Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Monday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Playback.tv weekday mornings from 10 am-12 pm ET.
James Paxton (BOS) @ HOU (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 101 pitches.
After dominating for weeks, James Paxton has hit a bit of a rut. Since the start of July, he’s failed to record a start with a 30%+ CSW on his four-seamer while recording more than five strikeouts just twice in his last seven starts. Well, make that eight as he sputtered against the Astros: 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 101 pitches. Uh oh.
His four-seamer has been the issue and yet, 10/56 whiffs is much better than what we’ve recently seen – the last time he collected more than seven was June 19th. The real problem here was a far worse cutter and a curve that didn’t do a lot to help the cause, barely squeaking over a 50% called strike rate. Throw in a tough matchup against the Astros and there’s your Polly Pocket of a disaster. Why bring Polly into this? She’s been innocent for far too long.
If Paxton has a whiffable four-seamer that’s well concentrated upstairs, I don’t think this downturn will last. Unfortunately, this may continue for one more game with a date against the Dodgers over the weekend. But after that? We’re good as gravy. I never understood that phrase. You know, neither have I. That’s because we’re the same person. STOP.
Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:
Jordan Montgomery (TEX) @ ARI (ND) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 92 pitches.
Atta boy JorMont. It’s lovely watching The Bear do exactly what he’s supposed to do, even if it’s under a strikeout per inning and, in traditional JorMont fashion, without a Win. But at least you won Gallows Pole, that counts for something, right? Right?!
Thomas Hatch (PIT) vs STL (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 45 pitches.
THE HATCH IS THE OPEN. The real story here is Bailey Falter coming in after for a phenomenal 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 81 pitches line, securing the Win, and getting my attention with 1-2 ticks extra velocity on everything. Sure, it pushes his four-seamer from 90.6 to just 92.2 mph, but it made the heater return a 50% CSW despite 42% usage. That’s some good heatin’. He avoided the heart of the plate well and with the Cubs next, there’s a little bit of temptation there. Kinda worth the flier at this point.
Tucker Davidson (KC) @ OAK (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 7% CSW, 14 pitches.
Like an airlock, we had to go through two openers to get to Alec Marsh, who had himself a night with nine strikeouts in 5.2 innings. You can thank some great changeups and sliders for that, with solid curveballs and mediocre four-seamers sprinkled in. This was a Blame it on the Athletics, who still managed 3 ER off Marsh in the end. Don’t chase it.
Joe Mantiply (ARI) vs TEX (ND) – 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 0% CSW, 5 pitches.
This turned into five innings of Slade Cecconi, who managed to limit the Rangers to just a solo shot, with just two strikeouts to his name. Take your Gold Star and cherish it. This was the ole pump de fastball with a hint of slider, with two fewer inches of vertical break, and returned just 4/48 four-seamer whiffs, I think it’s safe to say I’m shocked he nearly Slade an egg. I really wouldn’t go after this.
Luis Castillo (SEA) @ CWS (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 95 pitches.
Aces gonna ace. The madman went 47 consecutive fastballs at one point as the slider and changeup took a vacation. I hope the piña coladas were delicious.
Michael Wacha (SD) vs MIA (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 94 pitches.
Wacha looked great in his return from the IL and his second start was no different…wait. It was a lot different. Why? Because he went 11/36 changeup whiffs while his cutter, sinker, and four-seamer returned a 31% called strike between them. That’s some good old I whiff, you chill if I’ve ever seen it. You earned that King Cole, go do it some more.
Scott Alexander (SF) @ PHI (ND) – 0.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 19 pitches.
It didn’t work with Scott (two first names, yo), it definitely didn’t work with Sean Manaea (3 ER in 2.2 IP), and WHAT THE H*CK IS WORK with Sean Hjelle allowing 6 ER in 4.2 IP. Gotta love bullpen games.
Aaron Nola (PHI) vs SF (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 100 pitches.
Ayyyy he was good! It was 70% four-seamers and curveballs, while his changeup went 67% strikes and all is alright in the world of Nola. I still want him to go sinkers inside to right-handed batters BUT FINE, WHATEVER. We’ll take this all day and Funday. That’s not a day. Sounds like you need more Fundays in your life.
Alex Faedo (DET) vs CHC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.
Whoa, Faedo pulled off the BSB with flying colors. Just look at it. And while you may want to judge him with four whiffs, he earned outs with those low sliders, and the same with his fastball. If I believed this was the Faedo we’d get each time (well, hopefully with better changeups in the future), I’d be sold. This feels like a rare event though, right? It feels like a longshot that he’ll continue to execute high heaters and low sliders consistently. But if he does…
Paul Blackburn (OAK) vs KC (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 82 pitches.
Now that’s how you start off a two-start week. He was able to keep the change, slider, and curve all low and I guess that’s enough against the Royals. I won’t sit here and tell you that it demands success each time out, but it’s good enough for a decent shot. Come on Paulie Punchouts, make it two-for-two with the White Sox next. We need this.
Javier Assad (CHC) @ DET (ND) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 91 pitches.
Why didn’t I just stick with Assad as the streamer? WHY. To be fair, Assad was decent with his command (not as good as I’ve seen) and got a bit fortunate here to carry a productive evening. Blame it on the Tigers n all, though he still has to get it done. We’ll see the floor soon enough, let’s hope it’s not the Pirates up next.
Cristian Javier (HOU) vs BOS (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 105 pitches.
Oh cool, the slider went 15/35 strikes, good for a 43% strike rate. Cool, cool, NOT COOL. Come on Javier, just when you were beginning to show some of your old self, you took another step back. I don’t care if that’s the dustiest donut of a Win, there’s no celebration here. He can’t be trusted.
David Peterson (NYM) @ ATL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 93 pitches.
Wait no come back how. What. Ahem, sorry, I was feigning any sort of interest. Ah. Wanna watch Interstellar? DO I.
Ryan Weathers (MIA) @ SD (ND) – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 83 pitches.
Well, yeah. It’s Weathers. I wish he were sweet like the candy. That’s Werther’s. So sweet…
Drew Rom (STL) @ PIT (L) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 90 pitches.
Like Nintendo lawyers on your case, things get bad when you let Rom into your life. But seriously, Drew tossed 90/91 mph heaters and they just weren’t very good. That’s really about it. See the Rom? Don’t install it. NICK. I’m done, I’m done.
Allan Winans (ATL) vs NYM (L) – 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.
Ah dangit. Winans didn’t have the same command we saw last time, featuring far too many pitches comfortably over the plate and he got shellacked. I wouldn’t be shocked if Atlanta saw this, leaned over and said mmmm how about not. Bring on Soroka. I hope he gets another chance – this is the floor, not the expectation – as that start against the Giants could still provide dividends.
Touki Toussaint (CWS) vs SEA (L) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 96 pitches.
The curveball is still good, but it needs to be better than 13/24 strikes. That has to be a “SAY COOL UNCLE NICK” pitch as he throws it incessantly, forcing the Mariners to do something about it. Otherwise, it’s mediocre fastballs, an unreliable splitter, and a slider that went 0/9 whiffs. Not one saint, let alone Toussaints would want that.
Game of the Day
But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.
Have Questions? – Join my morning Playback.tv livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm ET Monday through Friday.
Photo by Erica Denhoff | Icon Sportswire
Adapted by Kurt Wasemiller (@KUWasemiller on Twitter / @kurt_player02 on Instagram)