Today is a joint lead, if you can believe it, as two arms we’ve endured through the season as true Cherry Bombs possibly ruined weeks for many readers. There was Trevor Bauer and his 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks against the Pirates, as well as a serving of sadness with Matt Boyd’s 6.0 IP, 7 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks against the Twins. The latter is a little more understandable – a tougher offense, more innings, more strikeouts – but they both come with the same sentiment that I felt the need to wrap them in one.
They are liabilities. They are risks. And they can also win you your league.
At this point in the year, it’s harder to suggest pitchers are truly changing their approaches to a level that we can suggest a drastic improvement in the short term. They exist, definitely, but with guys such as Bauer and Boyd, it’s difficult to say after their next start if what they improve upon will stick through September. They’ve undulated all year, the odds are it’s just who they are right now. Across the full year, these two pitchers have been as frustrating as they come. The ultimate Cherry Bombs and if you own them right now, I can’t tell you they will be fixed. I can tell you that I’d be starting them over some random stream in the middle of your fantasy week. Understand your opponent’s arms, see if you need to take the risks, and cross your fingers with the rest of us. I feel your struggle as much as anyone here, and I wish I had more to tell you here. We’ll get through this together.
And yes, as of now, they are both out of my Top 20 for 2020.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Dallas Keuchel – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. I absolutely love seeing Keuchel use the bottom third of the zone here – one of the few arms that I’m OK seeing such an extreme affinity for low pitches. He did use four-seamers exclusively up as well, and effectively did so. I’m really down with this start, very well earned and was prime Keuchel in many ways. Does this mean it’ll stick around? Likely not, but hey, keep riding this Toby vying for Spider-Man as he faces the ChiSox next.
Reynaldo Lopez – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. You rush to grab that morning paper. WAS HIS VELOCITY STILL UP? Yes, calm down. 96.2 mph – not 97+ like before but still up – and he demolished with fastballs, earning 26/65 CSW. Thing is, the velocity could have been higher as he was pulled early with dehydration/flu-like symptoms. Slider and changeup were still lacking, but it’s hard not to be holding on to ReyLo right now.
Robbie Ray – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Ray returned and was a slight DLH, but given the lack of strong options on Sunday, I understand still running him out there. Last year, we saw Ray struggle to find his deuce after his IL stint, but here he used it right away and it worked well. Slider wasn’t exactly right though, and it led to the walks. I’d be satisfied here, and it’s up to you if need to gamble against the Dodgers on Saturday. That’s a coin flip.
Brock Burke – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. I gave Burke the full-on Cup of Schmo label last time out, and I’m leaning that way once again, even if it’s 28/94 CSW here. It’s still ultra-reliant on his 92 mph heater, and I just don’t think the pitch is that great. It did do well, and he commanded it better here against the White Sox than last time but still not so much that I’d trust outings like this. Maybe worth the stream on Saturday, but that’s a risky proposition, even if it is the Mariners. There just isn’t enough to support that fastball.
Domingo German – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Did you realize that German has a 17-3 record? I don’t talk about Wins a lot because in general good pitchers earn wins and poor ones don’t (save for extreme team examples), but hot dang German. HOT DANG. Solid rebound here against the Dodgers, and we’re obviously riding this through the end of the year. I am a little surprised to see the 4.00+ ERA – a product of his near 20% HR/FB rate – and I wonder what it means for his 2020 draft stock.
Marco Gonzales – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I feel weird telling you it’s a 3.53 ERA across his past 14 starts. The 4.59 SIERA seems more accurate to me as he’s failing to be outstanding in much of his approach, save for a changeup that’s taken a massive step forward overall, but earning a decent – not great – 6/19 CSW yesterday. It’s all so middling, but hey, it’s the Rangers next and fine. Go with him if you need it.
Joey Lucchesi – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I’m impressed with Lucchesi here as he survived a date with the Red Sox, though pulled with fewer than 80 pitches in just five is a little unjust. He’s a Toby for the most part and with this tough outing behind him, feel great about his next date with the Giants.
Steven Matz – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Really like seeing 31/102 CSW from Matz as he continued to keep heaters up in the zone. Interesting to see him dial back the changeup in favor of sliders and curveballs – 14/43 CSW between the two is fine, I guess – and that’s eight of nine straight with 2 ER or fewer. Now he’s on the road against the Phils, but I’m cool with it. Keep those heaters up and he should be OK.
Framber Valdez – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 8 Ks. Valdez won the rose of the Astros F.O. to get another shot at starting, and those who watched may have fallen for his deuce once again, as it does look lovely with the Houston camera angle. Don’t forget the floor with Valdez, but don’t grab him now as with the days off ahead, it’s possible Houston skips his turn twice over and goes four-man. Keep an eye on it – he’d get the Jays next otherwise.
