the Day 

 

Eric Lauer vs. Chicago Cubs – I think I have the most intrigue about Lauer going today — which way will he fall?

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.

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