The Cole Yard

Nick Pollack reviews every single starting pitcher's performances from Monday's games.

(Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire)

After one of the greatest opening months of any season, something has gone wrong with Gerrit Cole, who went 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 8 Ks against the Rays Monday night. That’s 1/6 of Cole’s entire walks in 1/15 of his games. But that’s not the glaring problem here. Across Cole’s first eight starts, he allowed a total of 3 HRs, holding these unreal numbers: 1.43 ERA (1.49 FIP!), 0.74 WHIP, 41.4% K rate, 5.8% BB rate. In his last seven games, it’s been plenty different: 4.09 ERA (4.68 FIP!), 1.09 WHIP, 29.9% K rate, 10.3% BB rate with…9 HRs. That’s triple the longballs, TRIPLE THE POWER. The culprit is his four-seamer, as it just can’t stop allowing the longballs. It was the problem last season and our biggest worry entering the year and now it’s still around for another go. The question is if this trend will continue or if he can figure out his heater again. Oddly enough, he’s actually throwing them harder in his recent games, which may be correlated, it may not. I’d imagine it’s somewhere in the middle, which still makes him clearly Top 10 – that WHIP and strikeout rate through the “rough patch” is still fantastic. If you can cash out for legit value, then I’m for it, but otherwise I’d caution you away from reacting too harshly to this. It’s a bad moment, but it’ll get better.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Trevor Bauer – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Maybe Bauer deserved the leap ahead of Nola yesterday. I considered it, favoring to hold back Bauer as he hasn’t been this good for so long yet. He may very well make the leap next week.

Ryne Stanek – 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. There wasn’t a proper “starter” in this one, full on bullpenning as the longest was Matt Andriese and his 51 pitches across 2.2 frames. Yay.

Trevor Williams – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. First he was a TEEs, then he was a waiver wire leper, and now he’s…still a leper. Sorry Williams, you allowed 4+ ER in five of your previous seven games before this one, and that included poor starts against the Pads, ChiSox, and Cardinals (twice!). Yeesh.

Jhoulys Chacin – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Chacin will do well when Jhoulyst expect it. I considered doing a major thing on Chacin today, but two strikeouts and just five whiffs? This could easily have been a Grave Mistake.

Jacob deGrom – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace as deGrom earned another Gallows Pole at 24 whiffs. Who said that Coors does things? Why would anyone say that?

Sonny Gray – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Super impressive start from Gray as he went back on his fastball commitment to throw 40 breakers on 86 pitches. The result was nearly 40% CSW and he commanded the strikezone. Probably the best start I’ve seen from Gray all season (yes, better than the 8 frames against the Jays). However, the question with Gray this year has been consistency and it’s all about if he can repeat this success. I hope he can and if you’re struggling, you may want to take that flier. I’m not buying until I see it across more starts.

Nick Pivetta – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 13 Ks. I think this clarifies things for everyone. Yes, Pivetta was off his game when he hosted the Rockies last week. And this was the absolute opposite as he went 48 CSW in 108 pitches. That 44.4% mark is the third highest of the year for any starter and hot damn was he good. Seriously. Which is a more believable scenario: The 1 game in 15 last week + his 2017 season is the real Pivetta or is it the other 14 games that he’s played this year. I think it’s pretty clear and don’t let his 4.08 ERA scare you away, his 3.14 FIP and 3.24 SIERA are plenty more accurate as his strikeout rate soars to 28.6% with just a 6.7% walk rate. This isn’t Jon Gray, this is legit.

Andrew Suarez – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Our Call Boy cruised through the Marlins lineup and gave us yet another win. Streaming is not supposed to be this fortunate y’all. Do I believe Suarez is someone to trust regularly? Nope, just against bottom tier offenses. Streaming Record: 42-24. Wait, 42-24? I DON’T CARE WHAT IS THE SCORE.

Tyler Anderson – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. If you’re following the Rocky Mountain Way, you ran with Anderson as he hosted the Mets. He was two outs away from a VPQS with 5 Ks and didn’t even get there. I’m not okay with this, but if you’re desperate, you might just have to keep rolling with it against the Marlins next time.

