Tarik and the Dominos

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

Tarik Skubal vs NYY (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 95 pitches.

It’s time we circle back to Tarik Skubalwho has been messing around with his secondaries, leaning away from the 60%+ fastball usage we saw in the past. It all came together today 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks with 15 Whiffs and 36% CSW against the Yankees (yes, maybe I should consider the Yankees a less elite offense, maybe the Cherry Bomb of offenses?) and we should take the time to dive into this. In the meantime, that’s a streaming Win – Streaming Record: 39-18.

In very short, Skubal gets the White Sox twice in a row now and I’d have hesitation starting him in both. I dig that his four-seamer was effective for 38% CSW and his slider + changeup combined for seven whiffs of their own, but I’m not quite sold that this is both repeatable and enough in his repertoire to endure an above-average team. I want to believe his fastball is elite and all he needs is at least one secondary pitch to trust at a given time, but I think we can all agree that his 94 mph heater doesn’t have the track record to earn our trust yet. I also want to buy that his slider can sit 20-25% usage and continue to be effective, but we just haven’t seen it stick over a long period of time.

All that said, maybe it does stick. Maybe he passes his test twice against the White Sox and you have yet another breakout starter free from the wire. I have no problem holding him at least for that first ChiSox outing and taking it from there. I simply expect some growing pains as we see from all young arms and this recent run doesn’t seem immune to hiccups.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

 

José Quintana @ OAK (ND) – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 75 pitches.

Quintana got the early hook as he averaged 25 pitches per inning and sadly, I still haven’t seen the four-seamer + curveball BSB I’ve hoped to see one day. He’s done it separately in two starts, but never in one. A man can dream, but he doesn’t let it shape his reality. Don’t do anything silly here.

Collin McHugh vs PHI (ND) – 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 14 pitches.

McHugh was used as an opener for Josh Fleming and I don’t quite understand why he wasn’t allowed to complete the inning. But whatever, Fleming come on and got the final out + pitched a solid 4.2 frames of 2 ER in relief for the Win. Fleming ain’t a bad option as he’s in position for Wins often, though he doesn’t come with the ceiling many streamers have – the goal of streaming is to stop streaming – and that ruffles my feathers a little bit.

Tyler Mahle @ CHC (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 98 pitches.

Remember the concern I had last time? “He didn’t have his four-seamer command and it’s the root of his success” or something like that. Well, his four-seamer this time…had a 17% CSW. But it was commanded better! In the top third of the zone unlike last time, allowing his slider to do its work at the bottom. It’s not the ideal Mahle, but this is a step forward from last time and fueled these results. You can breathe easier now.

Brandon Woodruff @ WSH (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 106 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I really hope Milwaukee doesn’t hold him back. The man could go 200 frames this year.

Kevin Gausman @ LAD (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 43% CSW, 72 pitches.

Aces gonna ace, earn a King Cole and leave the game with hip tightness. Please be okay, please be okay…

Keegan Akin @ CWS (ND) – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 94 pitches.

Against the White Sox, this is pretty solid. For your fantasy teams, you’re Akin for more. I can see the Clay mold for success from Akin if he’s able to do more with his changeup or breakers as the four-seamer earned 12 whiffs on its own here. That’s a big IF, though, and I’m out until then.

Lucas Giolito vs BAL (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 12 Ks – 28 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 108 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. That’s a Gallows Pole as the Orioles can’t handle a right-hander + Giolito had his changeup back. Seriously, 16/46 whiffs is downright filthy, allowing him to barely touch his slider. And hey! A harder curveball has arrived (or softer slider?), thrown four times in the low 80s. I wonder if that’ll be a thing now. Anyway, it’s great to see Giolito firmly back in his groove. Up The List ya go now.

Ross Stripling @ CLE (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 67 pitches.

I’d be surprised if you streamed him, but congrats if you did. This is pretty much all you could hope for and with that CSW and just six whiffs, it sure feels like you made out like a bandit. Sure, he’s changed his mechanics a bit, but I’m not seeing an overwhelming positive shift in his stuff because of it. Now he gets Houston and we can return to ignoring Stripling again.

Zack Greinke vs SD (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 104 pitches.

It’s looking a whole lot Greinke is back in his groove, pumping the zone with fastballs as his changeups flirted with the edges + curveballs got outs. Hopefully he can keep it up against the Jays + Red Sox next.

Chase De Jong vs COL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 82 pitches.

