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The Great Undulater

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Thursday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.  

José Berríos @ CLE (L) – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 82 pitches.

This is a blurb on José Berríos that truly isn’t necessary. He’s The Great Undulater, which means he’s destined to thrive and dive throughout the entire season, personifying a sine wave, balancing his ERA somewhere above 3.50 and below 3.90. It’s his destiny and you drafted him knowing this was what you were going to get.

I say these words to help ease the pain of today’s affair – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 82 pitches is not what you were hoping for as Berríos carries a 5.34 ERA for the year. But fear not! The day of redemption will arrive in the form of a string of bountiful performances where his curveball is sure to perform better than 13% CSW. Keep the faith, for The Great Undulater always covers his axis.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

 

Shohei Ohtani @ BOS (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks – 29 Whiffs, 46% CSW, 99 pitches.

JEEEEEEEEEEZ. Absolutely insane. That’s a clear Golden Goal as you’ll see, while Ohtani set the high mark for Whiffs in a game and CSW for the season. Bonkers. It’s kinda hard to not give him the AGA label after multiple dominant starts like this across just a few weeks, but you know me — I have to be cautious handing them out like candy. The biggest knock on Ohtani has been the question of volume this year and this doesn’t change that, but hot dang, he’s really good y’all.

José Urquidy vs DET (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 91 pitches.

It was mostly four-seamer/changeup from Urquidy with the latter going 33% CSW. That’s really all there is to this — Urquidy had solid command and Detroit got themselves out. Works for me.

Rich Hill vs LAA (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 68 pitches.

Wow. Hill is still surviving on the…mound while Tanner Houck followed and lost the game for the Sawx. At least Houck tossed 21/31 slider strikes, though. As for Hill, he gets Atlanta next and I think this is the peak of his season. I wouldn’t chase it.

Mauricio Llovera vs STL (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 17 pitches.

It’s 2022 and the law says we have to have a bullpen game every other night. Sigh.

Aaron Nola vs NYM (ND) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 101 pitches.

What a lovely game from Nola. His changeup was great, his curveball was still elite, and he commanded his fastballs as well as you’ll see. But the thing is, the man is cursed. CURSED. The Mets scored seven in the ninth to rid Nola of a Win BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT WE’RE DEALING WITH. Dude can’t catch a break.

Nick Martinez vs MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 102 pitches.

Yeah, this is wonderful. Martinez had his changeup working here, while he spotted four-seamers and cutters effectively along the edges, and it worked. I think he’s okay to start against the Cubs next week and hopefully we get a few more whiffs in there to make us all warm n fuzzy.

Miles Mikolas @ SF (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 95 pitches.

That WHIP ain’t pretty, but he survived against the Giants and that’s cool with me. Get used to those few strikeouts — he’s not a 7K man, he’s more like a few miles or so. You know, a 5K man.

Jesús Luzardo @ SD (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 98 pitches.

It’s been five starts since we saw Jesús evolve into Charizardo and he’s still bringing the heat at 97 mph, while the curveball…dropped off to just 30% usage today but that’s likely because his changeup was flat out filthy. I don’t see a reason to not continue believing in Luzardo’s renaissance and a date with the Sneks next is all kinds of joyous. Can’t wait.

Shane McClanahan @ SEA (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 86 pitches.

I watched a lot of this one and I’m genuinely shocked it was only eight whiffs from McShane. He topped out at 100.7 mph in this one and created plenty of tough at-bats for Mariners hitters, but he didn’t quite have his best secondaries here, failing to have the same command we normally see. Whatever, I’m still in adoration and a giant Shane McClanafan.

Tarik Skubal @ HOU (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 90 pitches.

Hot dang, look at you! Skubal had his slider working in the zone while the new changeup he told Fast about earned a good amount of strikes, and the pair of heaters did work. I still have hope he can lean on that curve more (5/7 strikes here) moving forward, but if he has this slider, he should continue to produce. Good stuff.

Antonio Senzatela vs WSH (ND) – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 86 pitches.