Bartolo Colon – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. The Groan Ranger with the VVPQS and one strikeout. Wait, one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?!

Erick Fedde – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I’d say some bad things about Erick, but I don’t want the Feddes knocking on my door.

Zack Greinke – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. We had a debate in the channel about if Greinke is a disappointment or not, which was before the final inherited ER scored, turning this from a sub 3.00 ERA to a blegh mark. Still, I think he’s a solid buy-low right now as his underlying numbers speak to a 26% K rate, 1.15 WHIP, and 3.30 ERA. HRs should fall, whiffs are still up, and I can imagine someone being frustrated and wanting out.

Dylan Covey – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. Can I go back to saying Don’t Covey Thy Dylan again? Yes? Thanks.

Miles Mikolas – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. This was a terrible first inning and then four frames of bliss. Sometimes that’s just how it works, but seriously, he looked bad in the first.

Caleb Smith – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Last week I talked about how I’m slowing stepping off the Smith bandwagon and his second straight game against the Giants went worse than the first. Now it’s Coors and you want none of that, though I guess I’m cool rolling with Smith in a 12-teamer after. There are kinks to work out here, but there is still upside in the tank and after this tough stretch I can see him rebounding. EDIT: Totally forgot to mention that Smith got let down by the Marlins’ defense in this one, allowing 3 ER to score on a “double” to center, forcing him to get the early hook. Doesn’t really change the outlook, but you should know that.

Ian Kennedy – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. You’re chasing Ks if you own Ian and I guess you got what you wanted. I sure don’t want it, though.

Jaime Barria – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Noooo, I loved Barria as a two-start option this week and this is all kinds of disappointing. 33.7% CSW is solid and you got 12 whiffs on 48 sliders/changeups, but the problem is the heater and it was bad. Here’s to fixing it against the Jays – and yes, I’m starting him for that.

Today’s Streamer

Dereck Rodriguez vs. Miami Marlins – He did it last time, he can do it again.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Tyler Mahle vs. Detroit Tigers – I can see Mahle spinning a decent one here against the weak Tigers. Chad Kuhl is an intriguing option with his increased slider usage, but I don’t like him against the Brew Crew.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Chris Bassitt vs. Chicago White Sox – I literally have three other choices: Clayton Richard vs.SFG, Matt Harvey vs. CHC, or Lucas Giolito vs. OAK. Give me the worse offense.

Game of the Day

Freddy Peralta vs. Jameson Taillon – I’m super curious about both sides of this. There’s also Snell vs. Verlander and Sale vs. Berrios, so get your popcorn, y’all.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Rotographs contributor. Worked with CBS Sports, Grantland, Washington Post, and SB Nation. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum.

  • Avatar Alex Fast says:

    Remember when you were like, “thanks for texting me to let me know the Caleb Smith start was largely due in part to the Marlins defense botching several routine plays including a fly-ball that the wind took from Lewis Brinson but was ruled a double that led to 3 ER and how Smith had to labor through each inning due to several defensive mishaps?”

    Pepperidge Farm remembers.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      This is what happens when you want to write the roundup the night before, but for stupid reasons you can’t.

  • Avatar Muddy_Chicken says:

    Hey Nick, great job with these. I look forward to them everyday. You’ve mastered the art of writing just like you’re speaking in conversation. It’s refreshing to read a recap that contains all of the metrics plus personality.
    Onto the nuts and bolts… somehow my pitching staff has been a disaster (besides Kluber and Severino). With Carrasco, Bumgardner, ERod, Hamels, S. Wright, Teheran, Maeda, Soroka, F. Peralta, Loaisiga (yeah, I like the Spice Girls)… it seems like I can’t pick a matchup to save my life. Anyway, would you drop any of those for G. Richards, Heaney, C. Smith, Kuhl, Barria, Gibson, or any Met besides the top two?
    Thanks and sorry for the War and Peace comment

  • Avatar Frankie says:

    Someone posted this before Hunter Strickland appeared from the fog of the bay. Can you believe last night was Strickland’s first day on my roster after trading Rondon for him? What a complete and utter party pooper. And yeah, I also streamed Suarez in the same league. Nights like this make me question my life.