After his suggestion to grab Paul off the wire, I ignored the Pittsburgh starter completely, even if he was able to host Rockie RoadProps to Chase for pulling it off with his 92 mph fastball and spinning curveballs for strikes, sadly I have to give this the lamented Birthday Party label. There isn’t enough here.

Steven Matz @ CLE (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 69 pitches.

It’s not the ten strikeouts you got last time, but that’ll do nicely for those still with Matz. Weird to see the changeup go just 1/15 CSW, but the sinker and curveball dominated the zone well. Sadly, it’s likely Houston + Boston next and that’s gonna be rough.

Hyeon-Jong Yang @ SEA (L) – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 70 pitches.

This was a clear avoid as we didn’t expect a long start and we’ve all forgotten about that weird eight strikeout game…right??

Yusei Kikuchi vs TEX (W) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 104 pitches.

The legend grows as Kikuchi has gone at least six frames in all but one of his starts this season. His four-seamer is getting even harder, too, now sitting 96.3 mph. Hold onto this one tight.

Michael King @ DET (L) – 2.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 63 pitches.

Despite getting a date with Detroit, we expected very little here from King in a bullpen game as Taillon was pushed back one more day. Let’s move on.

Max Scherzer vs MIL (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 89 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Both starters earned ten strikeouts, but Scherzer was just a little worse today. Great to see Mad Max doing his thang again, he should be able to all year, health permitting.

Matt Peacock vs STL (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 78 pitches.

Just the third start of the year for Peacock and the first time he’s gone six frames. His slider performed well for 45% CSW, and he’s slightly pushing his velocity higher to 93.5 mph.  Now he gets the Brewers and I have to wonder if that’s a sneaky start – he’s only allowed 6 ER total in his three starts. I don’t love it, but you can do worse.

Jake Arrieta vs CIN (L) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 89 pitches.

JA Ja ja, you aren’t the man you used to be. Please excuse me for laughing, it’s the nerve gas I need to take to endure this sadness.

Brad Keller @ MIN (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 98 pitches.

Ehhhh those ratios are poor, but six strikeouts + a Win turns this into a Dusty DonutCool to see him lean 34% sliders these days and there may be something there as a streamer if he keeps it up. I don’t think I’d risk it against the Twins (again) + Oakland, though.

Kyle Freeland @ PIT (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 84 pitches.

Blegh. That’s just one strikeout (HAISTFMFWT?!) against Pittsburgh. On the road. With four walks. This return to fantasy relevancy is going to take a while, isn’t it.

Kwang-Hyun Kim @ ARI (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 92 pitches.

Arizona is better against left-handers and Kim was able to bring fantasy managers absolutely nothing. Seriously, the only salvageable thing was a sole strikeout. One! HAISTFMFWT?! He’s a Toby at best and I’d avoid him against the Reds next.

Sam Hentges vs TOR (ND) – 2.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 54 pitches.

The kid isn’t ready yet. He’s a Young Gun and needs more time. MORE TIME. What, we’re starting Matt again? No no no, never that. Never.

Zach Eflin @ TB (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 86 pitches.

Blegggh. While we haven’t seen his curveball step up for a while, we got a sense of security that Eflin was good enough with just his sinker and slider doing the heavy lifting. What fools we were. Okay, I won’t be so dramatic – I’m still starting Eflin against the Nationals next time – it’s just that without the curveball around, it does set him up for this floor. That’s all.

Cole Irvin vs LAA (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 85 pitches.

Are we collectively understanding that Irvin is a streamer at best? Maybe? Well he gets Coors next so we can talk about this later. Unless he’s overwhelming in that one, I think I’m out for the Kansas City start after.

Aaron Civale vs TOR (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 87 pitches.

Bleeeggggh. The kitchen sink was clogged today as his curveball – arguably his best pitch – failed to earn a single whiff as he threw it just nine times. He did a solid job with his cutter glove-side, but he was overall too hittable and the strong Jays lineup got to him, striking out just once – HAISTFMFWT?!Look, just ignore this. He gets Baltimore + Seattle next. Everything is fine.

Matt Shoemaker vs KC (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 66 pitches.

Oh Shoe. The good ole days are clearly behind you and I don’t think I can rely on you any longer. At least for now – I hope you turn into a worthy streamer once again during those long summer days.

Clayton Kershaw vs SF (L) – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 104 pitches.

