Well this isn’t going to be a fun one. If you guys read the site last year, you’ll know my battles with Dan Straily who I had labelled as a TEEs all year as he bounced from being really really good to flat out bad at times. However, 2017 was looking plenty different, showcasing great K/BB numbers and allowing weaker contact than the heavy majority of the league. But after yesterday’s 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks debacle, Straily is now holding a 5.67 K/9 and 4.86 ERA over his last six starts. That’s very bad. Like Is that Jered Weaver? bad. Over the last month, xStats sure isn’t endorsing him like they used to, holding a scFIP of 4.43 and a whopping 11.0% VH rate – Batted balls that have a near 90% rate of landing for a hit (for reference, the average rate we see is around 4-5%). I’m jumping off this ship and while he’s sure to have some good starts in the second half, I don’t like his chances against the Reds next, nor the Nationals shortly after. Feel free to add him again in mid August when he gets the Giants/Phils/Padres because it’s going to be rough til then.
Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:
Jameson Taillon – 3.0 IP, 9 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Um, what happened here? Taillon had allowed 8 ER total over his previous five starts, showing off games of 7, 8, 9 Ks in the process and then gets an easy start in San Fran where obviously he was going to get Singled Out. Seriously, not one HR was allowed here. Velocity was slightly lower, but I can understand that based on throwing 70 pitches in three innings. He simply didn’t have a good day and got punished a ton. I’m still starting him against the Reds next, and the Padres after, and the Jays after that, and the Cards…you get the idea.
Zach Davies – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. That’s two straight 0 ER starts from Davies and this was the Nationals…nope nope nope not falling for this. I CAN’T DO IT CAP’N.
Sonny Gray – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Gray made his second inning much longer than it should have after he threw the ball away on a grounder, leading to 4 Unearned Runs. Still, he fought through it and looked dominant on the hill. That’s six starts of averaging just 1 ER and 6 Ks per game. Now, he faced the Chi Sox twice, Braves, Jays, Rays, Indians in this stretch, but he’s sure making the Oakland F.O. happy that he’s turned it on at such a critical time. I can’t say much more about his future schedule as he’s clearly going to be somewhere else for his next start, but regardless of where that is, I imagine Gray sitting in the 30s ROS. I don’t quite trust this 2.06 BB/9 across those six starts to stick against decent teams, but I also don’t expect a mighty implosion. He’s helpful and you want to start him, but not much more than that.
Drew Pomeranz – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. On the same topic, I’d rather own Gray than The Dirty Cheerleader, who I’ve also called a sturdy arm that will help but not bring you the immense upside of others ahead of him. I am a bit disappointed here to see the four walks from Pom, though 7 Ks through 5 frames keeps me satisfied enough to keep steady.
Charlie Morton – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Mmmmmm this is beautiful. Sure, it was against the Phillies and we can’t expect Morton to be like this every day but to see him express his ceiling and reap the rewards is oh-so-satisfying.
Madison Bumgarner – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I think I speak for all of us when I ask When are you going to start being really good again?
Michael Fulmer – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Leave it to Fulmer to allow his third ER and say “Welp, guess I have to go eight frames to make this serviceable.” Atta boy Fulmer. And guess what! Fulmer earned the Gallows Pole with 20 whiffs on the day. Hot damn!
Danny Duffy – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Velocity sitting at 93.0…But Nick! He performed well even without the same velocity as before! That’s a good point, not going to beat around the bush there. You should still be rolling with him and all, but my gut tells me that eventually this will catch up to him.
Lance Lynn – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Maybe I’ve been too harsh on Lynn. I’m not blind to the fact that he’s allowed just 4 ER total over his last five starts, or that he’s boasting a 1.47 BB/9 over his last six. Thing is, in those six starts, it’s a 3.95 xFIP with a .240 BABIP for his low 1.72 ERA, without many strikeouts – under 5 Ks per start – and I can smell major disappointment on the horizon. I can’t be the only one smelling this disappointment wafting our way, right?
Kenta Maeda – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. That’s three straight 5.0 IP starts from Maeda as we just can’t expect anything more. Lucky for him it’s just been 1 ER each time, but even 2 ER renders a 3.60 ERA and these seven baserunners creates a 1.40 WHIP. Talk about a small margin for error. Are you okay with 4-5 Ks each time as well?
Jordan Montgomery – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. YES. There he is, the man that I was surprised took a vacation the last few weeks despite boasting excellent whiff numbers. He was pitching no-hit ball into the fifth and looked in control the whole way through. I feel bad that I was willing to let him go prior but you never do know when these guys can get their act together again. He gets the Indians next, which I’d start him for, following by Jays, Mets, Red Sox, Mariners, Indians, Red Sox, Orioles, Rays, etc. I think I want him through it all.
Cesar Valdez – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I think it’s okay to call him a Cup of Schmo even though he’s already made eight appearances this year and 32-years-old, right? Sure whatever, Nick. Sounds good to me.
Taijuan Walker – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Good on you Walker for not faltering against the Braves. Lucky you got to face them twice in a row. And now you get to avoid the Cubs and Dodgers as you face the Giants…followed by the Cubs, Astros. I’m curious where you’ll be at the end of this three game run. My gut says still as questionable as ever.
