Stuck in a Cole

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Gerrit Cole vs TB (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 92 pitches.

With Jacob deGrom sitting in his own tier atop The List, Gerrit Cole did little to redeem himself with a tough 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks loss to the Rays with 15 Whiffs and 34% CSW. That’s his second five-ER game in four starts, while his last performance came with just five strikeouts. Is everything okay?

In very short, you do nothing. He had a 1.78 ERA and 0.83 WHIP entering today. The main problem here was a fastball that normally sits 35%+ CSW returned just 25% today, forcing him to use his changeup more often, leading to a trio of hits, two of which scored runs including a longball from Austin MeadowsThat’s really it and if there’s anything to bank on from Cole, it’s a steady fastball through the season. He’s not falling apart, this is simply his “rough patch” that is basically one start. Nothing to see here.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Tucker Davidson vs WSH (ND) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 88 pitches.

Davidson got the call as Atlanta elected to push Ian Anderson back one day (he gets the Dodgers now, UGH) and those who took the chance on Tucker in deep leagues were rewarded. I can’t say that I really love what he brings to the table – his secondaries are fine and it’s just 93 mph — but it’s decent enough as a random streamer. He’s shooting for Toby status and that’s okay.

Austin Gomber vs TEX (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 78 pitches.

Lovely rebound from Gomber, earning a Golden Goal after a troubling outing against the Pirates. This is the man we expected last week, demolishing the Rangers with changeups at a 50% CSW and throwing just 28% heaters. Sub 30%! Curveballs were meh, but sliders were solid and now he heads to Miami on the road. I’m ALL for that.

Martin Perez @ HOU (W) – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 82 pitches.

Hot dang! MP didn’t have his best velocity, but his changeup and cutter did work against the Astros, helping carve nearly eight frames of scoreless baseball. Thing is, he now needs to do it again as he squares off against Houston next week. Yeah, I’m glad it worked today, but I ain’t doubling down.

Lance Lynn vs DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 89 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. The man pitches, you start him. That’s a 1.38 ERA across nearly 60 frames this season and it’s a wonderful thing.

Elieser Hernandez @ PIT (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 68 pitches.

The good news: Elieser earned 42% CSW on sliders. The bad news: he left the game with a quad injury while running the bases. #ADDTHEDH. It’s unclear if he’s heading back to the IL now or not, and it’s a serious bummer. Not to say that I was fawning over Elieser’s 91.6 mph heater (it was solid, but it was Pittsburgh), but there is value here if he’s pitching.

Vladimir Gutierrez @ STL (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 77 pitches.

Hey, this worked and it felt like we didn’t get enough time for the shoe to drop. Sure, it’s 93/94 mph and his slider/curveball were actually solid here, but I don’t buy that he has above-average command and it all seems a bit fragile. He gets the Brewers next and I’m sure I’m going to get questions about it. I’d say he’s in contention for the last option in the Questionable Tier for that day.

Ryan Yarbrough @ NYY (W) – 9.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 113 pitches.

This is unreal. The Fratty Pirate not only earned a win while acting as the starter, but was allowed to throw 113 pitches along the way as he was given plenty of called strikes out of the zone and arm-side. It’s a product of his low side-arm delivery and setting up a tent along the outside edge all day, demanding calls go his way. It allowed for 9/34 called strikes on cutters and a decent amount of whiffs on changeups, but don’t you get settled in here. Yarbrough is a Toby and while he somehow pushed well over 100 pitches in this one, he could be tossing 70 and change in the next.

Justus Sheffield @ LAA (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 103 pitches.

I haven’t had any faith in Sheffield lately and I’ll give him props here, even if that WHIP is rough. His slider looked like the pitch we adored years ago before his MLB debut, and let’s hope it stays that way with 8/31 whiffs and 35% CSW.

Yu Darvish vs NYM (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 90 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Sure, you want a bit more from Yu but that’s a helpful line as we continue embracing Darvish across our fantasy teams.

Anthony DeSclafani vs CHC (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 81 pitches.

Now that he didn’t need to face an elite offense, Tony Disco was able to do good things for your team. Sure, he wasn’t at his best, but he’ll get the Rangers next and I’ll take this ability for another go.

Kris Bubic vs MIN (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 87 pitches.

Oh my. Bubic tossed 54% changeups in this start, blasting the zone with the pitch as much as he could, and sadly, it wasn’t enough. Even with this being Minnesota, I’d avoid him for a bit until he figures this out. It’s kinda cool to see him go so anti-heater and sit 38% CSW with the slow ball, but the mistakes are too damaging.