    • Avatar Frank says:

      I think the Suarez “win” is for calling on him as the streamer and not the win of the game. Or maybe I’m wrong and I just mis-read it. It is confusing text though.

  • Avatar Glenn says:

    I want to believe in Pivetta. But I don’t understand your write-up. When I look at the numbers for his last 10 starts, 5 of them were either mediocre or outright horrific. The other five were beautiful. That still paints a much more inconsistent profile than the one you offer.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      And leave out the four excellent starts prior?

      But even with those five bad starts, I’ve emphasized how three of them were not Pivetta laboring, but just bad circumstance. The Nationals one? He should have been out of the first inning, which then imploded on him. The Braves? He threw about two pitches the entire start. The Cubs? That fifth inning was horrendous.

      The one I left out was the 3 ER over 4 IP against the Giants, he was meh there. Not horrific, but not good.

      And of course the Rockies one from last week. That was legitimately the first game that made me say “he looks bad.” There was concern after that, but to see such a roaring comeback, it’s hard to think he falls back into that pit again.

  • Avatar Evan says:

    Opinion on Joey Votto + Blake Snell for Sale trade? H2H points league

  • Avatar Mike says:

    Nick,

    Would you start Tyson Ross or Loaisiga tomorrow and if so, who do you prefer? 12 tm H2H with QS instead of W.

    Thanks

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Ross definitely. Loaisiga, it depends on how I think the week will shape up. I’d prefer to be conservative if possible as the Mariners are no joke.

  • Avatar Dontlooknow says:

    Looking at a trade for Stripling but feel the owner wants waay too much. Don’t get me wrong, Ross has been a stud but I worry about an innings limit and the guy not being available when I need him most, in the playoffs. Although I do have to get there first and that’s no given. He pitched 78 innings in 2017, 119 in 2016 and 71 in 2015. Which do you take, ROS over/under 75 innings?
    First time on the board, enjoy your work very much.

    Regards,

  • Avatar Randy says:

    These regular Bauer movements have been just what the doctor ordered….for my fantasy team.

  • Avatar Andy says:

    I play in a categories league (W, L, SV, BB, K, ERA, WHIP). Would you drop Pivetta and pick up Heaney? I see Heaney is 5 spots better but Pivetta Ks so many guys it might be worth the tough times.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I want both. Anyone else to drop?

      • Avatar Andy says:

        I would like to drop Dee Gordon as he seems to only hit for average and steals but that would probably be unwise.

        SPs: L Severino, C Morton, T Bauer, M Mikolas, C Martinez, N Pivetta.
        RPs: S Dominguez, K Barraclough, H Rondon, Z Britton

        I could maybe drop a reliever, perhaps K Barraclough or H Rondon? I usually start 3 closers at most to help weigh the pitching categories and win Saves.

  • Avatar Dal says:

    Unrelated, but the RSS feeds haven’t seemed to update since 5/20…

  • Avatar Stephen says:

    Nick,
    For roto keeper/dynasty league, if you had to choose one to keep for 2019 and beyond is it Pivetta or Heaney?

  • Avatar Perfect Game says:

    Cole has an ERA of 3.92 over the last 30 days or 39 IP. He’s seems to be drifting towards the Cole of last year. Berrios and Folty have performed much better over the same period…Folty being the best. Problem with Folty is he doesn’t get the QS like Cole and Berrios. Who do you like better for a standard roto league (QS, K, WHIP, ERA) ROS and in what order?

    • Avatar Dave says:

      I’m wondering the same as well. I have a tentative trade offer I’m waiting to pull the trigger on. I would give up Sean Manaea and Shin-Soo Choo get Andrew Heaney. I’m wondering if I should be going after our leagues Pivetta owner instead.

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