Jaime Barria – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. This is fine, but if this is your best, then I’m not going to put up with your worst, contrary to that horrible phrase that people love to say for some reason. That’s not a healthy relationship, you don’t get an excuse to be a poor spouse. And now, back to baseball.
Shane Bieber – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. Not the overwhelming dominance with the deuce as we’ve seen, but we’ll take 30% CSW and everything that looks oh-so-pretty here. Not only is that a 2.12 ERA and 26% K-BB rate across his past seven starts, but all have been at least six innings, averaging over seven frames per start. Wild.
Clay Buchholz – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Whoa, Bucky is back! And looking serviceable! But that’s a trap. Maybe not, but it’s way too risky and we need to see more first. We need more.
Dylan Bundy – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. You start Bundy for his strikeouts and pray the ratios don’t kill you. He gave you a 2.00 WHIP and just two punchouts. Yeah, no.
Cole Hamels – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. We’re not out of the woods yet. Hamels’ velocity was still down, his changeup returned just 6/23 CSW and cutters were meh as well. I’d be a little scared holding Hamels through my playoffs, but I understand if you want to wait to see it falter first as he could recover the underlying ability.
Elieser Hernandez – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. 33% CSW while struggling to find his changeup is all kinds of impressive against the Phillies, a team that elected to be patient and allow Elie to pound 15/47 called four-seamers. He’s had to endure a rough schedule, and it doesn’t get easier with the Nationals next, leading me to sit this one out still. Not the worst Friday stream if you need it.
Martin Perez – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. So that’s 4 ER total across his past four outings, here taking advantage of a date with the Tigers. Velocity was a little lower, but cutters were super good here and his changeup was solid as well. Sure, I’m in for a repeat date with the Tigers next time if you need it over the weekend.
Eric Skoglund – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. Oh hey, it’s Skoglund. The man who gave us nothing and then disappeared without a trace … Seriously, not a single strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?!
Stephen Strasburg – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. I talked about Strasburg with Sporer in our Fireside Chat on Friday, and he made a good argument that Strasburg has yet to legit hurt your team after drafting him, presenting a floor that dictates a Top 10 SP pick. The other side of that is even with this start, Stras holds a 3.60+ ERA in three of his past four years, with the season looking like the only one with 180+ frames. It’s fantastic for an SP2, but your ace? I think you’re better off spending elsewhere. ANYWAY it’s great to see Strasburg earn 22 whiffs and a Gallows Pole as he felt both his changeup and curve in this one. Keep on keepin’ on.
Brett Anderson – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. A full-on VPQS with just two strikeouts. If you’re not in a quality start league, this hurts. A lot.
Brian Johnson – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Remember kids, It’s A Long Way To The Top if you roster Johnson.
Clayton Kershaw – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. Three long balls – two off curveballs?! – against the Yanks was essentially everything against TATIAGA as he continued his phenomenal 100% 6+ IP streak for the year. Please tell me he keeps it. WE NEED THIS.
Aaron Nola – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces Gonna Ace. That’s a 2.27 ERA since June 21 with a 0.95 WHIP and 28% K rate. .234 BABIP, 84% LOB rate as well, but that’s alright. Fastball command is better than during the spring (spring on the nose, for that matter), and it’s nice to see the Nola we were promised.
Michael Wacha – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Look at Wacha, earning seven strikeouts. The ratios are terrible so we don’t really care, but hey, at least you have that going for you. For one start.
Dario Agrazal – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Ohhhhh Dariiiioooo. Please believe me, you’ll never do me harm. Because I won’t own you.
Zach Davies – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Davies has allowed at least 4 ER in four of his past five games. Yep. This just won’t do.
Logan Webb – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. I don’t like Webb’s fastball. He doesn’t harness its movement well, and his secondary stuff, while having moments, just isn’t enough, sadly. I can see days where this works, and among a sea of blegh options, I chased one of those days against the A’s offense. I shouldn’t have. Streaming Record: 85-55. It’s not the worst chance to take against the Padres next, but I’d love not to rely on it.
Antonio Senzatela – 1.2 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. The grasshopper has become the master. No, Senz-A, you were the grasshopper all along. Whaaaaaat. Directed by M. Night ShamWow.
Jalen Beeks – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. We’ve wanted Beeks to turn into guys like Boyd or Bauer, but not like this. Not like this.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Game of the Day
Sonny Gray vs. Pablo Lopez – Gray can be a legit ace today against the Marlins and hey! PabLo is back!
(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)