Mike Foltynewicz – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. Boy is Folty on a tear, holding a 9.00 K/9 and 3.30 ERA in his last ten starts. He’s had to face the Dbacks twice, Dodgers, Nats twice, and Reds in that stretch as well. I know it’s crazy but I still can’t fully get behind him as his scFIP is 4.68 in July and his repertoire doesn’t scream consistency to me. It is great to see the movement he can get on his heater at 96+. Yes his Curveball can look pretty. But he’s going to get punished and I don’t want to be a part of that.
Jon Gray – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Nice job Gray, you needed this rebound after allowing 12 ER in your last two starts. You still had only a 8.3% whiff rate, but the 0 walks and fighting through a .487 BABIP give you bonus points here. I’ll allow it.
John Lackey – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s a step in the right direction, but Lackey needs to be jumping them like me on Christmas morning if he’s going to sway us now.
Luis Castillo – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Not an encouraging start at all from Castillo here, despite a clean first inning with 2 Ks. What I noticed was Castillo having trouble finding his Slider early and abandoning it through the game – he threw it just 9.0% of the time despite being around the 15.0% otherwise. It’s the biggest weakness in Castillo’s gameplan, though I don’t think the pitch is as bad as its low usage would suggest – it’s earned a 17.1% whiff rate with a 37.9% O-Swing thus far. This was also against the Yankees, who have been in a slump offensively over the last month as was supposed to be the beginning of a much easier schedule for the next two months. Don’t you dare get off this hype train early.
Jacob Faria – 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s good to see the walk rate fall while also making it into the eighth inning. Not a whole lot to be excited about here, though. I’m starting to think his success hinges on getting that cut movement on his Fastball consistently, making him a tougher bet for long stretches of success. Still Top 40, but ceiling is in question.
Edwin Jackson – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. 2.00 WHIP and just 5 innings of work. We really did miss you EJax.
Seth Lugo – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. It’s a PQS with just 1 K but the WHIP is bearable. I think this is a Win. Close, but it is. Streamer Record 51-37-12. Man I really don’t like Lugo – Just 1 K against the Padres?!
Jose Berrios – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Blegh. I was really hoping Berrios could turn it on against the Dodgers, but instead he has collected 18 Ks in five starts, good for a 4.4 average per start. Ouch. His last outing against the Yankees dictated a step in the right direction, but unless he whips out a fantastic outing against the Rangers this Sunday, I’ll have no choice but to bring him down to the mid 20s or so. I think he has all the talent to get through this stretch with his head up for your playoffs, but right now it’s not right for me to favor him over Nola, Nelson, Godley, Fulmer, etc. I’m not saying he can’t get there, it’s simply not where he is right now.
Cole Hamels – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Dannnng Hamels, that’s back to back terrible starts for 11 ER total now. Your Sinker has been atrocious and getting tatted like it reads “No Ragrets” and the Orioles + Marlins aren’t the teams that you should be struggling mightily against. On one hand I think Hamels should be at least help down the stretch, on the other I’m totally fine giving up on this for now if there is an option on the wire that will help your team in the short term. Hamels isn’t going to go on some magical run that will make you deeply regretting making the swap.
Felix Hernandez – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I’m willing to cut Felix some slack here after three solid starts and having a little difficulty against the Red Sox. Don’t you dare reconsider his next two starts against the Royals and Angels.
Kyle Lloyd – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Do you think a starter making his MLB debut with a Fastball under 86mph should be called a Cup of Schmo? I’m asking for a friend.
Carlos Rodon – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks. Oh the life of being a PEAS. If only he can bring some consistency to his game. Sounds exactly like people saying If only Pineda could stop giving up HRs or If only Bauer could stop walking batters. It isn’t going to happen y’all.
Mike Clevinger – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. This was far from what we were expecting as Clevinger faced the Angels but you have to think the Indians aren’t going to say “welp, he’s clearly trash now!” after Clevinger was killing it prior. Don’t drop him, Clevinger is much better than this start and I’m still leaning towards him getting a regular rotation gig through the second half. He’s just too good and needs the time on the bump for Cleveland’s future. Let’s be honest, who would you rather have starting Game 4 – Clevinger, Bauer, or Tomlin?
Jesse Chavez – 2.1 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Yep, that’s Chavez alright.
Nick Pivetta – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Okay, so you didn’t start Pivetta against the Astros, but what’s surprising here is that Pivetta has cruising through five innings with 0 ER, 6 Ks and just one hit allowed. One hit! But then it fell apart in a flash and we can’t have nice things. He gets the Braves next (yes please!) and outside of the following start against the Rockies, I’d pick him up for his starts against the Mets and Padres. If you’re fine benching him once, a pickup for 3 out of 4 starts ain’t bad.
Alex Meyer vs Cleveland Indians – Once again, I have little to no options as it’s Ace Day, and I’m not going to tell you to chase Paul Blackburn against the Jays or Homer Bailey against the Yankees. Trevor Williams against the Giants? No way. Not even Jeff Hoffman against the Cardinals as he’s been on a nose dive. The best choice is Meyer, who just tossed his best outing of the year. I hate it as I don’t trust he’s going to be that good with his Fastball again, but it’s the best you’ve got. Okay, so Meyer was placed on the DL meaning I’m going with…oh snap! Corbin is now owned under 25% of teams! BEAUTIFUL. Patrick Corbin against the Braves is the easy choice here.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Dinelson Lamet vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – It’s hard to turn down that K upside when he’s facing the meh Pirates. There isn’t any other choice really outside of Brent Suter against the Cubs, but I don’t love that one and I’m not ready to believe in Sal Romano a second time against the Marlins.