Brett Anderson vs ARI (ND) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 81 pitches.

I’m bored, are you bored? One strikeout! Do the thing! Okay okay. “HAISTFMFWT?” Yaaaay! I’ve still got it. Ahem, I’ll take Words Brett Anderson Isn’t Saying for $400.

Tyler Anderson vs MIA (ND) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 75 pitches.

Is this a proper rebound? Maybe? The Marlins aren’t a squad to accept a near 5.00 ERA, but at least the whiffs are back on changeups. Sadly, the Dodgers are next so yeah, another time.

Taijuan Walker @ SD (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 104 pitches.

Look at Taijuan, earning the Walker name. You know the drill. When Walker doesn’t have his fastball, there just isn’t enough across the rest of the repertoire to carry the burden. The good news here is Baltimore is next and I’d imagine he’ll get early confidence with that fastball there.

Casey Mize @ CWS (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 89 pitches.

I can’t say that I’ve given Mize the greatest endorsement over the last month, despite allowing just six ER across his previous five starts. He had a test tonight against the White Sox and the main story is heavy slider usage (31%!) with a phenomenal 50% CSW. It worked well, earning seven whiffs and outs in play, helping him elevate four-seamers better than I’ve seen in the past. The problems I’ve had with Mize have been twofold: 1) His splitter is inconsistent, leaving a question of where whiffs will come from, and 2) I questioned how much of his success was dependent on matchup. This start is certainly making me a bigger fan, though this slider performance is currently an outlier. The best news is SEA + @KCR are next and you should feel comfortable holding.

Jake Odorizzi vs BOS (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 76 pitches.

Blegh. This wasn’t a start to chase as the Sawx are solid, but at least we could get a sense if his heater was back in style, and…yes! 93 mph on the fastball after sitting 92 mph last time out. That’s a huge plus. Locations were solid too and I have a good feeling that after his next start — also against Boston — we’ll be in a position to trust Jake again. Just repeat the velocity next time as we watch from afar, okay?

Adam Wainwright vs CIN (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 105 pitches.

It’s not the greatest, but I’ll take a middling start from Waino against the volatile Reds offense. His cutter was missing once again and let’s hope it returns for him to seize an opportunity against the other Ohio.

Zach Davies @ SF (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 93 pitches.

His changeup was great — 11/38 whiffs! — but his fastball was not. Womp womp. The Friars are next, and that’s an easy drop if you still have him.

Griffin Canning vs SEA (L) – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 80 pitches.

A three-run shot did him in, but this wasn’t smooth regardless. Streaming Record: 39-23. His slider was meh, his curveball was gone, and the changeup that took over before was…fine. It all just wasn’t great across the board and while you don’t need everything to take down the Mariners, you need something working well. He’ll likely get the Royals next and don’t rule it out. Sure, Canning didn’t have it here, but you know the drill – just because he performed this way in one game, doesn’t mean he will perform the same way in the next.

Patrick Corbin @ ATL (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 79 pitches.

We were out given his lack of ability recently + Atlanta and he didn’t give us a whole lot of hope here. Sure, he hovered 92 mph through the game, but just 21% CSW on sliders and meh fastball command just ain’t it. I’ll be watching closely and hopefully, he has another start that pushes us in the right direction (and, you know, keeps it up).

J.A. Happ @ KC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 76 pitches.

Blegh. There just isn’t enough in the repertoire to put blind faith in his four-seamer doing wonderful things in a given night. Stop trying to make him Happ(en). JA Ja ja…

Mike Foltynewicz @ COL (L) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 77 pitches.

Yeaaaaah, this was Coors. Can’t say we expected much different here. Sad to see his heater down a tick from last time, too.

Jon Duplantier @ MIL (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 75 pitches.

Womp womp. Despite facing the Brew Crew, there wasn’t much hope here for Duplantier and we have to give him the sad Cup of Schmo label for now.


Game of the Day 


Max Scherzer vs. Zack Wheeler – Both can go 7+ frames and make this a sub three hour game with 20+ strikeouts. Can’t wait.


But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.


Photo by 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.

4 responses to “Stuck in a Cole”

  1. Ray says:

    deGrom v Musgrove is Sat. How about a little Scherzer v Wheeler action today!

  2. theKraken says:

    Was that really short rest for Lynn? He was the probable the previous day too but that was rained out.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Great call Kraken, I remember it from last time and forgot about the rainout. I’ll update it!

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