(Photo by Stephen Hopson/Icon Sportswire)
I don’t have a whole lot to talk about today with just four games and eight starts from Thursday, so why not, let’s talk about Kyle Hendricks after his 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks performance against the Nationals. I kinda breeze through Hendricks normally as he inherently grinds against my philosophy of investing in starters, but I have to give credit when it’s due. After stumbling through his first 16 starts with a 4.21 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 18.5% K rate, and 7.5% BB rate, he’s rebounded since the start of July, returning a 3.13 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 22.5% K rate, and minuscule 3.5% walk rate. The biggest shift was improved command of his sinker, return a near 6.0 pVal in his recent stretch versus a negative value prior. I watched a bit and I can’t really discern the difference, honestly. Heatmaps back this up, and I’m thinking he’s just not getting beat as much as he used to. In the end, I think his 3.71 ERA and 1.21 WHIP for the season is about right. He’s at heart a Toby and possibly deserves that Spiderman label more than Arrieta. Either way, keep starting him now, and 2019 may be the season he falls far enough that I can fathom owning him myself. Crazy, I know.
Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:
Eric Lauer – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. I told you not to do this. I had to because I had to choose someone. Given how this year has gone, I guess I’m not that shocked it worked, but seriously, this worked!? The man has a 4.80 ERA for good reason and a sub 20% K rate…Whatever, let’s take the dub and move on while remembering this to cackle in front of the fire with whiskey deep in December. Streaming Record: 90-42.
Luis Castillo – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Castillo allowed three longballs in this one – two to Francisco Mejia – though one was pulled off the ER tally via an error earlier in the frame. Just 13 changeups were thrown in 81 pitches with his slider getting more attention, though his fastball was still up – 98mph max, 96.5mph average – and this start is certainly helpful. I wanted more against the Pads, but whatareyagonnado.
Stephen Strasburg – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. One out away from a 1.50 WHIP and 6 Ks is a small letdown for Stras, but alright, I’m not going to change anything here.
Shane Bieber – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. That K:BB is still intact, duh, and his hittability wasn’t the major detriment we’ve seen in the past. It still led to 3 ER against the Jays, but fine, I’ll take it.
Anibal Sanchez – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. 8 Ks and a 1.00 WHIP work. A 5.40 ERA does not. I’m wondering if y’all would want me to do an off-season piece on the “One Hit Wonders”, the pitchers that you’re rolling with in 2018, but do not trust in any way to repeat in 2019. It would be all the old fellas – Fiers, Sanchez, Chacin, Buchholz, Chen etc. – and I’m not sure how much value that piece would be for y’all. Let me know what you think.
Zack Greinke – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Dude, Greinke, I’m talking about old guys not to trust and then you do this. Keep starting him, duh, but I wonder how I’ll feel drafting you next year. My head says Do It as I expect him to be a little undervalued given age and lack of overall sexiness, but my heart is worried about the collapse like everyone else. Blegh. I don’t like being conflicted, it’s not cool.
Sam Gaviglio – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Remember when I had the smallest bit of excitement for Gaviglio? Yeah Nick, it was two weeks ago. Those were the days…the terrible days.
Steven Matz vs. Philadelphia Phillies – A good amount of options here from Felix Pena vs the ChiSox, Austin Gomber vs Detroit, and even Anthony DeSclafani vs. Padres, but I’d go with Matz as he’s still under 20% owned, hot off his 11 strikeout game, and gets the Phils. Sign me up.
Wei-Yin Chen vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – He’s on a roll and there aren’t many decent options out there otherwise.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Reynaldo Lopez vs. Los Angeles Angels – Bleeeegh, am I really going with ReyLo? It’s really him or Jacob Nix against the Reds and he really hasn’t done enough to make me think that is going to happen. At least Lopez has been volatile with a ceiling instead of consistent mediocrity, right?
Game of the Day
Joe Ross vs. Jon Lester – I was going to say Clayton Kershaw vs. Jon Gray, but how can I not be super curious to see what Joe Ross looks like these days? I used to love him and his slider/sinker combination