Aces gonna make me regret giving you the nickname of TATIAGA. His slider got whiffs when executed, but he hung way too many in this one, and the Giants – notorious lefty-smashers – they, well, smashed. I hope Urias can feel better now that Kersh got the same beating.

Blake Snell @ HOU (L) – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 81 pitches.

I went over Snell’s struggles last time and it was even worse this time + he faced a team that punishes plenty better than the Brewers. Yikes. He’s hovering the edges a little too much with his changeup and curveball, while his fastball is simply too erratic. It makes for a pitcher constantly battling himself instead of the batter and voila, this is what you get when that clashes with a strong offense. You’re likely upset and hurt and want to drop Snell, but now he gets the weak Mets. At least wait one more start, no? This can be fixed. I should mention Joe Musgrove came in relief for 59 pitches across five perfect frames and could start later in the week – this was apparently the plan as the Padres’ bullpen was gassed. Sorry for everyone who expected a Musgrove start on Monday.

Game of the Day 

 

Jack Flaherty vs. Trevor Bauer – Pocket Aces? Yes please.

 

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

 

Photo by Frank Jansky/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 pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Avatar DB says:

    LAYLA!!! Yah got me on my knees…

  • Avatar DB says:

    Yes, consider the Yankees as the type of offense that has the semi-orchestral denouement of the best that they offer ( like Derek & the Dominoes,) but consider the season like a 4-5 act show, so there’s multiple acts to work through.

  • Avatar DB says:

    Sorry, I don’t mean to be a “Kraken” type spewing all kinds of old-school vitriol, I love the fact that I get to watch my player Tatis Jr. do his thing day after day, but…

    About a week ago I got upset at the fact that Scherzer was placed above Woodruff on The List and made many arguments as to why he deserved more recognition. This pretty much cements my arguments, no?

    :)

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      IMO you can rank both of them as a tie. They are so close it doesn’t matter. If you prefer one, then great but both are going to cost an arm and a leg. One week of anything cements nothing. Jumping on the shiny new thing is probably at an all-time low in terms of value. If one has an injury then it is all moot, which is pretty much what will separate them in the end. Nitpicking the T1 guys is not time well spent IMO. If you enjoy it, then great I an understand that.

      I am pretty sure he is many people’s guy! I would bet that he belongs to more people than any other player in the game. What is Tatis thing? Plenty of games missed and making an extraordinary number of errors while hitting HR in bunches. Tight pants and bat flips? There are a lot of great player in the game. Tatis is as far from a hidden gem as you can get. There are many better players that don’t get a fraction of the hype. I won’t respond to any more posts in the future intentionally, so don’t mistake this for a rivalry or something. I would be happy to learn from your insights. I am not here for the community engagement generally and I don’t do social media. I do suspect that my comments might echo throughout the baseball world which is more why I do it. I don’t see the stupidity of 2021 MLB baseball getting much attention and this is my best attempt. I figure the children in the analytics departments must base their decisions off of social media and they probably read these comments sometimes. Think about that – is trending more valuable than competing? Have a good day.

  • Avatar Sean says:

    Hey Nick, thoughts on Musgrove and/or Luzardo? Strange to see them waste a Musgrove turn, but thought he looked great. Really curious about Luzardo as he came out of the bullpen.

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      That was beyond a wasted turn as that game was already out of hand. That move should not have even been on the table. Some intern must have put his or her foot down and said that Musgrove should be used in relief. That is the problem with the analytics department vs the actual game played. They come up with ideas before the game and it doesn’t even matter how the game is going. That move made no sense at all – throwing a side-session in the bullpen would have been a better way to get him work and then they could have used him in a competitive game if they wanted to use him as a non-starter. What a crazy idea for a guy having a career year – let’s change this up its going too well!

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    Woodruff likely holds himself back from 200 IP. Health has never been something that he has had and the power arsenal doesn’t help. He is much more Big Maple than a reliable SP. One full healthy season is not too much to ask for though. Its the reason that we should give awards to the guys that do it year in year out if it is close at all.

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    The best com for Snell is…. Snell. Extremely poor pitchability but could put it together for a long stretch as he did when he won one of the more fraudulent Cy Youngs of recent memory – absolute proof that we have not gotten any better at quantifying pitching. The dude won a Cy on the strength of Wins and the team he plays for which is something we like to pretend would only happen 50 years ago. We have all seen him be unhittable for stretches though… which is why he should be ridden hard when he is on, like game 6 of the WS last year.

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