You see this bread, Senz-A? YOU SEE IT? Yeah. Do you know what’s missing from it? I dunno. BUTTER. HAISTBMBWT?!

Chris Archer @ BAL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 76 pitches.

Archer’s slider finally returned — 11/41 whiffs! — but the heater was worse and there wasn’t a whole lot else. At least he’s understanding how his slide piece is the only path toward success. Oh wonderous breaker, guide me on this treacherous journey before me. Dude, I’m just a baseball. HE CAN TALK HE CAN TALK. I can siiiiiiiiiiing! Ahem. Don’t get suckered in, even if it breaks out in a siren song.

Spenser Watkins vs MIN (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 76 pitches.

I wonder if Spenser will one day be a Hot Topic. Please clap.

Robbie Ray vs TB (L) – 6.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 102 pitches.

Blegh. Ray didn’t have the same fastball command we want, leaking the ball down far more often than we want to see, resulting in just 17% CSW on the four-seamer. That ain’t it. It’s still not atrocious and can be adjusted moving forward, but we’ve been waiting a good while for the real Ray to return and we may just have to live with Ray not being quite what he was in 2022. He’s still comfortably sub 4.00 ERA with a lot of strikeouts and a solid WHIP, just not a Top 10 arm, and that’s okay.

Aaron Civale vs TOR (W) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 99 pitches.

I’m shocked to see Civale whip out eight strikeouts…until you see that he FINALLY did the thing: He went 30% curveballs and 30% cutters, making up over 60% of his pitches. And it almost worked! If he had a better heater or really anything else, I think he could have granted better ratios. But I truly hope this is an indication of a legit approach change moving forward — and hey, he even sat 91 mph this time instead of 90! There’s so much to love here. There’s a time every year when the AC turns on and I guess that 2022 date is May 5th. He gets the White Sox next and I want him to prove it before I let him fly, but I’m excited.

Adrian Houser vs CIN (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 92 pitches.

Womp womp. Even against the Reds, Houser couldn’t come though. Didn’t he know he was the streaming pick of the day?! Daaaang, totally forgot to tell him. That’s on me. There was a positive here: He sat 95.2 mph while averaging 93.9 mph on the year. Maaaaybe this sticks and he’s legit viable later in the year? I mean, 12 whiffs and 32% CSW speak differently than those ratios. Just saying.

Aaron Sanchez @ COL (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 84 pitches.

Ayyyup. Could this have gone any other way? SidenoteWhat is up with YouTube’s super dark broadcast? It looks like it has a dark filter on it and it drives me mad. IT’S SO HARD TO SEE THINGS

Taijuan Walker @ PHI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 80 pitches.

It’s so unfair. The Mets won this game yet Walker didn’t get the Win. UGH. But seriously, he sat just 93.3 mph in this one and while his splitter showed some promise, there was nothing else to lean on. It could be something that gets fixed over time, but I wouldn’t feel like I needed to lean on this right now.

Hunter Greene @ MIL (L) – 2.2 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 76 pitches.

Sooooooo yeah. That fastball is so dang hittable. Soooo hittable. I really don’t think this is worthwhile.

 

Game of the Day 

Sandy Alcantara vs. Yu Darvish – There’s also Kevin Gausman vs. Shane Bieberbut I feel like I’m going to be squealing more with Sandy and Darvish. Man, what a fun day of baseball.

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

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am ET Monday through Friday.

Photo by Joe Robbins/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.

  • Jayson says:

    Robbie Ray is so far a huge disappointment. Nobody drafted him so high to be just an “okay 4.00 ERA”. He holds 4.38 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. So far it’s a massive failure! Even his Ks don’t save the picture with 31 Ks in 37 IP. Last season he was 2.84 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, and a K machine (248 in 193.1 IP)

    Ohtani is pitching like an AGA. Who cares if he won’t pitch more than 130 IP this season? I don’t understand the reasoning behind. I prefer 130 IP of Ohtani flying with under 3.10 ERA 1.10 WHIP while being a K machine than a guy like Robbie Ray for example lol. We have all the time to ride the AGA Ohtani before to need to look for a potential replacement for our fantasy playoffs.

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